A Year with the Saints – 12 May


I have turned forward and backward and on every side, and what conclusion have I reached? I have considered all methods of governing, and even tried them, and I have finally seen that the best is that which is amiable, sincere, humble, and patient. – Saint Jane Frances de Chantal

It was indeed thus that this Saint lived among her subjects, in a gentle and humble manner, and thus she gained from them whatever she desired. When she asked for anything unimportant, she proceeded with so much submission that they were overcome by her humility; and when she required what was necessary, she did it with so much sweetness that no one who had a heart could fail to obey her orders promptly.

Saint Vincent de Paul wrote thus to a Superior who had complained to him of one of his subjects: “The priest of whom you write to me is a worthy and virtuous man, and before he came to us he was much esteemed in the world. If he is now a little restless, engages in temporal affairs, thinks too much of his relatives and even looks down upon his companions, you must bear with him mildly. If he had not these faults, he would have others; and if you had nothing to bear with, your charity would not have much opportunity for exercise, nor would your conduct and government bear much resemblance to those of Christ our Lord, who chose to have rude disciples, subject to various defects, that He might teach us by practicing amiability and patience with them, how those should behave who hold the office of Superior. I entreat you to form yourself upon this holy model, by which you will learn not only to bear with your brethren, but also to help them in freeing themselves from their imperfections.” Writing to another on one of the Missions, who was very unwilling to part with one of his assistants, he said: “I do not doubt that the separation from this dear companion and faithful friend must necessarily be painful to you; but remember that Our Lord separated Himself from His own Mother, and that His disciples, whom the Holy Ghost had so perfectly united, separated themselves from one another for their Master’s service.”

Plutarch relates of Pericles that whenever he put on his officer’s dress, he used to say to himself, as a reminder to be affable and respectful to all, “Attention, Pericles! you are going to command your brothers, Greeks, citizens of Athens!”

MLA Citation