Do We Tell the Stories of Our Ordinary Saints?

Mother Teresa and Bishop Gnidovec, CM

Our Vincentian Superior General Fr. Tomas Mavric has published a reflection on FamVin  titled “One Saint Speaking of Another Saint”

He begins by reminding us

As we begin the fifth century of the Vincentian Charism, we are encouraged by the example of thousands upon thousands of our brothers and sisters in the Vincentian Family who lived, with all their hearts, souls, and minds, the Vincentian charism and spirituality throughout the 400 years since our foundation. They passed on to us God’s gift, a way to sanctity, so that we, in turn, might hand it over to future generations. The Church also recognizes many of them officially as Saints, Blessed, and Servants of God.

Among these is the Servant of God, Bishop Janez Frančišek Gnidovec, CM, whose process for beatification has been completed and now is awaiting a miracle so that the Church might recognize him officially as blessed.

He continues

As members of the Vincentian Family, but, of course, not just limited to its members, we all have a wonderful opportunity to turn to the many Saints, Blessed, and Servants of God in our Family. We ask them to intercede for us before Jesus for our different intentions and needs, to help us, and all those for whom we pray, on our day-to-day pilgrimage on earth.

Bishop Gnidovec, CM knew Mother Teresa from her childhood. He accompanied her in her early years and he was one of the tools in Jesus’s hands to help Mother Teresa discover her vocation to consecrated life and to make the final decision to give herself totally to Jesus. Bishop Gnidovec celebrated the Eucharist at which Mother Teresa was present before she left from home to enter the consecrated life.

Years later, when Janez Frančišek Gnidovec’s beatification process began, Mother Teresa was asked to be one of the witnesses. She wrote a short note in the Croatian language. A copy, in her own handwriting, is attached.

The note reads:

Our Bishop Gnidovec was a saint. Everyone called him by this name. He was truly a priest according to Jesus’s heart, with a gentle and humble heart.

When I was leaving for the missions, he celebrated the Eucharist for me, gave me Holy Communion, blessed me, and said:

“You are going to the missions. Give it all to Jesus, live just for Him, be only His, love Him alone, offer yourself solely to Him. Let Jesus be all in your life.”

I am convinced that he prays for me and that I have in him an intercessor before Jesus.

Mother Teresa, MC

This started me thinking. Pope Francis recently reminded us of “the saints next door”. In an age where we seem to be obsessed with tearing down and belittling, do we tell the stories of the “saints next door”?

We may not be asked to provide testimony for an official recognition of holiness. But shouldn’t we be celebrating rather than denigrating?

Let’s tell the stories of the “Saints Next Door”

Fr. Mavric’s full thoughts.

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