Easter Comes Late

Sometimes in our lives Easter comes when we are still very much in the desert of Lent. Maybe we have lost a loved one, are living through a personal struggle, or are caring for someone who is ill. Whatever the case, we can find ourselves in the desert much longer than 40 days. In such times, Easter Day becomes but a date on the calendar, and we find ourselves still kneeling at the foot of […]

Mama Antula Beatified

Maria Antonia de Paz Figueroa, better known as “Mama Antula,” was beatified in Argentina August 27, 2016. The 18th-century laywoman spread the Spiritual Exercises after the Jesuits were expelled from Argentina in 1767. As reported in the Boston Pilot: Her mission took her to Buenos Aires where thousands attended the retreats, ultimately leading her to establish the Holy House of Spiritual Exercises in 1796; today, the building is one of Argentina’s most notable historical monuments. […]

Gratitude for All Who Came Before Us

In Hebrews 11:1–40, there is a litany of thanksgiving to the “faith of the ancients,” all those who went before us: Abel and Cain, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Moses, etc. This letter captures the faith of these people who “died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them.” They passed on the faith in the promise of the Messiah, who they never met in person, […]

An Extraordinary Saintly Team

We know that St. Ignatius was inspired by the stories of the saints. We’ve heard stories of him lying in bed during his recovery, recognizing the glorious battles and victories of the saints reaching out to him from the pages of the books he read. He began to feel inspired by those stories, and indeed it was these saints’ stories that gently pushed him on to follow God’s will. As many others do, I pray […]

Peter Faber Soon to Be Canonized

Earlier this month, Paul Campbell, SJ, wrote about a favorite Jesuit of his who may not be familiar to some readers: Bl. Pierre Favre. Now the Vatican Insider reports that Pope Francis will likely canonize Favre (also known as Peter Faber) in December, so it’s a good time to learn more about this companion of St. Ignatius, sometimes called the “second Jesuit.” Biographical Information Words of Faber Prayer for Detachment Doing Good and Praying Well […]

Movies about Saints

November is movie month. Hollywood starts releasing its best, Oscar-worthy films, and the end of Daylight Savings time means it’s time for indoor entertainment. Since we just celebrated All Saints Day, I though I’d highlight movies about saints. Fr. Jim Martin, author of My Life with the Saints, has a top-ten list of saint movies on the Loyola Press site. You’ll also find some good films on this list of movies about “religious innovators.” I’ll add […]

A Big Weekend for Saints

It’s a weekend for old saints and new saints–especially Jesuit saints and one with a Jesuit connection. Today is the feast of the North American Martyrs–eight Jesuits who were martyred in the mid-17th century in Canada and upstate New York. I remember squirming  in religion class when I was a kid when the nuns described their exceptionally gruesome sufferings.  Later I came to admire them greatly.  One of my favorite novels is Black Robe by Brian Moore, […]

Aloysius Gonzaga, SJ

Today is the feast of Aloysius Gonzaga, a saint who made his mark even though he lived only 23 years. Aloysius was born in a grand Italian noble family in 1568.  His life at home was marked by conflict.  His father wanted him to be a soldier; Aloysius wanted to be a priest.  His family was horrified when he joined the Jesuits because he was required to give up his social position, honors, and wealth. […]

This Addict Is a Saint

A friend of mine recently sent me a unusual holy card.  It honors St. Mark Ji Tianxiang, a Chinese layman who was murdered in 1900, along with dozens of other Catholics in his village, in the vicious persecution of Christians during the Boxer rebellion.  That’s not the unusual thing.  The Church has canonized many martyrs, including many Chinese martyrs.  What’s unusual about St. Mark is that he was an opium addict who was barred from […]

More Lay Saints Please

The other day I browsed through Bert Ghezzi’s great book Voices of the Saints looking for saints who would inspire kids aged about 10-12–the so-called “tweeners.”   I needed some good ones for a project I’m working on.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had a tweener in my household, but I remember what they’re like, so I looked for saints that looked like people they know.  Young saints.  Lay saints.  Married saints. It was […]

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