Today’s Saint

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June 8 | Clear Expectations

Blessed Cecilia Cesarini

A.D. 1203–1290



The hardest expectations to meet are the ones you don’t even know about. 

Blessed Cecilia Cesarini was born into a wealthy and influential family. Like so many other saints we’ve covered, she gave that life up to enter a monastery. However, she did not forsake her family entirely—she actually asked them to assist Saint Dominic in his founding of the Dominican Order. Tradition has it that Cecilia then became the first ever Dominican nun. 

She was put in charge of a new monastery when she was about 20. Cecilia remained the head of this monastery until her death at 87 years old. How did she manage her nuns so well and for so long? Imagine being the CEO of an organization for 67 years. It almost never happens.

The key was simple but profound: clear expectations. Blessed Cecilia Cesarini was clear about what she expected from the nuns. They might have thought she was strict, but they never thought she was unclear. It is not kind to be unclear. There was great wisdom in Cecilia’s approach, and that is why she was beloved by her nuns. 

Never lose sight of the expectations paradigm: Everybody has expectations of you, and you have expectations of everyone.

This significantly impacts both our personal and professional lives. We cannot afford to be passive in this area. It is a mistake to assume that people will make their expectations clear to us. Be proactive. Ask probing questions to get to the expectations that they may not even realize they have.

The last thing to be aware of is that not only do people have expectations of you, but you are also constantly creating expectations. As you left home this morning, perhaps your spouse asked, "What time will you be home tonight?" You said six thirty without much thought, but what have you just created? An expectation.

When there is a difference between what people expect to happen and what actually happens, an expectations gap emerges, and five things fill that gap: disappointment, resentment, anger, frustration, and loss of trust.

It's critically important that we let people know what we expect of them, and to know what they expect of us. There's a great kindness in that.

So start today. Let people know what you expect of them. And get clear about what they expect from you. That is the key to thriving relationships.

DO I KNOW WHAT OTHER PEOPLE EXPECT OF ME IN CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS OR SITUATIONS? WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF I ASKED THEM?

I will let people know what I expect of them.


This reflection is brought to you from book title.


Beatified: December 24, 1891

Beatified By: Pope Leo XIII

Symbols: A Lily

Feast Day: June 8—Feast of The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (2024)

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Medard

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