A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Saints for October

Saint1Saint Mother Theodore Guerin (1798-1856)

Anne-Therese Guerin was born in Etables, France, in 1798 to parents noted for their integrity and devotion. Baptised the next day, she received her first Holy Communion at age ten when she announced her desire to become a religious. However, her father’s death and her mother’s ill health postponed fulfilment of her ambition till 1825, when she received, along with the habit of the Sisters of Providence, the religious name Theodore. She made her final vows in 1831.

Despite frail health, the result of treatment of a serious illness during her novitiate, she served in several schools of her Congregation, developing her managerial and her mathematical skills and receiving the Medal of Honour in Angers for her teaching methods. She also studied medicine and cared for the sick poor.

In 1840, at the request of the Bishop of Vincennes, Indiana, Sister Theodore and five Sisters arrived at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods to establish the Congregation in the United States and open a boarding school for girls, the first in Indiana. She also founded two orphanages and pharmacies to serve the poor.

Life was not easy in this new land. She faced poverty, fires, persecution by local Protestants, and the separation of her house from the Congregation in France. In addition, there were problems within the religious community itself: the defection of some members, the death of others; misunderstandings; the defamation of the Congregation; most grievously, the opposition of Bishop Hailandiere who sought to tamper with the Rule and, when the Superior withstood him, excommunicated her. The excommunication was brief, for the Bishop himself soon retired to France and his successor promptly lifted the ban, but this was a major blow to a religious devoted to the Church and obedient to its authority.

Mother Theodore accepted whatever came along in the work to which she was called and carried through, come rain, come shine, in the strength of her intimate reliance on God. Through all her trials, she maintained a serenity which could be explained only by heroic faith, hope and charity. . Her final illness began in Holy Week 1856 and she bore her cross joyfully till her death in May that year.

Mother Theodore, inspire us with a total reliance on God.

(Source: Internet – various.)

Saint2Saint Pelagia, the Penitent

Saint Pelagia was a hermit whose dates of birth and death are unknown. The legend around this saint is that she was a dissolute actress in Antioch who was so touched by the eloquent preaching of Bishop St Nonnus of Edessa (d.c. 458)  that she received baptism at his hand.

Filled with remorse for her dissolute life, she then gave away her wealth and departed Antioch dressed in men’s clothing. Posing as a man, she became a hermit in a cave on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem. Here she practised rigorous asceticism and became known as the “beardless monk”.

Her gender was not discovered until after her death.

Saint Pelagia, open our eyes to the passing nature of material possessions.

(Encyclopedia of the Saints, Matthew, Margaret & Stephen Bunson.1998 Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, Indiana)

Saint3Saint Wilfrid (634-709)

Born in Northumberland in 634, Wilfrid was educated at Lindesfarne and spent some time in Lyons and Rome. Returning to England, he was elected abbot of Ripon in 658 and helped bring the discipline of the English Church into line with that of Rome. In 664, he was the architect of the definitive victory of the Roman party at the Conference of Whitby.

Appointed Bishop of York, he laboured zealously and founded many monasteries of the Benedictine Order. Conflict with the Archbishop of Canterbury forced him twice into exile, and he worked hard and long to evangelise the heathen south Saxons until being vindicated by Rome. In 703, he resigned his see and retired to his monastery at Ripon, living in prayer and ascetic practices until his death in 709.

Saint Wilfrid was an outstanding personage of his day, extremely capable and possessed of unbounded courage, remaining firm in his convictions despite running afoul of civil and ecclesiastical authorities. He was also a dedicated pastor and a zealous and skilled missionary.

Saint Wilfrid, obtain for us the grace to remain true to our faith in all circumstances.   


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