It’s Going to Be a Great Journey This Year!

We’ve survived the first couple of days of 2014, and from the look of responses received on my post on journeying in the new year with a Patron Saint, it looks like a good number of you are off to a fantastic start! I mentioned in that post how Saints sometimes choose us when they want to help us in certain circumstances (that’s how we sometimes end up with more than one at a time). Sometimes others choose for us, and, in the case of our religious communities, it is by lottery. Prayer cards are placed upside down on a platter and one by one we choose a card from among them.

I thought I would report back on the results of some of our communities’ ‘lottery’, resulting in Patron Saints for this year.

Our Canossian Sisters in Sacramento, CA:

MollaSister Jenny received Saint Gianna Molla, married with children, a doctor, and known to offer her life if it came to a choice between herself and the child in her womb. She is the Patron of mothers, physicians, and pre born children.

Challenge:  Can you pray with her in these words: “Jesus…I come to you to ask You, through the love and merits of Your Sacred Heart, the grace to comprehend and to do always Your holy will…”

Feast Day: April 28

JPIISister Elisa received Blessed (soon to be Saint) John Paul, born Karol Jozef Wojtyla became  the 264th Pope in October 1978, and the first non-Italian pope in 400 years. One of his key teachings, the series of addresses on ‘The Theology of the Body’ continue to touch the lives of young people today. He was also an ardent defender of Human Life, and challenged the world to adopt a climate of forgiveness.

Patron of World Youth Day

Challenge: Do not try to advance in wisdom outside of faith. Blessed John Paul exhorts you to consider: “Faith and Reason are like two wings of the human spirit by which he soars to the truth.”  – Pope John Paul II

Feast Day: October 22

TofAvilaSister Teresa Celine received Saint Teresa of Avila, the great reformer of the Carmelites and considered the foundress of the Discalced. She was known as a woman of deep prayer, discipline and compassion. Her famous works ‘the Way of Perfection’ and ‘The Interior Castle’ still inspire many. She is the Patron of headache sufferers. 

Challenge:  When you feel you are weighed down with difficulty, take to heart Saint Teresa’s encouraging prayer:  “Lord! How true it is that whoever works for you is paid in troubles! And what a precious price to those who love you if we understand its value.”

Feast Day: October 15

JohnXXIIISister Linda received Blessed (Soon to be Saint) John XXIII, born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, becoming the 261st pope on October 28, 1958. He opened the 2nd Vatican Council in 1962. He is the Patron Saint of Papal Delegates.

Challenge:  Blessed John XXIII would encourage you to prioritize your life, and keep focused on the important things:  “What counts the most in life is blessed Jesus Christ, his holy Church, his Gospel, truth and goodness.” 

Feast Day:  October 11

Our Sisters in Albuquerque, NM:

ClairvauxSister Kay received Saint Bernard of Clarivaux, French Abbot and the primary builder of the reforming Cistercian order. He is the Patron of candlemakers, beekeepers, and wax workers. That might seem like a strange Patron! I think Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI can help us from his Easter homily in 2012: “…the candle serves as a summons to us to become involved in the community of the Church, whose raison d’être is to let the light of Christ shine upon the world.” Therefore, let us ask St. Bernard to help us to lead a life so to emit the radiance of Christ.

Challenge:  St. Bernard would ask himself, “Why have I come here? and then remind himself of his main duty – lead a holy life.

Feast Day: August 20

JohnofCrossSister Connie received Saint John of the Cross, Co-Reformer of the Discalced Carmelites, and was known to be a great spiritual director. From the midst of his greatest experiences of suffering we have today the Spiritual Canticle of the Soul and the Bridegroom Christ. He is the Patron Saint of mystics. 

Challenge: St. John of the Cross will tell you: “What more do you want, o soul! And what else do you search for outside, when within yourself you possess your riches, delights, satisfaction and kingdom — your beloved whom you desire and seek? Desire him there, adore him there. Do not go in pursuit of him outside yourself. You will only become distracted and you won’t find him, or enjoy him more than by seeking him within you.”

Feast Day: December 14

DamienSister Rosetta received Saint Damien of Molokai, a priest of the Sacred Heart Fathers. He gave his life serving the lepers of Molokai, Hawaii. He is considered a “Martyr of Charity”. He is the Patron of those who suffer from Leprosy and HIV/AIDS.

Challenge:  What do you seek after? What is your goal? Saint Damien would challenge you saying, “I make myself a leper with the lepers to gain all to Jesus Christ.”

Feast Day: May 10

JohnXXIIISister Natalia also received Blessed John XXIII (to be Canonized April 17 with JPII). Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli became the 261st Pope on October 28, 1958. He opened the 2nd Vatican Council in 1962.  He is the Patron Saint of Papal Delegates.

Challenge:  He would tell you, “What counts the most in life is blessed Jesus Christ, his holy Church, his Gospel, truth and goodness.”

Feast Day: October 11

MollaSister Josephine also received Saint Gianna Berretta Molla, married with children, a doctor, and known to offer her life if it came to a choice between herself and the child in her womb. She is the Patron of mothers, physicians, and pre born children.

Challenge:  Can you pray with her in these words: “Jesus…I come to you to ask You, through the love and merits of Your Sacred Heart, the grace to comprehend and to do always Your holy will…”

Feast Day: April 28

CajetanSister Elizabeth received Saint Cajetan, Founder of the Theatines, and was known for his concern for the corruption of priests, and for the sick in hospitals. He is the Patron of the Unemployed.

Challenge:  Consider our disposition to receiving Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament: “Do not receive Christ in the Blessed Sacrament so that you may use him as you judge best, but give yourself to him and let him receive you in this Sacrament, so that he himself, God your saviour, may do to you and through you whatever he wills.”

Feast Day: August 7

TofAvilaSister Josie also received Saint Teresa of Avila, who in establishing her new foundations was constantly on the move.

This is an appropriate saint for Sr Josie, as she travels the four corners of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe to care for the spiritual needs of the incarcerated. May she have the untiring fire of God’s love burning in her like St Teresa!

Feast Day: October 15

AlphonsusSister Felicity received Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Founder of the Redemptorists and known as a good confessor. He is the Patron Saint against arthritis, scrupulosity, confessors, vocations, and final perseverance.

Challenge:  At a young age, Saint Alphonsus vowed never to waste a moment of his life. In this challenge, he invites us to make the best of every opportunity we have to please God.

Feast Day: August 1

FrancisSister Cristina received Saint Francis of Assisi, Founder of the Franciscan Order. He rejected his wealth in order to live the Gospel. He received the stigmata in his hands, feet, and side. He is the Patron Saint of animals, merchants, and protector of the Canossians (Our Foundress, Saint Magdalene considered him her Spiritual Father).

Challenge:  No matter how hopeless things seem, carry Christ’s light to others. He said, “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”

Feast Day: October 4

BakhitaSister Antoinette received Saint Josephine Bakhita, a Canossian Sister, and the first African woman to be Canonized. She was born in Sudan, kidnapped as a young girl and sold into slavery. She was brought to Italy where she learned of Jesus, was baptized and became a Canossian Sister. She is recently featured in a the film, From Slave to Saint which captures her virtue very well. She is the Patron Saint against Human Trafficking, and of Sudan.

Challenge:  When you face opposition, or are maligned for your faith, take the words of Saint Bakhita to heart: “Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know him. What a great grace it is to know God!”

Feast Day: February 8

LutgardisSister Marisa received Saint Lutgardis (What?!?), a young woman with a fondness for worldly things, who was sent to the convent of the Benedictines when she was twelve  because her father blew her dowry on a bad business deal. Around the age of eighteen she receives a vision of Christ showing his wounds. Her heart melts and her desire and vocation was firmly planted in that encounter. She entered with the Benedictines and later transferred to the Cistercians because she desired a more austere religious life. She is the Patron Saint of the blind, disabled, physically challenged, and childbirth.

Challenge:  Saint Lutgardis teaches us to seek a perfect union with God: “Our openness to God working in our lives, no matter who we are, is the first step down the road of perfect union with Him.”

Feast Day: June 16

FernandaSister Marilu received Blessed Fernanda Riva, a Canossian Sister sent as a Missionary to India when still a novice. She was known as the “Missionary of Joy” and was very good with helping the Youth to know and love God. She is a good intercessor for the needs of those who work with youth, teachers, and for those battling depression (because of her ever-present joy).

Challenge: Keep in mind the people in your life who look to you for an example and guidance, and imagine them giving testimony of you one day in these words: “Our gracious Mother Fernanda loved us very much and we looked to her as our guide and strong support…a beacon that guided our way.” B. Anthraper (one of her students).

Date of Death: January 22, 1956 (does not yet have a feast day assigned; that will happen when she is eventually beatified).

Mary UndoerSister Lupita received Mary, Undoer of Knots! Those who have been following our new Pontiff Francis would know this is one of his favorite devotions. Some background: artist Johann Melchior Georg Schmittdner painted Mary Undoer of Knots in late 1600’s. Since 1700, his painting has been venerated in the Church of St. Peter in Perlack, Augsburg, Germany (it was here that Pope Francis was introduced to the devotion and took the devotion back to Argentina with him). It was originally inspired by a meditation of Saint Irenaeus (Bishop of Lyon and martyred in 202) based on the parallel made by Saint Paul between Adam and Christ. Saint Irenaeus, in turn, made a comparison between Eve and Mary, saying:“Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it”. She is a good Patron Saint for those who find themselves in impossible situations that seem to have no way to unravel themselves.

Challenge:  How much trust do we place in the intercession of Mary to her Son Jesus? Let us meditate on the grace the world received through Mary (Christ), and how her willing participation ‘undid’ the slavery of sin we received through Eve. “For what the virgin had bound fast through unbelief, this did the Virgin Mary set free through faith.” – St. Irenaeus

Feast Day: September 28

JPIISister Betty also received Blessed (soon to be Saint) John Paul (featured above). His writings and speeches continue to instruct and inspire the Church in its constant call to fidelity to its past and an eye to the future. Reading his first encyclical, the Redeemer of Man, sets the tone for his whole pontificate to the dignity of the human person.

Challenge: Read the prayer of his feast day on October 22:

O God, who are rich in mercy 
and who willed that the blessed John Paul the Second 
should preside as Pope over your universal Church, 
grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching, 
we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ, 
the sole Redeemer of mankind. 
Who lives and reigns.

MarthaLastly, I received Saint Martha (the sister of Mary and Lazarus) who busied herself with the pots and pans when Jesus stayed with them. She knew the love of Jesus, and showed her strong faith in her dialogue with Jesus following Lazarus’ death. She is the Patron Saint of cooks and servants.

Challenge: think about the care with which Martha served Jesus, and consider how we serve the less fortunate. Dorothy Day would relate this image to us: “Do you think that Martha thought that old and chipped dish was good enough for her guest? It is a privilege to help Christ.” 

Feast Day: July 29

Well, I do feel challenged by all of these wonderful saints! What about you? Do you have a Patron Saint for 2014? Who chose you?

RELATED POSTS:

Elizabeth Scalia tells of her three Patrons for this year.

There are a lot of good Saints mentioned in the comments of my post on letting Saints pick you.

If you haven’t received a Patron Saint yet, Jennifer Fulwiler’s Saint Generator is available to help you find one.

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