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Posted November 4, 2010

Book: Catholic Spirituality from A to Z: An Inspirational Dictionary
Author: Susan Muto
Servant Publication. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 2000. Pp. 204

An Excerpt from the Introduction:

The inspirational dictionary taps into the founding sources and fresh streams of our two-thousand-year faith and formation tradition, with its treasury of wisdom for living. However, there is more to mine in this lodestone of riches than this or any dictionary or anthology can hope to exhaust.

This book will explore the lives and teachings of several ancient Fathers and Doctors of the undivided Church, East and West, many pre-Reformation spiritual masters of the medieval Western Christian tradition, and classical authors of the modern period, all of whom seek the depth dimension of union with God. Missing from these pages but not from my heart are the post-Reformation spiritual writers, whose works I also teach. To include all of these would require another dictionary.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Saturday Nov. 13. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

(1850-1917) This remarkable, modern-day missionary was born in the province of Lombardy, Italy, but a “stay at home” she was not! Her travels would rival those of Saint Paul. Just as he traveled from one Mediterranean port to another, making converts along the way, so this petite school teacher with a passionate heart would cross and recross the sea, overcoming fear of water and making a total of twenty-five voyages. These travels yielded over sixty new foundations and the growth of her order, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, whose houses can be found in Italy, France, Spain, and England, in the United States, and in Central and South America.

Mother Cabrini, as this foundress was fondly called, was a living witness to God’s strength surpassing every human weakness, of his fidelity working best in human frailty. There was in her life a constant synthesis of contemplation and action. Though her character was introverted and reserved, she was known for her exceptional friendliness and organizational skill. Already as a child she felt as if she belonged to God in a manner similar to the experiences of Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Therese of Lisieux. She was captivated by a devotion to the Sacred Heart, desiring in her person and mission to love the suffering and to suffer for love.

Cabrini’s special affection extended to the lost and lonely, to those abandoned in body and in soul. Wherever human beings merely subsist at the margins of society, there she wanted her sisters to be found. Her work with hospitals, schools, and orphanages as well as her motherly commitment to clothe and feed the homeless and poor was without precedent, so much so that her great personal friend, Pope Leo XIII, said to her on one occasion, “Let us work, Cabrini, and we will win heaven.” It was in New York City, caring for hundreds of Italian immigrants, that Mother Cabrini understood the real meaning of pastoral ministry: to heal every form of human misery and to bring the reign of God into every human heart.

Table of Contents:

From A to Z