The following post is part of a nine-part series of emails being sent out to those who wish to make a 21 mile pilgrimage from the St. Joseph Shrine in De Pere Wisconsin to the Our Lady of Good Help in Champion. It is wonderful opportunity to pray for conversions and for America.
Click here for details: Walk to Mary
The Blessed Virgin Mary asked Adele to do something that most of us Catholics feel uncomfortable with; and that is going out into streets and announcing the Gospel. Our Lady instructed Adele to: “Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation.” And that is exactly what she did. In fact, when she visited families, she offered to clean their houses in exchange for the opportunity to teach the children the Catholic Faith.
The early Christians and the Fathers of the Church understood that evangelization, by itself, was often not enough to attract souls to Christ. Indeed, the proclamation of God’s Word was coupled with either corporeal works of mercy or some service that was needed other than preaching or teaching. Pagans were willing to listen to anyone who fed them or provided some service for them out.
Dr. Thomas Woods, author of How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, noted how the early Christians did not rely on preaching or instruction alone in order to be heard. He said, “Even the Church fathers, who bequeathed to Western civilization an enormous corpus of literary and scholarly work, found time to devote themselves to the service of their fellow men. St. Augustine established a hospice for pilgrims, ransomed slaves, and gave away clothing to the poor. (He warned people not to give him expensive garment, since he would only sell them and the proceeds to the poor.) Saint John Chrysostom founded a series of hospitals in Constantinople. Saint Cyprian and Saint Ephrem organized relief efforts for the poor.”
The “Old Evangelization,” if you will, not only served the body in order to reach the soul, but it inspired a missionary spirit. Like the early Christians, Adele did not wait for the people to come to her; instead, she went looking for the people. What a daunting task! But remember last words Our Lady spoke to Adele: “Go and fear nothing. I will help you.” Indeed, we are not alone.