My name is Roxane Angotta and I have been serving as the Spiritual Director for Malta House since 2016. My role is to be a spiritual presence, offering compassion, prayer, comfort and support to all staff and moms, while accepting and meeting each woman where she is on her personal spiritual journey. Since I cannot be physically present at Malta House and currently staying in Florida taking care of my dad this Lenten season, I will be offering a weekly personal reflection.
Lent is a time of being in a spiritual desert. Just as Jesus was in the desert for 40 days, this is our time to repent, reflect and to prepare our hearts for Jesus' passion, His suffering, death and resurrection at Easter.
Coinciding with the season of Lent, the month of March also offers us a time to reflect on the women saints of the Catholic church. These women were all blessed with a unique ability to influence the world for the better and had an extraordinary capacity for love! These women are martyrs, mystics, rebellious daughters, loving wives and mothers, reformed prostitutes, visionaries and humble recluses. These saints and their lives offer hope to all women in everyday situations. Consider visiting some of the female saints to journey with you this Lenten season.
Today I will be reflecting on St. Monica, the Patroness of wives and mothers. St. Monica prayed for many years for her son Augustine, to turn his life around. He was not following the Lord. Eventually, after 30 long years of persistent praying and patience, her prayers were answered. Her son changed his ways and became an influential father of the Church. St. Monica continues to serve as a source of comfort for those who worry about their loved ones. During this time we are called to pray, fast and give Alms.
This is a very difficult Lent for me - probably one of the most difficult. On February 6, my mom unexpectedly died in her sleep and went to be with the Lord! My parents would have been married for 66 years in June. The photo on this post is of my mom and dad. It is a favorite of mine and truly shows their love for one another. My mom's passing was a total shock to me. I was in Connecticut and my parents are in Florida. When I heard the news that morning, I could not grasp it nor did I want to. At first I was numb, but then was quickly filled with multiple feelings; anger that she was gone too soon and I did not have a chance to say goodbye, heartbroken, and then anxiety set in, thinking about my dad who had found her. It was a nightmare. This was the Saturday before Ash Wednesday and unfortunately, my journey in the desert had just begun.
Remembering St. Monica and how she was a source of comfort for me as I prayed for years and asked her to intercede for my son, who like Augustine, was going through his rebellious teens. My prayers were answered. In his early 20’s, my son eventually turned his life around and is now leading a very successful Godly life. I am turning to her again now, asking her to intercede for me, to give me the strength to face my mom’s death and for the patience and courage to help me grieve her loss. Along with prayer, we are called to fast. I am giving my time and talent to those in need, putting my family first, giving my dad my undivided attention and placing his needs before mine. Since February 7, I have been taking care of my dad. He needs me. That is my priority right now. Everything else is secondary. I am grateful that God has provided for me to stay here to help him. Together with God’s grace, strength and comfort, we are trying our best to grieve together. We don't know what the future holds, but are trusting God for the plan and answers.
Lastly to Give Alms - giving of your time and talent to those in need. I guess you can say that one of my God-given gifts is to care for others. Being a caregiver to my Dad is my gift to him and a blessing to me to be able to have the time to give to him. I am treasuring it. Like St. Monica we are called to pray, have patience and to trust and believe in God’s promises to us. “Be not afraid. I am always with you and will never leave you!” This is what I need right now. It brings me comfort and peace.
God bless you and enjoy your Lenten journey!