Lessons From St. Mary Magdalene

We celebrated the day of St. Mary Magdalene recently, and I would like to take the time today to remember some of the lessons that we can learn from her life.

Here are just a few lessons from St. Mary Magdalene:

1. Jesus can set us free from our past. The Scriptures tell us Mary Magdalene was possessed by seven demons (Luke 8:2); but Jesus set her free from her demons and acknowledged her as one of her important followers.

2. Jesus can forgive the sins that men find unforgivable. St. Mary Magdalene was mocked, looked down upon and condemned by many people. She continued to believe in Jesus’ promises–That no matter what sins we have in our lives, God is ready to forgive us. Her life teaches us that there is no one who is beyond the pale of his redemption.

3. Despite of all the sins we have committed in the past, when we surrender our lives to God, He will use it mightily for his purpose. Mary Magdalene, a woman with a dark and sinful past was the the first witness to Jesus Christ risen from the dead. From a sinner, God turned Mary Magdalene into a great witness of his love.

Ultimately, St. Mary Magdalene’s life teaches us that there is no one whom God cannot redeem and use for his purposes. What other lessons from St. Mary Magdalene have you learned?

If you want to know more about St. Mary Magdalene, here’s an interesting read: “Visit Mary Magdalene’s Hometown.”

Picking a Patron Saint for 2013: You Don’t Have to Be Conventional

Many people like to choose an extra patron saint to pray to each calendar year. With 2013 beginning I have seen a few online generators that help you decide on a patron saint to have for the year. Others like to handpick their extra patron saint each year. Both of these methods are pretty cool, and I think it is a great way for people to learn about new saints they might not have known about before.

I read a post on Happy Catholic recently about how the author Julie picked J.R.R. Tolkien as her saint for 2013. I read the title of the post and I was confused seeing as Tolkien has certainly not been canonized. Her reasoning was that she has been turning to her favorite authors in recent months with special petitions. Although Tolkien isn’t a saint, he certainly led a great life and one that a lot can be learned from. Julie likes to write so it makes sense that her favorite writer can be included in her prayers for the year.

Saint Pedro Calungsod: The Second Filipino Saint

Pope Benedict XVI recently canonized Pedro Calungsod. Today many Roman Catholic Filipinos gathered in Cebu City to celebrate this canonization and the new statue built in his honor. Pedro Calungsod is the second ever saint to come from the Philippines. He was a martyr in the 17th century who died as a teen. Pedro joined Spanish Jesuit missionaries to Guam in 1668 on a mission to convert the native people, however they resisted and his life was lost.

To hear more about this story click here: Saint Pedro Calungsod

Keeping the Saints in Mind Throughout November: Ideas for Your Family

All Saints Day was November 1, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop thinking about the saints. In fact, if you have kids I would even encourage you to keep the saint in mind all month long. A recent post on Catholic Family Fun gave me this idea. The post was titled, “Fun for the Month”, and was about ways to keep your family involved and learning about the saints all through November. The author Sarah has some awesome ideas which include having your kids trade saint cards, designing their own saint place mats, feast day cards, family litanies, and other great ideas as well!

What ways will you utilize to teach your children about the saints?

Dorothy Day to Become Considered for Sainthood

There will be a vote this week during the US Bishop’s General Assembly to advance the cause for Dorothy Day’s canonization as a saint. Cardinal Dolan is the leading advocate for the cause, and will make his case to the other bishops at this week’s meetings. Dorothy Day has already been given the title “Servant of God”, which happened in 2000 when Cardinal O’Connor first advocated her canonization. Day passed away on November 29, 1980 and was quoted during her life for saying, “If I have accomplished anything in my life, it is because I have not been embarrassed to talk about God”. To learn more about the life of Dorothy Day check out the Biography of Dorothy Day featured on Catholic Worker Movement.

We will without a doubt be hearing more about this development soon and will keep you posted!

Saint Leo the Great: What Makes This Patron Saint “Great”?

Ever wonder why Saint Leo was great? Saint Leo the Great was Pope Leo I before he passed away. During his time as pope, he dealt with a lot of different issues in the Church. The Church was having a difficult time with pagan religions during his time, the late fifth century, and Leo handled the issues very well. The problems were coming from Pelagianism and Manichaeanism, and Leo made them all renounce their paganism before they would be allowed Communion.

Leo also established the idea that Christ and his teachings were of man and of God. This was important because Pelagianism and Manichaeanism were teaching otherwise at the time. Saint Leo the Great also helped greatly to establish the papacy into the position we know it as today. Barbarians were about to attack Rome during his papacy, and Leo convinced Attila to not attack the city.

Amongst all these other things, Leo is a Doctor of the Church. So as you can see, Saint the Leo the Great truly deserves his title. To learn more about Saint Leo the Great read this post on Saints and Angels.

The Nativity Scene: The History and Origins of a Tradition

Have you ever wondered where the tradition of the nativity scene originated? I have often thought about how this began and looked into it recently. I found a post on US Catholic that explains it all quite well. The post is actually titled, “Who Invented the Nativity Scene?”, and it answered all of my questions on the topic. The first nativity scene was created by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1223. The post goes through the entire history of the nativity scene starting in 1223 and moving towards modern day.

Making a Litany: How to Create Your Own Family Litany

You can find interesting ways to teach your family about the saints. Creating a family litany is one way to do so, and it is quite simple. Constructing a list of saints to include in your litany can be a cool way to discover saints that you don’t know much about. A recent post on Catholic Mom gave some great information on how to create a family litany. Lauren, the author of the post, gave great ideas such as including saints who share names with your children, spouse, and any other family members. She also suggested including the patron saints of your and your spouse’s professions. Check out the post and learn how to create a family litany today!

Two New Doctors of the Church: Saint Hildegard and Saint John of Avila

Pope Benedict XVI recently named two new doctors of the Church. Both were already recognized as saints by the Catholic Church. The two new doctors are Saint Hildegard of Bingen and Saint John of Avila. While the two were already considered saints of the Catholic Church becoming a doctor of the Church makes them part of a much smaller group. There are many saints, but only 35 of those saints are considered doctors. These two are now doctors of the Church because their doctrines have benefited the community very much.

To learn more about the two new doctors of the Church check out this article titled, “Meet the Church’s Two New Doctors” featured on Catholic Exchange.

Why Do the Blind and Paralyzed Pray to Saint Alice?

Saint Alice was born in the year 1204 in a small village called Shaerbeck, which was near Brussels. She was sometimes called Aleydis, a common form of the name Alice in that time period. She had a very religious upbringing and at the very young age of seven, on her own volition decided to join a convent. The Camera Sanctae Mariae convent would be the home of Saint Alice from that day on, through her entire life, until her death in the year 1250.

The Camera Sanctae Mariae was a Cistercian convent. Cistercian monks and nuns were sometimes referred to as the Bernardines or the White Monks. They believed in living a life of manual labour and self-sufficiency. Saint Alice fit in well because even at her extremely young age, she was known for being extremely humble and kind. She was influential to, and highly admired by the other nuns that she lived with. She led by example, performing her many selfless acts. Sadly, when Alice reached her teenaged years her life took a dramatic change.

Saint Alice became stricken with leprosy. This meant that she would now be forced to lead a life of seclusion, as lepers were forced to do due to the highly contagious nature of the disease. This was a terrible fate for a young Alice to face. She loved nothing more than to be around people. She loved to help them, and talk with them. She was a leader by example. Now, leading a lonely life as an outcast from society, Saint Alice would have to figure out how to continue to be that light.

Alice remained strong through prayer which brought her even closer to God. She was comforted by being able to receive the Holy Eucharist, though she could not drink from the cup. The Lord appeared to her and assured her that He was both in the bread and the wine. It was okay that she could not drink from the cup.

Alice’s suffering did not stop at just leprosy. Saint Alice was also stricken blind only a year into battling her disease. She later became completely paralyzed as well. At this point most human beings would be so depressed and struggle with their faith. Anger would be reasonable, but not for Saint Alice. She remained positive and faithful. She continued to be comforted by receiving the Holy Eucharist and her visions of God. He came to her, telling her to remain strong in her faith. He assured her that she she would be welcomed into the kingdom of Heaven with, into warm, loving and open arms when the time came. Until then, while on earth, she must remain strong.

Alice remained strong and faithful until her dying day in the year 1250. Though she spent her time isolated from others, she remained at the convent and enjoyed a close and special relationship with God. Her strength and faith is an example to us all. She is a special example to the blind and paralyzed. When praying to Saint Alice, their patron saint, they remember that Heaven is waiting for them. They must be strong and faithful. Saint Alice was Canonized in the year 1907. Her feast day is June 15th.