St Benedict Menni

Priest, O.H., Founder of the Hospitaller Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (entered heaven this day in 1914)

Dear Mimi,

Maybe what your Chapter needs is something entirely new, a brand new project to help jar it out of the rut it seems to have fallen into.  Why not organize something creative, fun, and substantial, maybe just for one day – like bringing a whole bunch of poor kids to an amusement park, all the COMPASS members acting as big brothers and sisters for the day.  You could get local businesses to sponsor the activity, invite a local celebrity or two to come along, invite the press, make a big deal out it, plan it out well ahead of time, make it big… That could serve as some CPR for the Christian spirit of your fellow students who seem to have fallen into a funk of selfishness with the coming of spring.  Come to think of it, that’s kind of what happened to today’s saint.

Benedict found his vocation when he left a well-paying bank job to help carry wounded soldiers off the battlefield and care for them (wars come and go in northern Italy as frequently as storms in Iowa).  He was so moved by the needs of the sick, and by their response to truly Christian treatment (which always strives to give at least as much attention to the sick person as to the sickness – an approach that today’s secular hospitals could benefit from) that he decided to join the Order of Hospitallers of St John of God, which was dedicated to serving Christ in the mentally ill and those confined to hospitals.

He showed so much spunk and focus and self-sacrifice and cheerful charity in the seminary that after his ordination he was sent to Spain to achieve an impossible task: reform the Order, which had been founded in Spain in the 17th century, though it had all but disintegrated in the face of severe religious persecution in the 19th century.  So off he went.  His will of iron and his fiery faith proved more than a match for the devil.  Not only did he reignite the flame of love, service and devotion in the works of the Brother Hospitallers, but he founded a parallel community of women to carry out the same work among girls and psychologically needy women.  He was so successful that he was then assigned as Apostolic Visitator to all the houses of this order throughout the world, and he began traveling to rekindle fervor in the various communities.

It seems to me that your COMPASS Chapter could use a boost of St Benedict-like energy, and to my mind, you’re the chosen instrument to make it happen.

Your devoted uncle,


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