Sunday, October 24, 2010

St. Ulrich of Augsburg (c.890 to July 4, 973)

    More than a decade before my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she and my father did a novena for a happy death. I recall her being hopeful that when her time was up, she would leave this world in a peaceful way.
  So, when I watched my mother suffer through chemotherapy and radiation treatments, lose all her hair, and dwindle down to under 70 lbs. at a very young age, it saddened me that the happy death novena didn't work. Through it all, she never complained. And, I encouraged her that the cancer would go away and she would be cured.
  I often wish that I had prayed harder to the saints or a blessed for her recovery. I spent countless nights at St. Anne's Shrine in Fall River, Mass. lighting candles and asking for divine intervention, although in my heart, I knew the cancer would take her life.
  The French essayist Jean de la Bruyere once said, "Out of difficulties grow miracles." In the situation I write about, it wasn't meant to be.
   Who knows? Maybe my mother did have a happy death and she just didn't feel the need to talk about it.  Perhaps she felt comfort from within during her final days. At least I'd like to believe that.
  The first saint to be officially canonized by the Vatican on July 4, 993, was St. Ulrich of Augsburg, the patron saint of a happy death.
  He was born c.890 in Zurich, Switzerland. St. Ulrich of Augsburg lived a life of humility, poverty, and simplicity. He studied at the monastic school of St. Gall in Switzerland. In 924, he was named the bishop of Augsburg, Germany.
  St. Ulrich of Augsburg died on July 4, 973. It only took 20 years for him to become a saint. His feast day is July 4.

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