A Saint in the Kitchen

By Terry Peloquin

How can you glorify God at all times? What if you’re doing household chores? What if you’re gardening? What if you’re cooking?

Saint Faustina — whose feast day is Oct. 5 — was tasked at different times with each of these jobs, as recorded in her Diary.

Today, because we’re approaching Oct. 8, which is National Pierogi Day (Polish stuffed dumplings that St. Faustina likely prepared), let’s look at a miraculous instance that happened when St. Faustina was assigned to kitchen work (see her Diary, 65-66).

On this occasion, the young religious sister was a novice in her early 20s and feeling weaker every day from general exhaustion that was attributed to her new way of life and intense spiritual combat. Carrying the heavy pots was difficult for her. Even more taxing was draining the potatoes. “Sometimes I spilt half of them with the water,” she wrote.

When it came time to drain the pot, she tried moving away to avoid this situation, but the other sisters noticed. They weren’t aware that, although she was willing, she wasn’t physically able to handle the job. 

During her noon examination of conscience, she complained to God about her weakness. She wrote that in her soul she heard, “From today on you will do this easily; I shall strengthen you.”

Now we see a demonstration of St. Faustina’s great trust — trust that drew a heavenly reward. She wrote:

That evening, when the time came to drain off the water from the potatoes, I hurried to be the first to do it, trusting in the Lord’s words. I took up the pot with ease and poured off the water perfectly. But when I took off the cover to let the potatoes steam off, I saw there in the pot, in the place of the potatoes, whole bunches of red roses, beautiful beyond description. I had never seen such roses before. Greatly astonished and unable to understand the meaning of this, I heard a voice within me saying, “I change such hard work of yours into bouquets of most beautiful flowers, and their perfume rises up to My throne.” From then on I have tried to drain the potatoes myself, not only during my week when it was my turn to cook, but also in replacement of other sisters when it was their turn. And not only do I do this, but I try to be the first to help in any other burdensome task, because I have experienced how much this pleases God.

O inexhaustible treasure of purity of intention which makes all our actions perfect and so pleasing to God!

Trust in the Lord. Purity of intention. These are two ingredients that make our actions pleasing to the Lord — whatever our work may be.

And if you’d like to try cooking like St. Faustina did, based on recipes from that region at the beginning of the 20th century, we can infer that St. Faustina’s convent in Vilnius would have used recipes similar to those found at tastingpoland.com.

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