A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Jonah, Prophet (Jonas) (C9-C8 BCE). Lutheran Commemoration of the Prophet in the Hebrew Bible from the northern kingdom of Israel. In the Book of Jonah, he is called upon by God to travel to Nineveh to warn the residents of the city of impending divine wrath. Instead, Jonah took ship to Tarshish and, caught in a storm, the ship’s crew threw him overboard, to be swallowed by a giant fish. 3 days later, he agreed to go to Nineveh and the fish vomited him onto the shore. He successfully convinced the entire city to repent but waited outside the city in expectation of its destruction. God shielded him from the sun with a plant but sent a worm to cause it to wither and, when Jonah complained about the heat, God rebuked him. In Judaism, the story of Jonah represents the teaching of teshuva, the ability to repent and be forgiven by God. In the New Testament, Jesus calls himself greater than Jonah and promises the Pharisees the sign of Jonah, which is his Resurrection. Early Christian interpreters viewed Jonah as a model for Jesus. Jonah is regarded as a prophet in Islam and the biblical narrative is repeated in the Qur’an, with a few notable differences. Some mainstream Bible scholars generally regard the Book of Jonah as fictional and often at least partially satirical, and the character of Jonah may have been based on the historical prophet of the same name mentioned in 2 Kings. Although the word whale is often used in English versions of the Jonah story, the Hebrew text says dag gadol, a giant fish. In the Seventeenth and early Eighteenth Centuries, the species of the fish that swallowed Jonah was the subject of speculation for naturalists, who interpreted the story as an account of an historical incident. Some modern scholars of folklore have noted similarities between Jonah and other legendary figures, specifically the Mesopotamian hero Gilgamesh and the Greek hero Jason. Venerated in Judaism, Christianity, Islam. Major shrine Tomb of Jonah (destroyed), Mosul, Iraq. Roman Catholic Feast 21 September. Image: leadershipnow.com.
Prayer As we pray for revival of the turbulent world in which we live today, we ask ourselves where our own personal Ninevehs are, and begin to pray for a hunger, a fear of God and for leaders to be awakened. We pray for a hunger to see God move, for a renewed fear of God and for leadership. Amen
Padre Pio (1887-1968) (St Pio of Pietrelcina OFM Cap, San Pio, Francesco Forgione). Feast Day commemorating the death of the southern Italian peasant, Franciscan Friar, priest, religious, Confessor, mystic and stigmatist. At 5, he made the decision to dedicate his entire life to God. He worked on the land up to 10, looking after the small flock of sheep his family owned. His family attended Mass daily, prayed the Rosary nightly and abstained from meat three days a week in honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Although his parents and grandparents were illiterate, they narrated Bible stories to their children. His father went to the USA in search of work to pay for private tutoring for his son to meet the academic requirements to enter the Capuchin Order and joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. As a youth, Francisco reported that he had experienced heavenly visions and ecstasies. He took the simple vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. He became famous for exhibiting stigmata, the markings of the crucified Jesus, for most of his life, thereby generating much interest and controversy. He was a man of prayer and suffering who dedicated himself to performing a number of successful conversions to Catholicism. A Sicilian girl’s blindness was believed to have been cured during a visit to Padre Pio. He compared weekly confession to dusting a room and recommended the performance of meditation and self-examination twice daily, once in the morning as preparation for the day and once again in the evening as retrospection. His advice on the practical application of theology was summed up in his now famous quote: “Pray, Hope and Do Not Worry.” He directed Christians to recognise God in all things and to desire above all things to do God’s will. He died on 23 September 1968 San Giovanni Rotondo in Apulia, 30 km northwest of Foggia. Major shrines Sanctuary of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, San Giovanni Rotondo and National Shrine and Parish of Saint Padre Pio, Batangas, The Philippines. Venerated in Catholic Church. Patron of Pietrelcina, civil defence volunteers, adolescents, stress relief, January sadness. Image: padrepiodapietrelcina.com.
Bl Émilie Tavernier Gamelin (Marie-Émilie-Eugène Gamelin SP, the Widow Gamelin, Mother Gamelin) (1800-51). Feast Day commemorating the death of the French-Canadian social worker and Roman Catholic religious sister born in Montreal. At 19, she was a debutante in Montreal fashionable society and was frequently seen at the social events of the city but in 1822 she felt a strong vocation for the convent. However, the following year she married, her husband dying in 1827 and the last of her three children within the year. To assuage her grief, Gamelin took an interest in charitable works and gradually divested herself of her financial assets, channelling the proceeds into the charities with which she was working. In 1830, she opened a shelter for frail or sick elderly women in Montreal, which over time she moved to larger premises. In 1837, Gamelin obtained permission to visit imprisoned rebels who were under sentences of death, gave them counselling and helped them contact their families. In 1841, the Bishop of Montreal visited France and attempted to persuade the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul to go to Canada to support Gamelin but during his absence the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada incorporated Gamelin’s shelter as the Montreal Asylum for Aged and Infirm Women. The women working with Gamelin purchased land for a separate facility, the Asylum of Providence and elected the Widow Gamelin as Director of the corporation and she donated the last of her property to the corporation. Gamelin was sent to the USA to study with the 1809 Sisters of Charity of St Joseph in Emmitsburg, Maryland, returned with a handwritten copy of the Rule of St Vincent de Paul and in 1843 she took the religious habit as a novice in the Asylum of Providence. In 1844, this became the new religious congregation of the Daughters of Charity, Servants of the Poor (Sisters of Charity of Providence and from 1970 the Sisters of Providence). Gamelin and six other novices became religious sisters, taking the traditional vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience as well as a fourth of service to the poor and Gamelin was elected Superior General of the new congregation with the title of Mother Gamelin. The Sisters provided shelter to orphan girls and elderly women boarders, and launched the Hospice Saint-Joseph, dedicated to the care and shelter of sick and elderly Catholic priests. In 1845, the Sisters established an employment office to aid jobseekers and prospective employers. They also began caring for the mentally ill and opened a school in Montreal and, in 1846, a shelter in La Prairie, Québec. After an 1847 a typhus epidemic in Montreal, Gamelin assumed responsibility for the Hospice Saint-Jérôme-Émilien, a facility dedicated to the children of immigrant-Irish typhus victims. In 1849, she established the Hôpital Saint-Camille to help respond to that year’s cholera epidemic. In 1849, Gamelin also opened an insane asylum at Longue-Pointe and a convent at Sainte-Élisabeth, Québec, and in 1850 it was joined by a convent at Sorel-Tracy, Québec. Late in 1850 Gamelin again visited the USA and toured the establishments of the Sisters of Charity, with special attention to their lunatic asylums. On 23 September 1851, exhausted by her labours, Gamelin died of cholera in Montreal during an epidemic of that year, following an illness that lasted less than 12 hours. Her last words were: “Humility, simplicity, charity…above all chari…”. She was buried the following day in the vault of the Asylum of Providence. At the time of her death, there were over 50 professed Sisters of the congregation and 19 novices caring for nearly a thousand women and children and six elderly priests. Today, the Sisters of Providence serve in 9 countries: Canada, USA, Chile, The Philippines, Argentina, El Salvador, Cameroon, Haiti and Egypt. The Asylum of Providence was demolished in 1963 and the land was renamed Place Émilie-Gamelin. Feast Day in Canada 24 September. Image: thekoalamorn.com.