April 21 ---------------- St. Conrad of Parzham
In 1818, St. Conrad was born Johannes Birmensdorfer near a Bavarian village in Germany. According to the custom of the day, Johannes was to inherit the family farm and carry on his father's work. However, he decided to leave his inheritance to join the Capuchin Order.
Upon admittance, he was given the name of Conrad. Shortly after making his vows, Brother Conrad was assigned the job of porter for the Capuchin Monastery of Altotting. For the next 41 years, he worked 18 hours a day, always showing respect, humility, piety and patience.
His was an obscure job done with saintly perfection. In this way, St. Conrad performed one of the greatest apostolates, the silent apostolate of presence and example which took its success from a deeply profound spiritual life. Conrad's words give us the proof:
"My life is to love God, suffer, and marvel in ecstasies and prayers about the love God has for us, poor creatures. His love never ends. There is nothing in my occupations that separates me from this union with God. My book is the Cross. It suffices for me to look at it to know what I should do."
The favorite bedside book of St. Pius X was "Soul of the Apostolate" by Dom Chautard. It illustrates clearly that the only fecund apostolate is the one that is done for God alone. If self-interest enters, the channel of grace will be blocked.
Complete abnegation and renouncement of self love, as practiced by St. Conrad, are the necessary ingredients for a true apostle.
If we are to be true Catholics and to follow Our Lord by spreading His gospel, let us ask St. Conrad for his spirit of abnegation.