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Catholic Activity: Importance (for parents) of a Good Example

A story from Saint Oliver Plunkett, followed by a fitting conclusion from a Desert Father.


Blessed [Editor's Note: In 1972, Oliver was canonized a saint.] Oliver Plunkett, the martyr, is a symbol of Irish resistance to the political and religious persecutions of England." He was arrested in Ireland, held for trial and absurdly accused of attempting to bring 20,000 French soldiers into the country and levying a tax on his clergy (he was a bishop) to support 70,000 men! For two days no witnesses appeared to testify against him and, when on the third day one did show up (drunk), it was apparent that a conviction of Bishop Plunkett was not to be had in Ireland so he was removed to England. The first time his trial came up the grand jury found no true charge against him, but he was not released. Eventually nine false witnesses were procured to testify and he was found guilty of high treason. He was sentenced to be hanged, disemboweled and quartered. "It is good," he declared, "for me at this time to give an example to the Irish people, since I have already given them so much good advice." And he died for God and the Church on July 1, 1681. His feast is celebrated on July 11.

Now that we have given our children so much good advice on how to live the Christian life, let us not fail them in good example.

And here is the last story in this book. It is for all those who want to be saints but aren't, for those who try and fall, and get up and try again, who fall again and get up again, and try again — until it seems, discouragingly enough, that this will go on forever! Once again the story is from the Desert Fathers.

The abbot Moses asked the abbot Silvanus, saying, "Can a man every day make a beginning of the good life?" The abbot Silvanus answered him, "If he be diligent, he can every day and every hour begin the good life new."

All ye holy saints in paradise, help us begin anew!

Activity Source: Saints and Our Children, The by Mary Reed Newland, P.J. Kenedy & Sons, New York; reprinted by TAN Publishers, 1958

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