Gift of love

Monday afternoon I received another heartwarming letter from Sister in Australia.  So, naturally, I sat back in my chair and opened the gift.  I gingerly removed its contents, set the items on the computer desk, and counted— four.

Sister’s letter

I examined the two laminated photos of St. Thérèse.  The first had a child’s offering on the back; the second, a petition.

      

Next, I picked up the custom-made greeting card on orange cardstock.

I love orange! 

Having read the poem adhered to the front, I opened Sister’s card.  The paper-thin, silky-smooth photo within was laminated, two-sided.

Ecce Homo.  Behold the man.

                

Love and prayers

I wondered about the photo, but I really wanted to read Sister’s message.  I relaxed in my chair as if to share a cup of tea and conversation.

Australia
28/5/12

Dearest Deli & Steve,

Praised be the Holy Child Jesus!  Thank you for your lovely letter… most grateful for it.  I hope you had a happy trip and break at Minneapolis and the pilgrim centers that you visited.  You are most kind.  I thank God for you, and I am very appreciative of it at this time.

I am well by the grace of God and had a good retreat early this month.  I feel that the Holy Child Jesus has showered me with his graces.  Deo Gratia.

If you do not hear from me, remember, you and all your family and intentions will be always close to my heart in prayer.  God bless you with lots of love and prayers.

Gratefully in Jesus…

Unexpected surprises

I didn’t know what to think.  I read and reread the card a bunch of times, trying to read between the lines, trying to contain my tears.  Then I heard Steven in the kitchen.  He’d gotten home from work.

“Sister sent a letter!  Just wait till you see what she sent!”

I gathered the items to show Steven.

Oh, my gosh! 

I had miscounted.

Gift of love

My sadness turned to joy when I saw the fifth item.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Steven walked over to my thoughtful spot at the computer, and I couldn’t stop jabbering.

I was so excited!  Over the moon, in fact.

“Yesterday in the chapel at Montserrat— for just a fleeting moment as I was praying my Child Jesus chaplet— I wished for a St. Teresa relic.  And here, today, I’ve received a second-class relic from Sister in Australia!!!

“Oh, my gosh!  And I have just the frame for it, too!”
I continued.  “Thursday afternoon I found it atop my books on the shelf here.  How it got there, I don’t know.  But I didn’t move it just in case we needed it later on.  Talk about everything falling into place.”

What a gift of love!

Oh, my gosh.  First, the vintage postcard of
St. Teresa!  And now this?!!  I’m sooo blessed!

Thank you, Sister!  You’re in my forever thoughts and prayers!  I’m sending you heartfelt hugsss…

Prayers

DSIP-StT-aDSIP-StT-bDSIP-StT-cdDSIP-StT-eDSIP-StT-f

July 2, 2014

“He wills that I should love him because he has forgiven me not much, but everything” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

October 1, 2014

We can never have too much hope in God.  He gives in the measure we ask (St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus).

Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice: here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word, always doing the smallest thing right and doing it all for love
(St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

October 15. 2014

“God dwells within you, and there you should dwell with him” (St. Teresa of Avila).

October 27, 2014

“For me prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven; it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

January 9, 2015

“When we accept our disappointment at our failures, God immediately returns to us”
(St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

February 15, 2015

So the divine love is sacrificial love.  Love does not mean to have and to own and to possess.  It means to be had and to be owned and to be possessed.  It is not a circle circumscribed by self, it is arms outstretched to embrace all humanity within its grasp (Venerable Fulton Sheen).

April 1, 2015

My strength lies in prayer and sacrifice…, invincible weapons [that] touch hearts more surely than words can do, as I have learned by experience
(St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

September 17, 2015

The school of Christ is the school of [love].  On the last day, when the general examination takes place….  [Love] will be the whole syllabus (St. Robert Bellarmine).

October 1, 2015

“When one loves, one does not calculate” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

“I will work for your love alone, my sole aim being to give you pleasure, to console your sacred heart, and to save souls who will love you forever” (The Little Catechism of
St. Thérèse
).

October 23, 2015

Charity works.  It gets good jobs done.  It gives form and life to all of the virtues.  Infused by God, it reigns supreme in loving goodness over the talents of learning and the talents of living (Kevin Vost, Unearthing Your Ten Talents).

November 17, 2015

To discover that you are loved is the center of all existence.  And when we are filled with this total and delirious love, little by little, we grow and love in turn.  That gradualness in our journeys is a sign of the infinite tenderness of God (Chiara Corbella Petrillo).

January 11, 2016

Be a soul of love in order to become an apostle, and you will discover a very beautiful thing: that at the bank of love, the more you give, the richer you become (Fr. Jean C. J. d’Elbée, I Believe in Love).

October 1, 2016

I have not the courage to force myself to seek beautiful prayers in books.  Not knowing which to choose I act as children do who cannot read.  I say quite simply to the good God what I want to tell him, and he always understands me (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

Links of interest…  Carmelites (saints)…  Catholic books & podcasts (free downloads)…  Child Jesus: chaplet (more) / devotion / petitions…  Cloistered communities: about / a day within the walls…  Daily inspirations…  Flower of Carmel (Goonellabah): contact / home / prayer…  Montserrat…  September martyrs…  Sisters of Carmel…  St. Teresa: about (more) / chaplet / history / Infant of Prague / history / little way of pietynovena / poems / prayers / quotes (more) / saint…  St. Thérèse: 54 incredible photos taken by her sister, Celine / about / & the holy face / faith endures in the dark / feast day homilylive simply in great love / secret of the little way…  Various rosaries & chaplets …  Venerable Margaret: 1619-1648 (Parigot) / about / biography / book / chaplet / religious order

WP posts…  Angels keeping watch…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Budding relationships
…  Christmas year ’round…  Connected tangents…  Holy relics…  In good time…  Kindred acorns…  Making meaning…  Seven dwelling places…  Soulful…  Sweet Jesus…  Teresa of Avila…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies…  Venerable Margaret

Budding relationships

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Growing up, I knew about God, Jesus, Joseph, and Mary but not really about the saints.

Maybe I was supposed to learn about them on my own?

Other than developing a lifelong personal relationship with St. Jude and St. Anthony, I didn’t delve into the lives of the other saints until I created our church website, May 2008.

Jesus, son of God and son of Mary, bless our family.  Graciously inspire in us the unity, peace, and mutual love that you found in your own family in the little town of Nazareth. 

Mary, mother of Jesus and our mother, nourish our family with your faith and your love.  Keep us close to your son, Jesus, in all our sorrows and joys. 

Joseph, foster-father to Jesus, guardian and spouse of Mary, keep our family safe from harm.  Help us in all times of discouragement or anxiety. 

Holy family of Nazareth, make our family one with you.  Help us to be instruments of peace.  Grant that love, strengthened by grace, may prove mightier than all the weaknesses and trials through which our families sometimes pass.  May we always have God at the center of our hearts and homes until we are all one family, happy and at peace in our true home with you.  Amen.

St. Martin of Tours

As a child I often wondered about the picture high up on the wall above the front door.  Since we didn’t have photos of anyone on the walls of our house, I always thought that the man over the door had to have been someone special. 

But why was he slashing his red cloak in two? 

Never mind that he was atop his horse as a barely clothed man sat on the ground below.  I just didn’t get it.

Who was he? 

Although I never thought to ask about him then, I now know a bit more about St. Martin of Tours, as he’s “one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian saints… a spiritual bridge across Europe… a patron saint of soldiers and horses” (Wikipedia, 2011).

Lord God of hosts, you clothed your servant, Martin, the soldier, with the spirit of sacrifice and set him as a bishop in your Church to be a defender of the Catholic faith.  Give us grace to follow in his holy steps that at the last we may be found clothed with righteousness in the dwellings of peace.  Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.  Amen.

St. Jude Thaddeus

When I was nine or so, mom heard about a church in Pharr, TX that had an outdoor shrine devoted to St. Jude; so off we went after work one evening.

I still vividly recall mom’s fascination with St. Jude.

“Look.  He has only one horn left to show that his evil gave way to good,” Mom said.  “St. Jude betrayed Jesus, but God’s unconditional love transformed him.  Now he’s the saint of impossible causes.”

Even at my young age the story didn’t make sense.

One horn?  How can that be?

By the time the topic of St. Jude’s horn came up again, I was an adult who’d learned that Judas Iscariot is sometimes mistaken for St. Jude Thaddeus and vice versa.  Additionally, “Saint Jude is depicted with a tongue of fire over his head to signify that with the other apostles he was present at Pentecost” (Eparchy of St. Maron, 2008).

I gently shared this information with mom but she didn’t quite believe me, and I was fine with that.

What matters is that I’ve come to know St. Jude as a powerful intercessor.  One I call on only when I’m facing a truly exasperating dilemma beyond my problem solving capability, as with the kids and/or grandkids.

St. Jude, through prayer you praised God for the wonderful works of Jesus.  You asked God for the strength to meet the challenges of your apostolate.  You put your trust in God’s mercy, believing firmly that God loved you and understood your joys and sorrows, your hopes and fears, and your triumphs and failures.  You understood that nothing is impossible for God.  We ask you to pray for us now before the Most High so that we, too, might be filled with God’s saving power, understand God’s will for us, and faithfully place ourselves in God’s loving hands.  Amen.

St. Anthony

On the other hand, my unfaltering companion since age thirteen has been St. Anthony.

Always patient, loving, kind, and willing to help, St. Anthony’s devotion to the Holy Infant has inspired me not only to look for the Infant whenever we visit a church for the first time, but also to return occasionally to familiar churches… St. Paul the Apostle Church in Flour Bluff and the Cathedral in Corpus Christi, TX… where the Holy Infant is venerated.  “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Mt. 6:21).

O Holy St. Anthony, your deep faith in Jesus Christ comforted your heart, especially during times of trial and distress.  Help me to grow in faith, so I may experience peace of mind and heart in my present needs.  (State request.)  Free me from undue anxiety, needless worry, and burdensome fears.  Grant me sure confidence; unfailing trust in God’s loving mercy, and daily serenity.  Amen. 

St. Thérèse

Over the years, too, I’ve learned that it’s not uncommon for St. Anthony to be displayed near St. Thérèse, since they’re both closely affiliated with the Holy Infant.  The church in Budapest, Hungary, for instance, has the two saints facing each other from opposite sides of the center aisle as one enters the seating area.

St. Thérèse, teach us how to open our heart without reserve to the Holy Spirit.  Help us to seek and find God’s will not only in the crises and choices, but also in the joys and disappointments of our lives.  Gain for us the grace to do God’s will with courage and untroubled hearts so that we can radiate joy and  gladness like yours in the service of our Lord.  Amen.

Moreover, parishes I’ve frequented that honor St. Anthony, St. Thérèse, and the Holy Infant include Sacred Heart Church and the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville, TX; Sts. Cyril & Methodius Church in Corpus Christi, TX; St. Pius V in Chicago, IL; and two churches that Segy and I visited in Gyor, Hungary and Prague, Czech Republic.

                    

                    

                    

Budding relationships

Of course, had Segy and I not been parishioners at Sacred Heart, I never would’ve made the connection between St. Anthony and St. Thérèse, much less traveled to Europe to see the original Infant Jesus statue at Our Lady of Victory Church in Prague.

Divine Infant Jesus, I know you love me and would never leave me.  I thank you for your close presence in my life.  Miraculous Infant, I believe in your promise of peace, blessings, and freedom from want.  I place every need and care in your hands.  Lord Jesus, may I always trust in your generous mercy and love.  I want to honor and praise you now and forever.  Amen.

The way I see it, God’s master plan for me has included not only a heartfelt devotion to the Holy Infant, but also budding relationships with his beloved saints who are always ready, willing, and able to intercede for us any time we choose to call on them.

November 1, 2012

“When we commemorate the saints, we are inflamed with another yearning: That Christ, our life, may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux).

November 11, 2014

“Allow me, brothers, to look toward heaven rather than at the earth so that my spirit may set on the right course when the time comes for me to go on my journey to the Lord”
(St. Martin of Tours).

October 31, 2015

“The saints have not all started well, but they have all finished well” (St. John Vianney).

November 1, 2015

“On the feasts of the saints, consider their virtues and beseech God to deign to adorn you with them” (St. Teresa of Ávila).

November 11, 2015

“O God, who sees that we exist by no power of our own, mercifully grant that, by the intercession of blessed Martin, your confessor and bishop, we be strengthened against all adversities”(Unknown source, n. d.).

March 19, 2016

If we falter, let us turn to Holy Mary, who loves us and teaches us how to pray; and to St. Joseph, our father and lord, whom we venerate so much.  In this world he was the one who was closest to the Mother of God and, after Mary, to her Divine Son.  Together they will bring our weakness to Jesus so that he may turn it into strength (St. Josemaría Escrivá).

October 30, 2016

“Each generation is converted by the saint who contradicts it most” (G. K. Chesterton).

November 11, 2016

Lord, if your people need me, I will not refuse the work.  Your will be done (St. Martin of Tours).

??????????

St. Joseph Church – Port Aransas, TX

Links of interest…  Apostles, major saints, & feast days…  Artist John McCoy paints the saints for Michigan parish…  Church of Our Lady of Victory…  Does praying to the saints mean they’re gods…  Four soon-to-be saints…  Friendship with the saints / with Christ Jesus…  Four saints who weren’t consecrated religious…  Holy Week & Judas…  Introducing the saints to your children…  Jesus, Mary, & the saints…  Living the motto of the saints…  Love that lies beneath…  November 1st: All Saints & 2nd: All Souls / communion / solemnity…  Patron saint of missing socks, pray for us…  Prayer to the saints: One in the body…  Sainthood isn’t for the strong…  Saints: better than superheroes / crises / ever wonder how a saint is made / for Pentecost / friendship / overcoming boredom / patron saint list / still being made / teach us how to trust God / who is a saint / why we love the saints…  Society of the Little Flower…  Stories, traditions keep devotions to the saints alive…  St. Anthony: about (more) / biography / devotions / mail deliveries (S.A.G.) / miracles & traditions / shrine / wonder worker…  St. Jude Thaddeus: tongue of fire / who he is…  St. Martin of Tours: about / feast (Nov 11) / history / monk / novenapatron saint / prayers / profile…  St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus & the Holy Face: 1873-1897 / about / Carmelite / celestial roses / centenary / chaplet / history / inspiration / invocation / life / oblation / feast (Oct 1st) / little way / novena / petitions / prayer (YouTube) / relic / story (YouTube)…  Story of a soul (1898; free): audio / ebook…  With confidence & trust

WP posts…  Beautiful sacred space…  Connected tangents…  Disquieting moments…  Heart of hearts…  Heart’s desire…  Kindred acorns…  May flowers…  Noon visit…  A real church…  Si quaeris miracula…  St. Anthony…  St. Anthony Claret…  St. Jude novena  Sweet Jesus…  Venerable Margaret

Holy relics

On Valentine’s Day 2009, Junebug and Gary (left) and the lovely Ning and Sam joined us for a special dinner.  And, as usual, “the gang”— our family through Why Catholic? at St. Paul’s in Flour Bluff— had a fantabulous time!

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Junebug’s prompting

That evening Junebug excitedly told us about visiting a chapel with the Legion of Mary.  She didn’t recall its name or much else other than having been (and still is) in awe of all the relics there.  “You just have to go see it!  It’s such a special place!” Junebug remarked, adding that she’d never known about relics until then.

“I know just what you mean!” I said.  “I didn’t know anything about relics until I received mine from Father Roderick.  And I treasured them until I gave them away.  Thanks so much for telling me about the chapel!  I’ll have to visit to take photos for my blog.”

Elusive treasure

Junebug’s exuberant insistence that I “visit the chapel out by the Lexington” stayed with me until May of last year.  That’s when, in driving around trying to locate it, I accidentally stumbled across the small, well-kept chapel on the corner of who knows where in the vicinity of the USS Lexington.

Yet, within moments my joy downgraded a couple of degrees.  Our Lady Star by the Sea was locked, and no one was at its adjacent office.

To further dampen my enthusiasm, I’d forgotten my Coolpix; so I had to rely on my antiquated cell phone to photograph the chapel’s exterior.  Not a good idea at all, I found out later, ’cause I couldn’t email the photos to my Yahoo account.

Still, things worked out fine.  I learned the name of the chapel and its location, so the visit wasn’t a total loss.

Now it’s just a matter of attending weekend Mass, Saturday at five-thirty or Sunday at nine, so I can finally see the relics that catapulted Junebug into OMG mode.

Shared keepsakes

StA-relic72210aLike Junebug, I’d never known about holy relics until— surprise, surprise— I received two third-class St. Anthony relics in the mail from Father Roderick, head of Franciscan Mission Associates (FMA) at the time.

A relic is an object or a personal item of religious significance, carefully preserved with an air of veneration as a tangible memorial….  A third-class relic is any object that is touched to a first- or second-class relic.  StA-relic72210bMost third-class relics are small pieces of cloth (Wikipedia, 2011).

“Relics refer to the body tissues of saints, items worn or used by them, and things that have come in contact with the originals” (Father James G. Ward, CM in the Association of the Miraculous Medal Bulletin, October 2010, p. 3).

The veneration of relics, most strictly the material remains of a saint or holy person after his death, has a long tradition in the Catholic Church….  St. Thomas Aquinas would explain that the relics “excite to love.”  It is really the saint who is being honored, and the relic assists the giving of that honor through both a visible sign and a physical link with the saint (St. Anthony Shrine, 2009).

I treasured my two St. Anthony relics but eventually gave them away to a couple of acquaintances whose life stories were filled with such despair that I thought the relics would give them hope.

By then Father Robert had become director of FMA, so I wrote him a letter requesting another relic and— wouldn’t you know it— he sent two that I carried with me, knowing I’d give them away as well.

St. Anthony chaplets

August, 2010, I gifted my two relics to Sabrina (left) and Ruth (right) with a note in the St. Anthony booklet that I created specially for them.

2Sabrina8410        StA8510-Deli        1Ruth72210

Segy, our youngest, has always said, “The best gifts are those I want so very badly to keep but give away instead.”

In 1998, I wrote to Father Robert at Franciscan Mission Associates.

In 1985, Father Roderick sent me two St. Anthony relics.  But, over the years, as I met others in great need, I gave them away.  And now that I don’t have one, I feel empty.  So may I please have another relic?

And I was surprised, just as I’d been the first time, to receive not one but two.  But, even though I’ve treasured my two relics all this time, I’ve always wondered when the time would come that I’d have to part with them again as before.

Looking through my Companion Prayers booklet on July 22nd, I suddenly took note of the St. Anthony chaplet prayers and the Miraculous Responsory for the first time.  I’d added the latter to my “St. Anthony” post, but it just hadn’t registered till that moment.

I decided to customize a chaplet just right for me and attach not a regular medal, but the St. Anthony relic I’d carried around all these years.

Then I had an epiphany.

Since I had a second relic still in its original little bag I thought, Ruth and Sabrina!  I’ll bead three identical chaplets, place the relics on theirs, and use a different St. Anthony medal on mine.  I’ll write to Father Robert again and request another relic for my chaplet.  Hopefully, he’ll send two.

Sooo…  On Tuesday, July 23rd, I began using the chaplets.  I’ve taken turns with each one so that, when you pray on your own, you’ll know I’m praying with you, too.

Heart’s desire

FMA8410aI have to admit that it was very difficult to part with my last two
St. Anthony relics.  In fact, that’s what kept me from beading the chaplets sooner.  God knew how I felt, though.

Right when I was having serious qualms about giving them away, I received a perfectly timed relic prayer card in the mail from FMA.

In the days that followed I internalized what I’ve experienced before: God always knows and provides just what we need (Matthew 6:8).

Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to him.  That is all the doing you have to worry about (St. Jane Frances de Chantal).

Holy relics

How amazing that, since finding Our Lady Star by the Sea and gifting my St. Anthony relics, I’ve become aware of other holy relics: St. Elizabeth Seton’s at Sacred Heart Church in Nacogdoches, Venerable Margaret Parigot’s on Sister’s prayer card from the Flower of Carmel Monastery in Australia, St. Peregrine’s through Father Ralph at Stella Maris in Lamar, and Venerable Julia Navarrete’s through Sister Maxie at the Missionary Daughters’ Solemn Place of Prayer in Kingsville.  Then, as a very special gift from the Anthonians in November, I received a seventy-five minute video commemorating the exhibition of St. Anthony’s remains at the Basilica in Padua, Italy.

So I have to wonder…

Has parting with my treasured St. Anthony relics helped me find more along the way?

            

               

           

May 13, 2011

Joyfully, I received Venerable Father Casey’s relic badge, which I showed Junebug at Michael’s Confirmation.  I’ll be ordering another to surprise her with, as I think it’ll make her day.

       

September 13, 2011

Wow!  How amazing is it to find right here on my computer desk exactly what I’ve wanted for months?  To think that I’ve had St. Jude’s relic for a very long time and didn’t even know it till this morning.

Will wonders never cease!

October 4, 2011

I just received a letter from Franciscan Mission Associates in time for All Souls Day.  Father Primo has replaced Father Robert, who served for the past fifteen years.  I guess it’s time to write that letter I’ve been putting off and wish Father Robert well on the next chapter in his book of life.

       

If you’d like to request a St. Anthony relic, contact Franciscan Mission Associates at P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

January 21, 2012

Steven and I drove to Stella Maris for the second time, and we arrived early enough to converse with Father Ralph before evening Mass.  I asked if he had his St. Peregrine first-class relic, and he did!  What a thrilling experience to hold it and pray for his intercession.

               

January 22, 2012

I went by Mary Ellen’s house to drop off both her St. Anthony relic chaplet and her Child Jesus chaplet, and she showed me the third-class relic she has of the nun who founded the Incarnate Word Order.  I didn’t have my camera with me, so I’ll take a photo another time.

April 8, 2012

I finally got the chance to take the photos of Mary Ellen’s third-class relic of Venerable Jeanne Chézard de Matel (1596-1670), foundress of the Incarnate Word (IWBS) Order.

Oh, happy day!

     

April 29, 2012

“Be careful what you wish for” certainly comes to mind, only in a good way this time.

On revisiting the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus at St. Pius V in Chicago, I discovered a treasure overlooked in the past.  St. Jude’s first-class relic!  His arm!

               

July 2, 2012

What unexpected surprises!  St. Teresa of Avila relics from Sister in Australia!

               

September 29, 2012

From Sister, timely St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus treasures received for October 1st!

               

January 13, 2013

Steven and I visited the Tepeyac Shrine in San Antonio for the second time and discovered that the Grotto Sanctuary has a first-class relic: Part of St. Eugene de Mazenod’s heart!

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February 10, 2013

??????????This morning Steven fell out as a Knight of Columbus participating in the veneration of José Sánchez del Río’s first-class relic at Immaculate Conception Church in Taft, TX.  Ten o’clock Mass was followed, first, by a procession around the neighborhood and then by visits to the front of the altar to spend one-on-one time in prayer with the relic.

Worth noting is that Joselito died eighty-five years ago today.

June 14-16, 2013

When Steven learned that Father Mario from the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy would be in Rockford, IL, he quickly made plans for us to attend Mass and the veneration of St. Anthony’s first-class relics at St. Anthony of Padua Church.  And we had a phenomenal time!

Father Mario captivated all of us with wonderful stories about St. Anthony and gifted many present with relics touched to St. Anthony’s tongue.  In the photo on the left, the reliquary in the forefront holds tissue from inside St. Anthony’s cheek; the one on the altar, part of his floating rib.

Before Father Mario retired for the evening, he did something totally unexpected: He blessed Steven and me with the small reliquary!

We were so taken with Father Mario that I wanted to bring him home with us, but he has places to go and people to see.  Building community within God’s kingdom is what traveling with St. Anthony is all about, so they’re off to Great Britain next.

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The following morning, despite the pounding rain and the heavy traffic, we made our way back to Chicago where we not only spent time at the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude at St. Pius V (like last year), but also visited the Claretian National Shrine of St. Jude at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

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Then we drove to Detroit where we attended nine o’clock Mass at St. Bonaventure Church on Sunday and delighted in the Solanus Casey Center the entire day.

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What an extraordinary experience!

July 1, 2013

Oh, happy day!  St. Pio’s relic!  Thank you, Sister dearest!

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November 21, 2013

Surprise, surprise!  In today’s mail, I received a treasure trove from our niece.

Found this [tiny, old envelope].  Thought of you.  Not sure what it is, but you will know.  Love you.  Sue

Um, yes!  Not one, but two relic badges of then Servant of God, now Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos who needs only one more step to reach sainthood.

After a brief period of parish ministry in Detroit, Michigan, he was assigned in 1866 to the Redemptorist community in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Here also, as pastor of the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption, he was known as a pastor who was joyously available to his faithful and singularly concerned for the poorest and the most abandoned.  However, his ministry in New Orleans was destined to be brief. In September of that year, exhausted from visiting and caring for victims of yellow fever, he contracted the disease.  After several weeks, he died on October 4, 1867, at the age of forty-eight years and nine months (Wikipedia, 2013).

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March 28, 2014

Hip hip hooray!  An unexpected St. Anthony relic from the Anthonians!

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April 18, 2014

Thanks to Diana at Franciscan Mission Associates for expeditiously sending me not just the lovely relic for Sid’s St. Anthony chaplet, but also the prayer card!  Sidney Davis, whom we met at the Solanus Casey Center last week, loved his priceless treasures!

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May 24, 2014

Thanks to Father Thomas Franks, OFM-Cap for St. Pio’s precious relic!  The Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcina is located at the Church of St. John the Baptist in New York City.  (The address is on “Credits” page.) 

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October 11, 2014

Thanks again, Father Tom, for the wonderful relic cards from St. Pio’s shrine!

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November 9, 2015

“For even now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, whether by his sacraments or by the prayers or relics of his saints” (St. Augustine).

Links of interest…  Legion of Mary…  Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish: diocese page / parishes online…  Relics: about (chapelmore) / altar of (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton) / badge (Venerable Solanus Casey) / feast (more) / first-class / four categories / holy / incorruptibles (how can a corpse be incorruptible – saints) / more than I thought I’d ever know (blog post) / of the past & the present / priest martyrs of Mexico / process of beatification & canonization / remains / sacred artifacts / saints / what is…  St. Anthony: basilica (virtual tour) / bones a guide to the living / relics (on display in Padua)…  St. Paul the Apostle Church: facebook / website…  Why Catholic

WP posts…  St. Anthony of Padua: Saint of miracles / Si quaeris miracula…  St. Eugene de Mazenod: Heart of hearts / Memory lane…  St. Elizabeth Seton: Right at home…  St. José Sánchez del Río: Honoring Joselito…  St. Jude: Forever grateful / October novenaSt. Anthony Claret / St. Jude novena…  St. Peregrine: Healing service / Memorable as ever / Powerful intercessor / Prayers and blessings / Saintly connections / Stella Maris / St. Peregrine relic…  St. Teresa of Avila: Gift of love / Seven dwelling places…  St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus: Budding relationships…  Venerable Father Casey: Capuchin church stations / God’s master plan / Mercy and justice / Solano, Solanus, Solani / St. Bonaventure Church…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Venerable Julia Navarrete (of the thorns of the Sacred Heart)…  Venerable Margaret (of the Blessed Sacrament)

Kindred acorns

If you watched the AFC-NFL Pro Bowl on Sunday, you know that the famous Mannings played on opposite teams.  Each a great quarterback in his own right, Peyton and Eli wowed spectators the entire game.  The brothers played in different halves, so fans doubled their viewing pleasure.  I told Steven that the game was a win-win and cheered for both sides.

Nature, nurture

Still, what’s the attraction for the fans?  Is it that the brothers followed in their dad’s footsteps or that they have a great family dynamic?  I can’t decide which impacted them more.  Nature or nurture?

The Manning brothers are indeed talented and highly regarded in their professional lives.  Moreover, fans love them, even if their public presence is different: Peyton’s commercials exude a comedic flair; Eli’s, focus on purposeful public service.

Also during Sunday’s game, Steven and I got the answer to our big question this season: Is Ronde Barber, cornerback for Tampa Bay, related to the charismatic Tiki, former running back for the NY Giants?

What a hoot to watch Tiki interview his mirror image on the TV screen!  The Barber brothers are identical twins with more than football in common.  Not only do they write books together, but they also host The Barber Shop on Sirius NFL radio.  Tiki and Ronde are equally personable and bright, but Tiki writes children’s books.  Another difference?  Tiki has two sons; Ronde, two daughters.

Although their parents divorced when they were kids, their dad was a star running back; so, again, which influenced them more?  Nature or nurture?

Religious siblings

In the case of the Mannings and the Barbers, the acorns didn’t fall far from the oak, but have you ever pondered the nature-nurture factor among our Catholic saints?

Until a few days ago, I’d only read about one saint, the Little Flower, whose four sisters were nuns, too.

Considering that their mom died when Thérèse, the youngest, was four, one can only imagine the enormity of parenting five daughters, let alone instilling such impeccable Christian values in one’s children.  No wonder Pope Benedict XVI beatified their parents, Marie Zélie and Guérin Martin, in Lisieux on October 19, 2008!

This week the church celebrates the feast days of three siblings: a nun whose twin brother founded the Benedictine Order and two missionary brothers whose linguistic giftedness lit the darkness.  Moreover, among these siblings, Saints Benedict, Cyril, and Methodius share the distinction of being Europe’s co-patrons.

Scholastica

Scholastica (c. 480-543; Feb. 10th), foundress of the Benedictine Sisters, lived about five miles away from her twin brother, Benedict of Nursia, Italy.  Since rules prohibited members of the order from entering each other’s residence, the siblings met halfway between his Monte Cassino monastery and her convent to discuss spiritual matters.

After one such meeting, Scholastica begged Benedict to spend the night so that they could spend more time together, but he refused.  When Benedict learned that Scholastica asked for God’s intervention, he was furious.

How dare she waste God’s time on such a trivial request!

“I asked a favor of you, and you refused it.  I asked it of God, and He has granted it!”

Scholastica died three days later.

In his Dialogues (c. 540-604), St. Gregory the Great wrote that God honored Scholastica’s request because she’d always placed him first in her life; and, as a gift to her brother, God allowed Benedict to witness his twin’s ascent to heaven as a dove.

One has to wonder…  Could Scholastica have sensed her death was near?  Might she have wanted time to talk about heaven with Benedict?  How would he have felt had he not spent the extra time with his sister before her death?

Because of her devotion to God St. Scholastica is known as the saint of right relationships, and she’s also the patroness of convulsive children and nuns.

Scholastica’s Benedictine Sisters seek God through prayer, work, silence, and community.  They believe that silence invites God’s presence and grows their heartfelt efforts for others in the world around them (YouTube, n. d.).

Cyril and Methodius

Unlike the quiet Benedictines, brothers Cyril (Constantine, c. 827) and Methodius (Michael, c. 826) carried the message of Christianity with voiced intent. 

Sons of prominent parents, a Greek father and a Slavic mother, their uncle provided them protection and opportunities when their father died.  Constantine studied in Constantinople where he became a deacon and learned Arabic and Hebrew.  Michael was a government official until he entered the monastery, received the sacraments, and changed his name to Methodius.

In 860, the brothers were sent out as missionaries to prevent Judaism from taking hold in the Khagan, an effort which wasn’t altogether a failure since some of the people embraced Christianity.

On returning home, Constantine became a university professor.

In 862, Constantine and Methodius were invited to preach Christianity in the territories belonging to Great Moravia so that Prince Rastislav could rid his lands of the German missionaries who taught in Latin.

During the next four years, Constantine and Methodius fulfilled their true mission in life through their wholehearted belief that people should practice their faith in their native language.  The brothers’ extraordinary background, education, and multilingual giftedness prepared Constantine and Methodius for their lifetime achievement.  Creating the basis for the Cyrillic alphabet, still used by Russians today, resulted in the Slavic language through which translations of written church materials were possible and future missionaries could teach.  This great feat earned Constantine and Methodius the title of saints, “equal to the apostles” (Orthodox Wiki, 2008),

Around 866, the brothers were summoned to Rome to defend their work.

At that time, Constantine took his monastic vows and changed his name to Cyril.  He died soon after, never returning to Great Moravia where he and Methodius had been made welcome.  Methodius became bishop and then archbishop before being imprisoned and released; but constant opposition debilitated him.

Eventually, however, he returned to Great Moravia and, together with his wife, continued to spread Christianity until his death in 885.

Building community

Like the Pro Bowl athletes, this week’s sibling saints, Scholastica and brothers Cyril and Methodius, appear to have received much support and encouragement from family members and interested others.  Never mind the healthy, although sometimes overwhelming, doses  of discomforting disequilibrium sprinkled along life’s path.

Sooo…  Which influenced the call to service— nature or nurture?

Realistically, heredity and environment are both to be credited, of course.  The important thing, Christians will say, is that each individual fulfilled his or her mission, respectively, by building community within God’s kingdom.

Prayer

O God, to show us where innocence leads you made the soul of your virgin, Saint Scholastica, soar to heaven like a dove in flight.  Grant through her merits and her prayers that we may so live in innocence as to attain to joys everlasting.  This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

July 11, 2013

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else” (St. Benedict).

July 11, 2014

“It is well to deny ourselves that which is permitted in order to avoid more easily that which is not” (St. Benedict).

December 28, 2014

If you wish to have pious, good children, you must first of all yourselves be God-fearing and lead good lives.  As the tree, so will the fruit be (St. John Vianney).

December 4, 2015

The first necessity is to find in your soul a respect for your vocation.  Once you have this sense of mission, this sense of dedication to a cause more worthwhile than any purely personal claim, the rest can follow.  Prayer, self-sacrifice, loyalty, perseverance, and in fact the whole list, come spontaneously to the soul who concentrates upon the vocation over the hill.  These virtues come spontaneously…but, of course, this does not mean that they come easily (Dom Hubert van Zeller, Holiness for Housewives and other Working Women).

February 2, 2016

“It is well to deny ourselves that which is permitted in order to avoid more easily that which is not” (St. Benedict).

Links of interest…  Barber: Identical twins / playmates / Ronde / Tiki…  Benedictine benedictions…  Beatification of St. Thérèse’s parents (more)…  Benedictine Sisters (video)…  Chapel of the patron saints of Europe…  Genetics are not as predictive as we might think…  Manning: book / Cooper / Eli / Peyton / weirdly alike…  Pope Benedict…  Pro Bowl…  Sisters of St. Benedict (IN):  Monday messages / prayer requests / stories / virtual tour / ways of prayingwebsite…  Society of the Little Flower…  St. Benedict: & joyful aging& St. Thérèse: Father & child / luminous star of history / option for today / three things to know about his medal…  St. Scholastica: about (more) / Benedict’s sister (twin) / book / feast (Feb 10) / icon (more) / litany / stories…  Sts. Cyril & Methodius: about (more) / apostles (more) / brothers / co-patrons / death (Cyril) / enlighteners / feast (more – more) / July 7 / love & evangelism / memorial / origin & ethnicity / patron saints / prayer (more – readings – vocations) / profile (more) / veneration…  What was Old Church Slavic…  What would Cyril & Methodius do

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Church doctors…  Disquieting moments
Gift of love…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Sacred Heart Church