The first St Dina?
Aged six, Dina Bélanger was asked by a teacher at her convent school in Quebec if she knew the name of her patron saint. “No,” she replied. “Do I have one?” But when the teacher looked it up, the only significant Dina in Church history seemed to be the daughter of Jacob in the Old Testament. At this point, Dina would later write, she formed her “first idea”: to be the first St Dina, and to be the patroness to all future Dinas.
After leaving school in 1913, aged 16, Dina lived with her parents for three years. Her rule of life included times of prayer, daily Communion and service of others. A gifted pianist, she spent two years at a conservatory in New York. It was at around this time that she began to have frequent communications from Jesus.
She was worried that these might be a deception from the Devil, but became, she said, “convinced that the teachings were those of my Master; whatever treats of obedience, humility and self-denial can come from no other source”. He told her: “I wish to make use of you because you are nothing; I wish to prove My power by your weakness.”
In 1921, as she had long hoped, Dina entered Sillery Convent, in a suburb of Quebec. She tried, like St Thérèse, to be faithful in every small thing. Our Lord told her that all her actions were his, except her sins and blunders. He also told her that she would die a year after making her solemn profession, on the feast of the Assumption. It came to pass, but not before Dina wrote her autobiography at the request of her mother superior.
The limits of language
She wrote of her mystical experience of the Trinity as “an immense furnace of delight … more and more I find myself unable to express in human language what I discover in the depths of the Infinite.” These writings, her heroic virtues, and a posthumous cure of a sick man led to her beatification in 1993.
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