Friday, May 9, 2008

Off to Become a Saint! [part vi]

But like the Capuchin superior a few years before, Father Cafaro gave him no encouragement. He was too frail for the rigorous tasks of a lay brother. Despite the rebuff Gerard was not disheartened. He was convinced that God wanted him to join his new Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. He went on making preparations for departure.

When his mother discovered the plan she was frantic. His three sisters wept aloud, pleading with him to stay. “Mother needs you at home,” they insisted. But Gerard stood firm. He was going to Iliceto to become a Redemptorist! They ran to the missionaries, begging them not to accept their brother. Father Cafaro has no intention whatever of accepting the young man. However, he shrewdly foresaw it would be hard to dissuade this importunate youth. “Detain him at home somehow the day we leave,” was Father Cafaro’s advice to Gerard’s distracted family. They promised to do so.

Benedetta bolted Gerard’s door the morning the Redemptorists left Muro. But later when she tiptoed into the room, he was not there. His bed-clothes, knotted together, streamed from the open window, and on a small table lay a scrap of paper: “Mother, I am off to become a saint,” it read. It was signed “Gerardo.” He had gone after the missionaries....

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