While he was born free, he could not read or write. He was poor, a peasant who became a shepherd. At the beginning of his life he did not seem he was destined for any memorable accomplishments. But, as is often the case, God had other plans. A man of charity, of keen spiritual insight, and a natural leader, he became a saint.
Mother Mary Lange believed it important to teach young children of color the skills that would provide opportunity. Like so many founders of religious communities, she did not start with much, but her dedication to listening to the call of God set in motion something truly wonderful. She and other women had a sense that God would provide a way for their desire for religious life to become real. They had been waiting for God to show them the way — and God did. After founding her community in 1829, She started a school that still exists today in Baltimore. She, and the community she founded recognized the importance of skills and education as a way out of poverty. She provided night classes for women, vocational and career training, and homes for widows and orphans.
“I lived a very happy and carefree life, without knowing what suffering (was)”. What a wonderful thing to be able to say. But it was not to last. The woman who described her young life in this way was to be captured by slave traders, would endure pain, torture and suffering, experienced more suffering than many. And yet, when hearing about Jesus from the Canossian Sisters, she could say this: “Those holy mothers instructed me with heroic patience and introduced me to that God who from childhood I had felt in my heart without knowing who He was.” How lovely, isn’t it? Her suffering became life-giving because of the presence of Jesus who was always with her. The example of the sisters caused her to become one of them, and to be a splendid example of the impact of a relationship with Jesus.
In an age of fast-moving news, it can seem like even recent events occurred some time ago. Ask a current generation about President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and they look at you with blank stares. So it can be easy for some to think the age of racism came to an end with the prohibition against slavery. The Catholic Church was both a leader in the fight for equal rights for all, and at the same time a product of its age. The racist history of the United States makes the story of Fr. Augustus Tolton all the more amazing. Born a slave in Missouri, he escaped with his mother, who was Catholic, was himself baptized, studied to be a priest, and served admirably and heroically in the faith.
You may be in a parish who blessed throats this past weekend, or even today. February 3 is the day we celebrate Saint Blaise, and a long tradition in the Catholic Church has associated him with the blessing of throats. This is because of a story told where a mother brought her young boy to Saint Blaise when he was choking on a fish bone. Saint Blaise, who was a physician when he was made bishop, miraculously save the boy. A holy man committed to the faith, when told to renounce his faith, he would not do so. Tortured and killed, his prayers were seen as a powerful protection against diseases of the throat. Perhaps less known was his life as a hermit and a deep man of prayer. The prayer of blessing is this: “Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
So many things could be said about the great doctor of the Church, Saint Thomas Aquinas. But perhaps the most important thing to be said about Saint Thomas, is that more important than anything else was his loving relationship with God.
On Wednesday, January 22, 2020, the United States Supreme Court began to hear arguments in the case of Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. The case is significant, as it is viewed as the most direct challenge to the so-called “Blaine Amendment”, which is named for Republican James Gillespie Blaine, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the minority leader in the 1870s.
Go to any Catholic school website, listen to any Catholic school discussion, look at admissions materials, and you will discover something about Catholic identity. But what is it? In this podcast, we will explore the idea of Catholic identity, its relationship to the Catholic school mission, as expressed through it’s charism. Identity, mission, charism. Important…
At first glance it is the stuff of a high tech science fiction movie. But gene editing, using a technology called CRISPR (pronounced crisper) is makeing the possibility of creating designer babies more and more a reality. On the one hand, creating human beings that are more resistant to disease, who are smarter and so seem better able to solve big problems in the world seems enticing. But what of the downsides? In this podcast, we will explore the idea of gene editing as it pertains to creating the “ideal” human by looking at the technology, and exploring the ethical questions this may raise.