Friday, September 30, 2011

Wait, why is a cloistered nun the patroness of a missionary organization?

St. Therese is the patroness of FOCUS and October 1st is her feast day. St. Therese is one of the most popular saints and at first glance making her FOCUS’ patroness seems like a pretty normal thing to do...until you really think about. Why would an organization dedicated to missionary work chose a patroness who spent the entirety of her adult life in a convent far away from missionary work?

Three reasons

1. She prayed for and wrote to missionary priests.
When assigned to two missionary priests, she told her superior, “Mother, I did not know how to express my happiness.” She wrote to one missionary priest, “Let us work together for the salvation of souls…what encourages me is the thought that by your side I can be of some use.”

While it is helpful for the patron or patroness of an organization or cause to relate directly to it , the job of a patron or patroness is to provide prayer intercession. (St. Francis Xavier and St. Therese are the patron saints of missionary work and FOCUS).

2. She had an incredible heart for missionary work.

St. Therese once said, “I have the vocation of the Apostle (Paul). I would like to travel over the whole earth to preach Your Name and to plant Your glorious cross on infidel soul. But…one mission alone would not be sufficient for me, I would want to preach the Gospel on all the five continents simultaneously and even to the most remote isles. I would be a missionary, not for a few years only, but from the beginning of creation until the consummation of the ages.”

3. She sought to save souls through her own pursuit of holiness.

One author writes, “The religious life seemed to her primarily a means of saving souls. She even thought at one time of becoming a nun in the foreign mission; but the hope of being able to save more souls by penance and sacrifice was responsible for her decision to enclose herself in Carmel.” (Carmel pictured left).

St. Therese’s missionary work continues today through others following her example and through her intercession.

St. Therese, pray for us.

All quotes are from St. Benedict & St. Therese: The Little Rule and the Little Way by Dwight Longenecker.

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