St Walaricus

Abbot (entered heaven on December 12th, 620)

Dear Valerie,

Roommate problems are golden opportunities.  I’m not being glib.  You don’t get along with your roommate; you’re natural opposites; she gets on your nerves and does bad things.  Welcome to the world!  Your roommate probably says the exact same things about you (though she probably says you do “weird” things, not “bad” things).  You have been enduring this onerous situation for almost a whole year.  Why not change tactics for the last two months of school and TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT?  Do so by following the example of today’s saint.

He grew up tending his father’s sheep, but had an ardent desire to better himself.  So he learned to read (no minor feat in those days).  That only increased his desire to grow intellectually and spiritually, so he entered a nearby monastery.  He ended up moving on to another monastery, and then another, and another, always in search of a more demanding rule of life.  Finally, after having served as abbot, he and a companion were chosen to evangelize the pagans in Picardy (northern France).  They built a church and a couple of monastic cells and dedicated themselves to prayer, penance, and preaching, with great effect.

The mark of his life, however, was his behavior inside the monasteries for all those years.  He meekly and cheerfully subjected himself to everyone, always ready to learn from them and to forgive their imperfections.  This was his motto and favorite piece of advice: “The more cheerfully we give to those who are in distress, the more readily will God give us what we ask of him.”

That is someone who has learned how to follow Christ.  If your roommate is really as bad as you say she is, I can guarantee that it’s because her soul is in distress – she’s looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places.  If during these last weeks of the semester you can begin seeing her as Christ sees her, and treating her as Christ would treat her (which will not be easy, so you’ll have to keep your crucifix handy for inspiration), you just might be able to help open a crack in the armor of her soul, so that God’s grace can seep in and invigorate her.

It’s worth a shot.  At the very least it will make your selfish groans give way to growth in selflessness.

Your loving uncle,


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