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Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Videos for the Feast of All Saints

On November 1 we celebrate the feast of All Saints. In honor of that feast, I have a little treat for you: four very short videos (about 2-3 mins. each) on four individuals who are canonized saints or are in the process of being canonized. The videos are based on the book, The Blessed Among Us, by Robert Ellsberg who writes regularly for the monthly publication, Give Us this Day published by Liturgical Press. (Robert Ellsberg was featured on last week’s blog.)

The first blessed among us is Sister Dorothy Stang (1931-2005) a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur originally from Dayton, Ohio who was killed while working with the poor in the Amazon River area. Let us pray to her for the current efforts being made to preserve the rainforest which she so dearly loved.

We go back to World War II for our second blessed person, Franz Jaggerstatter (1907-1943), a simple husband and father in Austria who refused to take the Nazi oath to the Fatherland and to serve in Hitler’s army. He was executed for his decision.

Our third blessed person lived in the 12th Century. She is Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). This fascinating woman was a Benedictine Abbess, mystic, artist, poet, musician, and even a pharmacist. Pope Benedict XVI named her a Doctor of the Church.

Our final blessed person is Pope John XXIII (1881-1963). Elected pope at age 77, John XXIII was expected to have a short and uneventful papacy. But he surprised the Church and the world by invoking an ecumenical council to let a little “fresh air” into the church.

Did anything stand out for you about any of these individuals? How are they different from one another? What do they have in common?

PS: Please pray for the Collaboration for Ministry Initiative Conference in Myrtle Beach Nov. 1-3. The conference welcomes all the Sisters serving in the state of South Carolina. (The state is one diocese.) I will be giving three presentations. Thank you!

And here’s a little Halloween treat for you, a photo taken by Sister Elona, a Medical Missionary from Philadelphia. This squirrel ate his way into this pumpkin and then posed for this picture!

Let us conclude this reflection with an actual song written by St. Hildegard of Bingen. It is a Gregorian chant piece in Latin. This version, recorded in Amsterdam, shows the actual musical notes, so you can appreciate even more the song’s beauty and intricacy. The Latin has been poetically translated into these words: “Loving tenderness abounds for all things… from the lowest depths to the highest stars…. Exquisitely loving to all, she bequeaths the kiss of peace upon the ultimate King.”

I invite you to share your thoughts below. We all enjoy hearing from you!

14 Responses

  1. Thank you so much, Sr Melannie (and thanks to the Sheen Center, and to Give Us This Day) for these wonderfully informative and spiritually enriching videos! Hope. Resistance. Receptivity to the Holy Spirit. Courage. Just words that come to mind.

    I am in the debt not only of the Communion of Saints, but of so many “unofficial” saints I’ve met along the way, whom I’m tempted to begin naming, but I’m afraid I’d leave someone out! There are so many living souls, too, within the Church, and “beside” the Church, who embody grace and spiritual light for me.

    Peace and light to all.

  2. Good morning, Sr. Melannie…
    Good morning, fellow followers of this amazing blog!

    Wow! So much great stuff! “There is the music of Heaven in all things, and we have forgotten how to hear it until we sing.”

    Now those are words that need to be shouted (or sung) from the rooftops!
    Thank you, Hildegard! And thank you, good Pope John for reminding us of the “medicine of mercy.”

  3. Thank you Sr. Melannie!

    Hildegarde always gives me hope that women of the Church can be recognized finally. Her lasting gifts to all of us truly make her a Doctor of the Church.

    The phrase “living sparks” really speaks to m.

    God bless.


  4. I have always been in awe and humility of the saints and their ongoing courage, fidelity, intellect, sacrifice, and undying faithfulness to Almighty God. Thank you, Sr. Melannie.
    Bl. Dorothy Stang, Bl. Franz Jaggerstatter, St. Hildegard, Pope St. John XXIII, Pray for us.

  5. Thank you so much for the videos. Hildegarde has always been an influence on me due to her array of talents and interests. The movie, A Hidden Life, comes out on December 13. It is the story of Blessed Franz Jaggerstatter. It was on my list of movies to see but even more so now.

    Blessed day to all.


  6. Sister Melannie,
    Yes WOW came to mind immediately with each video!!
    I love Gregorian chant as it reminds me of grade school.
    Thank you!!
    Have a wonderful week.

  7. Dear Sister Melanie,
    What a wonderful way to start this week when we will be celebrating All Saints Day. Every video was informative, and Hildegarde’s music was so incredibly beautiful. Thank you so much!

  8. Sister:
    Oh happy day. Your wonderful blog was delivered today.
    The video’s were wonderful, and the music brought much needed peace and joy to my soul.
    Thank you.

  9. S. Melannie,

    Bl. Dorothy Stang’s story touched me very deeply, as did Bl. Franz Jaggerstatter’s. They both seemed to KNOW God in such a way, that nothing could/would deter them in that KNOWING. Such bold courage they had.
    I’m moved by it all today…..this is where hope lies for any and all of us.

    May the communion of saints surround us in all we do and say,

    Thank you

  10. Loved every bit of it! From Sister Dorothy’s tremendous humility to St John’s outstanding vision I was really captivated by these amazing individuals/saints. And a bit teary I might add. Thanks Sister M!

  11. What inspiring stories of these modern day saints that give us hope to make a difference all with the grace of God. Thank you for sharing these saints with us. Happy All Saints Day and may they intercede for us. Amen.

  12. The account of Sr. Dorothy Stang was truly moving and inspirational. As an educator, it pains me to know that we highlight the few positive role models
    in our midst and in modern times to share with children and adults who have little to grasp onto in these troubling times.
    It may take more of an effort than we are willing to exert, but it is incumbent upon us to share the lives and works of the saints among us.

  13. Dear Sr. Melannie,
    Thanks for introducing us to this wonderful video series on the saints.
    Enjoy your time at Myrtle Beach.

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Meet Sr. Melannie

Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m Sister Melannie, a Sister of Notre Dame residing in Chardon, Ohio, USA. I’ve been very lucky! I was raised in a loving family on a small farm in northeast Ohio. I also entered the SNDs right after high school. Over the years, my ministries have included high school and college teaching, novice director, congregational leadership, spiritual direction, retreat facilitating, and writing. I hope you enjoy “Sunflower Seeds” and will consider subscribing below. I’d love to have you in our “sunflower community.” Thank you!

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