Saint Francis de Sales
Another saint who struggled with bouts of anger, Saint Francis de Sales, confessed his blood would boil when overhearing certain jokes or humiliations. He battled his temper for over 19 years until he finally had it under control. This experience would help form his Introduction to the Devout Life, where he wrote extensively on anger.
He advised the reader, “If you are like the Psalmist, ready to cry out, ‘Mine eye is consumed for very anger,’ go on to say, ‘Have mercy upon me, O Lord;’ so that God may stretch forth His Right Hand and control your wrath.”
The Poor Clare nun, who changed the face of Catholicism in America, was well known for her witty, down-to-earth wisdom. She too was known as a “hothead” and struggled to keep her strong feelings from boiling over. Mother Angelica was a passionate woman who was extremely stubborn and – when she believed injustice or error was involved – would even squabble with the Church hierarchy.
She had some great one-liners, and gave evidence of her own struggle with losing her temper when she said, “St. Jerome used to hit himself with a rock every time he lost his temper. I’d be dead as a doornail with no ribs if I did that.”
In the end, we are certainly justified in feeling angry at recent events in the world, but let us learn from the examples of these holy men and women and allow that anger to work for justice, and truth, seeking charity above all things.