Charity Heroes: St. Vincent de Paul and Vogt

(Illustration by Pat McNamara)Tomorrow is the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul, and if you're not familiar with his story or why he matters, you'll want to avail yourself of Doctor-now-Professor Pat McNamara's excellent and informative profile of this enterprising and surprising saint, who started on his path for all the wrong reasons:"An intelligent child from a poor family, he initially saw the priesthood as an escape from poverty. Once he acquired a wealthy parish, he planned to use his … [Read more...]


Over at First Things, a terrific feature on Hidegard of Bingen:Many have made Hildegard in their own image. She became a mystic to later medievals who saw her through the lens of her popular disciple Elisabeth of Schönau, although she was more properly a visionary and prophet. To humanists like Jacob Faber Stapulensis she became a woman of letters, to Reformers like Andreas Osiander a Protestant, and (in our own day) to the feminists like filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta a proto-feminist. She … [Read more...]

Misunderstanding Dorothy Day Misunderstands Mercy

Kathryn Jean Lopez has written a thoughtful and terrific piece addressing Stephen Prothero's puzzling or deliberately provocative notion that Dorothy Day's abortion could interfere with her cause for sainthood.Prothero wrote: “Can Catholics abide a saint who had an abortion?"Possibly reconsidering the question as a bit aggressive, he rephrased it: "Can you be a saint if you have committed the original sin of contemporary Catholicism?"Lopez writes:It’s probably fair to say that Day is mo … [Read more...]

Saints Preserved; An Encyclopedia of Relics

Well, this is fun!The body of Saint Catherine Laboure is displayed in a glass case beneath a side altar in the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, at 140 Rue de Bac in Paris -- the place where she experienced visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. When the saint's body was exhumed in 1933, it was found with its eyes open, and they remain open to this day. Pilgrims often comment on the intense shade of blue in Catherine's eyes. -- excerpted from Saints Preserved; pg 51 Thomas J. … [Read more...]

Dear St. Clare and her Daughters

Chiara Offreduccio (July 16, 1194 – August 11, 1253)When you have loved Jesus, You are chaste; when you have touched [Him], You become more pure; When you have accepted [Him], You are a virgin. Whose power is stronger, Whose generosity more abundant, Whose appearance more beautiful, Whose love more tender, Whose courtesy more gracious. In Whose embrace You are already caught up; Who has adorned Your breast with precious stones and has placed priceless pearls on Your ears and has surrounded You … [Read more...]

Blessed Kateri, Pray for Us

Today is the feast day of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, one of my favorite beatas and the first Native American put on the path to sainthood. Pat Gohn does an excellent job of looking at this young women who many of us hold in great affection:Born in 1656 in the Mohawk River Valley in what would become Auriesville, New York, Tekakwitha had a Christian Algonquin mother and a pagan Mohawk warrior father. Tekakwitha's battle with the small pox left her face pock-mocked and scarred, and with very … [Read more...]

St. Benedict: Stability and Detachment

Today is the feastday of St. Benedict of Nurcia, who is regarded the Father of Western Monasticism. He is also one of the Patron Saints of Europe, and our dear Holy Father Benedict XVI, who made a retreat at the saints own Subiaco monastery just before his elevation to the Papacy. Although I am a very bad Benedictine, I do my poor Oblate best to honor our founder, today, whose Holy Rule has shaped and defined monasticism for both Benedictines and Trappists and has even been adopted by … [Read more...]

Holy Women & Everyday Hero Priests -UPDATE

"The Church gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine genius which have appeared in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations; she gives thanks for all the charisms that the Holy Spirit distributes to women in the history of the People of God, for all the victories which she owes to their faith, hope, and charity: she gives thanks for all the fruits of feminine holiness (n. 31)."--- Blessed Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Mulieris DignitatemExciting … [Read more...]

Dear St. Aloysius

I love St. Aloysius and while in Rome was privileged to be able to pray at his tomb for my sons.A nice piece on him, in AmericaIn his single-minded pursuit of God, and especially his willingness to give up literal riches, Aloysius perfectly emblemizes a key meditation of the Spiritual Exercises called the “Two Standards.” In that meditation, St. Ignatius asks the retreatant to imagine being asked to serve under the banner, or “standard,” of one of two leaders—Christ the King or Satan. If on … [Read more...]

The Parent-Child Thing

It doesn't always flow so easily, or so naturally, especially when the family has been shattered and new people are coming in and out of the framework.When I was 14, two things happened. First, he met a woman, moved in with her, and got engaged. Second, I entered high school. The future he and I had talked about so hopefully became foreshortened; like Tony Manero's, my future was tonight.With startling speed, my father changed from a wise and patient counselor into, well, a crabby and … [Read more...]