St Cajetan

Founder of the Congregation of Clerks Regular (aka the Theatines) (entered heaven in 1547)

Dear Tom,

I can sympathize with you.  There’s nothing more frustrating for someone as active and creative as yourself than not being able to find work.  It’s a pity the company that hired you before graduation went out of business after graduation.  But that’s how the world works sometimes.  It seems that God is testing you somewhat.  That’s a good sign.  “I am the one who corrects and disciplines everyone I love,” as our Lord put it in Revelation 3:19.  You reaction needs to be that of a true Christian: “Rejoice in hope, persevere in prayer, be patient under trial.” (Romans 12:12).  And in the meantime, you may want to ask today’s saint to intercede for you.  He is the patron saint of job seekers and the unemployed.

Cajetan was the son of noble Venetian parents.  His father died when he was a boy.  As a youth he studied civil and canon law at the famous University of Padua, then become a senator in the Vincenzan government.  Although he lived in the thick of the Italian Renaissance, and although he learned to appreciate the many achievements of that effervescent culture, his love for the Church gave rise to a desire to do something to reform the corrupt clergy and serve the needy faithful.  He saw the same problems as his contemporary Martin Luther, but he opted to reform from within, not divide and rebel.

His first move was to relocate to Rome and live a humble, quiet existence in which he could serve the poor.  Pope Julius II would have none of such low-profile lifestyles, however, and brought him into the papal court as protonotary (one of 12 clerks in charge of registering important papal proceedings).  The corruption of morals in the Vatican only increased his desire to stir up the true Christian spirit, and he spent all the time he could serving the poor, especially the incurably sick and foundlings.

When Pope Julius died Cajetan retired his post, received ordination, and moved back north to Venice, where he tended his sick mother until she died, then formed a small oratory to continue his works of mercy.  A few years later he joined forces with some other notable churchmen and founded a new Congregation of priests whose sole objective was to provide a positive example of priestly life for the diocesan priests – who weren’t getting any good examples or instructions from their bishops, for the most part.  The Congregation grew quickly and spread throughout Europe, and Cajetan was eventually made superior of the community in Naples.  There, in addition to tending the needs of his Congregation, he continued his backbreaking work for the poor, even starting a bank that would lend money fairly to the down-and-out so they could get back on their feet.  This bank has survived until today; it is called the Bank of Naples.

Cajetan was a man who never let discouragement keep him from serving Christ with all his mind, heart, and strength, even though he had plenty of reasons to be discouraged.  I hope his example inspires you, and I know his intercession will assist you.

Your loving uncle,


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