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magazine Fall/Winter 2013

Old Friends:

What we can (still) learn from the saints.

from The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. Special supplement to The Church News family of publications.

Old Friends: What we Can Learn from the Saints 5

All Those Saints The Rt. Rev. David Reed


Keeping House Among the Cloud of Witnesses The Rev. Mary Earle

10 The Unnoticed Shrine of Don Pedrito Jaramillo Rilda Baker

Read the magazine online at Fall/Winter 2013

Published by Department of Communications Episcopal Diocese of West Texas P. O. Box 6885 San Antonio, Texas 78209 Editor Marjorie George Communications Officer Laura Shaver


The Jude Candles Francesca Torres-Lopez


Olive-Spread Sandwiches Diane Thrush

Bishop of West Texas The Rt. Rev. Gary R. Lillibridge


A Saint for the Times Barbara Finlay

Bishop Suffragan The Rt. Rev. David M. Reed


Our Miss Bowden Marjorie George


Remembering Abba Antony The Rev. Mike Marsh

Offices are at The Bishop Jones Center 111 Torcido Dr. San Antonio, Texas, 78209 210/888-824-5387 THE CHURCH NEWS

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May and November by The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, P O Box 6885 San Antonio TX 78209. Periodicals postage paid at San Antonio

Reflections invites readers from every denomination or no denomination. To subscribe (there is no charge) send name, address, and e-mail address to or Diocese of West Texas, Attn: Marjorie George, P. O. Box 6885, San Antonio TX 78209. In 2013 Reflections will be published in May and November. Online at

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From the editor by Marjorie George

Lights in the Darkness


t was to be a weekend of silence. Our class of 12 people, all enrolled in the spiritual formation program at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, was taking a road trip to Lebh Shomea, a retreat center just south of Kingsville, Texas.

By early Friday evening, I decided I was not called to the desert life. I felt alone, cut off from my classmates and from conversation I would liked to have been having with them. Restlessness ― the desert mothers and father called it acedia ― settled over me.

Lebh Shomea is a place dedicated to silence in the tradition of the desert mothers and fathers – an invitation to withdraw into the wilderness, clear of life’s clutter, to listen for God. (See the related article on Abba Antony on page 27.)

By late Friday night, I determined that I would just stay awake until God spoke to me.

The desert mothers and fathers lived the simplest of lives – often taking only a small piece of bread and a little water for their single daily meal and spending perhaps all night on their knees in prayer. Each lived a solitary existence in hermitages mostly in the Egyptian and Palestinian deserts. Our purpose for the Lebh Shomea weekend was to try to capture just a fragment of that ascetical life. Though we went as community, we were to remain silent from Friday afternoon’s arrival through Sunday morning worship. Even so, said our professor, we would be living in community -- communal silence, someone named it later. Each of us was to stay the weekend in individual hermitages, little brick cottages that reminded me of the third little pig’s brick house the big bad wolf could not blow down no matter how much he huffed and puffed. I was not ar all sure about this. But whatever will I DO with all that time? I thought. How will I fill all those hours? To these questions, the professor only smiled.

Night at Lebh Shomea is unlike night at any other place. It is the blackest of dark and most silent of silence, gently interrupted only by the silhouette of an occasional deer or peacock moving graciously across the landscape. One actually can hear the wind in the trees in a Lebh Shomea night. As I gazed through my open window into this desolation I began to notice small points of light scattered here and there – one just on the other side of the gravel path that led to my hut, another farther down the path, and another on the fringe of the compound. Ah, I realized, they were the lights from the windows of my classmates’ huts, each hut a single little beacon. Others were at home, each no doubt praying about, thinking about, reflecting upon whatever it was that God had given them to pray about, think about, reflect upon. I was not alone. We were a community being held together by that dark silence. I think that is how it is with the saints. They are single points of light in the dark, visible only when we take ourselves apart for a while and allow ourselves to recognize and join that community. That light over there, that is Ignatius bent over his writing desk, crafting his spiritual exercises. And over there is Dietrich Bonheoffer,

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Episcopal Diocese of West Texas


● Lights in the Darkness from page 5

wrestling with a Christian response to evil and finally deciding to join the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. Farther beyond is Jonathan Myrick Daniels, jumping in front of a young I sing a song of black girl in Alabama in the saints of God, 1965 and literally taking the patient and bullet for her.

brave and true, who toiled and fought and lived and died for the Lord they loved and knew. And one was a doctor, and one was a queen, and one was a shepherdess on the green; they were all of them saints of God, and I mean, God helping, to be one too.

Sometimes our lives seemed immersed in darkness, and we feel all alone with no one to talk to. But St. John reminds us that

the light shone in the darkness, and the darkness could not put it out” (John 1:5). And, really, we are all part of the community of saints, with our own little window lights struggling to shine brightly and bravely through the darkness. We are enabled by those saints who still speak to us when we are willing to put down the fussiness of life and tune out the noise of the world and take time to enter that blessed community. Shh. Listen. Do you hear them?

Reach Marjorie at

This issue of Reflections invites you to explore the saints of the Church and the saints in your life ― that long lineage that stretches from the earliest times of Christianity to the present day ― to hear their stories anew, to give thanks for their faithfulness that has sustained the journeys of all who have followed after them, and to enter into their communal silence that still speaks to us today.


he first English Book of Common Prayer (1549) included a small number of the many saints acknowledged by the Roman Catholic Hymn #293, Church and retained at the The Hymnal 1982 formation of the Church of England. The 1662 Prayer Book, which Anglicans living in the American colonies used in the decades preceding independence, listed the names of 67 saints in its Calendar, but made no provision for their liturgical commemoration. This continued to be the case until 1964 when the Episcopal Church General Convention approved the inclusion in the Liturgical Calendar of more than a hundred saints’ days, listing them in the book Lesser

Feasts and Fasts. Since then the number of saints listed in the Calendar has gradually increased. In 2003 General Convention called for a wideranging revision of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. Several years of extensive study and consultation led to the submission of Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints which replaces Lesser Feasts and Fasts and was approved for trial use by General Convention in July 2009. New names added to the Calendar require the approval of General Convention. In the words of Holy Women, Holy Men, "the men and women commemorated in the Calendar are not simply examples of faithfulness to inspire us: they are active in their love and prayer. They are companions in the Spirit able to support and encourage us as we seek to be faithful in our own day." To get a copy of the book Holy Women, Holy Men in print or online, see page 26.



– Fall/Winter 2013

by The Rt. Rev. David Reed

All Those Saints


he problem with naming names around All Saints’ Day, as many of our churches do, is that once you start, you might not be able to stop. So, for example, think of John, one of the first four disciples, brother of James, one of the “sons of thunder,” author of the Gospel that bears his name. But if you do that, crowding right into your mind with him are likely to be the other three Evangelists: Matthew, Mark and Luke; and then, you almost have to think of the 12 disciples (even if you can’t name them). Or maybe when you think of St. John, what comes to mind is one of our St. John’s churches in New Braunfels, McAllen, and Sonora. Or maybe the name brings to mind some dearly departed

John you knew ― I think of John Jay of St. Francis, Victoria, and Johnny Rayburn, caretaker of the old Bishop Elliott Conference Center in Rockport. Or maybe you think of someone who is presently part of your life and journey with Christ. If we start naming saints ― the quick and the dead ― we could be at it till next Tuesday. And all of those ways of thinking about the saints of God ― living, dead, ancient, modern, world-famous, locally known, great and small ― fit well within New Testament teaching and the tradition of the Church. The way most Episcopalians celebrate All Saints’ Day now is actually a commingling of All Saints’ (November 1) and All Souls’ Day or the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed (November 2), better known in these parts as Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

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Episcopal Diocese of West Texas


● All Those Saints from page 5

All Saints’ Day has been observed since the third century and was a feast celebrating the big-name, capital-S saints ― the ones who get their own day on the Church’s calendar and who get their pictures in stained-glass windows. All Souls’ originally was to remember those countless faithful who build churches and worship in them and serve the Lord from them. All Souls’ would draw us to look not at the stainedglass windows but at the little brass plaques and at church cemeteries and columbaria. The combining of the two feasts in our day has given us a fuller sense of the New Testament understanding of sainthood. As St. Paul looks at it, the saints are everyone who’s been baptized, the entire membership of the Christian community. According to the witness of his epistles, you don’t have to have a stained-glass face to be in that number, when the saints go marching in. You don’t have to get eaten by a lion, or burned at the stake, or have taught Sunday School for 50 years. You don’t even have to be dead. Most of Paul’s letters are addressed “to the saints” of a particular place, and he is writing to the whole community of Christians ― the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. He is no more hesitant to call them all saints in Christ Jesus than he is to call them out for their sinful, divisive, un-Christlike behavior. To be a saint, you just have to be baptized. Because sainthood, finally, isn’t something we figure out, or earn. It is what God intends for us, is making of us, by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit. An oversimplified summary of St. Paul’s ethical teaching is, “Become what you are baptized to be.” Now, God is fully aware of what a mixed-bag he’s chosen to redeem, and he knows how un-saintly we can behave, and how we try to squirm away from such labels as “saints” and “sanctified” and “holy.” But still he sees us not only as we are, but as we shall be, and he loves us with the same love with which he loves Jesus. And what we shall become is what we are: ― those whose lives are hidden with God in Christ, those who have immigrated to the Kingdom of heaven.

other places, but that an abiding awareness of los santos, and appeals to them, were and are part of the fabric of the culture in which I was raised (though less obviously on my Protestant Episcopal Sunday mornings). As a child, I was taught about the big saints and their examples of moral courage and heroic faith. I learned to sing that the “saints of God are just folk like me,” and though the words to that children’s hymn are quaintly British (meeting saints at tea is more poetic than meeting them at Luby’s or Starbucks), it remains Gospel truth for all of us. It reminds us of what God intends for us: that we be made into saints. It seems to me to be no great leap from that childhood awareness of saints to our regular experience at the Eucharist, where we join our voices with “Angels and Archangels and all the company of heaven,” and sing like kids singing to their parents who delight in them. “All the company of heaven” means church is pretty crowded ― that it’s not only the local and familiar people we gather with; it’s the 12 apostles, Paul and Barnabas, la Virgen Maria and Queen Margaret of Scotland, Lou Gehrig and Roberto Clemente, Mother Teresa and my mom and my grandmothers, my friends who died too young, and the ancient stranger I visited in the nursing home. And it’s no great leap from our worship to the places where we work and live and love, finding ourselves “surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1), living in a world heavily populated by saints. They crowd round the altar, these saints of God, and they crowd into our lives, gathering with the likes of you and me and . . . Well, like I said, if I started naming names, we’d be here till next Tuesday. “For the saints of God are just folk like me. And I mean, God helping, to be one, too.” The Rt. Rev. David Reed is bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas.

I grew up in an area heavily populated by saints. Ireland’s got nothing on el monte of South Texas. I don’t mean that la gente of the Rio Grande Valley are any more or less virtuous and pious than people in



– Fall/Winter 2013

by the Rev. Mary Earle

Keeping House

Among the Cloud of Witnesses


n 1994, I made my first pilgrimage to Wales. While our group was staying at St.David’s, we visited St. Non’s Well on the starkly beautiful headlands above the sea. I was so moved by that place, I returned by myself several times. I was drawn to that well, with its clear water erupting from rock, and its various votive offerings — flowers, ribbons, photos — left by many who had come to ask for St. Non’s prayers for healing. The last time I walked to the well, it was late in the day, and a man with a Welsh corgi was there also. In a gently gregarious fashion, he struck up a conversation and began to speak of St. Non. “She’s dear to me,” he said. “She’s walked with me through many a tough patch.” I was struck by the ease with which he spoke of this saint, whose name I was just beginning to learn. continued on page 6

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Episcopal Diocese of West Texas


● Keeping House . . .

from page 7

St. Non was a friend to him, a companion in the way, a living presence in Christ who offers her prayers for him, his family, his life, his creatures. He clearly had a relationship with St. Non — a relationship not unlike those I have with friends with whom I share my prayer life. From the perspective of the traditions from Celtic Christianity, the communion of saints is downright homey. Following the witness of the early church, the stories and prayers from the churches of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, and Cornwall offer us a sense of the nearness and familiarity of the saints. Many of the saints from

Local saints are those known to the community, those whose lives and examples continue to shape the Christian family. A local saint is bound to place, and his or her shrine or church serves as a place for gathering, remembering, and praying. The life of the saint, though lived in history, takes on an eternal dimension as the stories of that saint extend through time. The saint’s presence is known “here, now and always,” in the famous phrase of the poet T.S. Eliot. These are holy presences who walk with us, guide us, befriend us, pray for us. We are never alone. We are never without the intercession of the saints in Christ. We are never without their company. We are continually within a reality in which the saints are close at hand. A strong web of relationships transcends the grave, linked by indissoluble bonds of Christ’s love. In the words of Esther de Waal, “Celtic saints are approachable, close at hand, woven quite naturally into life just as would be any other member of an extended family” (The Celtic Way of Prayer, New York: Doubleday, 1997, p. 162). The extended family is made up of all who are Christ’s brothers and sisters by his gracious invitation. Far from an image of heaven ruled by a god who is a solitary, cranky old man in the sky, the Celtic tradition perceives the life of the communion of saints as a great feast, a vast company celebrating with the Risen Lord. One traditional prayer from the Outer Hebrides evokes festive celebration among the company of heaven:

Typical of Welch wells is St Gwenfaen's Holy Well off the Rhoscolyn headland Isle of Anglesey. the Celtic tradition were revered locally and never were recognized abroad in the larger church. Yet they are tenderly invoked today, often in ways that are distinctly non-pious or saccharine. A community both heavenly and earthly is held together by “love as strong as death” (Song of Solomon 8:6). As members of that vast community, the saints are welcomed in a tenderly familial way.


“I would like to have the men of Heaven In my own house: With vats of good cheer Laid out for them.

I would like to have the three Marys, Their fame is so great. I would like people From every corner of Heaven.


– Fall/Winter 2013

I would like them to be cheerful In their drinking, I would like to have Jesus too Here amongst them.

I would like a great lake of beer For the King of Kings, I would like to be watching Heaven’s family Drinking it through all eternity.”

(In Threshold of Light, ed. By A.M. Allchin and Esther de Waal, Dartmon, Longman and Todd: London, 1986, p. 40.) As this poem intimates, the Celtic peoples perceive that eternity and this world are woven together. Just as the famous Celtic knots demonstrate, heavenly life and earthly life are linked and form a unified whole. A family dinner is an occasion for welcoming the saints; a family tragedy is occasion for imploring their intercession, presence, and support as members of the extended family of Christ. Following the proclamation of the author of the letter to the Hebrews (“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” Heb. 12:1), the Welsh poet Waldo Williams observed that we are “keeping house in a cloud of witnesses.” The rounds of daily life are lived out with this company. As we go through our regular chores and work, the saints are with us. These saints, alive in the eternal life of the Risen Christ, are not ghosts. Nor are they merely the product of our imaginations. The communion of saints is the astoundingly diverse and rich family of the Christ “in whom all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). The Celtic saints are perceived to be anamchairde or “soul friends.” In the Celtic tradition, it is understood that a soul friend is a spiritual necessity. Every person needs someone with whom to be completely undefended, to be vulnerable and honest. A soul friend is the person whose presence allows us to be real and transparent, to seek continual transformation and growth in faith, hope,love. In the presence of your anamchara (singular form of the noun) you know the safety and assurance of one who

Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

will do no harm and one who will call forth your truest self. The tradition is emphatic that this work of formation cannot be done alone. While soul friends are usually earthly friends, they may also be particular saints whose lives speak to us, challenge us, evoke in us a desire to participate in Christ’s work of making the creation new. The tradition invites us to befriend the saints as we befriend our earthly friends and exemplars, and to learn from their lives and their teachings. The heavenly presence of the saints presents no difficulties for this tradition. In the words of Welsh scholar Patrick Thomas, “Barriers of time, space and continuity have rarely presented problems for the Celtic imagination” (Candle in the Darkness, Gomer Press: Llandysul, Dyfed, Wales, 1993, p. 110).

They keep house with us, work with us, walk with us, pray for us. Their company is vast, and their intercession is steady.

The Celtic tradition is marked by a great love of “kith and kin” ― and that love includes the saints. They keep house with us, work with us, walk with us, pray for us. Their company is vast and their intercession is steady.

The Rev. Mary Earle is a retired priest, author, and retreat leader. Her latest book is Marvelously Made: Gratefulness and the Body, available from Church Publishing, from Viva Bookstore in San Antonio, and from Amazon. Reach Mary at


by Rilda Baker

The Unnoticed Shrine of Don Pedrito Jaramillo


nce while I was on retreat at Lebh Shomea in south Texas, Father Francis Kelly Nemeck, OMI, offered me this thought during spiritual direction: “When we are ready, when the time is right, God shows us the gifts.” I was to remember his comment a couple of years later on another journey from San Antonio to Lebh Shomea. That particular March morning, as I slowed down on U.S. 281-South to enter the town of Falfurrias, I noticed a large weathered sign on the right. Apparently I was “ready” and the time was “right” to read the words printed in large black block letters: DON PEDRITO JARAMILLO SHRINE. On at least three prior trips that sign had never caught my eye. However, the name sounded familiar and I Most often, it is the local community that remembered seeing glass votive candles larecognizes and raises up saints. St George, for beled “Don Pedro Jaramillo” on the shelves example, was made famous by the story of his in several South Texas grocery stores beside slaying a dragon that prevented villagers from other candles bearing images of la Virgen collecting water at their local well. Joan of Arc led de Guadalupe, San Antonio, Divino Espíritu Santo, and San Francisco de Asís. the French army to several important victories

during the Hundred Years’ War, which paved the way for the coronation of Charles VII of France.

Though I was curious, I also was looking forward to my Lenten retreat time and therefore continued on my way without stopIn South Texas, the legend of unofficial saint ping. After a left turn in Falfurrias onto Don Pedro Jaramillo brings hundreds of pilgrims the east-bound state highway, behold! There to his shrine just outside of Falfurrias every year. was an identical weathered sign announcing “Don Pedrito Jaramillo Shrine”― this time with the arrow pointing north. Still I passed it by, wondering who “Don Pedrito” might be.



– Fall/Winter 2013

Five days later, after morning Eucharist, I loaded my car and set out for home. It was a hot, muggy South Texas spring day, weather that made me grateful to be in an air-conditioned car. Somehow I knew that I would not again pass by the Don Pedro Jaramillo sign without following that red arrow. East of Falfurrias, when I spotted the now familiar sign, I turned north onto a secondary gravel road, seeking . . . Well, I don’t know what I was seeking, except to know something more about this Don Pedro. That he was known as “Don Pedro” or “Don Pedrito” already told me that he was held in high regard. I suppose that I was hoping to learn why. Once parked in the gravel turn-out alongside the chain-link fence that encircled the shrine, my first surprise was to see an official Texas Historical Marker (dedicated in 1971) recounting Don Pedro’s story both in English and in Spanish. Don Pedro, it said, was a Mexican immigrant who arrived at the Los Olmos Ranch in 1881. After settling there, he became known as one who possessed powers to heal the sick ― a curandero, in other words. The sign continued: Many came to him because, unlike other faith healers, he claimed no power of his own, but said that God’s healing was released through faith.He made no charges. Patients gave or withheld as they chose. But whatever was given voluntarily he often gave to the poor — food as well as remedies. How many times did Jesus say, “Your faith has made you well,” or “Your faith has healed you,” or “Your faith has made you whole”? I realized that, unawares, I had come to a pilgrimage site. My second surprise was that the shrine (or santuario) sits in the midst of a small cemetery. Somehow it had never occurred to me that I might

be visiting Don Pedro’s actual gravesite since the saints with whom I was familiar were from other places and other times, from far away and long ago. Holy women and holy men were not from the century in which I was born (Don Pedro died in 1907) and certainly not from an out-of-the-way place so near my San Antonio home. The shrine was a one-story brick building, about 20 feet square and of indeterminate age. Since the door was closed (and given the current city custom of locking churches), I wondered whether it was open for visitors at all. No one was around to answer my question if I had asked. After reading the biographical information on the marker, I tried the hasp on the gate, found it unlocked, and followed the short sidewalk through the cemetery to the chapel door. Pulling gingerly on the door handle, I found that it was open, took a deep breath, and prepared to enter. What I remember next is the whoosh of hot air that enveloped me when I opened the door completely ― a thermal gust hotter than the sultry air outside. Stepping inside, I felt time and place, curiosity and haste, fall away. I stood in a silence so profound that I could almost hear the sizzle of the flames as they consumed the wicks in dozens of votive candles burning on a metal altar table. All of the casement windows were closed and the small space felt both stuffy and confined, making it hard to breathe. But breathe I did, inhaling the faint fragrance of incense that still lingered in the air, a reminder that other visitors had preceded me. I was alone in the shrine. Slowly I regarded the scene. My eyes were drawn first to a wall where numerous metal crutches were suspended from nails. Above them and all around the room, hanging next to the ceiling were rainbow-colored artificial flowers. There were even some fresh flowers in vases at various continued on page 12

Episcopal Diocese of West Texas


● The Shrine of Don Pedrito from page 11

locations. Two or three different images of the Blessed Virgin Mary rested on side altars or in glass cases. At several spots on the wall were bulletin boards overflowing with handwritten notes both in English and in Spanish: thanksgiving for healings, heartfelt petitions for intercessions to bring relief from illness or pain, hopes for divine assistance in business and all aspects of life. Frequently they were prayers or thanksgivings for what had been granted to someone other than the note’s author. Sometimes they acknowledged a grace received personally by the writer. Photographs were thumb-tacked on top of notes from the devout. Small metal milagros ― feet and legs, faces and arms, babies, and even farm animals ― dotted the space on top of these overflowing layers of notes and photographs. Prior pilgrims had left ample proof of Don Pedro’s effectiveness in working changes in their lives. Against one wall rested Don Pedrito’s tombstone with the epitaph: “Aquí yacen los restos de Pedro Jaramillo, el benefactor de la humanidad.” (“Here lie the remains of Pedro Jaramillo, benefactor of humanity.”) The grave itself occupied a large covered rectangle of the floor space. Beside the tombstone was a life-sized ceramic statue of the bearded Don Pedro dressed in suit and tie,

his toes bare in open sandals. Some visitors had even draped necklaces with petitions and prayers around his neck. Worn kneelers in front of the statue and alongside the grave were places to pause for prayer ― and the marks of wear showed that many pilgrims had done just that. Somehow just standing in the shrine felt like prayer. On a table at the right hand of Don Pedro’s statue I noticed a bowl of water, holy water, I was certain. It felt cool on my fingertips as I touched it lightly and slowly drew my hand back to make the sign of the cross, forehead to chest, left shoulder to right, as I would during the Eucharist. No longer did I feel the heaviness of the air or its heat. A space seemed to open in my heart and I felt refreshed. With a final glance toward the chairs where many pilgrims had sat and the kneelers where others had prayed, I turned toward the door, opened it, and walked out into the spring sunshine of South Texas. Returning slowly to my car, I recalled my visits to Tepeyac in Mexico, to Chimayo in New Mexico, to Santiago de Compostela, all of them places made holy ― sanctified ― by the prayers and pilgrimages of the faithful. Now, nearly a decade since my visit to Don Pedrito’s Shrine, I believe that I understand what Jacob thought upon awaking from his dream, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I was not aware of it” (Genesis 28:16).

Rilda Baker is a teacher, writer, and Spanish translator. She codirects the Diocesan Retreat Society and is a member of St. Paul’s in San Antonio. Reach her at

Image of shrine courtesy of The Texas Historical Commission,



– Fall/Winter 2013



riving away from the shrine, I was left with more questions than answers. Who was this Don Pedrito, that he should be sought out and revered by so many? Newspaper accounts and other commentaries paint Don Pedro Jaramillo as an unassuming man who left his home country around the age of 50 and “went about doing good and healing” in his adopted corner of the world. Apparently he arrived about 1881 in the desolate ranching area of Los Olmos (Brooks County). People consistently describe him as a “faith healer.” It is also reported that ofrendas (offerings) given to him in thanksgiving for some work of mercy he used to purchase food, which he gave to anyone in need. At some point Don Pedro began to travel around South Texas in order to visit people unable to travel to Los Olmos. According to Professor Eliseo Torres (University of New Mexico), San Antonio police once arrested Don Pedro for inciting a riot due to the large number of people who gathered there to see him. By the 1890’s, he was so well known that, according to Torres, “Don Pedrito was appointed by the State of Texas to serve as a welfare agent for the people of South Texas during the great drought of 1893.” Pedro’s great-granddaughter Dolores Villarreal tends his shrine. In an article published only weeks ago (Vital Record, Texas A&M University HSC), she is quoted as saying: “We can get up to 200 people in one weekend who come to leave tokens and prayers for him to help them in various ways. Even though some people come to ask for help in their lives ― even if it is just to win a team sport ― many come to find a cure for their illness.” Another source reports that as many as 50,000 pilgrims a year come to Don Pedrito’s shrine.

On July 3, 2007, the 100th anniversary of Don Pedro Jaramillo’s death, a Corpus Christi CallerTimes article reported that there was a gathering of the faithful at his shrine. The Most Rev. Edmond Carmody, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi (now retired), was reported to have commented that “while the church doesn’t recognize Don Pedro, it doesn’t discourage anything that brings people closer to their faith in God.”

Image of Don Pedrito courtesy of the Star of the Republic Museum, Blinn College, Brenham TX.

Episcopal Diocese of West Texas


TThe Jude Candles


by Francesca Torres-Lopez

ne of my fondest memories as a child involves my grandmother and Saint Jude the Apostle. In the Roman Catholic tradition in which I was raised, Saint Jude is known as the saint of desperate cases and lost causes. I remember making special trips with my

Writer Fran TorresLopez reflects on the importance of saints in her life and finds that the candles from her childhood still light her path. Next page, a way to reflect on the saints in your own life.

grandmother – sometimes with her sister along ― to Saint Jude’s Roman Catholic Church in San Antonio. The church was open throughout the day for anyone to enter. I remember entering quietly. Since it was not our home parish and we went during an off hour, I paid close attention to my grandmother’s actions. We walked over to the area where candles are available for lighting. My grandmother placed a dollar or two in a little donation slot. She picked up a small wooden stick, placing it in a lit candle to use the flame from someone else’s prayer to light the candle for her own special intention. After the candle was lit, we knelt in silence near the rows of can-



– Fall/Winter 2013

dles and prayed. After praying near the candles we migrated over to the pews, knelt down again, and continued praying. Once or twice in my early twenties I found myself visiting Saint Jude’s, following in my grandmother’s footsteps of lighting candles and praying for things that seemed to me like lost causes. As a child, the ritual of going to Saint Jude’s to light a candle and pray seemed a little bit like a chore. But as an adult I began to understand that we go through times when life can feel empty and hopeless. During those times, I began to see why my grandmother would take the time to light the candles and offer prayers to Saint Jude. But Saint Jude was not confined to the physical church building. In her bedroom, my grandmother had three ceramic statues, each about a foot tall. One statue was of Mary, the mother of Jesus, one of Saint Paul, and one of Saint Jude. As a child I would set the statues up in the breakfast nook, cut thin slices of banana, pour some milk into a nice glass, and play communion with one of my school friends as we took turns administering banana and milk to each other saying, “The Body of Christ” and “The Blood of Christ.” From the time I was an infant, saints have been a part of my life. I was baptized and confirmed at Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, named after the apostle Paul who took the word of Christ to the Gentiles. Later I attended first through fourth grade at the church’s school. The nuns who served as teachers and staffed the school were the Sisters of Saint Brigid from Ireland, lovingly called “The Brigidines” by the church and school community. The sisters took their name from Saint Brigid of Kildare who was an Irish nun that played a foundational role in establishing monasteries and centers of religious learning in Ireland. Though as a child I didn’t give it much thought, I realize now that Saint Paul and Saint Brigid were bright and strong enough to impact future Christians like the Brigidines who devoted their lives to building up the church, school, and community that loved and nurtured my family. In college and early adulthood another saint caught my attention. This time, it was Saint Augustine of Hippo. I remember a professor lecturing about Saint Augustine’s Confessions, particularly

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an account of the saint’s lustful youth. Somehow the humanization of this saint as a sinner who went through a transformation of repentance as

“O God, the King of saints, we praise and glorify your holy Name for all your servants who have finished their course in your faith and fear: for the blessed Virgin Mary; for the holy patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs; and for all your other righteous servants, known to us and unknown; and we pray that, encouraged by their example, aided by their prayers, and strengthened by their fellowship, we also may be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” from The Book of Common Prayer, pg 504

he was older caught my attention. Now this was someone to whom I could relate ― a person who gave me hope that even in our mistakes God’s grace can still find us and we can be used for great things. After college when I began the process of confircontinued on page 16


● The Jude Candles from page 15

mation, and when it came time to choose the name of a saint for my confirmation name I settled on Augustine. His humanness as well as his writings and doctrinal contributions made him appealing to me. In fact now that I have been a practicing Episcopalian for almost four years, Augustine surfaces again in my readings. I remember reading somewhere that the writings he did on predestination impacted Luther, an Augustinian monk, who in turn played a vital role in the Reformation. Saint Augustine continues to intrigue me and reminds me that no matter what, God can always use us for his purpose. Reflecting back on my experiences with the saints I realize I did not spend a lot of time reading about them or praying to them on my own. However, it is clear to me now as an adult that the saints had an effect on me. The good works of the saints laid a foundation upon which future generations built communities that still influence our present day lives. The stories of the lives of the saints continue to provide example, inspiration, and comfort. My grandmother, who still prays the rosary daily, calls upon Saint Jude as needed. The Brigidine Sisters who devoted their lives to the

community of my youth and whose lessons continue to have an impact on me as an adult, will flow forward in my own children. When I see the spiritual threads running through these events of my past, present, and future, I begin to get a glimpse of what is meant by the communion of saints where the dead and the living are joined together with Christ. In the communion of saints I see a community of people who devote their lives to making God’s presence known to others. As an adult this gives me the small courage to ask, “What small things can I do to make God’s presence known to others?” and “How can I help build upon the foundations of the saints to ensure the gifts of our spiritual traditions continue for generations to come?” I don’t have a lot of concrete answers. But when I ask the questions, I know that God answers in his time.

Fran TorresLopez is a software developer who lives in San Antonio. She is a member of St. Mark's Episcopal Church. Reach her at fvtorreslopez@

Who has Gone with You? It may not always be apparent that certain saints have walked with us on our Christian journeys. One way to do a little reflection on the communion of saints in our lives is to consider the saints who are linked to the parishes in which we have lived. See page 26 for ways to learn more about your favorite saints. In what church were you baptized? For whom were you named? In what church were you confirmed? Where were you married? Of which churches have you been a member? Where have you most especially found Christian community? Are there saints to whom you feel especially drawn? Perhaps they have been drawn to you. 16


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Olive-Spread Sandwiches

and the Communion of Saints


ur annual summer Vacation Bible School was approaching at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio, and the signup sheets for volunteer snacks were posted in the church lobby. “What is the easiest thing I can bring?” I asked myself. I found something on the list that I could pick up at HEB grocery store and signed up for it, no cooking involved. As I walked away to get into my car, Margene’s olive spread sandwiches came to mind. Margene could be described as the patron saint of children’s ministry at St. Luke’s. From the earliest days of church and school, Margene taught and led children’s chapel and generally shepherded many young children through the church. She touched many young lives. Unfortunately, cancer took her from us way too soon. The tapestry in the children’s chapel was commissioned in her memory. Its title is “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” which was her favorite hymn. Margene was also known to bring olive-spread sandwiches whenever finger sandwiches were needed, especially for funerals and VBS volunteers. My mother gave me Margene’s recipe many years ago. I had never made them but couldn’t part with the recipe because it made me think of her. That Sunday, all the way home, I tried to talk myself out of making those sandwiches for the

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VBS volunteers – too much trouble I told myself. But when I got home I did get out the recipe and looked at it. The following Sunday when I went to church, I saw Ann Allen, children’s ministry director, who was of course mentored as a child by Margene. I told her I had this crazy idea of making Margene’s sandwiches for VBS. She said right away, “The Communion of Saints! That gives me the chills.” I asked her what day I should bring them IF I decided to make them. Her reply was, “Whenever Margene tells you to.” The idea wouldn’t go away, no matter how hard I tried. It’s as if Margene were telling me, “Pay attention!” The next time I went to HEB, I thought I would get the ingredients, just in case I changed my mind. A week later, with VBS starting in a few days, I decided why not, why not give it a try? I could put them in the freezer. And so, I made the sandwiches and wrapped them up for the freezer. On Wednesday of VBS week, I took the sandwiches. As I walked by Ann, I said “Margene is here!” All morning long, the story was told and retold. The volunteers who had been around when continued on page 18


● Olive-Spread Sandwiches from page 17

Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth: Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer.” from The Book of Common Prayer, page 199.

Margene was here were all touched by her sandwiches, and sweet memories were shared. She was very present to us that week as we ministered to the children who were present. Margene is an example to me of the “little-s” saints. They are all around us whether we know it or not. We won’t read about them in official books, or celebrate their saint’s days in our churches. But as we look around, maybe at a lovely tapestry on the wall, or the Gospel book (also in her memory), or eat olive-spread sandwiches surrounded by the voices of happy children, we will remember those whose lives have made a difference in our church communities. And we will thank God for their ministries, and try to follow in their footsteps.

Diane Thrush is a retired chaplain and a member of St. Luke’s, San Antonio. Reach Diane at

People misunderstand saints; they think of them as being nice people, good people, people who behave well and don’t make mistakes. But saints aren’t like that. Saints can be crabby, cranky, cantankerous, bitter, ill-informed, misogynist (lots in that category), racist, opinionated (even more in that category). . . Saints are extremely human, and they are products of their cultures and times.


– Molly Wolf from the Explore Faith website /faces/saints_prophets_and_spiritual_guides


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Episcopal Diocese of West Texas


A Saint for the Times by Barbara Finlay


orothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement, activist for peace and justice, and faithful woman of prayer, had a great respect and veneration for the saints, not as superior or perfect people, but as companions and guides for daily living. And in her own way, she has become just such a saintly companion for many who know and love her work, myself included. continued on page 22

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● A Saint for the Times from page 21

Photo source: Wikipedia

Dorothy Day's life was built around three pillars ― a very deep love of God, practiced through prayer and contemplation, daily Eucharist, and Scripture reading; a life of personal compassion, lived in simplicity alongside the poor and oppressed persons to whom she offered her hospitality and love; and an activism that attempted to bring about social change in the interest of the victims of a sometimes-violent and unjust social order.


Born in Brooklyn in 1897, Day grew up to engage in radical struggles for woman suffrage, pacifism, union rights, and similar causes of the time. Even as she continued her concern for social justice and peace, she gradually came to reject the materialism and secularism of her early political companions. It was after the birth of her beloved daughter, Tamar, in the late 1920s that she shocked her friends by converting to Catholicism, a decision that changed her life forever. Day's new life was a model of spirituality, with hours devoted to prayer, Scripture reading, and daily mass, practices she continued throughout her life. Her deeply spiritual life may have enhanced her earnest concern for social justice, for she saw these issues as part of her gospel calling just as much as her religious practice. In 1932, with Peter Maurin, Dorothy started what they intended to be just a newspaper to highlight Catholic teachings about problems of poverty and injustice. The paper, which sold for a penny a copy, was called The Catholic Worker. Within a few years, this initial start had grown into a national movement, centered around the establishment of “hospitality” houses, where the unemployed, the hungry, the homeless, the immigrant, and the dispossessed could come for a meal, for assistance, or for a place to stay. Dorothy Day lived in voluntary simplicity in some of these houses, in company with her co-workers and those she served. She died at Maryhouse in New York City in 1980.


t was this combination of a deep spiritual life with an active life of both personal service to the “least ones” and social activism for larger causes that first attracted me to Dorothy Day. Her life story in some ways mirrored my own, as I had come of age during the social movements of the 1960s and early 1970s. Like Day, I came to believe that something was missing from the more secular movements of the time. I realized that the activists I most admired, those who seemed to act with compassion and who persevered in the face of resistance, were those motivated by their faith. It was through some of these Civil


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Rights leaders and peace activists that I discovered Dorothy Day. Her example helped to lead me to a more mature and active faith than the one I had rejected at an earlier age. With Dorothy, I came to believe that to follow Jesus of Nazareth is both to have an active spiritual life and to work to promote the reign of God in our everyday living. One of the most important lessons I learned from Day had to do with her notion of hospitality, including the importance of seeing Christ in every person, as she would say--especially those we might initially want to avoid. Dorothy helps us to understand the biblical truth that every person, no matter how damaged by life’s events and circumstances, bears the image of God, and as such should be treated with dignity and love. She reminds me to be more intentional in reserving judgment and in reaching out to those whose appearance at first might seem discomfiting to me. Dorothy Day has been given the title of “Servant of God” by the Vatican, and proceedings are under way for her possible canonization as an official saint. But it is her example of living a life of practical love and compassion, supported by her active devotion to God, that has meant the most to me. She always said that even the smallest act of love has its impact, more than we often realize ― like a pebble cast into a pond, its waves spread out to a large and larger circle, so that we are unaware of its ultimate effect.

Online Read this issue on our blogsite: • leave a comment • start a conversation with the authors • read more articles about saints Also on the blog: • Back issues of every Reflections edition with topics like prayer, sacred spaces, and the Holy Spirit • Meditations • Dozens of articles • Calendar of events • Special studies on the Nicene Creed and C. S. Lewis • Weekly reflections

In the end, as she wrote in The Catholic Worker in June 1946, “there is nothing that we can do but love, and dear God–please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as well as our friend.” And so, Dorothy Day is already a saint for me, a saint for all of us, a saint for our time.

Barbara Finlay (MA, MDiv, PhD) is Music Director at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Brady. She is Professor Emeritae of Sociology from Texas A&M University. Reach her at

Episcopal Diocese of West Texas


by Marjorie George

Our Miss Bowden In 2012, the Diocese of West Texas put forth the name of Artemisia Bowden to the Episcopal Church General Convention for inclusion on the church Calendar. The church Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM), which receives such names, declined to put it forward to the entire General Convention owing to the fact that the Calendar is crowded and the SCLM said it would not consider the addition of any names that year. No doubt Miss Bowden’s name will again be presented to General Convention when it meets next in 2015 in Salt Lake City.

In September of 1902, a young, wellgroomed black woman boarded a train in Atlanta, Georgia, bound for San Antonio. In her purse she carried $32 traveling money that had been sent her by the Rt. Rev. James Steptoe Johnston, bishop of the Diocese of West Texas. She wore a one-halfinch-wide red ribbon on her left shoulder, as Johnston had instructed in his letter of invitation to her, so she could be recognized by those who would meet her train.


Bishop Johnston was a determined man, but so was the young woman, Miss Artemisia Bowden, who was coming to San Antonio to take over leadership of the fledgling St. Philip’s School. She would lead that school, sometimes singlehandedly, for the next 52 years, by which time it would become St. Philip’s Junior College, part of the Alamo Community College District in San Antonio. St. Philip’s School had it roots in a sewing class for black girls begun in 1897. Held in the rectory


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of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, a black congregation, the class was organized by Bishop Johnston and the ladies of the church. Meeting on Saturday evenings, it became known as the Saturday Evening Sewing Class. Johnston continued to envision an industrial school for black girls, “in which they will receive a good grammar school education, together with the knowledge of those domestic duties which would always procure for them desirable positions.” He recruited Mrs. Alice Cowan and opened St. Philip’s School in March 1898. The class met in the front room of St. Philip’s rectory. Later that year, Johnston raised $2,200 for a piece of land and a school building which he named St. Philip’s Industrial School; 18 students were enrolled in September 1898. By 1902, the school was a well-known institution in San Antonio but found itself without a principal. Johnston set out to look for a replacement and, during a visit to Brunswick, Georgia, he became impressed with the work of St. Athanasius School and Church and sought a product of that institution to carry on in San Antonio. He found such a person in Miss Artemisia Bowden, whose personal acquaintances described her as “a person of supreme confidence, one who felt she could overcome any obstacle.” One of Bowden’s personal mottoes was “Learn to do something, and do it well.” She would face obstacles aplenty over the next 52 years as head of the little school that eventually became a junior college. Bowden was determined, as she said in a report of the school in 1904, “to make good, true, pure women, because I believe the destiny of a people rests in the hands of its women . . . they are taught morality in the truest sense of the word. Our highest ambition is to send from our institution true, God-fearing women, who are not ashamed of the truth and whose characters are spotless.” She anticipated success, never failure. “A person who has courage must be full of faith,” she said. “A goal is set for the purpose of achieving it.” But the school was continually plagued by financial prob-

lems, and by 1934 it was close to financial disaster. In 1940 the diocesan council called for a corporation to have full control of the school. The churches of the diocese had decided to sever all ties with St. Philip’s School. Even so, Artemisia Bowden continued on in full faith that the school could become a great educational institution. In 1927 she had succeeded in guiding the school to junior college status, and by 1942 she reached a successful outcome in a long campaign to have the school incorporated into the San Antonio Independent School District as a city-supported and publically-owned educational institution for black youth. In 1945 St. Philip’s Junior College and San Antonio Junior College formed the San Antonio Union Junior College District under a newly-formed board of trustees. The name was later changed to the Alamo Community College District. Dean Artemisia Bowden One of Bowden’s continued to lead the school personal mottoes was until her retire“Learn to do somement in 1954. thing, and do it well.” Even then, at She would face obthe age of 75, she determined stacles aplenty over the to remain acnext 52 years as head tive. “I will not of the little school that seek solitude,” eventually became a she said, “for I believe the junior college. Master showed the way to a life of service. He constantly moved from village to village . . . thereby indicating the will of God can and should be achieved in an active society.” She admitted, upon her retirement, that her journey had been over a “long and rugged trail.” There were times, she said, when she was near despair, “from which Providence rescued me.” But, she said, “Life has been a glorious opportunity to render service to make a contribution.” Artemisia Bowden died in 1969 in San Antonio

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Opportunities Where to learn what we can learn from the saints Holy Women, Holy Men. This book is the first major revision of the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church in more than 40 years. It is the official revision of Lesser Feasts and Fasts and authorized for trial use by the 2009 General Convention. The book contains short biographies on each of the entries. Purchase the book from Church Publishing index.cfm?fuseaction=product&productID=7399 Or Viva Bookstore Calendar of the Church Year (Episcopal) with commemoration days in chronological order: in alphabetical order: Short biographies of saints recognized by the Roman Catholic Church: Features/Saints/byname.aspx

Some suggestions for exploring more about saints Do you know these saints who are on the Episcopal Liturgical Calendar? Names in brackets are in-process. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, April 9 [G. K. Chesterton], June 13 [Prudence Crandall], Sept. 3 Thomas Cranmer, Oct. 16 [March 21] This commemoration was provisionally separated from that of Latimer & Ridley and given a new date, at General Convention 2009.

Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Aug. 14 [Frederick Douglass], Feb. 20 Dame Julian of Norwich, May 8 Kamehameha and Emma, Nov. 28 Martin Luther King, Jr., April 4 C. S. Lewis, Nov. 22 [Thomas Merton], Dec. 10

Who’s the patron of your state? Condition? Vocation? Hobby? Maybe you can find out here:

Florence Nightingale, Aug. 12

A special section on the ExploreFaith website on saints, prophets, and spiritual guides: prophets_and_spiritual_guides/index.php

[Harriet Beecher Stowe], July 1

Oscar Romero, March 24

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Ross Tubman, July 20 Evelyn Underhill, June 15

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The last word Remembering Abba Antony In the traditional practice of commemorating the saints, the Rev. Mike Marsh reflects on St. Antony, whose feast day is January 17. See page 26 for resources on finding saints' days for your own reflection.

St. Antony has become known as the father and founder of desert monasticism. His journey began one Sunday morning in a small Egyptian village in the year 270 or 271 when he heard these words: If you want to be perfect, go sell your posessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me (Mt. 19:21). Antony took these words literally; giving his land to neighbors, selling his remaining property, and entrusting his sister to the care of some Christian women. Antony became a disciple of a local hermit. As time went on Antony moved farther into the desert geographically and spiritually. Antony died in 356 at the age of 105.

Abba Antony said: “I saw the snares of the enemy spread out over the world and I sighed wondering who could ever escape such snares. Then I heard a voice, saying to me:

Not everyone is called to enter the physical desert. All, however, all are called to go through the spiritual desert. It is a necessary part of our journey. The desert is, of course, more than a place. It is a way.


Part of the desert experience is the opportunity to learn and practice humility. There are no distractions in the desert. It is the place where we face up to our self, our temptations, thoughts, desires, the things we have done, and the things we have left undone. This, perhaps, is the beginning of humility. For many the word humility has a negative connotation and is often heard as synonymous with humiliation. God does not seek our humiliation. God seeks our truest, most authentic self; the self that was created in his image and likeness. That is humility – to be authentic, to live authentic lives. The demons are always tempting us to see ourselves as either bigger than we really are or as less than we really are. Humility returns us to who we really are. In the face of humility the demons are powerless.

The Rev. Michael Marsh is rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Uvalde TX. Reach him at

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Episcopal Diocese of West Texas P O Box 6885 San Antonio TX 78209 Send address changes to The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, P O Box 6885, San Antonio TX 78209

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Reflections Fall/Winter 2013  

The fall/winter 2013 issue of Reflections, the spiritual formation magazine of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas.