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A year with saints
365 daily readings about ordinary people who allowed God to make them holy.

Excerpt from a book by Bert Ghezzi

"The saints still speak to us today," says popular author and speaker Bert Ghezzi in the introduction to his new book, "Voices of the Saints."

In his book, you can meet the ordinary men and women who decided to become saints. This choice, as Ghezzi says, "gave God permission to make them holy." He adds, "It is a choice that anyone can make."

"Voices of the Saints" contains brief accounts of the lives of 365 saints, one for each day of the year. The saints' "voices" are heard in accompanying prayers or meditations drawn from the saint's writing, biographical works, and the recollections of witnesses.

"Voices of the Saints" can be read following a numerical order, alphabetically, chronologically, or by themes.

Many Marian Helpers will recognize two of the book's "voices": Blessed George Matulaitis (the "Renovator of the Marians") and St. Maria Faustina Kowalska (the "Apostle of Divine Mercy"). Here is what "Voices" records about Blessed George:

Lithuanian-born George Matulaitis was ordained a priest in 1898 in a world nearing the brink of war. Aging European empires were collapsing, nationalisms were boiling, and Marxism was on the rise. Amid the turmoil that unfolded into World War I and the Russian revolution, Fr. George worked quietly -- sometimes [secretly] -- to advance the cause of Christ. An intellectual, an activist, and a zealot, he inspired seminarians, organized workers, led fellow priests, and revived a persecuted religious order. And all the while he was suffering with tuberculosis of the bone that had afflicted him since his youth.

Armed with a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Fribourg, the young priest taught at seminaries in Kielce and Warsaw, Poland. With other activist priests in Warsaw, George established support groups for workers that mushroomed into a movement of 50,000 members. In 1904 his disease flared up and he nearly died. However, friends nursed him back to health and upon recovery, he vowed to do something to honor Mary in thanksgiving.

In 1907 in St. Petersburg, Russia, George found a way to keep his promise. He decided to revive the community of the Marian Fathers that the tsar had suppressed. The last living Marian priest received him into the order. And in 1910 he moved to Fribourg, Switzerland, where he began to rebuild the community. In this excerpt from his diary, George described his expansive vision for the Marians:

Thoroughly imbued with the spirit of Christ, it should be our concern to gather and organize around ourselves people of good will, train them, prepare them for the work, and then together with them and through them to bring in Christ in order to renew all in Christ, to accept all things for Christ, to draw all things to Christ.

Laboring for the glory of God and the benefit of the Church, we need not fear that some project or work will not succeed. We must risk it, for with God there is no losing. He accepts our good will, our intention. Neither should we fear people: they cannot deprive us of heaven or God, consign us to perdition, or crowd us off the earth. ...

In 1918, George became bishop of Vilnius, Lithuania. The conflicting religious and national loyalties of his flock stymied him, forcing him to resign in 1925. But the pope immediately appointed him as an archbishop delegated to straighten out affairs in the Lithuanian Church, a task that he accomplished only with strenuous effort.

After an unsuccessful operation, George Matulaitis died in 1927. By that time the revived Marian Fathers already had 250 priests scattered at centers all over the world.

Many saints like George Matulaitis were always sick and in pain. Their selfishness disappeared in their love for God, like a droplet in the ocean. They worried not about themselves, but about God's concerns and the needs of others.

"Voices of the Saints (791 pages) is available through the Association of Marian Helpers, code EVOS, for $29 + p/h. Call toll free 1-800-462-7426. Or you can order online at our catalogue. Click here for online catalogue.

©2001 Marians of the Immaculate Conception. All rights reserved.