“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Dear Redeemer Family:
A while back, I did a blurb on Hildegard of Bingen, a remarkable woman. And several of you expressed interest in her and thanked me for it. So, this month I thought I would share some more remarkable Christian women who dedicated their lives to Christ we commemorate this month.
On May 4th, we commemorate Monica, mother of Augustine, who died on this date in 387. St. Monica, as she is more commonly known can be seen as the longsuffering mother of that playboy Augustine. She was always praying for her family’s souls, in particular, her playboy son’s. We know this from Augustine’s own writings, namely his book Confessions. She was successful. Her mother, husband, and son Augustine became Christians. She was an acquaintance of St. Ambrose, who would have a tremendous influence on Augustine. I kind of believe that it was Monica who arranged for them to meet. Because of her, the Church received one of its greatest theologians, and one of my favorites.
On May 8th, we commemorate a probably lesser-known Christian woman, Julian of Norwich, Renewer of the Church. She died on this date around the year 1416. Julian was probably a Benedictine nun living in an isolated cell in Norwich, England. She was a Christian mystic and recorded her visions in a book; Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love, a classic mystic work. In her visions, it is declared that “love was the meaning of religious experience, provided by Christ who is love, for the purpose of love.” I didn’t know it, but we have a prayer and hymn (at least the text of it) of hers in the hymnal. The prayer is found on page 87. The hymn is number 735. Like Hildegard, she was very talented.
And finally, on May 21st, we commemorate St. Helena, mother of St. Constantine (the first Christian Roman Emperor). She died about 330. I’ve always found her fascinating for a couple of reasons. First, she was the wife of the Roman Emperor. But she was British by birth. Second, Christianity was an illegal religion in the Roman Empire in her time, yet both she and her son (the future Emperor) were both Christians, and members of the royal family. How? She is known for her generosity to the poor. She is also known for taking a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, scriptures in hand. She decided where a number of the Holy Sites were located in the Holy Land, and had churches built on their locations.
I hope the faith of these three women inspire you this month and encourage you to learn more about them!
He is risen!