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We could all benefit from finding true Catholic role models and who better than the saints? As part of my mission for the year, I wanted to look to the saints not with the usual approach of asking for intercession, but with taking some aspect of their life as guidance for how we could live our lives. So for June I picked St. Sampson the Hospitable of Constantinople.

He was named the “Father of the Poor” and it is easy to see why. First, he dedicated his entire life to those who were poverty stricken and unable to afford medical care. Trained as a physician, he never charged his patients. Throughout his lifeand even after he diedhe performed miraculous healings.

He disposed of  his wealth in order to serve the poor. When his parents passed on, he spent his inheritance, giving alms to the poor. Emperor Justinian offered a large sum as recompense when  Sampson performed a miraculous healing. Instead of taking the reward, Sampson asked Justinian  to open a free medical facility for the poor. Sampson went on and founded one of the most well-respected hospitals in Constantinople. He chose to live in a humble home which served as a homeless shelter and medical facility.

By reflecting on the life and works of St. Samson, we can learn to open the doors of our spiritual hearts to the poor and parentless children. While not all of us have the means to do what he did, we can look at his generosity of spirit, of time, of expertise and, if possible, of material wealth as  the epitome of parental responsibility.

The ideal father is one who supports his family; working, ensuring medical care, housing and  preparation for the future. Consider the calling to spiritual parenthood as described by Pope John Paul II.

If you are currently childless, or even if you have kids of your own, you may consider doing something to increase your sense of parenthood. If you’re an athletic type, consider  volunteering as a sports coach. If you are an attorney, check local schools and organizations about starting up a debate team. If you love to cook, consider hosting a cooking lesson and invite the neighborhood kids. In so doing, we can look to St. Samson’s willingness to use what means he had to provide for  others.

There are countless ways to strive for the kind of parenthood that St. Samson embodied. His feast day is June 27. On that day, consider making one gesture, no matter how tiny, to become your own “Father of the Poor.”

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3 Comments

  1. Matthew-866502 June 27, 2014

    It is difficult today, I suffer from periods of unemployment while my catholic friends have 2 large incomes. Single people find it difficult to stay positive. In the catechism of the Catholic Church is states that a person who is denied employment is having there dignity undermined. If everyone just looked for someone who is in need then there wouldn’t be so much poverty. The best way to take care of the poor is to become poor yourself. What about the ideal mother who provides for her family? I know many women who have good incomes. In my family either the mother will be the breadwinner or the father but not both because it hurts other families.

  2. Faith-1088793 June 27, 2014

    I appreciate your assessment of our current economy. In my former marriage (to a Protestant minister), I chose not to work as I did not want to ask other women to clean my house or care for my children. Women I know don’t think twice about the ethics of hiring a nanny, and even consider themselves virtuous for “giving employment”, without thinking of the wider repercussions: shouldn’t this nanny be with her own children in her own country? There will never be enough “good jobs” (i.e. decent paying) for every adult. Each couple must make their own decisions based on their own consciences, but yes, I empathize with the unemployed or underemployed and feel the government should be doing more to address the issue.

  3. Meesch-691047 June 27, 2014

    Living for the pleasure of God and pouring ourselves out to others is a great theme in any saint’s life. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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