Today, August 15, is the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; or, as the Byzantine Catholics and Orthodox say, the Dormition of the Theotokos (Mother of God). It is a day peculiarly appropriate, then, to reflect on what death means for Christinas; how, unlike the pagans and atheists, we should not fear death, but prepare for it in faith and hope as the entrance to a new life in Heaven.
One saint remembered today died for his dedication to Christ and Christ’s Mother Mary, making it peculiarly appropriate that he should share a feast day with Mary. That saint is Bl. Isidore Bakanja.
Isidore was from the Congo, converted to Christianity by Trappist missionaries. He was zealous to evangelize, carried his rosary about with him, and wore a scapular around his neck as part of his devotion to Mary. He was violently beaten and abused for this by atheist Belgian colonizers. One atheist in particular wounded Isidore so horribly that it led to his death, after six months of suffering. Isidore died having forgiven his murderer and with his Rosary and scapular on him.
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