Women of Grace: St. Teresa of Avila (1515 – 1582)

St. Teresa of Avila shows us it is never too late to get serious about our prayer life. Born Dona Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila y Ahumada, Teresa was an active child with a big imagination and great sensitivity of heart. Little Teresa and her brother Roderigo were intrigued by the lives of the saints and the martyrs, and often sought to imitate their holy example. Read the rest…

The “Monica” Method: How to Evangelize Your Loved One

The next two days mark the feasts of two great saints of the Church, a mother and a son, whose lives give testimony to a sure-fire method of evangelizing those we love.

St. Monica (August 27) is the mother of St. Augustine (August 28), though Augustine was no saint when Monica began her earnest intercession. At that time he was a pagan and a member of the heretical Manichean sect. He was known to be a carouser who lived with a woman to whom he had fathered a child. A brilliant mind, he was “devoted” to his views and his lifestyle, and had no intention of converting to the Catholic faith.

St. Monica was distraught about her son’s dissolute ways and decided to do something about it. She prayed. And in the end, her prayers won the soul of her son.

What was it that made St. Monica’s prayers so effective? I think five strategies are primarily responsible. Perhaps you can implement them as you seek to evangelize those you love.

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Woman of Grace: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

 

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein, 1891 – 1942)

She was a brilliant scholar, a contemplative mystic, and a “liberated” feminist. At various times she was also a devout Jew, an atheist, a philosopher, a Catholic, and a Carmelite nun. Hers was a heart that hungered for truth, with a passion that burned with such purity and clarity that Pope John Paul II, whose own Mulieris Dignitatem and “Letter to Women” bear the unmistakable imprint of her spirit, canonized her less than fifty years after her death at Auschwitz. Read the rest…

Celebrate Women’s History Month With St. Gianna Beretta Molla

st.gianna.mollaIt was a tremendous blessing for me to have had the opportunity to meet Dr. Gianna Emmanuela Molla, the daughter of St Gianna Beretta Molla at the 2015 World Meeting of Families. She was there representing the St. Gianna Physician’s Guild, whose mission is to unite and encourage Catholic physicians, and those in the health care profession, to promote and defend Catholic principles in a public way by word and example, and to inspire sanctification in their lives.  Her inner beauty and humility radiates through her as she carries on the  legacy of her mother, who was herself a Catholic physician. Read the rest…

Celebrate Women’s History Month with Dorothy Day

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During a recent speech to Congress, Pope Francis highlighted Dorothy Day, saying, “In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement,” He continued, “Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.” Read the rest…

Woman of Grace: St. Josephine Bakhita (1869 – 1947)

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It is natural to express thanksgiving for being released from difficult trials and circumstances. But who would be grateful for those who cause such difficult trials or circumstances? This is the stuff of saints — the very stuff of which Saint Josephine Bakhita was made.

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The Life of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

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Born Elizabeth Ann Bayley in New York City, Mother Seton is a saint of firsts: first American-born saint, leader of the first Catholic girls’ school (and the first free Catholic school of any kind) in the United States, and foundress of the first American order of religious sisters — the Sisters of Charity.

Elizabeth was born into a prominent Anglican family and was married in the Anglican Church.  With her sister-in-law, Rebecca, she tended to the poor around New York, earning a reputation for her compassion and mercy.  In 1803, she traveled to Italy with her ailing husband in the hope that the climate would aid his recovery.

William Seton died in Italy later that year, but in her grief Elizabeth discovered a new love: the Catholic Church.  She scandalized her Protestant family and friends by being received into the Church in New York City on Ash Wednesday, 1805.

Finding NSt. Elizabeth ann Seton2ew York no longer hospitable to her Catholic zeal, Elizabeth suffered through some trying years before finding a haven in Baltimore.  I twas there that she channeled her passion for service into girls’ education.  She also pursued her dream of religious life, fashioning a rudimentary habit in the style of nuns she had seen in Italy.  Other women were drawn to her, and in 1809 the Sisters of Charity was born, based on the example of St. Vincent de Paul.

Mother Seton died in 1821 in Emmitsburgh, Maryland, where her school still sands.  In her refusal to let the social pressures of her station restrain her witness to the Catholic Faith — in word and deed — she is a wonderful example for us in a secularizing world.

This is an excerpt from Graceful Living. To purchase your copy, click here.

Mary Visits Her Children: Our Lady of Fatima

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Today, October 13, is the 100th Anniversary of the “Miracle of the Sun,” the final event predicted by Our Lady of Fatima to the three shepherd children.  The miracle was witnessed by over 70,000 people. Here’s the story behind the story.

Nine-year-old Lucia dos Santos looked into the angry face of her mother and wondered if this was what the Beautiful Lady meant when she said Lucia would suffer. Little Lucia had never experienced such fury from her mother, nor had her mother ever called her a liar before. Indeed, her heart was deeply saddened. Yet a warm glow filled her whenever she thought about the Lady from Heaven who had visited her and her younger cousins, Jacinta and Francisco. Read the rest…