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MODELS – SUPERHEROES – BROKEN BONES and MORE! Mario St. Francis Who do we look up to, and why? Who has changed you? Who do you see as worthy of imitating? “Monkey-see…monkey-do.” Ever hear that saying? It means that we imitate what we see. I think it is true for most people. We imitate, that’s a fact, but WHO? and WHY? THE FASHION MODEL: A life of Magazines and Photo-shoots After years of photo-shoots, commercials and fashion shows, I re-examined who I was as a model, how I influenced others and who was influencing me. You should too. Don’t wait for a “near death experience” to get your attention. That’s what it took for me! Read on and you’ll find out. BACKGROUND It happened in the year 2000 after I had just appeared in a soap-opera in South America as well as a few other television shows, I was being groomed for stardom. I was starting to work with the manager who represented

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“Shakira”. One day, I think it was a Monday, I woke up in my new apartment and had to get dressed and ready to sign the biggest contract I had ever been offered. I had enough time to do some exercises, take a shower, get dressed and get to the contract signing. I wanted my muscles to look really well defined, so I began working out. I was doing resistance training with an elastic tube that you often see at the gymnasium. I wasn’t happy with one exercise, I couldn’t get the resistance I wanted, so I incorporated a metal bar to give me better resistance. After 2 minutes of high resistance exercises for my biceps, the metal bar moved and was no longer


firmly on the ground under my feet, supported by my weight. It was now a fast moving projectile; I was pulling the elastic towards my face in the motion of doing a bicep curl. The metal bar on the floor, I was standing on top of it, got loose and acted like a sling shot and came flying towards me. It all happened so quick that all I know is that at the same time it slipped out from under my feet, I fell to the ground in the most agonizing pain I had ever felt in my life, but it lasted only 1 second. I was breathless. The pain was so intense and it came and went so fast that I was in shock. My body felt frozen, it almost seemed as if my body had a seizure. I looked at where my pain was coming from, it was my hand, and I saw my bone sticking out of it!!! The bar hit my middle fingers knuckle so hard that it severed the ligament and broke the bone. I could see my bone. My finger had no tendon for me to control it with, so it was limp.

SHOCK! FEAR! SADNESS! WORRY! What was I going to do? My Dad is a doctor, but he is in the USA, my mom is with him, and they are on vacation with no phone. The family and friends that I would immediately think to call were also in the USA. I was laying on the floor and could not get up. I did not have a working phone yet installed in my new apartment, I did not have a cell phone and there was no internet. I was home alone and did not have any neighbors either. I suddenly fainted, I could not see anything but I could hear all the outside noise and traffic. Eventually I gained consciousness, but could not see. I began to fear the worse “Am I

going to die?” I was helpless and alone. I continued to faint off and on, I did not know when I would suddenly see darkness…forever. Was death at my doorstep? I laid on the floor alone for one hour, fainting, bleeding, scared, alone. I began to play my life in my head like a movie. I saw the parties, friends, other accidents, family, my hobbies and my dreams flash right before my eyes. It made me think about what was important. At one point I thought about my perception of what life is all about… and I saw myself as someone who was trying to be famous, powerful and rich. I was trying to become a celebrity and as I laid there I realized how alone I was. That I had many people who had written me fan mail and given me the impression of being important, but, here I was alone. Where were they all? Why didn’t the world notice that I was missing? Doesn’t someone know I am hurting? My big contract was for a men’s pageant for Colombia’s most cultured and handsome men. The winner would be named “Mr. Colombia”, and then would go to compete for the title

of “Mr. World”!!! I realized, “I would rather have a small group of true friends and not be a famous idol to thousands”. This became the longest hour in my life. While I laid there I began to feel empty and realize that I really did not have what was most important. Right now I needed a miracle. I did not have any recourse to human help. I needed something greater. What is greater….God! But how? I was simply a Catholic Christian because my family was. I never took God seriously. I went to Catholic school and occasionally on Sundays I would go to Holy Mass. Sometimes as a teenager I would go to my Church for a meeting of young people for fellowship, Catechism and prayer. But I never really thought they were cool. I would go moreso because my mother wanted me to go, but I would prefer to stay home. Now I wanted that God! Now I wish I had a life of prayer thru which I could call out to him. If I call out now he will know that I am a stranger. I did not know how to start . I began by talking to myself. “It’s o.k. Mario, breath, it’s o.k. buddy….Help VISHAL MALANKARA VOICE

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me…please help me… I don’t know how to talk to you… where are you God….I have not been good, I have not believed in you…but I neeeed you right now...please….I am sorry.” I knew that I was being selfish and only wanted His help because of my broken hand and not because I “loved him.” I did not have a close friendship with Him. What I knew is that I needed Him right now and that he is really really important in a situation like this. I figured that if he is important now, he probably is important always, too bad it took a moment like this to realize it. So I prayed some more. I asked for a miracle. I promised that I would change my life is he sent me help. Suddenly a woman walked into my apartment. She said she was here to clean it, knew I was a bachelor and new to the building and that she just happened to see my door was open. She saw me on the floor bleeding and fainted!!!! She thought I had shot myself. After she gained back consciousness she helped me to call a security guard thru the intercom. He arrived and almost passed out too!!! When he sat down and calmed down, he helped me call my local extended family members. We could not call 9-11 because I did not have insurance nor did I know hoe the system works there without being able to consult my parents. So, he called my cousin, but there was no answer. He called my aunt but there was no answer. He called a friend but they were not home, and eventually called another cousin, FINALLY an answer! It would take him 1 hour to get to my part of the city!!! He was on his way to get me but in 1 hour…1 HOUR! In that next

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hour I had more time to think. “What’s life all about, Who do I look up, and why? Who has changed me? Who do I see as worthy of imitating?” I thought of my brothers friend who has 5 children and a wonderful wife. He has no aspirations to be famous, he doesn’t look for attention, he is not wealthy, he is very quiet, yet he has something that makes him truly famous. He has love, he is responsible, he is a hero and father to 5 children and a great husband, and above all he is a living, breathing, practicing Christian. All my adult life has been about running around looking for what’s most important. I imitated what I saw on magazines and movies. I cared about what I saw. “Monkey See...Monkey Do.” “MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO.” I was following the crowd. Sometimes one cow will start running if it sees another cow running, I was doing the same. I think we all do the same thing. We act without thinking or questioning who we follow. Now, as I laid on the floor, I was thinking. Eventually my cousin came and took me to the

public hospital. The good news was that I was not going to die, bad news was that I would have a big scar on my hand and I would not be able to appear on television for 3 months. On top of that, they canceled my contract!!!! MY LIFE CHANGED: I told God that I would change my life if he saved me. I tried to stick to it, but it was no big change. I left my pursuits for stardom only to pursue money and power as a modeling agent back in the USA. God was never far off. He seemed to keep his part of the deal and make up for what lacked on my part. 1 year later, at the age of 24 I was at a Church were a priest gave 4 days of reflection during Lent. It changed my life and gave me a new mission in life. I learned that God has always been a Father to humanity, but we have not always been close to Him as good sons, but rather as rebellious ones. He has made himself known to His people, and it is not by His decision that we rebel, it’s our decision. We are always unfulfilled until we start to fill our life with Him. It was here at this retreat in 2001 that I fell in love with God who sent his only


Son, Jesus Christ, and he showed himself to be the Son of God. Jesus preached, performed miracles and taught that the entire Law was fulfilled in Himself and following him to the Father. He gave himself up to death as a payment for the debt that existed between God and Man that was created in the garden of Eden with Original sin. As was forseen by the prophets, Jesus was the Lamb of God, come to take away our sins. I came to understand the originals of the Catholic Church as it has been passed on to us thru the succession of the Apostles, instituted by Jesus Christ himself. The priest explained the Passion of Christ in detail and it impressed upon me his Love in such a way that I would never see a crucifix the same again. Seeing him on the cross, crucified for me I could not help but desire to live for him more and more. He deserves it! It’s what I was created for…what we ALL are created for. It’s just a matter of us figuring it out. MY NEW LIFE: This life and joy I encountered meant change. I was so inspired by the life of the Apostles and subsequently of the Saints throughout history that I knew I wanted what they had, the true pursuit of happiness and wholeness. Yes, I spelt holiness as “WHOL-e-NESS,” because it is only in God the Father-Jesus the Son-with the Holy Spirit- in the Catholic Church that we are made whole. It was the valor and courage of the saints love, even in the face of torture and death that was to become my new role model. People who embodied Jesus. I was especially moved with their sacrifices made for the Holy

Mother Church and the Most Holy Eucharist, 2 things which others criticize and say is a “man made institution” and the other “is just bread”. There was something more than just “an institution and bread” being fought for. It was real and true what they lived for and died for! This was true fame! Something truly worth living for…worth dying for. God! A NEW NAME: I recognized that my life seemed guided by a saint in particular. I was given a patron saint during my confirmation, St. Francis of Assisi, and his life changed radically at the age of 24 and he left the material world to preach, love and serve Holy Mother Church. I did the same thing. I know my guardian angel and the prayers of religious communities around the world also contributed to my life being interceded in by God, but the similarities with St. Francis were shocking. Angels and Saints are both in our lives to serve us on behalf of the Most High God, and I wanted to make that known. In

thanks for God’s favor upon me and the many second chances that God had given me I began to use my confirmation saints name and try to live a saints life. Hence, I became known as “Mario St. Francis.” MAN ON A MISSION: My life took on new purpose and there were few limits. With God, all things are possible. Since 2001 I have traveled to all the continents, to over 20 countries, spoken publically in 3 languages, and addressed thousands of people around the world. My mission in life was to announce to Catholics that what we negatively “think” is the Church is wrong and is often fixed with a fuller explanation. There are many whispers and arguments and rumors out there that made me, and make many of us, think of religion, God and especially the Catholic faith as less important than it actually is. Less amazing than it actually is. Less Divine than it actually is. Less is not acceptable! Loving someone so-so is not enough, it doesn’t make a happy marriage. It makes a so-so marriage. So, if we VISHAL MALANKARA VOICE

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see God and the Church as so-so, it’s no wonder we go to Holy Mass only so-often and sometimes pray and so-rt of “like” God. So-so is not enough. Got questions? Well the Church has the answers…we often just don’t ask the right people. So my mission was not to convert the world of unbelievers, it was to touch the hearts, lives and minds of believers! Then they could live the true Christian life of letting their “light shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 5:16) FOLLOW THE REAL HEROS FOOTSTEPS: So if we “monkey see, monkey do” then let’s SEE examples of true heroism and start living life to the fullest! Saints are the heroes to imitate. They were ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives. They were sinners, like us, who with God’s grace became true models to imitate. If you think sainthood is for the big and strong, think again. If you think we have to be smart and study a lot, think again. Did you know that some great saints had low education and a simple life? Many others were young. For the youth, young saints are true inspirations to follow. We should not settle for the idols of television superstars that are created at the pencil tip of screenwriters.

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Television, movies and novels are not real life. They often lack the full truth. My generation, also called “Generation X,” has been raised on television stories and a life “connected” to the media. The next generation who finds themselves right now as teenagers are even more “connected.” They are media “junkies” being raised in a society whose human-tohuman communicating happens less and less and is being replaced with text messages, chat rooms, social networking sites, and whatever else removes us from personal human contact. I have even been in the presence of youth who play a video game almost 80% of their time awake! That is a generous figure I am giving. Most of the time what forces them to not spend 95% of their time infront of the TV with a controller in their hand is the human need to use the bathroom. However I thank God for many technological advancements that save lives in hospitals and contribute to other sociological feats, but the “entertainment” industry often is not changing society for the better. Yes, there are wonderful musicals, and comedians who help us to relax and enjoy true art, but what is “selling and being

bought” degrades our minds and makes us “settle for less.” Well, I put before you true heros. Boys and girls, and young men and women who have been famous for generations and generations. Some have been homaged for over 1,500 years. They are some of our beloved SAINTS. Here are just a few examples: St. Philomena was a beautiful young girls who was martyred at about age 14 in the early days of the Church. She died at the jealous and angry hands of a Third Century Roman Emperor known for executing Christians. He wanted Philomena for himself and when she honored a vow to God and the Church he had her beaten like Jesus. Her wounds quickly healed. He then tried having her executed with arrows, but they all missed. Then he tried tying anchors around her neck and throwing her into the water, she miraculously came out with divine help and was dry. She died only when he took a sword and cut her head off. Hundreds converted to the One True God after witnessing the miracles that preserved her life. St. Maria Goretti is another young and beautiful saint. She was a pious farm girl, one of six children. In 1902 at age 12, she was attacked by a 19-year-who tried to rape her. She fought, yelling that it was a sin, and that he would go to hell. He tried to choke her into submission, then stabbed her fourteen times. She survived in the hospital for two days, forgave her attacker, asked God’s forgiveness of him, and died holding a crucifix and medal of Our Lady. The boy repented and converted. Blessed Peter Calungsod was a 19 year old who was killed in


Guam in 1672 trying to protect a Catholic priest. He was very talented in languages and was teaching the Christian faith when he was hacked to death with a catana and his mutilated body thrown into the sea. Saint John Berchmans died in 1621 at the age of 22 in Rome, Italy. He was not noted for extraordinary feats of holiness or austerity, nor did he found orders or churches or work flashy miracles. He made kindness, courtesy, and constant fidelity an important part of his holiness. The path to holiness can lie in the ordinary rather than the extraordinary. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: (1901-1925) A young attractive man who did not hesitate to share his religious inspiration and spiritual life with others, especially other students and the poor of the streets. Beneath the smiling exterior of the restless university student was concealed the amazing life of a mystic. Love for Jesus motivated his actions. He assisted at Mass and communion daily, often serving Mass and making a lengthy thanksgiving afterwards. In late June 1925 Pier Giorgio was afflicted by an acute attack of poliomyelitis which doctors later speculated he caught from the poor and sick whom he tended. “To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth, that is not living, but existing.” – Pier Giorgio Frassati Let us model ourselves after them and many of the more than 10,000 saints and blessed souls that now are in heaven interceding for us. Just ASK! KNOW YOUR FAITH “It’s not enough to know Christ, we must bring him to everyone!” said Pope John Paul II. Learn your faith, understand it, have a reason to believe and be able to give reasons for it. “Be always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you” 1 Peter 3:15

USE THE MEDIA I offer you some recommended websites to visit for learning more. You can visit my website for more links and information (www. MarioStFrancis.com) These are some of my favorite websites and I highly recommend them. CATHOLIC ANSWERS www.CatholicAnswers.com A major Apologetics site with many articles and mp3’s to help understand Catholic doctrine, especially understanding arguments that we often hear against the Church and our Christian Faith. CATHOLICS COME HOME www.CatholicsComeHome.com is famous for their short video clips seen all over YouTube and on television. This site is very helpful for practicing believers, non-believers and those who are not practicing but consider themselves as believers. ST. MICHAELS MEDIA The One True Faith http://www. catholictelevision.org is the show where Saint Michael’s Media showcases the truths of the Catholic faith in a lively and exciting manner, presented by multiple Emmy-award winner Michael Voris. Michael tackles a single topic each week, explaining the Catholic faith in an exciting and engaging manner. The site contains FREE mp3 download and DVD’s available for purchase. Bible Christian Society hosts full-length versions of a large library of talks in MP3 format. All of their material is offered free of charge. www.biblechristiansociety.com So let’s go out there and do our best, pray, ask the saints for help and take advantage of the media to get informed. Praised be Jesus Christ now and forever. If not you, Who? If not now, When? If not for the kingdom of God, What for? VISHAL MALANKARA VOICE

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Models, Superheroes, Broken Bones and More by Mario St Francis  

Mario St. Francis visits India. One magazine features his life story and message. Read the article from The Vishal Malankara Voice

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