This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Friday, October 5, 2012

October 5 -- Feast of Saint Anna Schaeffer

Soon to Be Recognized as a Saint

Most of the web resources about Anna Schaeffer identify her as a beata, giving her the title BlessedSQPN switched her title early, noting that she will be fully canonized on October 21, 2012 -- sixteen days from now.

Saint Anna was a Franciscan tertiary living in the rough urban poverty late nineteenth century Germany.  Her dad died at age forty, leaving the family destitute.  She worked a series of jobs, hoping to save enough dowry money to secure a spot in a convent.  However, while climbing up a wall to reattach a pipe, she fell into the boiling water at a laundry works. 

Her legs were both ruined beyond healing.  She spent the first few months at a hospital, where necrotic tissue was continuously cut away to prevent gangrene.  Skin grafts were attempted but never successful.  When her insurance ran out, she was moved to her mother's home.  Sterile bandages wrapped the damaged legs and were changed weekly.  Eventually, her alcoholic brother's verbal abuse became so intense that her mom moved her to another apartment, but visited her daily to assist her.  [I must wonder why the alcoholic brother didn't get the other apartment, but perhaps his income was needed.

Saint Anna channeled her suffering into religious reflections.  She grew to understand the etymology of the word excruciating.  She wrote hundreds of letters reflecting on her experience, her faith, and the connection between them.  And she slowly, gently remonstrated her brother and worked on his recovery until he came clean, sober, and to God.

I guess I won't find anything more insightful or instructive to say about her than what Blessed John Paul II said of her as he proclaimed her beatification:

If we look to Blessed Anna Schäffer, we read in her life a living commentary on what Saint Paul wrote to the Romans: Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us (Rom. 5:5). She most certainly was not spared the struggle to abandon herself to the will of God. But she was given to grow in the correct understanding that weakness and suffering are the pages on which God writes His Gospel... Her sickbed became the cradle of an apostolate that extended to the whole world.

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