Skeleton Man or “Faithful” Servant

If you’ve ever traveled in Europe, you may have noticed, as I did, the visibility and plenitude of bodies and crypts in the churches there.

franciscan associate 011Actually, last spring when we were visiting Germany for our Congregation’s anniversary celebration, a Church we frequented had a skeleton preserved up front.  It was on the left-hand side as we faced the altar.  This “Studientkirche” was actually the site of the special anniversary Mass.

To specify where, within the church, we were to be seated for the special day, we teasingly said “toward the front, by ‘Skeleton Man.”  This nickname we had given to the remains held there for veneration.  Little did I know that this was actually the Franciscan, Saint Fidelis!

Once I realized this, I dropped the nickname from my speech – it did not seem appropriate to refer to a canonized saint in such terms.

Now, as we mark his feast day (April 24), I am reminded of this, and think, too, of our Sr. Fidelis who would be celebrating her name day were she still living.  The name they share fittingly means “faithful.”

franciscan associate 011This dear Sister of ours, who lived to be well over a hundred, actually immigrated from Germany herself, answering the call to serve in America.

She had to study the English language and then spent decades teaching young people in Minnesota and North Dakota.  She actually went back to school in her eighties to receive computer training so she could teach this specialty as well.

Like her namesake, who was himself a German native, Sr. Fidelis strove to love God throughout her life and to spread His love to the young people in her care.

Toward the end of her life, she is actually quoted as questioning herself: “Have I loved God enough?”  I take this as a real challenge.  As I live my daily life, am I doing my utmost to love God and serve Him faithfully?


4 thoughts on “Skeleton Man or “Faithful” Servant

  1. I fondly remember Sister Fidelis as someone who was on fire for Our Lord and she worked very hard to instill that love in us. When teaching Catechism, she would say with a German accent and the rolled “r”, “Put your whole heart and soul into it and grasp it !” She was my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade teacher as well as Catechism teacher and choir director. We learned the Gregorian chant Latin High Mass, the Requiem Mass with its long sequence, Benediction, and many songs both Latin and English. Truly, her 106 years of life was spent in love with Our Lord and I pray daily that young women will receive and answer the call to enter this community.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s