Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Saints who were sent away ...

The death of St. Margaret of Cortona.
Men may deprive us of everything,
but nothing can separate us from the love of God.
As Catholics we have that assurance when we die with the sacraments.

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state ...

Someone should write about saints who were sent away or marginalized, either by their own choice or by those in authority, and most of all - those shunned by their neighbors.  Victims of calumny and detraction.

Just today I came across Catholics on FB engaged in an online fight, condemning one another for condemning some one else.  In a strange way, Holy Week is an appropriate time for such mean spirited arguments and attacks upon the good name of others.  After all, that is just how men treated Our Lord in his passion.  Those who were his friends betrayed him and denied him, and of course abandoned him.  Over the centuries, his followers repeat the same sins, down to the minute.

Some saints like Roch were imprisoned, others like Benedict Joseph and other 'fools for Christ' were mocked and despised for their ignorance, and dismissed as mentally ill, and so on.  Founders of religious orders were thrown out by their own congregations, or given the lowliest tasks and replaced by someone smarter or more capable.  The failure saints, after the martyrs, seem to me the most conformed to Christ.

Today I'm thinking of St. Margaret of Cortona who had been taunted her entire life, even after her conversion and life of severe penance.  Envious town folk and fellow tertiaries continued to gossip and question her behavior - always suspicious of her penance and charity.  Even until her death.  The Franciscans sent her away to live and die in a much smaller place, a poor hamlet with a very poor church.  They did this to quiet the gossips.  Imagine how the saints suffered from the misunderstandings of concerned religious people.  Always accused and often calumniated - think of Elizabeth of Hungary.  Her relatives drove her away after her husband's death, Her own confessor subjected her to great abuse.  She suffered - they all suffered as did Christ, amid much clamor and unrest.  I love knowing that.

"And if you ask, 'What is the way?' I will tell you it is the way Christ chose, the way of disgrace ..." - S. Catherine


  1. Beautiful post, Terry, especially for Holy Week.

    There is dignity in suffering and betrayal when it is in imitation of the suffering of Jesus. Even my good St. Francis endured being usurped from the leadership of the Franciscans for a short time by Brother Elias. He was also had permanent eye damage from his mission to convert the Sultan and the Muslims in the desert during the Crusades, as well as the stigmata he bore for many years. And St. Pio of Pietrelcina was prevented from saying Mass for ten years by his superiors while being investigated, all the while enduring the painful stigmata. They both suffered cheerfully and obediently, and were eventually redeemed by their fellow Franciscans and restored to their former status.

    God's most beloved children have always endured terrible suffering. Even Our Blessed Mother watched her Son being mercilessly tortured, humiliated, and murdered by evil men for doing nothing less than serving God and loving His children.

    It is very hard, but it is good to remember this and know that we are *never* abandoned. Our patient suffering is one of the very few gifts we can give to God, who gives us all we need to live.

    God bless and protect all here this Holy Week - Susan, ofs

  2. So many have suffered on the road to holiness. St Terese of Liseaux, Blessed Charles Foucauld are two more who come to mind. Pope Francis seems a living example. It is true Holy Week is an appropriate time to remember them. It takes a heroic spirit to accept and endure under such circumstances. Thank you Terry for this insight and powerful reflection.


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