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The Saints are Heroes of Faith

Author: Saju George Aruvelil, SVD
Subject: The Saints
Language: English, Spanish
Publisher: VivatDeus.org
Year: 2023

Children, these are heroes of the faith who give up everything for the good God, these words of Gerhard Janssen significantly carved and shaped the tender heart and soul of the child Arnold (Cf. Fischer, Hermann, Life of AJ, 17). Thus, later it also made its deep impact in the missionary spirituality of our Founder and the whole Arnoldine spiritual family.

It was a custom of the Janssen family that Gerhard used to read gladly the lives of the saints by Matthäus Vogel´s Heilige Legenden, Leben und Geschichten der Heiligen Gottes which was dedicated to parish missions. It took place, especially on evenings in winter where he was narrating enthusiastically about the missionaries. Consequently, Arnold nurtured great admiration for them all his life. He found great support in the local priests, who lent him pious books, especially the lives of the saints. 

During his stay as teacher at the secondary school at Bocholt, Fr. Arnold proposed to his priest companions at the rectory to have spiritual reading during the meal for a quarter of an hour, and which perhaps was inspiring the future creation of the quarter hour prayer. They read mainly the writings of Anne Catherine Emmerich (Vol. II: 21) and the lives of the saints. He used to write his parents a summary of what he was finding in the said readings of the saints’ history. 

In the history of the saints, Arnold was gradually discovering a very practical way to respond to the challenging call to the world mission need. Let’s say that He walked along the paths of the saints and saw them as his own models and that he wanted to follow and therefore had to know them well. They increased his love for God and his thanks to Him.

Even though all saints were models, Fr. Arnold composed small printed cards for exchange between those praying to help them meditate the mysteries of the rosary. In these prayers, he encouraged the practice of a specific virtue and included a long list of invocations to various saints. The catalogue of saints was arranged according to certain categories. His exceptional hagiographical knowledge is revealed by the following list of blessed and saints for the fifth mystery of the rosary. After mentioning the Evangelists, the writers of the New Testament and the teachers of the apostolic times, he continued with the saints who were defenders of the persecuted and denigrated Church: Basil, Gregory, Chrysostom, Jerome, Cyril, Epiphanius, Ephrem, John of Damascus, Athanasius, Augustine and Fulgentius of Ruspe; the great saintly teachers of the Church in Italy: Ambrose, Peter Chrysologus, Leo the Great, Gregory the Great, Damian, Aurelius, Thomas, Bonaventure and Alphonse; the preachers of penitence in Spain and in France: Vincent Ferrer, John of St. Facundus, Isidore, Hilarius and Bernard, and in Italy: St. Joseph of Cupertino, Anthony, Bernardin, Cajetan, Jerome, Leonard (Vol. II: 92) and Paul; and in Germany, Poland and Hungary: Norbert, Hyacinth, John of Capistrano, Canisius and Lawrence.

In the Statutes of 1876/8 Arnold referred to the four great missionary orders: the Benedictines, Dominicans, Franciscans and Jesuits along with the veneration of outstanding missionaries from these orders (Sts. Francis Xavier S.J. Francis Solanus O.F.M., Louis Bertrand O.P., the Franciscan and Jesuit martyrs in Japan, Peter Claver S.J., Gabriel Perboyre, C.M., and others). Arnold treasured as a model of humility St. Francis of Assisi

We are called to sanctity (Mt 5: 48; LG 41). This universal call to sanctity urges us to familiarize ourselves with the standards of holy men. The love of saints opens us to be more available to divine grace. This journey in the Founder’s footsteps to many saints reveals his profound spiritual longing for holiness and great practical ability to put it into practice. Just like Fr. Arnold, let´s also find paradigm and inspiration in the patron saints of our congregations and also the saints of recent times. (Cf. MIOTK, A., Untiring Missionary of the Word and Spirit, Rome, 2021, 323-71).

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Saju George Aruvelil, SVD
Saju George Aruvelil, SVD

Saju George Aruvelil, SVD is from India. He is one of the first OTP who has gone to Argentina. He finished his theological studies for the priesthood also there. He then began his service in the education field in our SVD institutions. He obtained a licentiate in Spirituality from Pontifical University of Comillas, Madrid. He also holds a doctorate in Theology from the Pontifical University of Argentina, Buenos Aires. He also helps in the formation of laity and religious candidates. He gives retreats and leads workshops, seminars, etc. He has a radio program and writes in a local newspaper. At present he is a promoter of Laudato Si Movement for caring for the Earth together with his parish priestly pastoral activities.

3 responses

  1. Gracias padre Saju SVD por compartir con nosotros este artículo tan valioso sobre San Arnoldo, su estima por los santos y su espiritualidad tan humilde, llena del Espíritu Santo.
    Dios lo bendiga

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