Shattered for Sainthood

Susanna VanVickle  // Tales From the Trenches


July 31  

A recent doctor’s visit launched my family into an unexpected whirlwind of questions. Further testing is necessary, but we are very likely looking at a life-long disease for my twin sons. These first-born of mine—ambitious, fine young men in their prime—are now wondering if life as we know it will cease. What will the disease look like in a year? What if there’s already irreparable damage to the heart? What if their life will be cut short? I have no answers.

Ignatius of Loyola was a vivacious, determined soldier who had his sights set on winning fame and honor. He was far from God until his leg was shattered in battle and, along with it, his dreams. He endured the excruciating procedure of re-breaking and re-setting his leg because he was vain and did not want to face life with physical imperfection. Inevitably, however, he was left with both a limp and wounded pride.  As he convalesced, God won his heart and set him on fire. He became as ambitious for winning souls as he once was for winning battles. His affliction was the catalyst God used to transform Ignatius into a saint.

In my own life, I’ve seen God bring good out of the sufferings I have endured. Therefore, I’m certain it would be easier for me to surrender to God’s will if I was the one infirm, but looking into the worried eyes of my boys is heavy. How can a mother prepare her child for the grief of shattered dreams or the uncertainty of illness? St. Ignatius’ story inspires me to have hope and faith. Had Ignatius’ mother known the end result, would she have feared? Would she have tried to protect him from the pain? Let us, then, be not afraid! In sickness and in health, we can trust our God completely because his ways are above ours, and his plan is for our eternal good and for that of our children, for sainthood.

Proclaim the Genius & Share!
  • “Omnia in Bonun”
    Personal translation “ for the ones that love God all things are for good “
    Love Queta

  • Suffering is the currency of the Kingdom. Susanna just won a lot of currency…sainthood and Holiness for herself and all those she loves. Suffering with and for your children is the greatest suffering of all. The God’s ways are above our ways we can trust him. Beautiful written.

  • Susanna, I am praying for you and the boys! Psalm 112, The Blessings of the Just Man, has gotten me through many a sleepless night when we’ve been faced with serious illnesses:

    Well for the man who is gracious and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice; He shall never be moved; the just man shall be in everlasting remembrance, An evil report he shall not fear; His heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

  • Sweet Sister – thank you for sharing your heart and your total trust in God’s plan. My heart aches and yet yearns to see what amazing things God will do through this suffering in the life of your whole family!

  • Beautiful faith filled words, Susanna! Indeed suffering is the catalyst for great growth! And Our God never fails us, never leaves us abandoned, and carries us the whole way! Be assured that your family remains in our prayers! Keep us posted!

  • Susanna, we will add our prayers to those of yours and others. I’m going to ask 3 wonderful Jesuits to pray for your sons. Much love.

  • Thank you for this reflection. We will be praying for you all. Let us know if there’s anything we can do.

  • Such a faith-filled view, Susanna! I completely understand your message—it’s so much harder when it’s your children! I wish we could suffer for them! But as you say, imagining St. Ignatius of Loyola’s mom is a good corrective. I’m keeping you all in my prayers!

  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Our strength comes from Him so we must ask him to uplift us and help carry our burdens. This was a daily prayer I would say when I found out my 3rd child was born with a genetic disorder that could limit his livelihood and he would endure chronic pain. Our God is an amazing God! Trust in the Lord and He will never fail you. Prayers go out for your boys, and for your family.

  • Oh Susanna,
    What a cross for your dear family and especially your twins :( so sorry to hear and please please be assured of our fervent prayers. Much love to all.

  • Susanna, I keep coming back to this reflection it serves us all so much that you share. We are holding the boys and your family in our prayers. All our love to y’all.

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