Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy St. Valentine's Day

I remember asking my mother to buy a stack of Valentine's cards, one for each of my second grade classmates. Every one of us headed home that Valentine's Day afternoon with a stack of cards asking us to "be someone's Valentine!" I certainly had one from my second grade crush, Jimmy K. Alas, Jimmy's dad was transferred to Cleveland for his job. My Jimmy K. "Valentine" disappeared, and my attention was focused on many other subjects, which in second grade, meant preparing for First Holy Communion. Eventually Jesus became my one and only true "Valentine." In fact, there are so many images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that it seems Jesus should be the King of this day for lovers!
Valentine's Day always reminds me of Mother Paula Cordero who came from Italy in 1932 to found the Daughters of St. Paul in the USA. Her anniversary of death is today, February 13th. Mother Paula's birthday was February 16th. She claimed Valentine's Day as one of her favorites not only because of its proximity to her birthday, but more because the love of Jesus for us is symbolized by the heart. Mother Paula was one of those pioneers in religious life who relied on prayer, faith and hard work to plant our Pauline congregation in this country. She arrived in New York on June 28th, 1932 in the heart of the Great Depression. Money was scarce, she and her companions still had to learn English, and the mission of media evangelization was a foreign, novel and to some, strange, concept to take in. With the stamina of St. Paul, Mother Paula persevered through difficult times. The first American Novitiate of the Daughters of St. Paul was established in Derby, New York in the Buffalo Diocese. The Sisters' printing apostolate literally began in what had been a stable, and a green house. Not long after, the Daughters of St. Paul had a small convent and a book center in Boston's downtown Washington Street.
Richard Cardinal Cushing invited the Sisters to move their novitiate to Boston. The Cardinal helped the Sisters find a site in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston, close to the town of Brookline. With Mother Paula's enthusiasm and drive, the Sisters pursued their media apostolate with Pauline Books & Media publishing house; a sound and video studio and eventually established a reputation of having reliable and wholesome Catholic reading and listening. The Sisters' radio studio broadcasts Spanish language programs which reach more than 100 stations world wide. All of us Sisters celebrate St. Valentine's Day, now more than ever, because St. Valentine was a martyr for the sacrament of marriage. The Roman Emperor at the time (around 300 AD) decided that men should stay single, because he thought that marriage rendered men too weak to be good soldiers. The movie Braveheart has a similar event wheredeep in a forest a priest risked his life to marry the Mel Gibson character and his lovely bride. In that era too, according to the film, marriage was prohibited. Our Daughters of St. Paul publishing house has produced several books on the Theology of the Body, St. Pope John Paul's splendid teaching on marriage and the dignity of man and woman. Another Valentine themed book is "Transformed in Love" a thorough and practical Catholic guide to marriage preparation. This program with its leaders guide and couple's text was prepared by a 40 member team in the Archdiocese of Boston.
To find our more about Theology of the Body, books on the Sacred Heart of Jesus and more check out: I wish all my readers a very Happy St. Valentine's Day!

No comments: