“The Stoning of St Stephen” by Pietro di Cortona 

Today is the Feast of St. Stephen, who as the first martyr is an example of total trust and forgiving love. His story can be found in the Acts in which he gave a speech and the crowd responded by wanting to stone him:

“But [Stephen], filled with the holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God…’ They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him…. As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit…. Lord, do not hold this sin against them.'”

Like St. Stephen, we can all still turn to God in challenging times. Our missioner Nora Pfeiffer has a story about a woman from Bolivia:

“A friend said she encountered God in the very difficult moments, when her family was suffering. Her daughter and grandson were in an abusive situation and my friend prayed that God show her the way so that she could get out of the situation and not suffer anymore, shortly afterward her daughter made difficult but good decisions that got her to a better place and my friend knew God was there and heard her cry.”

And while St. Stephen’s community did not support him, Nora says she has been fortunate enough to have a different experience the past three years serving in Cochabamba, Bolivia: 

“I encountered God this year in the warmth with which the community I have here has continually expressed to me, comforting me in times of sadness, laughing with me, and sharing themselves and their cariño (affection) for me in so many ways. Sincere relationships, it is there that I experience God´s acceptance, love and beauty.”

To support the work of missioners like Nora, make a donation to Franciscan Mission Service.