Thought for the Day – 24 October – The Memorial of St Luigi Guanella (1842-1915)
The human and spiritual testimony of St Luigi Guanella is a special gift of grace for the whole Church. During his earthly life he lived with courage and determination the Gospel of Love and the “great commandment”, which today too, the Word of God has recalled. Thanks to the profound and continuing union with Christ, in the contemplation of his love, Don Guanella, led by Divine Providence, became a companion and teacher, comfort and support to the poorest and weakest. The love of God aroused in him the desire for the good of the people who were entrusted to him in the routine of daily life. He paid caring attention to each one and respected the pace of their development. He cultivated the hope in his heart that every human being, created in the image and likeness of God, by tasting the joy of being loved by him — Father of all — can receive and give to others the best of himself.
Today, let us praise and thank the Lord, who gave us a prophet and an apostle of love in St Luigi Guanella. In his testimony, so full of humanity and attention to the least, we recognise a bright sign of the presence and charitable action of God, the God — as we heard in the First Reading — who defends the stranger, the widow, the orphan, the poor person obliged to give his garment in pledge… his only covering for the night (cf. Ex 22:20-26).
May this new Saint of love be for everyone, especially for the members of the Congregations founded by him, a model of profound and fruitful synthesis between contemplation and action that he himself lived and put into practice. We can summarise his whole human and spiritual life in his last words on his death-bed: “in caritate Christi” “in Christ’s charity.”. It is Christ’s love that illumines the life of every person, revealing through the gift of himself to others that nothing is lost but is fully realized for our happiness. May St Luigi Guanella obtain that we may grow in friendship with the Lord to be bearers of the fullness of God’s love in our time, to promote life in all of its forms and conditions and to ensure that human society increasingly become the family of God’s children…… HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI – Saint Peter’s Square, Canonisation of St Luigi Guanella, Sunday, 23 October 2011
Quote/s of the Day – 24 October – The Memorials of St Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870) and St Luigi Guanella (1842-1915)
“Although the sinner does not believe in Hell, he shall nevertheless go there, if he has the misfortune to die in mortal sin.”
“Christian perfection consists in three things: praying heroically working heroically and suffering heroically.”
“The Christian who desires to follow Jesus carrying His cross must bear in mind, that the name “Christian” means “learner or imitator of Christ” and that if he wishes to bear that noble title worthily, he must above all do as Christ charges us in the Gospel – we must oppose or deny ourselves, take up the cross and follow Him.”
“When I am before the Blessed Sacrament. I feel such a lively faith that I can’t describe it. Christ in the Eucharist is almost tangible to me… When it is time for me to leave, I have to tear myself away from His sacred presence.”
“Lord, by the words of consecration, the substance of the bread and wine is converted into the substance of your Body and Blood. All powerful Lord, say over me the word which will change me into You.”
St Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870)
“The sun of our lives is the Eucharist. …Live each day with the Eucharistic Christ.”
“Plant your heart in Jesus Crucified and all the thorns will seem like roses.”
“Whoever finds Mary, finds the way to Salvation.”
…Run, run to Mary, our dearest Mother. Cling to her all-powerful arm. Take shelter beneath her mantle, invoke her with all your heart and she will come full of compassion, to sustain your wavering strength.”
One Minute Reflection – 24 October – The Memorial of St Luigi Guanella (1842-1915)
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct...Matthew 16:27
REFLECTION – “There is need of living well but there is even more need of dying well. A good death is everything, especially today where people think only of things and enjoyment here on earth, rejecting eternity.” … St Luigi Guanella (1842-1915)
PRAYER – Heavenly Father, help me to keep my death constantly before my eyes, for this is my final account. I pray You for a holy life that my death may be holy and that I may come to You and live for all eternity with You. When my hour is come, bid me come to You, Lord. St Luigi Guanella, you lived each moment of your life for the glory of the Kingdom, please pray for us, amen.
Saint of the Day – 24 October – St Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870) CMF – Archbishop, Missionary, Founder, Confessor, Mystic, Social Reformer, Queen’s Chaplain, Spiritual Director, Writer, Publisher, Preacher, Apostle of Charity. Known as “the Spiritual Father of Cuba”. He founded the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, commonly called the Claretians. Born Antonio María Claret y Clarà on23 December 1807 at Sallent, Catalonia, Spain and Died on 24 October 1870 in a Cistercian monastery at Fontfroide, Narbonne, France. Patronages – Textile merchants, weavers, savings (taught the poor the importance of savings), Catholic press, Claretians, Dioceses of the Canary Islands, Claretian students, Claretian educators and Claretian educational institutions and foundations. Attributes – Bishop’s robe, crozier, an open book, catechism, 2 students beside him at his side and having his bent arm pointing to the heavens.
Childhood: St Anthony Mary Claret was born in Catalonia, the northeastern corner of Spain, in a town called Sallent on 23 December 1807. He was the fifth son of Juan Claret and Josefa Clará’s eleven children. His father owned a small textile factory but was not rich. Anthony grew up in a Christian environment and at a very early age had a strong sense of the eternal life that Christ wanted all men and women to enjoy. He wanted to spare sinners eternal unhappiness and felt moved to work for their salvation. When he was about eleven years old, a bishop visited his school and asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. Without hesitation he responded: “A priest.”
Weaver: As soon as Anthony was old enough, he began working as an apprentice weaver. When he turned 17, his father sent him to Barcelona to study the latest techniques in textile manufacturing and to work in the large textile mills. He did so well in the textile design school that he began receiving offers from large textile companies. Even though he had the talent to succeed, he turned down the offers and returned home after experiencing the emptiness of worldly achievements.
Vocation: The words of the Gospel kept resounding in his heart: “what good is it for man to win the world if he loses his soul?” He began to study Latin to prepare to enter the Seminary. He wanted to be a Carthusian Monk. His father was ready to accept the will of God but preferred to see him become a diocesan priest. Anthony decided to enter the local diocesan seminary in the city of Vic. He was 21 years old. After a year of studies, he decided to pursue his monastic vocation and left for a nearby monastery. On the way there, he was caught in a big storm. He realised that his health was not the best and withdrew from his decision to go to the monastery.
He was ordained a priest at 27 years of age and was assigned to his hometown parish. The town soon became too small for his missionary zeal and the political situation -hostile to the Church- limited his apostolic activity. He decided to go to Rome to offer himself to serve in foreign missions. Things did not work out as expected and he decided to join the Jesuits to pursue his missionary dream. While in the Jesuit Novitiate, he developed a strange illness, which led his superiors to think that God might have other plans for him. Once again, he had to return home to keep searching for God’s will in his life.
“Apostolic Missionary” in Catalonia and Canary Islands: Back in a parish of Catalonia, Claret began preaching popular missions all over. He traveled on foot, attracting large crowds with his sermons. Some days he preached up to seven sermons in a day and spent 10 hours listening to confessions. He dedicated to Mary all his apostolic efforts. He felt forged as an apostle and sent to preach by Mary.
The secret of his missionary success was LOVE. In his words: “Love is the most necessary of all virtues. Love in the person who preaches the word of God is like fire in a musket. If a person were to throw a bullet with his hands, he would hardly make a dent in anything; but if the person takes the same bullet and ignites some gunpowder behind it, it can kill. It is much the same with the word of God. If it is spoken by someone who is filled with the fire of charity- the fire of love of God and neighbour- it will work wonders.”(Autobiography #438-439).
His popularity spread- people sought him for spiritual and physical help. By the end of 1842, the Pope gave him the title of “apostolic missionary.” Aware of the power of the press, in 1847, he organised with other priests a Religious Press. Claret began writing books and pamphlets, making the message of God accessible to all social groups. The increasing political restlessness in Spain continued to endanger his life and curtail his apostolic activities. So, he accepted an offer to preach in the Canary Islands, where he spent 14 months. In spite of his great success there too, he decided to return to Spain to carry out one of his dreams: the organization of an order of missionaries to share in his work.
Founder and Archbishop of Cuba: On July 16, 1849, he gathered a group of priests who shared his dream This is the beginning of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, today also known as Claretian Fathers and Brothers. Days later, he received a new assignment: he was named Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba. He was forced to leave the newly founded community to respond to the call of God in the New World. After two months of travel, he reached the Island of Cuba and began his episcopal ministry by dedicating it to Mary. He visited the church where the image of Our Lady of Charity, patroness of Cuba was venerated. Soon he realized the urgent need for human and Christian formation, specially among the poor. He called Antonia Paris to begin there the religious community they had agreed to found back in Spain. He was concerned for all aspects of human development and applied his great creativity to improve the conditions of the people under his pastoral care.
Among his great initiatives were: trade or vocational schools for disadvantaged children and credit unions for the use of the poor. He wrote books about rural spirituality and agricultural methods, which he himself tested first. He visited jails and hospitals, defended the oppressed and denounced racism. The expected reaction came soon. He began to experience persecution and finally when preaching in the city of Holguín, a man stabbed him on the cheek in an attempt to kill him. For Claret this was a great cause of joy. He writes in his Autobiography: “I can´t describe the pleasure, delight, and joy I felt in my soul on realising that I had reached the long desired goal of shedding my blood for the love of Jesus and Mary and of sealing the truths of the gospel with the very blood of my veins.”(Aut. # 577). During his 6 years in Cuba he visited the extensive Archdiocese three times…town by town. In the first years, records show, he confirmed 100,000 people and performed 9,000 sacramental marriages.
Confessor to the Queen of Spain: Claret was called back to Spain in 1857 to serve as confessor to the Queen of Spain, Isabella II. He had a natural dislike for aristocratic life. He loved poverty and the simplest lifestyle. He accepted in obedience but requested to be allowed to continue some missionary work. Whenever he had to travel with the Queen, he used the opportunity to preach in different towns throughout Spain. In a time where the Queens and Kings chose the bishops for vacant dioceses, Claret played an important role in the selection of holy and dedicated bishops for Spain and its colonies. The eleven years he spent as confessor to the Queen of Spain were particularly painful, because the enemies of the Church directed toward him all kinds of slanders and personal ridicule. In 1868 a new revolution dethroned the Queen and sent her with her family into exile. Claret’s life was also in danger, so he accompanied her to France. This gave him the opportunity to preach the Gospel in Paris. He stayed with them for a while, then went to Rome where he was received by Pope Pius IX in a private audience.
First Vatican Council: On December 8, 1869, seven hundred bishops from all over the world gathered in Rome for the First Vatican Council. Claret was one of the Council Fathers. His presence became noticeable when the subject of papal infallibility was discussed, which Claret defended vehemently. This teaching became a dogma of faith for all Catholics at this Council. The Italian revolution interrupted the process of the Council, which was never concluded. Claret’s health deteriorated, so he returned to France accompanied by the Superior General of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, his congregation.
Last Days in Exile: In France, Claret joined his missionaries who were also in exile. Soon he found out, that there was a warrant for his arrest. He decided to go into hiding in a Cistercian Monastery in the French southern town of Fontfroide. There he died on 24October 1870 at the age of 62. As his last request, he dictated to his missionaries the words that are to appear on his tombstone: “I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile.” His zealous life and the wonders he wrought, both before and after his death, testified to his sanctity. Information was sought in 1887 and he was declared venerable by Pope Leo XIII in 1899. His relics were transferred to the mission house at Vic in 1897, at which time his heart was found incorrupt. His grave is visited by many pilgrims. Claret was beatified in 1934 and in 1950 canonised by Pope Pius XII.
We pray to You, O Lord,
who are the surpeme Truth,
and all truth is from You.
We beseech You, O Lord,
who are the highest Wisdom,
and all the wise
depend on You for their wisdom.
You are the supreme Joy,
and all who are happy owe it to You.
You are the Light of minds,
and all receive
their understanding from You.
We love, we love You above all.
We seek You, we follow You,
and we are ready to serve You.
We desire to dwell under Your power
for You are the King of all. Amen
St Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870) (Optional Memorial) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbBMzR-J8R8
Bl Amado García Sánchez
St Audactus of Thibiuca
St Ciriacus of Hierapolis
St Claudian of Hierapolis
St Ebregislus of Cologne
St Felix of Thibiuca
St Fortunatus of Thibiuca
St Fromundus of Coutances
St Giuse Lê Dang Thi
Bl Giuseppe Baldo
St Januarius of Thibiuca
St Luigi Guanella
St Maglorius of Wales
St Marcius of Monte Cassino
St Martin of Vertou
St Proclus of Constantinople
St Senócus of Tours
St Septimus of Thibiuca
Martyrs of Ephesus – 3 saints: Three Christians martyred together. All we know about them are the names Mark, Sotericus and Valentina.
They were stoned to death near Ephesus, Asia Minor (in modern Turkey). Their relics are enshrined on the island of Tasos.