Saint of the Day – 23 April – Blessed Teresa Maria of the Cross OCD (1846–1910)

Saint of the Day – 23 April – Blessed Teresa Maria of the Cross OCD (1846–1910) Religious Nun of the Carmelite Order, Foundress of the Carmelite Sisters of Saint Teresa, Mystic, Adorer of the Holy Eucharist, Marian devotee, spiritaul advisor, teacher.   Born on 2 March 1846 at Campi Bisenzio, Florence, Italy as Teresa Adelaide Cesina Manetti and died on 3 April 1910 at Campi Bisenzio, Florence, Italy of natural causes.   Patronages – Carmelite Sisters of Saint Teresa, People ridiculed for their piety, Campi Bisenzio, Italy her teresa maria of the cross Manetti

Teresa Manetti, familiarly called Bettina, was born in the Tuscan countryside and raised among a simple family.    She was the daughter of Salvatore Manetti and Rosa Bigagli, and had one brother, Adamo Raffaello.   She lived her entire life in her small village.

Birthplace of Blessed Teresa Maria

Bettina had a cheerful, energetic disposition and a talent for organisation and all the qualities which make for a good leader.   At the age of 21, she rented a home with two other women who dedicated themselves to a life of prayer, penance and charity.   They cared for the sick and the poor and taught catechism to children.   They were inspired by the writings of Saint Teresa of Avila and had a special devotion to her.   Many other women joined the small group.   The women were admitted to the Teresian Third Order and Bettina took the new name of Teresa Maria of the Cross.

Two years later, she joined the Discalced Carmelites as a nun.   Over the next few years she started schools in several Italian cities, each with it’s little group of Carmelite teachers.   Her Institute of teaching nuns received approval from Pope Saint Pius X on 27 February 1904 as the Carmelite Sisters of Saint Teresa of Florence with a mission to teach and care for children, especially orphans.   Like her inspiration, Saint Teresa of Avila, Teresa of the Cross met with much resistance to her work with the poor, much slander about her personal life and a long period of spiritual dryness but all who met her, commented on the air of joy and peace she brought to her work.

Under the wise guidance of Mother Teresa, the new congregation, animated by a true Carmelite spirit, went on expanding.   In realisation of an old prophetic dream, with twelve houses opened in Tuscany, Teresa was able to add two on the Carmelite missions in Syria and one on the slopes Of Carmel, at Haifa.   She gave individual attention to the foundations and to the religious, with the strength of a mother who wished her daughters to be poor and detached from everything, truly tending towards God alone as they served His orphans and little ones.   She herself was the servant of all. Despite her own precarious health, she was forgetful of self as she sought to pour out joy and her smile upon all who approached her.   The witnesses at the process of beatification are unanimous in declaring that everyone who met her was impressed by her trust in God and by her serene abandonment to Providence and felt himself the better person for teresa maria of the cross

And as the years passed, Teresa was more and more besieged by crowds of people, especially on Sundays.   Lines of persons of every class and condition awaited their turn to be heard and consoled by her.  She was able to unite them to the Lord, give counsels of heavenly wisdom, heal ills which resisted the efforts of science, read hearts, see into the future, cut down distances, multiply goods and money.   These are the «little flowers» that are in evidence on every page of the canonical processes, little flowers that, while they reveal charismatic facts, also show her exceptional availability for her neighbours, even at times of greatest pain.   Bishop Andrew Cassullo, who had known her intimately, affirmed in her regard: “She undid herself doing good.”

She lived joyfully, body and soul the mystery of the Cross in full conformity to the will of God.   Teresa Maria was outstanding for her love for the Eucharist and her maternal care for children and for the poor.   Her life was motivated by a consuming love for Christ and a desire to save souls.   She endeavoured to live according to God’s holy will and took delight in all the crosses which came through this purpose.   In a prayer she wrote:

“To suffer, to suffer, always suffer.   Do what you want with me, it’s enough that I save souls for you.”bl teresa maria of the cross new.jpg

The source of such a dedication was her life of faith and of theological charity, the great virtues of her life which nourished her Eucharistic fervour and gave her the strength to live out her religious name, of the Cross, in its deepest significance.   She lived on prayer and she had the gift of a continual communion with the Lord, so that, as one witness recalls in regard to a personal affirmation of the servant of God, “for her it was the same to be enclosed in a convent or to deal with people, because everywhere she felt herself united to God.”   This habitual union found its nourishment in Eucharistic piety.   She had great devotion for the Eucharist even as a child.   During the institute’s first years she went into ecstasy almost every day after Communion, later, too, in the Eucharistic presence she felt something that drew her out of herself.

One of her great hopes was a house entirely dedicated to the perpetual adoration of the Eucharist.   She was able to realise this in Florence, where on 11 January 1902, in the church of Corpus Domini, which she had built, the Blessed Sacrament was solemnly exposed.   It was in contact with Christ that her apostolic desires increased, hence she exclaimed:  “I should like to make all hearts into one and plunge it into the heart of Jesus.”   Moreover, the love of Jesus bound her more intimately to Our Lady, whose tenderness and care for Jesus she herself wished to have.   Happy to be a Carmelite, she saw in her Carmelite vocation a commitment to belong to Our Lady more deeply and to spread devotion to her.

She died at Campi Bisenzio on 23 April 1910 and was beatified on October 1986 by St Pope John Paul II after the approval of the required miracle.4_23_Blessed-Teresa-Mary-Manetti

Posted in LENT 2019, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 14 April – Saint Lydwina of Schiedam (1380-1433)

Saint of the Day – 14 April – Saint Lydwina of Schiedam (1380-1433) aged 53 – Mystic, Ascetic, apostle of the Holy Eucharist and of penance and prayer, also known as Liduina, Lidwid, Lidwina, Lijdwine, Ludivine, Lydwid, Lydwine – born on 18 April 1380 (Palm Sunday) at Schiedam, Netherlands and died on 14 April (Easter Sunday) 1433 at Schiedam, Netherlands of natural causes.   Patronages – against sickness, against bodily ills, ice skating, prolonged suffering. roller skating, skaters, Schiedam, Netherlands.

The story of Lydwina, the patron saint of ice skating, is a sad and fascinating one indeed. She was a Dutch girl born on a Palm Sunday and raised alongside eight brothers to a father and mother, Peter and Petronella who were a “poor noble” and ‘poor commoner”.

By all accounts, she was “a lovely and charming girl”. At age fifteen, in a severe winter Lydwina was skating with girlfriends when she fell and broke a rib and was put in bed in her family home. After her injury, gangrene set in and Lydwina became partially paralysed.

She never fully recovered and became progressively more disabled and ill throughout her life.   It is believed that she became paralysed with the exception of her left hand and that parts of her body… “fell off”.   Blood is reported to have spontaneously poured from her mouth, ears and nose.   Some historians have hypothesised that accounts of her affliction may have actually been describing one of the first known cases of Multiple Sclerosis, which of course would not have been known at that time.

Much of Lydwina’s time was spent in prayer, meditation and in offering her pain to God. Devoutly spiritual, she developed a devotion to The Eucharist, was visited by saints and had visions in which she was shown a “Heaven and Purgatory”.   Miracles reportedly occurred at her Lidwina_painting

After Lydwina’s fall while skating, she fasted constantly and became reputed as a healer and holy woman, although many viewed her as being ‘under the influence of an evil spirit’ due to her deteriorating health.

Her hometown of Schiedam created a document that attests to her fasting.   She ate only a little piece of apple, then part of a date, watered down wine and then river water that was contaminated with salt from the tides.   This document created by Schiedam town officials (which still exists) also claims that she shed skin, bones and part of her intestines, which her parents kept in a vase until Lydwina had her mother bury them after they drew much attention.

She lost her sight seven years before her death but continued to fast and report visions, in one of which her Guardian Angel assisted her, until her death at age fifty lydwina snip

Posthumously, Lydwina’s grave became a place of pilgrimage.   Thomas à Kempis’s (1380-1471) publication, Vita Lidewigis, A Life of St Lydwina, caused an increase in veneration.  In 1615 her relics were taken to Brussels but in 1871 they were returned to Schiedam. In 1434, a chapel was built over it.   Her relics were taken to Brussels, Belgium in 1615 but returned to Schiedam in 1871.

In 1890, Pope Leo XIII Canonised her.   She is known as the patron saint of ice skaters and the chronically ill and her “feast day” is observed on 18 March, 14 April (universal memorial) or 14 June depending on the region and area’s lydwina snip 2 statue

The Church of Our Lady of the Visatation, which was opened in 1859 in Schiedam closed in 1969 and her statue and relics were removed and moved to the chapel dedicated to her Basilica of Lydwina in West-Frankeland.   In Schiedam, her name is attached to numerous institutions and the Intorno Ensemble foundation presents a bi-annual musical theatrical production about Lydwina, the town saint, in one of Schiedam’s churches.

Of her suffering at the end of her life, Lidwina allegedly said, “If I live to be healthy by Ave Maria again I would not want to.”  Her final vision was of Christ administering last rites to her. 

This powerful and heartwarming history makes it so fitting that Lydwina was named the patron saint of ice skating.

Surely, one of the parables of the story of St Lydwina, is that if you fall down, you never give up and you too may become a Saint.   Your search for holiness, may, after all, only begin after the fall!st-lidwina-1


Thought for the Day – 14 December -Traces of the Divine Beauty in Creation

Thought for the Day – 14 December – The Memorial of St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the Church

Traces of the Divine Beauty in Creation
From The Spiritual Canticle by Saint John of the Cross

“Created things in themselves, as Saint Augustine declares, give testimony to God’s grandeur and excellence.   For God created all things with remarkable ease and brevity and in them He left some trace of who He is, not only in giving all things being from nothing but even by endowing them, with innumerable graces and qualities, making them beautiful in a wonderful order and unfailing dependence on one another.  All of this He did through His own wisdom, the Word, His only begotten Son by whom He created them.

Saint Paul says:  The Son of God is the splendour of His glory and the image of His substance.   It should be known that only with this figure, His Son, did God look at all things, that is, He communicated to them their natural being and many natural graces and gifts and made them complete and perfect, as is said in Genesis:  God looked at all things that He made, and they were very good.   To look and behold that they were very good, was to make them very good in the Word, his Son.

Not only by looking at them did He communicate natural being and graces, as we said but also with this image of His Son alone, He clothed them in beauty by imparting to them supernatural being.   This He did when He became man and elevated human nature in the beauty of God and consequently all creatures, since in human nature He was united with them all.

Accordingly, the Son of God proclaimed:  If I be lifted up from the earth, I will elevate all things to me.   And in this elevation of all things through the incarnation of His Son and through the glory of His resurrection according to the flesh, the Father did not merely beautify creatures partially but rather, we can say, clothed them wholly in beauty and dignity.”

“Lord I am not worthy but only say the word and I shall be healed.”

St John of the Cross, Pray for Us!st-john-of-the-cross-pray-for-us-14-dec-2017

Posted in MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Saint of the Day – 2 December – Blessed John van Ruysbroeck

Saint of the Day – 2 December – Blessed John van Ruysbroeck – Priest, Hermit, Mystic, Spiritual Director and Spirtual Writer – born in c 1293 near Brussels, Belgium and died on 2 December 1381 at Groenendael, Belgium, of natural causes.   Known as John  “the Admirable” , “the Ecstatic Doctor, “the Divine Doctor.”Blessed John Ruysbroeck

John van Ruysbroeck was a Flemish mystical writer who greatly influenced mystical teaching in the late Middle Ages and whose name is associated with the religious renewal in the Lowlands that also produced, The Imitation of Christ.   He was born near Brussels in 1293 and was raised by a devout mother who trained him in a life of holiness.
At the age of eleven, he went to Brussels to live with an uncle, John Hinckaert, a priest and canon of St Gudule’s.   John studied for the priesthood and was ordained in 1317. Under his uncle’s roof he continued to live a life of retirement and study and began the writings that were to be the basis of his spiritual teaching: The Spiritual Espousals, The Kingdom of Lovers, and The Tabernacle.

Together with his uncle and another canon, Francis van Coudenberg, Blessed John Ruysbroeck withdrew to a hermitage near Soignes for a life of greater solitude and a number of disciples joined them.   They decided to inaugurate a formal religious institute and adopted the rule of the canons of St Victor.   John was made the prior of the new institute.x-ruysbr2

This period, from his religious profession (1349) to his death (1381), was the most active and fruitful of Ruysbroeck’s career.   During this time, his fame as a man of God, as a sublime contemplative and a skilled director of souls, spread beyond the bounds of Flanders and Brabant to Holland, Germany and France.   He had relations with the nearby Carthusian house at Herne and also with several communities of Poor Clare Franciscans.

Excellent writings continued to come forth from his pen: The Book of the Sparkling Stone, The Little Book of Enlightenment, and The Book of the Twelve Beguines.   Literally, Ruysbroeck wrote as the spirit moved him.   He loved to wander and meditate in the solitude of the forest adjoining the cloister;  he was accustomed to carry a tablet with him and on this to jot down his thoughts as he felt inspired so to do.   Late in life he was able to declare that he had never committed anything to writing save by the motion of the Holy Spirit.

John Ruysbroeck’s writings are considered classics of spirituality, anticipating the writings of St John of the Cross in their clarity and doctrine.   He strongly opposed the quietist tendencies of many of his contemporaries.   His solid theological background and his ability to make clear the sure path of spiritual progress gave him a wide reading and his books are lucid commentaries on the Augustinian doctrine of the life of grace.

For several years before his death, John lived in a small cell, just outside the cloister of his monastery.   In his eighty-eighth year, he asked to be taken to the community infirmary, where he prepared himself for death.   He died on 2 December1381.

After John’s death in 1381, his relics were carefully preserved and his memory honoured as that of a saint. Many of his spiritual children called him the  “the Admirable”, Ecstatic Doctor or Divine Doctor.

When Groenendaal Priory was suppressed by Joseph II in 1783, his relics were transferred to St Gudule’s, Brussels, where, however, they were lost during the French Revolution.   John was Beatified on 1 December 1908, by St Pope Pius X.10-francs-1981-jan-van-ruusbroec_74_0510440474168ef05L

No authentic portrait of John is known to exist but the traditional picture represents him in the canonical habit, seated in the forest with his writing tablet on his knee, as he was in fact found one day by the brethren—rapt in ecstasy and enveloped in flames, which encircle without consuming the tree under which he is resting.

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 31 October – The Memorial of St Alphonsus Rodriguez SJ (1532-1617)

Thought for the Day – 31 October – The Memorial of St Alphonsus Rodriguez SJ (1532-1617)

The story of this humble Jesuit brother illustrates that status and achievements count for nothing for those who accept the responsibility assigned them with the conviction that it is God’s will.   Rodriguez set himself free of ego, he found meaning and fulfilment in the lowliest tasks accorded him and was zealous enough to give more than was demanded, in the spirit of the Ignatian Magis.
Early biographies describe Rodriguez as a superhero who spiritually survived a rather humdrum, tedious job for 46 years.   They tended to overlook the tenacity and uncompromising dedication of the unassuming brother who would inspire generations of Jesuits in the art of religious hospitality.   He was a multi-tasker, blending ‘spiritual conversation’ with business while always attending courteously to visitors.   He quietly counselled students and reached out to the poor who hang around outside the door. Rodriguez made sure his job was never humdrum and tedious!

He displayed unconditional discipleship to Jesus Christ.   He was a brother and companion, serving all as he would Christ personified.   “I’m coming Lord,” he would cry when someone knocked.   He had personalised his spirituality and this is what gave depth, appeal and credibility to his convictions.   The rosary entwining his fingers may not always have been used to pray the mysteries but to murmur aspirations that connected him with the divinity present everywhere.   He was a contemplative in action and spent most of his spare-time in prayer.   He was a mystic, as his autobiography penned under obedience would reveal, favoured by God with remarkable mystical graces, ecstasies and visions of our Lord, our Lady and the saints.

At the age of 72, Rodriguez would counsel and motivate St Peter Claver (1580-1654), a young student of theology in Palma, to volunteer for “the missions” in the New World.   In true Ignatian spirit Rodriguez looked beyond the boundaries of his world with the universal good of the Society of Jesus at heart – a typical Jesuit charism.   Claver achieved sainthood through his indefatigable service to African slaves in Colombia.

Rodriguez is the patron of Jesuit brothers.   The lay-brother of the olden days, who performed routine duties such as cooking, construction and farming, has vanished. Today the Jesuit brother can hardly be distinguished from the priest, because of his professional competence in many fields.   In the spirit of Alphonsus Rodriguez, brothers sacramentalise their work and bear witness to God’s compassionate love.

(Excerpt on the 400th anniversary of St Alphonsus death, 2017 – Hedwig Lewis SJ is the author of “Profiles in Holiness, Brief Biographies of Jesuit Saints” and “Jesuit Saints without Paint”)

St Alphonsus Rodriguez, Pray for Us!st alphonsus rodriguez pray for us - 31 oct 2018


Quote/s of the Day – 16 October – The Memorial of St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) and St Gerard Majella (1726-1755)

Quote/s of the Day – 16 October – The Memorial of St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) and St Gerard Majella (1726-1755)

“Let us begin in earnest
to work out our salvation,
for no-one will do it for us,
since even He Himself,
Who made us without ourselves,
will not save us without ourselves!”let us begin in earnest - st m m alacoque - 16 oct 2018

“Let every knee bend before You,
O greatness of my God,
so supremely humbled in the Sacred Host.
May every heart love You,
every spirit adore You
and every will be subject to You!

St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690)let every knee bend before you - st m m alacoque - 16 oct 2018

“The Most Blessed Sacrament
is Christ made visible.
The poor sick person
is Christ again made visible.”

St Gerard Majella (1726-1755)the most blessed sacrament is christ made visible - st gerard majella - no 2 - 16 oct 2018


Thought for the Day – 15 October – The Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus/Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church

Thought for the Day – 15 October – The Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus/Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church “Doctor of Prayer”

Excerpt of Pope Benedict’s Catechesis
on the Doctors of the Church
Wednesday, 2 February 2011

“It is far from easy to sum up in a few words Teresa’s profound and articulate spirituality.   I would like to mention a few essential points.   In the first place St Teresa proposes the evangelical virtues as the basis of all Christian and human life and in particular, detachment from possessions, that is, evangelical poverty and this concerns all of us;  love for one another as an essential element of community and social life; humility as love for the truth;  determination as a fruit of Christian daring;  theological hope, which she describes as the thirst for living water.   Then we should not forget the human virtues: affability, truthfulness, modesty, courtesy, cheerfulness, culture.

Secondly, St Teresa proposes a profound harmony with the great biblical figures and eager listening to the word of God.   She feels above all closely in tune with the Bride in the Song of Songs and with the Apostle Paul, as well as with Christ in the Passion and with Jesus in the Eucharist.   The Saint then stresses how essential prayer is.   Praying, she says, “means being on terms of friendship with God frequently conversing in secret with Him who, we know, loves us” (Vida 8, 5).  St Teresa’s idea coincides with Thomas Aquinas’ definition of theological charity as “amicitia quaedam hominis ad Deum”, a type of human friendship with God, who offered humanity His friendship first – it is from God that the initiative comes (cf. Summa Theologiae II-II, 23, 1).

Prayer is life and develops gradually, in pace with the growth of Christian life – it begins with vocal prayer, passes through interiorisation by means of meditation and recollection, until it attains the union of love with Christ and with the Holy Trinity. Obviously, in the development of prayer climbing to the highest steps does not mean abandoning the previous type of prayer.  Rather, it is a gradual deepening of the relationship with God that envelops the whole of life.

Dear brothers and sisters, St Teresa of Jesus is a true teacher of Christian life for the faithful of every time.   In our society, which all too often lacks spiritual values, St Teresa teaches us to be unflagging witnesses of God, of His presence and of His action.   She teaches us truly to feel this thirst for God that exists in the depths of our hearts, this desire to see God, to seek God, to be in conversation with Him and to be His friends.

This is the friendship we all need that we must seek anew, day after day.   May the example of this Saint, profoundly contemplative and effectively active, spur us too every day to dedicate the right time to prayer, to this openness to God, to this journey, in order to seek God, to see Him, to discover His friendship and so to find true life – indeed, many of us should truly say:  “I am not alive, I am not truly alive because I do not live the essence of my life”.

Therefore time devoted to prayer is not time wasted, it is time in which the path of life unfolds, the path unfolds to learning from God an ardent love for Him, for His Church and practical charity for our brothers and sisters.    Many thanks.”

St Teresa, Pray for Us!st-teresa-of-jesus-pray-for-us-215 oct 2017


Quotes of the Day – 15 October – The Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus/Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church

Quotes of the Day – 15 October – The Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus/Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church

“Oh my Lord!
How true it is that,
whoever works for You,
is paid in troubles!
And what a precious price
to those who love You,
if we understand its value.”oh-my-lord-st-teresa-of-jesus-15-oct-2017

“We need no wings
to go in search of Him
but have only to look upon Him,
present within us.”we need no wings - st teresa of jesus - avila - 15 oct 2018

“It is love alone that gives worth to all things.”it is love alone - st teresa of avila-jesus 15 oct 2018

“Always think of yourself
as everyone’s servant;
look for Christ Our Lord
in everyone
and you will then have
respect and reverence
for them all.”always think of yourself as everyone's servant - st teresa of avila - 15 oct 2018

“Know that,
even when you are
in the kitchen,
our Lord moves
amidst the pots
and pans.”know that even when you are in the kitchen st teresa of avila of jesus - 15 oct 2018

“Hope, O my soul, hope.
You know neither the day nor the hour.
Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly,
even though your impatience makes doubtful,
what is certain and turns
a very short time into a long one.”

St Teresa of Jesus/Avila (1515-1582)hope-o-my-soul-hope-st-teresa-15-october-2017

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, MYSTICS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 15 October – The Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus/Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church “Doctor of Prayer”

Our Morning Offering – 15 October – The Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus/Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church “Doctor of Prayer”

Morning Offering
Of St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) 

grant that I may always
allow myself
to be guided by You,
always follow Your plans,
and perfectly accomplish
Your Holy Will.
Grant that in all things,
great and small,
today and all the days of my life,
I may do
whatever You require of me.
Help me respond
to the slightest prompting
of Your Grace,
so that I may be
Your trustworthy instrument
for Your honour.
May Your Will be done
in time
and in eternity
by me,
in me
and through me.
Amenmorning offering by st teresa of avila 15 oct 2018 - no 2 - lord grant tht I may always


Quote/s of the Day – 4 October – The Memorial of St Francis of Assisi (1181/2–1226)

Quote/s of the Day – 4 October – The Memorial of St Francis of Assisi (1181/2–1226)

“The one you are looking for,
is the One who is looking.”the one you are looking for - st francis of assisi - 4 oct 2018

“Let the whole world of mankind tremble,
the whole world shake
and the heavens exult when Christ,
the Son of the living God,
is on the altar in the hands of a priest.
O admirable heights and sublime lowliness!
O sublime humility! O humble sublimity!
That the Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God,
so humbles Himself that for our salvation,
He hides Himself under the little form of bread!
Look, brothers, at the humility of God
and pour out your hearts before Him!
Humble yourselves, as well,
that you may be exalted by Him.
Therefore, hold back nothing
of yourselves, for yourselves,
so that He,
Who gives Himself totally to you,
may receive you totally.”let the whole world of mankind tremble - st francis - 4 oct 2018

“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.”jesus is happy to come with us - st francis of assisi - 4 oct 2018

“The deeds you do may be the only sermon
some persons will hear today.”

St Francis of Assisi (1181/2–1226)the-deeds-you-do-4-oct-2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – St Thérèse of Lisieux O.C.D. (1873 – 1897) Doctor of the Church

Saint of the Day – St Thérèse of Lisieux O.C.D. (1873 – 1897)  – also known as St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face/The Little Flower/Sacred Keeper of the Gardens – Virgin, Religious Nun, Mystic, Writer – born Marie Françoise-Thérèse Martin on 2 January 1873 at Alcon, Normandy, France – died on 30 September 1897 at Lisieux, France of tuberculosis.   Patronages – Universal Patron of the Missions, African missions, sick people; against bodily ills, illness or sickness, AIDS patients, air crews or pilots; aviators, Australia, black missions, florists and flower growers, foreign missions (proclaimed on 14 December 1927 by Pope Pius XI), loss of parents, missionaries, parish missions, restoration of religious freedom in Russia, tuberculosis, World Youth Day 2013, France (1944 by Pope Pius XII), Russia, Anchorage, Alaska, archdiocese of, Cheyenne, Wyoming, diocese of, Churchill – Baie d’Hudson, Manitoba, diocese of, Fairbanks, Alaska, diocese of, Fresno, California, diocese of, Hamilton, Bermuda, diocese of, Juneau, Alaska, diocese of, Kisumu, Kenya, diocese of, Corner Brook and Labrador, Newfoundland, diocese of, Pueblo, Colorado, diocese of, Witbank, South Africa, diocese of, Apostleship of therese info

THÉRÈSE MARTIN was born at Alençon, France on 2 January 1873.   Two days later, she was baptised Marie Françoise Thérèse at Notre Dame Church.   Her parents were Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin (now Saints, Canonised on 18 October 2015, Memorial 12 July).  After the death of her mother on 28 August 1877, Thérèse and her family moved to Lisieux.Thérèse_Martin-Histoire_d'une_âme-A02

Towards the end of 1879, she went to confession for the first time.   On the Feast of Pentecost 1883, she received the singular grace of being healed from a serious illness through the intercession of Our Lady of Victories.   Taught by the Benedictine Nuns of Lisieux and after an intense immediate preparation culminating in a vivid experience of intimate union with Christ, she received First Holy Communion on 8 May 1884.   Some weeks later, on 14 June of the same year, she received the Sacrament of Confirmation, fully aware of accepting the gift of the Holy Spirit as a personal participation in the grace of Pentecost.

She wished to embrace the contemplative life, as her sisters Pauline and Marie had done in the Carmel of Lisieux but was prevented from doing so by her young age.   On a visit to Italy, after having visited the House of Loreto and the holy places of the Eternal City, during an audience granted by Pope Leo XIII to the pilgrims from Lisieux on 20 November 1887, she asked the Holy Father with childlike audacity to be able to enter the Carmel at the age of fifteen.   On 9 April 1888 she entered the Carmel of Lisieux.   She received the habit on 10 January of the following year and made her religious profession on 8 September 1890 on the Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.popeleo and st therese

In Carmel. she embraced the way of perfection outlined by the Foundress, Saint Teresa of Jesus, fulfilling with genuine fervour and fidelity the various community responsibilities entrusted to her.   Her faith was tested by the sickness of her beloved father, Louis Martin, who died on 29 July 1894.   Thérèse nevertheless grew in sanctity, enlightened by the Word of God and inspired by the Gospel to place love at the centre of everything.   In her autobiographical manuscripts she left us, not only her recollections of childhood and adolescence but also a portrait of her soul, the description of her most intimate experiences.  She discovered the little way of spiritual childhood and taught it to the novices entrusted to her care.   She considered it a special gift to receive the charge of accompanying two “missionary brothers” with prayer and sacrifice.   Seized by the love of Christ, her only Spouse, she penetrated ever more deeply into the mystery of the Church and became increasingly aware of her apostolic and missionary vocation to draw everyone in her path.SaintTherese3

On 9 June 1895, on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, she offered herself as a sacrificial victim to the merciful Love of God.   At this time, she wrote her first autobiographical manuscript, which she presented to Mother Agnes for her birthday on 21 January 1896.

Several months later, on 3 April, in the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday, she suffered a haemoptysis, the first sign of the illness which would lead to her death – she welcomed this event as a mysterious visitation of the Divine Spouse.   From this point forward, she entered a trial of faith which would last until her death; she gives overwhelming testimony to this in her writings.   In September, she completed Manuscript B;  this text gives striking evidence of the spiritual maturity which she had attained, particularly the discovery of her vocation in the heart of the Church.saint-therese-of-the-child-jesus-belita-william

While her health declined and the time of trial continued, she began work in the month of June on Manuscript C, dedicated to Mother Marie de Gonzague.   New graces led her to higher perfection and she discovered fresh insights for the diffusion of her message in the Church, for the benefit of souls who would follow her way.   She was transferred to the infirmary on 8 July.   Her sisters and other religious women collected her sayings. Meanwhile her sufferings and trials intensified.   She accepted them with patience up to the moment of her death in the afternoon of 30 September 1897.   “I am not dying, I am entering life”, she wrote to her missionary spiritual brother, Father M Bellier.   Her final words, “My God…, I love you!”, seal a life which was extinguished on earth at the age of twenty-four;  thus began, as was her desire, a new phase of apostolic presence on behalf of souls in the Communion of Saints, in order to shower a rain of roses upon the world.

She was Canonised by Pope Pius XI on 17 May 1925.   The same Pope proclaimed her Universal Patron of the Missions, alongside Saint Francis Xavier, on 14 December 1927.

Her teaching and example of holiness has been received with great enthusiasm by all sectors of the faithful during this century, as well as by people outside the Catholic Church and outside Christianity.therese-painting

On the occasion of the centenary of her death, many Episcopal Conferences have asked the Pope to declare her a Doctor of the Church, in view of the soundness of her spiritual wisdom inspired by the Gospel, the originality of her theological intuitions filled with sublime teaching and the universal acceptance of her spiritual message, which has been welcomed throughout the world and spread by the translation of her works into over fifty languages.

Mindful of these requests, His Holiness St Pope John Paul II asked the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which has competence in this area, in consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with regard to her exalted teaching, to study the suitability of proclaiming her a Doctor of the Church.

On 24 August, at the close of the Eucharistic Celebration at the Twelfth World Youth Day in Paris, in the presence of hundreds of bishops and before an immense crowd of young people from the whole world, St Pope John Paul II announced his intention to proclaim Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face a Doctor of the Universal Church on World Mission Sunday, 19 October 1997…Vatican.vast-therese-of-lisieux-iii-sheila-diemert


Quote/s of the Day – 23 September – Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B and The Memorial of St Padre Pio (1887-1968)

Quote/s of the Day – 23 September – Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B and The Memorial of St Padre Pio (1887-1968)

“Do not fear!   Jesus is more powerful than all hell.”do-not-fear - 23 sept 2017

“Do not be daunted by the cross.
The surest test of love consists in suffering for the loved one
and if God suffered so much for love,
the pain we suffer for Him becomes as lovable as love itself.”

“The greater your sufferings, the greater God’s love for you.”the-greater-your-sufferings-st-pio-23-sept-2017

“God will never permit anything,
to happen to us, that is not for our greater good.”

“The storms that are raging around you,
will turn out to be for God’s glory,
your own merit
and the good of many souls.”the storms that are - god will never permit - st pio - 23 sept 2018

“In all the free time you have,
once you have finished your duties of state,
you should kneel down and pray the Rosary.
Pray the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament
or before a crucifix.”in-all-the-free-time-st-pio-no-2-23-sept-2017

“Do you not see the Madonna always beside the Tabernacle?”do-you-not-see-st-pio-23-sept-2017

“Listen to the Mass, the way the Virgin Mary, stood at .. Calvary..”listen to the mass - st pio - 23 sept 2018

“We have close to us, an angelic spirit,
who never leaves us for an instant,
from the cradle to the grave,
who guides and protects us,
like a friend or a brother.”we have close to us an angelic spirit - st padre pio - 23 sept 2018

“When you gossip about a person it means
that you have removed the person from your heart.
But be aware, when you remove a man from your heart,
Jesus also goes away from your heart with that man.”

St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968)when-you-gossip-st-pio-23-sept-2017


Quote of the Day – 2 July

Quote of the Day – 2 July – Monday of the Thirteenth Week, Year B – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 8:18-22

Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens
and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man
has nowhere to rest his head.”…Matthew 8:20

“He [ Jesus] is our clothing,
that for love wraps us and winds us,
embraces us and totally encloses us,
hanging about us in tender love.”

Julian of Norwich (c 1342-c 1430)he jesus is our clothing - julian of norwich - 2 july 2018


Our Morning Offering – 2 July

Our Morning Offering – 2 July

All Shall be Well
By Julian of Norwich (c 1342-c 1430)

In You, Father almighty, we have
our preservation and our bliss.
In You, Christ,
we have our restoring and our saving.
You are our mother, brother and Saviour.
In You, our Lord the Holy Spirit,
is marvelous and plenteous grace.
You are our clothing,
for love You wrap us and embrace us.
You are our maker, our lover, our keeper.
Teach us to believe,
that by Your grace
all shall be well,
and all shall be well,
and all manner of things
shall be well.
Amenall shall be well - julian of norwich - 2 july 2018


Quote of the Day – 16 June – Month of the Sacred Heart and the Memorial of St Lutgarde of Aywières (1182-1246)

Quote of the Day – 16 June – Month of the Sacred Heart and the Memorial of St Lutgarde of Aywières (1182-1246) Mystic – The first known female Stigmatist and one of the first Devotees of the Sacred Heart (St Lutgarde here:

“So be it, Lord, so long as Your Heart’s love
is mingled with mine
I have and hold my heart in You.
For with You as my shield,
my heart is secure for all time.”

St Lutgarde of Aywières (1182-1246)so be it lord - st lutgarde - 16 june 2018


Quote of the Day – 13 May – The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

Quote of the Day – 13 May – The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

“I heard these words from the Host:

I desired to rest in your hands,
not only in your heart.”

Jesus to St Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938)
Diary 160

i heard these words from the host - st faustina diary 160 - 13 may 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, MYSTICS, ON the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

Thought for the Day – 29 April – Fifth Sunday of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church

Thought for the Day – 29 April – Fifth Sunday of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church

Catherine of Siena is one of the most remarkable figures of the fourteenth century and had an influence far beyond her holiness of life.   She took part in the politics of both Church and State and was a beacon of light in a very difficult time.

The mystical experiences that were to last throughout her whole life and an intimacy with her Saviour that transformed her whole existence began when she was but six years old.   She grew up, known for cheerfulness and merriment, with no indication of the astonishing role she was to play in the work of the Church.

In 1364, she became a member of the Third Order of St Dominic and from this time her influence began to grow in Siena as she gathered around her a circle of followers.   She began dictating letters to this circle and to take part in public affairs.   (She had never learnt to write, which was not uncommon for women in that era).   In 1374, she began to interest herself in furthering a crusade against the Turks and in the return of the Pope from Avignon to Rome.   In 1376, she went to Avignon to urge Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome.   With her encouragement, he did but died shortly thereafter. In 1375, whilst on a trip to Pisa, she received the Stigmata.

Pope Gregory’s successor, Urban VI, so alienated the Cardinals who elected him, that they decided to elect another pope.   This was the beginning of the Great Western Schism in which two and later three, popes, divided the allegiance of Christendom.   Catherine was shattered by this division in the Church and went to Rome to work for the reunification of the Church.

Burdened with sorrow and offering herself for the unity of the Church, Catherine died in Rome on 29 April 1380.   She left a huge collection of letters as well as her chief work, The Dialogues.

By the sheer force of her personality, St Catherine converted thousands and the mere sight of her would convert hardened sinners.   We may not have her personality but we can reach into the lives of others and influence them for good.   We cannot have warmth ourselves, without giving it to others.    “Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’...Luke 24:32

St Catherine of Siena, Pray for us!st catherine of siena pray for us - 29 april 2018



Quote/s of the Day – 29 April – Fifth Sunday of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church

Quote/s of the Day – 29 April – Fifth Sunday of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church

“Proclaim the Truth
and do not be silent
through fear.”

“Preach the Truth
as if you had a million voices.
It is silence that kills the world.”

“Nothing great is ever achieved,
without much enduring.”

“All the way to heaven is heaven
because Jesus said, “I am the way.”proclaim the truth -nothing great - all the way to heaven - preach the truth - st catherine of siena - 29 april 2018

“Start being brave about everything.
Drive out darkness and spread light.
Don’t look at your weaknesses.
Realise instead, that in Christ crucified,
you can do everything.”start being brave - st catherine of siena - 29 april 2018

“Strange that so much suffering is caused
because of the misunderstandings
of God’s true nature.
God’s heart is more gentle
than the Virgin’s first kiss upon the Christ.
And God’s forgiveness to all, to any thought or act,
is more certain than our own being.”

“Everything comes from love,
all is ordained for the salvation of man,
God does nothing without this goal in mind.”

“A soul cannot live without loving.
It must have something to love,
for it was created to love.”strange that so much - everything comes from love - a soul cannot live - st catherine of siena - 29 april 2018

“He will provide the way and the means,
such as you could never have imagined.
Leave it all to Him,
let go of yourself,
lose yourself on the Cross
and you will find yourself entirely.”he will provide the way and the means - st catherine of siena-no 3. - 29 april 2018

“What is it you want to change?
Your hair, your face, your body?
Why? For God is in love with all those things
and He might weep when they are gone!”

St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Churchwhat is it you want to change - st catherine of siena - 29 april 2018


One Minute Reflection – 11 April – Wednesday of the Second Week of Eastertide and the memorial of St Gemma Galgani (1878-1903)

One Minute Reflection – 11 April – Wednesday of the Second Week of Eastertide and the memorial of St Gemma Galgani (1878-1903)

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life;  he who comes to Me will not hunger and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”…John 6:35john 6 35 - 11 april 2018

REFLECTION – “Jesus, Food of strong souls, strengthen me, purify me, make me godlike.”…St Gemma Galganijesus, food of strong souls - st gemma galgani - 11 april 2018

PRAYER – Oh my Lord, Food of my soul, Food of my life, teach us to fully grow in our love and understanding of the great Mystery of the Holy Eucharist.   Help us to participate more fully at each Holy Mass.   St Gemma pray for us that we may love the food of our souls and one day join you in our heavenly home.   Through our Lord Jesus in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, - 11 april 2017


Our Morning Offering – 11 April – Wednesday of the Second Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Gemma Galgani (1878-1903)

Our Morning Offering – 11 April – Wednesday of the Second Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Gemma Galgani (1878-1903)

Prayer for Forgiveness
By St Gemma Galgani (1878-1903)

My crucified God, behold me at Your feet.
Do not reject me, a poor sinner,
as I appear before You.
I have offended You much in the past, my Jesus
but in the future I resolve to sin no more.

My God, I put all my sins before You.
I have considered them and realise
they do not deserve Your pardon.
But I beg of you to cast one glance upon Your sufferings
and see how great is the worth of that Precious Blood
that flows from your veins.

My God, at this hour,
close Your eyes to my want of merit
and open them to Your infinite merits.
Since You, dear Jesus,
have been pleased to die for my sins,
grant me forgiveness for them all,
that I may no longer feel their heavy burden,
which presses me to the earth.

My Jesus, help me, for I desire to become good,
no matter what it may cost.
Take away, destroy, root out completely,
all that You find in me that may be contrary to Your holy Will.
At the same time I beg You, O Jesus,
to enlighten me, that I may be able to walk in Your holy light.
Amenprayer for forgiveness - st gemma galgani - 11 april 2018


Saint of the Day – 11 April – St Gemma Galgani (1878-1903)

Saint of the Day – 11 April – St Gemma Galgani (1878-1903) known as The Flower of Lucca, The Virgin of Lucca and Daughter of the Passion – Stigmatist & Mystic – born on 12 March 1878 at Borgo Nuovo di Camigliano, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy and died on Holy Saturday, 11 April 1903 at Borgo Nuovo di Camigliano, Lucca, Italy of tuberculosis.   Her relics interred in the Passionist monastery, Lucca.   Patronages – Students, Pharmacists, Paratroopers and Parachutists, loss of parents, those suffering back injury or back pain, those suffering with headaches/migraines, those struggling with temptations to impurity and those seeking purity of heart.   Attributes – Passionist robe, flowers (lilies and roses), guardian angel, stigmata, heavenward gaze.header - st gemma galgani

Gemma Galgani was born on 12 March 1878, in a small Italian town near Lucca.  Gemma is the Italian word for gem.   The child’s mother was worried that this name was not a saint’s name but a priest friend comforted her with the remark that perhaps the child would one day be a “gem of Paradise.”

At a very young age, Gemma developed a love for prayer.   She credited her mother, who died when Gemma was very young, with inspiring in her the desire for Heaven and with teaching her about God.   Gemma made her First Communion on 17 June 1887.   Later, she wrote, “It is impossible for me to describe what passed between Jesus and myself in that moment.   He made himself felt so strongly in my soul.   I realised in that moment how the delights of Heaven are not like those of the earth and I was seized by a desire to make that union with my God everlasting.”

As a day pupil at the school run by the Sisters of St Zita, Gemma was loved by her teachers and her fellow pupils.   Although quiet and reserved, she always had a friendly smile for everyone.   Though by nature a bright and lively child, she exercised great self discipline even as a schoolgirl, keeping her feelings under control.   The superior of the sisters at the school once asked Gemma’s teacher and her class to pray for a dying man who refused the Sacraments.   After the prayer, Gemma arose from her seat and going up to her teacher, whispered in her ear, “The grace is granted.”   That evening the news as brought that the man had indeed converted and received the consolations of the Faith before his death.


Throughout her life, Gemma was to be favoured with many mystical experiences and special graces.   Often these were misunderstood by others, bringing ridicule.  A sensitive person, Gemma suffered these heartaches, too, in reparation, remembering that Our Lord Himself had been misunderstood and ridiculed.

Although she was a good student, Gemma had to quit school due to chronic ill heath before completing the course of study.   Throughout her life, her frail constitution did not stand up well to several illnesses.

Gemma’s father had been a moderately successful pharmacist.   But because of his generosity and his willingness to extend credit to those in need, he began to get into financial trouble.   His death in 1897 left Gemma and his other children penniless orphans.   Gemma felt the loss of her father keenly but did not appear to be bothered by the poverty of her circumstances.   She must have felt desolate when the creditors came and took away the few possessions left to the family on the very day of her father’s funeral but she maintained her cheerful, patient attitude.

Gemma had an immense love for the poor and when she went out, many poor people came to her for help.   When she could, she gave them things from home.   Later, when she too was a “povera,” or poor girl, she gave them the gift of friendship.   She would weep over their misfortunes, completely ignoring her own.

After her father’s death, the nineteen-year-old Gemma became the mother of her seven brothers and sisters.   When some were old enough to share this responsibility, she lived briefly with a married aunt.   Although she returned the love given by this aunt and uncle, Gemma was unhappy with the busy social life of the couple.   They were well off and wanted Gemma to join in the fun which they could afford to provide.   At this time, two young men proposed marriage to her.   Gemma, however, wanted silence and retirement and more than ever she desired to pray and speak only to God.

Gemma returned home and almost immediately became very ill with meningitis. Gradually she lost her hearing and some of her hair.   In addition, she suffered a complete paralysis of her limbs.   All earthly remedies proved vain and Gemma was confined to bed for more than a year.   Throughout this illness, her one regret was the trouble she caused her relatives in taking care of her.   News of the heroic patience of the gentle girl spread about the town and many visitors came to cheer her up.   For each visitor, Gemma had a smile and a welcoming comment.

Feeling herself tempted by the devil, she prayed for help to the Venerable Passionist, Gabriel Possenti.   (Gabriel was later canonised.)   He appeared to her in dreams several times, promising her help and calling her “sister.”   Through his intercession, Gemma was miraculously cured.   In one of her visions of Gabriel, he placed the badge of the Passionists on Gemma.   When she spoke of her desire to enter a convent, he told her to make her vow to be a religious but not to add anything to this vow.   Gabriel was telling her that although she might live the life of a nun, she would never enter any particular convent.   Later, Gemma was rejected as a candidate for the religious life on the grounds of her health was too delicate.   She offered this disappointment to God as a sacrifice.

Gifted with an ability for prophecy, Gemma predicted that the Passionists would establish a monastery at Lucca;  this came to pass two years after her death.   When she understood that she would not be able to enter a Passionist monastery, Gemma said, “The Passionists did not wish to receive me;  nevertheless, because I wish to stay with them, I shall when I am dead.”   Today, Gemma’s mortal remains are still treasured at the Passionist monastery in Lucca.

Monastery-Sanctuary-of-St-Gemma-Galgani-22passionist monastery lucca - holy card issuedGiovanni-Paolo-II-adorazione-al-SS.-Sacramento

On the 8 June, 1899, Gemma had an interior warning that some unusual grace was to be granted to her.   She spoke of this to her confessor and received absolution.   She later gave the following account to her spiritual director:  “It was Thursday evening, and suddenly I felt an inward sorrow for my sins;  but so intense that I have never felt the like again;  my sorrow made me feel as if I should die then and there.   After that I felt all the powers of my soul in recollection.   My intellect seemed to know nothing but my sins and how they offended God . . . Then thoughts crowded thickly within me and they were thoughts of sorrow, love, fear, hope and comfort.”

In rapture, she saw her heavenly Mother, who wrapped Gemma in her mantle.   At that moment, according to her own account, “Jesus appeared with His wounds all open; blood was not flowing from them but flames of fire which in one moment came and touched my hands, feet and heart.   I felt I was dying and should have fallen down but for my Mother who supported me and kept me under her cloak.   Thus I remained for several hours.   Then my Mother kissed my forehead, the vision disappeared and I found myself on my knees;   but I had still a keen pain in my hands, feet and heart.   I got up to get into bed and I saw that blood was coming from the places where I had the pain.   I covered them as well as I could and then, helped by my Guardian Angel, got into bed.”

The next day, covering her hands with gloves, Gemma attended Mass as usual.   Later, she showed the marks of the stigmata to one of her aunts, saying, “Just look at what Jesus has done to me!”

Saint Gemma Galgani 89Saint Gemma Galgani large8the cross and st gemma galgani

Each Thursday evening, Gemma would fall into rapture and the marks would appear. The stigmata remained until Friday afternoon or Saturday morning when the bleeding would stop, the wounds would close and only white marks would remain in place of the deep gashes.   Later, one of Gemma’s directors turned to science and had a doctor examine the stigmata.   As Gemma had foreseen, the doctor considered them a manifestation of some form of disease, or the delusions of an overly pious soul.  Gemma’s stigmata continued to appear until the last three years before her death.   At this time, her director forbade her to accept this phenomenon and through her prayers it ceased, although whitish marks remained on her skin until her death.

Through the help of her confessor, Gemma went to live with a family named Giannini, where she was allowed more freedom than at home for her spiritual life.   She was very grateful to this adoptive family and was more than once overheard in ecstasy praying for its members.   In this home, Gemma cheerfully did housework and helped in the training and education of the children.

There is a good record of Gemma’s words during ecstasy.   In this state of rapture, the soul is so absorbed in God that the normal activity of the senses is suspended.   Both her confessor and a relative of the head of her adoptive family, Aunt Cecilia, often overheard Gemma and recorded her conversations.

Father Germano once overheard her arguing with Divine Justice for the salvation of a soul.   Some of her words were:  “I do not seek Your justice, but for Your mercy.   I know, he made You shed tears;  but . . . You must not think of his sins;  You must think of the Blood You shed.   And now answer, Jesus and tell me You have saved my sinner.”   Gemma actually named the man she was praying for.   Soon afterwards, she broke out joyfully, “He is saved!  You have won, Jesus;  triumph always thus.” Then she came out of ecstasy.

Father Germano had just left the room when he heard a knock and was told that a stranger wished to speak to him.   As soon as the man was before the priest, he fell to his knees weeping and said, “Father, I want to make my confession.”  The priest was stunned to realise that it was Gemma’s sinner.


Gemma often saw her guardian angel, with whom she was on familiar terms.   Sometimes the angel protected and consoled her, sometimes he counselled her and occasionally he scolded her very severely for her faults.   He would say, “I am ashamed of you.”   At times Gemma was heard arguing with her guardian angel, so that her spiritual director, Father Germano, had to remind her that she was speaking with a blessed spirit of Heaven and should be very respectful.   The angel is mentioned on almost every single page of Gemma’s diary.   In one entry, Gemma wrote that the devil had been raining down blows on her shoulder for nearly half an hour.   “Then my guardian angel came and asked me what was the matter;  I begged him to stay with me all night and he said: ‘But I must sleep.’ ‘No,’ I replied, ‘the Angels of Jesus do not sleep!’   ‘Nevertheless,’ he rejoined, smiling, ‘I ought to rest.   Where shall you put me?’   I begged him to remain n ear me.   I went to bed; after that he seemed to spread his wings and come over my head. In the morning he was still there.”

One of the most extraordinary things is the fact that Gemma often sent her guardian angel on errands, usually to deliver a letter or oral message to Father Germano in Rome. Often the reply was delivered by the priest’s guardian angel.   Realising how unusual this was, Father Germano asked Heaven for a sign that it was in accord with God’s Will.  After Gemma’s death, he wrote: “To how many tests didn’t I submit this singular phenomenon in order to convince myself that it took place through a supernatural intervention!   And yet none of my tests ever failed;  and thus I was convinced again and again that in this, like in many other extraordinary things in her life, Heaven was delighted in amusing itself, as it were, with this innocent and dear maiden.”

During the apostolic investigations into her life, all witnesses testified that there was no artfulness in Gemma’s manner.   At the end of each of her ecstasies, she returned to normal and went quietly and serenely about the family life.   Most of her severe penances and sacrifices were hidden from most who knew her.   Only a few around her privileged to realise that she was exceptionally favoured.

In spite of everything which had happened to her, Gemma understood the true joy of her way of life.   She said, “There is neither cross nor sorrow, when we are tightly united to Jesus.”

In January of 1903, Gemma was diagnosed as having tuberculosis.   To avoid danger to her adoptive family, she was isolated in a small apartment close to the Giannini house. For four months Gemma suffered uncomplainingly from the disease.   She died quietly, in the company of the parish priest, on 11 April.   In his testimony he said, “I have been present at many deathbeds but never have I seen anyone die like Gemma, without even a precursor sign, nor a tear, nor a panting breath.   She died with a smile which remained upon her lips, so that I could not convince myself that she was really dead.”

The Church authorities began to study Gemma’s life in 1917 and she was beatified in 1933.   The decree approving the miracles for canonisation was read 26 March 1939—Passion Sunday.   Gemma was canonised on 2 May 1940, only thirty-seven years after her death.




Posted in MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 28 May – Blessed Maria Bartholomew Bagnesi OP

Saint of the Day – 28 May – Blessed Maria Bartolomea Bagnesi OP (1514-1577) Vrgin, Third Order Dominican, Mystic, Ecstatic, with the gift of levitation – born as Maria Bagnesi but always called “Marietta” because of her tiny frame, on 15 August 1514 at Florence, Italy and died on 28 May 1577 at Florence, Italy of natural causes, agd 62.   Patronages – abuse victims, ill people, against the death of parents, Dominican tertiaries. Her body is incorrupt.

Bl Mary Bartholomew Bagnesi

Maria Bagnesi was born in Florence on 15 August 1514 – the Feast of the Assumption – to Carlo Bagnesi and Alessandra Orlandini.   Bagnesi was a neglected child and her mother often left her in the care of others which included one of Bagnesi’s sisters who was a nun from the Order of Preachers so she spent most of her childhood in her sister’s convent. Four of her sisters would end up in the religious life.

Her father organised a marriage for her when she turned seventeen and she fainted in horror upon learning this.   The thought made Bagnesi so ill she could not walk and was thus confined to her bed.   Her father turned to con men and charlatans – for he could be manipulated with ease – and put his daughter through over three decades of non-stop “treatment”.   Being bedridden meant that she could not follow her sisters into the religious life but she nevertheless became a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic in 1544 and made her profession in 1545.   She made her profession into the hands of and received the habit from Vittorio di Mattheo who allowed for this to take place in Bagnesi’s room.   Bl Maria developed a deep devotion to Saint Bartholomew the Apostle and she assumed the name of “Bartolomea” as part of her actual name as a sort of middle name when she made her profession.   After she professed she found that she could get out of her bed for brief periods of time.   The combination of asthma and these quack treatments immobilised her just as she began to heal and she started to have visions and converse with angels and demons alike.   Neighbours began to believe she was under demonic possession and summoned a local priest – who became her spiritual advisor who assured the locals she was not possessed or in need of an exorcism.   People also claim to have seen her levitate. She was also granted the special privilege of having Mass celebrated in her room at times.b-maria-bartholomea bagnesi

Her room soon became a place for pilgrims to go to in order to seek her wisdom and counsel and her room became a place for cats to roam – some remained with her and even slept on her bed while guarding her pet songbirds.   She also came to know Saint Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi and shared her visions with her;  the saint would herself be cured due to Bagnesi’s intercession on 16 June 1584.   Bagnesi received the Eucharist three to six times a week and prepared beforehand with docile care and spent the time following her reception of it in deep reflection.   Her confessors were the Priests Alessandro Capocchi and Agostino maria bagesis

Bagnesi died in Florence in 1577 and at the end of her life, five Priests were present at her deathbed and one of them read to her one of the Gospel accounts of the Passion of Jesus Christ.   Her remains were taken in procession for her funeral from Santa Maria Novella to Santa Maria degli Angeli where she was interred.

Painting depicting her funeral.

Let us Pray:   O God, the lover of souls, who in Blessed Mary Bartholomew, Thy Virgin, didst unite wonderful endurance of illness with equal innocence of mind, grant , that we who are afflicted according to our deserts may be refreshed with the comfort of Thy grace.   Through Christ our Lord. Amen.