Listen to the show:
Today’s host(s): Scot Landry and Fr. Chris O’Connor
Today’s guest(s): Domenico Bettinelli and Mother Olga Yaqob
- Pier Giorgio Frassati
- St. Rita of Cascia
- Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto
- St. Maximilian Kolbe
Today’s topics: Our favorite saints; WQOM 1st anniversary
Summary of today’s show: Who is your favorite saint? On this All Saints’ Day, Dom Bettinelli and Mother Olga join Scot Landry and Fr. Chris O’Connor to talk about some of their favorite saints, including a saint who died at the hands of the Nazis, a saint who was a mother and wife, saints who were young siblings, and a saint who was a college student who came from a wealthy and influential family. They also discussed the one year anniversary of WQOM in Boston, which began broadcasting with the Mass on Nov. 1, 2010.
1st segment: Scot welcomes Fr. Chris on All Saints Day. Today is also the one-year anniversary of WQOM in Boston.
Fr. Chris said he was at Sacred Hearts in Malden at the Cheverus grammar school for the All Saints Day Mass. He went through some of the many saints that the kids are familiar and remind them that we’re all called to holiness. Their pastor, Fr. Dan Hickey, has been the pastor there for 26 years.
The Cheverus school is an urban school and is very multicultural. It is named for Boston’s first bishop. Cheverus is also the name of the award given to lay leaders in the archdiocese by Cardinal Seán on the Feast of Christ the King.
Fr. Chris said at the seminary the new tomb marker has been installed for Cardinal O’Connell after his grave was moved. He’s sure that the cardinal will receive many new prayers now that he’s located right next to the seminary instead of up on the hill and out of the way where he used to be. He was moved in mid-July and the marker has just been installed. Cardinal Seán will lead a formal service marking the move.
2nd segment: Scot welcomed Dom and Mother Olga to the show. Scot introduced a recording of Cardinal Seán’s remarks during the inaugural Mass for WQOM last All Saints Day at Holy Cross Cathedral.
Scot said it was a momentous day. It was appropriate that the first words on air were those of the Mass. Scot said he has heard form many people who tell him how much the station has become a part of their daily life.
Fr. Chris said he hears from prisoners in the Massachusetts prison system who listen to WQOM for inspiration and catechesis. Mother Olga said she also heard from a number of people as she travels around the area who say they heard her on this show. A mom told her she sits in the car while doing errands waiting for the last few minutes of the show to finish to hear it all.
Dom said he has heard from people who say that WQOM has been an integral part of their conversion to the Catholic faith. Scot sent his thanks to the people of the Station of the Cross network who started WQOM and 24-hour Catholic radio in Boston.
3rd segment: Mother Olga said many of her students at Boston University where she was a campus chaplain had a devotion to Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, especially young men.
Scot asked Fr. Chris how many of the men entering seminary have devotions to Bl. Pier Giorgio. Fr. Chris said walking the corridors of the seminary, you see many photos of Bl. Pier Giorgio, as well as St. George and St. Michael.
4th segment: Scot said Mother Olga wanted to offer St. Rita of Cascia as an example for moms. She was a holy wife and holy mother. She had a difficult life with suffering, but she was faithful to the Lord and to her family. She was born in Italy in 1386. She had wanted to become a religious sister, but her parents arranged a marriage for her and she obeyed. It was a difficult marriage because her husband was not devout or faithful. He was violent and mistreated her. They had two boys and she was dedicated to them and taught them to respect their father, to love him and pray for him. She prayed for her husband’s conversion everyday. At the end of his life, he was touched by her goodness and charity and had changed his heart. Unfortunately, he was murdered by enemies he had made. Her sons swore vengeance, but St. Rita prayed they would forgive them. After some time, the boys got sick and died.
St. Rita approached the Augustinian order and entered the convent at age 36. She lived in the convent for 40 years.
She is the patron saint of impossible cases. She was able to bring reconciliation between her husband’s enemies and her husband’s families. She canonized in 1900.
Scot said many saints have difficult lives and people who are having difficulty in life can look to her. St. Rita’s shrine in Lowell is dedicated to her and the shrine is known for miracles through her intercession.
5th segment: Mother Olga said St. Rita is depicted as having been pierced by a throne because she asked Christ if she could feel the suffering of just one thorn to console Christ in his suffering.
Mother Olga also has saints for children in Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto of Fatima. She said one day she was teaching students at Boston University about various Marian apparitions. Some children talked about Our Lady of Fatima as their favorite apparition because Our Lady talked to children like them.
They were two of the three shepherd children, 10 and 11 years old, at Fatima. They are the two youngest non-martyr blessed or saints in the Church. Mother Olga told a story of how Mother Teresa used to say that sainthood is a duty we should pursue so she never demurred when people called her a living saint.
When the angel appeared to the children in 1917, he taught the children several prayers that we all continue to pray today. The children at the urging of the angel began to offer small sacrifices for others for the salvation of souls. Francisco, the day before he died, asked the parish priest to bring him his First Communion. After that, Jacinta died a few months later. If children can do that, how much more can we feel responsible for the conversion of souls and sinners? They died of the influenza epidemic.
Scot said they never would have known the whole world would know their story, yet they woke each day asking how they could live each day to make it holy. Mother Olga said saints truly live the Gospel where it’s no longer about me, but about God and his people. These two children teach us this example: they did it all for God and for our Lady. We are all responsible to be part of God’s plan to spread his Gospel.
Fr. Chris said to see these two children in their holiness is inspiring. Scot said Fr. Mark O’Connell in his homily at Mass today said when we look in the mirror and see ourselves in all our quirkiness, we see someone called to be a saint. Cardinal Seán said in last year’s All Saints’ Day Mass that we are all called to be saints, because to be a saint is to be truly human. Andreas Widmer, a friend of the show and frequent guest, called John Paul II one of the most human persons he ever met and someone who is truly real.
Fr. Chris said saints come in all shapes and styles and colors and we can find someone who appeals to us and to whom we can pray for intercession at the wedding banquet of the Lamb of God in heaven.
6th segment: Scot said one of Fr. Chris’ favorite saints is St. Maximilian Kolbe. The Franciscan church where Kolbe worked for many years is a little bronze marker that reads “Here would pray daily John Paul II” when he was a professor at the university. John Paul canonized him in 1982. He is the patron saint of prisoners, journalists, and people working in the pro-life movement. John Paul called him the patron of our difficult century.
He was a missionary in Japan for a while, but he is most known for his work during World War II. He saved many Jews from the concentration camps, but he was himself sent to Auschwitz. In order to discourage prisoners from escaping, they would line up others and would choose one in 10 to kill. During one of these decimations, a father of 10 was pulled from the line and he cried out “My wife, my children.” Maximilian offered to take his place. As soon as he was placed in the starvation bunker, he started to sing hymns to Mary. He would not die, so the Nazis eventually injected him with acid to kill. At his canonization in 1982 in St. Peter’s Square, the family of the man whose life he saved were present.
Fr. Chris said Kolbe teaches us that if we seek holiness there is no better person to turn to than the Blessed Mother. We pray for her intercession now and at the hour of our death, whenever that will be. Kolbe also teaches us through his sacrifice how essential it is. most of us won’t give the ultimate sacrifice as Kolbe did, but the way we sacrifice for our families, we sacrifice to care for the poor, we sacrifice to be with the Lord is an essential part of sanctity. His life is also a source of hope. When you visit Auschwitz and see the organized evil it represents, but visit his cell and see the candle burning brightly there, you realize that evil never wins ultimately.
Scot said remembers when Kolbe stepped forward he said, “I am a Catholic priest. I will take his place.” He was a Catholic first, he believes in sacrificing for others. And as a priest, he learned to model his life on Christ, to be in persona Christi. There are times in our lives when we get a chance to sacrifice for us. We should think in our head: “I am a Catholic. Let me….”
Mother Olga said the surest way to heaven is to turn to Mary, because no one knows or is as close to Jesus than her. All the great saints have a strong devotion to our Lady which led them closer to Jesus. The saints teach us faithfulness in that present moment and the greater reward waiting for us in heaven. St. Therese of Lisieux said we are called to live ordinary lives with extraordinary love.
Scot said it’s important we don’t see the saints as just historical figures. It’s important for parents to introduce them to our saints as heroes to model their lives on. If we don’t, they will model their lives after some movie actor or musician or athlete.
Fr. Chris is reminded of St. Paul who called us to finish the race. We are all on the race to heave. He said St. Theresa of Avila once prayed, “Lord, save me from those long-faced saints.” If we know Christ, there has got to be some joy in our life. Scot said as we introduce our selves and our kids to saints, we can look at the liturgical calendar and learn a little bit about saints online: NewAdvent.com, even Wikipedia.org.