Summer With the Saints

Celebrating Sts. Anne and Martha.

St. Anne Church in St. Anne, Ill., rises above the cornfields. Special Masses and programs are scheduled for the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus’ feast day, July 26 (along with her husband St. Joachim).

South of Chicago, in the Diocese of Joliet, the quaint, stone church was built in 1872. The sanctuary with stained-glass windows, formal altar and wooden pews is a peaceful and prayerful place for the faithful to gather to worship God.

After a concert and Mass, pilgrims were encouraged to see the wooden crutches (and even an old-fashioned wheelchair) left behind by those who were cured through Anne’s intercession.

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I have a special connection to St. Anne, who is my patron saint. I often pray this prayer to St. Anne: “O God, you bestowed on St. Anne such grace that she was found worthy to become the mother of Mary, who brought forth your only begotten Son. Grant that we may be helped by her intercession.”

Summertime is the perfect season to travel to a shrine like this, whether near or far. Family vacations offer time to include pilgrimages to churches and holy sites along the way (see “Sunday Guide” on this page). As St. Augustine said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” So hit the road for some fun, relaxation and spiritual enrichment. (If you’ll be in the Birmingham, Ala., area, you can stop by EWTN’s Family Celebration July 23 and 24 for talks by TV personalities, Mass and everything EWTN!)

Summer is also a good time for seasonal celebrations. St. Martha’s feast day is July 29. She is known as a patron of cooks, since she hosted Jesus for dinner, along with her sister Mary. Cook and/or eat dinner outside to celebrate her feast day (or make a family-favorite meal or dessert) and recall the gift of hospitality. As St. Teresa of Avila said, “Martha and Mary must join together in order to show hospitality to the Lord.”

Wishing you a blessed summer!

Amy Smith is the Register’s associate editor.

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito says of discerning one’s college choice, ‘There has to be something that tugs at you and makes you want to investigate it further. And then the personal encounter comes in the form of a visit or a chat with a student or alumnus who communicates with the same enthusiasm or energy about the place. And then that love of a place can be a seed which germinates in your own heart through prayer.’

Choose a College With a Discerning Mind and Heart

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito, assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas (UD) and subprior (and former vocations director) of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas, drew from his experience as both a student and now monastic religious to help those discerning understand the parallels between religious and college discernment.