Monday, February 17, 2003

I have a little list.....

Even with Haloscan down [they say they'll be back on Tuesday; those new servers had better be great!] I noticed that some bloggers around have, indeed, picked up my challenge.

Here's the beginning of my little list. I'm deliberately avoiding including anyone who's already a Venerable or Blessed, though a lot of them could use some good remembering for a couple of nice provable miracles. Also, my list is not in any particular order.

(1) Dorothy Day She's a convert to the Church from secular bohemianism, the co-founder (with Peter Maurin) of the Catholic Worker newspaper and communities.

(2) Franz Jagerstatter [there are supposed to be umlauts on both a's in that last name] Franz was a farmer from St. Radegund, Austria. After an extremely rowdy youth, he came to conversion of life while on his honeymoon in Rome. He then set out to live a thoroughgoing Catholic life, with the full consent and support of his wife. Although the neighbors considered him "too Catholic," they also uniformly testified that his wife and daughters were in no way neglected, that his duties to them were always well fulfilled. After the Germans took over Austria, he continued to greet people with the traditional "Bless God" rather than with "Heil Hitler," and he declined to contribute to any of the ubiquitous Nazi collections (except the one for the police pension fund, since, he said, he'd worked them too hard in his youth.). Eventually, the draft into the German army came even for married men with children, and he had to say that, heavens no, he couldn't go. He was executed for this refusal, 9 August 1943.

(3) Fr. Solanus Casey Bernie Casey, mono-lingual Irish-American farm kid, wants to be a priest. Oh, he wants to be a priest. So, after working his way through high school with a series of odd jobs, he leaves the farm and goes to the Big City (=Milwaukee) to go to the seminary to be a priest. But, he's got one Really Big Problem --- Milwaukee, unlike his farm town, is a German-speaking city with a German-speaking Catholic Church, German-speaking bishop, and German-speaking seminary! And our Bernie knows absolutely no German and has absolutely no talent for languages. As could have been predicted from day one, in a year or so he flunked out of St. Francis Seminary. And he still couldn't speak German. But, he's still hooked on serving God and being a priest. So he joins the Capuchin Franciscans. They're the ones who named him Solanus. But, these are upper-midwest Capuchins, and most of them don't speak English either. And their seminary, just like the diocesan seminary in Milwaukee, taught in German. However, the Capuchins had more bilingual people, and more patience, so, with the help of lots of tutoring, Solanus managed, just barely, not to flunk out this time. Yet, because his grades were so poor, he was ordained as a "simplex priest," meaning that he had no faculties and could not preach or teach or hear confessions. So he lived his priestly life as a doorkeeper in various friaries in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and in New York City; and he became known for his wisdom and also as a wonderworker.

(4) Mary Harris Jones She was an Irish immigrant to the United States, and lived a conventional and pious life as a Catholic wife and mother, until she lost her husband and all of her children in an epidemic. After the epidemic stopped, she dedicated the rest of her life to the safety and well-being of children who worked in factories and mines. She became an itinerant wanderer, going wherever she was needed to defend or to organize the factory children and the mine workers, becoming known in her time as "the most dangerous woman in America" since it was very difficult to abuse and exploit child laborers when she was around.

(5) Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdamez, Archbishop of San Salvador
(6) Fr. Rutilio Grande SJ; Manuel Solorzano; Nelson Rutilio Lemus All three were natives of the towns of Aguilares and El Paisnal in El Salvador. Fr. Grande, after going away to become a Jesuit priest, had returned home to be the pastor of the two parishes. Manuel Solorzano was a catechist in his 80's. Nelson R. Lemus, who was Fr. Grande's godchild, was an altar server in his early teens. While traveling from Aguilares to El Paisnal one evening to celebrate Liturgy, they were assasinated by Salvadoran military forces who were upset that they had taught Catholicism to the farmworkers of the vicinity. Getting serious about their faith had encouraged the farmworkers to respect themselves and to give mutual support to each other, which was inconvenient for the landowners they worked for. Within the month, in an apparent attempt to prevent the 30th day memorial for the dead, the same military forces occupied the churches at Aguilares and at El Paisnal, desecrating them and using the tabernacles for target practice. The Archbishop came to rescue the Eucharist from the desecrated parish churches, and this was the first act to bring him to the negative attentions of the Salvadoran government and military, who would eventually assasinate him also.

(7) Catherine de Hueck Doherty She founded the Friendship House movement, and then later the Madonna House Communities with her husband Fr. Eddie Doherty.

(8) Jean Donovan She was a volunteer accountant who gave up a lucrative position with Arthur Anderson to straighten out the books at the Cleveland Diocese Mission in El Salvador. She was murdered during the Salvadoran persecutions along with three religious sisters companions: Sr Dorothy Kazel, an Ursuline Sister also of the Cleveland Diocese Mission; and Srs. Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, Maryknoll Sisters from the next parish up the road.

I'd also include the "White Rose" martyrs fron Munich, Sophie Scholl, Hans Scholl, Christoph Probst, and companions, but that was a mixed Catholic and Lutheran group, and I can't remember right now which were which. I don't think we've come so far that the Church would canonize even martyrs who were not Catholic in this life. The Ugandan martyrs were also a mixed group of martyr-companions, twenty-some Catholics and another twenty or so Anglicans.

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