In a world of superheroes, superstars and MVPs, it may seem inconceivable that an ordinary man from rural America could be officially recognized as a saint, let alone be the first U.S. priest to be beatified. But Stanley Francis Rother is precisely that, an ordinary man on the cusp of...
Category: Saints / Holy People
Mother Teresa. The mere mention of her name evokes thoughts of praise, admiration, and most likely, unattainable sanctity. Could we ever dream to reach her level of holiness? Honored internationally for her work with the poor, she has much to teach the rest of us. As the universal Church...
On June 15, 1955, a siren sounded, signaling a nuclear-attack drill. The entire population of New York City obediently sought shelter in basements and subway stations, or, in the case of schoolchildren, under their desks. According to the authorities, this first in a series of civil-defense drills was a “complete success.” Well, almost. It was marred by a middle-age, whitehaired woman and twenty-six others who refused to play this war game. Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement, and her companions instead sat in City Hall Park, where they were arrested and later sentenced to jail. The judge who imposed bail likened the protesters to “murderers” who had contributed to the “utter destruction of these three million theoretically killed in our city.”
Healer and Miracle Worker
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.
Saint Alphonsus’ famous Christmas carol Tu scendi dalle stelle O King of Heaven! from starry throne descending, Thou takest refuge in that wretched cave; O God of bliss! I see Thee cold and trembling, What pain it cost Thee fallen man to save! Thou, of a thousand worlds the great...
Gerard never set foot outside Italy, left no significant writings, and died at age twenty-nine after only six years of religious life. But even in his day, this humble Brother was considered a saint. He was friendly and generous by nature, and his confidence in God’s goodness seemed to give him supernatural influence. One biographer called him "the spoiled child of God" because whatever he asked for in prayer, he got.
Readers of Liguorian receive regular doses of information about the Redemptorists and their founder, Saint Alphonsus Liguori. For Alphonsus’ vision of preaching God’s plentiful redemption among the poor to endure, it would require men with a desire to preach and the ability to adjust their preaching and ministry to new eras. The Redemptorists would find such a man in Clement Hofbauer. It was Clement and a few other stalwart souls who were commissioned to spread the faith in a context different from that of the Papal States, where the Congregation was born in 1732. His work attracted the attention of many people in the nineteenth century and eventually led to his canonization in May 1909.