Some saints are unknown to the world, but nothing is unknown to God; often He prepares holy people whom few on earth are deemed worthy to recognize. Práxedes: Wife, Mother, and Lay Dominican tells the life of one such holy woman. A Spanish housewife of the 20th century, Práxedes Fernandez was mother to four children from a six-year marriage with her husband. When he died in a railroad accident, the widowed Práxedes became so poor that she went to live with her mother and sister, acting as a servant. She would care for the sick and poor in her town, providing food (of which she had extra due to her fasts) and clothes, cleaning and washing for them, and exhorting them spiritually. She only gave her best for the poor, saying, "Charity for the poor is not practiced with leftovers. The best quality and quantity should be served to them, just like to any relative." During the brutal Communist Revolution in the 30's in Spain, when no priests were available, Práxedes would baptize babies who were dying, and she encouraged all to repent and forgive others. She was known to have a saintly tongue, and she corrected anyone else near her from speaking ill of others. Many said that if all Christians were like her, everyone would believe.
The life of Práxedes Fernandez is one of extraordinary sanctity through (mostly) ordinary actions. She is a lesson to all of us that through both daily life and hard times (like war and disaster) holiness flourishes into a righteous vine. Like the ancient widow saints of the Church, Práxedes climbed to the heights of sanctity through her holy actions and sufferings, through prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and the Sacraments. Let us all learn from her example.
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