Stories of St. Gerard, Sr. Anselm, Sr. Theotokos

I don’t usually post on Sundays, but I was so moved by Mass today, and I wanted to share with you something Father said. Our parish is a Redemptorist parish, and one of their priests has come to do a mission at our church this week; this morning he said Mass and introduced himself and told us about his work and his experiences. What I particularly wanted to post is that he has a great amount of confidence in St. Gerard’s intercession for anyone hoping to have a baby. He mentioned how there were several times recently at other missions he’d done where he prayed with a couple who had been struggling to have a baby for St. Gerard’s intercession, and then asked them to email him when they’d conceived — and of course he received the emails not long after!

He also told the story of his own mother, who really wanted a son after having had two girls (and he’s Lebanese, so he said that played a role too — both his parents really wanted a boy!). So he said his mom did a 9 month novena to St. Gerard while she was pregnant and was blessed with not one boy, but two — he’s a twin — he and his brother are Thomas Gerard and Charles Gerard! I loved that story so much!

Unrelatedly, but still something I think you’ll all appreciate, he said he was stationed in Lebanon for a while, and knew Sr. Anselm while there — she’s one of the Missionaries of Charity sisters who were shot by ISIS last year this month. Funny enough, I’d looked up that very story yesterday, as I’d had the great privilege of attending the celebration of the 33rd anniversary of the foundation of the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) and the opening of the IVE monastery in Auriesville, NY (location of the Shrine of the North American Martyrs and Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs, martyrdom of St. Isaac Jogues, and birth of St. Kateri), and a whole bunch of the Order’s sisters were there (Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara [SSVM]; we met one who introduced herself as Sr. Theotokos, which I love so much; I googled her, and her full name is Sr. Maria Theotokos, love love!), and I was thinking that they reminded me of the sisters who had been killed last year, so I’d looked them up to see if they were the same Order (I hadn’t remembered that they were Mother Teresa’s Order). Such a weird coincidence that I’d just looked them up yesterday and they were mentioned today!

My husband and I are going to attend as much of the mission as we can, and I’ll keep all of you and your intentions in my prayers during this week. St. Gerard and the martyred sisters, pray for us!

Three things to pray for

You guys, our dear Dwija’s in the hospital as her water broke yesterday at 32 weeks. Please pray for her and her wee little girl! And the rest of the family!

Secondly, I know you’ve all heard about the sweet, brave Missionaries of Charity who were handcuffed and shot in Yemen. Stories and pictures about them were being tagged yesterday on FB and Twitter and IG with #TheseSistersHaveNames, which is so appropriate — we know the power of names and their humanizing effect. Knowing their names helps us never forget them. Sr. Anselm, Sr. Reginette, Sr. Marguerite/Margherite (I’ve seen both), and Sr. Judith (a new and wonderful patron for any Judiths!), please pray for us and for the whole world. ❤

This is the prayer the Missionaries of Charity pray “after their morning Mass and before breakfast, the prayer is one of the last that the sisters would have prayed before being killed”:

Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward.”

A friend sent this prayer to me yesterday as appropriate for my third intention: though it certainly pales in comparison to the kinds of suffering the Missionaries of Charity see and tend to, and to actual martyrdom for one’s faith, there’s a stomach bug that won’t leave my house, and I know a lot of you are dealing with it too (I hope you’re all feeling better Jen!). My #4, who I thought was on the upswing after spending the entire day throwing up two days ago did so again last night. It’s everywhere. My task for this morning is to clean it up (I was too tired last night). Please pray for my little boys (four out of the six have now had it … I’m waiting for the other two, and please God not myself [my husband doesn’t get stomach bugs, such a weirdo]) and for me and for all the parents and little ones dealing with the the stomach bug right now. I seriously think someone needs to start an Order of Sisters whose mission is to care for families with the stomach bug. Great personal risk? Check. Ostracization? Check. Suffering and sickness? Check, check, checkity check. If anyone has any daughters who want to start a new Order when they grow up, maybe whisper this idea in their ears. (I truly hope this doesn’t come across as insensitive in the face of the lost Sisters of Yemen. It’s because of their wonderful work and love and care that I immediately thought of Sisters when I was in the throes of cleaning and disinfecting our house over the last few days — they do such wonderful, important work, in big ways and small. Thank God for Sisters.)