PJPII

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.

Communion of Saints, John Nava, 2002 O5H0166

A New Year – A Saint Companion 2014

As we approach another new year, people naturally start looking at what they can do to better themselves. Here are the Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions people have planned for this year:

resolutions10. More Family Time
9.  Fall in Love
8.  Help Others
7.  Quit Smoking
6.  Learn Something Exciting
5.  Stay Fit and Healthy
4.  Enjoy Life to the Fullest
3.  Spend Less, Save More
2.  Get Organized
1.  Lose Weight

(Source: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology)

Some of these are usual suspects in annual resolutions. But I thought number 6 was pretty neat – Learn Something Exciting. And I think I am going to adopt that one for myself! 

But I also wanted to share with you and annual tradition in our Canossian communities that might fit as a Category 6, Category 4 and Category 8 events for you:  

Make this year a great one by journeying with a Saint!

It’s a great opportunity to be inspired by someone who found the sweet spot between living life and growing toward holiness at the same time. You always have that saint accompanying you in your prayer and daily routine. The Church has so many examples to choose from … the question is, then, how do we pick one?

1.  A spiritual director told me once, “We don’t choose Saints; they choose us.” If this is the case, we should begin praying, asking our unknown saint to reveal him/herself to us.

2.  Keep your eyes and ears open. Saints can adopt us throughout the year (this past year I received St. Francis of Assisi on New Years, and St Raphael the Archangel during my annual retreat. Saint Padre Pio kept interrupting my life off and on throughout the year as well). Maybe the holy card you were given was put in your path because that saint wants to help you. Or that book you received on a particular saint ended up in  your hands because that saint wants to accompany you. Or maybe a particular quotation or passage from a saint kept turning up in your email or reading. Maybe you came across a saint you didn’t know well, and found yourself captivated by a particular virtue. These are all good reasons that maybe your patron saint is right under your nose, just waiting for you to welcome him/her into your life in 2014.

What? No saint has shown up? Then think about a vice or bad habit you have that you want to overcome. Look up a Saint that struggled with that particular vice, or is known to be effective in helping in that area:

Explosive temper? Saint Louis de Montfort.
Addiction? Saint Maximillian Kolbe (because he was injected with a drug that ended his life)
Suffer Anxiety and/or Mental Issues?  St Dymphna
Cussing/Swearing?  Saint Bernadine of Siena (he abhorred bad language)
Loneliness? Saint Rita of Cascia
Troubled Teenager?  Saint Dominic Savio
Alcoholism?  Venerable Matt Talbot
Work with Youth?  Venerable Fernanda Riva

And these are just a few.

Still stumped for a Saint?  You can use Jennifer Fulwiler’s Saint Generator that will randomly assign you a saint. It’s also a fun way to get to know some new Saints.

If you are looking for a more personalized saint-search, check out Marianne’s “I Want to Be a Saint Too 2014” Blog

3. Next, make a prayer card (or buy one) of your particular Saint, or print out a prayer from the internet. Put it in your prayerbook or Bible, somewhere you will see it everyday.

Find a book on your Saint, and read it. Get to know the Saint as an intimate friend. His or her life might have the key to unlock your troubles and set you free.

4. Leave a message in the comments below letting us know what Saint chose you. It might not make sense at first, but you will find through the year, if you ‘hang out’ with your Saint, you will find graces unfold!

In our Canossian family many of our communities continue the tradition of being given a patron saint. On New Year’s Day, we will each draw by lot our Patron Saint for 2014. I’ve written about this practice before, and we have had some awesome saints!

I can’t wait to find out which saint chooses me this year. What about you? Who chose you?

RELATED POSTS:

Elizabeth Scalia:  “O My 3 Patron Saints, Teach Me What You Know!”

What Saints did the Canossian Sisters receive?

What kind of Resolutions do Saints Make?

And here is another way to get a Saint, Micah Murphy’s Draw a Saint!

Ever Ancient, Ever New

I am indebted to Saint Augustine for his book, Confessions, detailing the human experience of corruption and conversion; the taming of a soul so to speak. It is a poignant reminder of how God calls us, and by grace changes us by our desire for Him.
 
For this, I look forward each year to his feast day (August 28th) and to read from the office of readings the following quote from Confessions. I hope you do too, and if something strikes you, please share in the comments, thank you:
 
 

 

“Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance into the inmost depth of my soul. I was able to do so because you were my helper. On entering into myself I saw, as it were with the eye of the soul, what was beyond the eye of the soul, beyond my spirit: your immutable light. It was not the ordinary light perceptible to all flesh, nor was it merely something of greater magnitude but still essentially akin, shining more clearly and diffusing itself everywhere by its intensity. No it was something entirely distinct, something altogether different from all these things: and it did not rest above my mind as oil on the surface of water, nor was it above me as Heaven is above the Earth. This light was above me because it has made me; I was below it because I was created by it. He who has come to know the truth knows this light.

O Eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity. You are my God. To you do I sigh day and night. When I first came to know you, you drew me to yourself so that I might see that there were things for me to see, but that I myself was not yet ready to see them. Meanwhile you overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly the beams of your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread. I learned that I was in a region unlike yours and far distant from you, and I thought I heard your voice from on high: “I am the food of grown men; grow then, and you will feed on me. Nor will you change me into yourself like bodily food, but you will be changed into me.”

I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy you. But I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever. He was calling me and saying: I am the way of truth, I am the life. He was offering the food which I lacked the strength to take, the food he had mingled with our flesh. For the Word became flesh, that your wisdom, by which you created all things, might provide milk for us children.

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.”

Confessions, Lib. 7, 10, 18; 10, 27: CSEL 33, 157-163, 255

Who are the ‘Josès’ in Our Lives?

The story of the Cristiada – or Cristero War – was released in the United States under the film title, “For Greater Glory“. It tells of the rise to power of President Plutarco Elias Calles and how he becomes obsessed with the idea the Catholic Church in Mexico is a threat as he tries to enforce the anti-clerical articles of the constitution of Mexico* by writing a new and more stringent law, the Calles Law (1926), penalizing clerics for any infraction of the constitution. At first, there is little resistance, but as Churches are closed and priests are arrested and foreign priests deported, a resistance to the government silently begins to build. The film uses the backdrop of the rebellion to tell the story of a boy, José Luis Sánchez del Río (March 28, 1913 – February 10, 1928) and how his faith and courage opens the heart of the agnostic rebel general Enrique Gorostieta to return to the Catholic faith. Some film reviews have called For Greater Glory “simplistic” story telling. But within its story, there are many lessons to be learned. I’d like to share just one.

On the way home from the movie, my Sisters and I were discussing various scenes in the movie, and how impressed we were with the story of young José and the deep courage he had shown. But where did he get it?

One of the opening scenes depicts an eleven year old boy, José, and his friend playing a joke on the parish priest, Father Christopher (Peter O’Toole). José is caught by his father and brought to the priest so that he can make up for his wrong doing. The light-hearted priest plays down the matter of the joke, and the boy is taken under Father Christopher’s wing. Over the days that follow, a friendship forms between the priest and the boy. One day, José asks Father Christopher why he doesn’t go into hiding like many of the other priests. He tells the boy how God will watch over him in His house. The boy continues to insist, only for the priest to conclude, “There is no greater glory than to give your life for Christ.”  These words impress José very much. A few days later, José is up in the bell tower marveling at the view of hills, when he notices government horsemen riding toward his village. He shouts to warn the people and then goes to find Father Christopher to warn him. José urges Fr Christopher to hide, but he refuses. He gives his rosary to José and sends him off. José returns to the bell tower from where he watches as his priest friend is brought out of the church and shot by a firing squad. As the squad prepares, it seems that the priest and José are repeating the words from their places, aware of the others presence, “There is no greater glory than to give your life for Christ.”

The movie goes on to show this young boy as a person of deep moral fiber, courageous and zealous for the things of God. Towards the end of his young life, he is tortured to reveal the base camp of the rebels, and in his refusal they cut the bottoms of his feet. He is then led through the village – his personal via crucis – his feet bleeding, to the spot prepared for his execution. With his parents standing by, he is given the chance to walk away, if only he will say Christ is dead. He continues to say “Viva Cristo Rey!” He is stabbed and topples over, tracing the sign of a cross in the ground with his blood shortly before he is shot to death.

Reflecting on his character, I mused:

  • “What if Father Christoper had gone into hiding?” 
  • “What if – in his moment of confrontation – the priest gave in to his prosecutors and denied his faith there in the square under the watchful eyes of young José?” 
  • “What if others chose not to get involved, risking their personal safety, for the sake of the war for religious freedom?”

The movie doesn’t tell us, but hints at the inspiration in Jose’s life in a simple parish priest who lived – and died – well for Christ.

This lesson is one we all must take to heart. We might not be called to die – as many did in the Cristero War did – for what we believe in. But we can ask ourselves, “Who are the Josés in our lives that might be carefully watching, wanting to do what is right but need someone to show them the way?”

Will the witness of our life and faith be such, that when José must choose, we have helped prepare him to be courageous to do what is right, no matter the cost?

Viva Cristo Rey!

___

Film Review: For Greater Glory, by Ed Morrissey

To know more about José and the other beatified martyrs of the Cristero War.
 
RELATED:
 
In the United States, now, there is a threat to religious freedom brewing, that would not even allow Mother Teresa and her works of charity to continue.
 
The Sacred Heart and Religious Freedom
 
For more information on religious freedom, please visit US Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
 
* The Mexican Constitution, ratified in 1917, was based on a previous version instituted by Benito Suarez in 1857.
 
This story was originally posted under the title “For Greater Glory: A Lesson” at:

A New Year – A Patron Saint

I wrote on Twitter this morning:

Each Sister of my religious community receives a Patron Saint for the year, along with a mandate to pray for an intention of the Church and/or of our Religious Institute. This year’s line-up of Saints is pretty formidable (at the bottom of the post, there is a very helpful Saint Finder that can help you locate a Patron Saint for 2012)!

Sister Teresa received Blessed Cesar de Bus, Founder of the Priests and Sisters of Christian Doctrine, Patron of Catechists (our primary ministry).

“I was so beside myself and fired with such a longing to do something in imitation of him (St Charles Borromeo), that I would not give my eyes sleep or my days rest until I had given some beginning to this resolution of mine.”

Feast Day: April 15

Virtue of Piety.

Pray for our Ministries of Charity: Catechesis, Care of the Sick, Education, Formation of the Laity, and Spiritual Exercises.

Sister Elisa received Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Doctor of the Church and Founder of the Redemptorists, Patron of Vocations (God knows we need more workers in the vineyard!).

“It is necessary for you to pray diligently to God to make you know his will as to what state he wants you in. But take notice that to have this light, you must pray to him with indifference…if you entreat him with indifference and resolution to follow his will, God will make you know clearly what state is better for you.”

Feast Day: August 1

Virtue of Humility.

Pray for the increase of Holy Vocations to our Religious Institute.

Sister Felicity received Saint Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church and Refoundress of the Discalced Carmelites, Patron of Religious and of Headache Sufferers.

“Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life, which is short and has to be lived by you alone; and there is only one Glory, which is eternal. If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing.”

Feast Day: October 15

Virtue of Fortitude.

Pray for renewal of the Canossian Religious Institute to its original fervor and Foundress Saint Magdalene of Canossa’s intention.

Sister Jenny 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.

“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

Virtue of Faith in Divine Providence.

Pray for the Protection of the Church against scandal and corruption.

Lastly, my Patron Saint is Our Lady of Good Counsel, whose image is linked to a mystical appearance of a painting in the town of Genazzano, Italy on the Feast of Saint Luke (April 25). She is the Patron of those seeking clarity/enlightenment.

O Mary of Good Counsel, inflame the hearts of all who are devoted to you, so that all of them have shelter in you, O great Mother of God. O most worthy Lady, let everyone choose you as teacher and wise counselor of their souls, since you are, as Saint Augustine says, the counsel of the Apostles and counsel of all peoples. Amen.

Feast Day. April 26

Virtue of Prudence

Pray for the Provincial Council of North America and for the Institute’s General Council.

And so begins our New Year, flanked by our Patron Saints, along with our Institute’s protectors:

Saint Michael the Archangel, Pray for Us!

Saint Francis of Assisi, Pray for Us!

Saint Cajetan, Pray for Us!

Servant of God, Sister Fernanda Riva (FdCC) Pray for Us!

Servant of God, Sister Luigia Grassi (FdCC) Pray for Us!

Saint Josephine Bakhita (FdCC) Pray for Us!

Saint Magdalene of Canossa, Our Mother Foundress, Pray for Us!

Mary, Our Mother of Sorrows at the Foot of the Cross, Pray for Us!

Now, it’s your turn! Have you chosen a Patron Saint for 2012? If you need help, you might want to try Jennifer Fulwiler’s Saint Generator. Offer a prayer to the Lord, asking Him to provide you a Saint companion for this year. When you are ready, go here. Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

And, I would love to hear who your Patron for 2012 is, so report back in the comments, or send me a tweet!

Blessed New Year everyone! Let us start off right, and let the Lord and our Saints take every step with us!

St Albertus Magnus, Ora Pro Nobis

St Albert, from Angelicum - Rome*

Saint Albert the Great is the patron of this blog for 2011, and, being his feast day deserves special mention. I’ve never known much of St Albert, but am a huge fan of one of his students, St Thomas Aquinas. Last January I decided to choose a saint for the year to be patron of this blog, and that choice came down to St Albert.

After reading some of his writings, I found a friend in him. The quote in the sidebar under his picture is close to my personal spirituality, and that of the Foundress of the Canossian Sisters, to which I belong. Saint Magdalene of Canossa would say, “Charity in humility; humility in Charity,” to describe how we – Daughters of Charity, Servants of the poor – are to conduct ourselves. Thus, we are called to imitate the ‘greatest Charity’ – that displayed on the Cross by Jesus. It is by this way of living charity, we are called to make “Jesus known and loved.”

Today, I leave you with another quote of Saint Albert the Great:

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who seekest those who stray and receivest them when returning, make me approach to Thee through the frequent hearing of They Word, lest I sin against my neighbor by the blindness of human judgement, through the austerity of false justice, through comparing his inferior status, through too much trust in my merits or through ignorance of the Divine Judgement. Guide me to search diligently each corner of my conscience lest the flesh dominate the spirit.

Source of the Prayer

Here, St Albert gives us an excellent prayer to begin any examination of conscience, a most wonderful way to end each day. It is a fresh reminder that we must let our conscience speak to us, and call us back to truth, ‘lest the flesh dominate the spirit’.

Thank you, Saint Albert, for interceding for this blog, and for all who stumble upon it.

St Abertus Magnus, ora pro nobis. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi. Amen.

Here’s a fine post on St Albert posted by Rachel Anne Thérèse. Enjoy!

For more on Saint Albert, at New Advent

* Photo by Lawrence OP

All Holy Men and Women of God, Pray for Us!

As All Saints Day comes to a close, I find myself reminiscing how beautiful of a feast it is, and my fond memories of walking through Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. I wrote today on Google+:

“(All Saints Day) is the best day of the year to visit St. Peter’s, Rome. All altars are lit in honor of the Saints. Saints of God, pray 4 Us!”

(High Altar with Reliqueries of the Saints – All Saints 2010,
via http://orbiscatholicussecundus.blogspot.com)

My Canossian community has practiced this tradition for centuries, placing the Saints on the altar to commemorate their heroic lives on their special day:

From left to right:

– St Teresa of Avila, Pray for Us!

– St Stephen Protomartyr, Pray for Us!

– St Josephine Bakhita (Canossian Sister), Pray for Us!

– St Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pray for Us!

– The Holy wood of the Cross of Christ.

– Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, Pray for Us!

– Saint Catherine Laboure, Pray for Us!

– St Magdalene of Canossa (Our Foundress), Pray for Us!

Sibling Saints

One of my new readers asks: “Are there any Saints that are siblings?”

Yes, there are. A few come to mind straight away:

The Apostles Simon and his brother Jude;

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The Apostles James and his brother John;

Update: The Apostles Simon Peter and Andrew

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Saint Benedict and his twin sister, Saint Scholastica (left);

And then there are the blesseds:

Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto, Visionaries of Fatima (right)

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We also must consider that there most likely are sibling martyrs, but I could not find any specifically.

And what about in the future? This is a possibility.

In 2008, a cause for Friar Enrico Beretta (back row-fourth from left), Italian missionary who served in Brazil for thirty-three years, to review his sanctity. He was known as the ‘Padre Pio of Brazil’!  He is the brother of  Saint Gianna Beretta Molla (below, front row-first on left), an Italian woman who died in 1962, opted to risk her life to save her unborn child, was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2004.

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These examples – and I’m certain there are many other unsung saintly heroes – encourage us to consider the role of the family in raising good Christian disciples of our Lord. May they intercede for us, in our prayers for our families, especially for our brothers and sisters.

If you know of others, could you please add them in the comments? Thanks! God Bless!

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This post is linked at National Catholic Register

This post is linked at The Pulpit

Thanks, New Advent (5/17/11) for the link!