Holy Hermitess Maria of Olonets + 9 February 1860
(Dedicated to all the brave firefighters who risk their lives daily for us)
Both Maria of Olonets (+1860) and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (+1824) died on February 9 and they share this feastday. It was difficult to pick one to show you now, because these women are especially powerful for us today. In some ways their lives , when you read them, are like the experience St Ignatius the Convalescent had reading the lives of the saints. At first they are bitter, but after reflection and prayer, they give you both life and strength. Catherine, who was bedridden, was given the Life of Christ (published today in 4 volumes) through visions as well as deeply moving information about many of the saints.
Writing these icons was a wonderful experience for me and one day I’ll write to you about Anne Catherine.
I chose Maria because three of her tiny hermitages were set afire or destroyed by fellow Christians . I thought of all the people who recently lost relatives and homes in the fires in California and elsewhere. Also the many winter fires caused by explosions from hurricanes and damaging heavy snows. I wanted to offer them a companion in their suffering, someone who truly understands horrendous loss and personal violation.
Here is a prayer I found online for the incredibly brave firefighters:
“Great God in Heaven, You alone know what today holds and I know that firefighters have a special calling to go into places that are often full of danger and there is always the
possibility for the unknown. Please help us all watch out for the safety of others in the performance of their duties in fighting fires and that I keep an eye out for others who may be placed in areas of danger. This calling God is from You and You alone and so help me to fulfill my duty and to do so in a way that brings honor and glory to You and Your Great Name and in the strong name of Jesus Christ I pray.
Fr Bill McNichols February 2019