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.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 5 -- Feast of Blessed Filippo Rinaldi

Blessed Filippo the Jaw-Healer
Filippo Rinaldi is a very worthy beatus -- he's probably even worthy of sainthood.  He contemplated marriage, but opted for the rigors of the priesthood, following John Don Bosco.  He was so remarkable, the Christian Brothers appointed him master of novices before he took his final vows.  He also had no particular ambition to become a full priest, but he agreed to sit for the exams and wound up ordained.  As a leader among the Salesians, he recruited and counseled many late vocations, those called to service as adults.  He rose to be Vicar-General of the Salesians, and then Rector Major (top boss) of the order.  During his tenure, membership increased 66% (from 6000 to 10,000), 250 new houses were opened, and his old boss and inspiration Don Bosco was canonized. 

But his miracle -- required of any beatus or saint -- is really remarkable.  Since the Age of Reason (some contend that it too has ended), we have been accustomed to dismissing claims of miraculous events.  But Filippo is a outlier.  His miracle has all the wonder of a medieval healing.  Sister Mary Carla, a nun in Italy during the last days of World War Two, took a bullet to the face.  It shattered her jaw, but through the intervention of Blessed Filippo, who died fourteen years prior, she was healed.  There aren't many like that anymore. 

I think the miracle requirement has slowed the canonization process in the Catholic Church.  For my own part, I am satisfied with heroic virtue, which is hard enough.  I do not say that Pope John Paul II agreed with me -- I would not claim that he relaxed the miracle standard in the slightest. However, his canonization numbers are impressive.  In his twenty-seven year pontificate, he canonized eighty (80) saints.  In the fifty-six years prior to his tenure, there were five popes.  [Okay, it is unfair to include John Paul I, who lasted less than a year.  Say four popes.]  Collectively, they also canonized eighty (80) saints.  I'd say he definitely kicked off a new era of hagiofaction (it's a word now), especially since Pope Benedict XVI has canonized forty-five (45) more saints.  Yes, that's good for my blog, but more importantly, that's good for upholding human exemplars for those of us who sometimes find Gd too remote. 

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