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Wishing our Holy Father Emeritus Papa Benedict XVI a Blessed 91st Birthday! 16 April 2018

Wishing our Holy Father Emeritus Papa Benedict XVI a Blessed 91st Birthday!
16 April 2018

Greatly beloved Papa Benedict
We send you all our Love
and our Prayers
on your 91st Birthdayhappy birthday papa benedict - 16 april 2018 - 91st birthday

He plans to spend his birthday in private, in the Vatican Gardens, with his brother Georg, who is 94.

Just like last year, he will most likely celebrate the day in a Bavarian style, which will remind him of the tastes of his land.

Throughout this year, Benedict has found all the rumours about his delicate health quite humorous.   He even wrote a letter to an Italian newspaper to thank them for paying so much attention to him.

Past recent birthdays have seen Benedict celebrate the day with a pint of beer.

His personal secretary, long-time aide and prelate of the Vatican Household, ArchBishop Georg Gaenswein, said “Certainly, his physical strength is lessening. It’s hard for him to walk.   However, he uses a walker, which ensures autonomy in movement and safety,” the aide said.

The rhythm of Benedict’s retirement in a monastery on Vatican City grounds consists of “prayer, meditation, reading, study, correspondence,” Gaenswein said. “He has visitors, too.   Music certainly still has its place, together with a daily walk.”happy 91st birthday papa benedict - 16 april 2018



Thought for the Day – 16 April – Monday of the Third Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Benedict Joseph Labre – Known as the Beggar of Perpetual Adoration (1748-1783)

Thought for the Day – 16 April – Monday of the Third Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Benedict Joseph Labre – Known as the Beggar of Perpetual Adoration (1748-1783)

Benedict Joseph Labre was truly eccentric, one of God’s special little ones.   Born in France and the eldest of 18 children, he studied under his uncle, a parish priest.   Because of poor health and a lack of suitable academic preparation he was unsuccessful in his attempts to enter the religious life.   Then, at age 16, a profound change took place. Benedict lost his desire to study and gave up all thoughts of the priesthood, much to the consternation of his relatives.

He became a pilgrim, traveling from one great shrine to another, living off alms.   He wore the rags of a beggar and shared his food with the poor.   Filled with the love of God and neighbour, Benedict had special devotion to the Blessed Mother and to the Blessed Sacrament.   In Rome, where he lived in the Colosseum for a time, he was called “the poor man of the Forty Hours devotion” and “the beggar of Rome.”

On 16 April 1783, the last day of his life, Benedict dragged himself to a church in Rome and prayed there for two hours before he collapsed, dying peacefully in a nearby house. Immediately after his death, the people proclaimed him a saint.

Benedict Joseph Labre was canonised by Pope Leo XIII in 1881.

St Benedict’s life reminds us that the Lord loves and has a beautiful plan for all His creations, despite what society may judge or view them as.   I, personally, do not regard him as being mentally ill, though many do and he is the Patron of mental illness and against insanity.   For me, his mission was simply a striving, throughout his life to grow closer to the Lord, to serve Him through his neighbour and to serve as an example for others.   I see shades of St Francis and many other Saints.   He faced multiple rejections with grace and eventually changed his plan in obedience to God, never giving up his search for holiness.   We are challenged by the life of this saint to consider our own actions, both when we encounter difficulties in our lives that prevent us from following what we perceive to be the will of God and also when we encounter those individuals in our communities who society has written off, marginalised and judged as ‘less than’ and ‘unworthy’.

My thought is this, that if we seek Christ who sought us first, we will find Him, for He is right beside us, whatever our circumstances.   St Benedict found Him, in his neighbour and waiting quietly, in the Real Presence of the Blessed Sacrament, as He waits for you and me.

St Benedict Joseph Labre, pray for us!  (Last year’s Saint of the Day – BENEDICT - BEGGAR OF PERPETAUL ADORATION - PRAY FOR US - 16 APRIL 2018st-labre-pray-for-us- 16 april 2017 - no 2


Quote/s of the Day – 16 April – Monday of the Third Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879)

Quote/s of the Day – 16 April – Monday of the Third Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879)

“Nothing is anything anymore to me,
everything is nothing to me,
only Jesus!
Neither things,
nor persons,
neither ideas,
nor emotions,
neither honour,
nor sufferings.
Jesus is for me honour,
heart and soul.”nothing is anything anymore to me - st bernadette - 16 april 2018

“You must receive God well – 
give Him a loving welcome,
for then, He has to pay us rent.”

St Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879)you must receive god well - st bernadette - 16 april 2018


One Minute Reflection – 16 April – Monday of the Third Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879)

One Minute Reflection – 16 April – Monday of the Third Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879)

For to you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him...Philippians 1:29for to you has been granted - philippians 1 29

REFLECTION – “The more I am crucified, the more I rejoice.”…St Bernadette Soubirous

the more i am crucified - st bernadette - 16 april 2018

PRAYER – Let the crucifix be not only in my eyes and on my breast but in my heart.   O Jesus!   Release all my affections and draw them upwards.   Let my crucified heart sink forever into Thine and bury itself in the mysterious wound made by the entry of the lance…By St Bernadette Soubirous, of whom we request, your prayers!st bernadette - pray for us - 16 april 2018


Our Morning Offering – 16 April – Monday of the Third Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879)

Our Morning Offering – 16 April – Monday of the Third Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879)

Prayer to Our Lady
at the Lourdes Grotto
in the Vatican Gardens
By St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)

O blessed Virgin,
Mother of God,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of the Church,
look upon us mercifully at this hour.
Virgin faithful, pray for us.
Teach us to believe as you believed.
Make our faith in God, in Christ, in the Church,
always to be serene,
courageous, strong and generous.
Mother worthy of love.
Mother of faithful love, pray for us.
Teach us to love God
and our brothers and sisters as you loved them.
Make our love for others to be always
patient, kindly, and respectful.
Cause of our joy, pray for us.
Teach us to be able to grasp, in faith,
the paradox of Christian joy,
which springs up and blooms
from sorrow, renunciation and union
with your sacrificed Son.
Make our joy to be always genuine and full,
in order to be able to communicate it to all.

prayer to our lady at the lourdes grotto in the vatican gardens by st john paul- 16 april 2018



Saint of the Day – 16 April – Saint Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879)

Saint of the Day – 16 April – Saint Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879) Marian Visionary of Lourdes, Virgin, Consecrated Religious.  Born on 7 January 1844 at Lourdes, Hautes-Pyrénées, France and died on 16 April 1879, Nevers, Nièvre, France of natural causes, aged 35.   Patronages – Bodily illness,  Lourdes, France, shepherds and shepherdesses, against poverty, people ridiculed for their faith.   She was Canonised on 8 December 1933 by Pope Pius XI.   Her Body is incorrupt and is on display in Nevers, Bernadette -at Death & Todayst bernadette's incorrupt body

The eldest of nine children, only four of whom survived childhood, Marie-Bernarde Soubirous was born at Lourdes, in the foothills of the Pyrenees.   After her father, a miller, lost his job in 1854, the family was exposed to the direst extremes of poverty.

By the time she was 14, Bernadette had been sick so often that she hadn’t grown properly.   She was the size of a much younger girl.   She, her parents and her younger brothers and sisters all lived in a tiny room at the back of someone else’s house, a building that had actually been a prison many years before.   They slept on three beds: one for the parents, one for the boys and one for the girls.   Every night they battled mice and rats.   Every morning, they woke up, put their feet on cold stone floors and dressed in clothes that had been mended more times than anyone could count.   Each day they hoped the work they could find would bring them enough bread to live on that day.

“Bernadette” grew up uneducated, undernourished and asthmatic, obliged to work as a waitress and a farmhand.   The little girl spoke in a Basque dialect and could scarcely read or write.   She did, however, imbibe from her parents a deep Catholic devotion.

By 1856 the Soubirous were living in an abandoned prison cell which stank of sewage. On 11 February 1858 Bernadette, with her sister Toinette and a friend, went to gather firewood.   In a grotto beside the River Gave, at a place used as a watering hole for pigs, she saw a vision of a “Lady” wearing a white dress, a blue girdle and a yellow rose on each foot.   Bernadette’s companions saw nothing and she herself wondered whether her experience had been an illusion.   Three days later, though, she returned to the grotto, and again saw the apparition.   On 18 February her third visit, the vision spoke for the first time, asking for her presence over the next fortnight.   Next day, the Lady instructed Bernadette to tell the priests to build a chapel at the grotto.


Crowds began to gather to witness the regular phenomenon of the small girl in ecstasy. The police, concerned, interrogated Bernadette, who related her experiences with clarity and conviction.   Local interest quickened after the Lady told Bernadette to drink from a muddy trickle in the grotto.   By the morrow the trickle had turned into an active spring.

On 4 March at the end of the prescribed fortnight, a crowd of 10,000 gathered to watch Bernadette.   In fact, she would experience three more apparitions, bringing the total to 18.   Chivied by the parish priest, she insisted that the Lady should give her name.   “I am the Immaculate Conception,” came the reply, in perfect Basque dialect.   Bernadette had no idea what this meant.   She repeated it to herself over and over on her way back to the village so she wouldn’t forget the strange, long words.   When she told her parish priest what the lady had said, he was quite surprised.   The priest knew that what the mysterious lady had said meant that she was Mary, Jesus’ mother.   The mysterious lady of the grotto had told Bernadette who she was.   But it was not very common for people—especially poor little girls who couldn’t read—to think of Mary as the “immaculate conception,” a phrase that reminds us of how God saved Mary from sin even before she was born.   The Blessed Virgin also told her:   “I do not promise to make you happy in this world but in the next,” the apparition had told her.

Disliking the attention she was attracting, Bernadette went to the hospice school run by the Sisters of Charity of Nevers where she had learned to read and write.   Although she considered joining the Carmelites, her health precluded her entering any of the strict contemplative orders.   On 29 July 1866, with 42 other candidates, she took the religious habit of a postulant and joined the Sisters of Charity at their motherhouse at Nevers.   Her Mistress of Novices was Sister Marie Therese Vauzou.   The Mother Superior at the time gave her the name Marie-Bernarde in honour of her godmother who was named “Bernarde”.

st bernadette - nun

Bernadette spent the rest of her brief life there, working as an assistant in the infirmary and later as a sacristan, creating beautiful embroidery for altar cloths and vestments. Her contemporaries admired her humility and spirit of sacrifice.   One day, asked about the apparitions, she replied:

“The Virgin used me as a broom to remove the dust.   When the work is done, the broom is put behind the door again.” and  “They think I’m a saint,” she observed. “When I’m dead they’ll come and touch holy pictures and rosaries to me, and all the while I’ll be getting boiled on a grill in purgatory.”

She later contracted tuberculosis of the bone in her right knee.   She had followed the development of Lourdes as a pilgrimage shrine while she still lived at Lourdes but was not present for the consecration of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception there in 1876.


For several months prior to her death, she was unable to take an active part in convent life.   She eventually died of her long-term illness at the age of 35 on 16 April 1879 (Easter Wednesday) while praying the holy rosary.   On her deathbed, as she suffered from severe pain and in keeping with the Virgin Mary’s admonition of “Penance, Penance, Penance,” Bernadette proclaimed that “all this is good for Heaven!”   Her final words were, “Blessed Mary, Mother of God, pray for me! A poor sinner, a poor sinner”. 

In the 1858 Lourdes apparitions, the Blessed Virgin Mary declared herself as the Immaculate Conception to the innocent little shepherd girl named Bernadette: … The Immaculate Conception (CCC, 490-3)st bernadette in art


Memorials of the Saints – 16 April

Bl Arcangelo Canetoli
St Benedict Joseph Labre – Known as the Beggar of Perpetual Adoration (1748-1783)

St Bernadette of Lourdes – The Visionary of Lourdes (1844-1879)

St Drogo
St Elias
St Fructuosus of Braga
St Herveus of Tours
Bl Joachim Piccolomini
St Lambert of Saragossa
St Lambert of Saragossa
St Magnus of Orkney
St Turibius of Astorga
St Vaise
St William Gnoffi

Martyrs of Avrillé – 26 beati: – A group of lay people who were executed together for their faith during the anti-Christian persecutions of the French Revolution. They were martyred on 16 April 1794 at Avrillé, Maine-et-Loire, France.
• Blessed Anne Maugrain
• Blessed François Micheneau veuve Gillot
• Blessed François Suhard veuve Ménard
• Blessed Jean Ménard
• Blessed Jeanne Gourdon veuve Moreau
• Blessed Jeanne Leduc épouse Paquier
• Blessed Jeanne Onillon veuve Onillon
• Blessed Jeanne Thomas veuve Delaunay
• Blessed Madeleine Cady épouse Desvignes
• Blessed Madeleine Sallé épouse Havard
• Blessed Marguerite Robin
• Blessed Marie Forestier
• Blessed Marie Gingueneau veuve Coiffard
• Blessed Marie Lardeux
• Blessed Marie Piou épouse Supiot
• Blessed Marie Rechard
• Blessed Marie Roger veuve Chartier
• Blessed Marie-Genevieve Poulain de la Forestrie
• Blessed Marthe Poulain de la Forestrie
• Blessed Perrine Bourigault
• Blessed Perrine Laurent
• Blessed Perrine Pottier épouse Turpault
• Blessed Pierre Delépine
• Blessed Renée Bourgeais veuve Juret
• Blessed Renée Rigault épouse Papin
• Blessed Renée Sechet veuve Davy
16 April 1794 at Avrillé, Maine-et-Loire, France – Beatified: 19 February 1984 by Pope John Paul II at Rome, Italy

Martyrs of Corinth – 9 saints: A group of nine Christians who were tortured and martyred together in the persecutions of Decius. We know little more than three of their names – Callistus, Charisius and Leonide. They were thrown into the sea at Corinth, Greece c250

Martyrs of Saragossa: Group of eighteen martyrs murdered in 304 in Saragossa, Spain in the persecutions of Diocletian and the prefect Dacean. We know little more than the names – Apodemus, Caecilian, Caius, Crementius, Engratia, Eventius, Felix, Fronto, Gaius, Julia, Lambert, Lupercus, Martial, Optatus, Primitivus, Publius, Quintilian, Saturnius (4 men of this name), Succesus and Urban. Their graves re-discovered in 1389 in the crypt under the church of San Encrazia in Saragossa.