“She loved the poor.”

It’s a peculiar epitaph – “She loved the poor.”

These are the words on the cross that marks the grave of Catherine Doherty, a Catholic woman who founded the Madonna House apostolate, was a noted spiritual writer, and who died on this date in 1985.

Of all the things to have on a person’s grave, why does hers say this?

A quick search reveals that connection between her love for the poor borne out of her reflection on “The Reality of Christ’s Poverty” about which she said:

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Simone Weil on Suffering and Transformation

Simone Weil, who died on this date in 1943 at the age of 34, was one of the most audaciously creative writers and earnest spiritual seekers of the past century.

In her aphoristically-styled Gravity and Grace, she has these words about suffering and affliction:

Suffering: superiority of man over God. The Incarnation was necessary so that this superiority should not be scandalous.

I should not love my suffering because it is useful. I should love it because it is.

[…]

Suffering, teaching and transformation. What is necessary is not that the initiated should learn something, but that a transformation should come about in them which makes them capable of receiving the teaching.

Pathos means at the same time suffering (notably suffering unto death) and modification notably transformation into an immortal being).

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