Saints

CATHOLIC BY GRACE | Spiritual challenges are similar to climbing a tower

The Alpine Tower is a rite of passage. The name alone strikes fear in the hearts of student campers.

In 2012 I chaperoned 17 students on their Camp Lakewood adventure. The students stood at the base of the tower and stared at the 50-foot vertical structure.

The most athletic boys had the greatest mental challenge. They silently assessed the tower from all angles. They categorized the ropes and swapped notes. Taking the easiest way up would look bad. They had images to uphold. But choosing the most difficult way up might mean not making it at all. That would be tragic.

'Madre Lupita' remembered for her ministry to poor, sick

GUADALARJARA, Mexico -- A shy woman stopped to pray in front of statue of Blessed Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala while visiting the Santa Margarita Hospital. She knew little about the founder of the facility, who will be canonized May 12, but, like many, she had heard stories from hospital patients who say the soon-to-be-saint still walks the halls providing care, attention and miracles to those in need.

Colombia's first saint spent years working with indigenous people

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- In early January 2005, Carlos Eduardo Restrepo, a Colombian anesthesiologist suffering from lupus and a severe infection in his thorax, faced death.

His family and friends were preparing for the worst. He was given last rites. But then an image of Blessed Mother Laura Montoya appeared to him, he said.

"I remember it very well. In the moment, I was calm. I prayed to her," he told the newspaper El Colombiano.
Restrepo survived and was cured of his disease. "If this wasn't a miracle, I don't know what is," he said.

St. Mary Magdalene opens hearts to contemplate Jesus' death and Resurrection

Helen Delaney, held a small crucifix and prayer card up to the reliquary of St. Mary Magdalene. A relic tour of the saint, who is co-patroness of the Dominican Order, visited the two St. Mary Magdalene Parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Dominican Priory.  The saint is often referred to as the "apostle to the Apostles."  The reliquary carried a portion of her tibia (leg bone) in a glass box.

Easter is a special time to rejoice in the salvation that Christ brings to humanity through His death and Resurrection.

But looking at the example of St. Mary Magdalene, it also can be an incredible moment of contemplation upon the gift that God has given the faithful, through his Son.

Earlier this month, a relic of St. Mary Magdalene made several stops in St. Louis as part of a tour that started in Illinois. A reliquary of her tibia, or leg bone, was on display at two St. Mary Magdalen parishes, in Brentwood and south St. Louis, as well as the Dominican Priory in Midtown.

St. Katharine Drexel, a stewardship saint

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson led the prayers of petition during the Jan. 25 Mass for 2,000 youths from the St. Louis Archdiocese. Teens prayed during the Mass before participating in the March for Life.

Katharine Drexel was born in Philadelphia, Pa., just six years after the death of Rose Philippine Duchesne in St. Charles in 1852. St. Katharine's life, including the years immediately preceding her death, mirror that of St. Rose. Both women were tireless missionaries who established schools and who dedicated themselves to the poor, especially minorities. Both women spent the final years of their lives in retirement, dedicating themselves exclusively to the ministry of prayer.

Anne-Thérèse Guérin, a woman of courage, perseverance and deep faith

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson exchanged a sign of peace with Rev. Dr. Roy C. Moore from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America during an ecumenical prayer service Jan. 22 at All Saints Church in University City. “What does God require of Us?” was the theme for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Behind the archbishop on the left was Archimandrite Theophan Koja of St. Thomas the Apostle Church, of the the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America. Behind the archbishop was Msgr. Michael Witt, pastor of All Saints Parish.

For the past several weeks, I have been writing about women whose courage, perseverance and deep faith helped build the Church in the United States. These American saints were educators, evangelists, pioneer leaders and women of prayer. They were undaunted by illness, physical obstacles, prejudice, poverty or petty jealousy. They discerned God's will in their lives and then refused to let anything get in the way of carrying out the mission entrusted to them by Christ.

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