On March 15, 2016, Pope Francis announced the canonization of 5 little known saints, which will take place on September 4, 2016. What better way to get to know who they are but from the words and works that they did while they were alive.
1. Blessed Stanisłaus of Jesus and Mary
Founder of the Congregation of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in 1673 which promoted devotion to the mystery of the Immaculate Conception and also prayed for the souls in Purgatory and conducted pastoral work especially for the needy.
He said, “The religious state itself does not save anyone, but the religious life does. What will this gain for you, that externally you give the appearance of a religious, but internally you will be worse than the worst of men in the world?”
He was ordained as a Piarist in 1654, but thought they were becoming too lax in their observances and teachings, he even believed they were teaching rhetoric, which is why he left to found the Marian Fathers.
He described the priestly vocation as: “A response to the desire of God, Abraham sought to give Him his son as a burnt offering. In imitation of him, you too ought to offer something to the same Lord. At the voice of God, Abraham came out of the land of his fathers, leaving behind all his relatives. You also left your birthplace for a safe haven, which by your religious vocation, the Holy Spirit points out to you. As you left behind your relatives and friends, so too you must leave your bad habits and unbridled passions. You ought to also consecrate, give and present in offering, to the One, All Good and All Powerful God, on the Mount of Moria, (meaning – in the Order), your only son Isaac, that is your one and only will. In all your undertakings or endeavors, always say: “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. As to myself, may Your will, Lord, be done at every moment, hour, day, and in eternity.
2. Blessed José Gabriel del Rosario
Ordained in 1866, he is better known as The Gaucho Priest, he would often travel on the back of a mule throughout his large diocese in Argentina wearing a Sombrero and poncho. He will be Argentina’s first saint! He would travel to the furthest reaches of his diocese in the rain and cold so that not one sick person would be without the sacraments. “Woe if the devil is going to rob a soul from me,” he said.
He contracted leprosy while holding and ministering to an abandoned leper. He ultimately died from the disease in 1914. His last words were: “Now I have everything ready for the journey”. (“Ahora tengo ya los aparejos Listos pa’l viaje”)
3. Blessed José Luis Sánchez del Río
A movie was made to document José’s life, “For Greater Glory.” He lived during an extremely violent war in Mexico, Cristero War, when the government was persecuting Christians, seizing Churches and closing schools, and exiling or executing priests. He was too young to fight in the army against the government, but still wanted to give his life to Christ, and the General allowed him to be his flag bearer. When the General’s horse was killed, José gave him his and took cover, shooting at the enemy. He was ultimately captured.
Four days before his martyr’s death he wrote to his mother “I am resigned to the Will of God. I die happy because I die beside Our Lord. Do not afflict yourselves because of my death, since to die for God gives me joy.” He could have saved his life when the soldiers who captured him offered: “If you shout, ‘Death to Christ the King’, we will spare your life.” He only answered: “Long live Christ the King! Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe!” While being hit and stabbed with a bayonet, he only cried louder and louder “Viva Cristo Rey!” He was ultimately shot by the commander.
4. Blessed Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad
She was born in Sweden in 1870, and came to in 1888 to study to become a nurse. In 1902, she converted from Protestant to Catholicism. In 1904, she moved into the Carmelite monastery as a guest in Rome, and in 1906 she made her vows under the Bridgettine religious habit. She established a house of Brigittine nuns in Sweden in 1923.
In 1900, she received a Divine message from Jesus when a priest carrying the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance passed by her. She heard Jesus say, “I am He whom you seek.” Elizabeth didn’t understand why there was so many Christian churches when Christ has prayed for one Church. “Often I prayed,” she wrote, “that the Lord guide me into this one fold.”
When she was working as a nurse, she was accidentally locked in the morgue overnight. She noticed one of the bodies seemed warmer than the others, and covered his body and prayed for him with double fervor. When she was found the next morning, they found her with the revived young man. Although she didn’t think it was a miracle, but she thought it symbolized her future career “to restore people to the life of faith.”
BONUS FUN FACT:
During WWII, her convent successfully hid and saved dozens of Jews. The Jewish people who stayed with her were blessed in that they allowed them to celebrate their traditional services and prayers. She was posthumously awarded the Jewish distinction of “Righteous Among the Nations.”
5. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Born in 1910 to Albanian parents, she was the youngest of three who survived. She entered the Loreto Sisters of Dublin in 1928 and sent to Dareeling, India. She taught in high school the girls of the wealthy, but could not ignore the overwhelming poverty and suffering of the poor. In 1946, she said she heard “a call within a call. I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them.” She was to “follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.” On October 7, 1950, she opened the Missionaries of Charity.
By 1997, she had almost 4,000 Sisters , 600 foundations in 123 countries around the world! In 2012, the Missionaries of Charity has over 4500 sisters in 133 countries.
She has an unlimited bank of beautiful quotes:
- Peace begins with a smile..
- If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
- Spread love everywhere you go.
- Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
- The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.
- Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.
- The child is the beauty of God present in the world – that greatest gift to a family.
And false quotes:
- If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
- If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
- Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
- Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
- Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.
(According to Mother Theresa of Calcutta Center official site)
Even though her entire life showed the outside world what it was like to live a life of complete service to others the way Jesus showed us, she personally felt all of the darkness and sadness she lived around. In the book, The Love That Made Mother Teresa by David Scott, he wrote that she confided to her spiritual director in 1957 and said, “Where I try to raise my thoughts to heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul. Love — the word — it brings nothing. I am told God lives in me — and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.” Therefore, she will be the patron saint for those who feel like they are living in spiritual dryness.
BONUS FUN FACT:
Mother Theresa received 124 awards for her work with the in the Missionaries of Charity. She donated all of her Nobel Peace Prize money to the poor in India in 1979, totaling more than $192,000!