Thursday, August 11, 2016

Two Saintly Women

Nuns and television have a long history.
Since the 1200s.
Today is the day we honor St. Clare (1194-1253). She was inspired by the preaching of St. Francis and founded the "Poor Clares" order. She was a kindred spirit to St. Francis, with whom she worked, and assisted during his final illness.

In 1958 she was named the Patroness of Television by Pope Pius XII. When St. Clare was too ill to get out of bed and assist at Mass, it is said she could miraculously watch it on the wall of her cell.

In 1981, a Poor Clares nun known in her secular life as Rita Rizzo founded a television network. The nun is better known as Mother Angelica, and her network is, of course, the Eternal Word Television Network, EWTN.

Tomorrow (August 12) we celebrate the life of St. Jane Francis de Chantal (1572-1641). The chatelaine of the castle of Bourbilly was left a widow with four children at the age of 28. Just as St. Clare is forever associated with St. Francis, so St. Jane Francis de Chantal is associated with St. Francis de Sales, the Bishop of Geneva. He would be her spiritual director until his death. She founded the Congregation of the Visitation, which grew through her capable administration to 86 houses at the time of her death.

It is recorded that when she set out to enter religious life her son threw himself onto the threshold of their home. Although not without some maternal anguish, she stepped over the boy in a spirit of holy resolve (or perhaps the Bear's counsel of Holy Stubbornness). (She had provided for their care before embarking on that course.)

St. Jane Francis de Chantal is known to us from her writings and letters. She suffered from interior trials for much of her religious life. St. Vincent de Paul -- her spiritual director after St. Francis de Sales' death -- wrote:

She was full of faith, yet all her life had been tormented by thoughts against it. While apparently enjoying the peace and easiness of mind of souls who have reached a high state of virtue, she suffered such interior trials that she often told me her mind was so filled with all sorts of temptations and abominations that she had to strive not to look within herself...But for all that suffering her face never lost its serenity, nor did she once relax in the fidelity God asked of her. And so I regard her as one of the holiest souls I have ever met on this earth

The Bear does not know what she is the patroness of. Perhaps mail carriers? She is a reminder that practicality and holiness are not incompatible, and that even saints sometimes dare not look within themselves for fear of the howling darkness within. "For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Cor 5:7.

Also August 12 is the Bear's birthday. He will be 1314 1316 years old.

Just stack the presents to my left.
[IOriginally published 2014]


  1. A most happy and blessed birthday to you Bear!!! May you have 2,493 more happy and healthy years! :)

  2. Thank you, Badger! That boom you hear tomorrow night will be the Bear setting off fireworks over the Woods to the delight of all his forest friends.

  3. Happy birthday to you
    No theme park nor zoo
    Nor circus nor bear pit
    Will e’re fetter you!

    Happy birthday, Bear, and thank you for telling the story of my dear name Saint. Thank you also for featuring Mother Angelica, whose television network was crucial to my ability to learn about and grow in the Catholic Faith. What a pleasure, then, for me to find on EWTN’s website the information that St. Jane de Chantal is regarded as patroness of forgotten people, in-law problems, loss of parents, parents separated from children, and widows.

    May the forest resound with celebration tomorrow! :-)

    1. I could hardly let your name day pass without recognition! Thank you for the nice poem. Send cakes and presents to:

      The Bear
      1 St. Corbinian Lane

  4. Happy birthday! Please don't try to put 1314 candles on the cake, though...

    1. I don't think my friend Smokey would let that happen.

  5. Happy B-Day! I love Mother Angelica. Ray Arroyo's bio of her is good reading. She has so many books in print. I came across and old one at a resale store. Good stuff. She proved you don't have to be a priest to "preach" and teach the faithful. She didn't need a mass setting.

  6. Pete, have you ever heard Raymond Arroyo imitate Mother Angelica? It's a hoot! Happy Birthday Bear...What is the zip code in Zoar? I saw some fine honey comb today and was thinking of sending it your way....;)

  7. I have, Kathryn, though it's been some time You are right! He's great at it.

  8. Happy Birthday! My mother celebrates her 93rd anniversary of birth on August 12.

  9. Happy Birthday! Hope you have a wonderful day! :)

  10. Happy Birthday Mr. Bear. More salmon on the way. You make us all happy with your well intentioned but unusual ways. As they say, mysterious are the ways of the Bear.

  11. On your birthday, a prayer for you and your mother! (My husband would always call his Mom on his birthday and say "Happy Birthing day mom!"
    Hail Mary...

  12. My goodness! August 12 must be the birthday of many a unique individual, it is my mother's birthday as well, and she too was one of a kind. Five years gone off to heaven, tomorrow is the fifth anniversary, one day after her 95th birthday. Anyway, Happy Birthday Bear! Stolat!

  13. Happy Birthday Bear! Hope you're having a great day and that you'll have a year full of bear surprises.

  14. Happy Birthday Bear, Nice picture. You certainly look young for your age.

  15. Happy Birthday, Bear.

    Say, what did you think of the way she went after Roger Cardinal Mahoney?

  16. A very very happy birthday Great Bear!


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