Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Celebrating Saint Padre Pio

Padre Pio is one of my favorite saints and today is his feast day.

I recently read his biography and it was fascinating, things you could not even make up: many miraculous healings, predicting the future and even examples of bilocating. He suffered greatly physically and psychologically. He had the stigmata for most of his life, and endured terrible persecution from many, including from his own order and other archbishops and priests in the Church.

But what is most amazing to me about Saint Padre Pio after reading his biography is how much his life is like Christ's. It finally hit home after I read about his life and felt such a strong love for him that this is what the saints do for us. Through their unique way of living in the world and relating to God, they bring us closer to Christ.

I'll admit, sometimes it is hard for me to relate to Jesus. He lived so long ago and we don't have letters that he wrote or nearly as many anecdotal stories as we have for saints like Padre Pio who lived in more modern times. So, for me, in reading the life of Saint Padre Pio, how much he suffered and his ministry with people, allowed me to grow closer to the person of Jesus because that is who Padre Pio was imitating.

So, thank you Padre Pio for the beautiful gift you are to the Church and the beautiful example you are to all of us as someone who lived virtues heroically and suffered joyfully for love of Jesus.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mary Mo

I always seem to do this whenever a sibling travels far away, I start to eulogize them in my mind as if it makes any difference to me whether they are in Michigan or Honduras or Costa Rica or Oklahoma.

Mary is gone for her year abroad in Costa Rica and Chile. My mom and I recently discovered that Mary is the only one in her junior class to travel abroad. She mentioned it nonchalantly when my Mom commented on how difficult it has been for her to be able to travel abroad.

This quiet determination on my sister's part set me to reminisce about Mary and the role she has played in her family.

The Noble children are a determined, passionate and stubborn bunch. I would say that these characteristics are present in all of us but are expressed in very different ways.

Mary, although a very extroverted girl since she was little, probably expresses these traits in the quietest way of the family.

I remember one time she asked my mom to go somewhere with her and David. Mom said, "No" and Mary quietly accepted her answer when most of the Noble children would have yelled and possibly thrown something. A half an hour into Mom and David's drive they heard a rustling in the back seat. Mom looked in the rear-view mirror and Mary's little blond head popped up with a huge grin on her face. Mom could hardly muster up a look of disapproval. That is usually how Mary gets things done - quietly, with charm and mischievousness that very few people can resist.

When Mary was around 5 she, like most 5-year-olds at that time was obsessed with Beanie Babies. When McDonalds was selling them in their Happy Meals Mary would sit with a phone book in her lap and call every McDonalds until she found the one that had the Beanie Baby that she had not yet collected. Unabashedly, she would ask them to save it for her and then she would convince my Mom to drive to a McDonalds out in the boonies so she could get her Beanie Baby.

One afternoon I was sitting on the couch reading a book and Mary was sitting on the floor, the Classifieds spread out before her calling EVERY SINGLE person who had an ad for Beanie Babies.

"Hello, I was wondering what Beanie Babies you are selling. Oh, do you have the Garcia Bear? Oh no, ok thanks"

After a while I noticed that Mary would change her voice sometimes as she called people.

(in a gruff male voice) "Hello, could you tell me if you are selling Princess?"

Finally I became suspicious and asked, "Mary why are you changing your voice?"

"Oh sometimes I forget to ask someone a question so I call them back and change my voice so they do not know," she replied.

Ah Mary. I'll miss you down there in Costa Rica. Behave yourself, go to church, hang out with your host family instead of Americans and learn lots of Spanish.

I love you lil' sis.