St Jerome Emiliani

Founder of the Somaschi Fathers (entered heaven this day in 1537)

Dear Jerry,

Don’t give up on Clarence.  Though he persists in his irreligion and immorality, your prayers, example, and friendship (as long as you don’t get sucked into his sinful frolics) will bear fruit in the end.  I would recommend redoubling your prayers to the Blessed Virgin on his behalf; she loves tough cases. Like today’s saint, for example.

Jerome Emiliani was a flashy and talented Venetian (Venice is in northeast Italy) sent to defend a provincial stronghold when the Republic was attacked by its neighbors.  He (like Clarence) was irreligious and loose-living. But when his defense failed and found himself imprisoned in a dreadful dungeon by Venice’s ireful enemies, he betook himself to prayer – most especially to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In odd (some say miraculous) circumstances, he was able to escape, and he immediately fled to a Church in nearby Treviso, where he laid his chains upon Our Lady’s altar. He soon returned to Venice where he was ordained a priest and dedicated the rest of his life to caring (spiritually and materially) for orphans, penitent prostitutes, victims of the plague, and generally anyone in need.  He even established an order of priests to help spread his works of mercy throughout northern Italy. He himself contracted an infectious disease while tending the sick, and died when he was only 56.

So you see, even “hopeless worldlings,” as you designate your roommate, are not beyond the pale of God’s grace.  Don’t give up on him.

Sincerely, your uncle Eddy

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