Our Little Cajun Saint

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb.'” Rev. 7:9-10

Today is the Feast Day of All Saints’ Day. We know from scripture that heaven is filled with multitudes of people from every nation. We know the names of some of these Saints and celebrate them on individual Feast Days; however, most of the heavenly Saints are unknown and are celebrated as a group on November 1st of every year. The reason for the November 1st date is Pope Gregory III, in the sixth century, dedicated a chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to all of the Saints and set the anniversary date as November 1st.

Having been brought up in Cajun country and seeing firsthand the devotion to the Catholic faith here in south Louisiana, I imagine heaven has many many saints with a thick Cajun accent! The most famous of these is known as the “Little Cajun Saint”, Charlene Richard. Charlene left this world at the young age of twelve in 1959. She succumbed to a terminal illness while offering up her sufferings and uniting her cross with Jesus. More than fifty years later, tens of thousands visit her grave site every year to ask for her intercession.

In January 2020, Bishop Deshotel officially opened the cause for canonization of Charlene Richard. This is the first step in a lengthy process to be named a Saint. Charlene’s life will be investigated as well as the many testimonies of miraculous healings attributed to her intercession.

My husband and I have visited Charlene’s grave site over the years and have requested her intercession and prayer. We made a recent trip in early September of this year. I have been suffering from arthritis in my right knee for many years. The pain was close to being intolerable this year. I scheduled an appointment with my orthopedic and expected to be told another shot in the knee would be needed. Instead, I was told a total knee replacement would be needed in the near future. I was given a shot and told I would have to return in three months. This time the shot did nothing. I struggled to walk as every step led to severe pain in that right knee.

I have been blessed to serve as a Eucharistic Minister at my parish church. As I continued to have problems walking, I was forced to ask for a substitute on my weekend to serve. The pain of not being able to serve my Jesus was just as severe as the pain in my knee. The following weekend, I asked my husband to drive me to Charlene Richard’s grave.

The day was lovely and I found the grave site to be just as peaceful as ever. I sat on a nearby bench and prayed. I asked Charlene to pray for me. All I asked for was for the pain to be at a point where I could still stand and serve communion. My husband also joined in praying for Charlene’s intercession. Afterwards, I hobbled towards my husband’s truck; still in severe pain.

There was no difference in my pain or my walk for a couple of weeks. Then once again, it was my turn to serve as Eucharistic Minister at mass. The week leading up to the mass I noticed that I was walking much more easily. The pain in my right knee was still there, but had diminished to a point that I was very capable of serving at mass. And serve I did! I do not consider what happened to me a miraculous healing. I do know that I prayed at Charlene’s grave for a specific intention and that intention was fulfilled! It has been two months and I am still able to walk and serve at mass.

Today on All Saints’ Day, I would like to thank Charlene Richard for her prayers and intercession. I will pray that her cause for sainthood progress so that one day she will be named in the book of Saints.

C’est Bon!

Love Sherry

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