Here is my 2015 Board of Spiritual Directors:
I completely stole the idea from Lisa Schmidt at The Practicing Catholic. The idea is to choose holy men and women (saints and those on their way to sainthood) who simultaneously inspire, support, and challenge me on my own path toward sanctity. I’m calling my board a “Board of Spiritual Directors.” I’m actually in the process of finding my own, real-life spiritual director.
What’s a spiritual director, you ask? Very simply, a spiritual director is like a spiritual coach who encourages me along in my goal of sanctity. Spiritual directors are usually priests or religious sisters trained to help the faithful attain Christian perfection. (In other words, they help us to rid ourselves of vices and cultivate virtues.) My ultimate dream would be finding a good and holy priest who could serve as my confessor and my spiritual director. Until I find my spiritual director, my goal is to learn from the lives of the holy men and women on my personal Board of Spiritual Directors.
I prayed about my selections for a few months, and I settled on 6. I didn’t realize it until this moment, but I ended up with 3 men and 3 women! My goal is to spend 2 months of 2015 with each holy man or woman. I will be reading their biographies, memoirs, and inspiring devotionals.
Let me briefly introduce you to them. (I had way too much fun editing their pictures for this post!)
1. Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur
Thanks to Well-Read Mom, I have had an excuse to read The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur: The Woman Whose Goodness Changed Her Husband From Atheist to Priest this past month. The volume I’m reading contains Elisabeth’s spiritual writings as well as her diary. She is such a beautiful witness to all Christian women. She persevered in prayer for the soul of her atheist (and often antagonistic) husband, Felix. At the time of her premature death, Felix was still an unbeliever. Then, he discovered her writings, and his whole life changed. Ultimately, he became a Catholic priest, and he dedicated the rest of his life on earth sharing Elisabeth’s writings and his own love of God. Elisabeth Leseur is a Servant of God
2. St. Monica (Mother of St. Augustine)
I would have been a terrible St. Monica! I don’t think I could have endured her husband or mother-in-law like she did. She is a beautiful model (like Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur) of the power of quiet, persistent prayer for your loved ones. Her spiritual training with her husband and mother-in-law served her well as she raised her oldest child, St. Augustine. Augustine is the saint who always makes me think of the quote, “Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future.” St. Augustine had QUITE the past, and St. Monica patiently, faithfully loved him through it. Because of her loving prayers, Augustine went on to become one of the most well-known and celebrated saints in the Church.
3. Blessed Mother Teresa
We all know the images of Blessed Mother Teresa tending to the people in the streets of Calcutta. No one knew beneath that loving smile that Mother Teresa was suffering from a “dark night of the soul” for much of her ministry. Colleen Carroll Campbell wrote about Mother Teresa’s spiritual struggles in her book, My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir. I was so encouraged to hear that Mother Teresa’s prayer life was not always full of consolation and those warm fuzzy feelings. I look forward to reading more about how Mother Teresa taught herself to persevere in faith–especially in the midst of her dark night of the soul. (Mother Teresa’s order, The Missionaries of Charity, has a Rule that was the inspiration behind Holly Pierlot’s A Mother’s Rule of Life. If you’ve read my blog, you know that I created our own Family Rule of Life last Lent, and I am re-visiting it for the New Year. Stay tuned!)
4. St. Padre Pio
I chose St. Padre Pio for his ultimate witness to the power of redemptive suffering. At his canonization Mass, Pope St. John Paul II said that St. Padre Pio’s sufferings as a stigmatist can be a “privileged path of sanctity.” He is famous for spending long days (up to 10 hours!) hearing confessions–often asking the penitent about specific sins before they were confessed! I look forward to reading more about St. Padre Pio’s life and steadfast devotion to carrying Christ’s yoke faithfully upon his shoulders.
5. St. Francis de Sales
I am so excited to read St. Francis de Sales’ famous The Introduction to the Devout Life and (hopefully!) more of his writings this year. I am inspired by his writings that encourage all of us on the path to sainthood.
“It is an error, or rather a heresy, to say devotion is incompatible with the life of a soldier, a tradesman, a prince, or a married woman…. It has happened that many have lost perfection in the desert who had preserved it in the world. ”
As a writer, I’m encouraged and emboldened by St. Francis’ example to use my writings at His service. I pray that St. Francis will further embolden me to write whatever it is that God asks of me, always remembering his axiom that, “A spoonful of honey attracts more flies than a barrelful of vinegar.”
6. Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Archbishop Fulton Sheen is THE MAN! He’s the namesake for our own little Harold FULTON Boucher. He became a household name in the 1960s for his television show, The Fulton Sheen Program. In fact, he won 2 Emmys for Most Outstanding Television Personality! I had to include the “JMJ” (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph) at the top of his picture to pay homage to his handwritten letters at the top of his blackboard on all of his programs.
I chose Archbishop Sheen for my Board of Spiritual Directors because he is inspiring as a modern evangelist. I hope, like him, that my blog will find the balance of being in the world but not of the world. Like Archbishop Sheen, I want people to find the way our family lives the faith attractive. I hope that through reading more of his writings, I will learn how to better balance reaching the world while not being consumed by it.
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2 questions for you:
- Who would be on your 2015 Board of Spiritual Directors?
- Do you have any books/resources about these holy men and women that you recommend I get my hands on this year?
Please share your answers in the comments below!