Lessons from St. Clement Mary Hofbauer

Today Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast of St. Clement Mary Hofbauer, who was a member of the Redemptionist Order. He was responsible for establishing the presence of the order in Poland, where he built schools and orphanages.

St. Clement would go to bars and taverns to collect money for his orphanages. One story goes that a man spit in his face a mouthful of beer to make him go away. Calmly, Clement looked at the man’s face and paused. He gently said, “That was for me. Now are you going to give something for my orphans?” Turns out the taverns were, overall, a good place to go to get money. Tells us something about where we take our faith and works: we do well to bring them out to areas where people might not expect to see them, and even those areas where people are likely to dismiss them.

Clement can also teach us something about perseverance in prayer. Story goes that he was in a church late at night and was praying, but didn’t feel that much was happening. He went up to the sanctuary and knocked on the door of the tabernacle. As he did this, he said: “Lord, we’ll see who gives up first.”

What a great thing for a saint to have a sense of humor mixed with strong faith!