Archive for the ‘Heavenly Heroes: The Saints’ Category





Today is the Feast of All Souls and we remember our loved ones who have passed away; while we sometimes fear death and don’t want to think about it, there are many who can feel better about it when we consider it from different perspectives.  Two such perspectives given here might give us reason to pause:

“A woman requested that she be buried with a fork in her hand because she wanted to remind others of her favorite part of a meal.  She loved it when someone said, ‘Keep your fork for dessert.’  She knew that the best part of the meal was coming!  So the next time you reach for your fork, let it remind you, oh so gently, that at the end of a meal or at the end of a life…the best is yet to come.”

This also reminds me of something the Victorian poet Robert Browning once wrote in Rabbi Ben Ezra:“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!’


Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND


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In the Gospel of Matthew 19:26 we read that “with God all things are possible”.  This reminder is especially meaningful this month as we celebrate the feast of Apostles Simon and Jude (October 28).  Many Catholics have a strong devotion to St. Jude, often called the saint of the impossible.  St. Jude intercedes for us to God in our many needs…because his faith, like ours, trusts that God can do what we cannot do!  Scripture reminds us also that if our faith is the size of a mustard seed (the smallest of all seeds!) we can move mountains….I like to think of the “we” as God and I, working together in a “faith-filled” relationship. Having faith in one another is also important.  We need to believe in the people we meet each day, the people with whom we share our lives. A story is told of a ten-year-old boy who was working in a factory in Naples before present laws on child labor were put in place.  His mother was convinced he had a good singing voice, and by working in the factory he could earn enough to pay for music lessons.  His first music teacher, however, told him he did not have what it takes and that it would be a waste of money to pursue the idea.  His mother, a peasant woman, was not so easily discouraged. She encouraged her son, told him she believed in him and sacrificed to save money for his music lessons.  Her efforts bore fruit, and her son, Enrico Caruso, became one of the world’s greatest tenors.  Miracles happen for those who show God that they are serious about what they seek.  This week, believe in a miracle, trust in our good God, pray seriously for what some might think is so impossible…and then keep trusting!


Written by: Sr. Marie Paull Grech SND

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“To become saints means to fulfill completely what we already are, raised to the dignity of God’s adopted children in Christ Jesus… The saints bring to light in creative fashion quite new human potentialities… The saints are themselves the living spaces into which one can turn… There is no isolation in heaven. It is the open society of the saints and, consequently, also the fulfillment of all human togetherness… One might say that the saints are, so to speak, new Christian constellations, in which the richness of God’s goodness is reflected. Their light, coming from God, enables us to know better the interior richness of God’s great light… Nothing can bring us into close contact with the beauty of Christ himself other than the world of beauty created by faith and light that shines out from the faces of the saints, through whom his own light becomes visible.”

Pope Benedict XVI

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” Heroes are those who kindle a great light in the world, who set up blazing torches
in the dark streets of life for people to see. Saints are those who walk through the dark paths of the world, themselves a light.”  Felix Adler

This week the Church celebrated the feast of St. Damien de Veuster. Our dear Sister Mary Damien, who was novice directress to most of the California province and served in this position for 25 years, inspired us often with stories of her patron saint. On the feast itself novices composed countless skits and songs to celebrate the day.
Father Damien was a member of the Congregation of the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. In 1873, at the age of 33, Damien offered to spend the rest of his life ministering to the lepers who, at that time, were banished to the Hawaiian island of Molokai. St. Damien wrote, “Holy Communion keeps me full of joy. Without the constant presence of our divine Master in my humble chapel, I should never have been able to continue to link my life with the lepers ofMolakai.”
Although she died before Damien was canonized in 2009, Sister Mary Damien predicted he would be declared a saint, and challenged all of us to become saints, too.

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St. Joseph with Christ Child by Michael D. O'Brian

March 19

Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son and you will call His name, Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.

Matthew 1:20

If St. Joseph were living in our century, we might describe him as a loyal husband, a hard-working craftsman, a wonderful role model for Jesus, a “down to earth” religious person, a devoted son of the Law, a Faith-filled member of the House of David.

We find little “windows” to St. Joseph’s vocation and mission in the Gospels according to Matthew and Luke. In many ways, he is a “silent man.” We “hear” his actions not his words.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Joseph learns about Mary’s pregnancy. He responds as a faith-filled, loving and trusting husband. “Her husband, Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” In some special circumstances, the Law of Moses tolerated divorce. The Law of Moses determined that the punishment for a woman who had committed adultery was stoning to death. Joseph did not seek the letter of the law, but in a spirit of compassion sought a private separation from Mary because he knew he was not the child’s father.

After being assured by the angel of Mary’s miraculous pregnancy,  Joseph lived his vocation as husband to Mary and guardian of Jesus diligently. He became a refugee, an exile in Egypt, to protect his wife and Jesus.

St. Joseph supported his family as a working man, a craftsman. St. Matthew’s and St. Mark’s Gospels describe St. Joseph as a “tekton” – a mechanic in general and a carpenter in particular. He taught those skills to Jesus.

He knew the effects of “job insecurity.” There were times when he needed to travel to other cities and towns to secure employment. Does the need for work possibly explain why he would have moved from Bethlehem, the city of his ancestor David, to the far north, to a province known for its political unrest and extensive non-Jewish population? Herod provided a burst of work opportunities for a “tekton” in Galilee with his plan to build a new and elegant city that would redound to his glory.

The last time Joseph appears in the New Testament is Jesus’ bar mitzvah. He prepared Jesus to become a “son of the Law.” From Joseph’s everyday faith, devoted love, and care of his family, Jesus learned how to live the spirit of the Law.

In 1870, Pope Pius IX named St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church. Pope Pius Xll created the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955.  We celebrate that feast on the first of May.

St. Joseph, loving husband of Mary, guardian of Jesus and patron of all workers, pray for us!

Sr. Emilie Ann Palladino

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saintsofrussiaThis morning in prayer I came upon a favorite passage of mine in the book of Jeremiah. The passage (Jr 20:7-9) speaks perfectly of the fire within the Saints, that burning urgency to serve the Lord, and a passionate love that compels one to action.

“You have seduced me, Lord, and I have let myself be seduced; You have overpowered me: You were the stronger… ”

“For me the Lords’ word has been the cause of insult and derision all day long. I would say to myself, “I will not think about Him, I will not speak in His name any more”, but then there seemed to be a fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones. The effort to restrain it wearied me, I could not do it.”

Let us pray with our companions in Heaven that we too might cultivate a fire so bright as to be unable to suppress its light.

All Gods’ Angels and Saints, pray for us.

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Check out our Events page (tab at top) for the latest upcoming talks and other activities of the sisters. Starting next week we’re proud to announce the first evening of  “The Upper Room”, our young adult faith enrichment series. The presentations will be given by Sr. Kathleen Burns, many of you may already know her from the various retreats she facilitates around the greater L.A. area. The Upper Room will take place one Wednesday a month from October thru June. Hope you can make it.

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F00030.JPG“The saints know that God is never strange, other. God is, when he calls me, closer to me than I am myself. Spurred on by God’s love, the saints attempt things which which those who remain tied to their own resources could never have dreamed of. The saints are proof that Christians can become holy. The saint burns with an absolute fire; he is selfless and yet is made whole. He does what others plan to or deliberately forget. The saints are true realists; they take seriously the hopelessness of man as it is and do not seek refuge from the present in the future. They are clever but not calculating; they live out of a desire to squander themselves which stems from God’s Eucharistic love.

The saints are humble, that is to say the mediocrity of the Church does not deter them from joining themselves to her once and for all, For they know well enough that without the Church they would not find their way to God. They do not fight mediocrity in a spirit of contestation, but by spurring on those who have quality, by inspiring them, by igniting them… And if they are genuine, they never point to themselves; they themselves are only a reflection; it is the Master of the flame who is all important. ”

Father Hans Urs von Balthasar (+1988)

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