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!

Saint Joseph the Worker

From Lives of the Saints:

   In an adress to the Catholic Association of Italian Workers, May 1, 1955, Pope Pius XII proclaimed May 1 (May Day) the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.  He thus imparted special religious significance to an observance that had been strictly secular – the proper feast of labor throughout the world – and one that had been used by the enemies of the Church to further their evil designs.

Henceforth, May Day is to be “a day of rejoicing for the concrete and progressive triumph of the Christian ideals of the great family of labor.  Acclaimed in this way by Christian workers and having received as it were a Christian baptism, the first of May,  far from being a stimulus for discord, hate and violence, is and will be a recurring invitation to modern society to accomplish that which is still lacking for social peace.”

Thus the humble carpenter of Nazareth, who was the support and guardian of the Divine Child and His Virgin Mother on earth, is now honored above all other men as the personification of the dignity of the manual laborer and the provident guardian of the worker’s family.

Also, here is my absolute favorite prayer to Saint Joseph, found in the year 50, and sent from the Pope to Emporer Charles shortly before a battle that took place in 1505:

O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires.  O St. Joseph, do assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me from thy Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord; so that having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.  O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thy arms.  I dare not approach while he reposes near thy heart.  Press him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.

Now I know its not the feast of departed souls or anything, but the prayer is quite powerful, for following the prayer is this:

Whoever reads this prayer or hears it or carries it, will never die a sudden death, nor be drowned, nor shall poison take effect on them; neither shall they fall into the hands of the enemy, nor be burned in any fire, nor shall they be overpowered in battle.

Make this prayer known everywhere.

Cool, right? 😉

God bless!

Our Lady of Lourdes and Saint Bernadette Soubirous

5520Stained Glass Window courtesy of Stained Glass Inc.

 

February 11th is the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes! Don’t forget 😉 Heres a bit of background on Our Lady of Lourdes.

The first of the eighteen apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the humble Bernadette took place on February 11th, 1858. On March 25th, when Bernadette asked the beautiful lady her name, she replied: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” The devotion of people in all parts of the world to Our Lady of Lourdes, together with the countless miracles that have been wrought through her intercession, has caused one of the most marvelous regenerations in the history of the Church.

Onto Saint Bernadette Soubirous.

Saint Marie Bernadette Soubirous was born at Lourdes in 1844. At 14 years of age she witnessed eighteen apparitions of Our Blessed Lady at Lourdes, instructing her to make known the miraculous healing powers which the Blessed Virgin, by her presence, would give to the waters at Lourdes.

In 1866 St. Marie Bernadette Soubirous joined the Sisters of Charity at Nevers, taking her perpetual vows in 1878. Her contemporaries admired her humility and the authentic character of her testimony about the appearance of the Blessed Virgin.

She died in 1879 at the age of 35.

Well, now you know a bit more about Saint Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes. Enjoy your day, and God bless!!!

Author’s note: The stories of Our Lady of Lourdes and Saint Bernadette are taken from Lives of the Saints, 1977. They do have the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur.

Also, a special thank you to Rachel from Stained Glass Inc. I love this picture from their site. Check them out!!

Saints

On Sunday, October 21st, Kateri Tekakwitha was declared the newest of the saints. Since she is the first Native American saint, some people are wondering why there are no other Native American saints yet, and what it takes to become a saint.

The steps of beatification (being declared blessed) and canonization (being declared a saint) are explained very well in this article.

Some people want to become saints, but they think that their life is too different from those of the saints, and that sainthood is therefore impossible. Saints come from many different ways of life. Saint Elizabeth of Hungary was a queen, Maria Goretti was a simple peasant girl, and Kateri Tekakwitha was one of the first Native Americans who really accepted the faith. In addition, not all the saints started out the same. Saint Therese of Lisieux knew from the age of 5 that she would always serve God, but Ignatius of Loyola was 30 years old before he fully committed to serving God.

As you can see, saints aren’t aliens. They are people just like us; they struggle, feel pain, and lose strength just like us. The only difference is that their trust lies completely in Jesus, and they rely on His strength each day for support.