Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 6 July

Thought for the Day – 6 July

“It is well known how this young girl had to face a bitter struggle with no way to defend herself.   Without warning a vicious stranger burst upon her, bent on raping her and destroying her childlike purity.   In that moment of crisis she could have spoken to her Redeemer in the words of that classic, The Imitation of Christ:  “Though tested and plagued by a host of misfortunes, I have no fear so long as Your grace is with me.   It is my strength, stronger than any adversary; it helps me and give me guidance.”   With splendid courage she surrendered herself to God and His grace and so gave her life to protect her virginity.

The life of a simple girl – I shall concern myself only with highlights – we can see as worthy of heaven.   Even today people can look upon it with admiration and respect. Parents can learn from her story how to raise their God-given children in virtue, courage and holiness; they can learn to train them in the Catholic faith so that, when put to the test, God’s grace will support them and they will come through undefeated, unscathed and untarnished.

From Maria’s story carefree children and young people with their zest for life can learn not to be led astray by attractive pleasures which are not only ephemeral and empty but also sinful. Instead they can fix their sights on achieving Christian moral perfection, however difficult that course may prove.   With determination and God’s help all of us can attain that goal by persistent effort and prayer.   Not all of us are expected to die a martyr’s death but we are all called to the pursuit of Christian virtue.

So let us all, with God’s grace, strive to reach the goal that the example of the virgin martyr, Saint Maria Goretti, sets before us.   Through her prayers to the Redeemer may all of us, each in his own way, joyfully try to follow the inspiring example of Maria Goretti who now enjoys eternal happiness in heaven.”

– from the homily by Venerable Servant of God, Pope Pius XII at the canonisation of Saint Maria Goretti

Maria may have had trouble with studying but she had no trouble with faith.   God’s will was holiness, decency, respect for one’s body, absolute obedience, total trust.   In a complex world, her faith was simple:  it is a privilege to be loved by God and to love Him in return, He who is with us —at any cost!

St Maria Goretti, Pray for us!

st maria goretti pray for us

Posted in MORNING Prayers, NOVENAS

Novena to St Benedict – Day Five – 6 July

Novena to St Benedict – Day Five – 6 July

In the Holy Rule, St. Benedict you have said:

The second degree of humility is, when a man loves not his own will, nor is pleased to fulfill his own desires but by his deeds carries out that word of the Lord which says:  “I came not to do My own will but the will of Him that sent Me” (Jn 6:38).   It is likewise said:  “Self-will has its punishment but necessity wins the crown.”

The third degree of humility is, that for the love of God a man subject himself to a Superior in all obedience, imitating the Lord, of whom the Apostle says:  “He became obedient unto death” (Phil 2:8).

The fourth degree of humility is, that, if hard and distasteful things are commanded, even though injuries are inflicted, he accept them with patience and even temper and not grow weary or give up but hold out, as the Scripture says: “He that shall persevere to the end shall be saved” (Mt 10:22). (Holy Rule 7)

day five novena st benedict


Glorious Saint Benedict,
sublime model of virtue, pure vessel of God’s grace!
Behold me humbly kneeling at your feet.
I implore you in your loving kindness to pray for me before the throne of God.

To you I have recourse in the dangers that daily surround me.
Shield me against my selfishness and my indifference to God and to my neighbour.
Inspire me to imitate you in all things.
May your blessing be with me always, so that I may see and serve Christ in others and work for His kingdom.

Graciously obtain for me from God those favours and graces which I need so much in the trials, miseries and afflictions of life.
Your heart was always full of love, compassion and mercy toward those who were afflicted or troubled in any way.
You never dismissed without consolation and assistance anyone who had recourse to you.
I therefore invoke your powerful intercession, confident in the hope that you will hear my prayers and obtain for me the special grace and favour I earnestly implore.

{mention your petition}

Help me, great Saint Benedict, to live and die as a faithful child of God, to run in the sweetness of His loving will, and to attain the eternal happiness of heaven.


O Holy Father, St. Benedict, pray for us.


Posted in SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 6 July

One Minute Reflection – 6 July

Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man—though perhaps for a good man, one will dare even to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us………..Romans 5:7-8

romans 5-8

REFLECTION – “The new commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12), urges us to pattern our love on the example of Jesus, who dies that we may live.
If our ability to love in a divine way seems unfairly offset by an impossible ideal—in other words, that Jesus can love like God because He is God but we can’t—then we have to reckon with the violent, yet highly avoidable death of an eleven-year-old girl.   When you find a mere human being, loving as God loves by dying as God dies and forgiving as God forgives, you encounter someone who understands not only the force of the new commandment – but also of the extent of the self-sacrifice involved in loving like Jesus.”………Fr John Henry Hanson, O. Praem.

PRAYER – Lord God, You alone can give the grace of innocence and love.   By Your grace, St Maria Goretti, though as yet but a young child, was able to offer herself in death for Your sake.    As You crowned her virginity with martyrdom, grant us, by her intercession, constancy in Your love.   We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever – St Maria pray for us!, amen.

when you find a mere human being -st maria goretti

Posted in MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS

Our Morning Offering – 6 July

Our Morning Offering – 6 July

PRAYER by ST BASIL THE GREAT  (329-379)  Doctor of the Church

O Christ, our Master and God,
King of the ages and Creator of all,
I thank You for all the good things that You have given to me
and for the reception of your most pure and life-giving mysteries.
I pray You, therefore, O good Lover of Humankind,
keep me under Your protection in the shadow of Your wings.
Grant that with a pure conscience, until my last breath,
I may worthily partake of Your Holy Things,
for the forgiveness of sins and for life everlasting.
For You are the Bread of Life,
the Fountain of Holiness
and the Bestower of Blessings
and to You we give glory together
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever and ever, amen.



Saint of the Day – 6 July – St Maria Goretti (1890-1902) “Saint Agnes of the 20th Century”

Saint of the Day – 6 July – St Maria Goretti (1890-1902) Virgin and Martyr, known as “Saint Agnes of the 20th Century.” Born 16 October 1890 at Corinaldo, Ancona, Italy – choked and stabbed to death during a rape attempt on 6 July 1902 at the age of 12.  She was Canonised on 24 June 1950 by Pope Pius XII    The ceremony was attended by 250,000 including her mother, the only time a parent has witnessed her child’s Canonisation.   Patronages – against poverty, against the death of parents, of children, girls, martyrs, poor people, rape victims, young people in general, Children of Mary, Diocese of Albano, Italy, Albano Laziale, Italy (proclaimed on 5 May 1952 by Pope Pius XII), Latina, Italy.   Attributes  – Fourteen lilies; farmer’s clothing; (occasionally) a knife.

st-maria-goretti.headerst maria goretti.1

In 1900, two farm labourers relocated their destitute families to an old barn near Nettuno, Italy.   Luigi Goretti, his wife, Assunta and their six children moved in with Giovanni Serenelli and Alessandro, his teenaged son.   Soon after the move, Luigi died, leaving Assunta to carry on his work.   Maria, her oldest child, who was ten, assumed the household duties and cheerfully supported her mother.

At twelve Maria was already a beautiful young woman. Alessandro, then nineteen, twice made advances toward her.   She rebuffed him and kept his propositions secret because he had threatened to kill her.   On July 5, 1902, Maria sat atop the hovel’s stairs, mending Alessandro’s shirt.   He stormed past her, ordered her into a bedroom, grabbed her, and attempted to rape her.  “No! No! No!” Maria cried. “Don’t touch me, Alessandro! It’s a sin!”  She resisted him with all her strength.   Angered beyond control, he stabbed her fourteen times.   Maria survived a pain-filled twenty-four hours in the hospital.Stained-Glass-art-Saint-Maria-Goretti

She showed more concern for where her mother would sleep in the hospital than for herself.   Before she died she forgave Alessandro and prayed for God to have mercy on him.
Alessandro was sentenced to thirty years’ hard labour and imprisoned at Noto, Sicily. One night in 1910 he dreamed that Maria handed him a bouquet of lilies and he began to feel remorse.   Soon after, Bishop Blandini of Noto visited him, explaining that Maria had forgiven him and that God would also forgive him.   The message struck home.   A few days later Alessandro sent the bishop this letter:

“I cannot tell you what comfort has come to my sorrowing soul through the conversation with your Excellency, for which I send my most heartfelt gratitude.

It is indeed true that in a moment of mental aberration I was led to commit a barbarous murder which the law has already punished. . . .I regret doubly the evil I have done because I realise that I have taken the life of a poor, innocent girl.   Up to the last moment she wanted to protect her honour, sacrificing herself rather than give in to my wishes.   This it was that drove me to so terrible and deplorable a deed.   Publicly, I detest the evil that I have done.   And I ask God’s forgiveness and that of the poor, desolate family for the great wrong I committed. I hope that I too, like so many others in this world, may obtain pardon.   May your prayers united to mine obtain for me the forgiveness of Him who governs all things, and the calm and the blessing of the poor departed one.”

st maria croppedst maria goretti

Alessandro was released from prison early for good behaviour.   He reformed his life and ultimately joined the Franciscan Third Order. Pope Pius XII canonized Maria Goretti in 1950.   Assunta, her mother, was present for the event, the first time a mother was present when her child was declared a saint.

Maria was beatified on April 27, 1947.   In attendance at the ceremony were both Assunta and Pope Pius XII.   On the evening of the ceremony in Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Pope walked over to and greeted Assunta.   She later reported, “When I saw the Pope coming, I prayed, ‘Madonna, please help me’, and I felt faint. He put his hand on my head and said, “Blessed mother, happy mother, mother of a Blessed!”  Afterwards, both could be seen with eyes wet with tears.

Three years later, on June 24, 1950, Pius XII canonised Maria as a saint, the “Saint Agnes of the 20th century.”   Assunta was again present at the ceremony, along with her four remaining sons and daughters. Alessandro was also present.

Owing to the huge crowd present, the ceremonies associated with the canonisation were held outside Saint Peter’s Basilica, in the Piazza San Pietro.   Pius XII spoke, not as before in Latin, but in Italian. “We order and declare, that the blessed Maria Goretti can be venerated as a Saint and we introduce her into the Canon of Saints”.   Some 500,000 people, among them a majority of youth, had come from around the world. Pius asked them: “Young people, pleasure of the eyes of Jesus, are you determined to resist any attack on your chastity with the help of grace of God?”   A resounding “yes” was the

Maria’s three brothers would claim that she intervened miraculously in their lives. Angelo heard her voice telling him to emigrate to America.   Alessandro was reportedly miraculously given a sum of money to finance his own emigration to join Angelo. Sandrino died in the United States in 1917 and Angelo died in Italy when he returned there in 1964.   Mariano said he heard her voice telling him to stay in his trench when the rest of his unit charged the Germans in World War I.   He, the only survivor of that charge, lived until 1975 and had a large family.

Maria’s body is kept in the crypt of the Basilica of Nostra Signora delle Grazie e Santa Maria Goretti in Nettuno, south of Rome. It has been often reported that it is incorrupt but this is not the case.   It is kept inside a statue which is lying down beneath the altar, which has been mistakenly believed by some to be its entirety.

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saints’ Memorials and Feast of the Blessed Virgin – 6 July

St Maria Goretti (Optional Memorial)
Our Lady of Akita

Bl Angela of Bohemia
Bl Augustin-Joseph Desgardin
Bl Christopher Solino
St Cyril of Thessaloniki
St Dominica of Campania
St Gervais
St Giusto of Condat
St Goar of Aquitaine
St Godelieve
Bl Maria Theresia Ledóchowska
St Monenna
St Noyala of Brittany
St Petrus Wang Zuolung
St Romulus of Fiesole
St Saxburgh of Ely
St Sisoes the Great
Bl Suzanne Agathe de Loye
St Thomas Alfield
St Tranquillinus of Rome

Martyrs of Campania – 23 saints: A group of 23 Christians arrested, tortured and then beheaded together in the later 3rd century by order of governor Rictiovarus in the persecutions of Diocletian. The names that have come down to us are – Antoninus, Arnosus, Capicus, Cutonius, Diodorus, Dion, Isidore, Lucia, Lucian, Rexius, Satyrus and Severinus.

Martyrs of Fiesole – 5 saints: Five Christians martyred together in the persecutions of emperor Domitian – Carissimus, Crescentius, Dulcissimus, Marchisianus and Romulus. c 90 near Fiesole, Italy.