December 17, 2010
the account of the life of St. John Marie Vianney, in a
book named The Cure D Ars,
written by Abbe Francois Trochu, I was struck by the description of an
encounter he had with the Blessed Virgin Mary. A friend of his named
Etiennette Durie witnessed it and later described the event. She was a close
friend of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of all priests. She devoted her
time raising money for St. John Vianney which was used to help poor and
needy individuals and families. These funds and others were the basis for
his "Catholic Social Services of Ars."
On May 8, 1840, she decided to hand-deliver some
Mass stipends to the pastor of Ars at the rectory. Upon her arrival she
overheard a conversation in an upstairs room. She heard a woman say in a
gentle tone of voice, "What do you ask?"
"Ah! My good Mother, I ask for the conversion of
sinners, the comfort of those in affliction, the relief of my sick people,
especially that of one who has long been suffering and pleads either for
death or a cure."
"She will get well," replied the Blessed Mother,
"But a little later." It was then that Etiennette entered the room and saw
the Mother of God clothed with a brilliant white robe covered with golden
roses. As you might have guessed, it was her they were talking about, for
she had been suffering with terminal cancer. She was cured a short time
When someone reads about this encounter, and
others involving St. Bernadette in Lourdes, the children of Fatima in
Portugal, and St. Juan Diego in Mexico City, it is realized that they all
excelled in the practice of the virtue of humility.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
defines humility as "The virtue by which a Christian acknowledges that God
is the author of all good. Humility avoids inordinate ambition or pride, and
provides the foundation for turning to God in prayer (2559). Voluntary
humility can be described as ‘poverty of spirit’ " (2546).
One of our temptations to pride at Catholic Social
Services is to think, ‘Look at what we are doing,’ when in humility the
reason we are able to help the many individuals and families each year is
the generosity of our donors. Without them, we would have closed our doors
Recently, two couples purchased authentic Spanish
dinners I prepared. The first was a dinner purchased at our annual memorial
golf tournament’s silent auction with Bishop Bruskewitz by Kris and Andy
Sarver of Auburn. The second was purchased at our annual Bountiful Harvest
silent auction in Hastings by Neal and Peggy Beck. Both dinners were four
courses with authentic Spanish paella and wine. No one went away hungry.
At each dinner, I was able to thank these two
couples for their love and generosity that enables us to help the many
individuals and families who come to us on a daily basis. As for Neal and
Peggy, this is the second Paella dinner that I have prepared at their home.
I promised them a change if I return to their beautiful home for another
Thanks be to God for He continues to inspire many
across southern Nebraska- like he inspired Etiennette so many years ago in
Ars, France. Thanks to all of our benefactors, you are in our prayers.
St. Mary, our Blessed Mother, pray for us! St. John Marie Vianney, pray