Hello! On behalf of everyone at the National Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia in Philadelphia, allow me to welcome you to our community and blog, “Practicing Peace”!
In tribute to our wonderful patroness, Saint Rita of Cascia, our motto at the Shrine is to “Make Peace. Find Peace.” Throughout her life, Saint Rita was regarded as an exemplary peacemaker and is remembered today as the Patron Saint of Impossible Causes. We hope to honor Saint Rita’s legacy with this blog series by illuminating the stories of present-day individuals and groups, who are similarly devoted to finding peace in our world.
As a Christian community, we are called to be emissaries of peace by no other than our Lord and Savior. During the Sermon on the Mount, we are told, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons [and daughters] of God.” (Matthew 5:9) Saint Paul elaborated on this message in his letter to the Colossians, instructing the addressed (and us) to behave in this way:
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful…. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:12-17
What does this mean for followers of Jesus Christ now? What does this mean in our Roman Catholic tradition? These passages contain more than pleasant ideas about becoming instruments of peace: this is our inheritance and the Scripture directly challenges each of us to forge peace in our world. Peace is fully realized and appreciated only when we have experienced its absence, so that word “challenge” is used deliberately. Make no mistake, it takes work to be a missionary!
As you pursue this end, this blog is intended to encourage and inspire you in your efforts. May you read about these contemporary peacemakers and be comforted in the knowledge that they are ordinary people who, in the face of great adversity and despair, accomplished extraordinary things. May their stories also remind you that you are not alone on this path: you have neighbors, all of us at the Shrine, and the Kingdom of Heaven supporting you in your endeavoring towards peace.
As a closing thought, I will leave you with this sustenance for your journey:
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” - John 14:27
Peace to you. You are in our prayers, always.
-Kelsey Rode, Saint Rita Shrine Office Administrator