By: Sister Isabelle, OCD

You might be thinking, “What in the world does St. Nick have to do with the priesthood?” The image that may come to mind when you think of St. Nicholas, aka Santa Claus, is of a jolly old man with a pot belly, dressed in a heavy winter, red fur suit. Will the real St. Nick please step forward?

St. Nicholas was a Bishop, born in modern day Turkey in the year 270 AD. His wealthy parents died when he was still a boy and he, embracing the Christian faith that his parents had passed on to him, devoted himself to God and to works of mercy. He used his inheritance to serve the poor. One story among many is of him throwing three sacks of gold down the chimney of a poor man’s home to enable him to provide dowries for his three daughters rather than having to sell them into slavery. At Nicholas’ humble, trusting prayer to His Heavenly Father, the dead were raised to life, storms were calmed, a kidnapped child was returned to his parents, food was provided for the hungry, and innocent captives were set free.

Does this remind you of anyone? Does it remind you of Jesus? Saint Nicholas walked in the footsteps of Jesus. He believed His Word and lived it. What a wonderful example for our seminarians, priests and bishops. Nicholas, though he suffered persecution and even imprisonment for his faith under the reign of Roman Emperor Diocletian, lived the Gospel. By Nicholas’ cooperation with the Holy Spirit, he allowed God to shine His light into the darkness of the wounded world of his time, which is not so dissimilar to our times today. Saint Nicholas, please intercede for our beloved bishops, priests, and seminarians from heaven. Help them to know the joy of living the Gospel as you did. Amen.