Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bernadine of Siena

I have a friend in San Bernardino, California. Today is the feast of St. Bernardine, the saint in whose honor the city is named after. Bernardine, a Franciscan Friar, died on May 20, 1444. Because he traveled through most of Italy and gave sermons that drew thousands of listeners, he is considered by some to be a Patron Saint of Italy. As a true follower of Christ in the spirit of St. Francis, Bernardine preached peace. There were battles in Italian cities which were divided between families that vied for power and prestige. Each family was proud of its distinct coat of arms. Even some of the churches displayed the coat of arms of families that may have donated to the upkeep of a particular church. Bernardine suggested that instead of boasting of this or that family's coat of arms, why not glory in the Holy Name of Jesus. He had tablets made which showed the letters I. H. S. This symbol became popular in Catholic Churches around the world even today. Trusting in the name of Jesus and preaching with an eloquence that carried his voice far and wide, Bernardine established peace where there had been warring factions, and brought inner peace to thousands who met Christ in the sacrament of reconciliation after his words drew them to confession.
If you ever visit the Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, New York you will see the word Jesus inscribed on many of the trees on the grounds. St. Isaac Joques, one of the Jesuit missionaries who died evangelizing the Native Americans, used to carve the name of Jesus on the trees to draw people to Christ, and to plant peace among the tribes which warred among themselves. St. Isaac was killed on October 18, 1646 near what is now Auriesville, New York. (Auriesville is just an exit or two west of Albany off of US Interstate 90).
Both Saint Bernardine and St. Isaac realized in their own lives the power of the name of Jesus. As St. Paul said, "At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow...".
If you are looking for a way to travel and be a pilgrim at the same time, why not visit Auriesville's Shrine, and then travel over the border to Canada to visit the Shrine of the Martyrs at Midland, Ontario. St. Isaac and his companions had their headquarters in what is now Midland, near Lake George. Across the road from the Jesuit Church in Midland is the village of Saint Marie, a replica built on the site of the original Jesuit mission. The Province of Ontario maintains this site in the summer months. I have been to Auriesville and to Midland. In Fonda, New York near Auriesville is another, smaller shrine where Blessed Kateri Tekawitha was born. All of these places were sources of inspiration for me. Today's Saint spread love for the holy Name of Jesus. The North American Shrines I mention all sprang up because of the love of the many saints and martyrs for the Name of Jesus.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for best news!