It was a miracle waiting to happen. In 1966, a medical examination revealed that Angela Boudreaux’s abdomen was swollen to proportions of a six-month pregnancy from a liver nine times normal size. A preliminary biopsy found no liver tissue at all, and exploratory surgery determined that 90 percent of the liver was simply “replaced” by a malignant tumor. A number of pathologists confirmed the findings. Angela, a wife and mother of four young children, was told she had two weeks to live.
Saint Gerard has become one of the most beloved saints in the world. Visitors at his shrine in Materdomini, Italy, discover a room dedicated to the miracles attributed to Saint Gerard. Thousands upon thousands of letters, photographs, and gifts of thanksgiving from all over the world recognize Saint Gerard’s powerful intercession.
Although his name is not listed on the official Church calendar for March 15 (also the feast of Saint Joseph, foster father of Jesus), Clement Mary Hofbauer is my choice for saint of the month.
One reason for this choice is that Saint Clement, born on December 26, 1751, in central Europe, became a Redemptorist priest, just as I did, so we are “family.” Second, I am presently living in Saint Clement Health Care Center, and I will soon need a benevolent promoter “on the other side.”
So even though we cannot celebrate him liturgically, we can recall some facts of his life that have caused him to be recognized as the “second founder” of the Redemptorists and the patron saint of Vienna.
In the Gospel story of the widow's mite, Jesus is unimpressed watching the rich put large offerings into the temple treasury. He praises instead the poor widow who put in only two copper coins. "I assure you," he said to his disciples, "this poor widow has put in more than all the rest."
Saint John Neumann reminds me of that poor widow. He was a short, shy, back-country immigrant priest. In the eyes of some he was an unimpressive, awkward little man; but in God's eyes John was peerless, and his mite was a priceless gift. All that he had and was he willingly offered to God.