My new patron saint

Dina_Belanger

Learning about new saints is a fun little pursuit of mine. I try to learn a good deal about the saints because  while their lives were not perfect examples, they show us how to rise above the cultural and secular expectations and become holy. That is my ideal.

Anyways, my latest “find” is the Canadian nun and mystic known as Blessed Dina Belanger. You can read her whole story here (the site I have linked to is devoted to the stories of mystics and is faithful to the Magisterium). I find her story interesting for a number of reasons:

1. She was Canadian, like me.

There aren’t a lot of saints (or beatified persons) who were born and raised in Canada, so I find the stories familiar, in a way. When they mention the cold of a winter night or a city in a nearby province, I can sort of see the story playing out in my mind. It becomes familiar in that way and I don’t forget it.

2. She had a temper, also like me.

Just getting it out there: I had an awful temper when I was younger. As a baby I would scream for quite a long time without quitting, and as I got older (being the oldest) I got a little spoiled. So now I also have a holy person that I can relate to in this respect.

3. She chose “death rather than defilement”. 

When she was admitted to the Sodality of Our Lady she took the motto “Death rather than defilement”. This shows what a strong will she had, just like many of the other young saints of the Catholic Church. And finally…

4. She was a pianist.

There have been many saints and holy people who have played an instrument or sung a good deal during their life, but I think Bl. Dina Belanger is different. She didn’t just play piano for a few years. She persevered and became a very accomplished pianist (I can say this as a pianist who has read about her credentials. St. Cecilia is invoked as the patron saint of musicians, but I think that if she is ever canonised, Bl. Dina Belanger ought to be the patron saint of pianists. Just my two cents. 😉

So may God bless you and Blessed Dina Belanger pray for you!

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Another anniversary…

Today is another special day for me. Not only is the Solemnity of All Saints; its my anniversary with Jesus.

On October 31, 2010, after almost a year of doubt and disbelief in God, I was struck by how much He loved me, even when I didn’t deserve it. I decided to come back into the fullness of the faith and follow Jesus. So the very next morning I started out by praying the Rosary and asking Mary to pray for me, and almost every day since then I have prayed the Rosary. I also promised God that I would remain pure according to my state in life, practice virtue (especially charity), and I would always strive to do His Will. As time went on, I gradually started adding more and more prayers to my daily routine, so that now I pray and read the Bible for almost an hour a day.

After a few months of praying a daily Rosary and a couple of other prayers, I started to see changes in myself. I went to Confession more frequently. Before that decision to follow Jesus, I would only go to Confession two or three times each year, but once I saw myself for who I truly was (a sinner), I realized how much I needed His mercy. Another effect was the desire to learn more about my faith. A new family had started attending Mass at our parish, and I learned that they attended Mass in Latin occasionally. Prior to that, I had never even heard of such a thing! So I looked through all of the Catholic books on our bookshelf, researched on the computer, and found a few answers. One of the websites where I found the most information is Catholic Answers Forum. I met lots of wonderful people on this forum who attend the Latin Mass and could give me a few answers to my questions. Soon, I saw that there were many other things that I didn’t know about the Catholic faith, like that the USA has more holy days of obligation than Canada, and that Saint Therese’s parents were beatified. I will freely admit, though, I still have lots to learn.

God has greatly blessed me, both in the past three years and on this special day. He gave me the life and strength to rise early and praise Him, the sunrise this morning was absolutely glorious, and most importantly, He has given me the hope of seeing Him in heaven someday. Praise the Lord!

Why this blog exists

Today I learned that I have been posting on this little blog for one year. On this first anniversary, I find myself wondering one thing: why? Why did I create this blog? Why did I pick that strange brown background when everyone else is going with white (okay, maybe not everyone)? Why didn’t I quit? Why did I bother to continue, even when the pages were not getting as many views or likes as I had hoped?

In all honesty, I’m not sure exactly why I started a blog. I am not a strong writer, I’m not really all that funny, I’m not a well-versed apologist or evangelist, I can’t write long, intelligent posts about important topics, and I am not very diligent when it comes to posting regularly. Out of all this, however, I found a reason to keep blogging.

st_therese (2)

Yep, Saint Therese of Lisieux. Heres the reasoning behind it.
Saint Therese was a simple Carmelite nun. During her short life on earth, she didn’t do amazing things like heal the sick, write great books, or reform orders of monks. She didn’t travel across the world proclaiming the Gospel to the poor, or start schools and hospitals that would change the lives of thousands of people. She simply loved God in all that she did and through that simplicity she attained sanctity. She didn’t have to do great things; only small things with great love. This teaches us something very important. Often, as Catholics living in the time of the New Evangelization, we start believing that we have to do something big to spread the Gospel, like travel to foreign countries as a missionary or feed all the poor and homeless in our hometown. As Saint Therese shows us, this is not necessarily true. Yes, we need foreign missionaries and people who care for the homeless, but not everyone can do these things. As 1 Corinthians 12:28 states,

Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues.

Saint Paul points out that there are different positions in the church that need to be filled. Not everyone can have gifts of healing, or no one will teach. Not everyone can be a prophet, or no one will have the gift of administration. God calls different people to different ministries in life. Now for a little story.

Most of my homeschooling friends don’t plan to enter college or university right after high school. Instead, they want to do missionary work for a year or two. I’m the odd one in the bunch, though. Because I want to be a piano teacher when I grow up, I need to keep my piano skills sharp for getting into university, and this is nearly impossible to do as a missionary. I can trust, though, that because God is calling me to a different job, I will still be able to evangelize in some way. While I was wondering about this last fall, I thought about starting a blog. At first I had some doubts: what if I don’t like it after a while? What if I make a mistake in some line of philosophy and a really smart person comments on my failure? What if no one reads my blog? What if my posts are too long or too short? After a bit of of thought, I decided that if it would be something giving glory to God, then He would provide all that I needed. So after sorting out some kinks, I started blogging. It doesn’t get read much, it doesn’t look fancy, and it isn’t run by a computer smart person, but I trust that if God wants me to evangelize in some small way right now, then maybe this is it.

One more note: to everyone who has followed, liked, or commented on my blog during this past year, thank you! You have encouraged me to continue blogging even when I didn’t feel like it. Please keep it up, and God bless you all!