Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MYSTICS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SACRED and IMMACULATE HEARTS, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The WORD

Thought for the Day – 29 November – “You are in me and I in you.”

Thought for the Day – 29 November – The Memorial of Blessed Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos SJ (1711-1735) – First apostle of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Spain.

“On that day you will realise that I am in my Father
and you are in me and I in you.”

John 14:20john 14 20 on that day you will realise that I am in my father and you are in me and I in you -29 nov 2019.jpg

Today’s young Saint and Mystic, Blessed Bernardo’s devotion led him to the most exquisite union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus … the spiritual marriage.   Yes.   It is no less strange however, that the Word, left His Father, to become one with man, to become Bread from Heaven.

I read someplace that Bl Bernardo’s intercession is especially helpful to those who struggle with the vice of impurity.   I think Bernardo’s devotion to the Sacred Heart – the complete surrender of all his affections – is an antidote to all impurity.   The grace of espousal seems to me, to be similar to the consummate love of Jesus in the Eucharist for us, whereby He gives us His body, blood, soul and divinity at every Communion.   Isn’t it like that?   Isn’t that total union what we are called to?   At every Communion – even when I feel nothing, see nothing, hear nothing – it seems especially then, that faith supplies.

I never had experiences such as those Bl Bernardo participated in – I’m just grateful to be able to be recollected after each Communion and sometimes, to receive immense consolation too.    Knowing He is there and I am with Him.   I like the way Bl Bernardo put it:   “I see that everything in my heart is moving towards God, drawn like iron to a magnet.   It desires only God, searches only for God and longs only for God….” For Bernardo, that was his constant state – and he remained faithful to the graces he received.   For me, perhaps this desire is only imperfectly experienced in the thanksgiving after Communion.   Which is why I never want to waste those moments of recollection.

“Always holding my right hand, the Lord had me occupy the empty throne, then He fitted on my finger a gold ring…. “May this ring be an earnest of our love.   You are Mine and I am yours.   You may call yourself and sign Bernardo de Jesus, thus, as I said to my spouse, Santa Teresa, you are Bernardo de Jesus and I am Jesus de Bernardo.   My honour is yours, your honor is Mine.   Consider My glory that of your Spouse, I will consider yours, that of My spouse.   All Mine is yours and all yours is Mine.   What I am by nature you share by grace.   You and I are one!” – The Visions of Bernard Francis De Hoyos, S.J. by Henri Bechard, S.J.

In the ascetic-mystical life of the saints, God Himself purifies the soul of disordered passions in and through purifying trials and temptations.   Thus proving true Christ’s words, ‘what is impossible for man is possible for God.’   Blessed Bernardo was no exception.

As Catholics, we are not at all surprised by the ‘mystical marriage of today’s young Saint with Jesus’.   However, it seems the rest are prone to think this an unusual and strange occurrence and regard it as an aberration, so please if you search Blessed Bernardo you might be horrified at some nasty statements – don’t be – you know the better part!

For “I am in You and You are in Me”i-am-in-you-and-you-are-in-me-29-july-2018 and 28 july 2019.jpg

Blessed Bernardo, Pray for Us!bl bernardo de hoyos pray for us no 2 -29 nov 2019.jpg

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

Saint of the Day – 29 November – Blessed Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos SJ (1711-1735)

Saint of the Day – 29 November – Blessed Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos SJ (1711-1735) Professed Priest of the Society of Jesus, Mystic, Apostle of the Sacred Heart – born on 21 August 1711 at Torrelobatón, Valladolid, Kingdom of Spain (1711-08-21) and died on 29 November 1735, Valladolid, Spain of natural causes (typhoid), aged 24.   The miracle for his Beatification involved a young lady with typhoid.Bernardo_de_Hoyos-Escultura

Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos de Seña was born on 21 August 1711 to Don Manuel de Hoyos and Doña Francisca de Seña.  His father worked at the town hall at Torrelobatón near Valladolid.   He was baptised on 6 September in his local parish church in the names of “Bernardo Francisco Javier.”    He was named in honour of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and Saint Francis Xavier.    He received his Confirmation in 1720.

On 11 July 1726, a not quite fifteen year old Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos y Seña crossed the threshold of the Jesuit novitiate of the Province of Castile.   Straightaway he chose the Flemish Saint John Berchmans SJ as his model and intercessor.  bl bernardo-francisco-de-hoyos-de-sea-4758c195-41c3-499d-a564-b2eeb93aa49-resize-750 At his profession on 12 July 1728, he heard Our Lord say to him:   “From today on I will unite Myself more intimately to you because of my love for you.”   Our Lord, His Virgin Mother, Saint Ignatius, Saint Teresa of Avila and other celestial visitors manifested themselves to the young Jesuit, conversed with him, counselled him and encouraged him.  In 1726 both Aloysius Gonzaga SJ and Stanislaus Kostka SJ were Canonised by Pope Benedict XIII.   The two became models of holiness for the Jesuit priest, as well as John Berchmans who was already on the course for Canonisation.

On 10 August 1729, the Saviour, covered with His Precious Blood, appeared to Bernardo, and showing him the wound in His Side, said, “Rejected by humanity, I come to find my consolation with chosen souls.”   Bernardo’s experience closely resembles that of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque fifty-three years earlier in the Visitation Monastery of Paray-le-Monial in France.bl bernardo-francisco-de-hoyos-de-sea-47bf5c69-8856-4b74-8826-d833ad2129e-resize-750.jpeg

Bernardo was ordained a priest on 2 January 1735, for which he had to obtain special permission due to his young age.   Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Francis de Sales, mystically present at the ordination, served as his “godfathers” in the priesthood.   In that same year he wrote:

Hitherto I had great confidence in my prayers and petitions, depending on the intercession of the Heart of Jesus, at present I have no doubt about obtaining whatsoever I ask, if it is for the greater glory of God.   I am convinced that at the altar, the Eternal Father can refuse me nothing . . . I find myself with views like that of Venerable Father La Colombière concerning the greatness of this sacrifice. Here I am as if I were triumphant, for it seems to me not only that I am making reparation for myself and for the whole world but that the Eternal Father is my debtor.

Now and again, during Mass . . . a word of the Eternal Father has assured me of the satisfaction He takes in His Son and in His Heart and how this satisfaction may embolden me, even at the sight of my sins and ingratitude, to presume as much as I fancy, for all is contained in the merits of Jesus, whose minister I am and whose place I take.”bl bernardo-francisco-de-hoyos-de-sea-2849f500-f2de-4b72-a83a-1328aa7e7f7-resize-750.jpg

Father Bernardo de Hoyos died on 29 November 1735 at the age of twenty-four.   He left behind the memory of his brief but fruitful ministry as a priest, the reputation of a charism for delivering souls from the vice of impurity – his book, The Hidden Treasure, published under the name of Father John de Loyola and a wealth of detailed accounts of his mystical experiences of the Heart of Jesus.

On 17 January 2009, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, met with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Archbishop Angelo Amato, S.D.B.   The Pope authorised the promulgation of a number of decrees, among them the recognition of a miracle attributed to the Servant of God Bernardo Francisco Hoyos.
On 19 April 2010, Father Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos was beatified in Valladolid, Spain. The ceremony was presided over by Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.   In addition to nearly a 1,000 priests and more the 20,000 faithful, approximately fifty bishops and cardinals attended the ceremony.   The new Blessed’s liturgical memorial was confirmed for today, the anniversary of his death.bl bernardo-francisco-de-hoyos-de-sea-eaefd6cb-55db-48f7-9c4e-e6079ed90de-resize-750.jpeg

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, DEVOTIO, Hail MARY!, MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Quote of the Day – 19 November – St Matilda and the Devotion of the Three Hail Marys

Quote of the Day – 19 November – Tuesday of the Thirty Third Week of Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 19:1–10 and the Memorial of St Matilda/Mechtilde of Hackeborn (c 1241-1298)devotion of the three hail marys - st matilda of hackeborn 19 nov 2019

Devotion of the Three Hail Marys

St Matilda of Hackeborn
was distressed over her eternal salvation
and prayed that the Most Holy Virgin
would assist her at the hour of death.

The Blessed Virgin appeared to her
and reassured her, saying:

“Yes, I will!
But I wish, for your part,
that you recite three Hail Marys
everyday, remembering,
in the first,
the power received
from the Eternal Father,
in the second,
the wisdom received from the Son,
with the third one,
the love that has filled the Holy Spirit”.

The Blessed Virgin taught her to pray
and to understand especially,
how the Three Hail Mary’s,
honour, the three persons
of the Blessed Trinity.

the hail mary - 19 nov 2019.jpg

 

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, MYSTICS, PAPAL DECREE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, SAINT of the DAY

Quote of the Day – 6 November – Bl Christina of Stommeln

Quote of the Day – 6 November – The Memorial of Blessed Christina of Stommeln (1242–1312)

“I am a person who believes in Christ.
I want to live so that all things in
me are strengthened by Christ.”

Blessed Christina of Stommeln (1242–1312)i am a person who believes in christ - bl christina of stommeln 6 nov 2019.jpg

Posted in DEVOTIO, MYSTICS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, SACRED and IMMACULATE HEARTS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 16 October – The Twelve Promises of Devotion to the Sacred Heart

Thought for the Day – 16 October – The Memorial of St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690)

The Twelve Promises of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary
for those Devoted to His Sacred Heart

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
2. I will establish peace in their families.
3. I will console them in all their troubles.
4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life
and especially at the hour of their death.
5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
9. I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart
shall be exposed and honoured.
10. I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names
written in My Heart, never to be effaced.
12. The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those
who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months
the grace of final repentance, they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments;
My heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

From Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque’s Vision of Jesus

the-12-promises-of-the-sacred-heart-16-oct-2017.jpg

Posted in MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 13 October – Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa (1904-1955)

Saint of the Day – 13 October – Blessed Alexandrina/of Balazar Maria da Costa (1904-1955) Laywoman, Victim Soul, Mystic, Salesian Co-operator – best known as Blessed Alexandrina of Balazar was a Portuguese mystic and victim soul, member of the Association of Salesian Cooperators, who was born and died in Balazar (a rural parish of Póvoa de Varzim).   Alexandrina left many written works, which have been studied mainly in Italy by Father Umberto Pasquale.   On 25 April 2004 she was declared Blessed by St Pope John Paul II who stated that “her secret to holiness was love for Christ”.alexandrina-maria-da-costa-19273133-f238-406c-9714-ec619dee618-resize-750

Alexandrina Maria da Costa was born on 30 March 1904 in Balasar, Portugal.   She received a solid Christian education from her mother and her sister, Deolinda and her lively, well-mannered nature made her likeable to everyone.

Her unusual physical strength and stamina also enabled her to do long hours of heavy farm work in the fields, thus helping the family income.

When she was 12, Alexandrina became sick with an infection and nearly died, the consequences of this infection would remain with her as she grew up and would become the “first sign” of what God was asking of her – to suffer as a “victim soul”.

The consequences of sin:
When Alexandrina was 14, something happened that left a permanent imprint on her, both physically and spiritually – it gave her a face-to-face look at the horror and consequences of sin.

On Holy Saturday of 1918, while Alexandrina, Deolinda and a young apprentice were busily sewing, three men violently entered their home and attempted to sexually violate them.   To preserve her purity, Alexandrina jumped from a window, falling four metres to the ground.

Her injuries were many and the doctors diagnosed her condition as “irreversible” – it was predicted the paralysis she suffered would only get worse.

Until age 19, Alexandrina was still able to “drag herself” to church where, hunched over, she would remain in prayer, to the great amazement of the parishioners.   With her paralysis and pain worsening, however, she was forced to remain immobile and from 14 April 1925 until her death – approximately 30 years – she would remain bedridden, completely paralysed.Alexandrina_Maria_da_Costa_4

Alexandrina continued to ask the Blessed Mother for the grace of a miraculous healing, promising to become a missionary if she were healed.

Little by little, however, God helped her to see that suffering was her vocation and that she had a special call to be the Lord’s “victim”.   The more Alexandrina “understood” that this was her mission, the more willingly she embraced it.

She said: “Our Lady has given me an even greater grace, first, abandonment, then, complete conformity to God’s will, finally, the thirst for suffering”.

Mission to suffer with Christ:
The desire to suffer continued to grow in her the more her vocation became clear, she understood that she was called to open the eyes of others to the effects of sin, inviting them to conversion and to offer a living witness of Christ’s passion, contributing to the redemption of humanity.

And so it was that from 3 October 1938 until 24 March 1942, Alexandrina lived the three-hour “passion” of Jesus every Friday, having received the mystical grace to live in body and soul Christ’s suffering in his final hours.   During these three hours, her paralysis was “overcome” and she would relive the Stations of the Cross, her movements and gestures accompanied by excruciating physical and spiritual pain.   She was also diabolically assaulted and tormented with temptations against the faith and with injuries inflicted on her body.

Human misunderstanding and incredulity were also a great cross for her, especially when those she most expected would “assist” her – members and leaders of the Church – were adding to her crucifixion.

An investigation conducted by the Curia of Braga resulted in a circular letter written by the Archbishop which contained a series of “prohibitions” regarding Alexandrina’s case. It was the result of a negative verdict made by a commission of priests.

In addition and by way of spiritual comfort, after her spiritual director, a Jesuit priest who had helped her from 1934 to 1941, stopped assisting her, a Salesian priest, Fr Umberto Pasquale, came to her aid in 1944.

Nourished only by the Eucharist:
On 27 March 1942, a new phase began for Alexandrina which would continue for 13 years and seven months until her death.   She received no nourishment of any kind except the Holy Eucharist, at one point weighing as few as 33 kilos (approximately 73 pounds).bl alexandrina eucharist.jpg

Medical doctors remained baffled by this phenomenon and began to conduct various tests on Alexandrina, acting in a very cold and hostile way towards her.   This increased her suffering and humiliation but she remembered the words that Jesus himself spoke to her one day: “You will very rarely receive consolation…  I want that while your heart is filled with suffering, on your lips there is a smile”.

As a result, those who visited or came into contact with Alexandrina always found a woman who, although in apparent physical discomfort, was always outwardly joyful and smiling, transmitting to all a profound peace.   Few understood what she was deeply suffering and how real was her interior desolation.

Fr Pasquale, who stayed close to Alexandrina throughout these years, ordered Alexandrina’s sister to keep a diary of her words and her mystical experiences.alex and fr pascuale art_004.jpg

In 1944, Alexandrina became a member of the “Union of Salesian Cooperators” and offered her suffering for the salvation of souls and for the sanctification of youth.   She kept a lively interest in the poor as well as in the spiritual health of those who sought out her counsel.

“Do not offend Jesus anymore!’:
As a “testimony” to the mission to which God had called her, Alexandrina desired the following words written on her tombstone:   “Sinners, if the dust of my body can be of help to save you, come close, walk over it, kick it around until it disappears.   But never sin again, do not offend Jesus anymore!   Sinners, how much I want to tell you…. Do not risk losing Jesus for all eternity, for He is so good.   Enough with sin.   Love Jesus, love Him!”.   Below is her Tomb, the Church where it resides in Balaza and her room for 30 years.

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Alexandrina died on 13 October 1955.   Her last words:  “I am happy, because I am going to Heaven”. … Vatican.va

beatification bl alezandrina
In Ireland there is an Alexandrina Society that spreads knowledge of her life and teachings.  The aims of the Society are 1) To spread devotion to Alexandrina and make her known, 2) To pray for the conversion of sinners, 3) To pray for Priests and acknowledge any favours received, 4) To pray for members’ intentions. Amen.

Posted in MYSTICS, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 6 October – ‘Serving the Lord’

One Minute Reflection – 6 October – Twenty Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 17:5–10 and the Memorial of St Mary Frances of the Five Wounds (1715-1791)

‘Prepare supper for me’ ...Luke 17:8

REFLECTION – “To believe is not simply to sit back and wait until the Lord comes and serves us with His grace.   Faith receives it’s incomprehensible efficacy (tossing a tree into the ocean), in the course of serving the Lord, who, after all, has become the servant of us all and cannot stand to see anyone lazily let himself be served by Him (sola fides). Instead, He takes it as self-evident, that His followers serve alongside Him, which really means they serve Him, for “where I am, there will my servant also be” (Jn 12:26).
Moreover, this serving does not take place in haughty pride over how useful to the Lord my co-service may be (as if He could not do anything without me).   Just the opposite, in modesty, the servant knows the words of Jesus – “Without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5).
Since He has already done everything for us, the correct estimation of ourselves, is the one commanded by the Lord Himself and expressed in the Confession – “We are useless servants, we have only done our duty.”Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988)luke 17 8 - to believe is not simply to sit back and wait - hans urs von balthasar 6 oct 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, whose love surpasses all that we ask or deserve, guide us to perfect obedience to conform ourselves to Your holy will, that in the manner of St Mary Frances, our only wish may be to serve and find You.   May we always serve in modesty and humility and know that only in Your Son, are we complete.   May the prayers of St Mary Frances of the Five Wounds be a source of strength on our journey home.   Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.st mary frances of the five wounds pray for us 6 oct 2019.jpg

Posted in MYSTICS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Sunday Reflection – 6 October – From the Host

Sunday Reflection – 6 October – Twenty Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

“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 and 6 Oct 2019.jpg

Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 6 October – Saint Mary Frances of the Five Wounds TOSF (1715-1791)

Saint of the Day – 6 October – Saint Mary Frances of the Five Wounds TOSF (1715-1791) – Virgin, Third Order Franciscan, Mystic, Stigmatist, Apostle of Charity, born Anna Maria Gallo on 25 March 1715 at Naples, Italy and died on 6 October 1791 at Naples, Italy of natural causes.   Patronages – Quartieri Spagnoli of Naples (co-patronof the Gallo World Family Foundation, expectant mothers, women seeking to have children.st mary Francesca5p

She was born the daughter of Francesco Gallo and Barbara Basinsin, in the Quartieri Spagnoli (Spanish Quarter) of Naples, a red-light district of the city, still known for its high crime.   According to tradition, another saint, the Jesuit, Francis de Geronimo (1642-1716), predicted her future sanctity while she was still an infant.   Her family was of the middle class but her father, a weaver of gold lace, was a very violent man, who regularly abused his family physically, often severely.

When Gallo was sixteen, her father attempted to force her into a marriage with a young man of means, who was seeking her hand.   She refused and asked to join the Franciscan Third Order, through which she could live out a religious life in the family home.   The friars of Naples were part of the reform of St Peter of Alcantara and they and the tertiaries under their rul,e were known for the strictness of their lives.   Through the intervention of a friar, Father Theophilus, permission to enter the Order was eventually granted by her father.

Gallo was received into the Order on 8 September 1731 and began wearing the religious habit of the Order, which was an uncommon practice during that time. She also adopted the use of the religious name she took upon being received into the Order, out of her devotion to the Blessed Mother, St Francis of Assisi and the Passion of Christ.    She continued to live in the family home to serve God as a consecrated virgin, as was customary in those days.St Mary Francis of the Five Wounds of Jesus 1

She took as her spiritual director, the Franciscan friar, St John Joseph of the Cross OFM  (1654–1739), while her confessor was the Barnabite priest, Francis Xavier Bianchi and she began to be known among her neighbours for her work of charity, helping the poor of the sector.   She was a person of deep prayer, often spending long hours in meditation.

In 1753 she joined with another Franciscan tertiary, known only as Maria Felice and they moved into a small palace owned by a priest, Giovanni Pessiri, who became their spiritual director.   The two women occupied the second floor, sleeping on the floor and the priest the floor above.   She is said to have received the wounds of the stigmata while living there and suffered patiently many physical afflictions and spiritual trials.   She would wear gloves to cover the marks on her hands, while she did her work.   She is also said to have had visions of Saint Raphael the Archangel, who healed her of several afflictions.img-Saint-Mary-Frances-of-the-Five-Wounds-of-Jesus

Mary Frances was buried in the Franciscan Church of Santa Lucia al Monte in Naples, which she attended during her life.   This church also contains the tomb of John Joseph, now also declared a saint.

Mary Frances was declared Venerable by Pope Pius VII, on 18 May 1803.   She was Beatified by Pope Gregory XVI on 12 November 1843 and Canonised by Pope Pius IX on 29 June 1867.

Santa_Maria_Francesca_of_the_Five_Stigmata_-_Santa_Chiara_-_Naples_-_Italy_2015
Statue in Santa Chiara, Naples

Devotion to Mary Frances has long continued to be strong in the neighbourhood where she lived and of which she is the patron saint.   The residents credit her intercession with the little damage the sector endured during World War II, when over 100 bombs were dropped on it.   Her home has been preserved as a chapel and museum.

Pope Pius IX, who Canonised Mary Frances, declared her to be a patroness of expectant mothers and of women having difficulty conceiving.   She is also the patroness of the Gallo World Family Foundation, which was founded to promote the development of Judeo-Christian values, for the betterment of the world, by members of the Gallo family scattered worldwide.Saint Mary Frances of the Five Wounds statue

On 6 October 2001, her remains were transferred from the Church of Santa Lucia to the house where she had spent the last half of her life.   It is now the Shrine of St Mary Frances of the Five Wounds.

It is still a common practice for expectant mothers to go there to be blessed with her relic.   Many votive offerings from mothers who credit her with their successful deliveries are displayed in the sanctuary.St Mary Francis of the Five Wounds of Jesus

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, DIVINE MERCY, MYSTICS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HOPE, QUOTES on TRUST in GOD, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 5 October – Christ Jesus, I trust in you! 

Thought for the Day – 5 October – The Memorial of St Maria Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938)

And you, Faustina, a gift of God to our time, a gift from the land of Poland to the whole Church, obtain for us an awareness of the depth of divine mercy, help us to have a living experience of it and to bear witness to it among our brothers and sisters.

May your message of light and hope spread throughout the world, spurring sinners to conversion, calming rivalries and hatred and opening individuals and nations to

the practice of brotherhood.

Today, fixing our gaze with you on the Face of the risen Christ, let us make our own your prayer of trusting abandonment and say with firm hope:

Christ Jesus, I trust in you!   Jezu, ufam tobie!

(From St John Paul’s Canonisation Homily, St Peter’s Square, 30 April 2000)

christ jesus i trust in you 5 oct 2019 st faustina

The red and pale white rays, emanating from the Heart of Jesus, in the Image of Divine Mercy represent the blood and water, which gushed forth from His pierced Heart on Good Friday.   Jesus asked that all who venerate His mercy, honour His Passion, by remembering Him with this prayer, at 3 O’Clock in the afternoon.

Divine Mercy 3 O’Clock Prayer
St Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938)

You expired, O Jesus,
but the source of life
gushed forth for souls
and an ocean of mercy
opened up for the whole world.
O Fount of Life,
unfathomable Divine Mercy,
envelop the whole world
and empty Yourself out upon us.
O Blood and Water,
which gushed forth
from the Heart of Jesus
as a fount of mercy for us,
I trust in You.
Amendivine-mercy-3-oclock-prayer-div-mercy-sunday-28-april-2019 and 5 oct 2019.jpg

St Faustina Kowalska, Pray for Us!st faustina pray for us 5 oct 2019 no 2

Posted in DOMINICAN OP, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 4 September – Be imprinted in our hearts, Lord

Thought for the Day – 4 September – Wednesday of the Twenty-second week in Ordinary Time, Year C and the Memorial of Blessed Catherine of Racconigi OP (1486-1547)

Just as the Carmelites have their many famous Teresas so too do the Dominicans have their Catherines – St Catherine of Alexandria (c287-c305) (by adoption as patroness of the Order), St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church, St Catherine de Ricci (1522-2590), Bl Catherine Jarrige (1754-1836) and Bl Catherine of Racconigi, today’s saint. Most of these Catherine’s were espoused to the Lord.   Many of them received crowns of thorns.   They all showed the greatness of God’s grace to draw hearts close to Him.

Aside from being espoused to the Lord at the age of five and aside from receiving the stigmata and a crown of thorns, Bl Catherine of Racconigi is a prime example of Christ drawing hearts close to Him.   Several times the Lord appeared to her and took her heart so that He might cleanse and beautify it.   Moreover, as the tradition holds, the words Jesu, spes mea –“Jesus, my hope!”–were inscribed on her heart in letters of gold.   Christ loves His virgin brides.   The tokens that He has given them, especially to the saintly Dominicans cloistered nuns and active sisters, shows that He desires nothing but union with souls.   Sometimes, this means sharing in the hardships of His Passion.   For Bl Catherine, this meant a life of destitute poverty, abandonment by many friends at death and even the challenge of being deprived of her confessor before she died.   Yet, through it all, her Hope–Christ the Lord, drew her to Himself, where she is now in perfect happiness in heaven.

O Lord, our Hope, who did enrich with an abundance of celestial gifts, the heart of Blessed Catherine, already filled with You, grant, through the intercession of that glorious Virgin, that You may be wholly fastened to our hearts, who for our sake, was wholly fastened to the cross, Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed Catherine of Racconigi, Pray for Us!bl catherine of racconigi pray for us 4 sept 2019.jpg

Posted in DOMINICAN OP, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 4 September – Blessed Catherine of Racconigi OP (1486-1547)

Saint of the Day – 4 September – Blessed Catherine of Racconigi OP (1486-1547) – Third Order Dominican, Mystic, Stigmatist – born as Caterina Mattei in June 1486 in Racconigi, Cuneo, Italy and died on 4 September 1547 at Caramagna Piemonte, Cuneo, Italy.bl catherine of racconigi-header

Most of the information regarding Catherine Mattei is derived from a ‘vita’ written by her friend, John Francis Pico, Prince of Mirandola.   Catherine Mattei was born in the Piedmont region of Northwest Italy in 1487 into an impoverished household in the Province of Cuneo.   Intermittent conflicts in the area brought widespread poverty.   Her parents were Giorgio and Bilia de Ferrari Mattei.   Her father, an unemployed locksmith, became despondent and quarrelsome as so many do when they lose their livelihood.  Her mother supported the family by weaving coarse cloth at home.   Catherine and her brother grew up in an atmosphere that was absent of the peace of Christ.

Surprisingly, God reached the heart of little Catherine when she was only five.   It was then that her mystical experiences began.   Our Lady appeared to her while the tiny child was praying alone in her tiny room and told Catherine that Jesus wished to make her His spouse.   Then, as a child her own age, Jesus Himself appeared, accompanied by many other saints including Catherine of Siena and Peter Martyr and the Blessed Mother placed the ring of espousal on her finger.   Like the ring of Saint Catherine of Siena, it was visible to today’s saint but could not be seen by others.bl catherine.jpg

Thereafter Catherine had frequent ecstasies and visions.   Jesus always appeared to her as a man her own age, whatever that was at the time.   He talked with her, taught her how to pray and several times took her heart away to cleanse it.   When He appeared with His Cross, she offered to help Him.   He let it rest on her shoulder a moment and it left a wound for the rest of her life.   She also received the stigmata, though it too remained invisible to others and, at her request, it was only revealed by her confessor after her death.

And, of course, Jesus worked many miracles on behalf of His friend – made a broken dish whole again and provided money and food when the family’s poverty was extreme.   In times of trial, the heavenly hosts came to comfort the girl who received great consolation from the aspiration, “Jesus, my hope!”bl catherine of racconigi.jpg

Because her family opposed her becoming a Dominican, she took the habit of a tertiary. Her mystical experiences roused a storm of gossip among her neighbours, who were terrified at the lights and sounds that came from her home.   The devil stirred up more trouble to mitigate her influence over other souls.   Even the Dominican fathers ostracised her and eventually she was forced out of town and settled in Racconigi.

There rich and poor sought out Catherine for her wise counsel, prayers and material assistance.   She was almost continually in ecstasy.   The particular object of Catherine’s prayers was the salvation of soldiers dying in battle and the holy souls in Purgatory. Numerous miracles occurred before and after her death and a cult arose at her tomb almost immediately.   Even her persecutors were aware of her sanctity and retracted their bitter words.

Pope Pius VII confirmed her holiness and cult in 1810 by naming her Blessed.bl 486px-Catherine_de_Racconigi.jpg

Posted in CARMELITES, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 26 August – St Mary of Jesus Crucified OCD (1846-1878)

Saint of the Day – 26 August – St Mary of Jesus Crucified OCD (1846-1878) Discalced Carmelite nun of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Virgin, Stigmatist, Mystic, apostle of charity.   Born on 5 January 1846 at Galilee, Palestine as Mariam Baouardy and died on 26 August 1878, aged 32,  at Bethlehem of gangrene following an injury received at the construction site of the Bethlehem monastery.ST MARY OF JESUS CRUCIFIED - Mirjam_Abbelin_4

Mariam Baouardy was born on 5 January 1846 at Ibillin, a village in the Holy Land near Nazareth.   Her parents were George Baouardy and Mariam Shashyn, they were Greek Catholics in a predominantly Muslin area.   They were both persecuted for their faith and George spent some time in pri  son. Their first 12 children, all boys, died in infancy so they decided to go on pilgrimage to Bethlehem, to beg Our Lady for a daughter and they promised to call her Mariam.   Their prayers were answered when little Mariam was born, followed two years later by her only surviving brother, Paul.   Mariam was baptised and confirmed when she was ten days old according to the Greek Catholic Rite. Sadly before she was three years old both her parents died from an infectious illness, within a few days of each other.   When her father was dying he commended Mariam to the care of St Joseph, looking lovingly at a picture of him, he said ‘Great saint, here is my child, the Blessed Virgin is her mother, deign to look after her also, be her father’.

The siblings were then each taken in by relatives on different sides of her family living in different villages, she being taken in by a paternal uncle who lived in the same village and her brother went to live with a maternal aunt.   The brother and sister would never see one another again.   She was raised in a loving home in comfortable circumstances. As a child she had a marked spirit of religious fervour and at the age of five began to fast on Saturdays in honour of the Blessed Virgin.ST MARY OF JESUS CRUCIFIED ART

When Mariam was eight, her uncle and his wife moved to Alexandria, Egypt, to improve their situation.   Five years later, in 1858 when she was aged 13, in keeping with tradition, she was engaged by her uncle to his wife’s brother, who lived in Cairo.   The night before the wedding, she had a religious experience in which she felt called not to marry but to offer her life to God.   Upon being told this the following morning, her uncle flew into a rage and beat her severely.   Despite this and the subsequent ill treatment she began to experience from her uncle, she stayed firm in her decision.

Mariam felt depressed and alone.   She wrote her brother, then living in Nazareth, asking him to visit her.   The young male servant she asked to deliver the letter drew out of her the cause for her sadness.   Upon learning of this, he attempted to woo her for himself, inviting her to convert to Islam.   She rejected his proposal, which caused the young man to fly into a rage, in which he drew a knife and cut her throat.   He then dumped her body in a nearby alley.  And then a miracle saved her.   As she related later, a “nun dressed in blue” brought her to a grotto, which she could never identify, stitched her wounds and took care of her.   Her voice was affected for the rest of her life as a result of the cut, which a French doctor later measured as being 10 cm wide.   After being cared for by this mysterious figure for a month, she recovered enough to leave and find work as a domestic servant in the home of an Arab Christian family in the city.st mary of jesus icon Boston-Carmel_227

In May 1863 a generous patron made it possible for Baouardy to move to Marseille, France, where she became the cook for an Arab family.   While there, she felt called to enter a religious order.   Rejected by the first groups to which she sought admission, in May 1865 she was accepted as a postulant by the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition, who had communities in the Holy Land and already had several Palestinian candidates.   It was at this point, that she received the stigmata of Christ.

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St Mary of Jesus as a Postulant

During the last month of this period of candidacy, the Mistress of novices, Mother Honorine who had drawn Baouardy’s life story from her, was replaced by Mother Veronica of the Passion.   After two years as a postulant, Baouardy was up for a vote by the community regarding her admission to the congregation.   To her dismay, she was rejected by the sisters charged with making the decision.   But Divine Providence came to her aid for just then, Mother Veronica had just received permission to transfer to the Discalced Carmelite monastery at Pau to prepare for her forming a new congregation of Religious Sisters serving in India, the Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel.   She invited Baouardy to go with her, writing to the prioress of that community and recommending that they accept the young Arab woman.   The prioress accepted Mother Veronica’s advice and, in June 1867, both women went together to Pau, where they received the Carmelite religious habit and Baourdy was given the religious name of Mary of Jesus Crucified.ST MARY OF JESUS CRUCIFIED ARTWORK

In 1870, Baouardy went with the first group of Carmelite Apostolic Sisters to Mangalore, India.    She served there for two years before returning to Pau. It was there she made her profession of solemn vows as a member of the Order in November 1871.   In September 1875 she helped to found a new monastery in Bethlehem, the first of the Order in that region, where she lived until her death.   During her whole life, she experienced periods of religious ecstasy frequently throughout the day.

St Pope John Paul II declared Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified, Blessed on 13 November 1983 and she was Canonised on 15 May 2015 by Pope Francis.   She became the second Greek Catholic to be Canonised, the first being St Josaphat Kuntsevych in 1867.st mary of jesus crucified icon

Posted in MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 24 July – Saint Christina Mirabilis (1150-1224)

Saint of the Day – 24 July – Saint Christina Mirabilis (1150-1224) Virgin, mendicant, apostle of prayer of reparation, mystic – also known as Christina the Astonishing  – Patronages – millers, people with mental disorders, mental health workers, mental health caregivers, professionals, psychiatrists and therapists.st christina mirabilis

St Christina was born to a peasant family in Belgium.   She was orphaned as a child and raised by her two older sisters.   When she was 21 she had what was believed to be a severe seizure and was pronounced dead.   At her funeral she suddenly revived and levitated before the bewildered congregation.   She said that during her coma she had been to heaven, hell and purgatory and had been given the option to either die and enter heaven, or return to earth to suffer and pray for the holy souls in purgatory.Christina_the_Astonishing_1630_prayer_card_Fasti_Mariani

Christina chose the greater act of charity.   From then on she lived in extreme poverty, wearing rags, sleeping on rocks and begging for her food.   She is called “Astonishing” because she did the most bizarre things and suffered the pains of inhuman feats without being physically harmed by them.   She would roll in fire and hide in hot ovens;  she would stand in freezing water for hours in the dead of winter;  she allowed herself to be dragged under water by a mill wheel;  she spent much time in graveyards.   She would also climb trees to escape the strong odour of sin in those she met.St. Christina the Astonishing

Many thought her to be possessed by demons or insane but many devout people recognised and vouched for her sincerity, obedience and sanctity.   They believed, that she was a living witness to the pains that souls experience in purgatory, willingly suffering with them and for them.   Christina the Astonishing is the patron of those with mental illness and disorders, mental health workers, psychiatrists and therapists.

Thomas of Cantimpré (1201–1272), then a canon regular who was a professor of theology, wrote a report eight years after her death, based on accounts of those who knew her. Cardinal Jacques de Vitry, who met with her, said that she would throw herself into burning furnaces and there suffered great tortures for extended times, uttering frightful cries, yet coming forth with no sign of burns upon her.   In winter she would plunge into the frozen Meuse River for hours and even days and weeks at a time, all the while praying to God and imploring God’s mercy.   She sometimes allowed herself to be carried by the currents downriver to a mill where the wheel “whirled her round in a manner frightful to behold”, yet she never suffered any dislocations or broken bones.   She was chased by dogs which bit her without any bodily injury.

Christina died at the Dominican Monastery of Saint Catherine in Sint-Truiden, of natural causes, aged 74.   The prioress there later testified that, despite her unusual methodds of reparation, Christina would humbly and fully obey any command given her by the prioress.

“We have”, says St Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621) Doctor of the Church, referring to the report of Thomas of Cantimpré, “reason for believing his testimony, since he has for guarantee another grave author, James de Vitry, Bishop and Cardinal and because he relates what happened in his own time and even in the province where he lived.   Besides, the sufferings of this admirable virgin were not hidden.   Everyone could see that she was in the midst of the flames without being consumed and covered with wounds, every trace of which disappeared a few moments afterwards.   But, more than this, was the marvellous life she led for forty-two years after she was raised from the dead, God clearly showing that the wonders wrought in her by virtue from on high.   The striking conversions which she effected and the evident miracles which occurred after her death, manifestly proved the finger of God and the truth of that which, after her resurrection, she had revealed concerning the other life.”

Thus, argues Bellarmine, “God willed to silence those libertines who make open profession of believing in nothing and who have the audacity to ask in scorn, Who has returned from the other world?   Who has ever seen the torments of Hell or Purgatory?   Behold two witnesses.   They assure us that they have seen them and that they are dreadful.   What follows, then, if not that the incredulous are inexcusable and that those who believe and nevertheless, neglect to do penance, are still more to be condemned?”St-Christina-the-Astonishing

St Christina the Astonishing has been recognised as a saint since the 12th century.   She was placed in the calendar of the saints by at least two bishops of the Catholic Church in two different centuries (17th & 19th) that also recognised her life in a religious order and preservation of her relics.   There remains a strong devotion to her in her native region of Limburg.

Posted in MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 19 June – St Juliana Falconieri OSM (1270 – 1341)

Saint of the Day – 19 June – St Juliana Falconieri OSM (1270 – 1341) Virgin and Foundress of the Religious Sisters of the Order of Servites, Mystic, apostle of charity – born in 1270 at Florence, Italy and died on 12 June 1341 at Florence, Italy of natural causes.   Patronages – sick people, sickness.   Her relics lie at the church of San Annunziata in Florence which was built by her father.Juliana_Falconieri

Juliana Falconieri was born in answer to prayer, in 1270.   Her father built the splendid church of the Annunziata in Florence, while her uncle, Blessed Alexius, became one of the founders of the Servite Order.   Under his care Juliana grew up, as he said, more like an angel than a human being.   Such was her modesty that she never used a mirror or gazed upon the face of a man during her whole life.   The mere mention of sin made her shudder and tremble and once hearing a scandal related she fell into a dead swoon.

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Statue of St Julia at the Annunziata Church in Florence

Her devotion to the sorrows of Our Lady drew her to the Servants of Mary and, at the age of fourteen, she refused an offer of marriage and received the habit from St Philip Benizi de Damaini (1233-1285) himself, one of the seven holy founders.

Her sanctity attracted many novices, for whose direction she was bidden to draw up a rule and thus with reluctance she became foundress of the “Mantellate”.  The Servites’ dress consisted of a black gown, secured by a leather girdle and a white veil.   Because the gown had short sleeves to facilitate work, people called the sisters of the new Order “Mantellate.”   The sisters devoted themselves especially to the care of the sick and other works of mercy.She was with her children as their servant rather than their mistress, while outside her convent she led a life of apostolic charity, converting sinners, reconciling enemies and healing the sick by sucking with her own lips their ulcerous sores.chronicill-julianav2jpg

She was sometimes rapt for whole days in ecstasy and her prayers saved the Servite Order when it was in danger of being suppressed.   She was visited in her last hour by angels in the form of white doves and Jesus Himself, as a beautiful child, crowned her with a garland of flowers.   She wasted away through a disease of the stomach, which prevented her taking food.   She bore her silent agony with constant cheerfulness, grieving only for the privation of Holy Communion.st-juliana-falconieri

At last, when, in her seventieth year, she had sunk to the point of death, she begged to be allowed once more to see and adore the Blessed Sacrament.  It was brought to her cell, and reverently laid on a corporal, which was placed over her heart.   At this moment she expired and the Sacred Host disappeared.   After her death the form of the Host was found stamped upon her heart in the exact spot over which the Blessed Sacrament had been laid.  Immediately after her death she was honoured as a saint.

The Servite Order was approved by Pope Martin V in the year 1420.   Pope Benedict XIII recognised the devotion long paid to her and granted the Servites permission to celebrate the feast of the Blessed Juliana.   Pope Clement XII Canonised her in the year 1737 and extended the celebration of her feast day to the entire Church.   Juliana is usually represented in the habit of her Order with a host upon her breast.

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Founder Statue inside St Peter’s Basilica

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in DIVINE MERCY, GOD is LOVE, MYSTICS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DIVINE PROVIDENCE, QUOTES on ETERNAL LIFE, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on GRATITUDE, QUOTES on HAPPINESS, QUOTES on JOY, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on TRUTH, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY TRINITY

Quote/s of the Day – 13 May – Revelations of Divine Love

Quote/s of the Day – 13 May – Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter, C and the Memorial of Blessed Julian of Norwich (c 1342-c 1430) – “Revelations of Divine Love”

“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.”he-jesus-is-our-clothing-julian-of-norwich-2-july-2018.jpg

“Prayer is not
overcoming
God’s reluctance.
It is laying hold
of His willingness.”prayer is not overcoming god's reluctance - bl julian of norwicb 13 may 2019.jpg

“Despite all our feelings of woe or of well-being,
God wants us to understand and to believe,
that we are more truly in heaven than on earth.
…for God is never out of the soul,
in which He will dwell blessedly without end.”despite-all-our-feelings-of-woe-julian-of-norwich-21-aug-20181.jpg

“The fullness of Joy
is to behold God
in everything.”the fullness of joy - bl julian of norwich 13 may 2019.jpg

“Truth sees God
and wisdom contemplates God
and from these two comes a third,
a holy and wonderful delight in God,
who is love.”truth sees god - bl julian of norwich 13 may 2019.jpg

“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.
Amen”

Blessed Julian of Norwich (c 1342-c 1430)all-shall-be-well-julian-of-norwich-2-july-2018.jpg

Posted in MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 13 May – Blessed Julian of Norwich (c 1342-c 1416)

Saint of the Day – 13 May – Blessed Julian of Norwich (c 1342-c 1416) (aged 73–74) Anchorite, Mystic, Writer, Ascetic, Spiritual director – also known as Dame Julian or Mother Julian – born late 1342 and died after 1416) was the greatest of all the English anchorites of the Middle Ages.   She wrote the earliest surviving book in the English language to be written by a woman, Revelations of Divine Love.header bl julian.png

It was popular in the 14th century for a number of English men and women to withdraw from the world as hermits, they were known as anchorites.   Their hermitage, was a small room attached to a local church.   Each room had two windows.   One through the church wall permitting the anchorite to receive communion.   Through the second window, the anchorite received food brought to him or her by village people.   Thus they at all times had the window of their heart open to Christ and open to the world.

As a young woman, Julian, who was born about 1342, became an anchorite at the Church of St Edmund and St Julian in Norwich.  309px-Julian_of_Norwich.jpgWhen she was 30 Julian suffered from a severe illness.   Whilst apparently on her deathbed, Julian had a series of intense visions of Jesus Christ, which ended by the time she recovered from her illness on 13 May 1373.   Julian wrote about her visions immediately after they had happened (although the text may not have been finished for some years), entitled Revelations of Divine Love.    Twenty to thirty years later, perhaps in the early 1390s, Julian began to write a theological exploration of the meaning of the visions, known as The Long Text.   This work seems to have gone through many revisions before it was finished, perhaps in the first or even second decade of the fifteenth century.   Until her death in about 1416, Julian stayed in her simple room.   Like most anchorites, she prayed, fasted, did penance, studied, sewed clothing for the poor and advised the village people.

In her book, she described her 16 visions of Jesus.   As she wrote this book about God’s great compassion for us, Julian developed a special vocabulary.   She called the Creator, our mother and our father.   She called Jesus the Redeemer, our brother.  bl julian snipRevelations is a celebrated work in Catholicism because of the clarity and depth of Julian’s visions of God.   Julian of Norwich is now recognised as one of England’s most important mystics.

Julian of Norwich lived in a time of turmoil but her theology was optimistic and spoke of God’s love in terms of joy and compassion, as opposed to law and duty.   For Julian, suffering was not a punishment that God inflicted, as was the common understanding. She believed that God loved everyone and wanted to save them all.   Popular theology, magnified by catastrophic contemporary events such as the Black Death and a series of peasant revolts, asserted that God punished the wicked  . Julian suggested a more merciful theology, she believed that behind the reality of hell is a greater mystery of God’s love.   In modern times, she has been classified as a proto-universalist, although she did not claim more than hope, that all might be saved.

At the time of Julian’s death, people from all over Europe travelled to her room, or cell, to ask her advice.   Everyone recognised that she was close to God.   The Church never formally declared her a saint but through the ages, people have called her “Blessed.”

“If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me.   But this was shown – that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.”
Julian of Norwich

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Posted in MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 28 April – Blessed Itala Mela ObSB (1904–1957)

Saint of the Day – 28 April – Blessed Itala Mela ObSB (1904–1957) – Laywoman, Mystic, Benedictine Oblate, Theological Writer.

Blessed Itala was an Italian Roman Catholic who was a lapsed Christian until a conversion of faith in the 1920s and as a Benedictine oblate assumed the name of “Maria della Trinità”.   She became one of the well-known mystics of the Church during her life and indeed following her death.   She also penned a range of theological writings that focused on the Trinity, such an integral element of the Christian faith.header - bl itala mela.JPG

Itala Mela was born on 28 August 1904 in La Spezia to Pasquino Mela and Luigia Bianchini, both were atheist teachers.   She spent her childhood in the care of her maternal grandparents from 1905 to 1915, as her parents worked and her grandparents prepared Mela for her First Communion and Confirmation – she made on 9 May 1915 and 27 May 1915 respectively.

The death of her brother Enrico at the age of nine (27 February 1920) challenged Mela’s perception of her Christian faith and she wrote of her feelings to the loss:  “After his death, nothing”.   As a result, she eschewed her Christian faith and slipped into atheism. However, at the age of 18 she had a profound spiritual experience whichresulted in the reawakening of her faith, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (8 Dec. 1922).   After rediscovering God, her faith deepened with the motto she took being:  “Lord, I shall follow You unto the darkness, unto death”.bl Itala_Mela

Bl Itala became a member of FUCI (Federation of Catholic Students) in 1923, where she met future pope Giovanni Battista Montini (St Paul VI) and Bl Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster OSB (1880-1954) at the meetings there.   She also met the priests Divo Barsotti and Agostino Gemelli OFM.    At such meetings, Monsignor Montini and both the politicians Aldo Moro and Giulio Andreotti, both of the Christian Democracy Party served as major influences upon her.

She passed her studies in 1922 with recognition of being a brilliant student and was enrolled at the University of Genoa on the following 11 November, where she later received a degree in letters in 1928 as well as in classical studies.

Bl Itala experienced her first vision of God on 3 August 1928 as a beam of light at the tabernacle, in a church of a seminary at Pontremoli.   She wrote afterwards, “The will of Christ, which I feel in the depths of my soul, is to drag me, to immerse myself with Himself in the abysses of the Holy Trinity … It is useless to look for other ways, this is what He has chosen for my sanctification.”   Feeling called to the religious life, she tried to enter a Benedictine convent but health did not allow her to remain.   Instead she became a Benedictine Oblate and consecrated herself to the Holy Trinity.

She departed for Milan at this time and chose as her confessor Adriano Bernareggi., who later became the Archbishop of Bergamo.

Her true calling as a Benedictine oblate came in 1929 and solidified to the point, where she commenced her novitiate.   It concluded on 4 January 1933 when she made her profession in Rome in the church of San Paolo fuori le Mura making her four vows.   As a sign of her new life, Mela assumed the name of “Maria della Trinità – Maria of the Trinity”.    She composed many profound spiritual writings and continued to have spiritual visions and ecstasies.    She even proposed a special memorial to Mary of the Trinity to Pope Pius XII, which he approved in 1941. bl itala mela sml

In Genoa from 5–15 October 1946, Mela composed a series of spiritual exercises for the benefit of the faithful, the exercises were well received.

Bl Itala died on 29 April 1957 aged 52.   Her remains were later transferred to the La Spezia Cathedral in 1983.

She was proclaimed Venerable on 12 June 2014 after Pope Francis approved her life of heroic virtue.   On 14 December 2015 the pope also approved a miracle attributed to her intercession which allowed for her Beatification to take place.   Bl Itala was beatified in La Spezia on 10 June 2017 and Cardinal Angelo Amato presided over the celebration on the pope’s behalf.    The miracle in question concerned the revival of an Italian newborn, whose body was in state of clinical brain death.

Pope Francis said on Sunday, 11 June 2017, the day after her Beatification:

Dear brothers and sisters, yesterday in La Spezia, Itala Mela was Beatified.

She was raised in a family far removed from the faith, in her youth she professed to be an atheist but converted after an intense spiritual experience.    She worked among Catholic university students, she then became a Benedictine Oblate and followed a mystic path centred on the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, which we celebrate today in a special way.   May the witness of the new Blessed encourage us, during our days, to turn our thought often to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who abides in the chamber of our heart.

bl itala mela

The Spiritual Experience of Itala Mela, a Life Incandescently Immersed in the Trinity

This present translation in English is the most recent development of an ongoing study regarding Itala Mela and the profound mysteries that our Lord revealed to her regarding the Inhabitation of the Most Blessed Trinity.  This is a most telling narrative describing the work of God in each individual soul for the fulfilment of the destiny of mankind.   A work achieved by co-operation to grace and acceptance of the circumstances of life with an eye to advancing the Kingdom within oneself and the world around us.

Itala is an example of an ordinary life of an ordinary person and how God takes this ordinariness and makes it extraordinary.   Yes, sanctity is for everyone, if only we see to understand and act in love.   The journey begins today with a light for each step of our path.spiritual exp of bl itala mela.jpg

Posted in CARMELITES, MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

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 birthplace.st 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.

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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 it.st 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 beside.st 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 three.st 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 tradition.st 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

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, MYSTICS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HUMAN DIGNITY, QUOTES on SANCTITY, SAINT of the DAY

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

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, MORNING Prayers, MYSTICS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on ETERNAL LIFE, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, REDEMPTORISTS CSSR, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY EUCHARIST

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

Posted in CARMELITES, DOCTORS of the Church, GOD the FATHER, MORNING Prayers, MYSTICS, ON the SAINTS, PAPAL HOMILIES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on SANCTITY, SAINT of the DAY

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

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, MYSTICS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HOPE, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on TRUST in GOD, SAINT of the DAY

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) 

Lord,
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

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, FRANCISCAN OFM, MORNING Prayers, MYSTICS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on EVANGELISATION, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on SANCTITY, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY EUCHARIST

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

Saint of the Day – 1 October – 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 Prayer.st 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