Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Lattanzi Ten - 3/26/15 (Guest Edition)

Today's Ten is presented by my own beloved wife, who is the expert in our home about things such as saints and the Old Testament. Today, she is writing about ten female saints in the Church about which are worth knowing even just a little bit. Enjoy and be informed! -- J.L.

Let’s face it, there are a whole lot of Saints in the Catholic Church and it is nearly impossible to know something about every one of them. Since it is March and Women in History Month, I thought I would give you a list of 10 women Saints that you may not know anything about, but you should!

Have you heard about St. Josephine? Probably not. I didn't know much about her until I started working at a school in SE Washington, DC where I learned a lot about her. Born in Africa, she was sold into slavery as a child. In fact, Josephine Bakhita is not even her given name. All the horror that she experienced as a child made her forget her birth name. Josephine was given to her later. She showed great humility, sweetness and always wore a smile despite all the hardships in her life. Definitely worth reading further!

Does this saint ring a bell? Probably not off the top of your head. She is also known as St. Edith Stein. St. Edith Stein was born into a Jewish family in Poland. She excelled as a student, and is probably one of the more educated saints of the late 18th/19th centuries. She became Catholic in 1922, and joined a Carmelite order. St. Edith Stein took the name of Teresa Benedicta of the Cross from St. Teresa of Avila. She was moved to the Netherlands for her safety, but unfortunately, due to her staunch defense of Catholic morality and the fact that she was Jewish by birth, she and her sister were taken to a concentration camp at Auschwitz, and later died in the gas chambers. She is admired for her faith and courage.

St. Teresa of Avila has a distinction that not many other saints, let alone women saints, have. She is one of the few Doctors of the Church. St. Teresa joined the Carmelite order because she felt like it was a place that could keep her from sinning, not necessarily out of holiness. She was known for her mysticism , and great prayer life which led to states of ecstasy and raised her from the ground. A lot of people felt that it was the devil in which she was communicating with, and not Christ. She also wanted to reform the Carmelite order, to go back to a simple life of prayer and poverty, but many railed against this. She eventually founded the Discalced Carmelites (Discalced means no shoes). What’s not to love about St. Teresa of Avila? She was a simple woman, who grew to love Christ so much, and at the same time, through her love started change.

St. Bernadette was a poor servant girl who was bestowed with a miracle! What’s cooler than that?! The Virgin Mary (later the title Our Lady of Lourdes was given to her) appeared to her in Lourdes on several different occasions. If that wasn’t enough, after her body was exhumed, it was discovered that St. Bernadette was an incorruptible.

St. Katharine is truly an American saint. She was born to a wealthy Philadelphia family. She started helping the unfortunate at an early age. One of her interests were the treatment of the Native Americans. She founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in order to fulfill her dream.

I’m sure you have no idea who St. Gianna Beretta Molla is, and as of a few years ago, I had no idea, either. St. Gianna was a normal, hardworking woman. She was a doctor who helped serve those who needed it, she was a wife, and a mother. During her second pregnancy, she developed a mysterious pain, which later, was determined to be a tumor. They were able to remove the tumor, but could not perform the necessary hysterectomy because of the pregnancy. When it was close to her due date, she stated, “If you must decided between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child - I insist on it. Save him”. She died the following week. She fought hard to continue her pregnancy despite what the doctors insisted that she do. She knew and valued human life even at the cost of her own.

Most people have an idea of who St. Maria Goretti is. She is perhaps one of the younger people to be named a saint. St. Maria was a holy and pious young Catholic who lived with her mother, younger siblings and a few family friends. One day, a young man tried to rape St. Maria and she refused, he stabbed her several times for refusing and then ran away. St. Maria was rushed to the hospital, where she suffered awhile longer but forgave the man who stabbed her. She later appeared to him in a dream. After the man’s imprisonment, he asked St. Maria’s mother for forgiveness, and attended her canonization mass. St. Maria is a young woman who knew the value of human dignity, morals and forgiveness.

St.Therese (Therese Martin) is perhaps one of my most favorite saints ever. Her titles also include St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face (lesser known title), St. Therese the Little Flower. She is another younger saint, that followed God’s calling. Most of her sisters entered into the local French Carmelite order (save for one who bounced around in different religious orders until she later found a home at the same one her other sisters were at), St. Therese knew she was destine to enter the Carmelites. She begged, she prayed, and she begged some more until the Pope finally interceded for her, and allowed her to enter the order at a young age. It was in the Carmelite convent that she discovered her Little Way, in which she would do little things for Jesus because she couldn't manage the big things (she had always wanted to be a Martyr). St. Therese’ life and reflections (The Story of a Soul) is an amazing record of such courage, and faith. The other awesome thing about St. Therese? Her parents, Louis and Zelie Martin, are set to become the first couple canonized!

St. Catherine is another saint that pretty significant because the Virgin Mary appeared to her three different times, telling her what her mission would be, that she would have lots of suffering, and finally showed her what would later become the Miraculous Medal (medal of the Immaculate Conception). St. Catherine is also pretty awesome because she, too, has an incorruptible body.

St. Joan of Arc was an amazing young woman who, listened to God, and helped her country. She stood up to those who looked down upon her, but at the same time, holding on to her faith. She was tricked into making false statements, but refused to retract statements that she made about the saints that were talking to her. She was condemned as a heretic, and burned at the stake. Her last words were said to have been calling out to God.

Finally, I wanted to give special attention to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We, as Catholics, believe that she is the Mother of Christ. While she is a Saint, we hold her a little higher in our esteem as the Mother of God.

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