Windows of Faith

SAINTS MONICA AND AUGUSTINE 

Monica and Augustine are mother and son. Monica found in the Catholic faith  everything that young Augustine could not grasp. In his youth, he was  intelligent and skilled as an orator and lawyer. He thought he could find  fulfillment in physical pleasure and the accolades of others. All of that became  unfulfilling for him, as he found his life being far removed from truth and  beauty. All the while, in his waywardness, his mother Monica prayed  unfailingly for him. She shed countless tears over his self-destruction, and she  took her broken heart to God as her son floundered and failed in the culture of  his times. Finally, Augustine discovered his mother’s Catholic faith. Through  great mentors, like bishop, St. Anselm, and his mother’s prayer, he was baptized  and became an advocate for the faith. He eventually was ordained to the  priesthood and became a bishop.  

St. Monica prays with us now in our community as a mother’s voice to God for  her child who is worse than physically lost. Her son, Augustine, was lost  spiritually. She pleaded to God to intervene in her son’s life. Even though  Augustine dismissed her as being irrelevant and overly pious. God intervened  and prayers were answered. Augustine’s life was turned around, and what was  once lost, was finally found. He used his gifts of communication and his  intellectual skills to convey to all, the beauty and truth of our Catholic faith. The  two of them stand as a witness that we too, cannot give up on our wayward  children, especially those, who for now, seem spiritually lost.  

SAINTS FRANCIS AND CLARE 

Clare and Francis of Assisi were friends, spiritual friends, who sought the same  goal – God. Both grew up in the town of Assisi, Italy. Both were of the upper  class society. In his younger days Francis had his priorities set on wealth and  fame and on increasing his family’s popularity and rising in the ranks of  prestige. Clare’s younger days were spent in prayer, living in the shadow of  social convention which would dictate, eventually, marriage. From her family’s  expectation her marriage would solidify themselves in the noble class, since her  husband-to-be would be chosen from the upper class of their society.  

Francis was the first to undergo conversion and change. A failure at being a  knight and sent home in sickness and labeled a deserter bringing his family  shame, he heard instead the voice of God calling him to defend another  kingdom, the Kingdom of God. This is when Clare noticed him and his heart’s  change. Walking away from family expectation and social convention and under  protest from her family, she joined Francis in his call to follow Christ. Both  Francis and Clare founded religious communities that radically followed the  Gospel call of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Their spiritual friendship began  a renewal in the life of the Church. In our window, Francis is shown with the  stigmata, he bore on his body, the actual marks of Christ on the cross. Clare is  shown with a monstrance that contains the Eucharist. She held it aloft over her  convent wall to scare off warring invaders. She and her nuns remained  unharmed. May their spiritual friendship build up the same deep friendship in  our community that can root us in the Gospel and bring us closer to God. 

SAINT THERESE OF LISIEUX 

Strategically positioned in our church next to her parents, Sts. Louis and Zellie  Martin, St. Therese was known as a spoiled child, catered to by her father and  older sisters. At a very young age, she experienced the death of her mother. Into  her teen years, she felt the subtle call of Christ to become a cloistered nun. She  radically gave up everything to follow Christ into a life devoted to prayer.  However, in her monastery she also wanted to reach out. She felt compelled to  be a missionary. She wanted to bring Christ to convicts on death row. She  wanted to bring Christ to foreign lands that were hostile to Christianity. Her  prayers from behind monastery walls, it is reported, enlightened the lives of  people far and wide. This young woman was able to fulfill her vocation and call  to the life of being a missionary, while still living behind the walls of her  Carmelite monastery. This is one reason that St. Therese is known as the patron  saint of missionaries. May she pray with us in our community so that we do not  neglect the power of prayer and the call to be missionaries in our own ways of  spreading the Catholic faith and the help of God. In our window she holds nine  roses, which represents each sibling in her family. Before her death she said that  from her place in heaven she would do good on earth, and she would let fall a  shower of roses, symbols of God’s grace. 


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WINDOWS OF FAITH

In preparation for our 60th anniversary as a parish community in 2024, the renovation of our church continues to go forward. Past projects included upgrading the lighting and the sound system. We also received a generous donation to install listening devices for those who are hearing impaired.


Now we are refurbishing the windows in the main body of the church. Again, this is not how I wanted this project to roll out; however, because of the abrupt close to church this project commenced without much communication. In the little that has been said about it, I did receive already a generous donation to cover much of the cost for the windows. God provides!


The project has been named “Windows of Faith” because now our church windows will make an artistic statement of faith. Out of the sixteen windows in the church, ten of them will display images of saints. The Communion of Saints in our Catholic Tradition, is an artistic treasure of holy, sacred lives who have, in their own way, given a complete “YES” to God. The ways in which they did this had everything to do with their times. When  the  noise  and  din  of  the  world overwhelmed,  some  of  these  men  and  women pushed  against  their  times by  retreating  into  solitude  and  silence.  In  time  they  were much sought out for their advice and wisdom. When the poor and the neglected were viewed more as a nuisance and a scourge, holy men and women came forward and took to heart that God would raise up the lowly and so these saints dedicated their lives to promote human dignity. When the culture took up other gods such as pleasure, wealth, power,  prestige, saints  rose  up  to  live  the  radical  call  of  the Gospels,  the  call  of discipleship which is the call to sacrifice and even to suffer in order to will the good of others. In dangerous times, oppressive times, not so distant times of threats to religious freedom and basic human rights, saints came forward to lay down their lives and die for the faith so many take for granted today. 


THE FIRST THREE WINDOWS 

Three saints have been installed for our inspiration. The first three represent the three Christian vocations in which we, as Christians, can follow faithfully the purpose and will of God for our lives. The first is St. Patrick, who inspired our very own St. Brendan. Patrick is one who represents the vocation of Holy Orders. The next window includes both  St.  Louis  and  St.  Zelie  Martin.  They  are  the  first married  couple  canonized together. They are the parents of St. Terese of the Child Jesus, the Little Flower. They experienced the joy and struggle of relationship. Both had their health issues. Zelie was bipolar and suffered from bouts of depression. Louis succumbed to a type of dementia. In the midst of struggle, they relied on God in a most simple yet profound way. Also, installed is Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, when he is canonized he will be known as a saint of the Eucharist, chastity in single life, dedicated to the dignity of the poor, and seeking  counsel  from  his  Catholic  faith  even  when  his  own  household  was rather indifferent. They are a “YES” to the will of God as they lived out God’s great gift of life. 


THE REST OF “THE FELLOWSHIP” OF THE WINDOWS

Who else is joining us? 

(1) St. Bridget of Kildare, 

(2) Sts. Francis and Clare of Assisi,

(3) Sts. Monica and her son, Augustine, 

(4) Sts. John Paul II and Maximilian Kolbe,

(5)  St.  Elizabeth  Ann  Seton,  

(6)  St.  Kateri Tekakwitha,  

(7)  St. Therese  of  the  Child Jesus.


At every Mass, heaven and earth come together. The Communion of Saints join with us in  offering  thanks  and  praise  to  God. These  particular  saints  will  cheer  us  on  as  an assembly of faith. Their “YES” tells us not to be afraid to offer the same with our lives to  the  God  who  gave  us  life.  They  will  offer  their prayers  with  ours,  will  give  us guidance and direction we need, and one day will bring us into their company in eternal life.


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St. Brendan Parish

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