Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair both with God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, our most Blessed and Beloved Virgin Mother Mary and the Church. "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco
With the Saints, we "serve the Lord with one consent and serve the Lord with one pure language, not indeed to draw them forth from their secure dwelling-places, not superstitiously to honour them, or wilfully to rely on the, ... but silently to contemplate them for edification, thereby encouraging our faith, enlivening our patience..."
Blessed John Henry Newman
Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions.
"For the saints are sent to us by God
as so many sermons.
We do not use them, it is they who move us
and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.”
Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975)
This is a papal fidelity site.
Loyal and Obedient to the Current Pope and to the Magisterium United With Him.
Saint of the Day – 22 July – St Wandrille of Fontenelle (c 605–668) Priest, Monk, Abbot – born c 605 near Verdun, Austrasia (in modern France) and died on 22 July 668 of natural causes.
Born in the Verdun region at the beginning of the 7th century, into a family related to the mayor of the palace, Pépin d’Héristal, father of Charles Martel, Saint Wandrille entered the Court of King Dagobert I at a young age, who granted him the title of count and entrusted him with the administration of the royal domains.
He carried out his office with loyalty but his preference led him to lead a life consecrated to God. He had also made a spiritual friendship with other dignitaries, such as Didier the treasurer and Dadon the chancellor, who led a life of mortification at court. Married out of obedience to his parents, Wandrille agreed with his wife to keep their virginity and both retired to a Monastery.
He, therefore, retired to one of his properties in Lorraine, called Montfaucon, near the Holy Hermit Baldric. Informed of his defection, King Dagobert summoned Wandrille, who appeared at the palace in his ascetic garment but beaming with celestial brilliance and obtained from the king his authorisation to leave the world. He then went to the Jura, to restore the Hermitage founded by Saint Ursanne.
Following the tradition of the Irish Monks and of Saint Columban, he led an extremely mortified life, spent almost all his sleepless nights, barefoot, reciting Psalms and when temptations oppressed him, he would throw himself into a frozen pond. Desirous of assimilating more fully the heritage of Saint Columban, he went to the Monastery of Bobbio, founded by the latter in Italy and there he learnt perfection in the experience of community life.
Back in Gaul, he stopped at the Monastery of Romainmoutier which had been restored by disciples of Saint Columban and lived there for ten years.
Warned by an Angel of the mission he had to undertake for the salvation of many souls, he left Jura for Neustria. In Rouen, he found his friend Dadon, who had become a Bishop under the name of St Ouen and was Ordained by him as a Deacon.
After having received the Priesthood from the hands of Saint Omer, Bishop of Thérouanne, he assisted Saint Ouen in the evangelisation of his Diocese. After a few years (649), the heart still altered from the conversation with God in solitude, he obtained the authorisation of his Bishop to settle in the marshy valley of Fontenelle, in the forest of Jumièges, acquired by his nephew, Gond who had decided to give up the world.
Striving with tireless zeal to clear the land, Wandrille and the growing number of disciples who had gathered around him, built four churches and cells there. Showing the example in manual work, the Saint was the first for Prayer and he taught his monks to strive always forward towards perfection, saying: “We must not count the years that we have spent in the Monastery but rather, those which we have spent in the irreproachable practice of the divine commandments. May fraternal charity be your link and put yourselves at the service of one another. Your adversary, the devil, seeing you united in this way, will flee very far, for he cannot approach the one whom he sees united in mind and heart with those around him.”
Wandrille only left the Monastery to preach to the pagans of the region, or to go and found other Monasteries, five in number, organised like Fontenelle by harmonising the Irish tradition of Saint Colomban and the rule of Saint Benedict which was beginning to take hold and spreading in France. Below is the New Benedictine Fontanelle Monastery on the same site as the original.
Having ruled his Monastery for nineteen years, Saint Wandrille, who lamented to remain in exile on earth, fell ill and went into a three-day ecstasy, during which he saw the door of heaven open and the throne of glory which was prepared for him.
Returning from this vision, he exhorted his disciples to mutual charity, appointed his successor and smiling at the Angels and the Saints who had come to welcome him, he fell asleep in peace, on 22 July 668, in the presence of Saint Ouen and of his three hundred disciples.
He was buried at Fontanelle but during the Viking invasions, Wandrille’s relics were dispersed to various locations and shared between various churches, including the abbey of Saint-Pierre-au-Mont-Blandin in Ghent (now in Belgium). Wandrille’s cult was celebrated in England prior to the Norman Conquest of 1066.
In the 19th century one of his relics remained – his skull was found in Liège. It was brought back to the Abbey, when the new church was dedicated in 1967. It can be seen today in a modern reliquary.
Wandrille is apparently a common name in France and in the new Monastery of Fontanelle, the Monks have established a “Wandrille Day” on the Memorial of St Wandrille. The day is devoted to Holy Mass, prayer and recreation too, celebrating all the many ‘Wandrilles’ of all ages, who attend. Such a lovely way of honouring St Wandrille’s feast!
St Baudry of Montfaucon
Bl Benno of Osnabruck
St Claudius Marius Victorinus of Saussaye
St Cyril of Antioch
Bl Jacques Lombardie
St John Lloyd
St Joseph of Palestine
St Lucia Wang Wangzhi Blessed “María Inés Teresa of the Blessed Sacrament” / Manuela de Jesus Arias Espinosa (1904-1981) Her Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/07/22/saint-of-the-day-22-july-blessed-maria-ines-teresa-of-the-blessed-sacrament/
St Maria Wang Lishi
St Meneleus of Ménat
St Movean of Inis-Coosery
St Pancharius of Besancon
Bl Paolo de Lara
St Philip Evans
St Plato of Ancyra
St Syntyche of Philippi
St Theophilus of Cyprus St Wandrille of Fontenelle (c 605–668) Priest, Monk, Abbot
Martyrs of Marula/Massylis: – 3 saints: Three Christians martyred together. We know nothing else about them but the names – Ajabosus, Andrew and Elian. They were martyred in Massylis (Marula), Numidia (in modern Algeria).
Martyrs of Massilitani: A group of Christians martyred together in northern Africa. Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote about them.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Bl Jaime María Carretero Rojas
Bl Joaquin Rodríguez Bueno
Bl José María Mateos Carballido
Bl Juan Durán Cintas
Bl Ramón María Pérez Sous
Thought for the Day – 21 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Nature and Grace
“Observe diligently, the motions of nature and grace,” says The Imitation of Christ, “for they move with great contrariety and subtlety and, can hardly be distinguished but by a spiritual man and, one that is inwardly enlightened” (Bk III c54).
The struggle between fallen nature and grace is due to original sin, which extinguished in us the supernatural life and gave rise to the disharmony which exists between our lower faculties and reason and between reason and God.
Even the Saints experienced this fearful internal battle between good and evil. “I see another law in my members,” says St Paul, “warring against the law of my mind” (Rom 7:23).
Elsewhere he complains that “the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh” (Gal 5:17) and that the temptations of the flesh assailed him so strongly, that he pleaded with God to save him.
But God’s reply to his entreaties was: “My grace is sufficient for thee, for strength is made perfect in weakness” (Cf 2 Cor 12:7-9).
This does not mean that human nature is substantially corrupt and incapable of doing good as a result of sin.
The inclination towards goodness and towards God, remains and is very strong in our better moments.
Nevertheless, we need the helping hand of God, so that this inclination may express itself in good actions worthy of an everlasting reward.
For this reason, we should pray humbly and constantly, for the precious gift of divine grace.”
Quote/s of the Day – 21 July – The Memorial of St Lawrence of Brindisi OFM Cap (1559-1619) Doctor of the Church
“God is love and all His operations proceed from LOVE…”
“For Him all things were created and to Him all things must be subject and God loves all creature, in and because of Christ.”
“Christ is the first-born of every creature and the whole of humanity. as well as the created world, finds its foundation and meaning in Him.”
“My dear souls, let us recognise, I pray you, Christ’s infinite charity towards us in the institution of this Sacrament of the Eucharist. In order that our love be a spiritual love, He wills a new heart, a new love, a new spirit for us. It is not with a carnal heart but with a spiritual one, that Christ has loved us with a gratuitous love, a supreme and most ardent love, by way of pure grace and charity. Ah! One needs to love Him back with one’s whole, whole, whole, living, living, living and true, true, true heart!!”
“The Angels in Heaven were created, to be servants of Christ; man was formed from the earth, in order to be the image of Christ.”
“The Holy Spirit sweetens the yoke of the divine law and lightens its weight, so that we may observe God’s commandments with the greatest of ease and even with pleasure.”
“…The word of God is a light to the mind and a fire to the will.”
“All things are possible for him who believes, more to him who hopes, even more to him who loves.”
One Minute Reflection – 21 July – Tuesday of the Sixteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Micah 7:14-15, 18-20, Psalm 85:2-8, Matthew 12:46-50 and the Memorial of St Lawrence of Brindisi OFM Cap (1559-1619) Doctor of the Church
“For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven, is my brother and sister and mother.”… Matthew 12:50
REFLECTION – “His mother is the whole Church, since it is she, who, by God’s grace, gives birth to Christ’s members, that is to say, those who are faithful to Him. Again, His mother is every holy soul who does the Father’s will and whose fruitful charity is made known in those, to whom she gives birth for Him, “until he has been formed in them” (cf Gal 4:19)…St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor
PRAYER – Almighty Father, You made us Your children, You called us from all ages and You formed us by Holy Mother Church. Grant, we pray, that by Your grace, we may be ever faithful to her and be guided by Your Holy Spirit of love. O God may Your holy Saint Lawrence of Brindisi intercede for us that, being made imitators of the Lord’s Passion, we may merit to be co-heirs of His Kingdom. Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 21 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
O God of Our Life St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church
God of our life,
there are days when the burdens we carry
chafe our shoulders and weigh us down,
when the road seems dreary and endless,
the skies grey and threatening,
when our lives have no music in them
and our hearts are lonely
and our souls have lost their courage.
Flood the path with light,
run our eyes to where the skies are full of promise,
tune our hearts to brave music,
give us the sense of comradeship
with heroes and saints of every age
and so quicken our spirits,
that we may be able to encourage, the souls of all
who journey with us on the road of life,
to Your honour and glory.
Saint of the Day – 21 July – Blessed Angelina of Marsciano TOR (1357-1435) – Foundress and Abbess, childless, Widow, Apostle of the poor, sick and children – also known as Angelina of Montegiove or of Corbara. Born in 1357 in Montegiove, Umbria, Italy and died on 14 July 1435 in Foligno, Umbria. Patronage – the Franciscan Sisters of Blessed Angelina.
She founded a Congregation of Religious Sisters of the Franciscan Third Order Regular, known today as the Franciscan Sisters of Blessed Angelina. She is generally credited with the founding of the Third Order Regular for women, as her religious Congregation marked the establishment of the first Franciscan community of women living under the Rule of the Third Order Regular authorised by Pope Nicholas V. Unlike the Second Order of the Franciscan movement, the Poor Clare nuns, they were not an enclosed religious order but have been active in serving the poor around them, for much of their history. She is commemorated by the Franciscans on 4 June. Her liturgical feast is today though post 1969 the date was moved to 13 June.
In 1357, Angelina was born in her ancestral Castle of Montegiove, some 40 kilometers from Orvieto, in Umbria, then part of the Papal States. She was the daughter of Jacopo Angioballi, the Count of Marsciano and of Anna, the daughter of the Count of Corbara, which is why sometimes she is also referred to as Angelina of Corbara.
Left orphaned and alone, except for one sister, by the age of six, she was raised by her grandparents. Angelina was married at age 15 to Giovanni da Terni, the Count of Civitella del Tronto, in the Abruzzo region, within the Kingdom of Naples but he died only two years later, leaving her a childless widow. His death left Angelina in charge of his castle and estate.
It was then that Angelina made the decision to dedicate her life to God (it would appear that she had considered being a nun before she was married). She was clothed as a Franciscan tertiary and, with several companions, began an apostolic mission around the countryside of the kingdom, preaching the values of repentance and virginity, as well as service to those in need.
Angelina’s progress was arrested by the disturbance she caused in the communities, where she called for young women to adopt religious life. She was doubly charged with sorcery, the imagined origin of her sway over women andof heresy, because of her allegedly Manichean opposition to marriage. Angelina defended herself before Ladislas, the King of Naples, who dismissed the charges but expelled her and her companions from the kingdom, in order to avoid further complaints.
Angelina then went to Assisi, where she stopped to rest and to pray at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, the cradle of the Franciscan Order. There, she experienced a vision, wherein God instructed her to found a cloistered Monastery under the Rule of the Third Order of Saint Francis in Foligno. The local Bishop approved the plans with little hesitation, as they meant an end to her troublesome active ministry. She settled in Foligno about 1394. She soon joined the Monastery of St Anna, a small community of women Franciscan tertiaries, which had been founded in 1388 by the Blessed Paoluccio Trinci (died 1390), a Franciscan friar who had been related to her sister through marriage. Known as the “Monastery of the Countesses”—due to the social standing of most of its members, he had established it out of his vision of having these noble women of the city, serve as an evangelising force in their society. The women lived ascetic lives in the Monastery and, not being nuns, followed a very informal structure, free to come and go as they wished, that they might be able to serve the poor and sick of the region.
Angelina took a leadership role in the small group and began to organise their lives into a more regular form. By 1397 she was considered the leader of the twelve founding members. In 1403 she was able to obtain a Papal Bull from Pope Boniface IX which formally recognised the status of the house as a Monastery. The reputation of the community in Foligno was so successful, that quickly communities of Franciscan tertiary women throughout the region sought to affiliate with them. Communities under her authority were soon established in Florence, Spoleto, Assisi and Viterbo, along with eleven others, before Angelina’s death in 1435.
The diverse communities were recognised as a Congregation by Pope Martin V in 1428. This decree also allowed them to elect a Minister General (a title since reserved for the head of the friars) who would have the right of canonical visitation of the other communities. The Congregation held its first general elections in 1430, in which Angela was elected their first Minister General. In this office, she developed the Statutes for the Congregation, to be followed by all its houses.
This degree of independence was not welcomed by the Friars Minor, who had been granted complete authority over the tertiaries that same year. The Minister General of the Friars, Guglielmo da Casala, demanded that the Third Order Sisters of the Congregation be confirmed under obedience to him. Angelina had to submit and, in a public ceremony held in the Friars’ church in Foligno on 5 November 1430, vowed obedience to the local Minister Provincial.
This act of obedience, however, was repudiated by the chapter of the community at Santa Anna, saying that it was invalid due to having been forced under duress and without their approval. The Holy See confirmed their autonomy the following year. To avoid the potential for future repetition of this conflict, the Congregation put themselves under the obedience of their local Bishops, with their spiritual direction to come from the Friars of the Third Order Regular of St Francis of Penance.
Angeline died on 14 July 1435 and was interred in the Church of St Francis in Foligno. Her remains were removed to a grander shrine in 1492. Her cultus was approved and Beatification granted on 8 March 1825 by Pope Leo XII.
Due to the requirement of keeping their communities small and simple, Angelina’s Congregation gained greatest popularity in the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1428, they had been put briefly by Pope Martin V under the jurisdiction of the Friars Minor, with a specific mandate for the education and instruction of young girls. Even so, their work was fairly apostolic until they were required to become an enclosed religious order in 1617, having taken solemn vows with a strict separation from the affairs of the external world, limited to the education of girls within the cloister. With a 1903 lift of papal enclosure, a wider apostolate was again permitted and the Congregation became known as the Franciscan Sisters of Blessed Angelina. As of 1750, they consisted of 11 houses and 80 members.
As of the year 2000, they have houses in Brazil, Madagascar and Switzerland, as well as in Italy.
Our Lady of Kazan:
This miraculous icon, also known as the Theotokos of Kazan, is thought to have originated in Constantinople in the 13th century before it was taken to Russia. When the Turks took Kazan in 1438, the icon may have been hidden. Ivan the Terrible liberated Kazan in 1552 and the town was destroyed by fire in 1579.
The icon was eventually found in the ruins of a burnt-out house at Kazan on the River Volga on 8 July in 1579. According to tradition, the location of the icon was revealed during a dream by the Blessed Virgin Mary to a ten year old girl named Matrona. Matrona told the local Bishop of her dream, but he did not believe her. There were two more similar dreams, after which Matrona and her mother went to the place indicated by the Blessed Virgin and dug in the ruins what had been a house until the uncovered the icon. It appeared untouched by the flames, with the colours as vivid and brilliant as if it were new. The Bishop took the icon to the Church of Saint Nicholas and immediately there was a miracle of a blind man’s sight being restored to him. A Monastery was built over the place where the icon had been found.
Known as the Holy Protectress of Russia, the icon was stolen on 29 June 1904. The thieves were later caught and claimed that they had destroyed the icon after taking the gold frame and jewels attached to the image. In any event, the original has never been found, though there are many copies in existence, thanks to the popularity of the icon. Many of the copies are known to be miracle working.
In 1993 a copy of the icon was given to Pope John Paul II, who kept it in his personal study before it was given to representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2004.
Bl Agrícola Rodríguez García de Los Huertos
St Alberic Crescitelli Blessed Angelina of Marsciano TOR (1357-1435) – Foundress and Abbess
St Arbogast of Strasbourg
St Benignus of Moyenmoutier
Bl Claudius of Avignon
St Claudius of Troyes
St Corona of Marceille
Bl Cristóbal López de Valladolid Orea
Bl Daniel Molini
St Daniel the Prophet
St Eleutherius of Marseille
St Eternus of Evreaux
Bl Gabriel Pergaud
St Iosephus Wang Yumei
St John of Edessa
St John of Moyenmoutier
Bl Juan de Las Varillas
Bl Juan de Zambrana
St Jucundinus of Troyes
St Julia of Troyes
St Justus of Troyes
Bl Parthenius of Thessaly
St Praxides of Rome
St Simeon Salus St Victor (of Marseilles) (3rd century) Martyr His Story: https://anastpaul.com/2019/07/21/saint-of-the-day-21-july-st-victor-3rd-century-martyr/
St Zoticus of Comana
Martyrs of Africa – 6 saints: Six Christians who were martyred together. We know no other details about them but the names – Emilian, Hugal, Motanus, Saphus, Stercorius and Victor. They were martyred in an unknown location in Africa, date unknown.
Thought for the Day – 20 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Our Dominant Passion
“Among the passions which disturb us, there is one predominant tendency, which is our particular weakness.
Perhaps we are not aware what it is but, those who have to live with us, know it well!
It is essential for us to know it also, in order to make it a special objective in our spiritual combat.
This information may be obtained by praying earnestly to the Holy Spirit to enlighten us to know ourselves, by making a daily examination of conscience and, by seeking the advice of our confessor, of our spiritual director and of any sincere friend.
It is our predominant passion which most often leads us into sin.
It recurs in all our confessions and we have great difficulty in overcoming it.
The predominant passion of Cain was envy, which he failed to combat in time, so that eventually, it caused him to commit fratricide.
Lust was the predominant passion of Mary of Magdala and of St Augustine and until they managed to control it, it led them into many grave errors.
It was because the Apostle Judas, neglected to struggle against his own avarice, that he became a traitor.
There are others who are inordinately proud and ambitious and, still others, who are governed by a craving for pleasure.
What is your predominant passion?
You must know what it is, in order to combat it determinedly, for otherwise, it will lead you into one sin after another, until you are eternally ruined!”
Quote/s of the Day – 20 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Monday of the Sixteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year “A”, Readings: Micah 6:1-4, 6-8, Psalm 50:5-6, 8-9, 16-17, 21, 23, Matthew 12:38-42
And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign?
“But for what sign from heaven were they asking? Maybe that He should hold back the sun, or curb the moon, or bring down thunderbolts, or change the direction of the wind, or something like that? In Pharaoh’s time there was an enemy from whom deliverance was needed. But for one who comes among friends, there should be no need of such signs.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407)
Father & Doctor of the Church
Firmly I Believe and Truly St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
Firmly I believe and truly God is three and God is One And I next acknowledge duly Manhood taken by the Son. And I trust and hope most fully In that Manhood crucified And each thought and deed unruly Do to death, as He has died. Simply to His grace and wholly Light and life and strength belong And I love, supremely, solely, Him the holy, Him the strong.
And I hold in veneration, For the love of Him alone, Holy Church, as His creation, And her teachings, as His own. And I take with joy whatever Now besets me, pain or fear And with a strong will I sever All the ties which bind me here. Adoration aye be given, With and through the angelic host, To the God of earth and heaven, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
“… Only by faith is He known to be present… He removed His visible presence and left but a memorial of Himself. He vanished from sight that He might be present in a Sacrament and, in order to connect His visible presence with His presence invisible, He for one instant, manifest Himself to their open eyes; manifested Himself, if I may so speak, while He passed from His hiding-place of sight without knowledge, to that of knowledge without sight.”
The Sign of the Cross
WHENE’ER across this sinful flesh of mine I draw the Holy Sign, All good thoughts stir within me and renew Their slumbering strength divine, Till there springs up a courage high and true To suffer and to do.
And who shall say but hateful spirits around, For their brief hour unbound, Shudder to see and wail their overthrow? While on far heathen ground Some lonely Saint hails the fresh odour, though Its source he cannot know.
But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign but no sign will be given to it, except the sign of the prophet Jonah.”… Matthew 12:39
REFLECTION – “Bad Christians lack faith and do not deny it but they claim to be excused, in that they have no reasons for believing. Because of this, there is nothing as common as this speech in the mouths of many people: “If I had witnessed a miracle I should be a saint!” “Evil and unfaithful generation! It seeks a sign!” (Mt 12:39). The wicked look for signs.
What is even more remarkable about this, is that, although they have seen many that take place daily before their eyes, that they are, so to speak, entirely surrounded, they never stop looking for more, like the scribes and Pharisees; they would like to see them in heaven when they have seen them on earth. But neither the dead raised up during the life of the Saviour, nor the eclipse of the sun at death, make them believers; their envy becomes stronger, their hatred more malicious; each goes as far as raging, yet their unbelief is not healed by it. It used to be like this regarding those who, living badly, wait for miracles in order to believe: “They will not be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead” (Lk 16:31). …
All the difficulties that halt unbelievers, all the contradictions they encounter in the dogmas of faith, everything they find apparent contradiction, everything that seems new to them, surprising, contrary to common sense, contrary to reason, inconceivable, impossible, all their arguments, all their so-called demonstrations, all of this, far from shaking me, strengthens me even more, makes me immovable in my religion. … Every new doubt is for me, new reason to believe.” … St Claude la Colombière SJ (1641-1682) – Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – Christian reflections
PRAYER – “O Jesus, Son of God, You Who were silent in the presence of Your accusers, restrain my tongue until I find what should say and how to say it. Show me the way and make me ready to follow it. It is dangerous to delay, yet perilous to go forward. Answer my petition and show me the way. As the wounded go to the doctor in search of aid, so do I come to You. O Lord, give Your peace to my heart. “(St Bridget of Sweden). Stay with us Lord and by the prayers of Your saints, grant us Your grace and Your love. Blessed Luigi Novarese, intercede for us, as we strive to attain virtue, through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 20 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Monday of the Sixteenth week in Ordinary Time
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit By St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church
Father, keep us from vain strife of words.
Grant to us constant profession of the Truth!
Preserve us in a true and undefiled faith
so that we may hold fast to that
which we professed
when we were baptised
in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
that we may have You for our Father,
that we may abide in Your Son
and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
Saint of the Day – 20 July – Blessed Luigi Novarese (1914-1984) Priest, co-Founder (alongside Sr Elvira Myriam Psorulla), Apostle of the Sick – born on 29 July 1914 in Casale Monferrato, Alessandria, Italy and died on 20 July 1984 in Rocca Priora, Rome, Italy of natural causes, aged 70. Patronages – Apostolate of the Suffering, Silent Workers of the Cross, Marian Priest League, Brothers and Sisters of the Sick. Blessed Luigi with Sr Psorulla, founded the Apostolate of the Suffering as well as the Silent Workers of the Cross. He also established the Marian Priest League and the Brothers and Sisters of the Sick. He built several homes for those who were ill and disabled. He served in the Secretariat of State until leaving that position to work alongside the Italian Episcopal Conference and to dedicate more time to the ill and to the work of his orders.
Msgr Luigi Novarese, was born in Casale Monferrato, in Piedmont, on 29 July 1914, the last of nine children. His father died when Luigi was just nine months old. His young mother Teresa, barely thirty, had to take care of the large family alone.
He personally experienced suffering. In 1923, Luigi, age nine, was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease – bone tuberculosis. The doctors declared him incurable and his case a hopeless and terminal one. His mother, Teresa was determined to save him and intensified her work, using every penny to cure her dying son. She is also a very devout Catholic and prayed to Our Lady asking for Luigi’s recovery but the doctors told her to be resigned to Luigi’s terminal illness. His doctors will be proved wrong. Thus began the continuous pilgrimage from one hospital to another but to no avail. At that time he experienced the horror and suffering the chronically ill live with and this marked him indelibly.
The thing that made him suffer the most was hearing the sick cursing in anger and desperation, sometimes because they were not assisted by the staff. Then, with considerable effort, he tried to help them himself, to prevent them from cursing even more.
Luigi followed his mother’s footsteps in her devotion to Our Lady and wrote a letter to Father Filippo Rinaldi, leader of the Salesians Order, asking that he and his students pray for him. Father Rinaldi told Luigi that they will ask for the intercession of St John Bosco and Our Lady Help of Christians. On 17 May 1931, aged 17, Luigi left the hospital for the last time, miraculously recovered.
During his numerous hospital stays, Luigi decided that he would become a doctor if he recovered. All of this changed in 1935 with his mother’s death. He realised the great possibility of serving the Lord by uniting the suffering of the sick with that of the Resurrected Lord’s and so entered the Seminary of Casale Monferrato, Italy. He would later complete his studies at the Capranica College in Rome and was Ordained a Priest on 17 December 1938, at St John Latern Basilica in the same city where he would spend most of his life. On 1 May 1942, Msgr Giovanni Battista Montini, Vatican Under Secretary of State and the future Pope Paul VI, asked Father Novarese to join his staff, where he would remain until 12 May 1970, when he was appointed exclusively to the Religious Hospital Assistance of Italy.
Msgr Novarese saw that many Priests had been wounded or are sick because of World War II and he wanted to help them. He founded the Marian Priest League on 17 May 1943. He extended his activities four years later, by founding the Apostolate of the Suffering (CVS) with the aid of Sr Elvira Myriam Psorulla, a young woman born in Haifa in Palestine who had moved to Rome to aid her sick uncle. The aim of this Association was completely new and innovative because the sick were no longer seen as people to be helped but rather, as active participants in society offering and uniting their suffering with that of Christ’s.
Due to his experience of illness and sanatorium, he wanted to dedicate his life to a new apostolate: “the integral promotion of the suffering person.” His aim was to enhance, recover the sick person “in full,” starting from his soul and continuing in every area of his life – the body, the work, the affections, etc.
Then in 1950, Msgr Novarese founds a third essential group, the Silent Workers of the Cross composed of men and women, Priests and laity, who consecrate themselves totally to the suffering by actively aiding and educating the disabled on the Christian concept of pain. In that same year, The Anchor magazine began it’s monthly Publication focusing on the members’ spiritual growth. Finally, Msgr. Novarese realised that strong arms are necessary to carry out all of the Association’s numerous spiritual activities and meetings, so in 1952, he founded the Brothers and Sisters of the Sick made up of healthy persons willing to share their time aiding the disabled in all apostolic endeavours.
From 9 to 15 September 1952 he held the first course of spiritual exercises for the first group of Silent Workers of the Cross from different parts of Italy. It was on that occasion, that it was decided to build a house to accommodate the sick and handicapped who wish to live the experience of spiritual exercises annually. The first of these houses was built and was dedicated to the “Immaculate Heart of Mary.” A few years later, in 1957, the first Community of Silent Workers of the Cross entered what would become the association’s “Mother House,” at the Sanctuary of Valleluogo in Ariano Irpino. The works continued to grow. But Luigi Novarese had begun to think beyond Italian borders, dreaming of what he called “the worldwide union of the sick.”
Wanting to do more for the sick, Msgr Novarese thought of workshops that would allow the disabled to enter the working world and economic independence from their families. This happened in 1954 after a miraculous event involving a member of the community. It must be remembered that in those years no-one was assisting the disabled.
Ten years later, His Holiness, Pope John XXIII appointed Msgr Novarese to the Chaplains of the Italian Hospitals.
In his final years, he built communities abroad, organised conferences on religious and scientific themes bringing doctors and nurses together for discussion and planned Spiritual Retreats for psychiatric patients.
Msgr Novarese ended his earthly life on 20 July 1984, in the newly opened house in Rocca Priora where he wanted to establish the training place for those who wish to join the Silent Workers of the Cross. His work is now continued by the Silent Workers of the Cross who direct and co-ordinate the apostolate which takes place locally in Italy and in many other countries. He is buried in St Mary’s Suffrage Church, Rome, Italy.
For fifteen years Msgr Novarese also directed the Office of the Italian Episcopal Conference for the pastoral care of health, following in particular the formulation and application of the legislation for hospital religious assistance.
On 19 December 2011, Pope Benedict XVI signed the decree recognising a miracle obtained, through the intercession of Venerable Luigi Novarese. He was Beatified on 11 May 2013 by Pope Francis with the Beatification recognition being celebrated at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls, Rome, Italy by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
St Margaret of Antioch (3rd century) Martyr St Margaret’s Story: https://anastpaul.com/2019/07/20/saint-of-the-day-20-july-st-margaret-of-antioch-3rd-century-martyr/
St Maria Fu Guilin
St Paul of Saint Zoilus
St Rorice of Limoges
St Severa of Oehren
St Severa of Saint Gemma
Martyrs of Corinth – 22 saints: 22 Christians who were martyred together. We know nothing else about them but the names – • Appia • Calorus • Cassius • Celsus • Cyriacus • Donatus • Emilis • Felix • Fructus • Magnus • Maximus • Nestita • Partinus • Pasterus • Paul • Romanus • Spretus • Tertius • Theodolus • Ueratia • Valerian • Victor. They were martyred in Corinth, Greece.
Martyrs of Damascus – 16 saints: 16 Christians who were martyred together. We know the names of six of then, but no details about any of them – Cassia, Julian, Macrobius, Maximus, Paul and Sabinus. They were martyred in Damascus, Syria, date unknown.
Martyrs of Seoul – 8 saints: Eight lay native Koreans in various states of life who were murdered together for their faith.
• Anna Kim Chang-gum
• Ioannes Baptista Yi Kwang-nyol
• Lucia Kim Nusia
• Magdalena Yi Yong-hui
• Maria Won Kwi-im
• Martha Kim Song-im
• Rosa Kim No-sa
• Theresia Yi Mae-im
They were martyred on 20 July 1839 at the Small West Gate, Seoul, South Korea and Canonised on 6 May 1984 by St Pope John Paul.
Martyrs of Zhaojia – 3 saints: Married lay woman and her two daughters in the apostolic vicariate of Southeastern Zhili, China. During the persecutions of the Boxer Rebellion, the three of them hid in a well to avoid being raped. They were found, dragged out, and killed for being Christian. Martyrs. They were – Maria Zhao Guoshi (mother), Maria Zhao and Rosa Zhao (sisters). They were martyred in late July 1900 in Zhaojia, Wuqiao, Hebei, China.
Martyrs of Zhujiahe – 4 saints: Two Jesuit missionary priests and two local lay people who supported their work who were martyred together in the Boxer Rebellion during and immediately after Mass.
• Léon-Ignace Mangin
• Maria Zhu Wushi
• Paul Denn
• Petrus Zhu Rixin
They were martyred on 20 July 1900 in church in Zhujiahe, Jingxian, Hebei, China and Canonised on 1 October 2000 by St Pope John Paul.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Abraham Furones y Furones
• Blessed Antoni Bosch Verdura
• Blessed Francisca Aldea y Araujo
• Blessed Jacinto García Riesco
• Blessed Joan Páfila Monllaó
• Blessed Josep Tristany Pujol
• Blessed Matías Cardona-Meseguer
• Blessed Rita Josefa Pujalte y Sánchez
• Blessed Vicente López y López
Thought for the Day – 19 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“In a radio message which he broadcast on the occasion of the Beatification of Pope Innocent XI, the Supreme Pontiff, Pius XII, defined holiness as “the intimate awareness of loyal subjection to God, Who is adored and loved, as the beginning, end and norm of every thought, affection, word and action.”
Let us meditate on this definition, which helps to shed some light on the true nature of sanctity.
A holy man must always have a keen awareness of his own dependence upon God, his Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier and his hoped for reward and happiness in the next life.
This awareness must be vivid, for it should not be possible for it to be obscured by worldly distractions or obliterated by sensual allurements.
It should be active, so that it may not be a merely theoretical acknowledgement of our dependence which leads to nothing more than lip-worship; on the contrary, it must be capable of transforming our lives into an act of obedience and of love.
Finally, it should be a faithful awareness, a complete and voluntary subjection to God, which is the driving force behind all our words and actions and, which inspires us alike, in joy and in sorrow, in victory and in defeat.
If we wish to be perfect Christians, we must cultivate this kind of consciousness of our dependence upon God.”
Quote/s of the Day – 19 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – The Sixteenth Sunday of the Year in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Wisdom 12:13, 16-19, Psalm 86:5-6,9-10, 15-16, Romans 8:26-27, Matthew 13:24-43
“Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom, all causers of sin and all law-breakers and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
“Every man will receive the eternal punishment, or reward which his actions deserve. Indeed, if all men recognised this, no-one would choose evil even for a short time, knowing that he would incur the eternal sentence of fire. On the contrary, he would take every means to control himself and to adorn himself in virtue, so that he might obtain the good gifts of God and escape the punishments.”
St Justin Marytr (100-165)
Father of the Church and Martyr
“Then shall those, already in the midst of the torments, cry out with pleading voices and there will be no-one to speak for them to the Lord and they shall not be heard.”
St Ephrem (306-373)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“I am filled with fear and trembling and all my bones are shaken, at the thought of that unhappy country of the damned.”
St Bernard (1090-1153)
Mellifluous Doctor of the Church
“So then, I am speaking to you who live in the habit of mortal sin, in hatred, in the mire of the vice of impurity and who are getting closer to hell each day. Stop! and turn around; it is Jesus who calls you and who, with His wounds, as with so many eloquent voices, cries to you, “My son, if you are damned, you have only yourself to blame: ‘Thy damnation comes from thee.’ Lift up your eyes and see all the graces with which I have enriched you to insure your eternal salvation.'”
St Leonard of Port Maurice (1676-1751)
“Poor Judas! Above  years have elapsed since he has been in Hell and his Hell is still only beginning.”
St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)
Most Zealous Doctor of the Church
“Meditate on the horrors of Hell, which will last for eternity because of one easily-committed mortal sin. Try hard to be among the few who are chosen. Think of the eternal flames of Hell and how few there are that are saved.”
“I was watching souls going down into the abyss, as thick and fast as snowflakes, falling in the winter mist.”
St Benedict Joseph Labre (1748-1783)
“I tremble when I see so many souls lost these days. See, they fall into Hell, as leaves fall from the trees at the approach of winter.”
St John Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)
“The natural fire that we see during this life has great power to burn and torment. Yet this is not even a shadow of the fire of Hell.”
Sunday Reflection – 19 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – The Sixteenth Sunday of the Year in Ordinary Time
“If Christians continue abandoning Jesus Christ in His temple, will not the Heavenly Father withdraw from them, His Beloved Son, Whom they thus despise? Has He not already so withdrawn Him from many kings and peoples, now bewailing their lot sitting in the very shadow of death?
To ward off this greatest of all calamities, let faithful souls arise and unite! Let them become adorers in spirit and in truth of Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament!
Let them form a guard of honour around the Sovereign of Kings. And a devoted court around the God of love.”
“Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” … Matthew 13:43
REFLECTION –“When this, which is corruptible in us, clothes itself with incorruptibility and this, which is mortal, clothes itself in immortality” (1 Cor 15:54), then there will be perfect sweetness, perfect rejoicing, endless praise and love without fear. … And here below? Do we not enjoy any kind of joy? … Certainly we find joy here below; here we taste in hope of the life to come, a joy that will satisfy us completely in heaven.
However, the wheat has much to bear in the midst of the darnel. The seed is mixed up with the straw and the lily grows among the thorns. … And indeed, what is it that was spoken to the Church? “As a lily among thorns, so is my beloved among my maidens” (Sg 2:2). It said, “Among my maidens” and not among foreigners. O Lord, what are the consolations you give us? What the comfort? Or rather, what the alarm? Are you calling your own maidens “thorns”? By their behaviour they are thorns, He answers, but maidens through my sacraments. …
But where is the Christian to take refuge, then, if he is not to groan in the midst of false brethren? Where is he to go? What is he to do? Is he to fly away to the desert? Occasions for falling will follow him. Will he who is doing so well, separate himself to the extent, of not putting up with a single one of his brothers? What about him, then? Supposing nobody was able to put up with him before his conversion? … So if, under the pretext of making progress, he cannot bear with anyone else, by this very fact it is clear, he hasn’t progressed as yet. Pay careful attention to these words: “Bear with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph 4:2-3). Isn’t there anything in you that another has to bear?” … St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace – Discourses on the Psalm, Ps 99, 8-9
PRAYER – Father and almighty God, You have given Your Son to redeem us with complete and absolute love and mercy. He has taken our flesh and given Himself to us and extended endless mercy for all time. He has taught us the path of love and mercy. Grant, we pray, that our hearts may grieve and repent with true sorrow. And may the prayers of His Mother and ours, the Most Holy and Pure Virgin, assist us to extend love and mercy to all. We make our prayer through the merits of His saving love and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 19 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – The Sixteenth Sunday of the Year in Ordinary Time
Sweet Sacrament, We Thee Adore
I see upon the Altar placed
The Victim of the greatest love.
Let all the earth below adore
and join the heavenly choirs above:
Sweet Sacrament, we Thee adore,
Oh! make us love Thee more and more.
Jesus! dear Shepherd of the flock,
that crowds in love, about Thy feet,
Our voices yearn to praise Thee, Lord
and joyfully Thy presence greet:
Sweet Sacrament, we Thee adore,
Oh! make us love Thee more and more.
O Precious Blood of Jesus, cleanse my soul from every stain! Most pure Heart of Jesus, purify me! Most humble Heart of Jesus, teach me Thy humility! Sweet Heart of Jesus, communicate to me Thy gentleness and patience! Most merciful Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me! Most loving Heart of Jesus, inflame my heart with love of Thee! Amen
Saint of the Day – 19 July – St Peter Crisci of Foligno TOSF (c 1243-1323) Franciscan Tertiary, Penitent, Hermit, Pilgrim, Beggar, Preacher – called a “Fool for Christ” – born in c 1243 in Foligno and died on 19 July 1323 in the Cathedral of Foligno, Umbria, Italy of natural causes.
Peter Crisci, who was born in c 1243 in Foligno of a good family, sold his inheritance when he was about 30 and gave the proceeds to the poor. From this point, he dressed in sacking and lived as a Hermit in a cell in the campanile of the Cathedral (now the Cell of St Peter Crisci). He regularly preached in the Cathedral and became highly venerated.
He was regarded as a madman in some quarters. While saintly laymen like St Francis had been acceptable in the 13th century, they were generally only accepted in the 14th century when they had the patronage of the mendicant orders. Peter therefore received the attentions of the Inquisition but he was judged to be orthodox. Not all of his compatriots treated him kindly, for example, St Angela of Foligno records that, before her conversion (in 1285), “I used to make fun of a certain Petruccio but now I could not do otherwise than follow his example.”
Peter died in his cell in 1323 and was buried in the Cathedral.
Bishop Giovanni Angeletti (1364-92) commissioned a life of the Blessed Peter Crisci from the Dominican Brother Giovanni Gorini di San Geminiano. The first indication that a cult dedicated to the Blessed Peter Crisci emerged in Foligno dates to 1381, when the existence of a fair held on the anniversary of his death was first documented.
The cult seems to have been encouraged by Ugolino III Trinci (1386-1415) and it was probably at his instigation, that Pope Boniface IX granted indulgences (in either 1391 or 1400, according to different readings of the damaged document) to those praying before the relics “in festo sancti Petri”. (Boniface IX granted similar indulgences in respect of Blessed James of Bevagna, despite the fact that neither of these men had been Canonised.)
It is likely that pilgrims attracted by these relics would also have visited the Cell of St Peter in the campanile. The frescoes there are dated on stylistic grounds to the decade in which the indulgences were granted. The kneeling donor depicted in the fresco of the mystic marriage of St Catherine at the back o the arch in which Peter Crisci slept may well be Ugolino III Trinci. (The cell now forms part of the Museo Diocesano).
Thought for the Day – 18 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Our Passions are not essentially sinful.
They can open the way to evil but, they can also lead us towards perfection.
Everything depends on how we control and direct them.
They are impulses which are, at the same time valuable and, dangerous.
Human nature was wounded as a result of original sin.
The soul was disobedient to God and the lower faculties rebelled against right reason.
Hence, the disturbance of our passions.
What should our attitude be in regard to this problem?
Should we suppress or obliterate our passions, as some of the Stoics would have done?
It is, in fact, impossible to do this, for our passions are innate natural forces which cannot be destroyed.
What we should do, is guide and control them.
If the dykes are burst, a strongly flowing river can cause havoc but, if it’s course is wisely directed, it irrigates the soil and makes it fertile.
It is the same with our natural inclinations, which “can be used to form a saint but, can also make a brigand” (Mariano Cordovani OP, Breviario Spirituale, p88).
A man with a fiery and aggressive temperament, can use his natural impulses under God’s guidance, to combat vice in himself and in others.
One who is haughty and ambitious by nature, can convert his ambition into a quest for the true and lasting glory of Heaven.
Finally, a passionate man who feels the need to love and to be loved, can find a partial remedy in Christian friendship.
Most of all, however, he can find repose in the love of God.”
Quote/s of the Day – 18 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Saturday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Micah 2:1-5, Psalm 10:1-4, 7-8, 14, Matthew 12:14-21
“In his name the Gentiles will hope”
“Christ made my soul beautiful with the jewels of grace and virtue. I belong to Him whom the angels serve.”
St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr
“If you wish to enter into life, keep My commandments. If you will know the truth, believe in Me. If you will be perfect, sell all. If you will be My disciple, deny yourself. If you will possess the blessed life, despise this present life. If you will be exalted in heaven, humble yourself on earth. If you wish to reign with Me, carry the Cross with Me. For only the servants of the Cross find the life of blessedness and of true light.”
Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
The Imitation of Christ Chapter 56
“I am the king’s good servant but God’s first.”
St Thomas More (1478-1535)
“God gave Himself to you: give yourself to God.”
Who lives in Love, loves least to live and long delays doth rue, if Him he love by whom he lives, to whom all praise is due, Who for our love did choose to live and was content to die, who loved our love more than His life, and love with life did buy. Let us in life, yea with our life requite His living love, for best we live when least we live, if Love our life remove. Mourn, therefore, no true lover’s death, life only him annoy, and when he taketh leave of life then Love begins his joys.
“I do not much dread the tortures, as I look forward to the crown.”
St Robert Southwell (1561-1595) Martyr
“Jesus will be in agony even to the end of the world; we must not sleep during that time”
One Minute Reflection – 18 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Saturday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Micah 2:1-5, Psalm 10:1-4, 7-8, 14, Matthew 12:14-21and the Feast of Our Lady of Good Deliverance
“In his name the Gentiles will hope” … Matthew 12:21
REFLECTION – “Who among us can know all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ and buried within the poverty of His flesh? For, “for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty, you might become rich” (2 Cor 8:9). Since He came in order to assume our mortal condition and lay low death itself, He appeared as one who was poor. But He who has promised us distant riches has by no means lost those, from which He is kept away. “How great is his abundant goodness which he keeps in store for those who fear him, he satisfies those who hope in him” (cf. Ps 31:20). …
So that we might be able to lay hold of it, He who is equal to the Father, having the nature of God, became like us by taking the nature of a servant and recreates us in God’s likeness. Having become son of man, the only Son of God transforms numberless men into sons of God. And after having sustained His servants by His own visible nature of a servant, He sets them free to contemplate the nature of God. For “we are God’s children; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is” (1 Jn 3:2). For in what do these treasures of wisdom and knowledge and these divine riches consist? In what is this abundant goodness? All we know is, that it is this, that satisfies us.” … St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace – Sermon 194 ; PL 38, 1016
PRAYER – Lord God, in Your wisdom You created us, by Your Providence, You rule us. Penetrate our inmost being with Your holy light so that our way of life may always be one of faithful service and childlike trust in You. Grant that by the intercession of Our Lady of Good Deliverance, we may always follow behind Your Son and grasp His hand, to lead us to You, Through Jesus Christ our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 18 July – Saturday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time and a Marian Saturday
O Mother of Jesus and my Mother By St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
O Mother of Jesus and my Mother,
let me dwell with you, cling to you
and love you with ever-increasing love.
I promise the honour,
love and trust of a child.
Give me a mother’s protection,
for I need your watchful care.
You know better than any other
the thoughts and desires of the Sacred Heart.
Keep constantly before my mind
the same thoughts,
the same desires,
that my heart may be filled with zeal
for the interests of the Sacred Heart
of your Divine Son.
Instil in me a love of all that is noble,
that I may no longer be easily turned to selfishness.
Help me, dearest Mother,
to acquire the virtues that God wants of me,
to forget myself always,
to work solely for Him,
without fear of sacrifice.
I shall always rely on your help
to be what Jesus wants me to be.
I am His; I am yours, my good Mother!
Give me each day your holy and maternal blessing
until my last evening on earth,
when your Immaculate Heart
will present me to the heart of Jesus in heaven,
there to love and bless you
and your divine Son for all eternity.
Saint of the Day – 18 July – Our Lady of Good Deliverance, also known as the “Black Madonna of Paris.” The statue dates from the 14th century, replacing an 11th-century version. It is 150 centimeters (59 in) tall, and made from painted limestone. The Virgin wears a white veil and dark blue mantle ornamented with fleur-de-lis over a red robe.
France, known as “the Eldest Daughter of the Church” is a country rooted in Catholicism, where her love of the faith is depicted in it’s magnificent Cathedrals, literature, sacred music, artistic works of paintings, frescoes and sculptures. Prayer books contain Illuminations penned in gold leaf and plant colours and the very air holds the fragrance of religion. In France, Marian devotion runs deep in the hearts of the faithful. One of the first recorded apparitions of our Lady was at Le-Puy, France in the year 70. A Shrine at LePuy was erected and has drawn many saints and faithful throughout the centuries.
Today in France, there is still a distinct dedication to Our Lady of Good Deliverance. This devotion refers to a classic fourteenth century gothic statue of the Virgin holding the Child Jesus, both coal black in colour.
A Confraternity in honour of Our Lady of Good Deliverance was established in 1533 by a Priest , Fr Jean-Jacques Olier SS (1608 – 1657) (Founder of the Sulpicians – Congregation of the Holy Spirit). Fr Jean-Jacques was “greatly pious, devoted to Our Lady with strong affection, in the service of the Queen of Angels.” The Confraternity numbered thousands of members, which included aristocratic and common members alike, including the King and Queen of France, Louis XIII and Anne of Austria. The society was dedicated to honour God and his “very dignified Mother, the glorious Virgin Mary to keep a singular devotion alive in all real Christian men and women.” The group organised processions and aided prisoners, paying their debts when possible. Our Lady of Good Deliverance was invoked in all needs, tragedies and sufferings, spiritual and temporal.
Our Lady of Good Deliverance used to stand in the Church Saint-Etienne-des-Grès in the Latin Quarter but that Church was destroyed during the Revolution and all its content sold.
Madame de Carignan, a pious rich lady bought the Statue and venerated her in her private home until she was arrested during the Reign of Terror (a period of 11 months following the Revolution, which cost 20-40,000 people their lives.) In jail she used to pray to Our Lady of Good Deliverance with others who had been arrested for their faith, in particular the Sisters of St Thomas. When all of them survived and were freed in 1806, Madame gave the Black Virgin to the Sisters. The statue is still located in the Chapel of the Congregation of the Sisters of St Thomas of Villeneuve in Neuilly-sur-Seine, see below. The Sisters of St Thomas pray every day in the chapel on behalf of families, the sick, religious vocations, those who have entrusted themselves to the Virgin, and peace in the world.
Our Lady of Good Deliverance was invoked as a helper in all kinds of calamities and suffering, whether of a spiritual or material nature. She was also called upon as the Victorious One in the fight against the Huguenots and other heretics.
The great Saints of Paris, most notably St Vincent de Paul and St Francis de Sales prayed before her.
The de Sales family were members of the minor nobility and staunch Catholics but young St Francis de Sales fell victim to the religious turmoil of his age. The question of predestination, the hottest point of contention between Catholic and Calvinist theologians, tormented him while he was a student in Paris. In his distress over the uncertain fate of his soul he cried out to God, “Whatever happens, Lord, may I at least love you in this life if I cannot love you in eternity.”At the age of 18, while studying at the Jesuit run Collège de Clermont at the University of Paris, according to the book The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales, by Jean-Pierre Camus:
“…The evil spirit was permitted by God to insinuate into his mind the terrible idea that he was one of the number of the damned. This delusion took such possession of his soul, that he lost his appetite, was unable to sleep and day-by-day grew more wasted and languid. His tutor and director, noticing how his health was affected and how pale, listless and joyless he had become, often questioned him as to the cause of his dejection and evident suffering but his tormentor, who had filled his mind with this delusion, being what is called a dumb devil, the poor youth could give no explanation.
For one whole month he suffered this mental torture, this agony of soul. He had lost all the sweetness of divine love but not, happily, his fidelity to it. He looked back with happy tears to the happy time when he was, as it were, inebriated with that sweetness, nor did any ray of hope illumine the darkness of that night of despair. In late December, at last, led by a divine inspiration, he entered a Church to pray that this agony might pass. On his knees before the Statue of the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Good Deliverance, he implored the assistance of the Mother of Mercy with tears and sighs and the most fervent devotion.”
According to De Sales’ Selected Letters, the “torment of despair came to a sudden end” as he knelt in prayer before the statue of Our Lady of Good Deliverance at the church of Saint-Étienne-des-Grès, Paris, saying the Memorare. Francis credited the Blessed Virgin with “saving him from falling into despair or heresy”thereafter, he “recited the Memorare day after day” and she “did not leave him unaided.”
Not long after this event another Priest with great love for Our Mother, who ministered to the poor and to prisoners in Paris, especially those condemned to death, spread the fame of this prayer. He was Fr Claude Bernard (23 December 1588 – 23 March 1641). Known as “Le Pauvre Prêtre” “The Poor Priest,” he is primarily remembered as the populariser of the Memorare, over 200,000 copies of which he distributed by leaflets printed in various languages.
Notable pilgrims to Our Lady of Good Deliverance—some before the Revolution, some after—have included Fr Claude Bernard, Fr Jean-Jacques Olier, St John Bosco, Blessed Prosper Guéranger and St Madeleine Sophie Barat RSCJ (1779 – 1865).
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known,
that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help, or sought thy intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,
I fly unto thee, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother.
To thee do I come,
before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Our Lady of Good Deliverance: 18 July
Since the 1000s, the Church of Saint-Etienne-des-Grès in the old Latin Quarter of Paris had a chapel to Our Lady of Good Deliverance, where, across the centuries, pilgrims sought the Virgin’s help in their of sufferings. During the Wars of Religion and counter-Reformation, her Confraternity had 12,000 members, including the King and Queen of France.
St Goneri of Treguier
St Gundenis of Carthage
Bl Jean-Baptiste de Bruxelles
St Marina of Ourense
St Maternus of Milan
St Pambo of the Nitrian Desert
St Philastrius of Brescia
St Rufillus of Forlimpopoli
St Scariberga of Yvelines St Simon (Szymon) of Lipnica (1435/1440-c 1482) His Story: https://anastpaul.com/2019/07/18/saint-of-the-day-18-july-saint-simon-of-lipnica-1435-1440-c-1482/
St Theodosia of Constantinople
Martyrs of Silistria – 7 saints: Seven Christians who were martyred together. No details about them have survived but the names – Bassus, Donata, Justus, Marinus, Maximus, Paulus and Secunda. They were martyred in Silistria (Durostorum), Moesia (in modern Bulgaria), date unknown.
Martyrs of Tivoli – 8 saints: A widow, Symphorosa and her seven sons ( Crescens, Eugene, Julian, Justin, Nemesius, Primitivus and Stracteus) martyred in Tivoli, Italy in the 2nd-century persecutions of Hadrian.
Thought for the Day – 17 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Voice of God
“God speaks to us in many ways by means of created things.
We see His glory in the stars of the firmament, (Cf Ps 13:2), in the seas, mountains and valleys and in the trees and flowers.
St Therese was once examining the petals of a flower, when she exclaimed: “How good thou art, O God!”
God also speaks within us.
Sometimes, He sees how absorbed we are in worldly affairs and He stirs up, in us, a restlessness and a longing for Heaven.
When we fall into sin, He pricks us with remorse and appeals to us to rise again, making us realise that everything else is empty and futile, if we have lost Him.
He speaks to us still more clearly by means of Revelation, which is contained in Sacred Scripture, as officially interpreted by the Church.
The revealed Word of God has always been with us to answer the searchings of the human heart and to allay it’s anxieties.
The Gospel is as new and as illuminating today, as yesterday.
It is a book which we should study reverently and diligently, in order to solve our personal problems and the problems of mankind.
Let us listen to God when He speaks to us in these diverse ways.
Let us respond to His appeals and carry out whatever He requires of us, in our daily lives.”
Quote/s of the Day – 7 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8, Responsorial psalm Isaiah 38:10-12, 16, Matthew 12:1-8
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine.”
Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! …The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God, that surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4, 5d,6-7
“The Christian should be an ‘alleluia’ from head to foot.
St Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor of the Church
“May Christ be heard in our language, may Christ be seen in our life, may He be perceived in our hearts”
St Peter Damian (1007-1072)
Doctor of the Church
(Sermo VIII, 5)
“The one you are looking for, is the One who is looking.”
“Jesus is happy to come with us, as Truth is happy to be spoken, as Life to be lived, as Light to be lit, as Love is to be loved, as Joy to be given, as Peace to be spread.”
St Francis of Assisi (1181/2–1226)
“Love God, serve God, everything is in that.”
“Totally love Him, who gave Himself totally, for your love.”
St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)
“If, then, you seek to know what path to follow, take Christ because He is the way.”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Doctor of the Church
“He will be with you also, all the way, that faithful God. Every morning when you awaken to the old and tolerable pain, at every mile of the hot uphill dusty road of tiring duty, on to the judgement seat, the same Christ there as ever, still loving you, still sufficient for you, even then. And then, on through all eternity.”
Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
“Every Christian must be a living book wherein one can read the teaching of the gospel. This is what St Paul says to the Corinthians. Our heart is the parchment; through my ministry the Holy Spirit is the writer because ‘my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe’ (Psalm 45:1).”