St Sigfrid

Bishop of Vaxjo (Sweden) (entered heaven around 1045)

Dear Frieda,

I can identify with your frustration.  For three years you and your COMPASS Chapter have been working hard to transform campus culture, and yet the “normal” behavior of your fellow students remains reprehensible.  I would point out two considerations in this regard: 1) Don’t forget that sometimes one person sows while another reaps; your efforts may bear fruit in ways that you never see.  If you are working sincerely for the glory of God, and you’re doing your honest best, try to trust that he won’t let your labors go to waste; 2) Make a self-examination on the effectiveness of your methods: are you trying to bring the light of Christ’s message to the real agents of campus culture, or are you “preaching to the choir”?  On this last point, you may want to reflect a bit on the example of today’s saint.

Sigfrid was an English bishop sent to Scandinavia upon the request of Norway’s recently converted King, Olaf Tryggvason.  He took up the mission in the company of two other bishops, and made his headquarters in Vaxjo, in the south of Sweden. And guess what his first move was, he befriended the King of Sweden (also named Olaf, by the way), and soon had won him over to the faith, baptizing him in a natural spring that flowed near the spot where he erected their first church.  With the king on Christ’s side, Sigfrid then took on the difficult task of converting the twelve most prominent nobles of the region, men of influence and wealth, resistant to the demands of Christian virtue. His prayer, sacrifices, example, and efforts paid off, and he was able to baptize this Swedish Dozen in the same spring. Confident that he now had a solid foundation, he left his nephews in charge of furthering the Church’s growth there, while he set out in search of more conquests further north.  To this day, the Swedes remember this shrewd missionary as the “Apostle of Sweden.”

Certain people or circles of people always influence a particular culture more than others.  Perhaps your lack of progress in infusing solid human and Christian values into campus culture stems from not having identified those particular circles, or from not having the courage and faith to try and evangelize them.  Whatever the case may be, don’t let your confidence in God wane; just keep doing your best, and let him do all the rest.

Your affectionate uncle, Eddy

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