A Catholic Monthly Magazine

December Saints

Saint1Blessed Maria Rosa Pellesi (1917-1972)

Bruna Aldina Maria Pellesi was born in Italy in 1917, the last of nine children. Her childhood was marked by her good humour, sweetness, joy and peace. As she developed into womanhood, these qualities led to a courtship which showed signs of leading to the ‘happy ever after.’ However, during her late teens, two of her sisters-in-law died, and Bruna unhesitatingly assumed responsibility for the six children, all under four years of age, thus left motherless.

In 1940, called by her love for God, she left her beloved nieces and nephews to join the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Christ, making her first vows in 1942 and becoming known as Sister Maria Rosa of Jesus. Her first three-year assignment was as a teacher in an elementary school in Sassuolo, where she distinguished herself by her hard and unremitting toil. From Sassuolo, Sister Maria was transferred to Ferrara to work in the parish elementary school, and later founded a nursery school.

September 1945 brought the onset of tuberculosis. From the initial hospital where she was admitted, she was moved to a sanatorium in Gaiato, and thence to another in Bologna.

From 1948, she lived in a few square metres, in front of the same window, with the same view. She struggled every day with lungs that would not breathe properly, a heart that tired easily, physical aches brought on by weariness and the ongoing suffering and painful treatments that increased her trials but never solved the problems.

As the years passed, it became necessary to regularly extract pleural fluid from her lungs. On one occasion, the needle broke and, resisting all efforts to remove it, remained splintered within her for the next 17 years. Throughout all of this, Sister Maria Rosa remained happy and cheerful. Her broad smile was constant, natural and sincere, the result of the divine life within her. Regarding her failing health, she would say, “In recompense, my heart sings and I am very happy.”

Between the operations and treatments, in 1946 and 1970, she made two pilgrimages to Lourdes, where she consecrated herself to the Mother of God. She died in Sassuolo, where she had been transferred a month before, in 1972.

Blessed Maria, obtain for us a spirit of joy when we are called to suffer.

(Source: Internet – various)

Saint2Saint John of the Cross (1542-1591)

Saint John was born in Spain in 1542. His father gave up a comfortable life when he married a weaver’s daughter and was disowned by his noble family. After his father died, his mother kept the destitute family together. At fourteen, John took a job caring for hospital patients who suffered from incurable diseases and madness, and learned to search for beauty and happiness not in the world, but in God.

After John joined the Carmelite order, Saint Teresa of Avila asked him to help her reform movement. John supported her belief that the order should return to its life of prayer. But many Carmelites felt threatened by this reform, and some monks kidnapped him, locked him in a cell six feet by ten feet and beat him regularly. Yet in that unbearable dark, cold, and desolation, his love and faith were like fire and light. He had nothing left but God.

After nine months, John escaped. Taking only the mystical poetry he had written in his cell, he climbed out of a window using a rope made of strips of blankets. With no idea where he was, he followed a dog to civilisation. From then on his life was devoted to sharing and explaining his experience of God’s love. He died in 1591.

Saint John, teach us to trust God even in times of trial.

(Source: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=65)

Saint3Saint Peter Truat
(c 1816-1838)

Peter Truat was a young layman catechist in the apostolic vicariate of West Tonkin (modern Vietnam). He was born around 1816 in Ke Thiec, Hà Nam, Vietnam.

Peter was among 64 known Christians who were executed in that country between 1798 and 1853. In 1833, all Christians were ordered to renounce the faith and to trample crucifixes underfoot, and that edict started a persecution of great intensity that was to last for half a century. Peter was strangled to death on 18 December in Son Tây, Ha Tay.

Saint Peter, help us to cling to the truth of the faith despite difficulties.

(Source: John Paul II’s Book of Saints; M, M & S Bunson. Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Illinois, USA. 1999)

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