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To St. Anthony, in Gratitude for Favors Received

When you're enjoying an unusually peaceful Sunday Mass -- because your squirmy eleven month old is home with Dad, and your mother is in town and exerting a calming influence on his not-quite-three-year-old brother, and you remembered to pack the milk and bagel and other amusements that keep him still and satisfied through at least the first half of the liturgy -- and then, just as the offertory is coming to an end, your toddler climbs into your lap and takes your hand and asks, "Can I wear your ring?" you just might say yes.

You will think, "No, that's a bad idea. This is my engagement ring. It has a diamond. He is two. He cannot appreciate its value in either financial or sentimental terms. I should say no." But then you might think, "He's being so good and sweet. And taking the ring off and on could keep him quiet for at least some of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. And if I say no he will probably ask again, louder, because remembering to whisper is not his strong suit...."

They say becoming a parent changes your priorities. It would be nice to think that means it teaches you to value people before things (as my local La Leche League leader likes to remind us to do). But it may be that caring for a toddler simply conditions you to focus entirely on short-term consequences. So then you might say, "OK, but you have to sit in my lap," and think you've found a way to keep him still and keep the ring in your sights. Everybody wins.

And then the deacon motions for everyone to stand, so you hoist your child up in your arms and watch him sliding the ring up and down his little fingers as you answer the prayers, and then he suddenly jerks forward and fumbles with his hands, and the ring disappears.

Now you know for certain that you were right: allowing a not-yet-three-year-old child to play with an engagement ring is a bad idea. You also know that you will not be enjoying any more of this nice, quiet, prayerful Mass, because you're scanning the pew in front of you for any sign of your ring. It made no sound when it dropped. You didn't see it fall or bounce, not even a flash as it disappeared from view. You can't imagine where it could have gone. You check the rolled-up cuffs of your toddler's too-long 3T dress pants, and his pockets. No. Not in the pew-back rack with the hymnals; not anywhere on the floor. Your list of likely hiding places narrows down to the one place you can't hunt: the purse of the woman in the pew in front of you, the bag you were standing above when your kid dropped the ring. The slouchy one with all the pockets and nooks and crannies. The one you can only stare at while she prays, oblivious to your panic.

Meanwhile your child, who knows that you are unhappy and feels, not responsible, but concerned in a disinterested sort of way, will be not-whispering, "Mommy, where's the ring? Where did it go? Did you find it yet? ...THERE it is!" indicating your wedding band, the one with the slim profile that fits so nicely up against the engagement ring you've lost. The fact that your toddler can't tell the difference between a ring with a diamond and a plain band just reminds you how very stupid it was to hand him an engagement ring to amuse himself with in the first place. "Mommy is very sad about that ring," you say, thinking it will help somehow to impress on him the gravity of this loss. He leans back in your arms, studies your face, sees no tears. "Now you're not so sad," he says, reassuring himself.

You can't rifle through this woman's purse in the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer, so you resist the urge, figuring you'll wait till the end of Mass to bother her with your problem. But then you think, What if she's one of those people who leaves after Communion? What if she throws her purse over her shoulder, receives the host, and walks out the door? So, as the sign of peace approaches, you swallow your pride, tap her on the shoulder, and say, "Uh, my son...."

This stranger, bless her, interrupts her heretofore very focused prayers to do a vigorous full-purse search, shaking out her wallet and everything. No luck. After Communion she tries again, even searching under the pews and kneelers you can't reach. At the end of Mass, she takes your phone number so she can contact you if the ring turns up.

The church is emptying out now, and will soon be filling up for the next Mass. The two-year-old is wondering whether he will get to spin the pinwheels in the garden outside, his usual reward for good (or, more typically, not-awful) behavior. "Mommy, are you very sad? Or just a little bit sad?" He does not know how to read this situation. He clearly just wants to put all this unpleasantness behind him.

A man on his way out the door sees you on your hands and knees, peering under pews, and orders his ten-year-old son to get down and hunt with you. You take your toddler to the bathroom and shake out all his clothes. Finally, you thank the man and his son for their assistance and give up the search. There are only two things left to do: stop at the rectory to leave your name, in case someone finds it and turns it in; and say a prayer to St. Anthony and light a votive candle (well, "candle") in front of his statue on the way out. St. Anthony is so popular today in this Italian parish that all of the electric candles in his section of the rack have been lit, so you have to pick one in the section for the less-popular St. Patrick, but you figure it still counts. For good measure, you let your two-year-old press the button that turns the light on. (You also let him spin the pinwheels outside.) Then, you go home.

You're trying not to take this out on the kid, because it's really not his fault -- he didn't mean to drop the ring, and his carelessness was totally predictable. But he's not the one who has to tell his father what happened, and with that in your future you can't help being a little bit brusque. Daddy pales at the news. Lunch is a somber affair. Your two-year-old doesn't even finish his macaroni and cheese, and he loves mac and cheese. You wonder at his lack of appetite, but you're too distracted to think about it much.

He escapes to the playroom for a few minutes of solitude before naptime. Then Nana steps in to take the boy upstairs, change his diaper, read him stories, tuck him in for his nap. It's a good thing, because you don't have the heart for it. You keep checking your phone for a call or a text from the lady with the purse, but it is silent. They climb the steps, and after a moment, your mother shouts your name.

"I found it!" she says. "It was in his diaper!"

You run upstairs to fetch the ring, put it safely on your finger without even stopping to wash it, and tell your son, "Mommy is very happy now," hoping he'll forget the morning's distress. Then back downstairs with the baby, the one who will never know the simple pleasure of sliding his fat fingers into Mommy's engagement ring, and into the playroom, where you discover that your oldest son has worked out his anxiety over the morning's events in crayon all over the walls. He even stood on a chair to scribble on the windowpane. This is something he never does, something he knows well that he must not do. Normally he has no problems following that rule, but today, in those unsupervised moments after lunch, when he was still trying to shake the sense of being out of Mommy's good graces for reasons he couldn't grasp, he must have thought, Why not? Why shouldn't my behavior match the way I feel?

You know you'll have to scold him, but you can't really be mad. This, thank God, is a problem you can fix. Even, perhaps, a penance.

Maybe it's experiences like this that keep us Catholics so devoted to St. Anthony, who takes our petty concerns into his care and receives our sheepish thanks. He's the saint we invoke in those moments when our priorities collide, when we're anxious about something that our faith tells us doesn't really matter, but that we're not ready to give up caring about. St. Anthony always comes through, my own Nana told me -- I remember hunting in the lawn outside her house for some piece of jewelry, a plastic charm I'd dropped and couldn't go on without. She was patient enough to hunt for it with me instead of just telling me it didn't really matter, and she taught me to pray my way through the worry, however trivial that worry was. I hope my son is learning at least that much from me. And I have a renewed faith in the intercessory power of St. Anthony, the saint who holds the Christ Child yet doesn't roll his eyes -- or so we imagine -- at the lesser things that we hold dear.

It might have been better for my character if I'd lost that ring for good, to teach me a lesson about worldly attachments, or maybe just about reasonable expectations for toddler behavior. But it certainly would not have been better for my marriage, or for my relationship with my son. Now that I have it back, I hope it will always remind me of the morning I spent feeling irritated at my little boy, only to discover, just as I was losing hope, that he was carrying around a diamond in his diaper.

About the Author

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly is an editor at large and columnist at Commonweal.



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Story well told.   I imagine most of us have our own St. Anthony stories. Finding keys in a high and dense snow bank, etc.  A very eminent and cerebral American theologian was once attending a conference in a city near Padova, Italy, and decided he wanted to see the basilica dedicated to the great saint. Accompanying him was a colleague from the University of Chicago who at a certain point lost track of him. Eventually she found him lighting many votive candles. "It was the least I could do, for all the favors he has done me," he told her.

My undergraduate students didn't know what many of the saints were "patron saints" of, but they almost all knew that you prayed to St. Anthony when you had lost something and couldn't find it. After class one day, a young woman asked, "Does that work for non-Catholics, too? I'm a Lutheran." I said that I was sure it did.

The lovely little church where my family worshipped was dedicated to St. Anthony, and a Sunday afternoon devotion to him was held all through the year. On the Sunday closest to his feastday (June 13th), a festival was held in his name at the parish, and many busloads of people from the City (New York, of course) would come up for it. After the prayers, lots of fun and good food.

Nice story, Mollie. But does it confirm how you can take the girl/boy out of superstition land while you can't take superstion out of the girl/boy? And of all things you got Joe K, the anti-Novena scholar to concur with you on St. Anthony. 

But if you really want to use the power of St. Anthony,  you could have conferred with him in conjunction with your thread on Maureen Dowd. After all he is known to be the "hammer of heretics." And God knows Maureen needs a good hammering. 

But superstition is a powerful force. Robert Orsi, the scholar, who did extensive research on the devotion of St. Jude, the saint of the impossible,  consciously prayed to St Jude when he was in a conflict once and he did not see a way out. He did not believe in the cult. But his immersion into the cult of St. Jude made this an automatic reflex. 

Of course, this devotion to patron saints got a big bounce in the fifth century when the original body  of Martin of Tours was believed to be in every town in the Catholic world at that time. The concept of a Patron saint is a distinctly roman concept. It is the Godfather notion. Vito Corleone et alii. 

You can assure that you will never lose anything if you secure one of the million or so relics of St Anthony that are available.  

But just pity those poor Protestants. They have no choice but to go directly to God. Despite what Joe K says. 


Once I was about to go on a European trip with a friend who was unchurched. The night before we were to leave, he asked me if I had done everything to get ready, and I almost casually said that I seemed to have misplaced my passport but that it would turn up. He was far more concerned than I had been and insisted on going home with me to help me look for it. We searched for a long time without success. I began to be almost as concerned as he was.

Finally, he asked me if there was anything else I could think of to do. I told him that, though I didn't hold much with such things, a lot of Catholics rely on St Anthony in such situations. He was insistent that I try it. After a brief prayer to St Anthony (with whom I had very little acquaintance), I found the passport in the breast pocket of a sports jacket in a closet. We had each already riflled those pockets.

When we got to our vacation destination, every church we entered turned out to have St. Anthony boxes for the poor. My friend would not let me pass one without putting money in it. And when we returned to New York, he entered the RCIA. So don't tell me St Anthony doesn't help us when we pray.


And, Bill Mazzella, what is your authority for saying that "the original body  of Martin of Tours was believed to be in every town in the Catholic world" or that there are "million or so relics of St Anthony" or that intercessory prayer is somehow a negation of going "directly to God"? I hope I wouldn't feel such contempt for the faith of the Christian ages even if I were a non-Catholic.

I admit to being a saint/novena guy...Yeah I know it is quasi-superstitous but there is, in everyone of them, the bullet proof clause that if what I request is not God's will the grace to accept it....

Glad Anthony came through for you...I have lost so much stuff that ai just need to find the saint of the absent minded!

Of course as far as the Protestants go, I wonder if it works in reverse. i remember vividly invoking Emily Dickinson as my patron....and it worked!

"Faith" is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see—
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency. 

My kid would have swallowed the ring.

I almost lost my mother-in-laws wedding set, which I put in a purse for safekeeping. I checked the purse two, three times, fourth time they popped out of the seam. But I don't think that was St. Anthony. I think that was my mother-in-law making sure I didn't screw up. The rings were to go to her granddaughter.


 if what I request is not God's will the grace to accept it....

Once I lost my 8-year-old son. Teacher, neighbors, friends, friends' parents were called in vain.  We looked everywhere we could think of. I called the police, who asked me what clothes he'd been wearing, an asked for a recent photo. I had been praying all along for him to be fine, but at that point I added the threat that if what I requested was not God's will, I vowed to terminate my relationship with God - eternal life be damned, I didn't care. A few minutes later my son was found, coming out of the rectory where he had been for an unplanned catechism lesson.

What is the morale of this story? I'm not sure. But I was at my wits' end and, had I been in a culture where people prayed to St Anthony, I would have turned to him. Superstition or not, I did not care at that point.


I witnessed first hand the miracle of a mothers prayer. A adult client was quite older had gone missing. His girlfriend sent the police on a wild goose chase far and wide searching. She said he was off to another townn. He was not found for over 24 hours +.

His mother went to a church and prayed rosary after rosary. Another friend of his, from the street, had an intuition, out of the blue, and went to just go and check in a wooded area just 100 yards from his place. He found him sitting on a log in the middle of a wooded area far from anybody.

He had taken pills in a suicide attempt but had changed his mind. Unfortunately, the pills had sedated him and did some kidney damage such that he could literally not move. Thank God he was found and while he had kidney damage he survived.

I knew his mother and consider her a saint. So, all joking aside, prayer works/

Prayer works. i never contested or doubt that at all.  We should pray constantly. Not just five times a day. 

Robert., check your history on Martin of Tours. "The kid cannot be in every picture.)

As many attest people will try anything when conflicted or desperate. Santiago kills the Moors and the Cross is lifted in every battle. Etc. Shrines are big money makers. The biggest money makers are those campaigns that promise you that your intentions will be in so many prayers by Friars, monks, nuns, cloistered etc. throughout the world

Shrines are often points of contention between locals and Rome. A famous one now present is that over Medjujorie where the Vatican and the Francicscans cannot aggree on a resolution. Guess what it is about. Tut, Tut.

The abover url refers to an investigation just  concluded by the Vatican on Medjugorie. 

For recovering that which is lost,

Prayer works.

And especially well in conjunction with a careful and exhaustive search.

I grew up in a house with a lot of little statues of saints kicking around. .My Grandmother even had an Infant of Prague who had changable outfits.

I myself own exactly one saint statue, a Puerto Rican santos of Saint Anthony.  


Mollie - well-told.

Jean - then it still might have been found in the diaper!

John. Exactly. See Emily's poem above.

"Faith" is not magic or magical thinking, not imagining God as a Santa in the sky, not eschewing reason including human psychology. Still, it cannot be reduced to it.

Prayer is an integral component of the human person and has a light and mysterious power of its own as indeed all of science has a mystery and wonder associated with it.

I think there's a special feeling of relief that we only experience when we find something dear that was lost—or remember something important that was forgotten—and that feeling is made somehow sweeter when it is joined to gratitude. Of course, we should always be grateful to God for every good thing, but St. Anthony gives us someone else to be grateful to for this particular kind of good thing; and because, like every other patron saint, he is supposed to help us by praying with and for us, whatever gratitude we direct to him does not subtract from our gratitude to God.

I believe in intercessory prayer despite personal experience, not because of it. As far as I can tell (which may not be very far), I haven't found lost things more often when I prayed for St. Anthony to intercede for me than when I didn't. Nor I can remember any prayer to St. Jude ever leading to an important reversal, or even to any sense of comfort. But people I trust (including Mollie) have had other, better experiences—or perhaps they have just been more discerning interpreters of their experience than I am of mine. In any case, the idea of intercession is not just a holdover from the ancient pagan system of patronage; it is a consequence of the communion of saints. We're all in this together, the living and the dead. St. Anthony can pray that Mollie finds her engagement ring; I can pray for the soul of a dead friend or relative. If that's all superstition, then much of what makes Catholic Christianity catholic is false.

I think I've told this story before on another thread, but this is the right spot for it. Someone visiting the famous physicist Niels Bohr asked him whether he really thought the horseshoe above his door brought him luck. Bohr replied, "No, but I'm told it works even if you don't believe in it."

Of course, someone has to be a wet blanket, so I'll volunteer. 

We all know many, many people who prayed their hearts out, night and day on their knees, rosaries in hand in front of flickering candles, or statues of Mary or Jesus, or who have said novenas to St. Jude or whomever and whose prayers have not been answered - at least not in the way they wished.  Of course, there is an "explanation" - it wasn't God's will for the prayer to be answered in the way the petitioner wants it to be answered. God knows best.  That pretty much covers any outcome to prayers for intercession.

Intercessory prayer makes no sense to some people. Does God listen to only some people's prayers but not others?  Why does God "answer" some prayers as people hope but not others?  Does God not love those who need intercession who don't happen to have a lot of people who love them and pray for them? How about those who are not Christian but pray to God as they understand God - are their prayers answered?  Does God discriminate?  Why pray to a third party instead of to God anyway?  Does God do personal favors for some who are 'in heaven" but treat other heaven-dwellers as second-class, whose intercessions are ignored because the men on earth haven't designated them as "saints" in formal liturgies in Rome?

Anyway - everyone knows all of this. Everyone has all of these questions. Or maybe they don't. Maybe just doubting Thomases like me.  Why is one women's child found alive and healthy after storming heaven and another's is found murdered after just as many prayers? How come one person's cancer goes into remission while another's continue to death - even though their friends and families have stormed heaven with the same prayers?

So why bother to pray for God's intervention? Does God really intervene or is it all simply natural consequences?  God knows all needs for everyone and knows his will for them? Can prayer change God's mind? 

I know, I know - it's a "mystery".

However, I also must admit that while I often doubt the existence of God, or at least of a personal God who looks out for human beings and answers their prayers in a favorable way, and definitely doubt even the concept of intercessory prayer which seems both logically and theologically flawed, I do make one exception.- 

I never doubt St. Anthony. 


My mother was a big believer in the finding skills of St. Anthony. When something in the house would go missing, she would have all ten of the kids going from room to room chanting, “Please St. Anthony, please come around, something is lost and cannot be found.” I remember some successes, including one also involving a missing passport. There’s a church near my work that has a beautiful statue of St. Anthony and the Christ Child. I try to make it for noon Mass when I can, and I almost never pass by the statue without lighting a votive candle and saying an intercessory prayer of one kind or another. Mollie’s story about invocation of St. Anthony’s assistance in finding her engagement ring was very good, but she could have increased its literary quality even more if she had also included a prayer to St. J.R.R. Tolkien, the Lord of the Rings.  ;)

St. Thomas gets such a bad rap, doesn't he.

A while ago, one of the priests at my church said he's called Didymus, which means "The Twin," but his twin is not mentioned in the bible. He then went on to ponder why that might be, and then said maybe that's because that twin is us: we who always doubt and question, are the twin brother/sister of the Doubting Thomas.

I liked that a lot.


Anyway, what a heart-warming story, Mollie. Thank you for sharing.

I might just have to start praying to St. Anthony so that he may pray to God for me, so that He may help me find my sad, lost soul. 


" In any case, the idea of intercession is not just a holdover from the ancient pagan system of patronage; it is a consequence of the communion of saints. We're all in this together, the living and the dead. St. Anthony can pray that Mollie finds her engagement ring; I can pray for the soul of a dead friend or relative. If that's all superstition, then much of what makes Catholic Christianity catholic is false."

Matthew, The above is a great example of a complete non-sequitor. No theology in it. The communion of Saints is not threatened because one refuses to believe in relics or that we can approach God just as well as Anthony or any other holy person. We can always pray and build up one another. But we don't have to believe that a relic has transforming power. The Beatitudes are considered a suggestion while the devotion to saints are considered obligatory. It is an inverted Christianity. Catholic Christianity is alive and well without superstition. Where Catholic Christianity has  been and is false is when it embraces empire and luxury over the cross and the beatitudes. 


No one is questioning your right as a Catholic to doubt the aunthenticity of this or that relic (Mollie's post doesn't even mention relics.) No one is telling you that you can't pray to God directly, or that you must also pray to Anthony. No one is telling you to get right with your patron saint on pain of damnation or excommunication. You are free to dispense with as many sacramentals and small-t Catholic traditions as you like. But if you start accusing other Catholics of superstition when they don't dispense with everything you dispense with, you should expect some push-back.

Also, I don't think you know what a non-sequitur is.

The push back is fine, Matt. Again you give no reason but the fact that some believe in patron saints and some do not. Zero reason again which equal non-sequitor. Which you repeat again. To be more clear. The fact that some Catholics have always practiced a certain veneration does not mean that it is preferred, correct or even meaningful. Or more precisely, destroying Catholic Christianity. Further, I have written on this many times here. The pivotal fourth century brought in an age of hypocrisy in which a leadership which prostituted itself to emperors lost its way and incidentals became more important than substance. People started to admire the holy people who went before them instead of realizing that discipleship was more important than veneration. Here is Marcus on the subject.  Peter Brown has spoken of this phenomenon often. 

"As saints became ubiquitous, they also changed their functions. In the

early Christian community the living faithful prayed to God for their dead;

now the dead saint is asked to pray for the living: a whole new liturgy came

into being. As the martyr is , literally, detached from the place of his

martyrdom and made present wherever his relics have become the center of a

cult, so relics began to be seen in a new way.....relics soon  became

themselves, the seats of holy power, God's preferred channels for miraculous

action. A new nexus of social relationships centered around their shrines;

their cult provided ways of securing social cohesion in the locality, and

one of the means on which bishops depended to consolidate their authority."

The Oxford History of Christianity.pg90.

My only experience with St. Anthony: I reached for my checkbook and it wasn't there. I looked around the house. My wife asked me what I was looking for. I told her. She did some looking and asked where I last saw it. On the desk, I said, where I reached for it and it wasn't there. She looked. It wasn't there. So I said in frustration (and I humbly apologize, but this is the way I heard it), "Tony, Tony look around; something's lost and must be found." I stopped looking. I was sitting at the desk a few hours later, and without remembering it was gone I reached for my checkbook. It was there. Where I reached the first time. Where my wife and I looked.

That much I know. I'm not much interested in the theory.

Tom, it seems to me that your wife played a trick on you.


Claire, No way. I might have done it to her (probably not), but her heritage is German. She'd never do anything so irrelevant to anything else.

I think I got this prayer for finding a parking space from one of Fr. Jim Martin's articles.

"Mother Cabrini, Mother Cabrini, please find a spot for my little machiney."


St. Anthony has all you guys snowed.  He's the one who prays to God that *we lose things*, and God grants his prayers.  That way St. Anthony gets all that extra money to help his poor friends :-)

Except for Maria's petition (I will gladly offer my prayers there) a lot of these petitions seem awfully trivial and self-involved. I wonder why Mother Cabrini would give a rip whether someone found a parking space (unless someone was on their way to minister to poor people). Or why St. Anthony cares whether somebody dumb enough to let a two-year-old play with a diamond ring gets it back (especially since you can't take it to heaven with you).

There's a J.F. Powers story in which a priest goes through the trivial petitions written to the BVM with growing outrage, especially when he gets to the one that says "please don't let me be pregnant." I don't know if I was supposed to find that funny, but I did laugh out loud, though I certainly saw the pathos behind it.

On the other hand, maybe being constant petitioners before the Lord helps us understand how powerless we are, even to keep track of our car keys and check books, misled as we often are by inappropriate emotions, bad decisions, and constant busy-ness. 

I pray almost ceaselessly to St. Jerome to help me quit being a bitch, often aloud in order to get the rest of my family off my back about this. The results seem meagre. 

I, too, have had many "miraculous" finds after interceding to St. Anthony. I love him!

But on a different note, on two occasions, as a young mother of six with two or three additional charges with me in a van (I know, it was unsafe), I left one of my children stranded, got home and after counting heads sped back to the grocery store and the ballpark, all the while storming heaven for their safety.   Found Jim wandering the aisles inspecting the shelves and found Kathleen standing with her hand in that of the groundskeeper.

Now every time I meditate on the joyful mysteries of the rosary and come to the finding of Jesus in the temple, I thank God profusely for keeping my children safe in spite of my carelessness.

Catherine, sounds like you owe as much to the groundskeeper as to St. Anthony. Perhaps he was acting as St. Anthony's agent. Good cautionary tale about not dealing with more children than you can conveniently count. I think St. Anthony must be watching over anybody who tries to organize the Children's Mass on Christmas Eve. It's a miracle that they all eventually find their way home after that bedlam.

"I pray almost ceaselessly to St. Jerome to help me quit being a bitch.."

Jean, I never heard this reason for praying to St. Jerome. Because Jerome was the consummate bitch. If I may use gender license. 

On another level I just want to make it clear that though I am not a believer in devotional matters and consider it without theological foundations, I respect those who do. Especially, people like Mollie and pope Francis who are into this type of Catholicism. What I find revolting are the people who have Madonnas on their front lawns and have a particular devotion to a saint while they could care less about the gospel and discipleship. Hear is an excerpt from perhaps the best biography of Francis:


Jorge Mario Bergoglio has remained faithful to that, and to the style of spirituality with which she (His grandmother)imbued him. In an order as intellectual as the Jesuits he has had to find ways of reconciling with criticisms that he is pandering to the superstitions of folk religion. Another Argentinean Jesuit, Fr Humberto Miguel Yáñez, who is now the head of the moral theology department at the Gregorian University in Rome, thinks Bergoglio has done that. ‘He has always had a favourable attitude to popular religiosity,’ said Yáñez. ‘Some see it as including an element of superstition which is not part of the faith and some bishops were against that. But Bergoglio saw it as an important way that people linked to the spiritual. His influence gradually shaped a different culture among the bishops of Argentina, among other things pushing them to be much closer to their own priests.’


Vallely, Paul (2013-08-01). Pope Francis: Untying the Knots (Kindle Locations 575-578). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition. 


As someone else said recently: "Who I am to judge?"






"St. Jerome was the consummate bitch."

Exactly why I picked him out for my devotion, since there is no saint assigned special patronage for the Perpetually Bitchy.

As for people with bathtub BVMs in their yards who don't care about the gospels or discipleship, you don't know what's in their hearts, or where veneration of a saint might lead. Might years of tending an image of the Virgin and making it pretty every spring with new plantings eventually lead to a more spiritually productive kind of reflection? Or might that arrangement beckon to some passerby on a random, grace-filled day? 

Don't be such a kill joy. That's my job.


Maybe, Jean. But I know a few of them quite well.  God is the ultimate judge. But their light is not shining.

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