One of the most difficult emotions to deal with during divorce is that feeling of being alone. This happens for many reasons, most notably because you tend to feel as if your divorce has completely alienated you from others. How can they understand what you’re going through? How can they know the depths of your sorrow? You can be in a crowded room with people you know and love, and still feel completely alone.
If you are suffering through this, I am sorry for what you are going through and would like to lift your spirits with this thought… Did you know you have an amazing group of people who do know what you are going through, are dying to help you, and are waiting for you to ask them for help? That would be your heavenly family, the Communion of Saints. And yes, they are watching you, and want to help.
Even more than that, they can commisserate with you, for they all have had their share of pain and suffering and understand you in a way your neighbor cannot. And so, I would like to introduce you to three of my favorite saints, in hopes you will look to them for assistance with your struggles and ask them to pray to God for you as you rebuild your life.
St. Therese of Lisieux said she would spend her time in heaven doing good on earth, and she meant it. She has performed countless miracles since her death and has answered prayers of the faithful with showers of roses. But I think St. Therese is a great saint for those who are divorced because she suffered the disdain and disparagement of many of the sisters in her own convent. She understands how your divorce might make feel like an outcast precisely because of the way she was treated by her fellow nuns. And she displays a superb, albeit difficult, way to pray for those who have hurt you through her example. St. Therese prayed that God would reward those who caused her to suffer. Her way was one of love, humility, and simplicity and is a great example for anyone who is trying to deal with the intense emotions of anger and feeling betrayed. You can learn more about Therese here.
Another wonderful saint for someone going through a divorce is the beloved St. Francis of Assissi, a saint who called himself a “Poor little man of God.” No doubt you’ve heard much about his gentleness and compassion, but he’s a great example for you if you feel the divorce process has stripped you of possessions that were important to you. Saint Francis was born into a wealthy family and was not a saint at an early age. As a wealthy adult, he lived the high life for a long time. When he felt called to follow Christ, he gave everything away. If you are having difficulty dealing with the loss of your home or other possessions, you might consider praying to St. Francis for help in detaching from these things and letting go of what happened. His feast day is October 4th, and you can find out more about him here.
Last, but certainly not least (although he’d probably prefer that) is perhaps my favorite saint of all time, St. André Bessette. He is an incredible example for us in modern times because, while he was “little” physically and definitely not considered an intellectual giant, he accomplished incredible things. He was one of 13 children, all who were eventually orphaned. He had always been sickly and when it came to following his calling to be a priest, the Congregation of the Holy Cross turned him away. He was eventually received and took his vows as a brother.
For nearly 40 years Brother André worked as a porter at the College of Notre-Dame in Montreal… Speaking about his assignment as doorman, he once quipped, “When I joined this community, the superiors showed me the door.”
Brother André urged people who came to him to pray with confidence and perseverance. He healed thousands of people. He insisted, “I am nothing…only a tool in the hands of Providence, a lowly instrument at the service of St. Joseph.”
Brother André always had a strong devotion to St. Joseph, and in 1900 received permission to raise money for a shrine to St. Joseph. By the 1920s the Oratory hosted over one million pilgrims annually, and hundreds of cures were attributed to his prayers every year.
Why is Brother André a great saint for someone who’s been divorced? Because he was powerful in his nothingness. Divorce can make you feel like you’re nothing. Like you’ve lost everything, like you’re worth nothing. But don’t believe it. Your life is precious and despite what others may think, you can accomplish great things. Let these wonderful, humble saints, Therese, Francis and Brother André show you the way and help you find peace.
As always, I enjoy hearing from you and you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find me on Twitter at @lisaduffy.