A New Saint?

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I knew He would do what He thought best. He did, and I will devote my whole life to working for Him in any way He wants to use me.  -Rhoda Wise, 1939

It’s interesting how the lives of holy people often intersect. Throughout the history of the Church we have many stories of saints who were friends with other saints, and it’s often been said that saints beget saints. Well, we may be one step closer to having a formally recognized “saint” from the US!  After an informal preliminary investigation, the formal cause for beatification and canonization for Rhoda Wise, a wife, mother, convert, mystic and stigmatist from Ohio, will open this October.

Rhoda’s story is amazing – she was miraculously healed from tremendous physical sufferings, and she also endured much suffering for love of God and souls, sharing in the passion wounds of Our Lord for the last six years of her life.  She also had an important role in the early life of Mother Angelica.

Rhoda, while still a Protestant, had learned of St. Therese from Sr. Clement, one of the Mercy Sisters who cared for her in hospital. Sister gave her a St. Therese novena prayer, as well as a small shrine, and a devotion to the French Carmelite saint developed.  Eventually, St. Therese herself appeared to Rhoda and healed her of a very painful open wound on her abdomen, which doctors had said was incurable.

When a teenage Rita Rizzo was afflicted with a very painful stomach ailment, her mother took her to visit the local mystic, who gave her a copy of the novena to St. Therese.  On the ninth day, Rita woke up to find that her dropped stomach was cured, and it was this miracle that helped her to first realize how much God loved her.  Her response was whole-hearted and enthusiastic, leading her to give herself completely to God in religious life.  Our Lord once told Rhoda that Rita would do great things for the Church. “My Rita?” she asked.  Who but Our Lord could have known that a feisty young girl with a difficult childhood would go on to found a global television network and, more importantly, teach the world the beauty and value of suffering.  In this, she was just like her friend, Rhoda Wise.

A 19 year old Rita Rizzo (far left) standing next to Rhoda Wise

A 19 year old Rita Rizzo (far right) standing next to Rhoda Wise

Rhoda entered into eternity on July 7, 1948.  Today begins the annual novena leading up to this anniversary.  Here are the novena prayers, taken from the official website of the Rhoda Wise home.  Please visit the website to learn more about Rhoda’s life and the many miracles God worked through her.


NOVENA  PRAYERS

(These Prayers Are For Private Use Only)

My Friend,  you are my true Friend. My only Friend.  You take part in all my misfortunes.  You know how to turn them into blessings.  You listen to me with great kindness when I tell you all my troubles, and you always have something with which to heal my wounds.

I find you at any time of the day or night, for I find you wherever I happen to be.  You never leave me.  If I change my dwelling place,
I find you wherever I go.  You never weary of listening to me.   I am certain of being loved by You, if I but love You.  My worldly goods are of no value to you, but by bestowing yours on me You never grow the poorer.  However miserable I may be, no one more noble, more clever, or even more holy, can come between You and me and deprive me of your friendship.

And death, which tears us away from all other friends will unite me forever to You.  All the humiliations attached to old age or the loss of honor will never separate you from me;  On the contrary, I shall never enjoy You more fully and you will never be closer to me than when everything seems to conspire against me and cast me down.  You bear with all my faults with extreme patience.  Even my lack of fidelity and my ingratitude do not wound you to such a degree as to make you unwilling to receive me back when I return to you.  O Jesus, grant that I may die loving you and that I may die for love of you.  Amen
– St. Claude de la Columbiere

Rhoda_s_Jesus-294x524O Lord Jesus Christ, our Mediator with the Father, Who has appointed the most blessed Virgin, Thy Mother, to be our Mother also and Our Mediatrix before You; grant that whoever draws close to You to beseech any benefit may receive all things through her and rejoice.  You live and reign with the Father and Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

 

rhoda_s_therese-255x264O beautiful Rose of Carmel, Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus, deign according to your promise to descend from Heaven to visit
those who implore you, and to pour down in profusion those Celestial Graces that are symbolized by the shower of roses that Jesus, your Spouse, has put at your disposal.  Your power is great with his Heart.  He can only listen and hear your prayer.  I have recourse to you then, O Saint Therese of the Child Jesus; assist me in this need (mention your intention.) Speak for me to Jesus and to Mary and obtain for me the grace to live a holy life and die a happy death.  Amen

An Our Father, Hail Mary , and Glory be for the intentions of Rhoda Wise.

 “I do not see the Sacred Heart as others do.  I think that my Spouse’s heart is mine alone, as mine is his alone, and I speak to him in the solitude of this delightful heart to heart exchange, waiting for the day when I will contemplate him face to face.”

(St. Therese in a letter to her sister, Celine, October 14, 1890)


 

Show Notes – A Good Habit 7/16/14

A Good Habit Show NotesIt’s a soggy Friday here in San Antonio, a perfect day to sit down with a good book.  We have some recommendations for you on that score, but first off, let’s talk about Our Lady.

Our lady of mt. carmel and the brown scapular

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 I owe a great deal in my early youth to my devotion to the Carmelite scapular.  A mother’s constant diligence and concern for the clothes of her children is beautiful to see.  She always wants them well-dressed…The Blessed Mother of Mount Carmel and of the holy scapular speaks to us of her maternal care, her concern to clothe us spiritually with the grace of God and to help us always keep our garments white…Be vigilant to correspond to your good Mother who is concerned about how you go about dressed, especially with respect to the garment of grace that her daughters and sons should always wear.

-St. John Paul II, Address 15 January, 1989

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Canonization Mass live

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Saints John XXII and John Paul II are more alive than we are right now – we’re watching the canonization Mass live, through bleary eyes. But it’s all worth it to be a part of this incredible moment in history. I think one of the commentators pointed out that there are four popes present: Pope Emeritus Benedict, Pope Francis, and they just placed the relics of our two new saints near the altar a few minutes ago. What a way to begin Divine Mercy Sunday!

Let the saints choose you

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Have you picked your saint yet?  It’s our tradition to draw a saint’s name from a basket every All Saints Day.  We always end up learning about at least one new saint we never knew about, and we have another friend in heaven to call upon for help.  If you haven’t picked out a saint today, or rather, if you haven’t let a saint pick you, click on the link to go to Jennifer Fulwiler’s Saint’s Name Generator.

And don’t forget to let us know which saint you get!

Sr. Grace Marie made up a basket of saints to pick from and here are some of the saints we got: St. Thomas, St. Frances Cabrini, St. Bruno, St. Therese, St. Padre Pio, and St. Clare of Montefalco.

Of dinner and distractions

As we scour the scriptures and peruse the lives of the saints, there are some holy souls who we are not quite as eager to identify with as others, if we are honest.  For instance Saint Jerome the grumpy, Saint Thomas the doubter, and another one who fits into that group, Martha the anxious and troubled.

Often times we don’t want to admit that, in all probability, we are nearer to them in thought and action than to a Saint Therese or a Saint John who, granted, weren’t without faults, but none the less, whose faults weren’t quite so glaring, and certainly not the foremost thing for which they are most remembered.

And yet, it is true to say, these wonderful souls may be the very ones who give us the most courage and assurance.  It is because of them, we can find in the Scriptures encouragement and hope. We are not alone in our weakness and failures as we read the consoling words Jesus speaks to them, to us, words that let us know the loving patience He has for all who struggle with all manner of things from time to time.

In the case of Martha, who we read about in the Gospel today, it wasn’t the actual service that she was rendering to the Lord that caused Jesus to say what He did, but rather, the state of mind she was in.  She was anxious and troubled.  She was, in a word, distracted, not present to the Lord.

In the midst of her concerns and worries, and because of them, she could not hear His voice.  As present as He was in that little house, she allowed the noise of her busyness to drown Him out.

We all know how easy it is to become overly occupied, too busy, deafened by the din of our own distraction, unable to hear the voice of God, but He always gives us the grace we need.  We can look at a Saint Teresa of Calcutta, or a Mother Cabrini who, although busy about many things, never allowed their work or apostolate to deafen their ears to the One they loved and served. They, like Mary, made themselves always present to the Lord, and understood what was most important. They kept the eye of their hearts always focused on Jesus, even in the midst of the busyness of their lives, and because of that, accomplished great things.

As Jesus was so present in that little house in Bethany, incredibly, so He is present in the rooms of our own poor hearts. He waits for us to come, to listen, and to converse with Him, even in the midst of many things.

Saints of the Octave

Merry Christmas!  As the eight day celebration of Our Lord’s Nativity approaches its end this might be a good time to look at the different saints who are celebrated during the Christmas Octave.  They are many and varied, so what brings them together during this exalted celebration?

St. Stephen, St. John the Apostle, the Holy Innocents, St. Thomas Becket, the Holy Family.  Well, probably no one wonders why the feast of the Holy Family falls within the octave, but what about the others?  In their lives we see that the followers of Christ may come from any profession, any background, any culture.  The key is not where they came from, but where they were going – no matter which direction their lives were headed, when they heard Jesus’ call they followed Him unreservedly, even to Calvary and the shedding of their blood.

Martyrdom of St. Stephen

St. Stephen, the first martyr, whose blood bore great fruit for the Church – the grace of his sacrifice turned Saul the Pharisee into St. Paul the Apostle.

St John writing his Gospel

St. John, especially beloved of God, and entrusted with the care of Our Lord’s own Mother, his Gospel teaches us so much about the divinity of Christ.

The Slaughter of the Holy Innocents

The Holy Innocents – babies and toddlers, unable to speak the name of their newborn King, yet giving their lives for Him.  In their martyrdom we see God’s power in bringing grace and goodness out of even the most evil actions of man.

 Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket

St. Thomas Becket – a close friend of King Henry II, but once consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury, he didn’t shrink from opposing the king in defense of Christ and His Church, even when it cost him his life.

Though not all were called to follow Him to the same end, they all shared a life-changing love for Jesus Christ.  As St. Thomas Becket wrote in the second reading from today’s Office of Readings, “The whole company of saints bears witness to the unfailing truth that without real effort no one wins the crown.”

Each one of these saints won the crown of eternal life – some by the witness of their blood, but all by the witness of their life – through sacrifice, prayer, perseverance, and God’s grace; all of which are available to us today, if only we seek and ask.

The Transitus of Our Holy Father Francis

O sanctissima anima, in cuius transitu caeli cives occurrunt, Angelorum chorus exultat, et gloriosa Trinitas invitat, dicens:  Mane nobiscum in aeternum.

O most holy soul, at your departure the heavenly host comes to meet you, the angelic choir rejoices & the glorious Trinity welcomes you, saying:  remain with us forever.

This evening was a milestone for us: we celebrated the Transitus of Our Holy Father Francis for the first time since moving to San Antonio!  Fr. Phillips, pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement, led this service, which marks the passing of St. Francis from this life to eternal life.  It is so fitting for this Franciscan tradition to be celebrated at Our Lady of the Atonement, since this title of Our Lady was begun by a Franciscan, Fr. Paul Wattson.

For those of you who would like to see what a Transitus service looks like, here is a video from the Franciscan Custos in the Holy Land. Warning: it’s quite long, so not for the faint of heart.  Ours was a small affair, nowhere near as fancy…but give us a year or two…