Saints Jeanie, Fred, Vinnie — Our Catholic Christian Families Must All Stand Together

by Larry Peterson

When Jeanie Jugon began working in the hospital in Saint-Servan she was 25 years old. She hated poverty and all it wrought and she wanted desperately to fight back against it. One bitterly cold winter night in 1839, Jeanie looked out from her bedroom window and saw a person huddled outside. She went out and  somehow managed to carry the freezing woman into her own home and place her in her own bed. The woman was blind, paralyzed and quite old. And so it began, for on that very night Jeanne Jugan turned her life to serving God by caring for the elderly poor.

Word spread quickly throughout the small town and before long more elderly sick and poor were being brought to Jeanie. Other women, younger and healthier, were coming to her also. But they were coming to join her in her work. The small group of women grew and became known as the Little Sisters of the Poor.  Forty years later there were over 2400 Little Sisters of the Poor in nine countries. 1879 was also the year that Pope Leo XIII approved the by-laws of the order. That  was the same year Jeanie Jugon died at the age of 86. She was canonized a saint on October 11, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Saint Jeanne Jugon never knew that when she was founding the Little Sisters of the Poor a young man hundreds of miles away in Paris was unknowingly doing something quite similar. Fred Ozanam was a 20 year old student at the University of Paris and, challenged by his "enlightened" college peers, embraced their taunts "to practice what you preach".  So he went out and gave his coat to a beggar.  Then he and his four pals founded the St. Vincent de Paul Society. That was in May of 1833.  The society was  named after St.Vinnie because he was known for his work with the poor.

 Vincent de Paul never knew that 170 years after his death an organization named after him would take up the mantel of helping the poor all over the world. Fred Ozanam died at the age of 40 and was beatified and declared 'Blessed' by Pope John Paul II in 1997. Fred would never know that the organization he  had founded  would one day work side by side with the Little Sisters of the Poor in their mission of charity toward the elderly poor. Saint Jeanie could never have known that from the moment she carried her first old, sick woman into her home she would change the world for thousands upon thousands of the sick and disabled elderly. She could never have imagined that in the 21st century her order would be serving the poorest of the  elderly in cities all over the United States and in 31 countries around the world. Blessed Fred would never have imagined that his St.Vincent de Paul Society would become a worldwide organization with 3/4 of a million members helping the needy all over the world. The grand irony is that over the course of several centuries the paths of these three saints have been interwoven dramatically as their followers help the poor, homeless and downtrodden no matter where they may be.

The three saints mentioned here never knew what their simple acts of kindness would lead to. The difference with them was that, unlike most folks, they responded to God's grace. Jeanie took care of that sickly woman and Fred gave away his coat. Vinnie worked with poor tenant farmers and founded the Daughter's of Charity. The two things they all had in common was a) they welcomed God's grace and followed His call and b) they asked for NOTHING for themselves and embraced poverty. Remarkably, their thousands and thousands of followers, separated by centuries, work together to this day. This is a beautiful thing.

 Using the names of saints as I have done here bothers some folks. I really do not care about that.  My brother's name is Daniel but I call him Danny. As far as Jeanie, Fred and Vinnie go, they are my family too.  You see, I love all of these people and using their names like that makes me feel closer to them. They set examples for us that we supposed to emulate. They are our Catholic heroes and therefore  members of our Catholic Hall of Fame. They asked for nothing and gave everything. I love being able to talk to them. What I love best is when they talk back. And they do, sooner or later and one way or another.

We must remember to pray hard for The Little Sisters of the Poor as they stand their ground against the HHS mandate that threatens their very existence. The forces of secularism are hard at work to remove religion from our lives. All our family members, including Vinnie, Jeanie and Fred, need  to stand together defending each other against this enemy.

St. Vincent de Paul, St. Jeanne Jugon and Blessed Frederick Ozanam, please pray for us.

     

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY” (for kids too) The Constitution is 226 Years Old Today”

by Larry Peterson

The following is a Primer on the basics of the United States Constitution. There is much more detailed and insightful information available on-line and in libraries and text-books. I am posting this  primarily for young people so  they might get an overview of where the laws in America come from.

226 years ago today The Constitution of the United States of America was ratified. Congress has declared this day, CONSTITUTION DAY and the period form September 17 thru September 23 of each year as CONSTITUTION WEEK.  Below is the Preamble to this magnificent document:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America".

The Constitution, was  signed in 1787 and had VII (7) Articles with Articles I thru IV  having different Sections that stipulated certain laws. For example; Article I has ten (10) Sections. Section 1 states that "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.  The other nine (9) Sections define other laws. Articles V thru VII have no Sections as they are straight forward as written.

The Bill of Rights are the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution. They were proposed in August of 1789, adopted on September 25, 1789 and went into effect on December 15, 1789.
Since then an additional 17 Amendments have been added, the last one on May 7, 1992. The 18th Amendment, also known as the Volstead Act, prohibited the sale and manufacture of alcohol and was ratified in 1919. The period of time in our history was known as "Prohibition". This amendment was repealed  in 1933 when the 21st Amendment was passed, overturning it.

 Article I; Section 8 of The Constitution  is known as the "elastic clause". This Section spells out the powers of Congress. It might be the most important clause in the Constitution as it gives Congress broad power to enact laws that might usurp the freedoms given the people. This is why it is so important for citizens to stay informed and vote for people they feel represent the freedoms spelled out in the Constitution. 

Here are quotes from two of the signers of this document:
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other".  John Adams, the 2nd President of the United States

"The adoption of the Constitution will demonstrate as visibly the finger of Providence as any possible event in the course of human affairs can ever designate it."  George Washington

Every citizen should read through the Constitution. It is a magnificent document created by magnificent minds who trusted in  a Divine Craftsman to oversee their work. The Father of our Country, George Washington, confirmed that belief. The Constitution has changed over the 226 years of its existence with the abolition of slavery, giving citizenship to all people regardless of race, giving equal rights to women, and so forth. It was never perfect but it was flexible enough where, as society changed,  wrongs could be addressed and corrected. We will always have room for improvement. 

We should never lose respect or disrespect this document for its intended purpose was foremost ,'For the People'. It is NOT for those we  entrust the power to, to do what is politically expedient for them. Those empowered by the people have a sacred trust to do what is best for their constituents. It reads, "WE the people', not "Me, your President, senator or congressman."

     

As Satan Laughs, What Price Freedom? by Larry Peterson

by Larry Peterson

Twelve years ago on this very day, Sept 10, America was doing its thing and being American. It was a Monday and a new week had begun and people were scurrying about going to work and getting the kids ready for the new school year. The NFL season had begun, the baseball season was winding down and the summer was almost over. We were Americans, living in the "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave".

So Monday came and went, just another Monday. Then  along came Tuesday. As an unsuspecting and somewhat naive populace headed into the second day of the work week, Satan watched and salivated.  He knew that his hate-filled messengers were about  to do his bidding and  within a few scant moments would change "One Nation Under God" forever.

As the planes were hijacked he started to laugh, a deep disgusting guttural laugh that can only be imagined. Then Tower #1 was hit and the sound of the explosion did not just come from the disintegrating, fuel filled jetliner. No, mixed into the sound of exploding fuel and metal and rubber and glass and vaporized people was  also the sound of Satan's gleeful version of a High C blasting from the bell of a Selmer trumpet. Satan rejoiced and screamed with devilish glee. "One Nation Under God" was now under attack. When the attack was over almost 3000 innocent men, women and children were dead and millions of lives had been changed forever.

We can never go back to Monday, September 10, 2001. We can never go back to not having a Department of Homeland Security or needing one. We cannot turn back to a day when we are not violated  by scanners and "pat downs" by strangers at airports and at stadiums and theaters and varied other places. We can never go back to being as free as we were on September 10, 2001. Under the guise of safety and protection we have willingly submitted  to allowing our freedoms to be diminished.

The War on Terror has captured us and in many cases we are now its prisoners.   The next time you have to remove your shoes at the airport think back to September 10, 2001. Listen and  hear the roar of Satan's shrill laughter mixed among the crumbling steel and concrete of the majestic Twin Towers as it falls into history. Then ask yourself, "what price freedom"? Maybe the time has come to keep our shoes on.