In the beauty of Catholic Tradition we are united in spirit with those who have gone before us who have served our Lord and His Church faithfully on earth. We look to the Saints as models of holiness, who worked to glorify God by their own sanctification in their daily struggles. Children of the Immaculate Heart has chosen three particular women as patrons that their example of purity, perseverance, and faithfulness may continue to guide and inspire us. We pray for their intercession for this ministry and for those we serve.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary
Many saints are revered for their great works, such as preaching, teaching, and serving the poor. The greatest saint however, is not revered for great works or monumental accomplishments. She was called by God to give humanity to Jesus Christ and to love his body the Church as Virgin and Mother. This most pure and tender love flowed and continues to flow from her perfect union with Christ her son. She tells the Angel “Be it done unto me according to thy Word”, and again at the wedding at Cana “Do whatever He tells you”. As Jesus offered himself up during the crucifixion, Mary stood at the foot of the cross, offering up her own heart in sacrificial love as she watched her only son die. Because of the purity of her heart, she was able to love much, but also to suffer much, as was foretold by Simeon “a sword will pierce your heart.” Before He expired, Our Lord gave Mary as a mother for His Church: “Woman behold thy son” “son behold thy Mother.” We honor her heart because in its purity, she suffered, but was not wounded. We speak of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady, but not her wounds. She accepted to suffer and so was not wounded and like her divine son, she did not fight back. In her purity, she is the refuge of sinners, never judging us, but accepting us as the most loving of all mothers, encouraging us to accept the love of her beloved son Jesus.
St. Josephine Bakhita
St. Josephine Margaret Bakhita was only a young girl when she was kidnapped by slave traders in Darfur, Sudan. The fear and trauma from her enslavement was so terrible that she forgot her own name, so her captors named her Bakhita. She was beaten, flogged until she bled daily, and had salt rubbed into her wounds, scarring her for life. In 1882 she was bought by a kinder master and brought to Italy, where she became the nanny of her master’s daughter. Both were sent to stay at a convent in Venice belonging to the Canossian Sisters, where Bakhita began to learn the Catholic faith. After a life of abuse and humiliation at the hands of human masters, she finally encountered the true Master, who loved her and had suffered for her sake. In 1890 she received baptism, confirmation, and first communion. When her master wanted to take her back to Sudan, she refused to leave the convent, and when the issue was taken to court the judge ruled in her favor. Soon after she took vows as a Canossian Sister, choosing the name Josephine Margaret. Her reputation for sanctity spread throughout Italy, and she remains a powerful witness of God’s providence and forgiveness. Truly He has come to set the captives free.
St. Maria Goretti
Saint Maria Goretti was born 1890 in Corinaldi, Italy. The Gorettis were a very devout, but also very poor family, eventually having to sell their own farm to work in the fields. One day, eleven-year-old Maria was at home watching her baby sister while her mother and siblings were out working (her father had died years before). Their neighbor’s nineteen-year-old son, Alessandro Serenelli, tried to force himself upon her, but she refused, warning him that it was against God’s will. Furious at her resistance, Alessandro stabbed Maria to death. After his arrest for attempted rape and murder, the unrepentant Alessandro was sentenced to a long prison term. One night, Maria appeared to him in a dream, offering him flowers; the same number of flowers as the amount of times he had stabbed her. When Alessandro awoke, he repented and converted, determined now to be a better man. When released, he begged Maria’s mother to forgive him as well, and they both attended her canonization in 1950. Saint Maria Goretti is the patron saint of chastity, purity, victims of rape, young girls, and forgiveness.