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Which Saints Are Your Friends?

Which Saints Are Your Friends by @ACatholicNewbie

Do you have saints that you consider to be your friends? In reading the new book from Teresa Tomeo, “Girlfriends and Other Saints: Companions on my Journey of Faith,” where she shares her experiences of how the communion of saints is really communion of our friends, it got me thinking about which saints I consider to be friends.

St. Therese

Girlfriends and Other Saints - by Teresa-TomeoTops on my list is St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower. She is my confirmation saint and just as Teresa Tomeo shares amazing experiences she’s had with saints like St. Teresa of Avila and St. Catherine of Siena, St. Therese has made herself present to me in many ways. She has sent me “roses,” answered my most pressing novena prayers and just seems to pop up in the most surprising places.

When I stand at mass, I like to imagine St. Therese standing behind my right shoulder and my Guardian Angel standing behind my left with Mary behind and in between them both with loving arms outstretched guiding my way. I recently read a fascinating book by Father Michael Gaitley called “The Second Greatest Story Ever Told,” which discusses the role of Divine Mercy in our generation and how it has been revealed through a number of saints, including St. Therese, St. Faustina and St. John Paul II. I recommend this as a MUST READ, as it really helps tie the message of Divine Mercy all together.

I truly feel like St. Therese and I are friends, as she has seen me through my conversion to Catholicism and I call on her in many situations. I just feel her calming, sweet presence and turn to her so often.

St. Faustina

In the last year or so, I’ve felt a call toward St. Faustina and her message. I don’t quite feel like we are “friends” yet, but we are getting to know each other :). I have not read her Diary in full, though have read through many Divine Mercy Daily emails, which cover portions of her diary. I have read about her and I want to learn more about this humble Polish nun and the incredible messages she received from Jesus and Mary.

St. Benedict

Early on in my conversion, before actually joining the Church, I felt drawn to St. Benedict and his Rule for monks. While his rule of living was meant for the monastery, it really can be lived in our secular world, as well. I love his call to daily conversion — we must keep turning to God every single day — and how he places holiness on the most ordinary of things and activities from cooking utensils to manual labor. They are all gifts from God and we must treat them as such. I have a statue of him on my desk to remind me of the holiness of my day-to-day activities.

St. John Paul II

This year, I’ve felt a call to St. John Paul II. I realized I had a connection to him after a visit to a church on Gozo in Malta that he had visited years before. I feel like it may have played a role in my conversion. I was also drawn to read the new book “City of Saints: A Pilgrimage to John Paul II’s Krakow” by George Weigel about the many places he lived. It’s a wonderfully written read that combines travel, history, religion and biography. Poland is definitely on my list of places to visit!

Which saints do you consider to be friends? Please post in the comments below!

Meeting Mary in the Mediterranean

Our Lady of Ta Pinu | Gozo | Marian Shrine

Credit ViewingMalta.com

Before my Catholic conversion began, there were several stand-out moments where I felt drawn to the faith. There were other moments, which at the time I did not recognize, but in which I now see God’s providence working!

I had a light bulb moment yesterday when writing a travel article about a beautiful Mediterranean island called Gozo I was blessed enough to visit for my work back in 2006. I was not remotely interested in Catholicism at that time; however, this island, which is next to Malta in the Mediterranean, is very Catholic and filled from end to end with gorgeous Catholic churches.

We visited one in particular called Ta’ Pinu Basilica. At the time, I just remember going in the church and feeling an amazing sense of peace. I would describe it as the same peace I felt when I first went to mass of my own accord. I really have thought nothing of it since until I was writing this new article and went back to look at my notes.

Gozo Catholic Church, Basilica of Ta Pinu

Turns out, this church is a Shrine to Mary and is built where two villagers said they heard the voice of Our Lady. Many miracles are said to have happened to people who visited and prayed there. Here is the story, according to the shrine’s website:

On the 22nd June 1883, Karmela Grima a forty-five year-old spinster and great devotee of the Blessed Virgin, heard a call, while passing by the chapel on her return home from the fields which surrounded the chapel. “Come, come”, she heard a woman’s voice say. She was confused and frightened, and began to run away from the place. The voice called again, and this time Karmela realised that the voice was coming from within the chapel, she went inside and said her usual prayers. The voice which had come from the image of the Blessed Virgin asked her to recite three Ave Maria in honour of the three days Her body remained in the tomb before Assumption to Heaven.

Karmela did as the voice asked and went on her way. Shortly afterwards Karmela fell ill and remained confined to her bed for more than a year. After this time, Karmela revealed her secret to a friend, Francesco Portelli, who in turn told her that about the same time he also heard a woman’s voice asking him to pray from within the chapel. Shortly after this mysterious call Francesco’s mother was miraculously healed by the intercession of Our Lady of Ta` Pinu. The lonely chapel became a place of pilgrimage for many people on the island and beyond.

St. Pope John Paul II even visited the shrine in 1990, praying in the Chapel, celebrating mass and decorating an image of Our Lady with five golden stars. Pope Benedict XVI also mentioned Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu on a visit to Malta in 2010. I am convinced this is a VERY special place that I had no idea of at the time. I walked where St. Pope John Paul II prayed and celebrated mass!

Ta Pinu - Gozo Church

So it left me to wonder yesterday if perhaps some heavenly grace and prayers from our Mother Mary and St. Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005, were granted me upon that visit. It truly was not long thereafter, perhaps not even a year, that I began to feel that calling to go to the Catholic Church.

Ta Pinu Church Gozo Basilica

Mother Mary, you are amazing and I thank you for your blessings! St. Pope John Paul II, pray for us!

Our Lady of Ta Pinu Gozo, Marian Shrine

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