Many paths to holiness

There are many paths to sainthood and holy people are found in every corner of the globe.

I keep a calendar of witness to holiness and justice with quotes from many of them. Today and tomorrow are filled with witnesses.

Today, July 13, is, in Chile and among the Discalced Carmelites, the feast of Saint Teresa de Jesús de los Andes (1900-1920). Born into a well-off family, at 19 she entered a very poor convent of Carmelites – without electricity or adequate sanitation. She contracted typhus with the year and died young, as did the Carmelite Saint who inspired her, Saint Thérèse of Lisiuex, the Little Flower.

Today is, among the Orthodox, the feast of the holy martyr Saint Alexander Schmorell (1918-1943), who was a member of the White Rose, a group of mostly young Germans who opposed the Nazi regime and clandestinely distributed pamphlets and wrote on walls. He was arrested and executed as were many members of the White Rose.

Today is also the feast of Blessed Carlos (Charlie) Manuel Rodríguez Santiago (1918-1963), a lay promoter at the Catholic University Center of the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. Among his concerns was the reform of the liturgy.

Today is also the anniversary of the death of the Little Brother of the Gospel, Arturo Paoli (1912-2015), an Italian missionary, who lived more than thirty years in Latin America, working as a poor man and living the spirituality of Saint Charles de Foucauld. His writings have inspired me and many others.

Tomorrow, July 14, the church also celebrates several witnesses.

The Franciscans and the church of Perú celebrate Saint Francis Solano (1549-1610), a Spanish missionary who spent years among the native peoples on Perú. He tried to defend them and spoke forthrightly against corruption and injustice.

The Church in the United States celebrates Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the Lily of the Mohawks (1656-1680), the first Native American to be canonized. Born in what is now New York State, she died in Canada, having left her home to escape persecution.

July 14 is also the feast of St. Camillus de Lellis (1550-1614), an Italian who after living the life of a rowdy soldier began to care for the sick and founded the Ministers of the Sick.

On July 14, 1980, Brother Mauricio Silva, Uruguayan priest, Little Brother of the Gospel, street sweeper, was killed, Buenos Aires, Argentina, another victim of the Dirty War.

On July 14, 2002, Sister Marta Inés Velez Serna, member of the Little Sisters of the Poor of St. Peter Claver, active and peace and human rights work, was killed, Mogotes, Santander State, Colombia.

I have written about some of these in other posts. (Click to access)

      Blessed Carlos, Saint Teresa, and Saint Kateri

     Saint Kateri and Saint Francisco

     Saint Kateri

    Arturo Paoli 1

Arturo Paoli 2

Saint Camillus

All these holy people lived very different lives but they sought to follow Christ. Quotes from two of them may help us contemplate how they sought to follow Jesus.

Hermano Mauricio Silva

When loving is a humble and dark furrow
which claims the grain in order to be fertile and die in solitude,
then I know that You are present, Lord.

From the last letter of St. Alexander Schmorell to his parents

This difficult ‘misfortune’ was necessary to put me on the right road, and therefore was no misfortune at all…. What did I know until now about belief, about a true and deep belief, about the truth, the last and only truth, about God? Never forget God!”


Photos of mosaics in the church of San Apolinare, Ravenna

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