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Monday, November 12, 2007

A few things of note...and Padre Pio

It was a crazy weekend with all the work and broken study time, but today I was off and got most of my Vatican II paper written. The paper is about how the "Spirit of Vatican II" (which is defined in the four goals in the introductory paragraph of the document Sacrosanctum Concilium) is manifested in one of several documents. I chose to use Sacrosanctum Concilium itself as I am on a Liturgy Commission, and it's the most abused document.

While I am familiar with this document, suffice to say that I'm now a LOT more familiar with it, and I've gone beyond the required 4 pages, and have about three pages of endnotes quoting the actual text. Because it's quite impossible to answer this paper in 4 pages without ignoring a major point. And I HAVE to do well on this paper; my last paper earned me a B- because I failed to mention or quote Lumen Gentium 16, which I had notated in my research, but didn't use. As it was a key paragraph, while the prof really liked the other things I said and the way I said them, well, he felt the omission was too big to not earn a major deduction. I can't do that again! I need to maintain at least a "B" average in order to keep the merit scholarship. Otherwise I'd be willing to accept a "C" (albeit very grudgingly as I LOATHE the idea of being a "C" student!).

So, anyway, I'm done for today because I have to take time to objectively read the paper before I edit it further, let my mind clear so I can see errors or missed connections, etc.

Moving on....last night something amazing happened.

I had to teach Confirmation (no, that wasn't the amazing thing), and the topic was discerning a Religious Vocation. We had some guest speakers, and two were Sisters from a community I'd never heard of before I called them to give a talk. I was given a name by a solid Archdiocesan person in the Vocations office, so trusted her instincts and called. There were other names also. One I didn't call because I didn't want to have too many speakers, and the other wasn't able to make it. But two Sisters did come to speak. One of them entered the convent at age 18, the other, in her 20's. And they did a fabulous job in their talk and answered a lot of great questions.

(My favorite: Have you ever thought of leaving the nunhood? and Do you ever wear regular clothing or are you a hardcore nun all the time? LOL! Great questions!)

And yes, they answered them. To the first - at 5:20 am when they have to get up, and to the 2nd question - Yup, hardcore, all the time. But it has more to do with the vow of poverty.

Anyway, after the kids and parents left, the Sisters and I spoke for awhile, and I showed them the Adoration Chapel by their request, the Church itself, etc. While standing by a display case showing many Saints, one of the Sisters pointed to Padre Pio, and began to speak of her devotion to him. She spoke of a book she is reading, and just last weekend read of a dear friend of his, an American who often came to visit him and would stay in the monastery. He was a true friend, not just a "groupie" and it was obvious, she said, how much Padre Pio cared for him and his family.

I was amazed, and directed her back to the holy card; it has the name of the friend of Padre Pio as a photo credit, and that friend happens to be my great-uncle! The display and holy card were mine (Communion of Saints for November's reason of why I am Catholic).

She just about fell over!

So did I!

I will not give the name of the friend as I maintain a mostly-anonymous blog and don't want to involve my family, but I will say this: I grew up hearing about Padre Pio. I could almost call him "Uncle Pio" because I heard of him as often. My great-uncle (my mother's uncle) was a friend to the Saint, although, until last night, I really thought in my heart that the claim was exaggerated. A couple years ago EWTN showed a segment on the Saint featuring an interview with my great-uncle, but even then, I figured he was more of a "witness" than a friend. He claims on the holy cards to be both witness and friend. I never in a thousand years would call my uncle a liar, I just always wondered about his true definition of "friend".

As it seems, a true, true friend of this Saint.

The Sister was completely floored, and exclaimed, "You're the NIECE of a SAINT!" She described some of what is in the book and drew a conclusion; that my great-uncle has to have been a Saint himself in order to be so close to Padre Pio, and to both have such great affection for him, and he for my uncle and his family.

Then, of course, I knew I had to fine some of those Holy Cards for Sister...because she is a Spiritual Daughter of Padre Pio. How do I know? Because I'm one, and I still have the letter from my great-uncle stating that, when we were born, he added both my brother and I to Padre Pio's spiritual family. (And note...the letter pre-dates his beatification and canonization).

It was after I gave her the cards that Sister admitted that she'd been wondering if she is a Spiritual Daughter. Padre Pio promised, "I will know...and they will know." And I've often found that he has used me to deliver the message on earth to those who are wondering. And I never know for certain that it was in question until I hand them the cards.

Well, then she tells me more; their Community broke off from the original community when they decided to change their traditions (such as the wearing of the habit). So the foundress of this particular community went to Rome to obtain permission to branch off, and the permission was indeed obtained. Apparently while she was in Italy she also spoke with Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotundo.

Several times in my current position, this Patron of my family has revealed himself to me. When I began preparing for the 1st Reconciliation program, I came across a relic which came to the parish straight from Italy - I have no idea what it says, but given the timing, I know he has been helping me deliver the message of God's mercy through this Sacrament. And the relic card was physical proof of his intervention.

And I also learned that this parish is a huge Divine Mercy parish. And those of you who know Padre Pio, you know of his hours in the Confessional.

The Sisters had to make a phone call before they left, and put me on the phone to say "hello" to the elderly Sister they were calling; I was introduced not only by my position there, but as "the great-niece of the Friend of Padre Pio!"

One of the Sisters asked me directly if I'm Discerning. I confesssed, "I don't know!", but they offered me an invite to come visit them, and I do believe I will. I just love the two Sisters who came, I don't believe in coincidences, and God's hands are all over this. Of all the commmunities in the area, it was the one with the connection to this Saint that came. And the Sister wondering about whether she is a Spiritual Daughter.

Now, don't get excited, all of you! I know your type! Don't jump to conclusions. I need to pray, I need to discern, and I really need a Spiritual Director! There is no way I'm going to be able to figure things out without some objective assistance on the spiritual end.

And God only knows how unworthy I am to even be opening this door once again. I thought I was done with discernment of religious life. I've just been given a direct order to turn the knob and take another look.

And if nothing else, I may have begun a lifelong friendship with some really wonderful religious Sisters!

Now, one request: if any of you have guessed the name of the friend of Padre Pio, please don't state it in the combox. I do not want the names of any family members listed here as I don't want them to appear on search engines. So whether you're right or wrong in the identity of the "friend", Padre Pio did have many true friends and it would be good if the identities of all the families involved are protected. And that is the same reason I'm not mentioning the title of the book.

I'm still a bit shocked...when a Saint appears and hits you with a 2x4 in the presence of another Saint's relics (we were standing near some relics and just outside the sanctuary door),

Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.


Cathy_of_Alex said...

Sinner here. I'm praying for you. Please pray for me too.

God bless you.

Lynne said...

You have the most amazing life! With God, there are no coincidences....

Terry Nelson said...

So what religious order are the sisters from?

Adoro said...

Cathy ~ You know, dear friend, I'm always praying for you (and with you!)

Lynn ~ Not so amazing. Occasionally interesting, and happy God's involved or none of it would ever make any sense.

Terry ~ Sent you an email reply.

Anonymous said...

Wow ... what an amazing thing to happen! Looks to me like Padre Pio is trying to tell you something, no? As a fellow sinner, I'll pray for you too. God bless you!

uncle jim said...

THE very first book I EVER recall reading about a modern day holy person was about Padre Pio - and this goes back to the early/middle 60's [of course I was only 2 years old]. I do not recall how I came into possession of the book, but I was flying from Cleveland OH to Boston MA and had this book with me and was reading it in flight. A flight attendant was passing by and commented "What are you reading?" I remember feeling a little embarrassed because I was reading a 'spiritual' book. When I told her, she sat down next to me and started talking to me about him - she had recently heard of him [and this really pre-dates all the current goings on]. He is indeed a marvelous saint, whether canonized or not. Stay close. ...and continued prayers for you and your future life of service wherever it may be.

Anonymous said...

you KNOW I'm jumping on this one ... with a reminder you've PROMISED to eventually come visit me, too! ;-) Seriously, I will "up" the prayers to the Holy Spirit for your continued discernment... being open to HIS will is 2/3 of the battle...


Anonymous said...

Padre Pio was canonized in 2001, I think. He was beatified in 1999, and my great-uncle was still alive and was able to be present in Rome for the beatification. It was incredible.

eliztrin ~ Yeah, I knew you'd chime in! LOL!

~ Adoro

Anonymous said...

Um, clarification...Padre Pio is a formally canonized Saint. However, I can't remember the year of his canonization.

ignorant redneck said...

Please Ms. Devote,

What is the name of the congregation of sisters who sent representatives?

Anonymous said...

IR ~ I'd rather not state their name in this post. Suffice to say that their are diocesan in their apostolate, they wear habits, they are very solid theologically. :-)
~ Adoro

Hidden One said...

Spiritual Daughter of Padre Pio? How exactly does that work?

Anonymous said...

hidden one ~ Well, you'd be a Spiritual Son. :-) Padre Pio often spoke of his "spiritual family", those souls he would adopt as his own children. He used to say that he would wait outside the gates of heaven until each and every one of his spiritual children had entered. (clearly stated this in order to express his intention to escort souls to heaven, etc.) He took this very seriously.

If you want him to adopt you, just pray to him to request this. He may provide confirmation of this request, he may not - it's all according to God's will.

But I've more noticed his presence in my life via the way he uses me to confirm the spiritual adoption of his other "children" who are wondering. That seems to be the way he works. Rather than manifesting in some way directed at me, he just makes me a messenger. Hard to explain, but when it happens to'll know.

~ Adoro

The Ironic Catholic said...

Verrry Interesting.

Thanks for sharing. What a neat story.

Peace, IC

SMB said...

Would you be so kind as to tell us (if you can remember, this is an old post) what book the sister was talking about? Or what book mentions/was written by your great uncle?

I'm very interested in Padre Pio, you see. I consider him one of the most important modern Saints, because to me, at least, he was very realistic.

Thank you kindly,

Anonymous said...

SMB ~ As I stated in my post, I'm not giving the name of the book as, if I do, it will be enough to identify myself and my family via our connection to him. I also don't happen to remember the title of the book, although it probably has "Padre Pio" listed! LOL! There are many many books about him, many good ones, so you should be able to find a number of wonderful resources that will help you come to know him much better. Paraclete Press has a wonderful book that quotes Padre Pio from his letters...that might be a good source for you. God bless, and do pray for his intercession...he will help you in ways you can't imagine!