Aug 19, 2006

Saintly Service in the Closet

I've been privileged to know a few people who have given saintly service to the Church, yet who will remain mostly unknown in closets of the past. One is a lady who has been dead for over ten years. Her life seemed to be divided into four parts--a very exciting international life before marriage; a happy life with a nice house, couple of kids, and golfing at the country club; a challenging life with a child that brought her into pro-life work, and a more difficult yet serene life when she was mostly homebound because of her health.

My friend was a great letter writer. Many times I would read her commentaries in public and church newspapers and magazines. She was distinctive in that her submittals were often the shortest letters published, yet they usually said the most.

It was her private letters that gave the most saintly service to the Church. She wrote many, many letters of encouragement to good priests who were tempted to leave the priesthood. The priests knew they were being robbed of their dignity and identity in Catholic churches during the 70's, 80's, and early 90's. They felt emasculated by limitations on their authority, certain women given responsibility for priestly duties, and mandatory retreats that left them dry of spiritual life.

From the little my friend would tell me, I knew she corresponded with a goodly number of these priests with her regular letters. Without her encouragement, I believe many good priests would have simply walked away from the horrible messes following Vatican II. Yet these good priests stayed to give the sacraments to faithful Catholics, even though sometimes they were severely limited in what they could and should do.

Esther, May God bless and reward you for your letters of encouragement to priests.

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