St. Felix

From St. Anthony to St. Francis to St. Elizabeth and the Third Order, Franciscans fascinate me.

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My great-aunt introduced me to St. Anthony when I was thirteen, though decades passed before I learned the rhyme:

Tony, Tony, look around.  My… is lost and must be found.

Cherished items

My Franciscan treasure trove includes the St. Francis framed glass prayer that a catechist friend gave me; the prayer booklet from the St. Lawrence Seminary; my cherished St. Anthony third-class relic that Father Roderick enclosed in his reply to one of my letters; and various prayer cards, booklets, and such that I just couldn’t possibly part with.

Gift: Wil Merkel, 2014

Gift: Wil Merkel, 2014

And my prized possession?  My Franciscan Crown, the seraphic rosary, known as the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

St. Felix

Although I’ve never met a Franciscan priest or nun in person, I feel very much a part of their community.  So imagine my delight on reading about St. Felix of Cantalice for the very first time just days ago on his feast day, May eighteenth.

Known as Brother Deo Gratias, St. Felix of Cantalice was the first Capuchin Franciscan to be canonized.

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September 19, 2016

“Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance” (St. Francis of Assisi).

August 3, 2017

Francis prayed day and night that God would give all people the courage to be themselves instead of what others expected them to be.  He did not want everyone to enter the brotherhood or to join the Lady Clare and her sisters.  He only wanted people to be free, to be what they wanted to be in their own hearts.

For God spoke differently to each person, calling one to marriage, another to virginity; one to the city, another to the country; one to work with the mind, another with the hands.  But who was brave enough to look inside and ask: “Is this what I should be doing, what I really want to do with my life? (Murray Bodo, OFM in Francis: The Journey and the Dream).

December 31, 2017

Holy people are always  ready to show creation’s inner connections.  Knowing such people draws us closer to God, whose goodness was revealed through the life of Francis of Assisi.

We may be tempted to think that Francis lived at a time when holiness was easier.  An honest look at his life reveals a very different and grittier story.  Through God’s grace, Francis learned to make the most of the hand that was dealt to him.  He used his talents as best he could, but he knew, as Saint Paul had told the Corinthian Christians centuries before, “God gives the growth” (Pat McCloskey, OFM in Peace and Good: Through the Year with Francis of Assisi).


Links of interest…  Capuchins: friars / stigmata / mid-America (calendar – more) / St. Joseph / saints (more)…  Franciscan: 3rd order / calendar (national fraternity – printable – saintstraditional) / canticle notes onlinecrown rosary meditations & reflections / friars / instrument of peacelitany of saints / miracles & traditions / Mission Associates / “most sacred space of Franciscan spirituality” / order / prayer book for hospital & hospice chaplains / spiritual center (prayer requests) / tau cross / vocations…  Iconography in art & architecture (St. Felix’s bag)…  Prayer for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (feast of all saints)…  Relics: how to become a Capuchin saint: a piece of heaven with the Capuchins / holy relics / sisters of St. Felix…  Small “t” tradition & the peace prayer of St. Francis…  St. Anthony: prayer booklet (more) / shrine…  St. Elizabeth of Hungary: prayers…  St. Felix of Cantalice: 1st Capuchin saint / about (more) / biography (more) / Brother Deo Gratias (beggar – more) / confessor / ecard / feast (more / May 18) / friar (more) / holding the Christ Child (drawing) / homily / lay brotherpatron / prayer / relic…  St. Francis: about / biography / prayers…  Visits to Jesus in the tabernacle: Hours & half-hours of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament: e-book / St. Felix

WP posts…  Capuchin church stations…  Franciscan experience…  Franciscan treasures…  God’s master plan…  Grapes of generosity…  Holy relics…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  My Franciscan Crown…  Mercy and justice…  Powerful intercessor…  Prayer…  Saint of miracles…  Si quaeris miracula…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Anthony…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Elizabeth Church…  St. Peregrine relic…  Today’s Beatitudes

St. Elizabeth’s Church

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Last week, Steven and I visited my brother’s family in Springdale, AR.  I hadn’t been there in twenty years, so we had much to see and catch up on.

Balm of Life

We listened delightedly as Stevie and Cathy told us about their day trip to Eureka Springs.

October 17th, they’d seen our son, William, perform with a band at the Balm of Life community center so they wanted us to experience the place for ourselves.

We walked the streets, entered some shops, ate at the local pizza place, and finally inquired about the old town’s church.   We were advised to drive there since the evening was quite chilly, the church was on the opposite side of town, and darkness was quickly approaching.

Once there, we realized we had just twenty minutes to look around and take photos before the church closed at five

Which Elizabeth?

When Stevie and Cathy first told us about St. Elizabeth’s Church, I asked if the saint’s feast day was November 17th.  Is she the saint from Hungary? I wondered.

“I don’t know,” Stevie told us.  “We haven’t yet visited the church.”  So our curiosity was piqued.

Just days before our trip to Arkansas, I’d searched for feast day links to post on our church website and learned that St. Elizabeth of Hungary is the patroness of acts of charity, bakers, beggars, brides, children who have died, exiles, falsely accused people, the homeless, hospitals, in-law problems, lace makers, nursing home services, people ridiculed for their piety, the Secular Franciscan Order, toothache, widows, and more.

During her twenty-four years, St. Elizabeth of Hungary gave her all to assist the needy.  She was canonized four years after her death.

St. Elizabeth’s Church

Entering St. Elizabeth’s Church, I felt warmly enveloped within its subtle elegance.  Its size reminded me of the chapel at the Dominican Sisters’ House adjacent to St. Paul’s in Flour Bluff (Corpus Christi, TX), so I easily immersed myself in prayer as we took photos in silence.

Not long after, Fr. John walked in on us.  He hadn’t expected to see anyone in church at that time of the evening, so he was visibly annoyed.  Nevertheless, he chatted with us a bit before locking up for the night.

Memorable experience

Our November 18th visit to St. Elizabeth’s Church left me feeling like a cup of hot cocoa topped with miniature marshmallows.  I was tickled pink to have come closerthanthis to celebrating St. Elizabeth’s feast day at her very own church.  To have visited a sacred space named after a saint I’d discovered just days before was as memorable as show-and-tell at school— a lasting, real world connection between what I’d read online and what I’d experienced in the quaint little town of Eureka Springs.


Dear St. Elizabeth, you were always poor in spirit, most generous toward the poor, faithful to your husband, and fully consecrated to your Divine Bridegroom.  Grant your help to widows and keep them faithful to their heavenly Lord.  Teach them how to cope with their loss and to make use of their time in the service of God.  Amen.

November 17, 2014

How could I bear a crown of gold when the Lord bears a crown of thorns?  And bears it for me! (St. Elizabeth of Hungary).

Photo files…  Eureka Springs, AR…  St. Elizabeth’s Church: one / two

Links of interest…  Eureka Springs, AR…  St. Cecilia: The saint & the song…  St. Elizabeth of Hungary: about (more) / devotionsexample / feast / for the poor / prayers (chaplet – litany) / patronessprofile / selfless saint…  St. Elizabeth Church

WP post…  God’s impeccable timing…  St. Felix