St Fidelis of Sigmaringen

Martyr (southwestern Germany) (entered heaven this day in 1622)

Dear Fidelity,

Don’t change majors for the wrong reasons.  You have always wanted to be a lawyer (and for the right reasons, too: to defend justice), and pre-law is a logical way to attain such a goal.  If you abandon it for physical education just because it’s more fun and requires fewer papers, you may regret it later. Take a lesson from your namesake, today’s saint.  Fidelis (his name was Mark before he became a Capuchin) began his professional life as a brilliant and effective lawyer. From the way he practiced law, he accrued a reputation for honesty, integrity, and effectiveness.  He was beloved by rich and poor alike. But his colleagues’ habitual dishonesty and self-seeking disgusted him so much that he left the bar and donned the Franciscan habit. He thought he was out of the fray but soon discovered otherwise.  He put his lawyering skills to work in his heavy load of preaching, hearing confessions, and organizing care for the sick, many of whom he cured with miracles. Everywhere he went whole towns were renewed in an energetic adherence to Christ and his Church.  When he and eight companions were sent to bring the Zwinglians (a branch of early Protestantism) of western Switzerland back into the Catholic fold, his mission met with similar success. Too much success, perhaps. Soon the local leaders had had enough and roused the peasants against him.  They attempted to shoot him while he was preaching, but missed. Then they ambushed him on the road and beat him to death when he wouldn’t renounce his Catholic faith. The prayers for his attackers that escaped from his dying lips converted a Zwinglian minister who witnessed the martyrdom. For St Fidelis, leaving the practice of law was a good decision, I’d say.  For you? Perhaps. It depends on the why.  Keep praying, and make your namesake’s prayer your own: “Woe betide me if I should prove myself but a half-hearted solder in the service of my thorn-crowned Captain!”  

Your faithful Uncle, Eddy.


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