Posted in PRAYERS to the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Second Thoughts for the Day – 27 December – The Memorial of Blessed Sára Salkaházi (1899–1944) Martyr

Second Thoughts for the Day – 27 December – The Memorial of Blessed Sára Salkaházi S.S.S. (1899–1944) Martyr

From the Homily of Bishop László Biró
Preached in Kosice, Slovakia, at the Mass of Thanksgiving for the beatification of Sr Sára,  24 November 2006.

“A saint, – according to a wisdom saying – is an ordinary person.   But her ordinary life is formed by much harder reality than the ordinary.   Thus became Sára Salkaházi , a native of Kosice, a saint;  on such a path can we, ordinary persons, also become saints.

In conclusion I quote from the homily of Cardinal Erdő, preached at the beatification Mass.  “We need the example of Sister Sára in a particular way during this year of jubilee.   We are praying for the renewal of our nation with atonement and reconciliation.   We pray for a renewal which is possible only in the light of truth, of justice and love.   We pray for a spirituality which recognises in the weakest and in the poorest the human being, who, after all is the greatest treasure in all societies and at all times.   There is a burning need for such renewal and reconciliation within our society; among the nations in the Carpathian basin and in the whole world.” Amen.

Prayer for the Intercession
of Blessed Sára Salkaházi

All powerful God, my loving Father,
You created me out of Your everlasting love
and in Your mercy You adopted me as Your child;
Lord Jesus Christ,
You saved me by Your precious blood
and You called me to be Your disciple;
O Holy Spirit, You showered
an abundance of grace upon me.
Glory be to You forever!
O Most Holy Trinity,
You accepted
the life-offering of Blessed Sára Salkaházi ,
virgin and martyr, for her sisters;
through her intercession grant me
the grace of …………….,
and help me to join her in crying out
from the depth of my heart:
“O God of Love, enkindle love in me!
Come, my Christ and make my heart
Your own that You may love,
and love,
and love
within me!

Blessed Sára Salkaházi, Pray for Us!bl sara salkahazi pray for us 27 dec 2018


Thought for the Day – 27 December – “The Greatest Easter Painting Ever Made”

Thought for the Day – 27 December – the Feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist “The Disciple whom Jesus Loved” and the 3rd Octave Day – “The Greatest Easter Painting Ever Made”

So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him.”   Peter then came out, with the other disciple and they went toward the tomb.   They both ran but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there but he did not go in.   Then Simon Peter came, following him and went into the tomb, he saw the linen cloths lying and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself.   Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in and he saw and believed...John 20:2–8

Tucked away in a central Parisian museum that was once a railway station, there hangs an Easter painting quite unlike any Gospel masterpiece created before or after it.   It is not painted by a Rembrandt or a Rubens or the patron saint of artists, Fra Angelico.   The painting is the work of a little-known Swiss painter.   For those who make a trip to see it, viewing the canvas is a special spiritual experience in their lives.

The work does not even show the risen Jesus.   It merely portrays two witnesses, Jesus’ oldest and youngest apostle.   The youngest who was the only man brave enough to stay by Jesus’ cross and the only one who did not die a martyr’s death as a result of it.   The oldest apostle, who first denied Jesus in fear, yet ultimately chose to be crucified upside down by the Roman authorities, rather than deny Christ’s resurrection.

Mary, John & Mary of Magdala at the cross-antoon-van-dyck-follow-jesus
Anton van Dyck

In “The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection” by Eugène Burnand, John clasps his hand in prayer while Peter holds his hand over his heart.   The viewer feels the rush as their hair and cloaks fly back with the wind.   They are sprinting towards discovery of the moment that forever altered heaven and earth.   As you look at it, engage for a moment in what the Catholic blogger Bill Donaghy calls “the visual equivalent of Lectio Divina.”   As Donaghy notes, “This Resurrection scene does not put us before still figures near a stagnant stone, or figures standing with stony faces in a contrived, plastic posture, pointing to an empty tomb.   This scene is dynamic; we are in motion.”

During his time, Burnand was fascinated by the possibilities of the emerging art of photography.   Ironically, he would later be dismissed in the twentieth century as too “bourgeois” and anti-modernist when in fact he was merging his love of tradition with his interest in new technological ways of capturing the human person.   His painting feels cinematic long before cinema existed as a major art form.

Through the movement and immediacy of the scene, the preceding minutes with Mary Magdalene are palpable.   In a sense, she is in the painting too.   “You can almost hear her voice in the background, can you not, a few minutes earlier, as she burst into their house…” writes the Episcopal Bishop Dorsey McConnell in an Easter sermon meditating on the painting.

Apart from Jesus’ mother, no other three participants capture the closeness of Jesus’ encounter with humankind quite like John, Peter and Mary of Magdala.   Their interactions with Christ embody a relationship to God previously unimaginable to mankind.   Jesus turning to Peter as they sit by the fire and asking three times, “Do you love me?”, thereby washing away the sin of the three denials past;  Christ turning to John in the midst of his suffering and saying, “Behold, your mother,” giving her to the Church entire.   And, of course, the beautiful moment about to transpire in which Jesus’ merely says Mary’s name and she recognises Him with a cry of “Rabbouni!”   They are the moments which cause one to wonder, how those who truly hate Christianity (not merely disbelief it) can remain so hostile to its narrative beauty.

st john and the sorrowful mother - van-weyden-at-the-cross
By Rogier van Weyden (1400-1464)
st john and mary - beloved-by-dyce
By William Dyce (1806-1864)

Look into Peter’s wide open eyes and John’s intense gaze.   Their eyes contain a mix of anxiousness and hope, the way a parent or grandparent’s eyes look at the news of an impending birth.   A new life is about to emerge but there is still uncertainty because it is a mystery beyond full human comprehension or control.   Peter and John’s faces capture the same sense of anticipation.

Burnand created a sparse, simple painting capturing two of the most important players in the greatest story ever told.   Meditate upon their faces, as Burnand intended you to do and through them, discover the empty tomb.the-greatest-easter-painting-elise-ehrhard-crises-mag1- used again today 27dec2018

St John, Beloved of the Lord, Pray for us!beloved st john pray for us 27 dec 2018


Quote/s of the Day – 27 December

Quote/s of the Day – 27 December – the Feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist “The Disciple whom Jesus Loved” and the 3rd Octave Day and the Memorial of Blessed Sára Salkaházi (1899–1944) Martyr


What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life (for the life was made visible;  

we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us.…

1 John 1:1-2beloved what was from the beginning, what we have heard - 1-john-1-1-to-2-27dec2017

“Life itself was therefore revealed in the flesh.
In this way what was visible to the heart alone,
could become visible also to the eye
and so heal men’s hearts.
For the Word is visible to the heart alone,
while flesh is visible to bodily eyes as well.
We already possessed the means to see the flesh
but we had no means of seeing the Word.
The Word was made flesh so that we could see it,
to heal the part of us,
by which we could see the Word…”

St Augustine (354-430) – Father & Doctor of the Churchlife-itself-was-therefore-revealed-st-augustine-27-dec-2017

“It is right and just, that someone, who was loved by Christ
more than any other, should be the object
of a very special love, by Christ’s friends,
all the more so, since John has shown such love for us that…
he has shared with us, the riches of eternal life, that he himself received.
Indeed, God gave him, the keys to wisdom and knowledge (cf Lk 11:52)…it is right and just that someone who was loved - st peter damian on st john 27 dec 2018

John’s God-illumined mind, conceived the incomparable height of divine wisdom, 
when he reclined on the Redeemer’s breast, during the holy Last Supper meal (Jn 13:25).
And because “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3)
are within the heart of Jesus, it is from there, that he drew
and from there, that he greatly enriched our wretchedness, 
as people who are poor and generously distributed these goods,
taken from their source, for the salvation of the whole world.
And because this blessed John speaks about God
in a marvellous way, that cannot be compared to that of anyone else,
it is only right that the Greeks as well as the Latins
have given him the name of “Theologian”.
Mary is “Theotokos” because she has truly given birth to God;
John is “Theologos” because he saw in an indescribable way,
that the Word of God, was with the Father
before the beginning of time and was God (Jn 1:1)
and because, too, he spoke about this, with extraordinary depth.”

St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Doctor of the Churchjohn's god illumined mind - st peter damian 27 dec 2018

“To love, even when it is difficult,
even when my heart has complaints,
when, I feel rejected!
Yes, this is what God wants!
I will try;  I want to start – even if I would fail –
until I will be able to love.
The Lord God gives me grace
and I have to work with that grace!”to love even when - bl sara salkahazi 27dec2018

“I want to follow You wherever You take me,
freely, willingly, joyfully.
Break my will!
Let Your will reign in me!
I do not want to make my own plans.
Let Your will be done in me and through me.
No matter how hard it might be,
I want to love Your will!
I want to be one with You,
my Beloved, my Spouse.”

Blessed Sára Salkaházi (1899–1944) Martyr

Blessed Sára in her spiritual diaryi want to follow you wherever you take me - bl sara salkahazi 27dec2018


Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

27 December – The Third Day of the Christmas Octave

Jesus in swaddling clothes

“Consider the Blessed Mother, having given birth to her Son, now takes Him with reverence in her arms, adoring Him as God and then wrapping Him in swaddling clothes. Behold the infant Jesus, who obediently offers His little hands and feet and allows Himself to be swaddled. Consider, that every time the holy Infant allowed Himself to be swathed, He thought of the cords with which He would one day be bound and led captive from the Garden of Gethsamene. Also, consider the cords which secured Him to the column on which He was whipped and the nails which would secure Him to His Cross. All of this He permitted, in order to deliver our souls from the chains of hell. Bound in these swaddling clothes, Jesus turns to us and invites us to unite ourselves with Him, with the holy bonds of love.”


And she gave birth to her first-born son
and wrapped him in swaddling clothes
and laid him in a manger,
because there was no place for them in the inn.

Luke 2:7

Prayer (St Alphonsus)

“My beloved Jesus,
You have imprisoned Yourself
in swaddling clothes
because of Your love for me.
I will become a prisoner
of Your infinite love.
Bind me tight,
so that I may never be able
to disengage myself
from Your love!
Amen”and she wrapped him in swaddling christmas with st alphonsus -luke 2 7 - my beloved jesus 27dec2017


Our Morning Offering – 27 December – If I Love You

Our Morning Offering – 27 December – the Feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist “The Disciple whom Jesus Loved” and the 3rd Octave Day and the Memorial of Blessed Sára Salkaházi (1899–1944) Martyr

If I Love You
By Bl Sára Salkaházi (1899–1944) Martyr

I am grateful to You
for the love You have given me.
My dear Jesus,
I place this love into Your hands:
keep it chaste
and bless it,
so that it may always
be rooted in You.
And increase in me my love for You.
I know that if I love You,
I can never get lost.
If I want to be Yours
with all my heart,
You will never let me
stray from You.

if i love you - prayer of bl sara salkahazi 27 dec 2018


Saint of the Day – 27 December – Blessed Sára Salkaházi S.S.S. (1899–1944) Martyr – A Catholic Gem

Saint of the Day – 27 December – Blessed Sára Salkaházi S.S.S. (1899–1944) Martyr, Religious Sister of The Sisters of Social Service, Teacher, bookbinder, milliner, journalist – born as Schalkház Sarolta Klotild on 11 May 1899 in Kassa, Hungary (modern Košice, Slovakia) and died by being shot on 27 December 1944.   Sára was a Hungarian Catholic religious sister who saved the lives of Jews during World War II.   Denounced and summarily executed by the pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party, Blessed Sara was Beatified on 17 September 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI.   Recognition of the Beatification was celebrated at Budapest, Hungary by Cardinal Peter Erdo.   Blessed Sára was the first non-aristocrat Hungarian to be sarabeatification bl sara

Teacher, bookbinder, milliner, journalist – this was the resume of Sára Salkaházi when she applied to join the Sisters of Social Service, a Hungarian religious society that today is also active in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Taiwan and the Philippines.   The Sisters of that new congregation, founded in 1923 by Margit Slachta and devoted to charitable, social and women’s causes, were reluctant to accept this chain-smoking, successful woman journalist and she was at first turned away from their Motherhouse in Budapest. But 16 years later, she became the Society’s first Martyr, at the hands of the Nazis.

Fun-loving and intelligent, Sára was born into a well-to-do family at Kassa-Kosice, Upper Hungary, now Slovak territory, on 11 May 1899.   She studied to become a teacher.   In the classroom, she learned through her students about the social problems of the poor, which she publicised via newspaper articles.   To widen her horizon and experience first-hand what discrimination meant, Sára became a bookbinder’s apprentice, where she was given the hardest and dirtiest work.   She learned that trade, then went to work in a millinery shop, all the while continuing to write articles for newspapers.   She became a member of the Christian Socialist Party and then worked as editor of that party’s newspaper, focusing on women’s social problems.sara-salkahazi

After she had come into contact with the Sisters of Social Service, Sára felt a strong call to join them.   Following her initial rebuff, she quit smoking – with great difficulty – and was admitted to the Society at age 30, in 1929.   She chose as her motto Isaiah’s “Here I am! Send me!” (Is 6: 8b).   Her first assignment was to her native Kassa (which at the end of World War I had been incorporated into Czechoslovakia) to organise the work of Catholic Charities;  subsequently, she was sent to Komarom, for the same task  . In addition, she wrote, edited and published a Catholic women’s journal, managed a religious bookstore, supervised a shelter for the poor and taught.   The Bishops of Slovakia then entrusted her with the organization of the National Girls’ Movement.   She thus began giving leadership courses and publishing manuals.

In one year alone, she received 15 different assignments, from cooking to teaching at the Social Training Centre, all of which exhausted her physically and spiritually.   When several novices left the Society, Sára also considered leaving, especially since her superiors would not allow her to renew her temporary vows (she was deemed “unworthy”), nor permit her to wear the habit for a year.   These decisions hurt her deeply.   But Sára accepted these hardships and made up her mind to remain faithful to her calling for the sake of the One who called her.   Her faithfulness paid off as she received permission to renew her vows some time later.Sara_Salkahazi

She wanted to go to the missions, to China or Brazil but the outbreak of World War II made it impossible to leave the country.   She worked instead as a social lecturer and administrator in Upper Hungary and Sub-Carpathia (which had also been part of Hungary until the end of World War l) and took her final vows in 1940.

As national director of the Catholic Working Girls’ Movement, Sister Sára built the first Hungarian college for working women, near Lake Balaton.   In Budapest, she opened Homes for working girls and organised training courses.   To protest the rising Nazi ideology Sister Sára changed her last name to the more Hungarian-sounding “Salkaházi”. As the Hungarian Nazi Party gained strength and also began to persecute the Jews, the Sisters of Social Service provided safe havens.   Sister Sára opened the Working Girls’ Homes to them where, even in the most stressful situations, she managed to cheer up the anxious and discouraged.

As if her days were not busy enough, she managed to write a play on the life of St Margaret of Hungary, canonised on 19 November 1943.   The first performance, in March 1944, was also the last, since German troops occupied Hungary that very day and immediately suppressed this religious production.

The life of St Margaret may have provided the inspiration for Sister Sára to offer herself as a victim-soul for the safety and protection of her fellow-Sisters of Social Service.   For this, she needed the permission of her superiors, which was eventually granted.   At the time, they alone knew about her self-offering.

Meanwhile, she kept hiding additional groups of refugees in the various Girls’ Homes, under increasingly dangerous circumstances.   Providing them with food and supplies became more and more complicated every day, given the system of ration cards and the frequent air raids.   Nevertheless, Sister Sára herself is credited with the saving of 100 Jewish lives and her Community, with saving 1,000.

The Russian siege of Budapest began on Christmas 1944.   On the morning of 27 December, Sister Sára still delivered a meditation to her fellow-Sisters.   Her topic? Martyrdom!   For her, it would become a reality that very day.   Before noon, Sister Sára and another Sister were returning on foot from a visit to another Girls’ Home.   They could already see in the distance, armed Nazis standing in front of the house.   Sister Sára had time to get away but she decided that, being the director, her place was at this Home.   Upon entering the house, she too was accompanied down into the air raid shelter where the Nazis were already checking the papers of the 150 residents.   About 10 of them were refugees with false papers.   Some were declared suspicious and were to be taken to the ghetto, while those in charge would have to “give statements at Nazi headquarters before being released”.   As she was led out, Sister Sára managed to step into the chapel and quickly genuflected before the altar but her captors dragged her away.   One of the Nazis suggested, “Why don’t we finish them off here in the yard?”. But another gestured, “No”.

That night, a group of people was driven by agents of the pro-Nazi Arrow Cross regime to the Danube Embankment.   Sister Sára was among them.   As they were lined up, she knelt and made the Sign of the Cross before a bullet mowed her down.   Her stripped corpse and those of her companions were thrown into the sara profile

The other Sisters anxiously awaited Sister Sára’s return.   A youngster from the neighbourhood brought them news of the shooting the following day.   It seems that the Lord had accepted Sister Sára’s sacrifice, because none of the other Sisters of her Community was harmed.

Every year, on 27 December, the anniversary of her martyrdom, the Sisters of Social Service hold a candlelight memorial service on the Danube Embankment for Sister Sára Salkaházi.   The voluntary offering of their first martyr saved not only many persecuted Jews but also her Religious Community…

Speaking at the Beatification Mass, Rabbi József Schweitzer said of Sister Sára, “I know from personal experience … how dangerous and heroic it was in those times to help Jews and save them from death.   Originating in her faith, she kept the commandment of love until death.”

Peter Cardinal Erdo, the Archbishop of Budapest, read a proclamation from Pope Benedict XVI beatifying Sister Sara.

The proclamation said, “She was willing to assume risks for the persecuted…in days of great fear. Her martyrdom is still topical… and presents the foundations for our humanity.”

For the Lord, all things are possible.   Trust Him to the end!

“Here I am!   Send me!” (Is 6: 8b)



27 December – Feast of St John Apostle and Evangelist and Memorials of the Saints

St John the Apostle and Evangelist (Feast)
St John the Beloved:

Bl Adelheidis of Tennenbach
Bl Alejo Pan López
Bl Alfredo Parte-Saiz
Bl Christina Ebner
St Fabiola of Rome
Bl Francesco Spoto
Bl Hesso of Beinwil
St José María Corbin-Ferrer
St Maximus of Alexandria
St Nicarete of Constantinople
Bl Odoardo Focherini
Bl Raymond de Barellis
Bl Roger of Verdun
Bl Sára Schalkház S.S.S. (1899–1944) Martyr
St Theodore of Apamea
St Theophanes of Nicaea
Bl Walto of Wessobrünn