Wednesday, September 1, 2010

St. Verena (3rd century to 4th century)

When I helped a friend sell art and jewelry at the Labor & Ethnic Heritage Festival in Pawtucket today, I noticed there were so many low income, sick, or handicapped people wandering around. It's nice that they were there to enjoy the sights and sounds of the festival. Yet, it was terribly sad when they'd look at what we were selling and not be able to afford it although prices were drastically reduced.
After one woman was about to buy a heart-shaped stone and silver pendant that she desperately wanted and her husband told her she couldn't because she didn't have a job, I thought about how she must have felt.
Who was I to complain that I don't get enough sleep or that I have to do laundry or that the hot water heater is busted and I have to take a cold shower for just once in my life? I have a job and make decent money.
Most people don't want a handout, but I thought I should ask her what she could afford and make up the difference. By the time I had thought of it, she was at another table, so I went over and told her my idea.
She handed me a $10 bill and thanked me sincerely for making her day. She said she would wear the pendant all the time.
I talked to vendors and patrons at the festival and learned that many had either been recently laid off or didn't have jobs. And, unfortunately, maybe I had to hear such things to be a little more thankful for what I have.
St. Verena is a patron saint of the poor and sick. She was born in Egypt in the 3rd century. Along with St. Maurice and St. Victor, she joined the Theban Legion and its mission in what is modern day Switzerland. When the two saints and other members of the organization were martyred, St. Verena moved to the area near Zurich and became a hermit.
She prayed and performed miracles, but also assisted young girls in their spirituality. When word got out about what she was doing, St. Verena was arrested and thrown in prison. Then, St. Maurice appeared to her in a vision.
She was released and continued to work miracles helping the poor and sick. St. Verena fed them and cleaned them. She died in the 4th century in Switzerland and her feast day is today.

(Happy Birthday, Uncle Vinnie! Sept. 1, 1936 to Jan. 11, 1981)

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