St. Anthony Claret


Reading today’s novena prayer to St. Jude, I inadvertently made some real life connections to St. Anthony Claret.  First, he founded the Claretians, “servants of the word, partners in hope,” in 1849.  Second, the Claretians manage the National Shrine of St. Jude, which hosts solemn novenas, first Wednesday Masses for healing, weekly devotions, and more.  Third, I receive wonderful prayer cards from the shrine on a regular basis and continue to engage in a special relationship with St. Jude, especially where the kids are concerned.

Persistent illness

On January 2, 2004, Kylie, our second grandchild, was hospitalized for the second two-week stay since her birth, October 29, 2003.  Her parents and I took turns staying at the hospital with her; but, even though I was there willingly, it was a miserable time for me.  I’d never had a child in the hospital.  Anytime one of the kids had been ill, I’d always persuaded the doctor that I’d provide better care at home.

During Christmas break from work and UH, I’d traveled to Chicago to help my daughter and her husband take care of the baby during the holidays.  Kylie had been released from her two-week stay just hours before they’d picked me up at O’Hare.  We’d hoped that my being there would allow them to catch their breath and re-energize, but Kylie was readmitted to the hospital days before my return to Texas.

Kylie cried all the time.  She was in a lot of pain from the intravenous drip in her foot, yet the nurses were unfazed.  I just knew they could’ve eased her pain if they’d readjusted the needle, but they merely looked at Kylie’s foot and left.  I prayed and prayed and quietly sang to Kylie until we’d both fall asleep in whiles.  I also racked my brain trying to figure out what else to do.  We’d left written prayers in the book on the chapel’s altar, but I had to do something else.

The morning of January 5th, Kylie was to undergo a medical procedure that would take several hours.  I was to depart for Texas at 5:30 the following morning, so I got an idea.

The shrine

“Take me to the nearest church, preferably one dedicated to St. Jude,” I told Kylie’s parents.  I’d attended Mass at two different churches in Naperville, a suburb of Chicago; but I wanted one where I’d feel super close to St. Jude.  I’d never been in Chicago before, but I suddenly remembered the shrine.  “Take me to the St. Jude Shrine,” I insisted, even though none of us knew where it was.

Oh, what a place!

StJude-SarahMaxhamI knew I was home when I saw the encased statue of the Holy Infant of Prague.  I walked around and dialogued with God.  I knew everything would be all right with Kylie, that we’d get good news when we got back to the hospital.

Even though my heart had already raced back to Kylie, to spend as much time with her as I could, I wanted to first visit the gift shop across the street.  I wanted a memento of that day.

In the gift shop I found two wonderful little books, The Infant Jesus of Prague (Nemec, 1978, 1986) and Saint Anthony of Padua (Miles & Gianopoulos, 1991), which would keep me company on the flight back home but which wouldn’t make a dent in my pea brain until I broke my right kneecap in three places May 2006.

The hospital

On arriving at the nurses’ station on Kylie’s floor, we were told that Kylie had been returned to her room within half an hour.  The procedure hadn’t been done because, oddly enough, the doctor hadn’t been able to follow through with it and had given up.  We had no idea what that meant, but we were relieved that Kylie wouldn’t have another wound on her tiny body.  I stayed with her until evening when I went to pack and returned to spend my last night with her until I left for my early morning flight.

Kylie endured some harrowing times at the hospital due to negligence, but she went home after two weeks.  She went in again for an infection one more time after that, but it was just for one week.

“You sang to me”

Since then, Kylie’s gone through the usual childhood illnesses, but she’s been home.  She’s a perfectly beautiful little girl with what her parents call “macaroni hair:” flyaway, golden-brown curls.  She’s spunky, loves shoes, and is very bright.  She really surprised me when, at age three, she said, “You were there with me at the hospital.  You smiled at me.  Lon, you sang to me.”

I hadn’t seen her since she was a baby, much less mentioned the hospital.  I hugged her and smiled.  “Yes, Kylie, I was there with you.”

Praise God for his angels and his saints who watch over us daily and intercede on our behalf.  Thank you, St. Jude and St. Anthony Claret; and thanks to the Claretians who support us through prayer at the National Shrine of St. Jude.

November 26, 2009: Thanksgiving

Until writing this post I had no idea, or didn’t remember, that Chicago has two St. Jude shrines: one maintained by the Claretians; the other, by the Dominicans.  Yet, the shrine I visited had a very old statue of the Holy Infant encased in glass in the back of the church.

I wanted to be sure which shrine we’d visited, so I emailed the Dominican shrine.

Since I didn’t receive a reply, I posted my entry with that question still unanswered.  My thinking at the time was that St. Jude listens no matter where we are when we ask for his intercession.

Before posting my entry, I also looked for photos I might’ve taken at the shrine but found none.  However, on looking then and now at the online photos of the two shrines, I think we visited the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus.  For this reason, and because I’ve received mailings from both shrines for many years and feel an attachment to both, I’ve also included links below to the Dominican shrine.

And, if anyone has photos of either of these two shrines, please share them with me, especially if any includes the Holy Infant of Prague.

December 1, 2009 

Mystery finally solved thanks to Father Brummel’s response to my email regarding the Holy Infant statue.

Now I know that I went to pray at the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus.

November 16, 2011

Will wonders never cease!

I was looking for photos of St. Thérèse when I happened upon a stash hidden for years in one of the bedroom closets.  Safely ensconced within two Walmart bags were two dozen photo packets; inside one of those, the nine photos taken at the Dominican shrine in Chicago, January 5, 2004 (including the Christmas scene at the bottom).

Not knowing whether to laugh or cry, I did both with heartfelt gratitude.

What an incredible find!



April 29, 2012

At long last, I saw the Holy Infant again when we attended 9:15 A.M. Mass at
St. Pius V in Chicago.  Sweet!



St. Anthony Mary Claret is the helper of those suffering from cancer, heart trouble, and other serious ailments of the body and/or the soul.  His feast day is October 24th.

Please note that the petition (third prayer below) can be said on behalf of someone afflicted with illness or someone whose conversion is desired.

For the addicted…  God of mercy, we bless you in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, who ministered to all who came to him.  Give your strength to (name), one of your children; enfold him (her) in your love; and restore him (her) to the freedom of God’s children.

Lord, look with compassion on all who have lost their health and freedom.  Restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy, strengthen them in the work of recovery, and help them to resist all temptation.  And to those who care for them, grant patience and understanding and a love that perseveres.  We ask this through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

For the sick…  Lord Jesus who went about doing good and healing all, we ask you to bless your friends who are sick.  Give them strength in body, courage in spirit, and patience in pain.  Let them recover their health so that, restored to the Christian community, they may joyfully praise your name for you live and reign forever and ever.  Amen.

Petition…  St. Anthony Mary Claret, during your life on earth you often comforted the afflicted and showed such tender love and compassion for the sick and the sinful.  Intercede for me now that you rejoice in the reward of your virtues in heavenly glory.  Look with pity on me and grant my prayer, if such be the will of God.  Make my troubles your own.  Speak a word for me to the immaculate heart of Mary to obtain, by her powerful intercession, the grace I yearn for so ardently and a blessing to strengthen me during life.  Assist me at the hour of death and lead me to a happy eternity.  Amen.

Request…  Lord, renew in our congregation the spirit that moved our father, St. Anthony Mary Claret, so that filled and strengthened by it we may come to love what he loved and put into practice what he taught us.  We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

October 24, 2012

“The man who truly loves God also loves his neighbor” (St. Anthony Mary Claret).

October 24, 2013

My God, how good you are!  How rich in mercy you have been to me!  Mercy, Lord: I’ll begin to be good from now, with the help of your grace
(St. Anthony Mary Claret).

July 5, 2014

That which God commands seems difficult and a burden.  The way is rough; you draw back; you have no desire to follow it.  Yet do so and you will attain glory (St. Anthony Maria Zaccaria).

October 24, 2014

“Christ charges us in the Gospel: We must oppose or deny ourselves, take up the cross, and follow him” (St. Anthony Mary Claret).

Mary is the heart of the Church.  This is why all works of charity spring from her.  It is well known that the heart has two movements: systole and diastole.  Thus Mary is always performing these two movements: absorbing grace from her most holy Son, and pouring it forth on sinners (St. Anthony Mary Claret).

October 24, 2015

“The sole reason why society is perishing is because it has refused to hear the word of the Church, which is the word of life, the word of God” (St. Anthony Mary Claret).

August 6, 2016

“Christian perfection consists in three things: praying heroically, working heroically, and suffering heroically” (St. Anthony Mary Claret).

October 24, 2016

Nothing deters Jesus.  He does not flinch from heavy tasks; he embraces hardships.  He rejoices in the midst of suffering (St. Anthony Mary Claret).


Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus  – Chicago

Links of interest…  Claretian: historyinitiativeorder / St. Jude shrine (about – directions – eprayers – novena schedule – slideshow)…  Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus…  Holy Infant: bookconsecrationdevotion / national shrine / novena /  prayers…  How to cope when a child is ill…  Pope to Dominicans: Your good works give glory to God…  St. Jude novena: book / chaplet (printable; photo)…  Prayers for the sick…  St. Anthony Claret: about (more) / autobiography (book – chapter – pdf) / biography / bishop / images of relics (photo) / life / memorial / missionary zeal / novena (healing & conversion) / saint / Spanish light / very special patron / weaverwritings

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Finding St. Rita…  Forever grateful…  Lady of Sorrows…  October novena…  Prayer power…  Promise of hope…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Si quaeris miracula…  St. Jude novena (Dominican)…  St. Jude shrine: Chicago (Claretian) & Corpus Christi…  Sweet Jesus