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Lessons From Rosa View Comments
By Colleen Shaddox

Colleen Shaddox and her trusted companion, Rosa.
“I love because I love,” wrote St. Bernard of Clairvaux. “I love in order that I may love.” How appropriate that the mystic shares a name with a dog breed.

As a Christian, I know that love is a gift to be given with no thought of reward. But I confess I’ve tended to love those who love me back and are kind to me—an inferior variety of love that Jesus relegated to “tax collectors.” I’ve always admired dogs because they love with abandon, not expectation.

That is, until I met Rosa. We arrived at the shelter, amazed that this cute puppy wasn’t adopted at its last event. Yet here she was: four white paws and a natural dark-chocolate eyeliner that made her look inexpressibly soulful.

“Why did her sister get adopted and not her?” I asked. The woman who runs the place speculated that it was because this pup did not scamper up to people with a plea to “love me” on her face.

Indeed, she ignored us. She preferred to munch on the phone books in the shelter office. I sat on the floor and waited. Eventually, she crawled into my lap and began chewing on the buttons of my coat. I was besotted.

Rosa quickly proved herself the smartest dog I’ve ever had. For example, a dog confronted with two tennis balls will usually puzzle over which one to choose and switch back and forth. Rosa takes one in her mouth and uses it as a tool to push the second along. If she had language and opposable thumbs, she’d be holding my leash.


Colleen Shaddox is a writer, a wife, and a mother of an 18- year-old. She lives in Hamden, Connecticut.

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Francesco Antonio Fasani: Born in Lucera (southeast Italy), Francesco entered the Conventual Franciscans in 1695. After his ordination 10 years later, he taught philosophy to younger friars, served as guardian of his friary and later became provincial. When his term of office ended, Francesco became master of novices and finally pastor in his hometown. 
<p>In his various ministries, he was loving, devout and penitential. He was a sought-after confessor and preacher. One witness at the canonical hearings regarding Francesco’s holiness testified, "In his preaching he spoke in a familiar way, filled as he was with the love of God and neighbor; fired by the Spirit, he made use of the words and deed of Holy Scripture, stirring his listeners and moving them to do penance." Francesco showed himself a loyal friend of the poor, never hesitating to seek from benefactors what was needed. </p><p>At his death in Lucera, children ran through the streets and cried out, "The saint is dead! The saint is dead!" Francesco was canonized in 1986.</p> American Catholic Blog Even in the innocence and devotion of my dog, I see a reminder from heaven to stay simple and devout! I call our funny little canine “a smile from heaven” because God uses him to make us laugh every single day, no matter what else is going on in our lives. Everywhere I look, it seems that God is sending me coded messages.

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