A Letter from Madonna House

The Saints are alive!

Have you ever talked to a Saint before? In the Apostles Creed we say: I believe in the Communion of Saints. Have you ever thought about what that means for us?

In Hebrews 12:1, the author says that ‘we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses’ which encourages us to ‘throw off everything that hinders…and run with perseverance the race marked out for us’. The saints in heaven are part of this great cloud of witnesses.

Many years ago, as I was beginning my time of formation to join Madonna House, I once had a chat with one of my favourite saints, St. Therese of Lisieux. Knowing that she had acted as formation director in her convent of Sisters while on earth, I asked if she could help with my formation. She did.

I was able to make my First Promises and was sent to one of our mission houses soon after. It was a busy year with lots of things to learn and do. Some months later I remembered my little prayer to St. Therese. I was no longer in formation, per se, and wondered if she was still interested in helping me.

I knew that she had promised to ‘spend her heaven doing good on earth’ and said that she would ‘send a shower of rose petals’ (i.e. help from heaven) to her friends. I said to her: ‘OK, if you are still willing to help, why don’t you send me a shower of those rose petals you talked about?’

I quickly forgot about that request and got busy cleaning house. Some hours later, I was on all fours scrubbing the bathroom floor when a bottle that we kept on the window sill fell onto my back. The lid popped off and out spilled the contents; a jar-full of dried rose petals cascaded onto my back and onto the floor! I immediately remembered my request and began to laugh!

A mere coincidence, some might say. But I knew that my heavenly friend was smiling back as I received her message!

I am sure that many people have stories about their relationships with various saints.  Almost every day the Church honours one or more saints. Currently at our house in Robin Hood’s Bay we are reading a biography of Blessed Dominic Barberi. We marvel at what God has done in his life, which encourages us on our journey.

We are all called to be saints, whether it is a saint with a capital “S” (the canonized ones) or a small “s”.

And what about our friends and relatives who have died? Are they not also part of this ‘great cloud of witnesses’. During the month of November we pray for the souls of the faithful departed. It is good to do so, and to know that they pray for us, as well.

So, let us rejoice in the Communion of Saints, which begins here on earth and continues after death.

By Jeanne Guillemette

Archive Letters from Madonna House

October 2023: Ordinary Miracles By Mathieu Dacquay