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Blood of Life View Comments
By Wendy-Marie Teichert

Victoria Angel Durante, seen here with her parents, Patrizia and Luigi,
saved her mother’s life.
AFTER HER FIRST pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, Patrizia Durante fell into a dark season of sorrow, a time full of doubts. Confused and depressed, she wondered if she had done something wrong that such a misfortune should come upon her. So when she became pregnant again a few months later, it was as if the sun had risen to scatter the fog. She was elated. She registered at the baby store, ordered new furniture, and picked out pretty clothing and nursery items. A financial adviser, Patrizia made plans to stay home from work for the first year after her daughter’s birth.

Her happy world crumbled, though, when, in the 26th week of her pregnancy, results from a routine glucose test revealed that she had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Further testing showed that she also had acute myeloid leukemia (AML)—a mixture that is rare and difficult to treat. Her doctors gave her a 50/50 chance of survival.

Patrizia remembers how she recoiled from the news. “When a doctor tells you at 26 years old that you may die, it’s like nothing you can imagine. I was totally in denial. I was young. I had no symptoms. We were all in shock. It took a while to sink in.”


Wendy-Marie Teichert is a freelance writer from Grass Valley, California. Her work has previously
appeared in this magazine, as well as Catholic Digest and National Catholic Register.

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Rafal Chylinski: 
		<p>Born near Buk in the Poznan region of Poland, Melchior showed early signs of religious devotion; family members nicknamed him "the little monk." After completing his studies at the Jesuit college in Poznan, Melchior joined the cavalry and was promoted to officer rank within three years.</p>
		<p>In 1715, against the urgings of his military comrades, Melchior joined the Conventual Franciscans in Krakow. Receiving the name Rafal, he was ordained two years later. After pastoral assignments in nine cities, he came to Lagiewniki (central Poland), where he spent the last 13 years of his life, except for 20 months ministering to flood and epidemic victims in Warsaw. In all these places, Rafal was known for his simple and candid sermons, for his generosity, as well as his ministry in the confessional. People of all levels of society were drawn to the self-sacrificing way he lived out his religious profession and priestly ministry. </p>
		<p>Rafal played the harp, lute, and mandolin to accompany liturgical hymns. In Lagiewniki he distributed food, supplies, and clothing to the poor. After his death, the Conventual church in that city became a place of pilgrimage for people throughout Poland. He was beatified in Warsaw in 1991.</p>
American Catholic Blog In celebrating the birth of Christ, let us carefully consider what his birth reveals about God. This is a God who comes not to condemn but to give life. Once we begin to grasp this life, then the vision of Isaiah, as remarkable as it seems, cannot hold a candle to the light that will shine from us.

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