Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 15 March – Blessed Artemide Zatti SDB (1880-1951)

Saint of the Day – 15 March – Blessed Artemide Zatti SDB (1880-1951) Italian Religious Brother of the Order of the Salesians of John Bosco, Missionary, Apostle of the poor sick, Pharmacist. Nurse – born on 12 October 1880 at Boretto, Reggio Emilia, in northern Italy and died on 15 March 1951 of cancer at Bahia Blanca, Argentina – Patronages Pharmacists and Immigrants.   His nephew was the eighth rector of the Salesians – Juan Edmundo Vecchi.bl artemide zatti

Blessed Artemide Zatti was born on 12 October 1880 in Italy and died on 15 March 1951 at Viedma, Argentina.    As a Salesian religious brother, he became a saint by running a hospital and pharmacy for the sick poor for 40 years in Viedma, Argentina.   In 1897, when Artemide was 17 years old, his family emigrated from Reggio Emilia to join Artemide’s uncle who had a good job in Bahía Blanca, Argentina.   There they found steady work and a livelihood.   In his “new life” in Argentina, Artemide worked in a
hotel and then in a brick factory.   On Sundays the Zatti family faithfully assisted at Mass and other activities in the parish of the Salesian Fathers who in 1890 set up a community in Bahía Blanca.   With true apostolic spirit, Artemide used his free time to help the Salesian parish Priest in his parish activities and, especially, in visiting the sick.

He was inspired by the life of Don Bosco and by the Salesian priests and felt called to imitate him.   In 1900 when he was 19, the Salesians accepted him as a student for the priesthood  . But he had great difficulty with the studies since he had left elementary school long before.   Also, during the novitiate, Artemide contracted a severe case of TB from taking care of a young priest who was a TB victim.

In 1902 Artemide was forced to leave the house of studies to seek a cure in the pure air of Viedma, a city located high in the Andes.   Little did he realise that Viedma was going to be his city for the rest of his life.   Along with the healthy climate, in Viedma there was a hospital and pharmacy attached to the Salesian College run by Fr Evaristo Garrone, a priest and physician who was known for his empirical approach to medicine.   Fr Evaristo was also known for his trust in God’s Providence, he never turned away the poor who could not pay.   Under the guidance of Fr Garrone, Artemide made a promise to Our Lady, Help of Christians, that if she would obtain a cure for him, he would serve the sick poor for the rest of his life. When he was cured, he promptly continued his training as a Salesian religious brother.  bl artmides-zatti-889577ae-8b35-4d07-a956-b2507f71265-resize-750

In 1908 he was professed and began his mission alongside Fr Garrone.   When Fr Garrone died in 1911, Artemide was put in charge of the pharmacy and the hospital. He was a trained pharmacist, nurse, operating-room assistant, as well as juggler of finances and head of personnel.   He followed Fr Garrone’s rule that “he who has little, pays little and the one who has nothing pays nothing”.   In running the hospital, Artemide also depended entirely on Providence and the generosity of the people.   In his 40 years of dedicated service, he found in his religious life with its periods of prayer and community life the secret of balancing the daily tasks of administering the hospital and
pharmacy, taking care of patients inside and outside the hospital  . Despite the demands of the sick and the needs of the hospital, Artemide was known for his “Salesian joy”, a sign of his holiness for those around him.   He was “not only provider of medicine, but was himself a medicine for others by his presence, his songs, his voice …”

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Altar in Buenos Aires

In 1913 he was the force behind the building of a new hospital which was demolished in 1941 when the spot was taken as the residence of the Bishop of the newly-founded Diocese.

In July 1950, after falling off a ladder that he was climbing to get on the roof to fix a leaky water tank, Artemide was forced to take a period of rest and recovery.   After a few months the doctors diagnosed his livid skin colour as a serious cancer of the liver.  He was sick from January to March.   He died on 15 March 1951.  His mortal remains repose in the chapel of the Salesians at Viedma.bl artmides-zatti-b0ed617e-472f-463b-8670-e75b8525137-resize-750

Bl. Artemide lived what St John Bosco said to the first Salesians leaving for America: “Take special care of the sick, the children, the elderly, the poor and you will receive God’s blessing and the respect of those around you.”

The process for investigating a miracle opened in Buenos Aires after Jorge Mario Bergoglio – the future Pope Francis – inaugurated the process on 14 April 1998 and closed it one month later on 14 May 1998.   A medical board approved the miracle on 9 March 2000 and theologians followed this decision on 27 October 2000.   The C.C.S. voted in favour as well on 6 February 2001 which led to papal approval on 24 April 2001. Blessed Artimedi was Beatified by St John Paul II on 14 April 2002 in St Peter’s Square….Vatican.vabl artemide zatti middle aged

“Artemide Zatti, Salesian religious brother, left the diocese of Reggio Emilia with his family to seek a better life in Argentina, the land dreamt of by Don Bosco.   There he discovered his Salesian vocation, which took the form of a passionate, competent and loving service to the sick. His almost fifty years in Viedma represent the history of an exemplary religious, careful to accomplish his duties in his community and totally devoted to the service of those in need.   May his example help us to be conscious of the presence of the Lord and bring us to welcome him in all our needy brothers and sisters.” – from the beatification homily by Pope John Paul IIbl artemide street art

The postulator of the cause is the Fr Pierluigi Cameroni and there is currently a miracle being investigated through the intercession of Blessed Artemide which would lead to his Canonisation:

“Indeed the first miracle for the Beatification happened in 1980 to that time Salesian theology student Carlo Bosio (later on SDB provincial) and was the motivation for the Beatification of Br Zatti by St John Paul II in 2002.   Now another presumed miracle is being investigated in the Philippines (Diocesan stage of the investigation) and it looks very serious (according the reports from the Philippines).

Possible canonisation of Br Zatti would remind the whole Catholic community worldwide about the love for the poor, showing all the way how to meet Jesus in the sick people:  ‘Please, prepare the clothes for 12 year old Jesus! or Do you have ready the hot soup for 10 year old Jesus?’

We wish all Salesian family members both in Patagonia – Viedma and in the Philippines that the investigation about the presumed miracle, will bring many pastoral fruits for the growth in faith and charity amongst the Catholic community and beyond.” (by Salesian Sr Denise Sickinger).bl artemide zatti statuestatue bl artemide

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

Saint of the Day – 22 February – Blessed Émilie d’Oultremont d’Hoogvorst known as Emília Maria of Jesus (1818-1878) 

Saint of the Day – 22 February – Blessed Émilie d’Oultremont d’Hoogvorst known as Emília Maria of Jesus (1818-1878)  – Widow, Mother, Religious and Founder of The Sisters of Mary Reparatrix whose charism is Eucharistic Adoration combined with the evangelisation of society, especially of women.   Born on 11 October 1818 in Wegimont near Liège, Belgium and died on 22 February 1878 at the home of her son Adriano in Florence, Italy of natural causes.   She is Patron of the Order she founded.bl emilia Maria_of_Jesus_d'Oultremont

Émilie d’Oultremont d’Hoogvorst was born on 11 October 1818, in Wégimont (Lieja, Belgium), into a noble family and steeped in Christian values.    The young woman’s personality developed in a serene and balanced way, enriched with her extraordinary human and spiritual gifts.

Precisely during a ceremony in a palace in Rome, she took an inspiration and spoke these words: “Master, only You in my life” and thought of consecrating herself to the Lord. Marriage proposals were diverse but when she met Count Victor van der Linden, “a young man of solid virtue and exceptional piety” – as she would say – Emilia recognised that the Lord wanted to lead her along the path of marriage, which was celebrated on 19 October 1837.   She lived the life of a young and happy wife, mother of four children: Adriano, Edmundo, Olímpia and Margarida.   From then on, Emilia found the spiritual guides in the Jesuit Fathers, who understood and guided her on her spiritual path.bl Emilie_d'Oultremont

It was not ten years of marriage and her husband died of malaria.   Emília lived this test with faith and courageously continued her mission as a mother and educator, she consecrated herself to God with the vow of chastity, dedicating herself even more to works of charity.   She moved to Paris in order to follow the training of her children at the College of the Jesuits.

When, on 8 December 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, Emilia asked Mary to inspire her to what future course was most pleasing to God.

Together with some young women of different nationalities, she began a consecrated life, in the following year.   The official institution of the new Congregation of Mary Reparatrix took place on 1 May 1857, the day they were clothed in the habit.   Mother Maria of Jesus (this was her religious name) and her companions, began this journey, guided by the spirit of St Ignatius Loyola.431pxbl -Émilie_d'Oultremont_(1818-1878)

Mother Emília Maria of Jesus carefully followed the choice of her two sons in following the marriage vocation and was delighted with the decision of her daughters to follow her in religious life, in the same Congregation she had founded.

The Ignatian spirit was the soul that animated all her apostolic zeal, to the point that she took risky decisions, such as responding to the Jesuits’ call to build a house in India, after only two years of foundation.   It was the definitive launch of an expansion which then grew to include several countries in Europe.

The last years of Mother Maria of Jesus were full of diverse sufferings – family grief, concern for her children, separations and difficulties within the Congregation.   Suffering herself from very poor health, while on her way back to Belgium, she died at the home of her son Adriano, in Florence, on 22 February 1878. … Vatican.va

Her shrine resides n the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini in Rome.   She was buried at the church of Saint Bonaventure in Rome.

Blessed Maria of Jesus was Beatified on 12 October 1997, Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City after the approval of the required miracle, by St Pope John Paul II, when he said:

“Through her life of prayer, she reminds us that in Eucharistic Adoration, where we drink at the source of the life that is Christ, we find the strength for our daily mission. May each one of us, whatever his state of life, learn to “listen to the voice of Christ,, “which must be the rule of our existence,” as she liked to say!”

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 15 January – St Arnold Janssen SVD (1837-1909)

Saint of the Day – 15 January – St Arnold Janssen SVD (1837-1909) Priest, Founder, Missionary, Teacher, advocate of the Sacred Heart, Director of the Apostleship of Prayer,  He founded the Society of the Divine Word, a Catholic missionary religious congregation, also known as the Divine Word Missionaries, as well as two congregations for women  . In 1889 he founded in Steyl, Netherlands, the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit, SSpS and in 1896 at the same place the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, SSpSAP.   He is the Patron of all of the Orders which he founded.st arnold janssen CanonizJanssenNEW4.JPG

Arnold Janssen was born on 5 November 1837 in Goch, a small city in lower Rhineland (Germany).   The second of ten children, his parents instilled in him a deep devotion to religion.   He was Ordained a Priest on 15 August 1861 for the diocese of Muenster and was assigned to teach natural sciences and mathematics in a secondary school in Bocholt.  There he was known for being a strict but just teacher.   Due to his profound devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, he was named Diocesan Director for the Apostleship of Prayer.   This apostolate encouraged Arnold to open himself to Christians of other denominations.

Little by little, he became more aware of the spiritual needs of people beyond the limits of his own Diocese, developing a deep concern for the universal mission of the church. He decided to dedicate his life to awaking in the German church its missionary responsibility.   With this in mind, in 1873 he resigned from his teaching post and soon after founded The Little Messenger of the Sacred Heart.   This popular monthly magazine presented news of missionary activities and it encouraged German-speaking Catholics to do more to help the missions.st arnold janssen middle aged

These were difficult times for the Catholic Church in Germany.   Bismark unleashed the “Kulturkampf» with a series of anti-Catholic laws, which led to the expulsion of Priests and Religious and to the imprisonment of many Bishops.   In this chaotic situation, Arnold Janssen proposed that some of the expelled priests could go to the foreign missions or at least help in the preparation of missionaries.   Slowly but surely and with a little prodding from the Apostolic Vicar of Hong Kong, Arnold discovered that God was calling him to undertake this difficult task.   Many people said that he was not the right man for the job, or that the times were not right for such a project.   Arnold’s answer was, “The Lord challenges our faith to do something new, precisely when so many things are collapsing in the Church.”st arnold janssen artwork.jpg

With the support of a number of Bishops, Arnold inaugurated the mission house on 8 September 1875 in Steyl, Holland and thus began the Divine Word Missionaries.   Already on 2 March 1879 the first two missionaries set out for China.   One of these was Joseph Freinademetz (1852-1908) – he would be Canonised on the same day as St Arnold.

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Sts Arnold and Joseph

Aware of the importance of publications for attracting vocations and funding, Arnold started a printing press just four months after the inauguration of the house.   Thousands of generous lay persons, contributed their time and effort to mission animation in German-speaking countries, by helping to distribute the magazines from Steyl.   From the beginning the new congregation developed as a community of both Priests and Brothers.

The volunteers at the mission house included women as well as men.   From practically the very beginning, a group of women, including Blessed Maria Helena Stollenwerk, served the community.   But their wish was to serve the mission as Religious Sisters.   The faithful, selfless service they freely offered and a recognition of the important role women could play in missionary outreach, urged Arnold to found the mission congregation of the “Servants of the Holy Spirit,” SSpS, on 8 December 1889.   The first Sisters left for Argentina in 1895.st arnold janssen.jpg

In 1896 Fr Arnold selected some of the Sisters to form a cloistered branch, to be known as “Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration,” SSpSAP.   Their service to mission would be to maintain an uninterrupted adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praying day and night for the church and especially for the other two active missionary congregations.st arnold janssen sml.jpg

Arnold died on 15 January 1909.   His life was filled with a constant search for God’s will, a great confidence in divine providence and hard work.   That his work has been blessed is evident in the subsequent growth of the communities he founded – more than 6,000 Divine Word Missionaries are active in 63 countries, more than 3,800 missionary Servants of the Holy Spirit and more than 400 Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration. … Vatican.va

St Arnold was Canonised on 5 October 2003, by St Pope John Paul II, together with St Joseph Freinademetz and St Daniel Camboni, Apostle of Africa.st arnold janssen statue 2st arnold janssen statue bust

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 5 January – Saint Genoveva Torres Morales (1870-1956)

Saint of the Day – 5 January – Saint Genoveva Torres Morales (1870-1956) – Nun and Foundress of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy Angels (The Angélicas) of which Order she is the Patron, known as the “Angel of Solitude,” Apostle of the Holy Eucharist and of the Blessed Virgin Mary.st genoveva-torres-morales.jpg

Genoveva Torres Morales was born on 3 January 1870 in Almenara, Castille, Spain, the youngest of six children.   By the age of eight, both her parents and four of her siblings had died, leaving Genoveva to care for the home and her brother, José.   Although he treated her with respect, José was very demanding and taciturn.   Being deprived of affection and companionship from her early years, Genoveva became accustomed to solitude.

When she was 10, she took a special interest in reading spiritual books.   Through this pursuit she came to understand that true happiness is doing God’s will and it was for this reason that each one of us is created.   This became her rule of life.

At the age of 13, Genoveva’s left leg had to be amputated in order to stop the gangrene that was spreading there.   The amputation was done in her home and since the anaesthesia was not sufficient, the pain was excruciating.   Throughout her life her leg caused her pain and sickness and she was forced to use crutches.

From 1885 to 1894 she lived at the Mercy Home run by the Carmelites of Charity.   In the nine years she lived with the sisters and with other children, the young Genoveva deepened her life of piety and perfected her sewing skills.   It was also in these years that Fr Carlos Ferrís, a diocesan priest and future Jesuit and founder of a leprosarium in Fontilles, would guide the “beginnings” of her spiritual and apostolic life.

God also gave Genoveva the gift of “spiritual liberty” and this was something she would endeavour to practise throughout her life.   Reflecting on this period at the Mercy Home, she later would write:  “I loved freedom of heart very much and worked and am working to achieve it fully…. It does the soul so much good that every effort is nothing compared with this free condition of the heart.”st genoveva torres morales v lg.jpg

Genoveva intended to join the Carmelites of Charity but it seems she was not accepted due to her physical condition.   She longed to be consecrated to God and, being of a decided and resolute nature, she continued to be open to His guidance.

In 1894 Genoveva left the Carmelites of Charity’s home and went to live briefly with two women who supported themselves by their own work.   Together they “shared” the solitude and poverty.

In 1911, Canon Barbarrós suggested that Genoveva begin a new religious community, pointing out that there were many poor women who could not afford to live on their own and thus suffered much hardship.   For years, Genoveva had thought of starting a religious congregation that would be solely concerned with meeting the needs of such women, since she knew of no one engaged in this work.

With the help of Canon Barbarrós and Fr Martín Sánchez, SJ, the first community was established in Valencia.   Shortly thereafter, other women arrived, wanting to share the same apostolic and spiritual life.   It was not long before more communities were established in other parts of Spain, despite many problems and obstacles.st genoveva-torres-morales-.jpg

A constant source of suffering for Mother Genoveva was her involvement in external activity and the new foundations.   She desired to return to her characteristic interior solitude and remain alone with the Lord but she accepted her calling as God’s will and did not let her physical or interior suffering stop her.

She would say:  “Even if I must suffer greatly, thanks be to God’s mercy, I will not lack courage.”

She was known for her kindness and openness to all and for her good sense of humour – she would even joke about her physical ailments.

In 1953, the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy Angels received Pontifical approval.   Mother Genoveva died on 5 January 1956.   She was Beatified by St Pope John Paul II on 29 January 1995 at St Peter’s and Canonised by him on 4 May 2003 in Spain. … Vatican.va

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St Genoveva’s Shrine and Tomb
Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 24 December – Saint Paola Elisabetta Cerioli (1816-1865)

Saint of the Day – 24 December – Saint Paola Elisabetta Cerioli (1816-1865) Widow, Founder of the Institute of the Sisters of the Holy Family, the male branch – the Religious of the Holy Family, of which orders she is the Patron, Apostle of Charity – born Costanza Cerioli on 28 January 1816 at Soncino, Cremona, Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, Italy and died on 24 December 1865 aged 49, at Bergamo, Italy.

Costanza Cerioli was born on 28 January 1816 in Soncino, Italy, the last of 16 children born into the noble family of Francesco Cerioli and Francesca Corniani.   She was a frail child plagued by a heart condition throughout her life.Santa-Paola-Elisabetta-Ceriol-c.png

Comfort found in God alone:
Costanza lived at home until she was 11 years old, when she was sent off to school in Bergamo;  here she remained for five years, suffering terribly from the loneliness of being away from home.   But this experience helped her grow to depend on God, finding her comfort in Him alone.

At age 19, Costanza returned to Soncino where a planned marriage awaited her to the 59-year-old Gaetano Busecchi, widower of a countess, was set to be her husband.   Seeing it as God’s will, she accepted this proposal and was married on 30 April 1835.

Her marriage lasted 19 years and was marked by suffering on all sides, her husband’s difficult character and poor health weighed on her and three of the four children that Costanza gave birth to, died prematurely;  Carlo, her greatest “consolation”, lived to be 16.

Before his death due to serious illness in January 1854, Carlo spoke these prophetic words to his mother:  “Mama, do not cry… the Lord will give you other children”.   At the end of that same year, on 25 December, Gaetano also died.

This marked a dark period for Costanza, causing a profound existential crisis.   Never had she found herself so alone and abandoned, her life so seemingly senseless.   It was during this time that the words spoken by her son became a constant echo in her soul and sustained her, becoming her “guiding light”.

She sought spiritual direction and entrusted her tragedies and entire life into the hands of God, asking constantly for the grace to live her life with eyes of faith.ST PAOLA ELIZABETTA.jpg

Spiritual maternity:
Costanza continued to feel the need to express her “maternity” and to “give of herself” to others, as she had done with Carlo.   She was now 38 years old and, inspired by the Gospel, understood that charity was the only truly meaningful road.

She thus began to visit and assist the sick and share her belongings with the poor and orphans.   Looking into the searching and frightened eyes of the orphaned children who begged along the streets inspired her to make even more courageous decisions.

She began to give all her wealth and belongings to the poor and opened her home to welcome orphans.   Her family and neighbours would remark:  “The anguish that this devout woman passed through must have driven her crazy…  she does not realise what she is doing”.

The money she received once she sold her jewellery was used to purchase materials for the orphanage.   Even before giving away all her goods, she had made the most important decision – to give her entire self to God, making a perpetual vow of chastity on 25 December 1856.   And with her confessor’s approval, she made vows of poverty and obedience on 8 February 1857.

It was not long before other young women desired to join Costanza and “follow” in her works of charity.   God’s plan was unfolding before her eyes with greater clarity;,in silence, prayer and recollection she began to draw up the Rule for her “work.”st paola elisabetta cerioli.jpg

Sisters of the Holy Family:
On 8 December 1857, Costanza, “mother of many orphans”, founded the Institute of the Sisters of the Holy Family in Comonte, Italy.   She took the name “Sr Paola Elisabetta”, and summarised the charism of the Congregation in this way:

“The humility, simplicity, poverty and love of work found in the Holy Family of Nazareth is what makes up the specific spirituality of this Institute.   The Sisters that belong to it must strive to model themselves on this life, full of the recollection, hiddeness and with the same spirit of humble labour that Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived in this blessed home”.

From that day, Mother Paola dedicated herself to the growth and development of the religious community.   On 4 November 1863, in Villacampagna, a male branch was also founded by her, the Religious of the Holy Family.ST PAOLA CERIOLI.JPG

Under the protection of St Joseph:
With the House of Nazareth as the model of both branches, Mother Paola entrusted her “work” to the special protection of St Joseph and willed that the orphans under their care be known as the “sons and daughters of St Joseph”.

She was very attentive to the education of these parentless children and to the problem of poverty.   Her motherly spirit was limitless and she understood the importance of carefully and properly forming her religious sons and daughters, so that they would be able to love and educate well the children God placed under their care, these “neglected and lost ones”.

Mother Paola Elisabetta died unexpectedly in her home in Comonte on 24 December 1865.   She was 49 years old.

She was Beatified by Pope Pius XII on 19 March 1950, the Solemnity of St Joseph…. Vatican.va

Saint Paola was Canonised by St Pope John Paul II on 16 May 2004.

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 26 November – Blessed Gaetana Sterni (1827-1889)

Saint of the Day – 26 November – Blessed Gaetana Sterni (1827-1889) Widow, Religious, Founder of the Sisters of Divine Will, of which Order she is the Patron.   Apostle of charity.   Born on 26 June 1827 at Cassola, Vicenza, Italy and died on 26 November 1889 of natural causes.  Gaetana’s life became marred due to the deaths of close relations including her husband and sole child which prompted her to look towards an apostolate to aid others and to ease others’ sufferings. The order she founded was dedicated to total consecration to Jesus Christ and to an active apostolate of charitable works to the lowliest of all.bl gaetana sterni

Gaetana Sterni lived her whole life in Bassano del Grappa, an ancient and cheerful city in the province of Vicenza (Italy).   She arrived with her family, at 8 years of age, from the nearby Cassola, where she was born on the 26th June 1827.   Her father Giovanni Battista Sterni, worked as administrator for the country property of the Mora, noble Venetians and lived comfortably in the Mora habitat with his wife Giovanna Chiuppani and their six children.   In 1835 he moved with his family to Bassano.   However, a series of unfortunate episodes were to change the conditions for the family of Gaetana, drastically.   At 18 years of age her elder sister, Margherita, died and shortly after, following a grave illness, her father too died.   In the meantime, her brother Francesco, with the aim of becoming an actor left the home and thus, left the family, in a dire financial situation.

These events left their mark on Gaetana, who was forced to grow up before her time, having to share with her mother, the many problems of day to day life.   Being blessed with a good intelligence she showed herself to be sensitive and mature but also full of life “ desiring to love and be loved”.

Her religious education was solid and guided by the teachings of her mother, her prayers and her frequenting the church.   She soon acquired in her environment, respect and appreciation for her radiant character, full of good sense and for her strong femininity. “Her delicate features and rare beauty” and her fascinating presence, soon attracted a young entrepreneur, Liberale Conte, a widower with three children who asked her to marry him.

After a deep analysis of her feelings and the responsibilities that she would have to assume and overcoming the opposition of her tutor, Gaetana accepted Liberale’s proposal.   The young bride, who still hadn’t reached her sixteenth birthday, entered into her new home filling it with her vitality, giving back to her husband joy and serenity and loving his three children as if they were her own.   When Gaetana discovered that she was expecting his child, the happiness of the couple was complete.

While she was praying, Gaetana was shaken by a premonition of the imminent death of her husband and felt as though she would “die of a broken heart” at the thought of losing he who was “more precious than life,” however, deep inside, she felt a strength that would keep her from despair and lead her to have faith in God with all her heart. Unfortunately, her premonition came true and Liberale, at the height of youth and health, after a brief illness, died.   The young bride now found herself in terrible anguish for the loss of her husband, whom she loved more than herself, for the children who once again found themselves to be orphans and for her unborn child, who would never know it’s own father.   She was completely destroyed by the pain but when she started coming back to her senses, she remembered the premonition that she had had and what she had felt.   She once again found faith in the Lord, entrusting her life to Him.   In Him she found the strength to live, to take care of the three children and to complete her pregnancy.

Unfortunately, even Gaetana’s child died just a few days after it’s birth.  Here began years of bitter widowhood.   The family of her husband did not appreciate the strong links that bound Gaetana to the orphans and many misunderstandings, suspicions and false rumours arose.   Eventually, she was separated from the children and distanced from the house.   At nineteen years of age she returned to the home of her mother.   In spite of this ordeal and not thinking of herself, she helped the children to accept the difficult separation.   Approachable but strong, she defended the rights of the children, forgave freely and obtained the full reconciliation and serenity of the two families.   The suffering didn’t make her bitter and, through her natural sensitivity, she grew in her capacity for compassion and solidarity.

She never thought of entering into a religious order and looking into her future, she prayed, that the Lord would help her to understand who was the husband that God had destined to be hers.   But it was through her prayers that she began to perceive clearly that God wanted to be “the only husband for her soul” and Gaetana was stunned.   She confided to her holy confessor who confirmed that it was an authentic call to God. Consequently, she asked to enter the convent of the Canosians of Bassano and was accepted as a postulate.   For five months she lived happily in the community but once again, in her prayers, she had a premonition that prepared her for the death of her mother, which then happened within a few days.   Consequently she was forced to leave the convent to assume the responsibility of looking after her younger brothers.   For years she faced difficulties, family illness, misfortunes and financial hardships.   In spite of everything, she managed to create a way of life that permitted a continued spiritual devotion.bl gaetana with jesus

She confronted her confessor and prayed intensely as to know what was God’s will for her.   Becoming more humble and prepared, she was ever more attentive to what He asked her in the depths of her heart and also through the happenings and needs of the poor of her city.

Whilst she was still with the Canosians and had the premonition of her mother’s death, Gaetana had also sensed that He was preparing her “to employ there all of herself in the service of the poor and thus fulfil His will.”   She held this vocation hidden in her heart for a long time before finding the courage to talk about it with her confessor, because it seemed to her strange and terrible.

When at last she had told him, he seemed to give no weight to the idea.   However whenever Gaetana saw a poor person “recovered”, she re-felt that invitation “I want you among my poor”, and said “the idea of the Recovery follows me constantly”.   She was 26 years old when she was finally free from all obligations to her family and could at last do as she wished.   Upon conclusion of a serious and shared discernment, it was a Jesuit, Fr . Bedin that confirmed to her, saying “yes Gaetana, the Lord wants you in the Recovery.” In 1853, “only to do the will of God”, Gaetana entered into the hospice for beggars, known as the Recovery, which in miserable conditions, cared for 115 guests “the large part victims of unruliness and vice” in whom “disorders and abuses of almost every type”.

She remained there for 36 years until her death and employed in this ministry all of herself with untiring charity.   While watching over the beds of the dying and in the most humble service of the ill and the old, she treated all with the abnegation, the delicacy and gentleness of those who in recoveries serve the Lord.   She was driven by a great faith in God, from the desire to be His and to please Him in everything.  When she was 33 years old and with the consent of her confessor Don Simonetti, she took a vow of total devotion of herself to God, “ready to accept absolutely anything that the Lord might ask of her”.

With unlimited faith she gave herself into the hands of God, “weak instrument which He uses for His own purposes”.   She attributed to providence, the birth of the congregation, that came from the simplicity and humility, with the profession of the first two companions in 1865.

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First Daughters of the Divine Will

The name “Daughters of the Divine Will” suggested to the heart of Gaetana and the young women that followed her, indicated that which should define them “complete uniformity to the Divine Will through a total abandonment in God and a strong zeal for the well-being of one’s neighbour, ready to sacrifice anything in order to make them well.”

Like her, the first companions, driven by the same spirit, devoted themselves to the will of God, dedicating themselves to serve the poor in the Recovery and those in need, especially helping those who were ill at home and other acts of charity depending on the particular needs that arose.   The Bishop of Vicenza, Saint Giovanni Antonio Farina (1803–1888), approved the first rules of the congregation in 1875.

Gaetana died on the 26th of November 1889 lovingly assisted by her daughters and venerated by her fellow citizens.   Her mortal remains are venerated in the Mother House.   Since the beginning the communities have multiplied and today the congregation is diffused in Europe, America and Africa.

The path to holiness that Gaetana followed is, for it’s essential nature a proposable itinerary for all Christians – to achieve in everything and always, that which pleases the Lord, trusting oneself to Him in enlightened confidence, to change, with only the force of love, all evil into good, in the manner of Jesus. … Vatican.va

Blessed Gaetana was Beatified on 4 November 2001 by St Pope John Paul II, after approval of the first miracle.   At her Beatification St John Paul said:

“Blessed Gaetana Sterni, who learned that the will of God is always love, dedicated herself with untiring charity to the excluded and the suffering.   She always treated her brothers and sisters with the kindness and love of the one who serves Christ in the poor. She urged her spiritual daughters, the Sisters of the Divine Will, “to be disposed and content to put up with privations, fatigue and any sacrifice to help your neighbour in need in all that the Lord might want of them”.   The witness of evangelical charity that Blessed Sterni left us reminds each believer of the need to seek the will of God in confident abandonment to Him and in generous service to one’s brothers and sisters.”

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Posted in CARMELITES, MARIAN TITLES, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources, YouTube VIDEOS

Feast of Our Lady of Divine Providence and Memorials of the Saints – 19 November

Our Lady of Divine Providence:  The title of “Mary, Mother of Divine Providence” is often traced to her intervention at the wedding in Cana.   Christ’s first public miracle was occasioned in part by the intercession of his mother.   She helped through her foresight and concern to avoid an embarrassing situation for the newlywed couple.   Our Lady of Providence is sometimes also identified as Queen of the Home.
Devotion to Our Lady of Divine Providence originated in Italy and spread to France and Spain.   The devotion was brought to Puerto Rico in the early 1850s by the Servite Fathers.   According to tradition, Philip Benizi (1233 – 1285) prayed to Mary for help in providing food for his friars and subsequently found several baskets of provisions left at the door of the convent.   Our Lady of Providence was declared the patroness of Puerto Rico by Pope Paul VI on 19 November 1969.  Her feast day is celebrated in many immigrant Puerto Rican communities.
Around 1580, the Italian painter Scipione Pulzone created a work titled “Mater Divinae Providentiae,” which depicted the Blessed Mother cradling the Infant Jesus.   Devotion to Mary, Mother of Divine Providence in the first house of the Congregation of the Clerics Regular of St Paul (Barnabites) in Rome at San Carlo ai Catinari church began around year 1611, when one of the clerics travelled to Loreto to pray for assistance in finding the financial resources to complete the Church of San Carlo.   Upon his return, they received the necessary assistance and the Barnabites began to promote devotion to Our Lady of Providence.our_lady_of_providence_pulzone.jpg
Pulzone’s painting was given to the Barnabites in 1663.   It was placed on the altar of a chapel on the first floor of the Saint Charles rectory behind the main altar.   In 1732, a copy of the painting was placed in a location adjacent to the main altar of the church of San Carlo ai Catinari in Rome, where it drew many faithful visitors.
In 1774, Pope Benedict XIV authorised the Confraternity of Our Lady of Providence, a lay organisation created for the purpose of promoting special works of Christian charity or piety.    Pope Gregory XVI elevated it to an Archconfraternity in 1839.   In 1888, Pope Leo XIII ordered the solemn crowning of the “Miraculous Lady” and approved the Mass and Office of Mary, Mother of Divine Providence.   On 5 August 1896, Superior General of the Barnabites, Father Benedict Nisser decreed that every Barnabite have a copy of the painting in their home.
Patronage:
Our Lady of Providence is the patroness of the Barnabite Order.
Our Lady of Providence is the patroness of Indiana and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island. The chapel of Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts is dedicated to Our Lady of Providence.
Our Lady of Divine Providence is the patroness of St Benedict’s Abbey in Atchison, Kansas.
Our Lady of Divine Providence is also the patroness of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico.

Bl Alexandre Planas Saurí
St Atto of Tordino
St Azas of Isauria
St Barlaam of Antioch
St Ebbe of Minster-of-Thanet
Bl Eliseo García y García
Bl James Benefatti
St James of Sasseau
St Maximus of Caesarea
St Maximus of Rome
St Matilda or Mechtilde of Hackeborn (c 1241-1298)
St Medana
St Nerses the Great
Obadiah the Prophet
St Pope Pontian
St Raphael Kalinowski, OCD (1835-1907)
Biography:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/11/19/saint-of-the-day-19-november-st-raphael-of-st-joseph-kalinowski-o-c-d-1835-1907/
St Tuto

Martyrs of Heraclea

Martyrs of Vienne: – 3 saints
St Exuperius
St Felicianus
St Severinus