A Message From Fr. Pat...
In my favorite movie of all time, Moonstruck, Johnny, Loretta’s fiancé, returns home from the Sicilian deathbed of his dying mother to report that his mother has recovered. “It’s a miracle!” he exclaims, to which Loretta replies, “This is modern times! There ain’t supposed to be miracles no more!” I think we sometimes think the same way about saints. They are holy people of centuries past, completely removed from contemporary culture and 21st century society. And so, when a saint is canonized who was a “real person,” it shocks us into the reality—we are all called to be saints.
Last Sunday, Mother Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas was canonized a saint by Pope Franics. St. Marie-Alphonsine was born 1843 in Jerusalem into a devout Catholic household, into a family with a special devotion to the rosary. At age 17, she entered the religious order of the Congregation of St. Joseph of the Apparition. As a young religious, she had visions over a period of four years in which she was instructed to found a religious order of sisters restricted to Arabic women dedicated to the Holy Rosary. In humility, she revealed these visions only to her spiritual director, Fr. Tannous, who eventually established the Congregation of the Rosary, which she then joined. Fr. Tannous wisely instructed Sr. Marie-Alphonsine to record her visions in a diary so that, after her death, she was discovered to be the order’s anonymous foundress. Since then, the schools associated with this unique Arab religious congregation have had a profound influence in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, the Gulf States, and Rome. For the Palestinian people, the canonization of this humble sister is a day of great joy, celebrated especially by those Middle Eastern Christians who undergo such great persecution today.
You may at this point be thinking, “Why is Fr. Pat so interested in this new saint who I’ve never heard of?” Well, amazingly, St. Marie-Alphonsine is the great-aunt of one of our very own parishoners! They had the amazing experience of being present at the canonization last Sunday! So, we have a “distant relative” who is a saint!!! That is amazing!!!
But it begs the question: is there another saint (or saints) among us? I certainly hope so!
Have a great week!