the Back Porch this afternoon. I stop in every once in awhile. I think this is the second time since I spent a weekend with the Sisters of Life. In the course of conversation, I told the person I met there about the Sisters of Life and how we’re in the process of establishing the Co-Workers of Life in Edmonton.
As I was walking back to my car, I saw in the sidewalk that the name of street just west of the Back Porch has been given the same St. Catherine Street. I’m not sure which St. Catherine, but I’m guessing St. Catherine of Siena (the sign in the sidewalk looked like it was there well before St. Catherine Tekakwitha was canonized). The Back Porch is on St. Lawrence Avenue. I walked back east a block to see what 124 Street is named, but it didn’t seem to have one, like most streets and avenues in Edmonton. I don’t know why this neighbourhood named its streets and avenues, as they all still have their numbers and the names seem like they’re just for show, but I find the name of St. Lawrence Avenue rather significant.
I have a bit of a devotion to St. Lawrence. I find his story quite inspiring. I think this avenue being named after him is quite significant because across the avenue from the Back Porch is Edmonton’s abortion clinic.
When Pope St. Sixtus II was being taken away to martyrdom during the persecution of Emperor Valerian in 258, his faithful deacon, Lawrence, cried out to him, “Father, where are you going without your son? Whither are you going, O holy priest, without your deacon?”
To which the holy pontiff replied, “I do not leave you, my son; but a greater trial and a more glorious victory are reserved for you who are stout and in the vigour of youth. We are spared on account of our weakness and old age. You shall follow me in three days.”
St. Lawrence did follow him to martyrdom by being roasted alive on a gridiron, halfway through which he cheerfully said, “Let my body be now turned; one side is broiled enough.” However, before that, the prefect of Rome wanted to get his hands on the considerable treasures he had heard the Christians had hidden. What riches the Church did have, the holy deacon had distributed to the poor, but when asked, he said that the Church was indeed rich and would show the prefect all the valuables within a little time to make an inventory. In three days time, St. Lawrence had gathered all the poor of Rome who were supported by the Church, and when the prefect came to seize the riches, St. Lawrence presented the decrepit, the blind, the lame, the maimed, the lepers, orphans, widows, and virgins. With looks of disorder and threatenings, the prefect demanded to know what this meant and were the treasures were.
St. Lawrence answered: “What are you displeased at? The gold which you so eagerly desire is a vile metal, and serves to incite men to all manner of crimes. The light of heaven is the true gold, which these poor objects enjoy. Their bodily weakness and sufferings are the subject of their patience, and the highest advantages; vices and passions are the real diseases by which the great ones of the world are often most truly miserable and despicable. Behold in these poor persons the treasures which I promised to show you; to which I will add pearls and precious stones, those widows and consecrated virgins, which are the Church’s crown, by which it is pleasing to Christ; it hath no other riches; make use then of them for the advantage of Rome, of the emperor, and yourself.”
On St. Lawrence Avenue in Edmonton, there is a building in which men and women are making vile money by committing a horrendous crime. Due to vices and passions, the weak bodies of the innocent are suffering a violent death, which makes the staff despicable and the mothers miserable. Behold in these poor innocents are great treasures that are not being brought to the light of day. They are the Church’s crown, who are pleasing to Christ, but we will not enjoy them in this life. Let us not dispose of them but make use of them for the advantage of Edmonton and the world. Help this joyful treasure of children live.
If you would like to help, check out yesterday’s blog post and register for the training.