EMY – June: Priests and Nuns

Topic for June: Priests and Nuns
Saint to contemplate: St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

One day Francis was walking by the dilapidated church of San Damiano. He felt that he was led by the Holy Spirit to enter and pray before the crucifix hanging there. As he was praying, Christ on the crucifix came to life and spoke to him in a tender and kind voice: “Francis, don’t you see that my house is being destroyed? “Go, Francis, and repair my Church in ruins.” The ruinous state of the building was a symbol of the decadence of moral and faith of the Christianity itself.

He was born into a rich merchant family. His conversion to a Gospel way of living led Francis renounced his family and became a poor man with no possessions. He was poor, but he was also joyful. Quickly his radical way of life attracted other followers, who similarly gave away their possessions to become beggars.
Continue reading “EMY – June: Priests and Nuns”

EMY – May: Men

Topic for May: Men
Saint to contemplate: St. Joseph

St. Joseph’s role in the early life of Jesus: “The Jewish father played an enormously important part in the life of the son because he embodied the spirit of the covenant.” St. Joseph’s fatherhood, he said, “with all its depth is immense value to world because within our society there is a crisis in the whole nature of paternity, which embodies the spirit of commitment, willingness to sacrifice for the good of his children, to endow them with values and prepare them for love in their own lives.” (Fr. Anthony Doe)

How, then, is St. Joseph the exemplar of fatherhood? He is, to coin a word, the prototype of what all human fathers should be. They should reflect, in their families the seven virtues which the Church specially honours in St. Joseph’s relationship to Jesus and Mary. Continue reading “EMY – May: Men”

EMY – April: Human trafficking

Topic for April: Human Trafficking
Saint to contemplate: St. Josephine Bakhita

“Defend the lowly and fatherless; render justice to the afflicted and needy” Ps 82:3
She was born in southern Sudan. Josephine was kidnapped at the age of 7, sold into slavery and given the name Bakhita, which means fortunate. She was resold several times, finally in 1883 to Callisto Legnani, Italian consul in Khartoum, Sudan.

Two years later, he took Josephine to Italy and gave her to his friend Augusto Michieli. Bakhita became babysitter to Mimmina Michieli, whom she accompanied to Venice’s Institute of the Catechumens, run by the Canossian Sisters. While Mimmina was being instructed, Josephine felt drawn to the Catholic Church. She was baptised and confirmed in 1890, taking the name Josephine. Continue reading “EMY – April: Human trafficking”

EMY – March: People living with disabilities

Topic for February: People living with disabilities
Saint of the month: Bl. Margaret of Castello

Blessed Margaret was born blind, with severe curvature of the spine; her right leg was an inch and a half shorter than her left, and her left arm was malformed. She never grew beyond 4 feet tall. Her parents kept little Margaret hidden away in their house in Metola in the Italian province of Umbria. She was 6 years old when the family travelled to a shrine at Castello, hoping for a miracle. When no miracle took place, Margaret’s mother and father abandoned her. Some women of Castello found the terrified child and took care of her. Later, a couple (Venfarino and Grigia) adopted her. At 15, she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic, which permitted her to wear the habit and take the vows of a nun.

Margaret’s disabilities did not make her bitter; rather, she became one of the most generous, sympathetic people in Castello. She nursed the sick, consoled the dying and visited prisoners. In the sufferings of her neighbours she saw the image of the suffering Christ. As for her own disabilities, she regarded them as a means to unite her pain with the pain Christ endured on the cross. Her courage, her patience and her deep religious devotion won her the affection of everyone in Castello. Continue reading “EMY – March: People living with disabilities”