Posted in CARMELITES, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 29 March – Blessed Bertold of Mount Carmel (Died 1195)

Saint of the Day – 29 March – Blessed Bertold of Mount Carmel (Died 1195) Priest, Monk, Hermit, Crusader – born in Limoges, France and died in 1195 of natural causes – also known as Bartoldus of Calabria.

Blessed Bertold was born in France, the son of a Count.   He excelled at his studies and was Ordained a Priest.   Berthold’s brother, Aymeric, became the Latin Patriarch of Antioch.   The two joined together to participate in a Crusade to the Holy Land.Blessed-Bertold-of-Mount-Carmel

While in the Holy Land, Berthold travelled to Mount Carmel and built a Monastery and Church dedicated to the Prophet Elijah.   His reputation for holiness spread, other hermits were attracted to the area, including Saint Brocard.   Many hermits who were scattered throughout Palestine, followed Bl Bertold and came to live together in imitation of the life of the great prophet as recorded in the Old Testament.

beautiful st elijah
St Elijah the Prophet

Aymeric appointed Berthold the first Superior and he lived with his community at Mount Carmel for 45 years until his death in 1195.   Later the community became known as the Hermit Brothers of St Mary of Mount Carmel.

It was the life and work of Bl Berthold that laid the foundation for the Carmelite Order, which, in 1206 received a written rule from St Albert of Jerusalem, whose rule was approved by Pope Honorius III in 1226.   In the same century, some members moved to Europe and established similar groups from Sicily to Oxford.

Carmelites returned to Mount Carmel in 1631 and finally completed the Stella Maris Monastery in the 18th century.   Its stout walls and small openings reflect the need for defence against hostilities during its establishment.Stella-Maris-Monastery on mount carmelStella-Maris-Monastery1

Later a lighthouse was built, giving a further meaning to the title Stella Maris.   Because of its commanding position, the lighthouse has been commandeered as a military establishment.

Inside the church, the décor features vividly coloured Italian marble and dramatic paintings in the dome, one depicting Elijah being swept up to heaven in a fiery chariot.   A cedar and porcelain statue of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, is above the altar.  Steps lead down to a grotto, with a small altar, where the Prophet Elijah is believed to have occasionally lived.   People have lived in caves on Mount Carmel since prehistoric times.

st elijah in the stella maris on mount carmel

Stella-Maris-Monastery our lady of mnt carmel

Posted in CARMELITES, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 13 February – Blessed Archangela Girlani O.Carm (1460-1494)

Saint of the Day – 13 February – Blessed Archangela Girlani O.Carm (1460-1494) Virgin, Carmelite Nun, Mystic with the gift of levitation – born Elanor Girliani in 1460 at Trino, on Monte Ferrato in northern Italy and died on 25 January 1494 (aged 33) in Mantua, Milan, Italy.   Blessed Archangela founded a new Carmelite monastery in Mantua.   Her body is archangela girlani

Eleanor Girlani was born in the small Italian town of Trino (Piedmont).   She demonstrated great piety and holiness as a child.   Despite her family’s noble heritage, her only ambition in life was to become a Benedictine sister and together with some friends and relatives, she prepared to travel to the monastery of Rocca delle Donne, who had agreed to accept and raise her as a member of the Order.   However, this was not to occur  . Upon mounting her horse to travel, the animal refused to carry her to the monastery.   As this particular horse was one of gentle and obedient spirit, the animal’s refusal to move was interpreted as a sign from the Lord and Eleanor returned home. Despairing, she prayed for guidance and contented herself in her own daily practices of contemplation, penance and service to archangela girlani sml

Eleanor soon encountered a Carmelite monk, who introduced her to the sisters of the Carmelite Order.   Understanding this as divine intervention, Eleanor sought admission, and was accepted into the Order on her seventeenth birthday.   She lived and served in the convent of Maria Maddalena in Parma, along with her sisters Mary and Scholastica.

Eleanor received the veil as a Carmelite sister at age eighteen, taking the name Archangela as her own.   She was made Prioress of the abbey, given her nobility (as was the custom of the time) and became a model of Christian virtue to her sisters.  Beata Arcangela Girlani carmelitana3Especially devoted to the Holy Trinity, Archangela spent hours in the chapel praying and contemplating the divinity of the Lord.

Sister Archangela soon was requested to found an additional abbey in Mantua, which was named Santa Maria del Paradiso (The Convent of Mary in Paradise).   There, under her direction, sisters of the Order lived as if already absorbed into heaven.   The monastery developed a reputation for great holiness, and received many new sisters.  As prioress, Archangela experienced great ecstasies, some lasting well over 24 hours and on more than one occasion was discovered by her sisters to be levitating above the ground while contemplating the Holy Trinity.  She further performed many miracles.

Only three years after founding the monastery at Mantua, Blessed Archangela fell gravely ill.   Strengthened with the Sacraments and with her eyes fixed on an image of the Crucified Christ, she repeated her frequently uttered words:  “Jesus, my Love” and peacefully died at the young age of thirty three.   In fulfilment of her desire, she was buried in the simplicity of a common grave at the monastery.   Three years later, when the tomb was re-opened to commit another sister to the earth, her remains were found incorrupt and exuding the fragrance of holiness.   Great miracles were reported and her relics were enclosed in a crystal tomb and placed above the alter at the monastery.

Nearly 300 years after her death, the monastery in Mantua was closed and Archangela’s relics were translated to Trino, where she had been born.   Her relics, still venerated today, were placed in the church of Saint Lorenzo.  There, her body rests, wearing the habit of Carmelites, in a casket of crystal.   Pope Pius IX confirmed her cultus and Beatified her on 1 October 1864.1024px-bl archangela girlani - Trino_Chiesa_San_Lorenzo_Beata_Girlani

The life of Blessed Archangela is one of deep faith and commitment to the Lord.   Willing to reconsider her own plans for those that the Lord placed before her, Archangela served and followed wherever the Holy Spirit led her.

Father in heaven,
you gave the virgin Blessed Archangela Girlani
particular dedication to the mystery of the eternal Trinity.
Through her prayers
may we taste the delights of Your glory
already here on earth
and look upon You forever in heaven.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.


Memorials of the Saints – 13 February

St Adolphus of Osnabruk
St Aimo of Meda
Blessed Archangela Girlani O CARM (1460-1494)
Bl Beatrix of Ornacieux
St Benignus of Todi
Bl Berengar of Assisi
St Castor of Karden
Blessed Christine of Spoleto OSA (1435-1458)
About Blessed Christine:
St Dyfnog
St Ermenilda of Ely
Bl Eustochium of Padua
St Fulcran of Lodève
St Fusca of Ravenna
St Gilbert of Meaux
St Gosbert of Osnabruck
St Guimérra of Carcassone
St Huno
Blessed Jordan of Saxony OP (1190-1237)

St Julian of Lyon
St Lucinus of Angers
St Marice
St Martinian the Hermit
St Maura of Ravenna
St Modomnoc
St Paulus Lio Hanzuo
St Peter I of Vercelli
St Phaolô Lê Van Loc
St Stephen of Lyons
St Stephen of Rieti


One Minute Reflection – 11 February – …’He is seated upon an extremely valuable throne…’

One Minute Reflection – 11 February – Tuesday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: 1 Kings 8:22-23, 27-30, Psalm 84:3-5, 10-11, Mark 7:1-13 and the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes

“This people honours me with their lips but their hearts are far from me” … Mark 7:6mark 7 6 this people honours me with their lips but their hearts are far from me 11 feb 2020

REFLECTION – “Well, let us imagine that within us is an extremely rich palace, built entirely of gold and precious stones, in sum, built for a lord such as this.   Imagine, too, as is indeed so, that you have a part to play, in order for the palace to be so beautiful, for there is no edifice as beautiful as is a soul pure and full of virtues.   The greater the virtues the more resplendent the jewels.
Imagine, also, that in this palace dwells this mighty King who has been gracious enough to become your Father and, that He is seated upon an extremely valuable throne, which is your heart. (…)

You will laugh at me, perhaps and say that what I’m explaining is very clear and you’ll be right, for me, though, it was obscure for some time.   I understood well that I had a soul. But what this soul deserved and who dwelt within it I did not understand because I had covered my eyes with the vanities of the world.   For, in my opinion, if I had understood as I do now, that, in this little palace of my soul dwelt so great a King, I would not have left Him alone so often.   I would have remained with Him at times and striven more so as not to be so unclean.
But what a marvellous thing, that He who would fill a thousand worlds and many more with His grandeur, would enclose Himself in something so small!” … St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church – The Way of Perfection, ch. 28, 9-11imagine also that in this palace dwells this mighty king - st teresa of avila 11 feb 2020

PRAYER – Grant us, O merciful God, protection in our weakness, that we, who keep the Memorial of the Immaculate Mother of God, may, with the help of her intercession, rise up from our iniquities.   Grant, we pray that our lives may be gifts to all those who cry out in pain.   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.ou-lady-of-lourdes-pray-for-us-11-feb-2019 and 2020


Our Morning Offering – 14 January – Before Jesus Crucified (Sweet Jesus, please, abide with me!)

Our Morning Offering – 14 January – Monday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A

Before Jesus Crucified (Sweet Jesus, please, abide with me!)
By Blessed Titus Brandsma OCD (1881-1942) Martyr

Dear Lord, when looking up at Thee,
I see Thy loving eyes on me,
Love overflows my humble heart,
Knowing what a faithful friend Thou are.
A cup of sorrow I foresee,
Which I accept for love of Thee,
Thy painful way I wish to go,
The only way to God I know.
My soul is full of peace and light,
Although in pain, this light shines bright.
For here, Thou keepest to Thy breast.
My longing heart to find there rest.
Leave me here freely all alone,
In cell where never sunlight shone.
Should no-one ever speak to me,
This golden silence makes me free!
For though alone, I have no fear,
Never were Thou, O Lord, so near.
Sweet Jesus, please, abide with me!
My deepest peace I find in Thee.
Amenbefore jesus crucified bl titus brandsma 20 jan 2020


One Minute Reflection – 1 January – ‘..For the sake of His love take me…’

One Minute Reflection – 1 January – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the Octave Day of the Nativity of the Lord, Readings: Numbers 6:22-27, Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8, Galatians 4:4-7, Luke 2:16-21

But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. … Luke 2:19luke 2 19 but mary kept all these things pondering 1 jan 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – “You will pray to the Virgin Mother that she obtain for you a perfect renewal of life and that, by this grace, she herself, the venerable rose, become your mother and godmother in such a way, that you may be her true daughter in conduct.  And pray that this very gem of decency, may envelop your soul, in the mantle of her cleanliness, preserving you without any spot, under her most dulcet tutelage, for her Son, the Lord King.   And pray that your name may be numbered among Israel, the choicest lot, so that you have share with those who walk in innocence of heart, always seeing the Lord before them in all of their ways. (cf. Ps 15:8)

Greetings, Mary, queen of clemency, olive tree of mercy, through whom life’s remedy has come to us.   Queen of clemency, Virgin Mother of the divine offspring, through whom the Child of supernal light came to us, the scented offspring of Israel.   Ah!   Just as you became the true mother of us all, through your Son, who Himself, your one and only Son, did not scorn to become our Brother, now then, for the sake of His love take me, an unworthy woman, into your motherly care.   Aid my faith, keep and instruct it and become so much the godmother of my renewal and faith now, that you may be my only mother and closest to my heart for eternity, always caring for me with loving-kindness in this life and taking me, into your full motherliness, at the hour of death.   Amen.” … St Gertrude the Great of Helfta (1256-1301)greetings mary queen of clemency - 1 jan 2020 st gertrude the great.jpg

PRAYER – God, our Father, since You gave mankind a Saviour through the blessed Mary, virgin and mother, grant that we may feel the power of her intercession, when she pleads for us with Jesus Christ, Your Son, the author of life, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever, amen.


Quote/s of the Day – 28 December – The Feast of the Holy Innocents

Quote/s of the Day – 28 December – The Feast of the Holy Innocents – The Fourth Day of the Christmas Octave

“These then, whom Herod’s cruelty
tore as sucklings from their mothers’ bosom,
are justly hailed as “infant martyr flowers”;
they were the Church’s first blossoms,
matured by the frost of persecution
during the cold winter of unbelief.”

St Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor of the Churchthese-then-28-dec-2017 and 2019.jpg

“The star of Bethlehem
shines forth in the dark night of sin.
Upon the radiance
that goes forth from the manger,
there falls the shadow of the cross.
In the dark of Good Friday, the light is extinguished
but it rises more brightly, as the sun of grace.
on the morning of the resurrection.
The road of the incarnate Son of God,
is through the cross and suffering.
to the splendour of the resurrection.
To arrive with the Son of Man,
through suffering and death,
at this splendour of the resurrection,
is the road for each one of us,
for all mankind.”

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
[Edith Stein] (1891-1942)the star of bethlehem shines forth - st teresa benedicta - holy innocents 28 dec 2019.jpg