Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
In a recent article published at Inside Catholic, Edward Short brings the evangelical witness of the Hawthorne Dominicans to bear on the current debates surrounding health care reform. Entitled “Rose Hawthorne and a More Human Vision of Health Care,” Short’s brief essay sets the congregation’s care for the dying poor in sharp contrast to certain provisions contained in the reform bills advancing through Congress. After distinguishing these two visions of health care, Short concludes that the Dominican sisters’ century-long practice of charitable medicine serves to remind lawmakers that compassionate sacrifice should trump pragmatic calculation in all efforts to reform health care. He writes:
For their compassionate vision of health care, the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne can cite the authority of Pope Benedict XVI, who wrote in his first encyclical:
“Love — caritas — will always prove necessary, even in the most just society. There is no ordering of the State so just that it can eliminate the need for a service of love. Whoever wants to eliminate love is preparing to eliminate man as such. There will always be suffering which cries out for consolation and help. There will always be loneliness. There will always be situations of material need where help in the form of concrete love of neighbour is indispensable. The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person — every person — needs: namely, loving personal concern.”
These insights, which describe so accurately the “service of love” for which the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne were founded, should also guide those who wish to bring about truly humane health-care reform.
Click here to read the article’s full text.
All the world will recognize you as my disciples
when they see the love you have for one another.
The life of the “secular saint” we honor today offers hope and inspiration to all men and women who suffer abuses from their relatives, especially from their in-laws.
From American Catholic:
In her short life Elizabeth manifested such great love for the poor and suffering that she has become the patroness of Catholic charities and of the Secular Franciscan Order. The daughter of the King of Hungary, Elizabeth chose a life of penance and asceticism when a life of leisure and luxury could easily have been hers. This choice endeared her in the hearts of the common people throughout Europe.
At the age of 14 Elizabeth was married to Louis of Thuringia (a German principality), whom she deeply loved; she bore three children. Under the spiritual direction of a Franciscan friar, she led a life of prayer, sacrifice and service to the poor and sick. Seeking to become one with the poor, she wore simple clothing. Daily she would take bread to hundreds of the poorest in the land, who came to her gate.
After six years of marriage, her husband died in the Crusades, and she was grief-stricken. Her husband’s family looked upon her as squandering the royal purse, and mistreated her, finally throwing her out of the palace. The return of her husband’s allies from the Crusades resulted in her being reinstated, since her son was legal heir to the throne.
In 1228 Elizabeth joined the Secular Franciscan Order, spending the remaining few years of her life caring for the poor in a hospital which she founded in honor of St. Francis. Elizabeth’s health declined, and she died before her 24th birthday in 1231. Her great popularity resulted in her canonization four years later.
Catholic Online relates that St. Elizabeth is the patroness of “bakers, countesses, the death of children, the falsely accused, the homeless, nursing services, tertiaries, widows, and young brides.”
For more on St. Elizabeth’s short but remarkable life, click here.
you helped Elizabeth of Hungary
to recognize and honor Christ
in the poor of this world.
Let her prayers help us to serve our brothers and sisters
in time of trouble and need.
We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.