Thanks be to God! St. Marianne Cope and St. Kateri Tekakwitha!

This is a weekend for American Catholics to rejoice and give thanks! Tomorrow the Pope will create seven new saints for the universal Church, and two of them are American figures.

Marianne Cope was the Sister of Saint Joseph who is best known for her ministry to the lepers on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, after responding with several of other members of her community to the request of St. Damien of Molokai for help.  Before moving to Molokai, she lived in Syracuse, NY, and founded a hospital there.  (Unfortunately, Rome Reports is mistakenly saying in their report this week that she lived in Philadelphia! A better video, though not brand new, is here.)

The other is Kateri Tekakwitha, who becomes the first native American saint! Kateri was born and raised in central New York state.

Frankly, we’re especially excited about this among my own family, because we’ve had some personal contact with each of these great women. My wife and kids and I lived outside of Syracuse, NY, for 4 years.  During that time, we were able to visit the tomb of Marianne Cope, which is at convent of the Sisters of Saint Joseph there.

We were also able to visit the site of the Mohawk village where Kateri lived most of her life. It’s outside of what is today Fonda, NY, and is now the National Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine. (I think what my kids remember most is that it was an incredibly hot July day, and they mostly wanted to get back in the car for the air conditioning!)

St. Marianne Cope, pray for us.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, pray for us.

A healthy dose of realism

I find that I see things differently than Fr. Dwight Longenecker a bit more often than not. But his most recent blog post, “Abortion and Politics – The Plain Facts,” is full of good sense. It’s a healthy dose of realism in season of much unrealistic talk. The money quote, for me:

What response should a Catholic take? A Catholic should weigh up the two candidates and ask not so much which one will make the country exactly the way we want it to be, but which one will do less harm?

I’ve been wringing my hands in recent weeks over whether I might need to resort to voting for a third party candidate in the presidential election, just so I don’t have to feel grimy on election day. Fr. Longenecker’s post has provided an occasion for me to take a breath, relax a bit, and think, “Maybe not.”

The full piece is here.

A decade of Luminous Mysteries

It’s ten years ago today that Pope John Paul II introduced the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary to the Catholic faithful, with his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae. He published the document on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his election to the papacy, so it really was in a sense a very personal gift of the Pope to his people. He wrote:

With these words, dear brothers and sisters, I set the first year of my Pontificate within the daily rhythm of the Rosary. Today, as I begin the twenty-fifth year of my service as the Successor of Peter, I wish to do the same. How many graces have I received in these years from the Blessed Virgin through the Rosary: Magnificat anima mea Dominum! I wish to lift up my thanks to the Lord in the words of his Most Holy Mother, under whose protection I have placed my Petrine ministry: Totus Tuus!

Today is, in my opinion, a moment to give thanks for this gift, one that I have myself enjoyed and benefitted spiritually from in an ongoing way. I know many, many others would heartily agree.

The entire letter is well worth another look!