Thought for the Day – 31 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Pray for Us … at the Hour of Our Death”
“We have come to the end of this month, which we have dedicated to Mary and her blessed Rosary. Let us remember, however, that apart from this month of October, we should dedicate our whole lives to her, up to final moment of death. We are always in need of Mary’s patronage and intercession with God. Let us always have recourse to her, therefore, especially in danger and in suffering but, most especially, at the decisive moment of death, for this is the moment on which eternity depends. This day will arrive sooner or later but, it will certainly come, “at an hour that you do not expect” (Lk 12:40).
In the second part of the Hail Mary, the Church places on our lips, these words of supplication: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.” How many times we have recited this prayer! But do we ever think of death? Let us remember that a mediation on death is the most valuable lesson in life. One day, we shall find ourselves face-to-face with God, drawing our last breath on earth. It may be on a sick bed, it may be in the middle of a street – we do not know. It may be after a long illness at the end of which we are comforted by the Holy Sacraments and blessed by a priest, or it may be quite unexpected. But, it is certain that death will come. Let us aim, therefore, at being always prepared, so that it may not come when we have no good works to offer and when our hearts are full of ourselves and of worldly interests. Like Mary, let us lead lives of holiness and we shall be sure to die holy deaths. Let us beseech our heavenly Mother to be by our side at that final moment to sustain us in the conflict and to consign our souls to her divine Son, Jesus. Amen.”
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled but the one who humbles himself will be exalted. ”- Luke 14:11
REFLECTION – “Humility is not just about self-mistrust but about the entrusting of ourselves to God. Distrusting ourselves and our own strength produces trust in God and from that trust, generosity of soul is born.
The most holy Virgin, Our Lady, gave us an outstanding example of this when she spoke these words: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). When she said she was the handmaid of the Lord, she was performing the greatest act of humility it is possible to do and, all the more so, in that she was contradicting the praise given her by the angel – that she would be mother of God, that the child to be born from her womb would be called Son of the Most High, a greater dignity than any we might imagine – I say, she opposed her lowliness and unworthiness to all these praises and greatness, by saying that she was the handmaid of the Lord. Yet note how, no sooner had she rendered her duty to humility than she practised outstanding generosity by saying: “May it be to me according to your word.” What she wanted to say was – It is true I am in no way capable of this grace if one is to consider what I am of myself but, insofar as what is good in me comes from God and what you say to me, is His own most holy will, I believe it may happen and will happen. And so, without the least hesitation, she said: “Let it be done to me according to your word.” – St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Lord Jesus, help us to appreciate and live Your spiritual values and give them the first place in our hearts. Grant that we may always seek them first and remain forever united with You. Send Your Spirit with his gifts and blessings and may the Mother of all Virtue, assist us in our need. Help us to follow the path of humility the Blessed Virgin so splendidly taught us and may we always beseech Our Lady of the Holy Rosary for her intercession, that we may obtain from You, a place in Your Kingdom. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, pray for us. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God now and for all times, amen.
Our Morning Offering –31 October – The last day of the Month of the Holy Rosary – Saturday of the Thirtieth week in Ordinary Time
Excerpt from the Petition to Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii also known as Supplication to the Queen of the Holy Rosary By Blessed Bartholomew Longo (1841-1926) Apostle of the Holy Rosary
O Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet Chain, which binds us to God, Bond of love, which unites us to the Angels, Tower of salvation against the assaults of hell, safe Port in our universal shipwreck, we shall never abandon you. You will be our comfort in the hour of agony. To you, the last kiss of our dying life. And the last word from our lips will be your sweet name, O Queen of the Rosary of Pompeii, O dearest Mother, O Refuge of Sinners, O Sovereign Consoler of the Afflicted. Be Blessed everywhere, today and always, on earth and in Heaven. Amen
Saint of the Day – 31 October – Blessed Thomas Bellacci TOSF (1370-1447) Lay Friar of the Third Order of St Francis, Penitent, Confessor, renowned Missionary Preacher, Papal legate – born as Tommaso in 1370 at Florence, Italy and died on 31 October 1447 in Rieti, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – butchers, penitents, missionaries. He is also known as Thomas of Florence, Tommaso Bellacci. Blessed Thomas is venerated by the Franciscans on 25 October.
Bellacci was a butcher and became a religious after turning his life around from one of sin to one of penance and servitude to God. He travelled across the Middle East and the Italian peninsula to preach the Gospel and against heresies. He drew many young men to follow in his path of penitence.
Tommaso Bellacci was born in Florence in 1370 in the neighbourhood of the Ponte alle Grazie. His parents came from Castello di Linari in Val d’Elsa. His father was a butcher. He got into a good deal of trouble on various occasions during his youth and led such a wild and dissolute life as an adolescent, that parents warned their sons to keep their distance from him. Persuaded by a friend to change his ways, he tried to enter some religious order but found strong resistance to being accepted. He became a butcher like his father.
Bellacci was accused of having committed a serious crime in 1400, which, in fact he had not committed and so, he wandered the streets of Florence in great turmoil and fear, until he met a Priest who listened to his story, took him in and helped clear his name. The incident shocked him so much – coupled with his great gratitude to the Priest – that he shed his life of sin and decided to live a life of total penance and service to God. He joined the Third Order of Saint Francis in Fiesole under the spiritual guidance of Friar Giovanni da Stronconio. He entered as a lay brother Friar and became noted for keeping vigils and fasting. He was known for his diet of water and vegetables.
So great was Thomas’ adherence to the literal interpretation and implementation of the Franciscan Rule, that he was made the Novice Master, despite the fact that he was not a Priest. In this role, he led by example. He became part of the Observant reform and in 1414 accompanied another Friar to Naples to introduce the Observant practice in the Franciscan houses there. He remained in Naples for six years, preaching and helping to spread the reform.
After his sojourn and work in Naples, Thomas founded Monasteries in Corscia. Pope Martin V called him to preach in the northern cities against the “Fraticelli” who were a group of heretical Franciscans and was also made Vicar General at the Pope’s behest. In 1438, he and Albert Berdini of Sarteano were sent to the Middle East to cities such as Damascus and Cairo in order to promote the reunification of the Eastern and Western Churches when he was over 70. Alberto had to return home due to his ill health which left Bellacci to continue the mission alone.
He attempted to travel to Ethiopia but the Turks captured him three times. The Florentine merchants helped to secure his release twice. The third time he was again captured and suffered enslavement and persecution for several years, by now, he was perhaps in his eighties. Pope Eugene IV helped secure his release. He returned home in 1444 and spent his time in a Convent in Abruzzo until he died in 1446.
Nevertheless, Thomas still wished to return to the Orient but he died in Rieti while on a visit to Rome to request the Pope’s permission to return there.
All Hallow’s Eve: Eve of the Feast of All Hallows, that is, All Saints Day. Halloween is a day on which many quaint customs are revived. It is popular in the United States and Scotland and in the US has become the second largest secular holiday of the year.
St Ampliatus St Antoninus of Milan St Apelles of Eraclea Sintica St Arnulf of Novalesa St Begu of Hackness Bl Christopher of Romagna Bl Dominic Collins St Epimachus of Melusio St Erth of Cornwall St Foillan of Fosses Bl Irene Stefani St Jesús Miquel Girbau Bl Leon Nowakowski St Lucilla of Rome Bl Maria de Requesens Bl Modesta Moro Briz St Narcissus St Notburga of Cologne St Quentin Bl Pilar Isabel Sánchez Suárez St Stachys of Constantinople Blessed Thomas Bellacci TOSF (1370-1447)Lay Friar
Thought for the Day – 30 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Prayer to Mary, Our Mother”
“There is a story told of a devout man who was wavering before the onslaught of temptation and was accustomed to kneel before a statue of Our Lady and say this simple prayer: “Show yourself a mother to me.” When the same man had fallen into sin and, although full of remorse, had not succeeded in reforming, he went one day to Mary’s Altar and pitifully repeated his usual prayer. Immediately, he heard a gentle voice replying – “Show that you are my son.”
If we wish Our Lady to be a mother to us, we must also show her that we are her children. Earthly mothers are delighted to think that their offspring take after them. In the same way, Mary wishes to see, a reflection of her own sanctity in our thoughts, desires and actions. All this demands sacrifice, of course. It demands hard work, fervent prayer and constant watchfulness over ourselves. If we do all that we can and never lose courage, God will not refuse us His help and our good Mother, will not, fail to intercede for us!”
Quote/s of the Day – 30 October – Making our way to Life
“A person who wishes to become the Lord’s disciple must repudiate a human obligation, however honourable it may appear, if it slows us, ever so slightly, in giving the wholehearted obedience we owe to God.”
St Basil the Great (329-379)
O Lord, You have given us Your word for a light to shine upon our path, grant us so to meditate on that word and follow its teaching, that we may find in it, the light that shines more and more until the perfect day. Amen
St Jerome (343-420) “The Man of the Bible” Father and Doctor of the Church
“Rest is in Him alone. Man knows no peace in the world but he has no disturbance when he is with God.”
St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Mellifluous Doctor
“We must make our way towards eternity, never regarding what men think of us, or of our actions, studying only to please God.”
St Francis Borgia (1510-1572)
“Christ first of all, Christ in the centre of the heart, in the centre of history and of the cosmos. Humanity needs Christ intensely because, He is our “measure.” There is no realm, that cannot be touched by His strength; there is no evil, that cannot find remedy in Him, there is no problem, that cannot be solved in Him. Either Christ or nothing!”
St John Leonardi (1541-1609)
“Only one thing is necessary: Jesus Christ! Think unceasingly of Him. ”
St John Gabriel Perboyre CM (1802-1840) Martyr for Christ
“Our vocation, yours and mine, is not to go harvesting in the fields of ripe corn, Jesus does not say to us; “Lower your eyes, look at the fields and go and reap them,” our mission is still loftier. Here are Jesus’ words: “Lift up your eyes and see….” See how in My Heaven there are places empty, it is for you to fill them! … each one of you is my Moses praying on the mountain (Ex 17:8f), ask Me for labourers and I shall send them, I await only a prayer, a sigh from your heart!”
“Let us go forward in peace, our eyes upon heaven. the only one goal of our labours.”
St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face (1873 – 1897) Doctor of the Church
“We must always be ready. Let our faith be lively and active and our minds turned towards God, Who is waiting for us. There is no need to be afraid. He is good and merciful. He desires our salvation. This is a wonderfully consoling thought. God desires my salvation! Let us surrender ourselves to Him, therefore, as if we had to die this very moment!”
One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. – Luke 14:14
REFLECTION – “The world’s eternal and invisible Creator, preparing to save humankind, which for long ages had been hindered by it’s subjection to the heavy law of death, deigned “in these last days” (Heb 1:2) to become man (…) that in His mercy He might redeem those, who in justice He condemned. And so as to show the depth of His love for us, He not only became a man but a poor and humble man so that, by drawing near to us in His poverty, He might make us sharers in His riches (2 Cor 8:9). So poor did He become for our sake, that He had nowhere to lay His head: “Foxes have dens and the birds of the air have their nest but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Mt 8:20).
This is the reason why He agreed to go and dine wherever He was invited, not out of an excessive enjoyment in eating but, so that He could teach the way of salvation and stimulate faith. There He would fill the guests with light by His miracles and the servants, who were kept busy inside and were not free to go with Him, would hear the words of salvation. Indeed, He despised no-one and none were considered unworthy of His love because “he has mercy on all; he hates nothing of what he has made and takes care of them all” (Wsd 11:24).
So that He might carry out this work of salvation the Lord entered the house of an eminent Pharisee on the sabbath. The scribes and Pharisees watched Him with the intention of calling Him to account, so that if He were to cure the man with dropsy they could accuse Him of breaking the Law and, if He did not, they could accuse Him of blasphemy or inability (…) By the pure light of His word of truth, they were to see the darkness of their deceit vanish away. … Blessed Guerric of Igny O.Cist (c 1080-1157) – Cistercian Abbot (Liturgical sermons).
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, shed the light of Your glory on the peoples who are living in the shadow of death, as You did long ago, when our Lord Jesus Christ, the Sun of Justice, came among us from on high. As He taught us the way to life may we keep the precepts and finally reach our everlasting home. May the Mother of Jesus, our Lord and our always loving and merciful Mother, keep us forever in her prayers. With Jesus our Lord and our God, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You now and for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 30 October – “Month of the Holy Rosary” – Friday of the Thirtieth week in Ordinary Time
An October Prayer
Mother, at thy feet is kneeling One who loves thee–it’s thy child Who has sighed so oft’ to see thee, Bless me, Mother, Mother mild. And when storms are raging round me, And when tempests hover near, In thy own sweet arms enfold me, Shield me, Mother, Mother dear. Mother, when my Saviour calls me From this world of sin and strife, Clasp me upon thy spotless bosom, Let me bid farewell to life. Plead for me when Jesus judges, Answer for me when He asks How I’ve spent so many moments, How performed so many tasks. Tell Him I was weak and feeble, Yes, that I so often strayed From the thorny path of virtue To the one with roses laid. Yet, O Mother, tell my Jesus That I loved Him fond and true And, O Mother, dearest Mother, Tell Him I belong to you. Then He’ll place me (yes, I feel it) Close to thee, O Mother dear, Then I’ll praise and bless and thank thee Thru eternity’s long years. Amen
Saint of the Day – 30 October – Saint Germanus of Capua (Died c 541) Bishop of Capua, Italy, Confessor, Papal Legate. St Germanus was a close friend of St Benedict of Nursia. The Roman Matyrology states: St Germanus, Bishop and Confessor, a man of great sanctity, whose soul, at the hour of death, was seen by St Benedict taken to heaven by angels.
Of Germanus’s life before he was Bishop, nothing is known with certainty. The only source to provide information about this period is a hagiography penned in the ninth century. It records his father’s name as Amantius and his mother’s as Juliana. He was born in Capua in the 470s. After his father’s death, he sold his inheritance with his mother’s blessing in order to devote himself to the ascetic life. When on the death of Bishop Alexander the Capuans elected him their Bishop, Germanus at first refused the honour before being persuaded to accept.
shortly after his election, he was made a member of the legation sent by Pope Hormisdas to the court of the Emperor Justin I in Constantinople, the purpose of which was to negotiate an end to the Acacian schism between the western and eastern churches. The legation consisted of Germanus, the Alexandrian Deacon Dioscorus, a Bishop named John, a Roman Deacon named Felix, a Roman Priest named Blandus and a notary named Peter. They gathered in Rome between January and March 519. In both the Liber pontificalis and the letters of Pope Hormisdas, Germanus is always named first, indicating that he was the leader of the group.
Although the two previous missions had yielded no results, that of 519 took place in propitious circumstances. It had the support of the Ostrogothic king Theoderic and of the new Emperor and Patriarch in Constantinople, Justin I and John of Cappadocia. In a letter to Justin’s nephew, Count Justinian, Pope Hormisdas specifies that the members of his legation were selected for their “quality.”
Germanus’s itinerary on his legation is known primarily from various letters. They crossed the Adriatic to Vlorë, then passed through Ohrid on their way to Thessaloniki, where Germanus celebrated Holy Mass. They were met by Justinian ten miles outside of Constantinople. According to a letter from Germanus to Hormisdas dated 22 April 519, the population of the city received them with cheering. They met the Emperor and separately the Senate on the Monday of Holy Week (24–31 March). On Thursday, they met with the Eemperor, Senate and Patriarch together in the Palace to present the libellus Hormisdae, the document entrusted to them by the Pope outlining his conditions for the healing of the schism. The conditions were accepted. Germanus and his colleagues remained in the east for another year securing the acceptance of the Patriarchs outside of Constantinople. On 9 July 520, the Emperor wrote to Pope Hormisdas to commend his legates. The Liber pontificalis credits Germanus with deftly handling the controversy, the calculation of the date of Easter and the reintegration of Bishops deposed by the Emperor Anastasius I.
Little is known of Germanus’s life in his own Diocese after the end of his successful mission to the east. According to the tenth-century Chronicon Salernitanum, Germanus changed the dedication of the Basilica of Capua, from the Apostles, to Saints Stephen and Agatha, after depositing there some of their relics that he had obtained as a reward, from the Emperor himself. According to his eighth- or ninth-century biography, Bishop Sabinus of Canosa was an acquaintance of Germanus. Both went on papal missions to fight monophysitism in the eastern churches, Sabinus in 536. Sabinus was also close to Benedict of Nursia. Pope Gregory the Great in his Dialogues mentions how Benedict, praying atop Monte Cassino, had a vision of the soul of Germanus in the form of a ball of fire being carried to heaven by angels. He later learned that this vision coincided with Germanus’s death.
The death of Germanus can be placed in early 541 because of an inscription which gives the start of his successor Victor’s pontificate in that year. After his death, Germanus was venerated as a saint in southern Italy throughout the early Middle Ages. In his Dialogues, Gregory the Great prays to Germanus to intercede on behalf of the soul of a Deacon, named Paschasius in Purgatory. The image below shows St Germanus and Paschasius meet in the afterlife (upper left corner), from De balneis Puteolanis by Peter of Eboli (twelfth century).
When Count Lando I of Capua relocated the city of Capua in 849, Germanus’s body was moved with it. In late 873, following a campaign against the Arabs harassing Capua, the Emperor Louis II of Italy took some of Germanus’s relics to Monte Cassino. The village at the foot of the hill, ancient Casinum, became known as San Germano. The Empress Engelberga took another part of his relics to endow the Monastery of San Sisto that she founded in Piacenza in 874. Since the Vita sancti Germani episcopi Capuani (Life of Saint Germanus) mentions neither of these transfers, it was probably finished before 873
St Arilda St Asterius of Amasea Blessed Benvenuta Bojani OP (1254-1292) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2019/10/30/saint-of-the-day-30-october-blessed-benvenuta-bojani-op-1254-1292/ St Egelnoth the Good St Eutropia of North Africa St Gerard of Potenza St Germanus of Capua (Died c 541) Bishop St Herbert of Tours Bl Jean-Michel Langevin Bl John Slade St Lucanus of Lagny St Marcellus the Centurion St Marcian of Syracuse St Maximus of Cumae St Nanterius of Saint-Mihiel Bl Oleksa Zarytsky (1912-1963) Martyr Bl Raymond of Cardona St Saturninus of Cagliari St Serapion of Antioch St Talarica of Scotland Bl Terrence Albert O’Brien St Theonestus of Philippi St Zenobia of Aegea St Zenobius of Aegea — Martyrs in Africa: A group of 100 to 200 Christians murdered in the early persecutions, and about whom we know nothing except that they died for their faith.
Thought for the Day – 25 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Mary, Our Hope”
“In the beautiful prayer, known as the Salve Regina or Hail, Holy Queen, the Church salutes Mary as “our life, our sweetness and our hope.” Mary is our hope, because, she gave us our Saviour, Jesus and, because, she prays to Him continually for the graces which we need. Following the example of Luther, modern Protestants raise the objection that Mary cannot be regarded as a source of hope, because, all our trust should be placed in God. Anyone who places his trust in creatures, draws down God’s curse upon himself, they say and, they go on to quote from Jeremiah: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man” (Jer 17:5). But this is true only, when we trust in creatures independently of God, as if we can derive any good from them, without recourse to God. We invoke Mary, however, as the Mother of God and our mediatrix with Him. She is our hope, insofar as she obtains for us from God, the graces and favours which we require. St Bernard assures us, that God has placed in Mary’s hands, all the riches which He wishes to bestow on us (Serm de aquaed). “He will never experience eternal ruin,” says St Anselm, “for whom Mary has once prayed.” St Bernard calls upon Mary as the foundation of all his hope (Ibid). Let us remember, that Mary is our loving Mother who wishes us to pray to her, because, she knows that if she intercedes on our behalf, she will certainly be heard. It should be most consoling to us to have such a good and powerful Mother in whom, we can safely trust in every peril and in every necessity. Let us pray to her with love and faith, in the certainty that, we shall be answered in the way that is best for us. Let us say along with St John Damascene: “O Mother of God, if I place my trust in you, I shall be saved. If I am under your protection, I have nothing to fear, because to be devoted to you, is to possess a weapon of salvation which God grants only to those, whom He desires to redeem” (Serm de Nat, cap 4).”
One Minute Reflection – 29 October – Thursday of the Thirtieth week in Ordinary Time, Ephesians 6:10-20, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10, Luke 13:31-35 and the Memorial of Blessed Chiara “Luce” Badano (1971 –1990)
“How often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings and you were not willing!” – Luke 13:34
REFLECTION – “Thus shall the spiritual thirst of Christ be quenched. This is His thirst – His love and longing for us that goes on enduring until we see the Day of Judgement. For of us who are to be saved and be Christ’s joy and bliss, some are alive now, while others- are ‘yet unborn and so, it will go on until that Day. His thirst and loving longing, is to have us all, integrated in Himself, to His great enjoyment. At least, so I see it (…) Because He is God, He is ‘supreme blessedness and never has been nor ever shall be other. His eternal blessedness can neither be increased nor diminished (…) Because He is human – this too is known by the creed and by the revelations – it was shown, that He, though God, suffered pain, passion, and death, for love of us and to bring us to blessedness (…) Since Christ is our Head, He must be both glorious and impassable. But since He is also the Body, in which all His members are joined (Eph 1:23), He is not yet fully either of these. Therefore, the same desire and thirst that He had upon the cross (Jn 19:28) – and this desire, longing and thirst was with Him from the very first, I believe He has still and shall continue to have, until the last soul to be saved has arrived at it’s blessedness. For just as there is in God the quality of sympathy and pity, so too in Him is there, that of thirst and longing. And in virtue of this longing which is in Christ, we in turn, long for Him too. No soul comes to heaven without it. This quality of longing and thirst springs from God’s eternal goodness just as pity does (…) and, this thirst will persist in Him, as long as we are in need, drawing us up, to His blessedness.” – Blessed Julian of Norwich (c 1342-c 1416) (aged 73–74) Anchorite, Mystic (Revelations of divine love, ch. 31)
PRAYER – Shed Your clear light on our hearts, Lord, so that walking continually in the way of Your commandments, we may never be deceived or misled. May Your loving Heart draw us more and more to Itself, so that Your love may be ours. Grant that the prayers of Blessed Chiara Badano, who always held Your Light up for others to see by, give us strength. Through Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 29 October – Thursday of the Thirtieth week in Ordinary Time and the Memorial of St Gaetano Errico (1791-1860), Founder of the Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary
Prayer to the Two Loving Hearts By St John Eudes (1501-1680)
O Jesus, only Son of God, only Son of Mary, I offer You the most loving Heart of Your divine Mother which is more precious and pleasing to You than all hearts.
O Mary, Mother of Jesus, I offer you the most adorable Heart of your well-beloved Son, who is the life and love and joy of your Heart.
Blessed be the Most Loving Heart and Sweet Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the most glorious Virgin Mary, His Mother, in eternity and forever. Amen
Saint of the Day – 29 October – Blessed Chiara “Luce” Badano (1971 –1990) Laywoman – born on 29 October 1971 in Sassello, Italy and died on 7 October 1990 (aged 18) at the place of her birth. At age nine she joined the Focolare Movement and received the nickname “Luce” by the founder Chiara Lubich. When she was 16 she was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, a painful bone cancer. Chiara succumbed to the cancer on October 7, 1990, after a two-year battle with the disease. She was Beatified on 25 September 2010 at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Divine Love in Rome. Patronages – Youth.
n 1971, after praying and hoping for a baby for more than 10 years, Ruggero and Teresa Badano of in the small village of Sassello, in Italy, welcomed a little girl whom they named Chiara.
Even at the age of four, Chiara seemed aware of the needs of others. She would sort through her toys to give some to poor children and she would never give away just the old or broken ones. She invited less-fortunate people into the family’s home for holidays and visited the elderly at a retirement centre. When other children were sick and confined to bed, Chiara visited them. She loved the stories of the Gospel and loved to attend Mass.
When she was 9, Chiara became involved with the Focolare movement and it’s branch for young people. The group focused on the image of the forsaken Christ as the means to overcome difficult times. Chiara later wrote that, “I discovered that Jesus, forsaken, is the key to unity with God and I want to choose Him as my only spouse. I want to be ready to welcome Him when He comes. To prefer Him above all else.”
While Chiara was a conscientious student, she struggled in school and even failed her first year of high school. She was often teased in school for her strong beliefs and was given the nickname “Sister” but, she was also very popular. She had a lot of friends, she played sports and she loved to sing and dance. But when asked, she said she did not try to bring Jesus to her friends with words. She tried to bring Jesus to them with her example and how she lived her life.
During the summer of 1988, when she was 16 years old, Chiara had a life-changing experience in Rome with the Focolare Movement. She wrote to her parents, “This is a very important moment for me – it is an encounter with Jesus Forsaken. It hasn’t been easy to embrace this suffering but this morning Chiara Lubich explained to the children that they have to be the spouse of Jesus Forsaken.” After this trip she started to correspond regularly with Chiara Lubich. She then asked for her new name as this was going to be the start of a new life for her. Chiara Lubich gave her the name Chiara Luce. This was a kind of a play on words since in Italian “Chiara” is a common girl’s name, taken for example from the name of St Clare of Assisi but it is also an everyday word meaning “clear.” “Luce” is occasionally found as a girl’s name in Italy, though it is mostly secular rather than religious and it, too, is also an everyday word meaning “light.” So “Chiara Luce” means “clear light.” Lubich wrote to Chiara that “your luminous face shows your love for Jesus,” which is why she gave her the name Luce.
In this same summer of 1988, Chiara felt a sting of pain in her shoulder while playing tennis. At first she thought nothing of it but when the pain continued to be present, she underwent a series of tests. The doctors then discovered she had a rare and painful form of bone cancer, osteogenic sarcoma. In response, Chiara simply declared, “It’s for you, Jesus; if you want it, I want it, too.”
Throughout the treatment process, Chiara refused to take any morphine so she could stay aware. She felt it was important to know her illness and pain so she could offer up her sufferings. She said, “It reduces my lucidity and there’s only one thing I can do now: to offer my suffering to Jesus because I want to share as much as possible in His sufferings on the cross.” During her stays in the hospital, she would take the time to go on walks with another patient who was struggling with depression. These walks were beneficial to the other patient but caused Chiara great pain. Her parents often encouraged her to stay and rest but she would simply reply, “I’ll be able to sleep later on.”
One of her doctors, Dr Antonio Delogu, said, “Through her smile, and through her eyes full of light, she showed us that death doesn’t exist; only life exists.” A friend from the FocColare Movement said, “At first we thought we’d visit her to keep her spirits up but very soon we understood that, in fact, we were the ones who needed her. Her life was like a magnet drawing us to her.”
While undergoing a painful medical procedure, Chiara was visited by a lady, “When the doctors began to carry out this small but quite demanding, procedure, a lady with a very beautiful and luminous smile came in. She came up to me and took me by the hand and her touch filled me with courage. In the same way that she arrived, she disappeared, and I could no longer see her. But my heart was filled with an immense joy and all fear left me. In that moment I understood that if we’re always ready for everything, God sends us many signs of his love.”
Chiara’s faith and spirit never dwindled even after the cancer left her unable to walk and a CAT scan showed that any hope of remission was gone. In response, she simply said, “If I had to choose between walking again and going to heaven, I wouldn’t hesitate. I would choose heaven.” On 19 July 1989, Chiara almost died of a haemorrhage. Her faith did not falter as she said, “Don’t shed any tears for me. I’m going to Jesus. At my funeral, I don’t want people crying but singing with all their hearts.”
Cardinal Saldarini, Archbishop of Turin, Italy, heard about Chiara’s illness and visited her at the hospital. He asked her, “The light in your eyes is splendid. Where does it come from?” Chiara simply replied, “I try to love Jesus as much as I can.”
Before she died, she told her mother, “Oh Mama, young people…young people…they are the future. You see, I can’t run anymore but how I would like to pass on to them the torch, like in the Olympics! Young people have only one life and it’s worthwhile to spend it well.”
When Chiara realised she was not going to get better, she started to plan for her “wedding” (her funeral) with her mother. She chose the music, songs, flowers and the readings for Mass. She wanted to be buried in her “wedding dress” a white dress with a pink waist, because her death would allow her to become the bride of Christ. She told her mother, “When you’re getting me ready, Mum, you have to keep saying to yourself, ‘Chiara Luce is now seeing Jesus.’“
During her final hours, Chiara made her final confession and received the Eucharist. She had her family and friends pray with her, “Come Holy Spirit.” Chiara Badano died at 4AM on 7 October 1990, The Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, with her parents at her bedside. Her final words were, “Bye, Mum, be happy, because I am.” Two thousand people attended her funeral; the mayor of Sassello shut down the town so people would be able to attend.
Chiara’s cause for sainthood was promoted by the Most Reverend Livio Maritano, the former Bishop of Acqui Terme, Italy, beginning in 1999. It was through this process that she was declared a “Venerable” on 3 July 2008. In December 2009, Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged the miracle of a young Italian boy whose parents interceded to Chiara to heal him from meningitis that was destroying his organs. His doctors could not medically explain his sudden healing. 25000 people attended her Beatification ceremony which was held at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Divine Love in Rome.
She was a normal, everyday girl and possibly a normal, everyday saint. Chiara’s brief life showed us how much one person can accomplish in God’s name.
Martyrs of Lucania – (4 saints): A group of Christians executed together for their faith. Only their names have survived – Felician, Hyacinth, Lucius and Quintus. Their martyrdom occurred in Lucania, southern Italy.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed Arsenio Merino Miguel • Blessed Benito Paradela Novoa • Blessed Joaquina Rey Aguirre • Blessed José Ruiz Bruixola • Blessed Maurilio Tobar González • Blessed Ponciano Nieto Asensio • Blessed Victoria Arregui Guinea
Thought for the Day – 25 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Mary, Mother of God”
“The near-infinite greatness of Mary, flows from the fact, that she is the Mother of God. The Eternal Word of the Father, consubstantial with Him in nature and equal to Him in majesty, willed to become man in order to set us free from the slavery of sin and to regain Heaven for us. He became man in the chaste womb of the Virgin Mary. He took a human body and soul and was born of her, as the God-Man. For this reason, there is attributed to His Divine Person, the title of Son of Mary and to Mary, the title of Mother of God.
There is a relationship between Mary and each of the three Divine Persons, for she is the daughter of God the Father, the spouse of the Holy Spirit by whose power the Word became incarnate in her and the mother of the Word made Man. She is, moreover, in the words of Dante, the “termine fisso di eterno consiglio” (Paradiso 33:1-3). In other words, she is the centre of the eternal plan which God established for the redemption of the human race. It was God’s eternal design to reunite creation to the Uncreated, by means of Mary. She became the mother of the Eternal Word, in whom the divine and human natures were indissolubly united. He redeemed us by His infinite merits but, in this work of redemption, He employed the co-operation of His holy Mother. All the graces, privileges and virtues of Mary, flow from this great mystery of her divine Motherhood. As befitted the future Mother of God, she was conceived free from the stain of original sin and full of grace. Her mortal life was a continuous ascent towards the highest peak of sanctity. When she died, she was assumed body and soul into Heaven, where she was crowned in glory, as Queen of Angels and Queen of Saints. When we consider the sublime nobility of Our Lady, we should be moved to love and venerate her. This love and veneration does not subtract in the slightest from God’s glory, because, she is the Mother of God. In fact, it is a great advantage to us, to imitate her and to call on her to intercede for us.”
Quote/s of the Day – 28 October – Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles and Martyrs, Readings: Ephesians 2:19-22, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5, Luke 6:12-16
“In those days he departed to the mountain to pray and he spent the night in prayer to God.”
“Prayer is the place of refuge for every worry, a foundation for cheerfulness, a source of constant happiness, a protection against sadness.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church
“We pray then to Him, through Him, in Him and we speak along with Him and He along with us.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard, more than the proceedings, from the mouth.”
St Bonaventure (1221-1274) Seraphic Doctor of the Church
“Prayer is an act of love, words are not needed. Even if sickness distracts from thoughts, all that is needed is the will to love.”
St Teresa of Jesus of Avila (1515-1582)
“Give yourself to prayer and try by it, to procure, first the amendment of your fault, then the practice of Christian virtues and finally a great love of God.”
Bl Sebastian Valfre (1629-1710)
“He who prays most receives most.”
St Alphonsus Maria Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
“My little children, your hearts are small but prayer stretches them and makes them capable of loving God. Through prayer we receive a foretaste of heaven and something of paradise comes down upon us. Prayer never leaves us without sweetness. It is honey that flows into the souls and makes all things sweet. When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun.”
St John Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)
“Prayer is our strength, our sword, our consolation and the key to paradise.”
St Joseph Freinademetz (1852-1908)
“To pray, is to think about Jesus and love Him. The more we love, the better we pray.”
Bl Charles of Jesus de Foucauld (1858-1916)
“Prayer is an aspiration of the heart. It is a simple glance directed to Heaven. It is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial as well as joy.”
St Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face (1873-1897) Doctor of the Church
“Without Prayer nothing good is done. God’s works are done with our hands joined and on our knees. Even when we run, we must remain spiritually kneeling before Him.”
“In those days he departed to the mountain to pray and he spent the night in prayer to God.” – Luke 6:12
REFLECTION – “So the Lord prays, not to entreat for Himself but to intercede for me. Although the Father placed all things in the power of His Son, yet the Son, in order to fulfil the form of a man, thinks that the Father must be entreated for us because He is our Advocate. If He is an Advocate, He must intercede on account of my sins.
It says, “He passed the whole night in prayer.” A model is given to you. A form is prescribed which you must imitate. Unless I am mistaken, it is nowhere found that He prayed with the apostles. Everywhere He entreats alone, for human prayers do not grasp the counsels of God, nor can anyone share with Christ, in the inward mysteries.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Father and Doctor (Exposition of the Gospel of Luke, 5.)
PRAYER – Lord God, You taught us to call upon Your name, through the preaching of the Apostles. Open our eyes each day, grant that we may see Jesus Your Son at our side, open our ears that we may hear His voice, open our mouths, that we may beg forgiveness and proclaim the good news, as we follow the way Your Son carved out for us. At the intercession of Sts Simon and Jude, may Your Church continue to grow and to hope in Your love. We make our prayer through Jesus our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 28 October – Saint Fidelis of Como (Died c 304) Soldier-Saint Martyr during the reign of Emperor Maximian.
The name of Fidelis is often repeated in Como, where an ancient, beautiful Romanesque Church, with apses and dome, is dedicated to the Saint of today. A saint, therefore, typical of the region and the city of Como, almost as much as St Abundius, patron saint of Como.
Faithful was this Martyr in the first centuries and the news about him is much scarcer than what his clear fame would suggest. He was probably a Christian missionary, sent by the Bishop of Milan to the shores of the lake, still inhabited by infidels. In fact, a somewhat late Passion gives the name of Materno, Bishop of Milan, who, in the third century, would have sent Fidelis to convert the idolaters of the region.
Preaching and teaching, St Fidelis would have reached the northern end of the lake basin. Here he would suffer a quick death, perhaps in the persecution of Maximian.
Another tradition says that he was a soldier of the imperial legions, a deserter, with two companions, when Diocletian and Maximian published the first edicts of persecution against Christians, aimed at purging the army and putting public officials under investigation.
Arrested in Como, Fidelis was allegedly tried, sentenced and finally beheaded. After his death, the references to St Fidelis are, if not more numerous, at least more precise. Ennodio, narrating the life of Saint Anthony of Lérins, remembers that his first refuge was at the burial of St Fidelis, where, he adds, “the Lario puts down the threat of its white rams, when the earth opposes its harsh rest of the banks.”
This description may suggest that the Martyr’s burial was actually in Como, on the narrowest and steepest end of the large, often stormy lake. But other sources testify in favour of the burial of St Fidelis in Samolaco, that is, at the other end of the lake, in the very place of the beheading. It is certain that even before the year 1000, the relics of Fidelis were transferred to Como, in that Church – until then dedicated to Santa Eufemia – which was to take the name of the Martyr and honour him over the centuries.
But it seemed that the glory of the city by the lake was not enough for the ancient Martyr. In 1572, St Charles Borromeo solemnly transported the remains to Milan, to a Church then built in the centre of the city. And in the name of the Church of St Fidelis, the memory of the Martyr of Como also survives in the Lombard metropolis, from where he left a confident and faithful missionary.
At Milan, in 1559, St Charles Borromeo commissioned the church of St Fidelis by the artist/architect Pellegrino Tibaldi.
In the Diocese of Como, St Fidelis’ memory is celebrated today.
Lord of Miracles/Señor de los Milagros de Nazarenas: A mid-17th-century painting of the Crucifixion that is venerated in Lima, Peru and its celebration involves one of the largest processions in the world.
It was painted by an unnamed African taken to Peru as a slave from what is now Angola. Above the Cross is the Holy Spirit and God the Father. Below and to the right of Jesus, is His mother, the Virgin Mary with her heart pierced by a sword of sorrow. Kneeling and weeping at the foot of the cross is St Mary Magdalene.
The name originated on 13 November 1655 when everything around it was destroyed in an earthquake that left the painting standing and undamaged. Christ is shown enduring the pain of crucifixion. Every year in October, hundreds of thousands of devotees from all races and economic backgrounds participate in a procession honouring the image through the streets of Lima. Boulevards are decorated in purple on 18,19 and the final Feast 28 October to celebrate the Lord of Miracles.
St Abdias of Babylon St Abraham of Ephesus St Alberic of Stavelot St Anastasia the Elder St Anglinus of Stavelot St Cyril of Rome St Cyrilla of Rome St Diomedes the Younger St Dorbhene of Iona St Eadsin of Canterbury St Elius of Lyon St Faro of Meaux St Fidelis of Como (Died c 304) Soldier-Saint Martyr St Genesius of Thiers St Gioan Dat St Godwin of Stavelot St Maria Ascuncion St Remigius of Lyons St Rodrigo Aguilar Aleman St Salvius of Amiens — Martyrs of Avila – 3 saints: Two sisters and a brother who, during a period of persecution, fled Talavera de la Reina, Spain, were caught and executed. Martyrs: Christeta, Sabina and Vincent. 303 in Avila, Spain.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed Claudio Julían García San Román • Blessed Maria Asuncion
Thought for the Day – 25 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Holy Mary”
“The Angel’s greeting was later completed by the salavation of St Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth saw the Blessed Virgin coming to visit her, she cried out in humble veneratin: “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!” (Lk 1:42).
In the first part of the Hail Mary, then, we pay her the words of the Gospel, the highest tributes ever accorded to any human creature, proclaiming her to be full of grace, blessed among women and Mother of the Redeemer. The second part, which was later added by the Church, is a heartfelt supplication addressed to Mary as the Mother of God and our Mother. “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, amen.” It would be hard to find a more touching plea. We ask our heavenly Mother to intercede for us now because we have such great need of her assistance in this vale of tears and temptations. May she be always by our side, to shelter us beneath her mantle!”
Quote/s of the Day – 13 October – Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Ephesians 5:21-33,Psalms 128:1-2, 3,4-5, Luke 13:18-21
“Just as the Father who has life sent me and I have life because of the Father, so the man who feeds on me will have life because of me.”
“The doctrine of Christ is fittingly called leaven because, the bread is Christ.”
St Anbrose (340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church
“If Christ did not want to dismiss the Jews without food in the desert, for fear that they would collapse on the way, it was to teach us, that it is dangerous to try to get to Heaven, without the Bread of Heaven.”
St Jerome (343-420) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Jesus Christ, the God-Man, was born in a manger and is spiritually reborn on the altar. He suffered on Calvary and continues to offer Himself on the altar. In His earthly life, He spread His teaching and worked miracles among the crowds. In the Eucharist, He spans the centuries and communicates Himself to all.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor
“And He departed from our sight that we might return to our heart and find Him there. For He left us and behold, He is here!”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“O you sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? … Behold – daily He humbles Himself as when from heaven’s royal throne He came down into the womb of the Virgin. Daily, He Himself, comes to us with like humility; daily He descends from the bosom of the Father, upon the altar, in the hands of the priest.”
St Francis of Assisi (c 1181–1226)
“The Holy Eucharist, is a fire that purifies and consumes all our miseries and imperfections. Do everything in your power to make yourself worthy of the Eucharist and this Divine Fire, will take care of the rest.”
Again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.” … Luke 13:20-21
REFLECTION – “There are three measures – of the flesh, of the soul and of the spirit. This is truer of the spirit in which we all live. The woman, who prefigures the church, mixes with them the virtue of spiritual doctrine, until the whole hidden inner person of the heart is leavened and the heavenly bread arises to grace.
The doctrine of Christ is fittingly called leaven because the bread is Christ. The apostle said, “For we, being many, are one bread, one body.” Leavening happens, when the flesh does not lust against the Spirit, nor the Spirit against the flesh. We mortify the deeds of the flesh and, the soul, aware that through the breath of God, it has received the breath of life, shuns the earthly germs of worldly needs.” – St Ambrose (340-397) (Exposition of the Gospel of Luke, 7)
PRAYER – True light of the world, Lord Jesus Christ, as You enlighten all men for their salvation, give us grace, we pray, to herald Your coming by preparing the ways of justice and of peace. Help us Lord, that we may sprout and bear fruit, fitting to grow and be a home of comfort to our neighbour. By the prayers of St Emeline of Boulancourt, may we too be beacons of Your Light and of the glory of Your Kingdom. Through Jesus our Lord, Who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering -27 October – Tuesday of the Thirtieth week in Ordinary Time
Jesus, My Friend By St Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682) Excerpt
O Jesus! You are my true Friend, my only Friend. You take a part in all my misfortunes; You take them on Yourself, You know how to change them into blessings. You listen to me with the greatest kindness when I relate my troubles to You, and You have always balm to pour on my wounds. I find You at all times, I find You everywhere, You never go away, if I have to change my dwelling, I find You wherever I go. You are never weary of listening to me; You are never tired of doing me good. O Jesus! Grant that I may die praising You, that I may die loving You, that I may die for the love of You. Amen
Saint of the Day – 27 October – Saint Emeline of Boulancourt (c 1115- c 1178) Virgin, Lay Sister, Hermitess, living according to Cistercian rule, Penitent, Prophetess – born as Emeline d’Yèvres in c 1115 in the Diocese of Troyes, France and died in c 1178 at Longeville, France of natural causes. Patronage – single lay women.
Born in the 12th century in France, Emeline was a devout soul who deeply desired to do God’s will. She was led to the male Cistercian Abbey of Boulancourt at Longeville, France, where she established herself, with the Monks approval in a barn of Perte-Sèche which belonged to the Abbey.
There, Emeline led a solitary life a few kilometres from the Abbey and followed the Cistercian rule as much as she could, including sharing in the hours of labour. The rest of her days were given to the Lord in prayer and meditation, enhanced by fasting, she fasted totally three days of the week, wore the hair shirt and engaged in other forms of mortification, for example, Emeline went barefoot in both summer and winter.
Emeline’s prophetic gifts soon attracted the attention of many who came to find her to consult with her for spiritual guidance, for her reputation for holiness was great.
She was known to predict with accuracy, future events but was most concerned with the visitor’s relationship with God. Humility marked her interaction with everyone and she never used her heavenly gifts for selfish gain.
Emeline died in c 1178 and was buried under the altar of the Couvent des Dames, attached to the Abbey of Boulancourt where a perpetual flame was maintained at her tomb. Then, when the chapel was destroyed, her remains were transferred, along with those of Sainte Asceline and Saint Gossuin, to the Church of Boulancourt. Sadly, nothing remains of these tombs today after the violent excesses of the French Revolution.
Since she neither married nor professed vows with any religious community, St Emeline is known as the patron saint of single lay women.
Prayer O God, who called Your handmaid blessed Emeline, to seek You before all else, grant that, serving You, through her example and intercession, with a pure and humble heart, we may come at last to Your eternal glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
Note 1: The first Cistercian Monastery for women, Le Tart Abbey, was established at Tart-l’Abbaye in the Diocese of Langres (now Dijon), in the year 1125, by nuns from the Benedictine Monastery of Juilly and with the co-operation of Saint Stephen Harding, Abbot of Cîteaux. At Juilly, a dependence of Molesme Abbey, Humbeline, the Saint Bernard of Clairvaux’ sister, lived and died. The sisters became known as the Trappistines.
Note 2: Today we have “extern sisters” who are members of the Monastic family. They make perpetual rather than solemn profession. Theirs is a vocation within a vocation. They are contemplatives but they are called to serve the monastic community, so that the contemplative life and the observance of enclosure, can be better lived by the nuns. Externs serve the community and act as liaisons of the community to those outside.
St Capitolina St Colman of Senboth-Fola St Colman of Templeshambo St Desiderius of Auxerre St Elesbaan of Ethiopia St Emeline of Boulancourt (c 1115-c 1178) Virgin, Lay Sister, Hermitess St Erotheides St Florentius of Trois-Châteaux St Frumentius (Died c 383) “Apostle to Ethiopia“ St Frumentius’ Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2018/10/27/saint-of-the-day-27-october-st-frumentius-died-c-383-apostle-to-ethiopia/ St Gaudiosus of Naples Bl Goswin of Clairvaux St Namatius of Clermont St Odrian of Waterford Bl Salvador Mollar Ventura St Thraseas of Eumenia St Uni
Thought for the Day – 25 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Hail Mary”
“After the Lord’s Prayer, there is no more beautiful prayer than the Hail Mary, which we should recite with particular devotion in the decades of the Holy Rosary. At the beginning of the Rosary, we can imgine that we are witnesses of the Annunciation to Mary, in her home at Nazareth. An Angel descends from Heaven and bows before the Blessed Virgin as she kneels, absorbed in prayer. “Hail, full of grace,” he says, “the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women” (Lk 1:26-28). We should join with the Angel of God in repeating these words fervently and devoutly.
The constant repetition of this prayer is very pleasing to Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother. When we greet her with the words of the Angel, we remid her of the great mystery of the Incarnation, which was the beginning of her lofty mission as co-redemptrix and the dawn of Christian civilisation.
Even when we say these words over and over again, they can never become monotonous. When a son is speaking to his mother, every word possesses an unlimited warmth and meaning because, it is the expression of a boundless love. When we recite the decades of the Rosary, we should think of the heavenly Mother who is watching over us and listening to us, eager to console and assist us. She loves us with a maternal love but, she requires us to love her also and to prove that we are her children by imitating her virtues.”