A joyfully Franciscan view of Catholic life, inspired by St. Clare (Santa Chiara) of Assisi!

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Location: Virginia, United States

Chiara Offreduccio (St. Clare) was born in 1194. It is said that when her mother had Chiara in her womb, an angel appeared to her and said, "your child will be a light that will illuminate the world!" Hence, her mother named the child Chiara, which means "light. As G.K. Chesterton put it, St. Clare was a romantic figure just like Juliet was. However, instead of running away from her family in order to be with an earthly man, Clare gave up everything and ran away from her family for the love of her Savior!

Friday, June 13, 2008


Dear friends,

Happy Feast of Saint Anthony!

As you can tell from some of my posts over the past six months, I have been in great need of intercessory prayers; my family has a slew of health problems and there are many changes going on in my life as well. Consequentially, I’ve had St. Anthony on “speed dial” for the past half a year or so.

Many of us have friends and loved ones in our lives who are literally ‘always there for us.’ Those are the people who will listen when you call them up late at night in order to “vent.” Those are the folks who are always willing to do favors for you, make you laugh, and act as cheerleaders when you feel anxious. Even though we can’t physically see them, Saints are also people that we can always count on. For the past few months, I’ve had St. Anthony on my proverbial “speed dial”…and he almost always “picks up.” No wonder why he is one of the most popular Saints! Indeed, Saint Anthony epitomizes St. Therese’s promise “I will spend my days in heaven doing good upon earth.”

Whether we have lost our car keys or need prayers for the health of a loved one, Anthony is usually liberal in interceding for us. In some cases, he even grants our unspoken prayers, which is something that I had experienced:

Many of you had read in my past blogposts about how I fell away from the Church in my late teens and did not “convert back” until I was a sophomore at Notre Dame. During the years that I had fallen away, I classified myself as a “Deist,” which is someone who believes that God is impersonal, does not intercede in world events, and has left the world to function according to rational laws. I simply didn’t believe in any teaching that was not “rational.” You could imagine my skepticism when on a family trip to Italy I was told that Saint Anthony’s vocal chords and tongue were incorrupt. If this was true, it had to have some scientific explanation and certainly could not be attributed to divine intervention. However, I grudgingly went with my family into the (very Baroque) Basilica of St. Anthony to pass by his relics. As I passed by his relics, my disbelief was suspended; his tongue and vocal chords were perfectly intact, just as if they had been taken out of a live human being moments before. I still remained a “Deist” for the next few years, so this wasn’t exactly t a “road to Damascus” moment. However, this experience helped me to consider that perhaps there are some things in this world that are beyond human “reason”- perhaps God’s divine Reason is far more powerful than ours, and perhaps He did intervene in some human events. I am confident that St. Anthony had something to do with my subsequent re-embrace of Catholicism.

Whether St. Anthony helps you find a lost wallet, find a job, or find God, I hope that you come to recognize him as a powerful friend and intercessor. Thank you, Anthony…you’re my heavenly “BFF!”


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