Faith in difficult times

Why Vn. Pierre Toussaint?

I find his story compelling and an excellent example for our times. In the face of many obstacles he lived a life of holiness and virtue. His faith guided his life.

A  bit about his life

He was born a slave in what is now Haiti in 1766. His master allowed him to be educated by the family tutor which was extremely rare. In 1787 part of the family was sent to New York City due to political unrest. Pierre and his sister were among the slaves who went with the family. In, NYC Pierre trained as a hairdresser and was allowed to keep the money earned. His master died and his family was left almost desittiue. Pierre supoprted the widow for mnay years, until her death. It was then that she finally gave Pierre his freedom. ONce freed, he purcahse his sister’s freedom and his future wife’s.

Once free

Pierre and Juliette married. They had no children of their own but did adopt Pierre’s sister’s daughter when his sister died. Sadly, she died at 14. Faith and discipline is what kept Pierre going. He moved forward, every day, praying and serving those in need, as well as working. He worked long many years, not for himself, but so that he could use his money to  help others.

Charitable works

Juliette and Pierre opened their home to orphans and those on need. Pierre helped St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in her work. He also donated substantial funds towards the building of the first St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC.

There’s so much more about this great man to learn, this episode just scratches the surface but I hope you’ll listen to hear more!

This week consider emulating Vn. Pierre Toussaint’s charity. Choose a charity to help, with your time, resources or prayer and plan a way to help them.

 

St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church

Facts about Teresa of Avila

  • born in Avila, Spain on March 28, 1515
  • entered the Carmelites on 1535
  • began reforming the order and founded her first convent, St. Joesph, in 1562
  • in 1575 she was told to stop and made to retire to Costile due to a dispute between the two different Carmelite groups
  • in 1579 King Philip II of Spain found a solution to the dispute, Pope Gregory XIII confirmed it in 1580
  • for two years Teresa traveled and continued working on reforming the Carmelites
  • she died in 1582
  • she was canonized in 1622
  • made a Doctor of the Chruch in 1970by Pope Paul VI
  • she is the patron saint of headaches
  • her feast day is Oct 15

What was she reforming?

Teresa wanted her order, the Carmelites, to go back to convents existing on public offerings and poverty rather than relying on personal endowments of the wealthy. This caused a conflict between the two Carmelite groups, the Primitive and Mitigated. The Primitive was what Teresa was espousing. However, in the conflict, she was told to retire and stop working. Eventually, she was able to return to her life’s work with help from the King and Pope Gregory XIII.

Her prayer that will serve us well at this time

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

St. Teresa of Avila

 

When you feel troubled, pray the prayer above and remember that you have God.

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