Finding St. Rita

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Early this morning, I received a timely response from the very personable Deacon Sebastian Landagan regarding one of the statues at the St. Jude shrine, which is part of Most Precious Blood Church (MPBC) in Corpus Christi, TX.

Burning question

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 10:47 AM

We had such a wonderful, memorable time at your church that I eagerly await the day we can be there again….

Thanks to Steven calling David Castillo about a stone cross… David extended an invitation we just couldn’t pass up.  And there we were, making more memories, meeting sweet folks like you.

To me, it’s all about building community within God’s kingdom.

On that note, I’ve been alternating between Squawking Chicken Mode and Octopus Mode, so I haven’t yet gotten around to writing a post on our experience at MPBC on June 30.  Still, that’s the plan, especially since I now have more photos of your church.  Woohoo!

Which brings me to a burning question.  I was revisiting the photos I took at the St. Jude shrine, and I’m not sure about one of the statues….  I’ve attached the photo in case you have time to enlighten me.  I know St. Rita holds the cross, and St. Teresa is in the church.  But I’m stumped on this other one.

Saturday, August 11, 2012 9:38 AM

The statue you were not sure about is St. Clare of Assisi.  It is said that when an army of Frederick II was pillaging the valley of Spoleto, an ancient city in Perugia, Italy, some of the soldiers placed a ladder against the convent wall to try to overtake the convent.  St. Clare asked to be carried to a window; and, holding the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament in sight of the enemies, she prostrated herself before the Eucharist.  Her prayer was heard, and the enemy panicked and fled in terror.

Saturday, August 11, 2012 9:48 AM

Oh, my goodness.  What a wonderful— unexpected— story from you this beautiful morning!

Thanks so much!  I’ll be sure to include your anecdote on my blog.

I hope your weekend is peaceful, productive, and fulfilling!

God bless you most abundantly.  And thank you for all you do for all of us, Deacon Sebastian!

       

       

       

St. Clare

Of course, I couldn’t leave the story there.  Nooo!  Not I.  I had to find out more so, naturally, I went into search-and-find mode again.

I decided to add Deacon Sebastian’s story to my “words to ponder” page along with a photo of St. Clare; but the more I read online, the more intrigued I was.  I couldn’t stop.

Then, boink!  A title bopped me hard on the head.

Died on this day.  St. Clare of Assisi died on this day in 1253.

I looked at the date on the web page, blinked, and then checked the date in the lower righthand corner of my computer screen.

“Oh, my gosh!” I blurted to Steven.  “Today is St. Clare’s feast day!  I have to do more.”

I hadn’t intended to spend the whole day writing.  I’d had my heart set on beading Franciscan Crowns, reading the epilogue in Exile’s Return (Feist, 2005), baking bread, and just-plain doing my own thing today.

Why, oh, why, oh, why would I do this to myself?

Then, just like that, I succumbed to the moment.

This is what God wants, and I’m fine with it.

Sooo, “knowing how way leads on to way” (Frost, 1915), I proceeded to get my act together, recalling our memorable visit to Most Precious Blood Church recently.

Six new statues

June 30, David Castillo, whom I’d met at the St. Jude Shrine two years before, invited Steven not only to Saturday evening Mass, but also to the lay ministers’ potluck afterwards.

“We have six new statues that you’d be interested in photographing,” David told me gleefully when Steven passed me the telephone.  “Four are in the shrine, two more in the church.  Come early and join us for the rosary before Mass.”

St. Jude’s again

Of course, Steven insisted on dropping by the shrine first.

        

       

“Oh, my gosh!  So much has changed since I was last here in June 2010!  It’s as if Father Bob read my blog and knew that I wanted my very own photos of St. Peregrine and St. Rita!  Just wait till I share the photos with Tia!  Her father will be so happy!”

Tia’s dad

Then I recounted the story of Tia Bordes, whose comments on my “St. Jude shrine” post sent me into search-and-find mode that day, but whose desire to find St. Rita burned deep within my heart.  How I longed to help her!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 3:59 PM

Could anyone give me the address of the St Jude shrine in Corpus Christi, please?  It would make me and my father so happy to go there for a visit.  Thank you, and God bless you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 4:35 PM

Dear Tia, your question reminded me of my first time looking for the St. Jude Shrine, which is easy to miss unless you know that the shrine is the golden domed part of Most Precious Blood Church.

You can get to it easily either from SPID or, if you’re like me and prefer to avoid the traffic, take one of the back roads.  MPBC52210-6I drove west on Holly, turned left on Weber, and then right on Saratoga.  The church was about a mile or so down the road on my right.

I don’t know which direction you’ll be traveling, but it should be very easy to locate.  Just remember to look for A BIG CHURCH.  The gold dome will let you know you’re there.  That’s the roof over the foyer where you’ll find St. Jude.

The shrine’s a beautiful, quiet place, perfect for contemplation; so enjoy your time there!

P.S.  Here’s the address: 3502 Saratoga Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78415; and phone number: 361.854.3800.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 4:02 PM

I also would like to know if there is a church devoted to St. Rita in Corpus Christi.  Thank you for your help, and bless you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 4:54 PM

I checked the diocesan website and the internet for St. Rita Church and found none in the Corpus Christi (CC) area.

I also emailed a few friends in the CC area, and they wrote that the closest St. Rita Church is in Dallas.  Alas, that’s too far, although Mary Ellen did send a link you might be interested in.

As for devotions to St. Rita?  None of us knows of a church that honors her with special prayers in the area, but you’ve inspired me to learn more to share later.  So thanks!

Five, not four

I had no idea which statues I’d find at the shrine ’cause David had mercilessly dangled the carrot and wouldn’t let the cat out of the bag.

“If you want to find out, you have to show up,” he’d laughingly teased.

Entering the shrine, I couldn’t believe how much had changed in two years— and there were five, not four, new statues waiting to have their pictures taken.

Finding St. Rita

I stepped over to the first statue and burst into oh-my-gosh mode when I read the name plate.

“Finally!  St. Rita!  Oh, my gosh!  Tia will be sooo happy!  I’ll email her tomorrow, so she can bring her dad.”

Sunday, July 1, 2012 7:12 PM

We were at Most Precious Blood Church for evening Mass yesterday, and guess what we discovered at the St. Jude shrine?

A statue of St. Rita!!!

Yes!  I immediately thought of you.

“I’m so happy for Tia!” I told Steven.  “Just wait till I tell her!  Or maybe she’s been here since Father Bob ordered the beautiful new statues for both the shrine and the church?  I’m not sure, but she’s going to be delighted if she hasn’t visited the shrine in a while.”

Sooo, I hope you and your dad visit the shrine soon!

Saturday evening my wishes came true.  Not only did I return to Most Precious Blood Church and the St. Jude shrine with Steven in tow, but I also discovered the saints I’d been waiting a long time to photograph.

And I found St. Rita for Tia’s dad.

Prayers to St. Clare

Chaplet…  Glorious St. Clare of Assisi, we honor you for the unfailing faith that made you reject all earthly pleasures, and renounce all of your possessions.  We honor you for your life of extreme poverty and austerity, and for your prayer and penance on behalf of your nuns and the town of Assisi.  Grant us dear lady, the same faith, humility, and charity that you have shown toward God and your community.  Amen.

Pray three Our Father’s, three Hail Mary’s, and three Glory be’s.

(The chaplet: brown beads with a cross and a medal on opposite ends)

For healing…  O blessed St. Clare, your life shines like a beacon and casts its light down the ages of the Church to guide the way of Christ.   Look with compassion on the poor and humble who call on you for help.  As you bow before your Eucharistic Lord in heaven, speak to Him of my afflicted body and my broken spirit.  Ask Him to heal me and to wash away my sins in his precious blood.

Great servant of Christ, remember the needs of my family and all those I pray for.  Defend us from everything that would threaten our holy Catholic faith.  Hear the cry of the poor and make it a song of intercession, rising from your poor heart to the Eucharistic heart of Jesus, our healer, our savior, and our lord.  Amen.

Petition…  O, glorious St. Clare!  God has given you the power of working miracles continually and the favor of answering the prayers of those who invoke your assistance in misfortune, anxiety, and distress.  We beseech you, obtain from Jesus through Mary, his blessed mother, what we beg of you so fervently and hopefully… mention your petition… if it be for the greater honor and glory of God and for the good of our souls.  Amen.

Prayers to St. Rita

Chaplet…  O holy St. Rita, exemplary Augustinian Sister, we honor you for your devotion to the passion of Christ.  Although your early life was filled with disappointment, frustration, and unceasing tragedy, you never lost faith and trust in God.  For this you are the patroness of the impossible, and our inspiration and advocate in desperate circumstances.

Pray three Our Father’s, three Hail Mary’s, and three Glory be’s.

(The chaplet: blue beads with a cross and a medal on opposite ends)

Patroness of impossible causes…  Dear Rita, wife and widow, you suffered a long illness with patience because of your great love for God.  Your inspiration has prompted us to pray as you did; and we now invoke you for help, full of confidence in your powerful intercession.

Come now to our aid for the relief and cure of this great problem….

To God all things are possible.  May this blessing be a source of glory to the Lord.  Teach us to understand that God’s love surpasses everything.

Through your intercession may we be comforted in our sorrows.  May we find that peace which only Christ can give; and, if it be God’s holy will that our sufferings should continue, we pray that we will be able to bear them with courage and faith.

Dear St. Rita, do not abandon us.  Pray with us until we obtain the blessings we ask in this time of great need.  Amen.

Petition…  Holy Patroness of those in need, St. Rita, so humble, pure and patient, whose pleadings with thy Divine Spouse are irresistible, obtain for me from the crucified Christ my request….  Be kind to me, for the greater glory of God, and I promise to honor you and sing your praises forever.

Oh, glorious St. Rita, who miraculously participated in the sorrowful passion of our lord, Jesus Christ, obtain for me the grace to suffer with resignation the troubles of this life, and protect me in all my needs.  Amen.

August 11, 2014

We become what we love, and who we love shapes what we become.  If we love things, we become a thing.  If we love nothing, we become nothing.  Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ; rather, it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation.  This means we are to become vessels of God´s compassionate love for others (St. Clare).

September 4, 2014

“Love that does not know of suffering is not worthy of the name” (St. Clare).

November 25, 2014

Glorious St. Catherine, virgin and martyr, help me to imitate your love of purity.  Give me strength and courage in fighting off the temptations of the world and evil desires.  Help me to love God with my whole heart and serve him faithfully.  O St. Catherine, through your glorious martyrdom for the love of Christ, help me to be loyal to my faith and my God as long as I live.  Amen.

March 11, 2015

“Love God, serve God; everything is in that” (St. Clare).

August 11, 2015

What you hold may you always hold.  What you do may you always do and never abandon.  But with swift pace, light step, unswerving feet so that even your steps stir up no dust may you go forward securely, joyfully, and swiftly on the path of prudent happiness (St. Clare).

August 11, 2016

“Love that cannot suffer is not worthy of that name” (St. Clare).

February 6, 2017

“Lean on your Beloved because the soul who abandons themselves in the hands of Jesus in all they do is carried in his arms” (St. Clare).

July 10, 2017

“Love him totally who gave himself totally for your love” (St. Clare).

Links of interest…  Capuchin Poor Clares: Our Lady of the Angels (blog) / St. Joseph & St. Rita (about / email)…  Franciscan prayers / requests…  Most Precious Blood Church: address & map / parishes online / website…  The road not taken (Frost, 1915)…  St. Clare: about / book / chaplet / companions in prayer / don’t bring eggs (article) / enlightened one / for healing / little plant or mighty oakpatroness / profile / prayer requests / prayers / successor…  St. Rita: about / biography / chaplet / feast day (May 22) / forty-six miracles / growing in holiness / hope for the impossible / lessonslife / miracle / monastery (Alamo, TX) / national shrine / novena / patroness / prayers / profile / rose legend / story (YouTube)…

WP posts…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Budding relationships…  Clarisas cookies…  In good time…  Making meaning…  October novena…  Powerful intercessor…  Prayer power…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Seven dwelling places…  Slice of heaven…  St. Anthony Claret…  St. Jude novena…  St. Jude shrine: Chicago &  Corpus Christi…  Teresa of Avila

Revisiting St. Simon

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Six days passed between my first and second visits to the St. Jude shrine on Saratoga, but I wanted to replace the somewhat blurry photo of St. Simon’s stained-glass window with a better one.

Steven had already agreed to have us attend Mass at Most Precious Blood Church one day soon, but I didn’t want to wait to revisit the shrine.  I knew where the church was, so I chose to drive there before my two o’clock doctor’s appointment.

Another photo-op

On the way to the shrine, I wondered about St. Simon.

What do I really know about him?  Except for hearing his name here and there during the gospel readings at Mass, not much.  I guess this means he wants me to find out more.

Unexpected outcomes

Once home, I was disappointed yet again.  St. Simon’s photo was dark.  The vibrant colors that showed on the camera monitor at the shrine hadn’t been captured.

I took my time snapping photos with and without the flash to get better ones the second time around, so how could this have happened?

Reflecting on my second visit to Most Precious Blood Church and the St. Jude shrine, I quickly realized that St. Simon had drawn me there not to take his photo, but to give me a totally different experience altogether.

Visiting the shrine that day, my wish from the week before had come true: I’d been able to see and photograph the interior of the church.

More importantly, I’d received a very special gift from someone who hadn’t expected to be at the shrine that day.

             

What happened

As I was taking the last of my photos at the shrine that afternoon, a man walked in and set down his bag of tools on one of the pews.

“Good morning,” I said, quietly acknowledging his unexpected presence.

“Good morning.  I guess I’m the acting handyman today,” he chuckled more to himself than to me, as if surprised to be there.

I was so excited to have found the shrine that I couldn’t hold back.

“I was here last week, but when I got home and edited the photos for my blog post, I was disappointed to find a blurry photo of St. Simon.   So this is why I’m here today.”

“Have you seen our church?” the man asked without knowing that I’d wished just that since my first visit there.

“No,” I said, well aware that the church was closed during the day.  “It was locked the last time I was here, so I told my husband that we’ll need to come back for Sunday Mass.”

The man’s face lit up.  “I’ve got the keys.  Come on!  I’ll open the church for you to spend as much time there as you want and take as many pictures as you like.”

Wish come true

We walked from the shrine’s foyer onto a partly enclosed corridor for him to unlock the door through which I’d taken a photo of the church foyer the week before.

“Oh, my gosh!” I kept saying, my eyeballs bugged out.

The man tried to contain his amusement.  “Just let me know when you’re done, so I can lock up again,” he smiled, turning on the lights before leaving to make repairs.

What an absolutely glorious place!  I longed to have Steven there, so he could ooh and ahh along with me.  

I was thrilled to the moon to be allowed such a gift of time and space, but I was especially grateful to have been at the shrine at the perfect time.  I mean, think about it.  I could’ve gone to the doctor’s first and missed this golden opportunity to explore the church all on my own that afternoon.  It was truly a blessing to be privy to such a treasure trove!

The lens on my Coolpix had gotten jammed on our way home from Nacogdoches, so I was using Steven’s big camera.  I took lots of photos to give myself more choice just in case I flubbed some.

Then, before I knew it, the man returned.

I was photographing the angels in back of the church, so we talked as I snapped here and there.

“Just a moment, please,” I kept saying.  “I need to take some in the foyer.”

He wasn’t simplifying things either ’cause he kept pointing to different things for me to see and, of course, photograph.

Finally, I made myself stop ’cause the A/C was off, and I desperately needed fresh air.

Unexpected gift

“We haven’t introduced ourselves,” I said, as we stood by the side door we’d first entered.  “I’m Deli from St. Joseph’s in Port Aransas.”

“I’m David Castillo, one of the very busy parishioners here at Most Precious Blood Church,” he twinkled.

We stepped out onto the covered corridor, continued talking as he locked the door, and walked toward the office on the far right.

David reached into his left pocket for something.  “Here,” he extended his closed hand.  “I don’t give them to just anyone.  I give them to folks whom I sense have a need, a problem.”  He looked at me, as if trying to understand why he felt compelled to give me this object.  “Or something.  I want you to have this.”

David’s face was radiant as he gently pressed something into my outstretched right hand.  “I’ve carried it around for a long time.  It’s the last one I have, but I want for you to have it now.  There’s a second part that goes with it,” he said before retracting his hand for me to see what the treasure was.  “But I have it in my truck,” he added, gesturing to the parking lot across the way.  “So could you please give me a few minutes while I step into the office to return the church keys?”

“Sure,” I said, feasting my eyes on the very smooth, brown, almost black, stone cross I’d just received.

David stepped out of the office on the corner about ten feet from where we’d stood and began walking away.

“My truck is over here.”

“I’ll walk with you,” I said, hurrying a bit to catch up.

David chattered away as he placed his tools on the bed of the truck, unlocked the cab, and retrieved what he wanted to give me.

stone-cross-3stone-cross-2My friend started making these crosses,um, about a year ago.  To the day!”  David chuckled somewhat surprised to recall that tidbit.  “He usually gives me a bunch of them with the cards, so I can give them out.  And then he gives me more when I run out.  I’ve had this one a long time, but now it’s yours.”

Building community

We talked for a very long time in the hot sun; but, every time I’d almost thoroughly wilted, we’d get a really nice, refreshing breeze that would start us up again.  David told me that he’d had no intention of fixing the two kneelers that day; but, having had second thoughts, he’d shown up anyway.  We agreed that our meeting had been part of God’s master plan.

I chuckled inwardly at St. Simon’s part, wondering what else he had in store for me.

We also talked about the beautiful angel on the school grounds.  David told me an eagle scout had just completed the project the week before.

Aha! I thought.  Just in time for me to capture it with my camera lens the day after!  I love angels!

Then, almost as if he knew somehow, David asked, “What time is it?”  And, noticing I wasn’t wearing a watch, answered himself.  “It’s two o’clock.”

“Yes.  I have a two o’clock appointment,” I said.  “I need to go.”  His was at four-thirty, so he had plenty of traveling time; but he cautioned me about getting back onto Saratoga.

“Traffic around here can be very dangerous around this time of day, so be very careful.”  David made a couple of suggestions on getting back onto the road.  “Just be patient, and you’ll be all right,” he repeated a few times.

Did he know something I didn’t?

We shook hands for the third time, agreed that it’s a great idea to build community by attending Mass at churches other than our own, and wished each other well.

And, sure enough.  Just as David had predicted, traffic was heavy.

I was careful and took my time, but I knew everything would be just fine.

I also knew I’d revisit St. Simon at the shrine one day soon.

Last but not least

St. Simon was eleventh among the twelve apostles called, yet little is known about him.

Simon was one of the two whom Jesus sent ahead of him into a village to untie and bring the ass and the colt that the Messiah might enter Jerusalem as the prophets had foretold.  This unknown apostle never stood out from the rest, was neither prominent nor distinguished.  He was always in the group, together with the others, almost without a personality, only an apostle, only one of the twelve.  Just this remaining quiet, obscure, unknown has become a mark of his character.

Simon, the unknown apostle, is the patron of the countless Christians who go through life without fame, without a name.  He is the patron of the army of unknown workers in the vineyard of the Lord who toil in the last places for the kingdom of God.  He is the patron of the unknown soldiers of Christ who struggle on the disregarded and thankless fronts.  No one notices, no one praises, no one rewards these obscure and often misunderstood apostles… no one except the Father, who sees through all obscurity, who understands all misjudgments (Ferris, n. d.).

June 14, 2010

The third time was the charm!  I finally captured the vibrant colors in St. Simon’s stained-glass window.

September 28, 2010

On reading the Dominican shrine’s page on St. Jude this morning, I learned that he and St. Simon were martyred together, which explains their shared feast day, October 28th.

February 10, 2013

“Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men'” (Luke 5:10).

October 28, 2014

“May both Simon the CananSrMA12512-9aaean and Jude Thaddeus help us… to live the Christian faith without tiring, knowing how to bear a strong and, at the same time, peaceful witness to it” (Pope Benedict XVI).

June 29, 2016

We celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles’ blood.  Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labors, their sufferings, their preaching, and their confession of faith (St. Augustine).

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Links of interest…  Apostles: sending out / who is one…  “Comfort cross,” crucifix, & Christ’s five wounds…  Most Precious Blood Church: facebook / website…  St. Simon & St. Jude: apostles (more) / biography (about) / cathedral / feast (more) / martyrs (more) / prayer / praying to St. Jude (more) / sketches (more)…

WP posts…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Connected tangents…  Disquieting moments…  Finding St. Rita…  Forever grateful…  Growing pains…  Kindred acorns…  Making meaning…  October novena…  One prayer…  Prayer power…  St. Anthony Claret…  St. Jude novena…  St. Jude shrine: Chicago & Corpus Christi

St. Jude shrine

StJudeShrineCCTXI finally went in search of the St. Jude shrine in Corpus Christi and discovered a part of the city I’d never known was there.

Curiosity

For months the St. Jude prayer card piqued my interest.  All along I’d thought that Steven had given it to me, so I had it with the rest of my stash— prayer booklets and cards I keep in a five by twelve wooden crate on my computer workspace— but he told me just recently that he’d never seen it before.

St. Jude’s card had me wondering about the shrine; but, having had no vehicle since giving mine to William last year, I hadn’t thought to look for the place.  At least, not until almost two weeks ago when I drove Steven’s palomino to see about getting my new pair of glasses adjusted.

St. Jude Shrine

Being that I’m not all that familiar with Corpus, I looked online for directions to the shrine.  Good thing, too, or I would’ve passed it up had I not envisioned just a little to the right of Weber Road on Saratoga to match what I’d seen on Yahoo maps.

I’d expected a sign announcing the shrine, but there wasn’t one; so I’m glad my instincts told me to turn onto the small parking area to the right of the church sign.  Still, I wasn’t sure, until I read below the name of the church.

Looking at the place, I was awestruck.  Lush grounds, massive building, gold dome.  Absolutely stunning.  With its own school, too. 

I grabbed my Coolpix and went in search of treasure. 

Shared space

I had no idea that I’d meet a very nice woman, Ramona from Dallas, who, like me, had stopped by on a whim and was already at the chapel. 

What great stories she had to share, too!

     

       

       

                   

                 

                 

               

                       

Links of interest…  Most Precious Blood Church: address (map) / parishes online / website…  No matter where I am, a Catholic church is always home…  Why Catholics should love our parishes

WP post…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Budding relationships…  Finding St. Rita…  Forever grateful…  Holy relics…  October novena…  Prayer power…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Si quaeris miracula…  St. Anthony Claret…  St. Jude novena…  St. Jude shrine (Chicago)…  St. Monica