Posted in PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, St JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN!, VATICAN Resources

Thought for the Day – 13 October – Praise to the Holiest in the Height! for our Beloved Saint John Henry

Thought for the Day – 13 October – Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C and today, John Henry Newman will be Canonised

Today, at 10.30 Roman time, John Henry Newman and 4 others will be Canonised by Pope Francis.   They are:

– English Cardinal John Henry Newman, Founder of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri in England

– Italian Sister Giuseppina Vannini (born Giuditta Adelaide Agata), Founder of the Daughters of Saint Camillus

– Indian Sister Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan, Founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family

– Brazilian Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes (born Maria Rita) of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God

– Marguerite Bays of Switzerland, Virgin of the Third Order of Saint Francis of Assisi.

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13 oct 2019 - today we call you st john henry newman praise to the holiest.jpg

Excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI’s Beatification Homily
Birmingham, Sunday, 19 September 2010

newman and benedict

Cardinal Newman’s motto, Cor ad cor loquitur, or “Heart speaks unto heart”, gives us an insight into his understanding of the Christian life as a call to holiness, experienced as the profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate communion with the Heart of God.   He reminds us that faithfulness to prayer gradually transforms us into the divine likeness.   As he wrote in one of his many fine sermons, “a habit of prayer, the practice of turning to God and the unseen world in every season, in every place, in every emergency – prayer, I say, has what may be called a natural effect in spiritualising and elevating the soul.   A man is no longer what he was before, gradually … he has imbibed a new set of ideas and become imbued with fresh principles   (Parochial and Plain Sermons, iv, 230-231).   Today’s Gospel tells us that no-one can be the servant of two masters (cf. Lk 16:13) and Blessed John Henry’s teaching on prayer explains how the faithful Christian is definitively taken into the service of the one true Master, who alone has a claim to our unconditional devotion (cf. Mt 23:10).   Newman helps us to understand what this means for our daily lives – he tells us that our divine Master has assigned a specific task to each one of us, a “definite service”, committed uniquely to every single person:   “I have my mission”, he wrote, “I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.   He has not created me for naught.   I shall do good, I shall do his work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place … if I do but keep his commandments and serve him in my calling” (Meditations and Devotions, 301-2).

The definite service to which Blessed John Henry was called involved applying his keen intellect and his prolific pen to many of the most pressing “subjects of the day”.   His insights into the relationship between faith and reason, into the vital place of revealed religion in civilised societ, and into the need for a broadly-based and wide-ranging approach to education were not only of profound importance for Victorian England but continue today to inspire and enlighten many all over the world.   I would like to pay particular tribute to his vision for education, which has done so much to shape the ethos that is the driving force behind Catholic schools and colleges today.   Firmly opposed to any reductive or utilitarian approach, he sought to achieve an educational environment in which intellectual training, moral discipline and religious commitment would come together.   The project to found a Catholic University in Ireland provided him with an opportunity to develop his ideas on the subject and the collection of discourses that he published as The Idea of a University, holds up an ideal from which all those engaged in academic formation can continue to learn. And indeed, what better goal could teachers of religion set themselves than Blessed John Henry’s famous appeal for an intelligent, well-instructed laity – “I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it”  (The Present Position of Catholics in England, ix, 390).   On this day when the author of those words is raised to the altars, I pray that, through his intercession and example, all who are engaged in the task of teaching and catechesis will be inspired to greater effort by the vision he so clearly sets before us.

While it is John Henry Newman’s intellectual legacy that has understandably received most attention in the vast literature devoted to his life and work, I prefer on this occasion to conclude with a brief reflection on his life as a priest, a pastor of souls.   The warmth and humanity underlying his appreciation of the pastoral ministry is beautifully expressed in another of his famous sermons:  “Had Angels been your priests, my brethren, they could not have condoled with you, sympathised with you, have had compassion on you, felt tenderly for you, and made allowances for you, as we can; they could not have been your patterns and guides, and have led you on from your old selves into a new life, as they can who come from the midst of you” (“Men, not Angels – the Priests of the Gospel”, Discourses to Mixed Congregations, 3).   He lived out that profoundly human vision of priestly ministry in his devoted care for the people of Birmingham during the years that he spent at the Oratory he founded, visiting the sick and the poor, comforting the bereaved, caring for those in prison.   No wonder that on his death so many thousands of people lined the local streets as his body was taken to its place of burial not half a mile from here.   One hundred and twenty years later, great crowds have assembled once again to rejoice in the Church’s solemn recognition of the outstanding holiness of this much-loved father of souls.   What better way to express the joy of this moment than by turning to our heavenly Father in heartfelt thanksgiving, praying in the words that Blessed John Henry Newman placed on the lips of the choirs of angels in heaven:

Praise to the Holiest in the height
And in the depth be praise.
In all his words most wonderful,
Most sure in all his ways!
(The Dream of Gerontius)Praise to the Holiest in the Height - bl john henry newman - 9 oct 2018.jpgJOHN HENRY CANONISATION TAPESTRY NEWMAN 13 OCT 2019

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

Saint of the Day – 12 October – Blessed Jan Beyzym SJ (1850–1912) “The Apostle of the Lepers of Madagascar”

Saint of the Day – 12 October – Blessed Jan Beyzym SJ (1850–1912) Priest, Professed Jesuit,Missionary, Teacher, Apostle of the Holy Eucharist, of the Blessed Virgin, of Prayer – Patronages – Missionaries, Against leprosy, Teacher.

Bl John (Jan) Beyzym was born in what is now Ukraine, at Beyzymy Wielkie on 15 May 1850 and died on 2 October 1912, in Fianarantsoa, Madagascar, “The Apostle of the Lepers of Madagascar.”

Fr Beyzym was the first priest to live among the victims of Hansen’s disease in the entire history of the mission of Madagascar.BL 1210-beyzym_1

Teaching apostolate:
After his secondary school studies, he entered the Jesuit novitiate on 10 December 1872 at Stara Wies.   On 26 July 1881 he was ordained in Kraków.

For 17 years, Fr Beyzym worked as an educator among young people in the Jesuit Colleges at Tarnopol and Chyrów.    During this time he was also discerning the second call he received from God which was to serve in the difficult mission among the lepers in Madagascar.   In 1898, when he was 48, he left for Madagascar to begin the apostolate.   “I know very well” he wrote to the Fr General Louis Martin in Rome in 1897, “what leprosy is and what I must expect but all this does not frighten me, on the contrary, it attracts me.”O. Beyzym z tredowatymi.jpg

Mission among the lepers in Madagascar:
On arriving in the Red Island (Madagascar) he was posted to the leprosarium of Ambahivoraka near Antananarivo, where 150 sick people lived in almost total abandonment in the desert, far from healthy people.    They lived in crumbling shacks which were divided into small windowless rooms without flooring or furniture.   They received no medication and lived, day by day, without any help.   They often died of hunger rather than of sickness.O. Beyzym karmi tredowatego.jpg

After two weeks in the hospice, Fr Beyzym wrote in 1899 to Rodolphe de Scorraille, Head of the Province of Champagne and its missions, a letter to present the indescribable conditions he found, admitting that he asked the Good Lord to help him bring relief to this misery and that he wept in private at the sufferings of these unhappy people.

However, he did not shrink from the reality.   He devoted all his   strength, his talents as an organiser and, above all, his heart to the sick.   He lived among them to bear witness to the fact that they were human beings and that they must be saved.

He collected money and tried helping them in any way he could. At the time there was no effective medication for Hansen’s disease.   However, Fr Beyzym noticed that healthy food and adequate hygiene limited the contagion and that these two conditions together prevented the disease from progressing.

An eyewitness, Fr P Sau, wrote of Fr Beyzym that during his life, “painfully surprised at the sight of the extreme poverty of Ambahivoraka, he called on the charity of his Polish compatriots and soon was able to increase his children’s ration of rice.   The improvement of the diet reduced the number of burials from 57 a week to 5 a year”   (La Mission de Madagascar a vol d’oiseau, pp. 62-63).Przy umierajacym

Another eye witness, Fr A Niobey, wrote about Fr Beyzym’s devotion to the body and soul of the sick:   “His devotion to his lepers was unequalled.   He possessed nothing but he gave the little he could dispose of unhestitatingly.   His answer to every objection was always:   “What you do for the least of my creatures, that you do unto me.   We must be like the merchants of this earth, we must always aim at a greater gain'” (Letter, 3 June 1913).

He answered the provincial who asked him about working conditions among the sick – “One must be in constant union with God and pray without respite.   One must get used little by little to the stench, for here we don’t breathe the scent of flowers but the putrefaction of bodies generated by leprosy.”    (Letter, 18 April 1901)bl jan beyzym art

However, this “ease” did not come at once.   Fr Beyzym admitted that at first he felt repulsion at the sight of the victims.   Several times he even fainted.

His burning goal was to build a hospital where the lepers would be taken care of and protected from the moral permissiveness that prevailed in the state-run hospices.   In 1903 he left Ambahivoraka to go to build a hospital at Marana near Fianarantsoa. Speaking of the inauguration of the hospital on 16 August 1911, Fr J Lielet, a medical doctor, said “Fr Beyzym’s leposarium had finally been opened…. The construction and equipping of this vast hospital in a country where everything is lacking was a colossal undertaking but he completed the task.    Arriving there penniless, he found ways of collecting thousands of francs in Europe (principally in Poland, Austria and Germany) for such a distant project, his trust in God’s help was unshakeable.   Providence has almost performed miracles for him” (Chine, Ceylan, Madagascar, 1912, p. 94).   He hoped that it would provide more human conditions of life for the victims of Hansen’s disease.

The hospital still exists today and radiates love, hope and justice – the virtues which made its construction possible.   Since 1964 new little houses very close to the hospital have been built for the families of the sick people.

Inner life, soul of his apostolate:
Fr Beyzym’s inner life was marked by a profound bond with Christ and the Eucharist. The Mass was the centre of his life, he deplored the fact that the little church near the mission did not even have a permanent Tabernacle and that during the rainy season the water dripped down onto the altar during Mass.   He was greatly devoted to Mary and attributed his successes to Mary seeing himself as her instrument.   He was a man of action and an untiring worker but also a man of prayer – He attributed to prayer an essential role in the apostolic life, underlining its importance to achieve sanctity.    Fr Beyzym was a contemplative in action in the style of St Ignatius.   He had daily problems and battled against a thousand worries and sufferings but was above all a man of prayer. Prayer was the source of his strength.   Not having much time for quiet prayer, he prayed everywhere all the time.   He often repeated that his prayer was not worth much and that he had trouble praying.    This was why he asked the Carmelite nuns to pray for him. … Vatican.vaoltarzyk-bl

Beyzym died on 2 October 1912, his health had declined and he suffered both arteriosclerosis and sores which confined him to bed. His remains were exhumed and relocated back to his native Poland on 8 December 1993 at a Jesuit church.bl jan body - O. Beyzym po smierci

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The HOLY SPIRIT, VATICAN II - Documents, VATICAN Resources

Our Morning Offering – 8 October – Holy Spirit, Enlighten our Hearts

Our Morning Offering – 8 October – Tuesday of the Twenty Seventh week in Ordinary Time, Year C

Holy Spirit, Enlighten our Hearts
Prayer recited before the Sessions
of the Second Vatican Council

Holy Spirit, enlighten our hearts.
Give us light and strength to know Your will,
to make it our own
and to live it in our lives.
Guide us by Your wisdom,
supports us by Your power.
You desire justice for all,
enable us to uphold the rights of others,
do not allow us to be misled
by ignorance or corrupted by favour.
Unite us to Yourself in the bond of love
and keep us faithful to all that is true.
Help us to temper justice with love,
so that all our decisions
may be pleasing to You
and bring us the inheritance,
promised to good and faithful servants.
Amenprayer of the second vatican council - holy spirit enlighten our hearts 8 oct 2019.jpg

Posted in DIVINE MERCY, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 5 October – Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938) “Apostle of Divine Mercy”

Saint of the Day – 5 October – Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938) Maria Faustyna Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament “Apostle of Divine Mercy”, “Secretary of Divine Mercy”, Virgin, Religious, Mystic – born “Helena” on 25 August 1905 at Glogowiec, Poland as Elena (Helena) Kowalska and died on 5 October 1938 at Krakow, Poland of tuberculosis.st fasutina.JPG

Sister Mary Faustina, an apostle of the Divine Mercy, belongs today to the group of the most popular and well-known saints of the Church.   Through her, the Lord Jesus communicates to the world, the great message of God’s mercy and reveals the pattern of Christian perfection, based on trust in God and on the attitude of mercy toward one’s neighbours.

She was born on 25 August 1905 in Gogowiec in Poland of a poor and religious family of peasants, the third of ten children.   She was baptised with the name Helena in the parish Church of Ðwinice Warckie.   From a very tender age she stood out because of her love of prayer, work, obedience and also her sensitivity to the poor.   At the age of nine she made her first Holy Communion, living this moment very profoundly in her awareness of the presence of the Divine Guest within her soul.   She attended school for three years  . At the age of sixteen she left home and went to work as a housekeeper in order to find the means of supporting herself and of helping her parents.

At the age of seven she had already felt the first stirrings of a religious vocation.   After finishing school, she wanted to enter the convent but her parents would not give her permission.   Called during a vision of the Suffering Christ, on 1 August 1925 she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and took the name Sister Maria Faustina.   She lived in the Congregation for thirteen years and lived in several religious houses.   She spent time at Kraków, Pock and Vilnius, where she worked as a cook, gardener and porter.

Externally, nothing revealed her rich mystical interior life.   She zealously performed her tasks and faithfully observed the rule of religious life.   She was recollected and at the same time very natural, serene and full of kindness and disinterested love for her neighbour.   Although her life was apparently insignificant, monotonous and dull, she hid within herself an extraordinary union with God.st-faustina-version-i-sheila-diemert.jpg

It is the mystery of the Mercy of God which she contemplated in the word of God, as well as in the everyday activities of her life, that forms the basis of her spirituality.   The process of contemplating and getting to know the mystery of God’s mercy, helped develop within Sr Faustina the attitude of child-like trust in God as well as mercy toward the neighbours.   “O my Jesus, each of Your saints reflects one of Your virtues; I desire to reflect Your compassionate heart, full of mercy, I want to glorify it.   Let Your mercy, O Jesus, be impressed upon my heart and soul like a seal and this will be my badge in this and the future life”  (Diary 1242).

Sister Faustina was a faithful daughter of the Church which she loved like a Mother and a Mystic Body of Jesus Christ.   Conscious of her role in the Church, she co-operated with God’s mercy in the task of saving lost souls.   At the specific request of and following the example of the Lord Jesus, she made a sacrifice of her own life for this very goal.   In her spiritual life she also distinguished herself with a love of the Eucharist and a deep devotion to the Mother of Mercy.

The years she had spent at the convent were filled with extraordinary gifts, such as: revelations, visions, hidden stigmata, participation in the Passion of the Lord, the gift of bilocation, the reading of human souls, the gift of prophecy, or the rare gift of mystical engagement and marriage.   The living relationship with God, the Blessed Mother, the Angels, the Saints, the souls in Purgatory — with the entire supernatural world — was as equally real for her, as was the world she perceived with her senses  . In spite of being so richly endowed with extraordinary graces, Sr Faustina knew that they do not in fact constitute sanctity.   In her Diary she wrote:  “Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect but rather the intimate union of the soul with God.   These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection.   My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God.” (Diary 1107).

The Lord Jesus chose Sr Maria Faustina as the Apostle and “Secretary” of His Mercy, so that she could tell the world about His great message.   “In the Old Covenant — He said to her — I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people.   Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world.   I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart.”  (Diary 1588).

ORIGINAL Kazimirowski_Eugeniusz,_Divine_Mercy,_1934.jpg
The original Image of the Divine Mercy, painted under the guidance of Saint Faustina by Kazimierowski (1934)

The mission of Sister Mary Faustina consists in 3 tasks:

– reminding the world of the truth of our faith revealed in the Holy Scripture about the merciful love of God toward every human being.

– Entreating God’s mercy for the whole world and particularly for sinners, among others through the practice of new forms of devotion to the Divine Mercy presented by the Lord Jesus, such as – the veneration of the image of the Divine Mercy with the inscription: Jesus, I Trust in You, the feast of the Divine Mercy celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter, chaplet to the Divine Mercy and prayer at the Hour of Mercy (3 p.m.).   The Lord Jesus attached great promises to the above forms of devotion, provided one entrusted one’s life to God and practised active love of one’s neighbour.

– The third task in Sr Faustina’s mission consists in initiating the apostolic movement of the Divine Mercy which undertakes the task of proclaiming and entreating God’s mercy for the world and strives for Christian perfection, following the precepts laid down by the Blessed Sr Faustina.   The precepts in question require the faithful to display an attitude of child-like trust in God, which expresses itself in fulfilling His will, as well as in the attitude of mercy toward one’s neighbours.   Today, this movement within the Church involves millions of people throughout the world, it comprises religious congregations, lay institutes, religious, brotherhoods, associations, various communities of apostles of the Divine Mercy, as well as individual people who take up the tasks which the Lord Jesus communicated to them through Sr Faustina.divine mercy and sr faustina

The mission of the Blessed Sr Faustina was recorded in her Diary which she kept at the specific request of the Lord Jesus and her confessors.   In it, she recorded faithfully all of the Lord Jesus’ wishes and also described the encounters between her soul and Him. “Secretary of My most profound mystery — the Lord Jesus said to  Sr Faustina — know that your task is to write down everything that I make known to you about My mercy, for the benefit of those who by reading these things will be comforted in their souls and will have the courage to approach Me.” (Diary 1693).

In an extraordinary way, Sr Faustina’s work sheds light on the mystery of the Divine Mercy.   It delights, not only the simple and uneducated people but also scholars, who look upon it as an additional source of theological research.   The Diary has been translated into many languages, among others, English, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, Hungarian, Czech and Slovak.st faustina and the divine mercy image

Sister Maria Faustina, consumed by tuberculosis and by innumerable sufferings which she accepted as a voluntary sacrifice for sinners, died in Krakow at the age of just thirty three on 5 October 1938 with a reputation for spiritual maturity and a mystical union with God.   The reputation of the holiness of her life grew as did the cult to the Divine Mercy and the graces she obtained from God through her intercession.   In the years 1965-67, the investigative Process into her life and heroic virtues was undertaken in Krakow and in the year 1968, the Beatification Process was initiated in Rome.   The latter came to an end in December 1992.   On 18 April 1993 our Holy Father St John Paul II raised Sister Faustina to the glory of the altars.   Sr Faustina’s remains rest at the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy in Kraków-Łagiewniki, where she spent the end of her life and met confessor Józef Andrasz who also supported the message of mercy. . …   Vatican.va

St Faustina was Canonised by St Pope John Paul on 30 April 2000.canonisation st faustina.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 17 September – Saint Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski (1822-1895)

Saint of the Day – 17 September – Saint Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski TOSF (1822-1895) Archbishop of Warsaw and founder of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary, Apostle of poor, Confessor, Professor, Writer, Reformer.   Patronage – the Franciscan  Sisters of the Family of Mary.zygmunt_szczesny_felinski_03_original

St Zygmunt Szczesny Felinski was born on 1 November 1822 to Gerard Felinski and Eva Wendorff, in Wojutyn, Volinia (present-day Ukraine), then Russian territory.   He was the third of six children, of whom four survived.

Felinski was raised with faith and trust in Divine Providence, love for the Church and for Polish culture.   His father died when he was 11 and in 1838 the Russians exiled his mother to Siberia for “involvement in patriotic activity” that is, working for farmers’ rights.

Felinski studied mathematics at the University of Moscow (1840-44) and in 1847 went to the Sorbonne University and the Collège de France in Paris to study French literature.  He was in touch with all the important Polish emigrants and took part in the unsuccessful Revolt of Poznan.st sigismund young Sala-3-Posługa-duszpasterska-03.jpg

In 1851 he returned to Poland.   He entered the diocesan seminary at Zytomierz and studied at the Catholic Academy of St Petersburg.   He was ordained a priest on 8 September 1855 and assigned to the Dominican Fathers’ Parish of St Catherine of Siena in St Petersburg until 1857, when the Bishop appointed him spiritual director of the Ecclesiastical Academy and professor of philosophy.   In 1856 he founded a charitable organisation for the poor and in 1857, the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary.  On 6 January 1862, Pope Pius ix appointed Fr Felinski, Archbishop of Warsaw and he was consecrated on 26 January 1862 in St Petersburg.   He arrived in Warsaw on 9 February 1862.st sigismund felinski aml.jpg

The Russians had brutally suppressed the Polish uprising in this city in 1861.   On 13 February 1862, the new Archbishop reconsecrated the Cathedral of Warsaw, which had been desecrated by the Russian troops.   Three days later he opened all the churches with the solemn celebration of the “Forty Hours” Devotion.

Zygmunt Felinski was Archbishop of Warsaw in the turbulent period from 9 February 1862 to 14 June 1863.   Unfortunately, he met with distrust on the part of some, even clergy, since the Russian Government had led people to believe that he was collaborating secretly with the Government.   The Archbishop always showed clearly he was at the service of the Church alone and strove to eliminate government interference in the internal affairs of the Church.   In reforming the diocese he regularly visited all the parishes and charitable organisations on order to address their needs better.   He reformed the syllabus of the Ecclesiastical Academy of Warsaw and of the diocesan seminaries, giving a new impetus to the spiritual and intellectual development of the clergy.   He took steps to obtain the release of priests in prison and he encouraged them to proclaim the Gospel publicly, to catechise their parishioners, to open parish schools and to educate a new generation that would be devout and honest.   He also cared for the poor and opened an orphanage in Warsaw that he entrusted to the Sisters of the Family of Mary.st sigismund felinski

Archbishop Felinski strove to prevent the nation from making rash moves and, as a protest against the Russians’ bloody repression of the “January Uprising” in 1863, resigned from the Council of State and wrote to the Emperor Alexander ii, urging him to put an end to the violence.   He likewise protested against the hanging of Fr Agrypin Konarski, a Capuchin and chaplain of the “rebels”.   His courageous actions soon led to his exile to Siberia.

 

 

 

 

On 14 June 1863, he was deported to Jaroslavl, where he spent the next 20 years, deprived by the Tsar of all contact with Warsaw.   Yet he managed to organise works of mercy for his fellow prisoners, especially the priests and somehow succeeded in collecting enough funds to build a Catholic church.   The people were impressed by his spirituality and nicknamed him the “holy Polish Bishop.”   Archbishop Felinski was released on 15 March 1883 and Leo XIII transferred him from the See of Warsaw to the titular See of Tarsus.   For the last 12 years of his life he lived in semi-exile, serving as parish priest in south-eastern Galizia at Dzwiniaczka, among farmers of Polish and Ukrainian origin.   As chaplain of the public chapel of the local manor, he undertook an intense pastoral work.   He set up the first school and a kindergarten in the village at his own expense.446px-Zygmunt_Szczęsny_Feliński_07_(cropped)

He also built a church and convent for his Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mar, and found the time to prepare for publication the works he had written in exile.   He died in Kraków on 17 September 1895 and was buried there on 20 September, the following month his mortal remains were translated to Dzwiniaczka and in 1920, to Warsaw.   Here, on 14 April 1921, they were solemnly interred in the crypt of St John’s Cathedral where they are venerated today.  St John Paul II Beatified him in Kraków, Poland, on 18 August 2002. … Vatican.va

He was Canonised on 11 October 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI.

You can visit the Museum of St Zygmunt here :  http://muzeumfelinskiego.pl/en/museum/

 

 

 

 

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Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 31 August – Blessed Pere (Peter) Tarrés i Claret (1905-1950)

Saint of the Day – 31 August – Blessed Pere (Peter) Tarrés i Claret (1905-1950) aged 45 Priest, Medical Doctor, apostle of Eucharistic Adoration and of Mary, the Blessed Virgin, apostle of the sick and pooR.  Co-Founder, with Dr Gerrado Manresa, of a clinic dedicated to the Blessed Mother for the ill but in particular for those who suffered from tuberculosis, he also ensured that the clinic would be able to cater to those people who could not afford adequate medical treatment. bl pere tarres claret

Pere (Peter) Tarrés i Claret was born on 30 May 1905 in Manresa, province of Barcelona, Spain, to Francesc Tarrés Puigdellívol and Carme Claret Masats.   His parents were deeply religious, which was a positive influence for himself and his two sisters, Francesca and Maria, who both entered the convent.

Pere had a very joyful and open spirit and loved nature and helping others.   As a boy, he assisted at the local pharmacy and the shop owner, Josep Balaguer, encouraged him to continue his studies in medicine.   In 1921 Pere transferred to Barcelona to study, he made the decision to follow his dream and one day become a doctor to help others.

During these years of study, Pere received spiritual direction from Fr Jaume Serra, a priest who encouraged him to enter the “Federation of Young Christians of Catalonia”. This organisation, which met regularly at the Oratory of St Philip Neri, worked for a renewal of the Christian spirit within society.   Pere was appointed President of the Federation and with his openness and enthusiasm, he knew how to give extraordinary “vigour” to the group.  bl pere tarres young.jpgHe was a beacon of good example for others and his zeal motivated him to travel the roads of Catalonia in his little automobile (which he called his “instrument of work”) as a lay missionary.   He spoke openly of God, the Church and Christian living to the youth and those who were gathered along the streets, he also assisted in the formation of new Federation groups.  Pere maintained a written correspondence with many members of the Federation (of whose federal council he was later appointed vice-president) and wrote articles that were published in the Federation’s weekly paper.

In addition to his work within this group, the young man was also involved in Catholic Action.   In 1935 he was appointed vice-secretary of the new diocesan committee, he later became secretary of the archdiocesan committee, having received the recommendation of the Cardinal, Francesc Vidal y Barraquer of Tarragona.

A year later, having earned his degree in medicine, Pere began his residency in Barcelona.   Here, together with Dr Gerardo Manresa, he founded a medical clinic for all those who needed assistance but could not afford it.

As a doctor, Pere was exemplary in his charity and life of piety.   He never lost his habitual joy and was always available to help and speak to those who needed him. During the Spanish Civil War (July 1936-April 1939), Pere lived as a “refugee” in Barcelona because the persecution of Christians forced many into hiding, during this time he prayed, read and studied.

In May 1938 he was forced to enter the Republican army to provide medical assistance; these were eight long months of suffering for Pere and living through the horrors of war probed deep into his soul.   Day after day he wrote about his life on the battle front in his “War Diary”.   The war experience and assistance given to the wounded and dying made Pere understand the necessity for “spiritual assistance” and he felt that God was calling him to be a “doctor of souls” by entering the priesthood.   As a result, he entered the Seminary of Barcelona on 29 September 1939 and was ordained a priest on 30 May 1942.pere_tarres.jpg

Fr Pere began by serving as a parochial vicar at the Parish of St Stephen Sesrovile and a year later he was sent to the Pontifical University of Salamanca to study theology.   After he earned his degree in 1944, Fr Pere returned to Barcelona where he dedicated much of his time to Catholic Action, as well as providing spiritual assistance to religious congregations and material and spiritual help to the sick, especially the poorest of the poor.   He also served as the diocesan delegate for the Protection of Women and as spiritual director of the “Magdalen Hospital” for female prostitutes.

Fr Pere lived his days to the full and had little time for res,; nonetheless, he carried out all his activity in peaceful recollection and a prayerful spirit.   Everyone who came into contact with him was left with the impression that he was a very holy priest who truly cared, sacrificing himself for the spiritual and physical well-being of all, particularly the most desolate.

At the beginning of 1950, Fr Pere noticed that his health was deteriorating.   Shortly thereafter, he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer.   He accepted his illness and offered it up for the sanctification of priests, resolved to die “as a good priest”.

Fr Pere said that it was a “joy to have the possibility to be a priest and to die in a continual act of love and suffering… worthy of the Heavenly Father”. 

His “secret” in the spiritual life was Eucharistic devotion and filial love towards the Mother of God.

Fr Pere died on 31 August 1950 in the clinic that he founded.   He was 45 years old. … Vatican.va

Barcelona Cathedral Interior - Blessed Pere Tarrés by Montserrat García Rius
Monument in Barcelona Cathedral

His remains were re-located to the parish church of San Vicente de Sarria on 6 November 1975 where his Shrine now resides, see below.

383px-Església_Sarria_tomba_PereTarres_0084
Blessed Pere’s Shrine

In 1985 the Archbishop of Barcelona, Narcís Arnau,1024px-Fundació_Pere_Tarrés.jpg founded the Foundation Blessed Pere Tarrés in honour of the late priest, a nonprofit devoted to charitable works (above)

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 23 August – Blessed Ladislaus Findysz (1907-1964) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 23 August – Blessed Ladislaus Findysz (1907-1964) Priest, Martyr, Confessor, apostle of charity – born on 13 December 1907 in Kroscienko Nizne, near Krosno, Poland and died on the morning of 21 August 1964 of cancer of the esophagus in the presbytery of Nowy Zmigród, Poland.   He was imprisoned under the Communist regime in 1963 until not too long before his death on the charges of sending religious newsletters to his parishioners.385px-POL-Nowy_Zmigrod-Witraz_bl._ladyslaw_Findysz

Ladislaus Findysz was born on 13th December 1907 in Krościenko Niżne, near Krosno (Poland) to Stanislaus Findysz and Apollonia Rachwał, peasants of long-standing Catholic tradition.   The following day, 14th December 1907, he was baptised in the parish church of the Holy Trinity in Krosno and so began for him the life of grace.

In 1919, on concluding four years of study in the elementary school run by Felician Sisters (CSSF) in Krościenko Niżne, he entered the state-run grammar school.   As a young pupil, Ladislaus joined the Marian Solidality.   In May 1927 he sat the school leaving exams and joined in a retreat organised for school leavers.   In the autumn of that year he moved to Przemyśl and entered the major seminary, beginning studies in philosophy and theology at the Institute there.   His preparation for the priesthood was guided by the Rector, Blessed Father John Balicki.   The high point of this formative period was priestly ordination, which Monsignor Anatol Nowak, Bishop of Przemyśl, conferred on Ladislaus on 19th June 1932, in his cathedral.   After a month’s leave, on 1st August, Father Findysz took up his posting as assistant curate in the parish of Borysław (today in the Ukraine). On 17th September 1935 he was appointed curate in the parish of Drohobycz (also in the Ukraine) and on 1st August 1937 he was transferred to the parish of Strzyżów, again as curate, where on 22nd September 1939, he was appointed as parish administrator. Following this, on 10th October 1940, Ladislaus was appointed as curate in Jasło and then on 8th July of the following year as administrator of the Parish of Sts Peter and Paul Apostles in Nowy Żmigród.   A year later, on 13th August 1942, he became parish priest of this same parish.

Three years as pastor of Nowy Żmigród were marked by unfailing commitment to pastoral work and the painful experiences of the War.   On 3rd October 1944, along with the rest of the town’s inhabitants, Father Ladislaus was expelled by the Germans.   On his return, on 23rd January 1945, he committed himself to reorganising the parish.

Father Ladislaus’ service continued after the War through the hard times of the communist regime.   Father Findysz continued with the work of moral and religious renewal in the parish, giving his all to protect the faithful – especially the young – from the systematic and intensive atheism imposed by Communism.   He also helped the inhabitants of the parish with material aid, regardless of their nationality or denomination.   He saved numerous (Greek Catholic) families who were severely persecuted by the communist authorities and threatened with expulsion from their place of residence without the slightest chance of reprieve, from Łemki.   Father Findysz’s pastoral work proved most discomforting for the communist authorities.   From 1946 onwards he was placed under surveillance by the secret service.   In 1952 academic authorities suspended him from teaching the Catechism in the secondary school.   He was prevented from continuing his activity throughout the parish because, on two occasions (in 1952 and 1954), the district authorities rejected his request for permission to live within the border area where part of the parish was situated.

As far as the ecclesiastical authorities were concerned, Father Ladislaus was considered a zealous parish priest, receiving recognition as an honorary canon in 1946 and subsequently being accorded the privilege of the rochet and mantelletta in 1957.   In the same year he was appointed as vice-dean of the Nowy Żmigród deanery, being appointed dean in 1962.

In 1963 he began the pastoral activity of the “Conciliar Works of Charity” (a sort of Vatican Council spiritual support).   He sent letters of exhortation to parishioners living in irregular religious and moral situations, encouraging them to reorder their Christian lives.   The communist authorities reacted very severely to this activity and accused him of forcing the faithful to participate in religious rites and practices.   On 25th November 1963, after being interrogated by the Procurator of the Voivodeship of Rzeszów, he was arrested and imprisoned in Rzeszów Castle.  20050424_Bl Ladyslaw findysz.jpgFrom 16th to 17th December 1963 his trial took place in the Voivodeship tribunal in Rzeszów and he was condemned and given a custodial sentence of two years and six months.   The motivation for the investigation, the accusation and the subsequent condemnation of Father Findysz was rooted in the Decree “Protection of the Freedom of Conscience and Denomination” of 5th August, 1949. This, however, was simply an instrument in the hands of the communist authorities to restrict and ultimately eliminate “faith” and the Catholic Church from public and private life in Poland.   Father Findysz was also publicly discredited, libelled and condemned through specially edited publications in the press.   He was kept in the Rzeszów Castle prison where he suffered from malnutrition as well as being subjected to physical, psychological and spiritual humiliation.   On 25th January 1964 he was transferred to the central prison in Montelupich Street in Cracow.

Just before being arrested in September 1963, Father Ladislaus underwent a serious operation in Gorlice hospital to remove his thyroid gland, the state of his health remained uncertain due to the risk of complications.   He convalesced under the care of the medics whilst waiting for a second surgical intervention planned for December of the same year – this time to remove a cancerous growth in the oesophagus.   Without doubt the interrogation, trial and imprisonment had serious implications for the state of Father Findysz’s health and he had to be cared for in the prison hospital.   Due to a lack of proper care and the requisite medical expertise, his health did not improve.   The planned surgery to remove the cancerous growth of the oesophagus and a blockage of the stomach was postponed.   In reality, he was condemned to a slow death.   The illness ran its course as the results of medical examinations undertaken in the prisons of Rzeszów and Cracow attest.   Indeed, the very first clinical examination undertaken by the prison doctor on 9th December 1963 revealed an abscess in the throat with a suspected tumour of the oesophagus.

From the outset of Father Ladislaus’ condemnation, to a custodial sentence, his lawyer and the diocesan curia of Przemyśl sought recourse to the Procurator and the Tribunal of Rzeszów, petitioning for the suspension of his arrest on the grounds of the precarious state of his health and the risk of death.  The requests were refused.   They were, however, accepted by the Supreme Court in Warsaw as late as at the end of February 1964.

Given the serious state of his health, Father Ladislaus returned to Nowy Żmigród from prison on 29th February 1964.   Manifesting great patience and submission to God’s will he remained in the presbytery, bearing the sufferings of his illness as well as exhaustion. In the April he was admitted to the specialist hospital in Wrocław.   In spite of the treatment clinical tests confirmed the diagnosis of a cancerous growth between the oesophagus and the stomach.   Further medical examination confirmed that Father Findysz’s tumour, given its advanced state of growth, was no longer operable.   Suffering with his pulmonary emphysema and a relapse into severe anaemia which meant that death was close at hand, he returned home.

During the summer months he took part in the spiritual retreat for priests in the major seminary of Przemyśl.   This was to be his last retreat in preparation for death.

On the morning of 21st August 1964, after having received the Sacraments, he died in the presbytery of Nowy Żmigród and on 24th August was buried in the parish cemetery. Monsignor Stanislaus Jakiel, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Przemyśl, presided at the funeral, together with 130 priests and many faithful.

On 27th June 2000, following numerous requests from the faithful, Monsignor Kazimierz Górny, Bishop of Rzeszów, began the diocesan process for the beatification of the Servant of God Ladislaus Findysz.   The acts of the diocesan inquest were sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome on 18th October 2002.

During the Roman stage of the cause for beatification the theological consulters and then the members of the Congregation – Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops – recognised that the Servant of God, Father Ladislaus Findysz, was arrested and condemned by the authorities of the Communist regime on account of his proclamation of the Gospel. What’s more, his imprisonment and the physical and spiritual suffering he endured, were directly responsible for his death.   This being the case, it is necessary to recognise Father Findysz as a Martyr for the faith.   This proposal was presented to the Holy Father and was duly approved by him.   Then on 20th December 2004, in the presence of His Holiness St Pope John Paul II, the decree of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints was promulgated, recognising Father Ladislaus Findysz as a Martyr for the faith.

This is the first successful cause for beatification, based on the martyrdom of a Servant of God who was the victim of the Communist Regime in Poland.   What’s more, this is the first cause for beatification in the Diocese of Rzeszów…. Vatican.va