Saturday, October 29, 2011


Annalena Tonelli, 1943 - 2003  
Lay Volunteer
This is a person who lived the evangelical counsel that Jesus gave to the rich young man who approached him and asked what he had to do to get to heaven.  Jesus told him to obey the commandments.  When the young man said that he had done that all his life, Jesus told him, you still have something to do, "Go, sell all you have, give the proceeds to the poor.  You will have treasure in  heaven.  Then come and follow me." (Matthew, 19; 21)
Annalena was a lawyer.  Yes, a bona fide lawyer in her native Italy.  After a few years of dedicating herself to the needy in Italy, she decided to give her life to the poor in Africa.  Her first work was in Kenya with Somalian refugees, where she was very active in trying to convince the population there to stop mutilating women through the practice of infibulation.  She was so active and so zealous for the kingdom of God that she was ambushed twice and survived.  After the second time a judge told her that though she had done nothing illegal, it was impossible for anyone to assure her that a third attempt on her life could be prevented.  She therefore moved to Somalia where she could work directly with the Somali people.  During all this time, Annalena furthered her studies in various western European countries to make herself more expert in God's work for His people.  Not long before her assassination she was awarded the Nansen Refugee Award, which is given annually by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to recognize outstanding service to the cause of refugees.
She, like many martyrs through history exercised the charism of prophecy given to us all in Baptism to perfection.  She answered the call of Jesus to seek perfection by selling all, giving all to the poor, even her very life blood, walking in the footsteps of hers and our Loving Savior, Jesus.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


A beautiful, young and dedicated young lady became a glorified soul by the right hand of God when she was shot down in Somalia by evil maniacs.  The worst element of them all is that she was shot in the back. In the back!  After thirty years of selfless dedication in the training of people whom she loved in the name of God, she was rewarded by the cowardly act of being shot to death in the back.  I chose to put this picture of her in the flower of her youth because she has deserved to be remembered in the flower of her terrestrial life.  Yes, physical beauty is indeed the reflection of the Grace of God alive in the soul of the missionary.  This grace outlives age.  It doesn't limp.  It doesn't shut off the lights in eyes that shine during a smile.  It doesn't make a supportive hand uncomfortable.  It doesn't make modest, loving embraces uncomfortable intrusions.  No, the feet of the missionary skip lightly over the difficulties of the terrain that leads to eternal life.  She went back to God at the age of 66.  Her birth into the intimate company of her Beloved Bridegroom happened in a humanly disgusting and ugly tableau.  It nevertheless makes her spiritual presence in the mission the seed from which more children of God will spring.  I invite you to click here for more details about the life of this faithful and loyal bride of Christ.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Clement Shahbaz Bhatti (9 September 1968 – 2 March 2011), popularly known as Shahbaz Bhatti, was a Pakistani politician and elected member of the National Assembly from 2008.  He was the first Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs  from November 2008 until his assassination on 2 March 2011 in Islamabad.  Bhatti, a Roman Catholic, was an outspoken critic of Pakistan's blasphemy laws and the only Christian in the Cabinet.  Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for his killing and called him a blasphemer of Mohammad.
You can read the touching story of this courageous Catholic by clicking here.
The 21st century has its martyrs too.  Through their witness, we will continue to be a holy Church. It makes it easier for me to be convinced that no one should cry at my funeral.