Saturday, December 8, 2018

First American Martyr?

May our sister in Christ someday be raised to the honors of the altar for her heroic resistance to an enemy of Christ. Let is keep in mind that the two women who were assaulted are also innocent. Being raped at gunpoint for being a Christian is also a form of martyrdom. But the lady who chose to die rather than submit was given a charismatic gift for the glory of God. From Life Site:
To the great honor of this nation which stands under the heavenly patronage of the Immaculata, there are now a good number of Saints and Blesseds who have been born in and/or worked in the U.S.A. However, only one native-born U.S. citizen has so far been raised to the altars of the Church wearing the glorious Martyr’s crown: Blessed Stanley Rother, a La Salette missionary priest from Oklahoma who was murdered in 1981 by a death squad while ministering to the poor in Guatemala. (The heroic North American Martyrs, of course, were missionaries born in France and shed their blood for the faith well over a century before the United States came into existence.) However, no American woman or lay person – and no U.S. citizen at all who died on this nation’s soil – has so far been honored by the Church as a martyr.

That may well change in the near future, as the unplanned result of a horrific, coldly planned and unprovoked crime that took place last week, less than half an hour’s drive from my church in downtown St. Louis, Missouri.  The local community — Catholic and non-Catholic — has reacted with abhorrence, and indeed, St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar said it was “among the most heinous crimes” he had seen in his 32 years in law enforcement — an atrocity that “shocked the senses.” Yet the ways of Divine Providence are strange: as we have seen so many times throughout history, God can bring great good out of evil, even in one overwhelming instant. However, as I write, most St. Louis area Catholics are perhaps still too numb with shock to have noticed the rays of spiritual light that are emerging from this seeming black hole.

So what happened? During mid-afternoon last Monday, November 19, 2018, all seemed quiet in the Manchester Road branch of St. Louis’ main religious goods vendor, Catholic Supply. A stocky, middle-aged man walked in and noted that only three people were in the store — all women. Two were store workers, one fiftyish, the other in her twenties, and the third was a customer who had just come in. After exchanging a few words, the man said he was going back to his car to get a credit card and would be right back to make a purchase. But when he re-entered, it was not a card, but a revolver that he had in his hand. He immediately herded the three terrified women back into a secluded corner of the store, and insisted that they submit to acts of sexual abuse.

Two of the distraught women complied at gunpoint with this brute’s demands. But then he came to his third victim, the would-be customer, who according to friends had probably come to purchase some materials for her Rosary-making apostolate. This was Jamie Schmidt, 53, a quiet mother of three who worked as a secretarial assistant at the St. Louis Community College in the western suburb of Wildwood, and was active in her parish church, St. Anthony of Padua at High Ridge in neighboring Jefferson County. There was nothing obviously extraordinary about this lady. But now she did something very extraordinary indeed. Having just been forced to witness in horror the sexual assault of the two women beside her, Mrs. Schmidt was ordered to submit to similar abuse.
But Mrs. Schmidt — shocked, defenseless, and with the barrel of a loaded gun pointed at her head — Just Said No.

With death staring her in the face, Jamie quietly refused to allow her purity, her personal dignity, and her marriage covenant to be outraged. She looked him straight in the eye and said, “In the name of God, I will not take my clothes off.” Enraged by this unexpected point-blank rejection of his demand, her assailant responded with a point-blank shot that felled her on the spot. The survivor who gave this testimony added that as Jamie lay there gravely wounded, she could be heard whispering the words of the Our Father. As soon as the man fled the store, a 911 call quickly brought an ambulance, and Jamie was sped to the nearest hospital. But she was pronounced dead later that evening; and again, according to one of her friends I spoke with at her funeral yesterday, the words of the Our Father were on the lips of this valiant woman at her dying breath. (Read more.)

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