Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 9 March

The Holy Sister Martha Berard, O.P., Lay Sister

This good Sister’s love of holy virginity was very strong, and began early; she reproved a young man who was wanting in respect by boxing his ears. Through love of poverty, she protected the scraps of food left after dinner by the community to which she belonged, and, after keeping the most presentable portion for food, contented herself with what remained. Her habit had so many patches that it was difficult to find a piece of the original material. She loved all her Sisters without partiality. But one day, feeling a too natural affection for one of her companions, she said to Our Lord in the tabernacle: “My God, I have left all for Thee, yet I feel my heart disturbed; it would like to attach itself to another object. Oh! I hate such infidelity.” Immediately she felt her heart free from all human attachment. At the age of eighty-two this industrious Sister was urged to take some rest, but in vain; addressing her body, she said to it: “Work, poor creature, work for God and his chaste spouses; wouldst thou enjoy idle rest? Do not hope for it here below; thou must work until death.” Her angel guardian warned her to prepare carefully for her last journey and she died at the age of eighty-four years. (1673)

Prayer

My God, how selfish I am to take pleasure in rest, in sleep and in the absence of trouble!

Practice

Never waste any food, but make account even of a crumb of bread, out of respect for the words of Jesus: “Gather up the fragments which remain, that they may not be lost.” (John 6:12)