This morning at the end of Mass, when I saw the “5” up on the number board next to the hymn number for “For All the Saints,” I wondered to myself how many verses there were in this beautiful, inspiring hymn.
The answer, according to Wikipedia, is eleven! Needless to say, we didn’t sing all the verses (I doubt they are even all printed in our missalettes.
Likewise, we don’t come close to naming all the saints (hopefully), either.
I have been reading the inspiring history of our congregation: “History of the Franciscan Sisters of Dillingen from 1241 to 1900.” Thankfully, it was recently released in English and I got a copy from Sr. Donna, who had received quite a few.
It is so neat to read a book on the history of our very own congregation! It is beautiful to hear of all that our predecessors went through, from coping with the “Secularization” in Germany, when they lost so much, to surviving invasion by their ability to supply a lemon to soothe the invader’s sore throat; our history is not dull!
As I read this book and as we celebrate “All Saints” and “All Souls” at the beginning of this eleventh month, I think of our dear Sisters from the past 777 years. Although I don’t know of any of them having been canonized, the pages I am reading speak to the sanctity, the perseverance, and the courage of many of them.
Although they lived far away in Germany (our American province only had its beginnings in 1913) and their culture and circumstances were different, I can still be inspired by the beautiful history of the Dillingen Franciscans who have gone before me.
I close with an invocation used in our Litany of All Saints of the Order: “Pray for us, all ye saints of the three orders of Blessed Francis, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”