Monday, July 1, 2024

Vacation Time!

I am Stephanie Morris, formerly the Director of Archives of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and an Associate of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (ASBS). Sister Annette Marie O’Donnell had begun this blog as “Companions on the Journey” but has retired from actively writing. St. Katharine said we are all typewriters in the hands of the Lord; it has been a pleasure and privilege for me to serve as St. Katharine’s typist for many years.

          July 4th is celebrated as the birthday of our country. Mother Katharine prayed that the hearts of our government officials would bring religion, justice, and peace to our country. We can do the same.

July 14 is the feast day of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680), the Lily of the Mohawks. Shortly after her death in 1680, Kateri’s face, pockmarked by smallpox scars, became clear and luminous. In 1904, Mother Katharine visited Caughnawaga, Quebec, near Montreal, where Kateri had lived, visiting Kateri’s shrine. In 1937, Mother Katharine wrote that the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha would show that there is no distinction with God as to persons and that no race had a monopoly on sanctity. Mother Katharine hoped that at that time, all would be truly seen as the children of God. Pope Benedict XVI canonized Saint Kateri on October 21, 2012, the first Native American saint in the United States and Canada.

        July 16 is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Many Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament pronounced their vows on that feast day. Prayers and best wishes to those Sisters who are celebrating jubilees this summer!

        July 26 is the feast day of Saints Ann and Joachim, the parents of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Their efforts to raise Mary in a faith-filled environment led to her “Fiat,” Mary’s acceptance of her role as the mother of Jesus.

        Family life was important to Jesus; He spent thirty years as a member of the Holy Family, hidden from public view. Mother Katharine called Jesus’ home “His first apostolate.” By living the life of an ordinary family member, Jesus sanctified “the ordinary way of family life.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls the family the “original cell of social life” (#2207). As children we first learn how to interact with others within our family. Education in the faith begins when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life (#2226). We begin to learn how to be Christian within our family.

Many of us are planning or have planned vacations for the summer. Even Saint Katharine planned a vacation – young Kate wrote Bishop O’Connor that she planned to enjoy herself as much as “whales or porpoises tumbling about in the water.”

Saint Katharine was familiar with the ocean. As a child, she was initially afraid of the waves. She held onto her father, asking him to take her back to the shore! She clung tightly to her father because she was afraid that she would drown. Later, Saint Katharine knew she had been safe in her father’s arms, just as she and we are safe in the arms of our heavenly father.

Saint Katharine sailed to Rome several times and had plenty of opportunities to see “whales or porpoises tumbling about in the water.”

Even though Saint Katharine, as a young woman, anticipated “nothing to do” during the summer, she kept up her daily prayers and attended Mass as often as she could. She knew that God works 24/7, never taking a “vacation” from caring for us, and we should not forget Him or the Blessed Mother during our vacations.

May your summer be a time of “recreation,” providing opportunities to re-create yourself both physically and spiritually. May your summer be safe and fun! This summer, may our families continue to cultivate the seed of a deep faith and confidence in God. May we truly see all people as children of God.


Stephanie Morris, ASBS

June 27, 2024