St Beatus of Lungern or Beatenberg

Apostle to Switzerland, (entered heaven around 112)

Dear Beata,

Well, it’s been quite a year.  I can’t say that I’m glad you had to struggle so much, but I can say that I am glad you struggled so courageously.  You never let anything take precedence over Christ.  Your many hidden victories in the spiritual battle will bear plenty of fruit, both in your own soul and for the extension of God’s Kingdom.

I hope you don’t let down your guard now that freshman year is over, though.  As you head back to your summer job, you may find it hard to resist some of the old temptations.  I wish you could find some other place to work – the beach is fun, but it’s also, well… you know.  In any case, the key to a successful summer will be the same as the key to your successful first year of college: staying faithful to your prayer commitments.  Today’s saint can help you.

Beatus is one of those mysterious figures that we don’t really know too much about.  It seems he was English.  And history says that he was baptized by St Barnabas, who, some sources say, made his way to Great Britain in the first century.  Beatus then took a trip to Rome, where he was ordained to the priesthood by St Peter himself.  Then he either received a mission from the Prince of the Apostles, or he simply decided for himself, to go over the Alps and bring the Good News into Switzerland.

It was no easy task.  And we don’t know exactly how he went about doing it.  What we do know is that he took the spiritual life seriously, and spent many days and nights in prayer and meditation in a cave near Lake Thun, on Mount Beatenberg (guess where that mountain got its name).  Local tradition maintains that he did battle with a dragon in that cave, and emerged victorious.

Whether the dragon was physical (which I personally think is a real possibility – dragons are so ubiquitous in ancient legends that I like to think they really did exist) or merely a reference to the devil is up for discussion.  But the victory is a fact.  And he won it because he kept his prayer life in shape.

You probably won’t have as much time for prayer as Beatus did, but what you lack in quantity you can easily make up in quality… If you want to, that is.  And I hope you do, because although the beach is beautiful, only Christ can satisfy the yearnings of your heart.

Your loving uncle,


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