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The saints of February offer advice about not giving up on God

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Annabelle Moseley - published on 02/01/22

Meet a prisoner of war, a lonely nun, and an insomniac who never gave up on loving God.

We live in a time when celebrities are made into idols and influencers sell us the latest trends. But when it comes to true inspiration, no one outshines the saints!

As Catholics, we are not meant to be overly impressed with the “achievements” of this world. We can and should be wowed by the great cloud of witnesses that surround us and whose intercession we seek, so that we can be inspired by their example. The more we read about what they sacrificed and how they loved and the authentic joy they found, we come to realize, if we’re honest: No one is cooler than the saints!

In this month, famous for valentines and hearts full of love, here are three saints of February to admire for the way they persevered in their profound love of God, no matter what. Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 8 — St. Jerome Emiliani

This saint was a prisoner of war near Treviso, Italy, in 1508. Catholic art depicts him carrying the ball and chain with which he was shackled as a prisoner. While chained in a dungeon, he prayed to Mary for her intercession and was able to escape not long afterwards. His gratitude for his escape became his charism, as a spirit of thankfulness pervaded all he did from then on. 

St. Jerome Emiliani was deeply concerned about the needs of the poor and worked on behalf of abandoned children, acquiring them food and clothing and teaching them the faith. He founded the Clerks Regular of Somascha in 1531, and that group continued his work on behalf of the needy, eventually becoming a religious order. St. Jerome Emiliani died from the plague after caring for those who were suffering from it. 

In the spirit of St. Jerome Emiliani who cared for the poor, why not bring canned food to the parish food pantry, or give gently-used clothing to the needy. In the spirit of St. John Emiliani’s care for abandoned children, let us donate to a worthy pro-life cause such as this one.

St. Jerome Emiliani exemplified courage, fortitude, and charity. Let us listen to St. Jerome Emiliani’s advice for our lives, in his own words:

“For God … does not work in those who refuse to place all their confidence and hope in Him alone. But He does impart the fullness of His love upon those who possess a deep faith and hope; for them He does great things.”

Let us also seek the intercession of St. Jerome Emiliani in this prayer.

February 10 — St. Scholastica

This saint, whose name means “the learned one,” was born of noble blood in Umbria, Italy. She was the twin sister of St. Benedict, whose famous Rule became synonymous with monasticism.

On St. Benedict’s last meeting with her before her death, she begged him to stay longer (so they could discuss holy things together) and he declined. So St. Scholastica then prayed for St. Benedict to stay and a storm began that forced her brother to remain in holy conversation with her through the night. (St. Scholastica is the patron saint of storms!)

Shortly afterwards, Scholastica died and when she did, St. Benedict had a vision of her soul ascending to heaven in the shape of a dove. He buried her in the tomb that had been waiting for him. The love and holy admiration between these saintly siblings ran deep. 

By listening to St. Scholastica, we are encouraged to be unperturbed when someone denies us a favor, but rather to ask God instead; to love chatting about God with other faithful; and to celebrate the joy and peace of the spiritual life. St. Scholastica modeled piety, persistence, and love.  

Let us learn from St. Scholastica’s powerful example and apply it to situations we face in our own lives. In her words:

“I asked you for a favor and you would not listen, so I asked God and He did listen.” 

Let us also seek the intercession of St. Scholastica in this prayer.

February 21 — St. Peter Damian

This saint and Doctor of the Church was known for his love of sacrifice, and he joined a hermitage as a young man. He famously suffered from insomnia and so is a patron saint for those who struggle with getting enough sleep. He was called out of the austerity and peace of the quiet hermitage to return to the busy world as a cardinal.

St. Peter Damian sought clerical reform and sacrificed and prayed greatly for this intention: to reform the church of his time. When he finally received permission to return to his hermitage, the pope continued to seek his help for diplomatic missions. It was on one of these trips that he died in 1072.

Let us listen to St. Peter Damian’s advice for our lives, in his own words:

“Do not despair. Do not be depressed. Do not let your weakness make you impatient. Instead, let the serenity of your spirit shine through your face. Let the joy of your mind burst forth. Let words of thanks break from your lips.”

This was a dynamic man of inner depth, high intellect and zealous faith. 

Let us seek the intercession of St. Peter Damian in this prayer.

All three of these saints were people who never gave up on their love for God no matter the obstacles or challenges they faced. Let us follow their example in our own lives. We must ask ourselves, what will we model and exemplify to the world as we persevere, despite obstacles, on our own journey?

May the saints of February enlighten and advise us!

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