The Mothers of Lu

Over the last few years, the priesthood has been on my mind and heart significantly.

I feel called to pray for priests — as well as religious, deacons, seminarians, and those discerning the priesthood and religious life — daily.

I recently heard an incredible story related to the priesthood and religious vocations. It’s about a small town in Italy, and I want to share it with you.

What the Mothers of Lu Knew

by Tonia Long

Tragic Statistics, Simple Solution

Worldwide, the number of priests in 1970 was 419,728. In 2017, there were a total of 414,582 priests. While the total number of priests worldwide has therefore remained about the same since 1970, the Catholic population has nearly doubled, growing from 653.6 million in 1970 to 1.229 billion in 2012. The figures for 2021 in the United States were a deplorable 34,923 priest, including both diocesan and order priests, with only 441 ordinations in the entire country.

This is an appalling tragedy among those to whom Our Lord gave the instruction, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-19)

Rather than wring our hands in concern, we would do well to learn from the mothers of Lu, a little village in northern Italy, with only a few thousand inhabitants. The rural area 90 kilometers east of Turin would still be unknown to this day if, in the year 1881, the families of Lu had not made a decision that had “serious consequences.”

The deepest desire of many of the mothers of Lu was for one of their sons to become a priest or for a daughter to place her life completely in God’s service. Through the trusting prayer of these mothers and the openness of the other parents, an atmosphere of deep joy and Christian piety developed in the families, making it much easier for the children to recognize their vocations.

A Man with a Plan

Under the direction of their parish priest, Msgr. Alessandro Canora, they gathered every Tuesday for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, asking the Lord for vocations. They received Holy Communion on the first Sunday of every month with the same intention. After Mass, all the mothers prayed a particular prayer together imploring for vocations to the priesthood.

This prayer proved very effective, as the fruits of those prayers are undeniable. From the tiny village of Lu came 323 vocations: 152 priests (diocesan and religious), and 171 nuns belonging to 41 different congregations. As many as three or four vocations came from some of these families.

The prayer that the mothers of Lu prayed was short, simple and deep:

O God, grant that one of my sons may become a priest! I myself want to live as a good Christian and want to guide my children always to do what is right, so that I may receive the grace, O God, to be allowed to give you a holy priest! Amen.

By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them

The most famous example is the Rinaldi family, from whom God called seven children. Two daughters became Salesian sisters, both of whom were sent to San Domingo as courageous, pioneer missionaries. Five sons became priests, all joining the Salesians. The most well-known of the Rinaldi brothers is Blessed Philip Rinaldi, who became the third successor of St. John Bosco as Superior General of the Salesians. Pope John Paul II beatified him on April 29, 1990. In fact, many of the vocations from this small town became Salesians.

It is certainly not a coincidence, since St. John Bosco visited Lu four times during his life. The saint attended the first Mass of his spiritual son, Fr. Philip Rinaldi in this village where he was born. Philip always fondly recalled the faith of the families of Lu:

“A faith that made our fathers and mothers say, ‘The Lord gave us our children, and so if He calls them, we can’t say no.’

Fr. Luigi Borghina and Fr. Pietro Rota lived the spirituality of Don Bosco so faithfully that the former was called the “Brazilian Don Bosco” and the latter the “Don Bosco of Valtellina.” Pope John XXIII once said the following about another vocation from Lu, His Excellency, Evasion Colli, Archbishop of Parma: “He should have become pope, not me. He had everything it takes to become a great pope.”

Every ten years, the priests and sisters born in Lu come together from all around the world. Fr. Mario Meda, the long-serving parish priest of Lu, explained that this reunion is a true celebration, a feast of thanksgiving to God who has done such great things for Lu.

The unique picture below is in the historical record of the Catholic Church. From 1 to 4 September 1946, the majority of the 323 priests and religious met in their village of Lu for a reunion which attracted world-wide attention.

Article from: America Needs Fatima

15 June 2022

My Suggestions

If you are a parent or responsible for any children:

  • Pray for the grace to be open to your child/children having a religious vocation
  • Talk to them about religious vocations. Tell/show them stories about men and women who became priests, brothers, nuns, and sisters
  • Pray for the grace, for yourself and them, to accept whatever vocation God calls them to
  • Pray for holy priests and religious men and women
  • Say the prayer of the mothers of Lu below daily/weekly/monthly

O God, grant that one of my sons [daughters] may become a priest [religious]! I myself want to live as a good Christian and want to guide my children always to do what is right, so that I may receive the grace, O God, to be allowed to give you a holy priest [religious]! Amen.

If you are not a parent or responsible for any children, please pray for holy priests and religious men and women.

You can do this by:

  • Praying a Rosary once a week/month for this intention
  • Offering your Holy Communion once a month for this intention
  • Fasting/making a sacrifice once a week/month for this intention
  • Saying the prayer below daily/weekly/monthly

God our Father, please send us holy priests and religious, all for the Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, all for the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, in union with Saint Joseph. Amen.

Also, please pray for all parents and encourage them to be open to a religious vocation for their children.

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