We Are Called To Be Saints!

Saint Conrad

Feast Day: 21st April

John Birndorfer, born in 1818 to a farming family in Bavaria, had great devotion to Our Blessed Lady, saying the Rosary every day and often walking long distances to visit her shrines. Although a long way from the church he was a frequent Mass-goer in all weathers.

Renouncing his inheritance he entered the Capuchin Order and was professed in 1842 at the age of 24, being given the name Conrad, and delighted to find himself appointed to the Friary at Altotting where there is a shrine to Mary, Mother of Mercy. It was his responsibility to welcome each visitor, take care of beggars, and find confessors for those who wished to go to Confession. As the shrine attracted huge numbers of visitors, sometimes several thousand in a day, Conrad was kept very busy and what little spare time he had was spent in prayer. It could be an arduous job, even a monotonous one, but Conrad performed his duties cheerfully and conscientiously for 52 years, until his death.

In one of his letters Conrad described his life. "God willed that I should renounce everything that I held dear and comfortable, and I give Him thanks for calling me to religious life where I have found more peace and happiness than was ever mine in the world.”

It was an unremarkable life, but Conrad became a saint through prayer and a job well done. He was a simple man, who said, "My book is the crucifix." From constant prayer he learned gentleness and humility, bringing those qualities to his daily work. How many people must have had cause to be grateful for the help they received through this humble doorkeeper?

Perhaps Conrad's message to us would be to remind us that prayer is the basis of our daily lives. No matter how small or mundane our job it can become the means of helping other people – and we can become a saint by doing something as simple as answering the door. May we do everything for the Lord cheerfully and with love in our hearts.