St. Paul, First Letter to the Corinthians
The Catholic Herald has a must-read article about a remarkable homeless man, Thomas Hooker, who just passed on to meet his sweet Lord. His pastor, Fr. Illo, described Thomas as "a kind of patron saint of the homeless". Thomas spent many hours praying each morning in the back of Star of the Sea church, much like another saint of the homeless, St. Benedict Joseph Labre. Thomas was well-known to locals for his kind disposition and cheerful words. He lived for years under a tarp on the streets of San Francisco, which for the uninitiated carries a damp coldness in otherwise sunny California. The stubborn chill was undoubtedly quite a change from Thomas's native Caribbean island of Trinidad. Thomas acknowledged his trials, but knew that they made him a better man: "I suffer a lot, you know, and when you suffer, you must know to be kind." One aspect of his kindness was generosity. Like St. Benedict Joseph Labre, he gave away an extra donut or an extra dollar when he had them. This may have been impractical, but he had a mystic's vision of things. Once he "woke to a cloud of butterflies kissing him." Some call that crazy, but I'd call it a foretaste of Heaven.
|Thomas Hooker and his beatific smile, just like Blessed Charles de Foucauld!|
I wonder how many graces Thomas brought down for those who knew and observed him? How many people he introduced to Christ in his own lowly person, Christ-in-disguise? How many souls he saved from perdition by his supplications and patient sufferings?
I'm grateful that God sent Thomas to poor Fr. Illo, embattled and despised by all the right enemies. It has been a rough couple years for Fr. Illo, who has sought to found an oratory after St. Phillip Neri's example, at Star of the Sea parish. May God send the oratory many more saints-in-the-making!
Blessed Feast Day!
While St. Philip Neri is a co-patron of this apostolate, our primary heavenly intercessor (not named 'Mary') is Blessed Charles de Foucauld. Today is his feast day. After more than a year of searching, I finally obtained a relic of Blessed Charles. It is from the burial cloth in which he was wrapped from 1916-1929. To my delight, it was issued by the bishop where Blessed Charles was a priest, and the bishop belongs to the "White Fathers", from the religious order that Blessed Charles worked alongside of. Deo Gratias! I now wear the relic around my neck when we walk the streets to evangelize. Blessed Charles, ora pro nobis!