Blessed Edward Poppe is a contemporary saint. He died at the young age of 33. He was one of 11 children born to a modest, pious family in Belgium. One of his brothers had become a priest, and five of his sisters became nuns. He felt a call to the priesthood at a young age, but he only entered the seminary on his mother’s insistence. His father had died when he was 16 years old and Edward thought he should take on the family business.
He was drafted to the military in 1910 and served as a battlefield nurse during World War I. His prayers to St. Joseph during that time led to the miraculous freeing of several prisoners of war.
He was finally ordained in 1916 at the age of 25 and served as associate pastor, focusing his ministry to the poor, children and the dying. He also taught catechism and founded Eucharistic associations.
Always a man with a weak constitution, he was transferred to rural Belgium. In 1919, he suffered a heart attack. During his convalescence, he spent most of his time studying, praying and producing thousands of writings against Marxism and secularization.
He also developed a devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux and adopted her spirituality. He had another heart attack in January 1924, and died of a stroke only six months later. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1999.
Just goes to show you, you don’t have to live to be very old to make a difference….