Love and sacrifice go together as with Elizabeth Pilenko, a young Russian who escaped Communism by fleeing to France. During the persecution of the Jews in World War II, she founded a convent as a haven for the Jews. When the Gestapo found her, she was lead to the concentration camp at Ravensbruck. During two and a half years she saw a block of buildings erected which were actually gas chambers, though the prisoners were told they were to be hot baths for the prisoners.
One day a number of women prisoners were lined up before the buildings. One girl became hysterical. Mother Maria, for that was here name as a nun, was not among those selected. To the girl who became hysterical she said, "Don't be frightened. I shall take your turn," knowing very well she was going to her death. It was Good Friday when she died.
(Excerpt from Footprints in a Darkened Forest by Fulton J. Sheen.)
During the Vietnam War (1967-1975) I lived among mines, bombs, and guerrillas. There were nights when I could not sleep. I would walk in the corridors of the bishop's residence tormented with anxiety for my priests. "What will happen tonight to one or another of my priests?" In January 1968 the famous Tet Offensive took place. A group of soldiers came seeking refuge in the presbytery of Duy Can, where Father Van and two choirboys were hiding. The Communists were hoping to be spared because of the presence of the priest. But, after a day of waiting, the airplanes dropped napalm bombs, which burnt the priest and the two boys to death. Five days later a priest voluntarily set off in order to replace Father Van in that village, where all the houses had been burnt. What deep emotions, what admiration, what joy a bishop feels when he sees his priests animated by the very apostolic spirit of Christ! In Bosnia, Rwanda, Burundi, Latin America, and in many other areas of the world, in small villages and in the anonymity of large cities, these good shepherds are ready to lay down their lives for their sheep.
-- Francis X. Nguyen van Thuan
We have been granted tax-exempt status as a 501.c.3 corporation. Your generous contributions enable our work to continue.
© 2011, MissionCapodanno.org. All Rights Reserved.
Visual Edge Design and HyperDo Media