The Stones Speak
There is something awe-inspiring about the
influence we have on one another. All
us, even the smallest, can influence
other. Bette Reeves said, "If
you are too small to be effective,
never been in bed with a mosquito!!"
During the recent pilgrimage in central
all of us were impacted by the beauty
the saints we met.
In Prague we met Saint Vitus, the patron
saint of the dancers! St. Vitus's Cathedral
is the largest and the most important
in Prague. All the kings and queens
Czech Republic were crowned there.
His story is unique. Born in Sicily
third century, he was converted to
at age twelve by his tutor Saint Modestus
and his nurse Saint Crescentia. His
was indignant and had the three arrested
and scourged. How unlike many of us,
would rather be ruined by praise than
Freed from prison by angels, they fled
Lucania, then to Rome. There he exorcised
Emperor Diocletian's son of an evil
However, when Vitus refused to sacrifice
to the pagan idols, his cure was attributed
to sorcery, and he and his household
arrested again. Tortured, and condemned
death, they were thrown to the lions;
lions would not touch them, so they
thrown into boiling oil. However the
oil did not harm them, because just
moment an immense storm destroyed several
pagan temples in the region! Again
For obscure reasons, in the sixteenth
in Germany they believed that anyone
obtain a year's good health by dancing
the statue of Saint Vitus on his feast
His connection with such "dancing"
led to his patronage of dancers, and
to entertainers in general and in particular.
We can now dance with a saint!!
In Poland we met Maximilian Kolbe. A Franciscan
priest, in 1941, he was arrested by the Gestapo,
charged with aiding Jews and the Polish underground.
In his popular magazine "Knight
Immaculate", just one week before,
had written, "The real conflict
conflict. Beyond armies of occupation
the catacombs of concentration camps,
are two irreconcilable enemies in the
of every soul: good and evil, sin and
And what use are victories on the battle-field
if we ourselves are defeated in our
Three months later, he was deported
a concentration camp. When they arrived
they were ironically told that the
out of the camp was through the chimneys
of the ovens. We were there. We saw
We saw Maximilian's cell. We saw the
In July, a prisoner escaped, and men
Kolbe's bunker were paraded in the
midday sun, knowing what to expect.
from each line was selected at random,
a sergeant, Francis Gajowniczek. He
out in a despairing voice, "My
my children, I shall never see them
Maximilian Kolbe decided instinctively
take his place and stepped forward.
is like that, a simple stepping forward.
Father Kolbe and nine others were led
to the death chamber of Cell 18. He
to death! He died singing songs to
In Germany we met Saint Boniface, known
the apostle of Germany. Born in England
the year 680, he was ordained a priest
the age of thirty. He was well educated
history, grammar, rhetoric, and poetry.
joined the Benedictines and was placed
charge of the monastic school. With
prospect of a great career and the
dignities in his own country, he felt
by the zeal of the Gospel to cross
Germany where paganism reigned supreme.
After some years of evangelization
for a frontal attack against the pagan
which seriously affected the stability
his converts. In front of an awe-struck
Boniface and two of his followers attacked
with axes Thor's sacred oak. Thor,
of thunder, was one of the principal
deities, and this ancient oak, which
on the summit of Mount Gutenberg, was
to them. The terrified tribesmen, who
expected a punishment to fall instantly
the perpetrators of such an outrage,
saw that their god was powerless to
even his own sanctuary. If only we
this lesson once and for all!
At the age of seventy he was still
around Germany reorganizing the Church
was instrumental in creating. In Fulda,
was attacked by a band of robbers.
to defend himself. He and fifty two
companions were killed instantly. Beside
him the Christians found a bloodstained
of St. Ambrose on the "Advantage
Death", the book the Bishop was
and, which it is said, he lifted above
head when the blow fell.
Amazing how one man can change the
history of a nation. Perhaps you and
change a nation, but we can be the
God uses to change one other person.
we would not have lived in vain!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright