Meeting a Saint

30/09/09 | Posted by Poppy

This week thousands of people have made a pilgrimage to see a casket that contains the bones of a young woman who died less that 100 years ago aged 24. She didn't do anything spectacular in her life yet she was described by Pope Pius X as "the greatest saint of modern times". Can ordinary by saintly?

image
 Time for tea?

The story about St Therese of Lisieux can be found on the BBC news website here>

I think I knew someone like St Theresse. At the funeral of a friend earlier this year it was commented that we had been living with a saint but we hadn’t realised it. It was only in looking back at the goodness of her life that it became clear that we had been around someone very special. Now my friend was very ordinary; small and slight with thinning grey hair and stooped with age. You would pass her in the street without a second glance.

Oh, but when smiled, she lit up the room.

She was unfailingly kind and I don’t remember a cross word from her in the 15 years or so that I knew her. She could be disappointed and sad, but never nasty and bitter and angry. As she got older she got smaller and slighter but her goodness seemed to get stronger. It was as if the light that was the centre of her life shone through her and made her stronger although her body was fading. In the last 6 months or so of her life she began to get woolly and forgetful. Sometimes dementia brings a change in personality and that it isn’t always for the better. Not with Peggy. She was actually hard to be with in those last few months. I found is difficult to be in the presence of such concentrated kindness. I wanted to look after her but she couldn’t shake the habit of a lifetime and just wanted to look after me. The trouble was she would forget what she had done or said and come back and do it or say it again.

When I read about St Theresse I wondered if she was like Peggy. Younger of course, but still with that concentrated goodness and kindness that has to be experienced to understand just how powerful it is.

St Theresse and Peggy prayed daily. They both had a love for Jesus, read their Bibles and practised that love in their daily lives. Not in spectacular ways but in small ways.

The picture at the top of the blog is of a cup of tea. I wanted to find something that symbolised that small act of kindness that is listening to someone, of spending time with them. Of giving time and energy to the other rather than the self. So as I’m English it is sitting down over a nice cup of tea, but it could be anything; time listening to someone at the photocopier or at the bus-stop or on the phone when they are not well and want a chat. Goodness isn’t easy. I know how easy it is to rush around and do things rather than do the more important thing of spending time with people. Far easier to be concerned with ourselves and look in rather than out.

The simple goodness of my friend is an example to me and I do remember her when I get frantic with doing stuff.

So maybe spend time with someone today. Give out a little of yourself and be a little like a saint in small and simple ways

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