I remember the Beatitudes were one of the first over-arching themes of my faith formation growing up — we learned about them in PSR and at youth group. I think even being forced to memorize them at one point or another. They are a beautiful gift from our Lord Jesus, showing us that the supposed least of us were in fact the best of us. What an incredible thought to ponder.
In Melanie Rigney’s new book, Blessed Are You; Finding Inspiration From Our Sisters in Faith (on Amazon.com), she outlines the Beatitudes and saints who embody each wonderful trait. In Chapter 2, Rigney so elegantly tells the stories of four saints who suffered great mourning, yet found deep comfort and solace in God.
- Anna Schäffer, a young woman with the desire to become a missionary nun, suffered a debilitating injury while working to save enough money for a dowry. Despite this, she began a letter writing ministry, finding peace in her heart and never complaining about her life’s path. She was canonized in 2012.
- Claudine Thévenet began a children’s ministry following the execution of her two brothers during the French Revolution, leading to her creation of the lay Association of the Sacred Heart, the found for the Congregation of the Religious of Jesus and Mary, providing education and formation for young people. Glady, as she was called, lost everyone she loved as the years passed. Despite this, her faith in Jesus persevered, leading up to her forgiveness of all those who wronged her.
- Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first saint born in the United States, suffered the loss of her mother at age three, leaving her behind with a step-mother that did not care for her, sending her off to live with her uncle and in a state of depression. She grew up, however, married and had children, only to fall on hard financial times and serious illness for her husband, hoping a visit to Italy would ease his condition. Shortly upon arrival, he passed away, leaving her in Italy alone with a small child. Catholic friends intervened and helped her make it home; their charity was enough for Elizabeth to convert to Catholicism and thus starting a Catholic school in Maryland, saying yes to the Will of God despite lifelong mourning and hardship.
- Louise de Marillac became an orphan at a young age. Louise considering religious life, but was encouraged to be open to other plans. She married, had a child but was soon made a widow. She was introduced to Vincent de Paul, the priest who became her spiritual advisor, helping her become a social worker and nun as part of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.
Mourning is an unfortunate and daily part of our humanity. It never seems to get easier no matter how many times we suffer loss. Rigney offers us the opportunity to view mourning as a deeper way to get to know the Lord and to better discern our calling from Him. This book will allow you to live and pray through the Beatitudes, finding new (and familiar) saints to admire. Blessed Are You is a must-have for any Catholic seeking to grow deeper in our faith.
Follow the blog tour! Here are the bloggers and dates that they are writing about Melanie’s book: Blessed Are You; Finding Inspiration From Our Sisters in Faith Blog Tour:
- Week One
- Week Two