Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources, YouTube VIDEOS

Saint of the Day – 21 May – Blessed Franz Jägerstätter OFS (1907-1943) Layman Martyr – Franz Jägerstätter, who would not bow his head to Hitler

Saint of the Day – 21 May – Blessed Franz Jägerstätter OFS (1907-1943) Married Layman Martyr, Father of 3 daughters, Conscientious Objector, Farmer, Third Order Franciscan – born as Franz Huber on 20 May 1907 in Sankt Radegund, Oberösterreich, Austria and died by being beheaded on 9 August 1943 in Brandenburg an der Havel, Brandenburg, Germany.    Patronage – Conscientious Objectors.bl franz jagerstatter artwork as farmer

Franz Jägerstätter was born on 20 May 1907 in St Radegund, Upper Austria, to his unmarried mother, Rosalia Huber and to Franz Bachmeier, who was killed during World War I.   After the death of his natural father, Rosalia married Heinrich Jägerstätter, who adopted Franz and gave the boy his surname of Jägerstätter in 1917.

Franz received a basic education in his village’s one-room schoolhouse.   His step-grandfather helped with his education and the boy became an avid reader.

It seems Franz was unruly in his younger years;  he was, in fact, the first in his village to own a motorcycle.   However, he is better known as an ordinary and humble Catholic who did not draw attention to himself.

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Jägerstätter farmstead in St Radegund

After his marriage to Franziska in 1936 and their honeymoon in Rome, Franz grew in his faith but was not extreme in his piety.bl franz wedding pic

Besides his farm work, Franz became the local sexton in 1936 and began receiving the Eucharist daily.   He was known to refuse the customary offering for his services at funerals, preferring the spiritual and corporal works of mercy over any remuneration.

In the mid to late 1930s, while much of Austria was beginning to follow the tide of Nazism, Franz became ever more rooted in his Catholic faith and placed his complete trust in God.

While carrying out his duties as husband and bread-winner for his wife and three daughters, as a farmer, this ordinary man began thinking deeply about obedience to legitimate authority and obedience to God, about mortal life and eternal life and about Jesus’ suffering and Passion.

Franz was neither a revolutionary nor part of any resistance movement but in 1938 he was the only local citizen to vote against the “Anschluss” (annexation of Austria by Germany), because his conscience prevailed over the path of least resistance.

Franz Jägerstätter was called up for military service and sworn in on 17 June 1940. Shortly thereafter, thanks to the intervention of his mayor, he was allowed to return to the farm.   Later, he was in active service from October 1940 to April 1941, until the mayor’s further intervention permitted his return home.bl franz in uniform smaller

He became convinced that participation in the war was a serious sin and decided that any future call-up had to be met with his refusal to fight.

“It is very sad”, he wrote, “to hear again and again from Catholics that this war waged by Germany is perhaps not so unjust because it will wipe out Bolshevism…. But now a question:  what are they fighting in this Country – Bolshevism or the Russian People?

“When our Catholic missionaries went to a pagan country to make them Christians, did they advance with machine guns and bombs in order to convert and improve them?…   If adversaries wage war on another nation, they have usually invaded the country, not to improve people, or even perhaps to give them something but usually, to get something for themselves….   If we were merely fighting Bolshevism, these other things – minerals, oil wells or good farmland – would not be a factor.”bl franz young farmer

Jägerstätter was at peace with himself despite the alarm he experienced witnessing the masses’ capitulation to Hitler.   Mesmerised by the National Socialist propaganda machine, many people knelt when Hitler made his entrance into Vienna.   Catholic Churches were forced to fly the swastika flag and subjected to other abusive laws.bl franz-jagerstatter art smaller

In February 1943 Franz was called up again for military service.   He presented himself at the induction centre on 1 March 1943 and announced his refusal to fight, offering to carry out non-violent services – this was denied him.

He was held in custody at Linz in March and April, transferred to Berlin-Tegel in May and subject to trial on 6 July 1943 when he was condemned to death for sedition.   The prison chaplain was struck by the man’s tranquil character.   On being offered the protestant New Testament, he replied:  “I am completely bound in inner union with the Lord and any reading would only interrupt my communication with my God.”bl Franz_Jägerstätter

On 9 August, before being executed, Franz wrote:  “If I must write… with my hands in chains, I find that much better than if my will were in chains.   Neither prison nor chains nor sentence of death can rob a man of the Faith and his free will.   God gives so much strength that it is possible to bear any suffering….   People worry about the obligations of conscience, less than their concern for my wife and children.

But, I cannot believe that, just because one has a wife and children, a man is free to offend God.”

Franz Jägerstätter, who would not bow his head to Hitler, bowed his head to God and the guillotine took care of the rest.   He was obviously called up to serve a higher order. … Vatican.va

Franz Jägerstätter was 36 years old on the day that he returned to God.

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In June 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued an apostolic exhortation declaring Jägerstätter a Martyr.   On 26 October 2007, he was Beatified in a ceremony held by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins at the New Cathedral in Linz.   His feast day, today 21 May, is the day of his Baptism.

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Memorial plaque at the former Reichskriegsgericht in Berlin
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A National Stamp issued in his honour

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Franz was beheaded and cremated the following day.   In 1946, his ashes were reburied in St Radegund near a memorial inscribed with his name and the names of almost 60 village men who died during their military service.

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Memorial for Franz Jägerstätter in St Radegund

The documentary, Franz Jaegerstaetter – A Man of Conscience, was released in 2011.   A film about Jägerstätter, A Hidden Life, written and directed by Terrence Malick, premiered in May 2019 at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival and was given a general release in the US on 13 December 13, 2019.   The film is inspired by the book titled Franz Jägerstätter – Letters and Writings from Prison.

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Posted in ON the SAINTS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, St Pope JOHN PAUL, VATICAN Documents, VATICAN Resources

18 May 2020 – The Centenary of the Birth of St John Paul (1920-2005) – Pope Benedict XVI’s Letter

Pope Benedict XVI’s Letter Marking St John Paul II’s Birth Centenary

The English translation of this letter,
dated 4 May was released 15 May
by the Polish Bishops’ Conference.centenary of the birth of st john paul II 18 may 2020 no 2

“100 years ago, on 18 May, Pope John Paul II was born in the small Polish town of Wadowice.

After having been divided for over 100 years by three neighbouring major powers of Prussia, Russia, and Austria, Poland regained Her independence at the end of the First World War.   It was a historic event that gave birth to great hope but it also demanded much hardship as the new State, in the process of Her reorganisation, continued to feel the pressure of the two Powers of Germany and Russia.   In this situation of oppression, bu,t above all, in this situation marked by hope, young Karol Wojtyła grew up.   He lost his mother and his brother quite early and, in the end, his father as well, from whom he gained deep and warm piety.   The young Karol was particularly drawn by literature and theatre.   After passing his final secondary school exam, he chose to study these subjects.

“In order to avoid the deportation, in the fall of 1940 he went to work in a quarry of the Solvay chemical plant.”  (cf. Gift and Mystery).   “In the fall of 1942, he made the final decision to enter the Seminary of Kraków, which Kraków’s Archbishop Sapieha had secretly established in his residence.   As a factory worker, Karol already started studying theology in old textbooks; and so, on 1 November 1946, he could be ordained a priest.” (cf. Ibid.)   Of course, Karol not only studied theology in books but also through his experience of the difficult situation that he and his Country found itself in.   This is somewhat a characteristic of his whole life and work.   He studied books but the questions that they posed, became the reality that he profoundly experienced and lived. As a young Bishop — as an Auxiliary Bishop since 1958 and then Archbishop of Kraków from 1964 — the Second Vatican Council became the school of his entire life and work. The important questions that appeared, especially in connection with the so-called Schema 13 which would subsequently become the Constitution Gaudium et Spes, were questions that were also his own.   The answers developed by the Council would pave the way for his mission as Bishop and, later, as Pope.

When Cardinal Wojtyła was elected Successor of St Peter on 16 October 1978, the Church was in a dramatic situation.   The deliberations of the Council had been presented to the public as a dispute over the Faith itself, which seemed to deprive the Council of its infallible and unwavering sureness.   A Bavarian parish priest, for example, commented on the situation by saying, “In the end, we fell into the wrong faith.”   This feeling that nothing was no longer certain, that everything was questioned, was kindled even more by the method of implementation of liturgical reform.   In the end, it almost seemed that the liturgy could be created of itself.  St Paul VI brought the Council to an end with energy and determination but after its conclusion, he faced ever more pressing problems that ultimately questioned the existence of the Church Herself.   At that time, sociologists compared the Church’s situation to the situation of the Soviet Union under the rule of Gorbachev, during which the powerful structure of the Soviet State collapsed under the process of its reform.

Therefore, in essence, an almost impossible task was awaiting the new Pope.   Yet, from the first moment on, John Paul II aroused new enthusiasm for Christ and his Church.   His words from the sermon at the inauguration of his pontificate:  “Do not be afraid! Open, open wide the doors for Christ!”   This call and tone would characterise his entire pontificate and made him a liberating restorer of the Church.   This was conditioned by the fact that the new Pope came from a country where the Council’s reception had been positive – one of a joyful renewal of everything rather than an attitude of doubt and uncertainty in all.

The Pope travelled the world, having made 104 pastoral voyages, proclaiming the Gospel wherever he went as a message of joy, explaining in this way, the obligation to defend what is Good and to be for Christ.

In his 14 Encyclicals, he comprehensively presented the faith of the Church and its teaching in a human way.   By doing this, he inevitably sparked contradiction in Church of the West, clouded by doubt and uncertainty.

It seems important today to define the true centre, from the perspective of which we can read the message contained in the various texts.   We could have noticed it at the hour of his death.   Pope John Paul II died in the first moments of the newly established Feast of Divine Mercy.   Let me first add a brief personal remark that seems an important aspect of the Pope’s nature and work.   From the very beginning, John Paul II was deeply touched by the message of Faustina Kowalska, a nun from Kraków, who emphasised Divine Mercy as an essential centre of the Christian faith.   She had hoped for the establishment of such a feast day.   After consultation, the Pope chose the Second Sunday of Easter.   However, before the final decision was made, he asked the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to express its view on the appropriateness of this date.   We responded negatively because such an ancient, traditional and meaningful date like the Sunday “in Albis” concluding the Octave of Easter should not be burdened with modern ideas.   It was certainly not easy for the Holy Father to accept our reply.   Yet, he did so with great humility and accepted our negative response a second time.   Finally, he formulated a proposal that left the Second Sunday of Easter in its historical form but included Divine Mercy in its original message.   There have often been similar cases in which I was impressed by the humility of this great Pope, who abandoned ideas he cherished because he could not find the approval of the official organs that must be asked according established norms.

When John Paul II took his last breaths on this world, the prayer of the First Vespers of the Feast of Divine Mercy had just ended.   This illuminated the hour of his death, the light of God’s mercy stands as a comforting message over his death.   In his last book Memory and Identity, which was published on the eve of his death, the Pope once again summarised the message of Divine Mercy.   He pointed out that Sister Faustina died before the horrors of the Second World War but already gave the Lord’s answer to all this unbearable strife.   It was as if Christ wanted to say through Faustina:  “Evil will not get the final victory.   The mystery of Easter affirms that good will ultimately be victorious, that life will triumph over death and that love will overcome hatred”.

Throughout his life, the Pope sought to subjectively appropriate the objective centre of Christian faith, the doctrine of salvation and to help others to make it theirs.   Through the resurrected Christ, God’s mercy is intended for every individual.   Although this centre of Christian existence is given to us only in faith, it is also philosophically significant, because if God’s mercy were not a fact, then we would have to find our way in a world where the ultimate power of good against evil is not recognisable.   It is finally, beyond this objective historical significance, indispensable for everyone to know, that in the end God’s mercy is stronger than our weakness.   Moreover, at this point, the inner unity of the message of John Paul II and the basic intentions of Pope Francis can also be found – John Paul II is not the moral rigourist as some have partially portrayed him.   With the centrality of divine mercy, he gives us the opportunity to accept moral requirement for man, even if we can never fully meet it.   Besides, our moral endeavours are made in the light of divine mercy, which proves to be a force that heals for our weakness.

While Pope John Paul II was dying, St Peter’s Square was filled with people, especially many young people, who wanted to meet their Pope one last time.   I cannot forget the moment when Archbishop Sandri announced the message of the Pope’s departure. Above all, the moment when the great bell of St Peter’s took up this message remains unforgettable.   On the day of his funeral, there were many posters with the words “Santo subito!”   It was a cry that rose from the encounter with John Paul II from all sides. Not from the square but also in different intellectual circles the idea of giving John Paul II the title “the Great” was discussed.

The word “saint” indicates God’s sphere and the word “great” the human dimension. According to the Church’s standards, sanctity can be recognised by two criteria – heroic virtues and a miracle.   These two standards are closely related.   Since the word “heroic virtue” does not mean a kind of Olympic achievement but rather that something becomes visible in and through a person that is not his own but God’s work which becomes recognisable in and through him.   This is not a kind of moral competition but the result of renouncing one’s own greatness.   The point is, that a person lets God work on him and so God’s work and power become visible through him.

The same applies to the criterion of the miracle – here too, what counts is not that something sensational happening but the visible revelation of God’s healing goodness, which transcends all merely human possibilities.   A saint is the man who is open to God and permeated by God.   A holy man is the one who leads away from himself and lets us see and recognise God.   Checking this juridically, as far as possible, is the purpose of the two processes for Beatification and Canonisation.   In the case of John Paul II, both were carried out strictly according to the applicable rules.   So, now he stands before us as the Father, who makes God’s mercy and kindness visible to us.

It is more difficult to correctly define the term “great.”   In the course of the almost 2,000-year long history of the papacy, the title “the Great” has been maintained only for two popes:  Leo I (440 – 461) and Gregory I (590 – 604).   In the case of both, the word “great” has a political connotation but precisely because something of the mystery of God himself becomes visible through their political success.   Through dialogue, Leo the Great was able to convince Attila, the Prince of Huns, to spare Rome – the city of the Apostolic Princes Peter and Paul.   Without weapons, without military or political power, through the power of his conviction for his faith, he was able to convince the feared tyrant to spare Rome.   In the struggle between the spirit and power, the spirit proved stronger.

Gregory I’s success was not as spectacular but he was repeatedly able to protect Rome against the Lombard — here too, by opposing the spirit against power and winning the victory of the spirit.

If we compare both stories with that of John Paul II, the similarity is unmistakable.   John Paul II also had no military or political power.   During the discussion about the future shape of Europe and Germany in February 1945, it was said that the Pope’s reaction should also be taken into account.   Stalin then asked: “How many divisions does the Pope have?”   Well, he had no available division.   However, the power of faith turned out to be a force that finally unhinged the Soviet power system in 1989 and made a new beginning possible.   Undisputedly, the Pope’s faith was an essential element in the collapse of the powers.   And so, the greatness that appeared in Leo I and Gregory I is certainly also visible here.

Let us leave open the question of whether the epithet “the great” will prevail or not.   It is true that God’s power and goodness have become visible to all of us in John Paul II.   In a time when the Church is again suffering from the oppression of evil, he is for us a sign of hope and confidence.”

On the Anniversary of his Birth, we ask for his intercession.

Vatican Official Prayer to St John Paul II

Oh, St John Paul, from the window of heaven, grant us your blessing!
Bless the church that you loved and served and guided,
courageously leading it along the paths of the world,
in order to bring Jesus to everyone and everyone to Jesus.
Bless the young, who were your great passion.
Help them dream again, help them look up high again,
to find the light that illuminates the paths of life here on earth.
May you bless families, bless each family!
You warned of Satan’s assault against this precious
and indispensable divine spark that God lit on earth.
St John Paul, with your prayer, may you protect the family
and every life that blossoms from the family.
Pray for the whole world, which is still marked by tensions,
wars and injustice.
You tackled war by invoking dialogue and planting the seeds of love:
pray for us so that we may be tireless sowers of peace.
Oh St John Paul, from heaven’s window,
where we see you next to Mary,
send God’s blessing down upon us all.
Amenprayer-to-st-john-paul-birthday-today-18-may-20181 and 18 May 2020

St John Paul, Pray for Us!

ST john paul pray for us 18 may 2020 centenary of his birth

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

Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 15 November – Blessed Mary of the Passion (1839-1904)

Saint of the Day – 15 November – Blessed Mary of the Passion (1839-1904) Religious, Foundress of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, Missionary – born as Hélène-Marie-Philippine de Chappotin de Neuville on 21 May 1839 in Nantes, Loire-Atlantique, France and died on 15 November 1904 in San Remo, Imperia, Italy of natural causes. Patron of the Order she founded.   The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary were founded in British India in 1877 and is currently one of the largest religious institutes in the Church.bl marie passion-fundo2

Born on 21 May 1839 in Nantes, France, into a noble Christian family, Hélène Marie Philippine de Chappotin de Neuville, in religion Mary of the Passion, showed from childhood eminent natural gifts and a deep faith.

In April 1856, during a retreat, she first experienced a call from God to a life of total consecration.   The unforeseen death of her mother delayed its realisation.   In December 1860, with the consent of the Bishop of Nantes, she entered the Poor Clares whose ideal of the simplicity and poverty of Saint Francis attracted her.

On 23rd January 1861, while still a postulant, she had a profound experience of God who invited her to offer herself as a victim for the Church and the Pope.   This experience marked her for life.   A short time after, having become seriously ill, she had to leave the monastery.   When she was well again, her confessor directed her towards the Society of Marie Reparatrice.   She entered with them in 1864 and on the following 15 August, in Toulouse, she received the religious habit with the name of Mary of the Passion.bl mary of passion and jesus.jpg

In March 1865, while still a novice, she was sent to India, to the Apostolic Vicariate of Madurai, confided to the Society of Jesus.   The Reparatrice sisters there had the task of formation of sisters of an autonomous congregation as well as being involved in other apostolic activities  . It was there, that she pronounced her temporary vows on 3 May 1866.

Because of her gifts and virtues, she was nominated local superior and then, in July 1867, she was named provincial superior of the three convents of the Reparatrice.   Under her guidance, the works of the apostolate developed, peace which had been somewhat disturbed by tensions which were already existing in the mission, was re-established and fervour and regularity flourished again in the communities.

In 1874, a new house was founded in Ootacamund in the Vicariate of Coimbatore, confided to the Paris Foreign Mission Society.   However, in Madurai the dissensions became exacerbated to such an extent that, in 1876 some religious, among them Mary of the Passion, were driven to leave the Society of Marie Reparatrice, reuniting, at Ootacamund under the jurisdiction of the Vicar Apostolic of Coimbatore, Monsignor Joseph Bardou MEP.

In November 1876, Mary of the Passion went to Rome to regularise the situation of the twenty separated sisters and, on 6 January 1877, obtained the authorisation from Pius IX to found a new Institute which was to be specifically missionary and was to be called the Missionaries of Mary.Mary.Passion-World.jpg

On the suggestion of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide, Mary of the Passion opened a novitiate in Saint-Brieuc in France, where very soon numerous vocations came along.   In April 1880 and in June 1882, the Servant of God went to Rome to resolve the difficulties which were threatening to hinder the stability and growth of the young Institute.   This latter journey, on June 1882, marked an important stage in her life, in fact, she was authorised to open a house in Rome and, through providential circumstances, she rediscovered the Franciscan direction which God had indicated to her twenty-two years previously.   On 4 October 1882, in the Church of the Aracoeli, she was received into the Third Order of Saint Francis and thus began her relationship with the Servant of God, Fr Bernardin de Portogruaro, Minister General, who with paternal solicitude would support her in her trials.

In March 1883, due to latent opposition, Mary of the Passion was deposed from her office of Superior of the Institute.   However, after an inquiry ordered by Pope Leo XIII, her innocence was fully acknowledged and at the Chapter of July 1884 she was re-elected.

The Institute of the Missionaries of Mary then began to develop rapidly.   On 12 August 1885 the Laudatory Decree and that of affiliation to the Order of Friars Minor were issued.   The Constitutions were approved ad experimentum on 17 July 1890 and definitively on 11 May 1896.   Missionaries were sent regularly to the most perilous and distant places overcoming all obstacles and boundaries.

The zeal of the Foundress knew no bounds in responding to the calls of the poor and the abandoned.   She was particularly interested in the promotion of women and the social question – with intelligence and discretion, she offered collaboration to the pioneers who were working in these spheres, which they appreciated very much.bl Maria Passion .jpg

Her intense activity drew its dynamism from contemplation of the great mysteries of faith.   For Mary of the Passion, all led back to the Unity-Trinity of God Truth-Love, who communicates Himself to us through the paschal mystery of Christ.   It was in union with these mysteries that, in an ecclesial and missionary dimension, she lived her vocation of offering.   Jesus in the Eucharist was for her, “the great missionary” and Mary, in the responsibility of her role, traced out for her, the path of unconditional donation to the work of God.   Thus she opened her Institute to the horizons of universal mission, accomplished in Francis of Assisi’s evangelical spirit of simplicity, poverty and charity .

She took great care, not only of the external organisation of the works but above all of the spiritual formation of the religious.   Gifted with an extraordinary capacity for work, she found time to compose numerous writings on formation, whilst by frequent correspondence, she followed her missionaries dispersed throughout the world, relentlessly calling them to a life of holiness.   In 1900 her Institute received the seal of blood through the martyrdom of seven Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, who were Beatified in 1946 and Canonised during the Great Jubilee of the year 2000.   To be the spiritual mother of these missionaries who had known how to live to the shedding of their blood, the ideal proposed by her, was for Mary of the Passion, both a great sorrow, a great joy and a time of great emotion.mary-of-the-passion--750

Worn out by the fatigue of incessant journeys and daily labour, Mary of the Passion, after a brief illness, died peacefully in San Remo on 15 November 1904, leaving more than 2,000 religious and eighty-six houses scattered about the four continents.   Her mortal remains repose in a private oratory of the General House of the Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in Rome.bl mary of the passion shrine

bl mary of the passion shrine 2

In February 1918, in San Remo, the Informative Process was opened for the Cause of Beatification and Canonisation.   In 1941, the Decree on the writings was promulgated and, during the following years, numerous postulatory letters were addressed to the Holy See from all parts of the world in favour of the Cause of the Servant of God.   After the Consultors had voted unanimously in its favour, the Decree for the Introduction of the Cause was published on 19 January 1979, with the approbation of His Holiness St John Paul II.   On 28 June 1999 the Sovereign Pontiff St John Paul II solemnly promulgated the Decree on the heroicity of the virtues of Mother Mary of the Passion

On 5 March 2002, the healing of a religious, suffering from “pulmonary and vertebral TBC, Pott’s Disease”, was recognised as a miracle granted by God, through the intercession of the Venerable Mary of the Passion.   On 23 April 2002, in the presence of the Sovereign Pontiff St John Paul II, the Decree opening the path for the Beatification of the Venerable Servant of God was promulgated. … Vatican.va

Bl Mary was Beatified 10 October 2002, Vatican City, by St Pope John Paul II.mary-of-the-passion-beatification750

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, DIVINE MERCY, GOD is LOVE, HYMNS, MINI SERIES, PAPAL HOMILIES, POETRY, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, St JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN!, The HOLY TRINITY, The WORD, VATICAN Resources

Thought for the Day – 29 October – How to speak about God?

Thought for the Day – 29 October – Tuesday of the Thirtieth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 13:18-21

Again he said, …”To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?
It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in
with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch of dough was leavened.” Luke 13:20

Excerpt – Part One
Year of Faith – How to speak about God?

Pope Benedict XVI
Paul VI Audience Hall
Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The important question we ask ourselves today is – how can we talk about God in our time?   How can we communicate the Gospel so as to open roads to His saving truth in our contemporaries’ hearts — that are all too often closed — and minds — that are at times distracted by the many dazzling lights of society? Jesus, the Evangelists tell us, asked Himself about this as He proclaimed the kingdom of God – “With what can we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?” (Mk 4:30).

How can we talk about God today?   The first answer is that we can talk about God because He has talked to us, so the first condition for speaking of God is listening to all that God Himself has said.   God has spoken to us!   God is therefore not a distant hypothesis concerning the world’s origin, He is not a mathematical intelligence far from us.   God takes an interest in us, He loves us, He has entered personally into the reality of our history, He has communicated Himself, even to the point of taking flesh.   Thus God is a reality of our life, He is so great that He has time for us too, He takes an interest in us. In Jesus of Nazareth we encounter the face of God, who came down from His heaven to immerse Himself in the human world, in our world, and to teach “the art of living”, the road to happiness, to set us free from sin and make us children of God (cf. Eph 1:5; Rom 8:14).   Jesus came to save us and to show us the good life of the Gospel.

Talking about God means first of all expressing clearly what God we must bring to the men and women of our time, not an abstract God, a hypothesis but a real God, a God who exists, who has entered history and is present in history, the God of Jesus Christ as an answer to the fundamental question of the meaning of life and of how we should live. Consequently speaking of God demands familiarity with Jesus and His Gospel, it implies that we have a real, personal knowledge of God and a strong passion for His plan of salvation without succumbing to the temptation of success but following God’s own method.   God’s method is that of humility — God makes Himself one of us — His method is brought about through the Incarnation in the simple house of Nazareth; through the Grotto of Bethlehem, through the Parable of the Mustard Seed.

We must not fear the humility of taking little steps but trust in the leaven that penetrates the dough and slowly causes it to rise (cf. Mt 13:33).   In talking about God, in the work of evangelisation, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we must recover simplicity, we must return to the essence of the proclamation – the Good News of a God who is real and effective, a God who is concerned about us, a God-Love who makes Himself close to us in Jesus Christ, until the Cross and who, in the Resurrection, gives us hope and opens us to a life that has no end, eternal life, true life. – To be continued/…

Firmly I believe and truly
St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

Firmly I believe and truly
God is three and God is On
And I next acknowledge duly
Manhood taken by the Son.
And I trust and hope most fully
In that Manhood crucified
And each thought and deed unruly
Do to death, as He has died.
Simply to His grace and wholly
Light and life and strength belong
And I love, supremely, solely,
Him the holy, Him the strong.

And I hold in veneration,
For the love of Him alone,
Holy Church, as His creation,
And her teachings, as His own.
And I take with joy whatever
Now besets me, pain or fear
And with a strong will I sever
All the ties which bind me here. 
Adoration aye be given,
With and through the angelic host,
To the God of earth and heaven,
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.firmly i believe and truly st john henry newman 29 oct 2019.jpg

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.

++++++++++

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 SJ- 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.  He was Beatified on 18 August 2002, at Błonie Park, Kraków, Poland by Pope John Paul II.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 INCORRUPTIBLES, 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.

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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

Posted in DOMINICAN OP, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints – 23 August

St Rose of Lima (1586-1617) OP (Optional Memorial)
Biography:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/08/23/saint-of-the-day-23-august-st-rose-of-lima-1586-1617/

St Abbondius of Rome
St Altigianus
St Apollinaris of Rheims
St Archelaus of Ostia
St Asterius of Aegea
St Claudius of Aegea
St Domnina of Aegea
St Eleazar of Lyons
St Eonagh
St Flavian of Autun
Bl Franciszek Dachtera
Bl Giacomo Bianconi of Mevania
St Hilarinus
St Ireneus of Rome
Bl Jean Bourdon
Bl Ladislaus Findysz (1907-1964) Martyr
St Lupo of Novi
St Luppus
St Maximus of Ostia
St Minervius of Lyons
St Neon of Aegea

St Philip Benizi (1233-1285)
Biography here:   https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/saint-of-the-day-23-august-st-philip-benezi/

St Quiriacus of Ostia
St Theonilla of Aegea
St Timothy of Rheims
St Tydfil
St Victor of Vita
St Zaccheus of Jerusalem

Martyrs of Agea – 4 saints: A group of Christian brothers, Asterius, Claudius and Neon, denounced by their step-mother who were then tortured and martyred in the persecutions of Pro-consul Lysias. They were crucified in 285 outside the walls of Aegea, Cilicia (in Asia Minor) and their bodies left for scavengers.

Martyred in the Spanish Civl War:
• Blessed Constantino Carbonell Sempere
• Blessed Estanislau Sans Hortoneda
• Blessed Florentín Pérez Romero
• Blessed José Polo Benito
• Blessed Lorenzo Ilarregui Goñi
• Blessed Manuela Justa Fernández Ibero
• Blessed Mariano García Méndez
• Blessed Nicolás Alberich Lluch
• Blessed Pere Gelabert Amer
• Blessed Petra María Victoria Quintana Argos
• Blessed Ramón Grimaltos Monllor
• Blessed Urbano Gil Sáez
• Blessed Vicente Alberich Lluch

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 27 July – Blessed Maria of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1866-1912) –

Saint of the Day – 27 July – Blessed Maria of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1866-1912) – Virgin, Religious Sister of the Institute of the Sisters Crucified Adorers of the Eucharist – born on 23 September 1866 in Barra, Naples, Italy as Maria Grazia Tarallo and died on 27 July 1912 at Giorgio a Cremano, Naples, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – the Crucified Sisters Adorers of the Holy Eucharist and against demonic possessions.bl maria-grazia-tarallo-1674b999-454c-457c-b350-91bac7a874c-resize-750

Maria Grazia Tarallo was born on 23 September 1866 in Barra, Naples, Italy, to Leopoldo Tarallo and Concetta Borriello.   She was baptised the following day in the Ave Gratia Plena Parish in Barra.   Growing up, she received a solid Christian and human formation in her family.

A child “called” by God while still young, Maria Grazia made a private vow of virginity at age five in front of a statue of the Blessed Mother.

When she was just 7 she made her First Communion and at the age of 10 she received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Maria Grazia’s life was especially directed toward Christian perfection and total consecration to God.bl Maria_della_Passione_Tarallo

When she was 22 she wished to enter the convent but her father opposed her desire as he wanted her to marry.  However, the young man who proposed to her, died before they could marry, thus leaving her free to enter the convent.

On 1 June 1891 she entered the Monastery of the Sisters Crucified Adorers of the Eucharist, in Barra, founded by the Servant of God Maria Pia Notari who was a witness to the virtuous and holy life of Maria Grazia and to whom she gave the name “Sr Maria of the Passion”.

Sr Maria lived her vocation of love for Christ’s Passion, the Eucharist and Our Lady of Sorrows to the full.   She was known to say: “My name is Sr Maria of the Passion and I must resemble the Master”.beata-maria-pasion-tarallo

As a nun, she was given different responsibilities, from that of Novice Mistress and as spiritual guide of her Sisters, to that of kitchen and laundry service and porter.

She was always exemplary and edifying in her life of charity and prayer and was admired by everyone in her community.

Sr Maria’s desire to be a victim soul for sinners was summed up by her in this way:   “I want to be holy, loving Jesus in the Eucharist, suffering with Christ Crucified and seeing Christ in my brothers and sisters”.

Sr Maria of the Passion died on 27 July 1912 in Barra, leaving to her Sisters the following testimony:   “I exhort you to holy perseverance according to the Rule, readiness in obedience and especially daily Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.   Love Jesus in the Eucharist, never leave Him alone, do not anger Him, do not disappoint Him”…. Vatican.va

She was Beatified on 14 May 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 23 July – Blessed Vasil Hopko (1904-1976) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 23 July – Blessed Vasil Hopko (1904-1976) Bishop and Martyr, Founded the Movement of Greek-Catholic Students and the Greek-Catholic Youth Union – also known as Basil, Professor, Writer – born on 21 April 1904 at Hrabské, Presovský kraj, eastern Slovakia and died on 23 June 1976 at Presov, Presovský kraj, Slovakia.   He was a Bishop of the Slovak Greek Catholic Church.  While in prison, in addition to the torture he received, he was given small doses of arsenic which caused a chronic poisoning, which was later verified by an analysis of his bones.  He was Beatified by St Pope John Paul II for his martyrdom under Communist occupation.bl basil hopko lg icon

Vasil’ Hopko was born on 21 April 1904 in Hrabské, a small village in eastern Slovakia. His father died when he was 1 year old, leaving his mother alone to care for the child. Vasil’s mother left for the United States in 1908 to find work, putting Vasil’ under the care of his grandfather.   When the boy was 7, he went to live with his uncle, Demeter Petrenko, a Greek-Catholic priest.

His uncle’s example awakened in Vasil’ a call to the priesthood and in 1923 he decided to enter the Greek-Catholic Seminary of Presov.   He was ordained a priest on 3 February 1929 and was entrusted with the pastoral care of the Greek-Catholic faithful in Prague. Here, he was involved in many different activities –  work with youth, the elderly, the unemployed and orphans.   Fr Vasil’ founded the Movement of Greek-Catholic Students and the Greek-Catholic Youth Union and contributed to the building of the city’s Greek-Catholic parish, becoming it’s priest.   It was also in Prague that, after 22 years, the young priest met his mother who had returned from the United States.

In 1936, Fr Vasil’ returned to Slovakia where he served as spiritual father in the Greek-Catholic Seminary of Presov.   In 1941, he was appointed as secretary of the Bishop’s Curia and he became professor of moral and pastoral theology at the Theological Faculty in Presov in 1943.   He also found free moments to write and publish various works and became the first editor of the magazine Blahovistnik (The Gospel Messenger).

After World War II, the Czechoslovakian Republic fell under a growing Soviet Bolshevik and atheist influence.   Foreseeing a systematic “Sovietization” and the resulting totalitarian-atheistic Marxism, Bishop Gojdic of Presov asked the Holy See for an Auxiliary Bishop to help him defend against the attacks on the Greek-Catholic faithful and the Church.   Fr Vasil’ became the newly-appointed Auxiliary Bishop and was ordained on 11 May 1947.   He helped the Bishop greatly, preparing the people for hard times on the horizon.bl basil hopko

Little by little the Czechoslovakian Communist Party prepared for the violent elimination of the Greek-Catholic Church in its nation.   On 28 April 1950, the Communists carried out their work of “liquidation” during the so-called “Council of Presov”, held without the presence of Bishops.   Here they declared that the Greek-Catholic Church of Czechoslovakia no longer existed and that all its priests, faithful and churches were to be transferred over to the Orthodox Church.   Bishops Gojdic and Hopko were arrested.

Following the arrest, Bishop Hopko underwent drastic interrogation and torture so he would deny his faith and confess to fabricated accusations.   On 24 October 1951, after more than a year of cruel and diabolic interrogation, he was condemned by the State Court to 15 years in prison and a loss of all civil rights for 10 years.   While in prison, in addition to the torture he received, he was given small doses of arsenic which caused a chronic poisoning, which was later verified by an analysis of his bones.bl basil hopko bishop

On 12 May 1964 he was released from prison for health reasons.   After years of mistreatment, the Bishop suffered from grave physical ailments and mental depression caused by the constant torture and inhuman treatment.   Notwithstanding all this, he continued to contribute actively to the resurgence of the Greek-Catholic Church.

On 13 June 1968, the renewal of the Greek-Catholic Church of Czechoslovakia was re-stabilised after 18 years of open persecution.   From 1968, Bishop Hopko began living in Presov, on 20 December 1968, Pope Paul VI confirmed his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop for all Greek-Catholic faithful in Czechoslovakia.   He carried out this responsibility with great care, encouraging the faithful and ordaining priests.

Bishop Hopko died on 23 July 1976 in Presov.   He made his own the words of Bishop Gojdic – “For me, it is not important if I die in the Bishop’s Palace or in prison, what matters is entering into Paradise”.

He was beatified by St Pope John Paul II on 14 September 2003 at Bratislava.bl basil hopko bodybl basil shrine

Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 18 July – Saint Simon of Lipnica (1435/1440-c 1482)

Saint of the Day – 18 July – Saint Simon of Lipnica (1435/1440-c 1482) OFM Cap Priest of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor (OFM), renowned Preacher, apostle of charity – also known as Szymon of Lipnicza – born in 1435/1440 in Lipnica Murowana, Malopolskie, Poland and died on 18 July 1482 in Kraków, Malopolskie, Poland during a plague epidemic.   Patronages – Krakow, Students.st simon szymon

Simon was born in Lipnica Murowana, in the south of Poland, between the years 1435-1440.   His parents, Gregory and Anne, knew how to give him a good education, inspired by the values of the Christian faith and, despite their modest conditions, they took care to secure him an adequate cultural formation.   Simon grew up with a pious and responsible nature, rich in a natural predisposition towards prayer and a tender love for the Mother of God.

He moved to Krakow, to attend the famous Jagiellonian Academy, in 1454.   It was precisely in those years that St John of Capestrano OFM (1386-1456) enthused the city through the sanctity of his life and the fervour of his preaching, attracting a dense crowd of young, generous men to the Franciscan vocation.   On the 8th September 1453, the Italian saint founded the first convent of the Observance, with the name of the recently Canonised St Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444), in Krakow.   It was for that reason that the Friars Minor of the convent were called the “Berdardini” by the people.

In 1457, the young Simon, fascinated by the Franciscan ideal, also chose to acquire the pearl of great price mentioned in the Gospel and left aside a possible successful and rich future.   He asked to be received, with another ten fellow students, into the convent of Stradom.401px-St

Under the wise guidance of the Novice Master, Br Christopher of Varese, a religious renown for his teaching and sanctity of life, Simon generously embraced the humble and poor life of the Friars Minor and received the priesthood about the year 1460.   He exercised his first ministry in the convent of Tarnów, where he was the Guardian of the fraternity.

He later established himself in Stradom (Krakow), dedicating himself untiringly to preaching with a clear word, full of ardour, faith and wisdom, which permitted a glimpse of his profound union with God and of his prolonged study of Sacred Scripture.

Like St Bernardine of Siena and St. John of Capestrano, Br Simon spread devotion to the Name of Jesus, obtaining the conversion of innumerable sinners.   He, the first of the Friars Minor, took up the duty of preacher in the Cathedral of Wawel in 1463.   Because of his dedication to preaching the Gospel, the ancient sources conferred the title of “predicator ferventissimus” “Zealous Preacher”, on him.st simon glass

In his desire to give homage to St Bernardine of Siena, the inspirer of his preaching, he, with some Polish confreres, went to Aquila to participate in the solemn transfer of the body of the saint, on the 17th May 1472, to the new Church erected in his honour.   He was again in Italy in 1478, on the occasion of the General Chapter of Pavia.   He had a way, then, to be able to satisfy his deepest desire to visit the tombs of the Apostles in Rome and to extend his pilgrimage to the Holy Land later.   He lived this experience in a spirit of penance, truly loving the passion of Christ, with the hidden aspiration of spilling his own blood for the salvation of souls, if it would please God.   He emulated St Francis in his love for the Holy Places.   In view of the possibility of being captured by the non-believers, he wished to learn the Rule of the Order by heart before undertaking the journey in order “to have it always before the eyes of his mind”.

The love of Simon for his brothers and sisters was manifested in an extraordinary way during the last year of his life, when an epidemic of plague broke out in Krakow.   The city was under the scourge of the disease from July 1482 to the 6th January 1483. The Franciscans of the convent of St Bernardine tirelessly did all they could to care for the sick as true consoling angels.beautiful image - st simon of lipnica - Szymon-kanonizacyjny

Br Simone, held it to be a “propitious time” to exercise charity and to fulfil the offering of his own life.   He went everywhere comforting, giving succour, administering the sacraments and announcing the consoling Word of God to the dying.   He was soon infected.   He suffered the pain of the disease with extraordinary patience and, near the end, expressed his desire to be buried under the threshold of the church so that all could trample on him.   On the sixth day of the disease, the 18th July 1482, without fear of death and with his eyes fixed on the Crucifix, he gave his soul back to God.st simon in mural

The “ab immemorabili” cult rendered to Blessed Simon, which passed into the history of seraphic sanctity under the title of “Salutis omnium sitibundus”, was confirmed by Blessed Innocent XI on the 24th February 1685.

The cause of his Canonisation, taken up by the Holy Father Pius XII on the 25th June 1948, today reaches its happy ending, following the recognition of his heroic virtues and of the miraculous cure which occurred in Krakow in 1943 and attributed to the intercession of the Blessed.   The respective Decrees were promulgated by the Holy Father Benedict XVI on the 19th of December 2005 and the 16th December 2006.

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Simon of Lipnica knew how to combine admirably his commitment to evangelisation and to giving witness to charity, which flowed from his great love for the Word of God and for the poor and suffering.   The Order of Friars Minor, on the vigil of the celebration of the VIII Centenary of its Foundation (1209-2009), salutes him as an authentic witness to poverty, humility and simplicity, as well as to the joy of belonging fully to the Lord and to being a gift to the life of the Friars.

He was Canonised by Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI mere months after the decrees approved by him in 2006, on 3 June 2007 in Saint Peter’s Square upon the confirmation of a 1943 miracle attributed to his intercession….Vatican.vacanonisation st simon

Posted in Catholic NEWS, DOMINICAN OP, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

16 July – SAINT Bartholomew of the Martyrs/ of Braga OP (1514-1590)

16 July – SAINT Bartholomew of Braga OP ArchBishop of Braga also known as Bl Bartholomew of the Martyrs (Bartolomeu Fernandez dei Martiri Fernandes) (1514-1590)

https://anastpaul.com/2018/07/16/saint-of-the-day-16-july-blessed-bartholomew-of-the-martyrs-1514-1590/

On 8 July 2019, Pope Francis approved the favourable votes cast by the Eminent and Excellent members of the Congregation and extended to the Universal Church the liturgical worship in honour of Blessed Bartholomew of the Martyrs (born Bartolomeu Fernandes), of the Order of Preachers, archbishop of Braga, born in Lisbon, Portugal on 3 May 1514 and died in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, on 16 July 1590, inscribing him in the book of Saints (Equipollent Canonisation).

Alleluia!

Saint Bartholomew of the Martyrs, Pray for Us!st bartholomew of the martyrs - 16 july 2019.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 13 July – Blessed Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodríguez Santiago (1918–1963)

Saint of the Day – 13 July – Blessed Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodríguez Santiago (1918–1963) aged 44 Layperson, Apostle of the Liturgy, Catechist, Speaker, Spiritual Advisor – born on 22 November 1918 at Caguas, Puerto Rico – died on 13 July 1963 of cancer at Caguas, Puerto Rico.   He is the first Puerto Rican, the first Caribbean-born layperson in history to be Beatified.

Carlos Manuel Rodríguez was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico on 22 November 1918.   His parents Manuel Baudilio Rodríguez and Herminia Santiago, both came from large families with strong Christian roots.   He was baptised at the Sweet Name of Jesus Church in Caguas on 4 May 1919.   He was the second of five brothers and sisters.   Two of his sisters married, while another is a Carmelite nun.   His only brother is a Benedictine priest and was the first Puerto Rican to become the abbot of a monastery.bl CarlosRodriguezSantiago1.jpg

‘Chali’ as a six years old, experienced a terrible loss – a terrible fire destroyed both his father’s small store and the family home.   Having lost virtually all of their earthly goods, the young family moved in with Carlos Manuel’s maternal grandparents.   Carlos Manuel was thereby strongly influenced by his grandmother, Alejandrina Esterás, a deeply devout and holy woman.

Carlos Manuel’s father, Manuel Baudilio, endured the loss good-naturedly.   Hope and faith never left him until his death in 1940.   Doña Herminia not being in a house of her own, imposed upon herself and her children a strong sense of respect, to a point of inhibition.   This contributed to the reserved and timid personality of her children. Nonetheless, Herminia had the virtue of a serene happiness that was brightened up by her faith.   Her relationship with the Lord was nourished by daily Eucharistic encounters.

So it was that – at a young age and in the heart of his own family – Carlos received his first lessons in Catholic faith and life.   At the age of six he began his schooling at the Catholic School of Caguas, where he remained until completing eighth grade.   It was there that he would come into contact with the Sisters of Notre Dame.   He cultivated a special friendship with them during his entire life.   Under their tutelage – as well as that of the Redemptorist Fathers – he received his initial religious and humanistic education.

His reception of Christ for the first time in the Holy Eucharist would mark the beginning of a love that would last a lifetime.   He became an altar boy and began to experience the riches of the faith through the sacred liturgy of the Church.   It is likely that it was at this time that he felt the initial call to live a life entirely dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ.

When he graduated from eighth grade in 1932, he was first in his class and won a medal for his Religion.   He then went on to study at the public Gautier Benítez High School in Caguas.   But shortly after, he experienced the first symptoms of what would later become a severe gastrointestinal disorder, ulcerative colitis.   This illness would cause him much suffering and inconvenience for the rest of his life.   Nevertheless, it never undermined his commitment to Christ and His Church.

Carlos Manuel began his third year of high school (1934-35) at the Perpetual Help Academy in San Juan.   There he renewed his contact with the Sisters of Notre Dame and the Redemptorist Fathers  . His health, however, rendered him unable to continue studying there.   Thus back in Caguas, he worked for some time, finally earning his High School diploma, in both the commercial and scientific areas, by May 1939.bl carlos-manuel-cecilio-rodriguez-santiago.jpg

He continued working as an office clerk until 1946, when he decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) in Río Piedras.   However, despite excellent grades and his love for studies, illness prevented him from completing his second year.   The end of formal education, however, did not mark the end of his education.   As his friends at the UPR – who began to call him ‘Charlie’ would later recall – his studies really never ended.   He was a voracious reader and his interests were wide-ranging, including the arts, science, philosophy, religion and music.   In fact, although he only took piano lessons for a year, he continued to learn on his own, to the point where he was able to not only play the piano but also, the church organ.   The sacred music he loved so much!

Nature was another of his great loves.  As a child, he would spend summer vacations in the countryside  . He often made day trips to the river or to the beach with his siblings. As an adult, he organised leisurely hikes with his family through the countryside.   They would travel light – with modest provisions for food – and yet a great desire to commune with God’s creation.

Carlos Manuel worked as an office clerk in Caguas, Gurabo and at the Agriculture Experiment Station, which was part of the UPR.   There he also translated documents from English to Spanish.   He spent almost his entire modest salary to promote knowledge and love of Christ.   He did this especially promoting a greater understanding of the significance of the Sacred Liturgy.   Using articles on liturgical subjects which he himself translated and edited, Carlos Manuel began publishing Liturgy and Christian Culture, publications to which he dedicated innumerable hours.

Increasingly convinced that “the liturgy is the life of the Church,” (through proclamation of the Word, the Eucharist and the “mysteries of Christ” or sacraments), he organised along with Father McWilliams in Caguas a Liturgy Circle.   Later on, in 1948, he assembles along with Father McGlone the parroquial chorus Te Deum Laudamus.bl carlos santiago art.jpg

In Río Piedras, where brother Pepe and sister Haydée were already UPR faculty members, Carlos was able to achieve his ardent desire to make Christ known, among professors and students.   As his disciples grew in number he moved into nearby Catholic University Centre and organised another Liturgy Circle (later called the Círculo de Cultura Cristiana).

He continued his publications and also organised his notable Christian Life Days for the benefit of University students who sought to understand and enjoy the liturgical seasons. He participated in panels on various topics and distinguished himself for his insistent emphasis on the importance of liturgical life, as well as the paschal meaning of life and death in Christ.

Carlos Manuel organised discussion groups in various towns and participated in societies such as the Brotherhood of Christian Doctrine, the Holy Name Society and the Knights of Columbus.   He also taught Catechism to high school students whose teaching aids he supplied from his own income.

He zealously promoted and stood for liturgical renewal, among bishops, clergy and laymen: – active participation of laity, the use of the vernacular and – most especially – the observance of his much loved Paschal Vigil, which to Charlie’s delight was restored to its proper time near midnight by Pope Pius XII in 1952.   Of note, all of Carlos Manuel’s proactive lay apostolic activity took place prior to the Second Vatican Council, thus a veritable pre-conciliar apostle towards approval of the Sacrosanctum concillium, at its onset.

Many a good number of people testify to their growth of a living faith thanks to his teachings, in conjunction with the integrity of his life and exemplary service.   Others testify that Carlos Manuel’s zeal for Christ awakened in them their vocation to religious life.   Those who sought him out in order to clarify their doubts — or seek to strengthen their faith –would never be disappointed.

To approach Carlos Manuel and to getting to know him was as if to approach a light that illuminated one’s perspective of life and its meaning.   His glance and smile revealed the certain joy of Easter.   An enormous spiritual strength transcended his fragile physical constitution.   The firm conviction of his faith allowed him to overcome his natural shyness and he spoke with assurance resembling Saint Peter’s on Pentecost.   Despite his failing health for so many years, no complaints ever clouded the joy with which he faced life.   He reminded us that the Christian must be joyful because he or she lives the joy and hope that Christ gave with His Resurrection:   VIVIMOS PARA ESA NOCHE – WE LIVE FOR THAT NIGHT – he would say.

His physical strength declined gradually but his spirit never failed.   He lived each moment quietly overcoming his pain with the profound joy of one who knows himself to be resurrected.   Following an aggressive “life-saving” surgery in 1963 he turned out to have advanced terminal cancer.   Near the end, he experienced the “dark night of faith”, thinking himself abandoned by God, a known mystical experience.   Yet, before dying, he rediscovered the Word he had lost and which had given sense to his entire life.   His passage to eternal life took place on 13 July 1963  . He was 44. “The 13th is a good day,” he had said a few days before his death, without any of us having a notion of what that meant.   Now we know.

Charlie’s Beatification Process was indeed a swift one!   Initiated in 1992, the positio on heroic virtues, lead to his status as Venerable as of 7  July 1997.   The miracle for his Beatification (cure of non-Hodgkins malignant lymphoma back in 1981) was approved on 20 December 1999 by HH St John Paul II.    Thus, a record-making eight-year span, a first for lay apostles!…Vatican.va

A school in Bayamón is named after him, with the blessed title.   The school was renamed in 2001: = Colegio Beato Carlos Manuel Rodríguez.   Staff from the school witnessed the Beatification ceremony.

Below are his tomb and Shrine.

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 8 July – Blessed Peter Vigne (1670-1740)

Saint of the Day – 8 July – Blessed Peter Vigne (1670-1740) Missionary Priest, Apostle of the Holy Eucharist, of Charity, of Mary, Catechist, tireless missionary and teacher and Founder of the Religious of the Blessed Sacrament – born Pierre Vigne on 20 August in Privas, France and died on 8 July 1740 aged 70, of natural causes. Patronage – the Blessed Sacrament Sisters of Valence.

Peter Vigne was born 20 August 1670 in Privas (France), a small town still feeling the effects of the Wars of Religion from the previous century.   His father, Peter Vigne, an honest textile merchant and his mother, Frances Gautier, married in the Catholic Church, had their five children baptised in the Catholic parish of Saint Thomas, Privas.   Two daughters died in infancy.   Peter and his two older siblings, John-Francis and Eleonore, lived with their parents in relative comfort.

When he was 11 years of age, Peter was chosen by the Parish Priest to act as a witness, signing the parish register for Baptisms, Marriages or Deaths.

After receiving a good level of education and instruction, towards the end of his teenage years, his life was suddenly transformed by a new awareness of the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.   This experience led him to centre his life on Jesus, who offered Himself on the Cross for love of us and in the Eucharist, never ceases to give Himself to all men.   In 1690, he entered the Sulpician Seminary in Viviers.   Ordained a priest on 18 September 1694 in Bourg Saint Andeol by the Bishop of Viviers, he was sent as curate to Saint-Agreve where, for six years he exercised his priestly ministry, in friendship with his Parish Priest and beloved by his parishioners.bl peter vigne

Always attentive to discern in life’s events what the Lord was asking of him, he felt called elsewhere.   With understandable hesitancy in the beginning and then with increasing certitude, he pursued his spiritual itinerary along new paths.   His desire to work as a missionary among the poor was central to his decision to join the Vincentians in Lyon, in 1700.   There, he received a solid formation in poverty and in conducting “popular missions” and with his fellow priests began visiting towns and villages in the work of evangelisation.   In 1706, he left the Vincentians of “his own free will”.   Now more than ever he was passionate for the salvation of souls, especially for the poor people living in the countryside.   After a period of searching, his vocation took shape with increasing clarity.   He became an “itinerant missionary” applying his own pastoral methods, whilst submitting his ministry to the authorisation of his hierarchical superiors.

For more than thirty years he tirelessly travelled on foot or on horseback the ways of Vivarais and Dauphiné and even further ahead.   He faced the fatigue of being constantly on the move, as well as severe weather conditions, in order to make Jesus known, loved and served.   He preached, visited the sick, catechised the children, administered the sacraments, even going as far as carrying “his” confessional on his back, ready at all times to celebrate and bestow the Mercy of God.   He celebrated Mass, exposed the Blessed Sacrament and taught the faithful the prayer of Adoration.   Mary, “Beautiful Tabernacle of God among men” was also given a place of honour in his prayer and his teaching.bl peter vigne icon

In 1712, he came to Boucieu-le-Roi, where the terrain favoured the erection of a Way of the Cross.   With the help of parishioners he constructed 39 stations throughout the village and countryside, teaching the faithful to follow Jesus from the Upper Room to Easter and Pentecost.   Boucieu became his place of residence.   There, he gathered together a few women, charging them to “accompany the pilgrims” on the Way of the Cross and help them to pray and meditate.

It was there that he founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.  On 30 November 1715, in the church at Boucieu, he gave them the cross and the religious habit.   He invited them to assure continuous adoration of Jesus present in the Eucharist and to live together in fellowship.   Anxious to give the youth access to instruction, thus helping them grow in their faith and Christian values, Peter Vigne opened schools and also established a “Training School” for teachers.

Such a challenging and busy lifestyle needed some support.   For that reason, whenever Peter Vigne was in Lyon on business, he never failed to call on his former seminary tutors, the priests of Saint Sulpice, to meet his confessor and spiritual director.   Drawn by the Eucharistic spirituality of the Priests of the Blessed Sacrament, founded by Monsignor d’Authier de Sisgaud, he was accepted as an associate member of this society of priests, on 25 January 1724, in Valence and benefited by their spiritual and temporal help.bl pietro vigne statue

Whilst continuing to accompany his young Congregation, Peter Vigne persisted with his apostolic works and to make the fruits of his missions more available, he found time to write books  – rules to live by, works of spirituality, especially the one entitled, “Meditations on the Most Beautiful Book, Jesus Christ Suffering and Dying on the Cross”.

The physical strength of our pilgrim for God, the demands of his apostolic activities, the long hours he spent in adoration and his life of poverty, bear witness not only to a fairly robust physique but above all to a passionate love of Jesus Christ who loved His own to the end (cf. John 13:1).

At the age of 70, the effects of exhaustion began to show.   During a mission at Rencurel, in the Vercors mountains, he was taken ill and had to interrupt his preaching.   Despite all his efforts to celebrate the Eucharist one more time and encourage the faithful to love Jesus, feeling his end was near, he expressed once again his missionary zeal, then withdrew in quiet prayer and reflection.   A priest and two Sisters came in haste to accompany him in his final moments.   On 8 July 1740, he went to join the One he had so loved, adored and served.   His body was taken back to its final resting place in the little church in Boucieu where it remains to this day…Vatican.va

St Pope John Paul II declared that he lived a life of heroic virtue and proclaimed him to be Venerable on 7 July 2003. That same pope beatified him after the recognition of a miracle on 3 October 2004.bl pietro vigne head of statue

Posted in PRAYERS to the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 1 July – Blessed Antonio Rosmini (1797-1855)

Saint of the Day – 1 July – Blessed Antonio Rosmini (1797-1855) aged 58 – Priest, Founder of the Institute of Charity (also known as the Rosminians), Philosopher, Writer, pioneer of the concept of social justice and was a key figure in Italian Liberal Catholicism.   Born on 24 March 1797 in Rovereto, Austrian Tyrol (modern Trent, Italy) and died on 1 July 1855 in Stresa, Viterbo, Italy of natural causes.   bl-rosmini-ritratto-2-800x500-d0bad0bed0bfd0b8d18f1.jpg

Antonio Rosmini was born on 24 March 1797 to Pier Modesto and Giovanna dei Conti Formenti di Riva at Rovereto, a very “Italian” town although part of the Austrian Empire since 1509.   He was baptised the following day and received his early education locally.

In 1816 he enrolled at the University of Padua, Italy, where he received doctorates in theology and canon law.   After his studies he returned to Rovereto to prepare for Holy Orders.

In February 1820 he accompanied his sister, Margherita, to Verona where the Marquess Maddalena of Canossa (now Blessed) had founded a religious institute.   During the visit Maddalena invited him to found a male religious institute as a twin to her own institute. While the young man politely declined, her invitation in time proved prophetic.

Antonio was ordained a priest on 21 April 1821 at Chioggia, Italy.  bl antonio rosmini.jpgIn 1823 he travelled to Rome with the Patriarch of Venice, who arranged an audience for him with Pope Pius VII.   In that audience the Pontiff encouraged him to undertake the reform of philosophy.

In 1826 he went to Milan to continue his research and publish the results of his philosophical studies.   He wrote on many subjects, including the origin of ideas and certitude, the nature of the human soul, ethics, the relationship between Church and State, the philosophy of law, metaphysics, grace, original sin, the sacraments and education.

On Ash Wednesday, 20 February 1828, Fr Rosmini withdrew to write the Constitutions of the budding Institute of Charity, in which he incorporated the principle of passivity (to be concerned with one’s personal sanctification until God’s will manifests itself to undertake some external work of charity) and the principle of impartiality (to free one of any personal preference in assuming a work of charity).

To assure himself of God’s will in his philosophical and foundational work, Rosmini went to Rome a second time, in November 1828 and there received Pope Leo XII’s support.   On 15 May 1829 he met with the new Pope, Pius VIII, who confirmed his double mission as philosopher and founder.   During this visit to Rome, Fr Rosmini published “Maxims of Christian Perfection” and “Origin of Ideas”, winning the admiration of many scholars.

By 1832 the Institute of Charity had spread to Northern Italy and by 1835 it reached England, where the community enjoyed substantial growth.   In England the Rosminians are credited with introducing the use of the Roman collar and cassock and the practice of wearing the religious habit in public.   They were known for preaching missions, the practice of the Forty Hours, May devotions, the use of the scapular, novena celebrations, public processions and the blessing of throats on the feast of St Blaise.bl antonio rosmini.header.jpg

Pope Gregory XVI approved the Constitutions of the Institute of Charity on 20 December 1838.   On 25 March 1839 vows were taken by 20 Italian and 6 British priests  . On 20 September 1839 Fr Rosmini was appointed provost general for life.

This happy period of growth and apostolic success, however, was tempered by opposition to his intellectual and philosophical writings from 1826 until his death.

Primarily his “Treatise on Moral Conscience” (1839) led to a sharp, 15-year controversy which required more than one Papal injunction to silence the “Rosminian Question”. Another important, controversial work was “The Five Wounds of the Church” (1832).

Fr Rosmini found himself wedged between the obligation to renew Catholic philosophy and finding his works on the Index.   But his obedience to the Church was admirable: ” In everything, I want to base myself on the authority of the Church and I want the whole world to know that I adhere to this authority alone” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Note on the Force of the Doctrinal Decrees”, L’Osservatore Romano English edition [ORE], 25 July 2001, p. 9).

To close the issue definitively, the Pontiff submitted all Rosmini’s works to examination by the Congregation of the Index.   On 3 July 1854, it was decreed:  “All the works of Antonio Rosmini-Serbati that have recently been examined are to be dismissed [from the Index or any error] and this examination in no way detracts from the good name of the author, nor of the religious Society founded by him, nor from his life and singular merits towards the Church” (R. Malone, “Historical Overview of the Rosmini Case”, ORE, 25 July 2001, p. 10).

Less than a year after this Decree Fr Antonio Rosmini died on 1 July 1855 at Stresa, Italy, at age 58…Vatican.va

He was Beatified on 18 November 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI.

400px-9350_-_Milano_-_Giardini_Pubblici_-_Monumento_ad_Antonio_Rosmini_-_Foto_Giovanni_Dall'Orto_22-Apr-2007
Monument to St Antonio Rosmini in Milan (1896).

His body is interred in the Church of the Santissimo Crocifisso built by him in Stresa.

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Today the Rosminians operate on 5 continents and continue to flourish.

O God, light of the faithful and shepherd of souls,
who set blessed Antonio in the Church
to feed your sheep by his words and form them by his example,
grant that through his intercession
we may keep the faith he taught by his words
and follow the way he showed by his example.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen

(from The Roman Missal: Common of Pastors)BL ANTONIO SNIP FROM THE ROSMINIANS.JPG

Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 26 June – Blessed Jacques Ghazir Haddad OFM Cap (1875-1954)

Saint of the Day – 26 June – Blessed Jacques Ghazir Haddad OFM Cap (1875-1954) aged 79 – Priest, Religious of the Order of Friars Minor as a Capuchin Friar, Founder of the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Cross of which he is the Patron, noted Preacher and founder of many orphanages and schools across Lebanon, Apostle of Charity.   Called the “St Vincent de Paul of Lebanon,”  “the Apostle of the Cross” and “the Apostle of Lebanon.”bl jacques ghaxir haddid.jpg

Fr Jacques Ghazir Haddad was born on 1 February 1875, in Ghazir, Lebanon, the third of five children.   He attended school in Ghazir and then the College de la Sageese in Beirut, where he studied Arabic, French and Syriac.

In 1892 he went to Alexandria, Egypt, to teach Arabic at the Christian Brothers’ College, and there he felt the call to the priesthood.   He entered the Capuchin Convent in Khashbau the next year.   He was ordained a priest on 1 November 1901 in Beirut, Lebanon.

As an itinerant preacher from 1903 to 1914 he walked all over Lebanon proclaiming the Word of God and was given the name “the Apostle of Lebanon”.   He was also seen preaching in Syria, Palestine, Iraq and Turkey.

In 1919 he bought a piece of land on the hill of Jall-Eddib, north of Beirut, where he built a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Sea.   Nearby he erected a great Cross.

Fr Jacques was tireless, he would help anyone in need following in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi.   In 1920, to assist him in this mission to help the sick and the poor, he founded the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Cross of Lebanon.  Sister Marie Zougheib was his first collaborator and aided him in setting up his new congregation.  He set out in the rule of his order with the insistence, above all else, that the works of mercy never be neglected in the pursuit of the order’s work.   He had been titled as the “Vincent de Paul of Lebanon”. bl jacques ghaxir haddid 2

The modest work of Fr Jacques aroused the people’s admiration, many poor and sick people began to go to the “Cross” and Fr Jacques would welcome them all.   In 1950 the “Cross” became exclusively a psychiatric hospital, one of the most modern in the Near East.   The movement of charity began to spread throughout Lebanon and Fr Jacques and his Sisters multiplied their works of social assistance.

In 1933 he opened the House of the Sacred Heart in Deir el-Kamar, a girls’ orphanage, which later became an asylum for the chronically ill.   In 1948 he opened the Hospital of Our Lady for the aged, the chronically ill and the paralysed.   In 1949 St Joseph’s Hospital became one of the most important medical centres of the capital.   It was followed in 1950 by St Anthony’s House in Beirut for beggars and vagabonds whom the police found on the streets and Providence House for homeless girls.F73_james_00

Even though Fr Jacques was very busy with the hospital mission, he and his Sisters carried on the important work of education and opened several schools as well as an orphanage for 200 girls.

Fr Jacques was worn out by vigils, fatigue and travel.   Although he suffered from numerous illnesses, became almost completely blind and was stricken with leukemia, he did not stop blessing God and working.   He was lucid to the end, at dawn on the day of his death, he said “Today is my last day!”   His last hours were an uninterrupted series of prayers invoking the Cross and the Virgin Mary until he died on 26 June 1954 in Lebanon.bl jacques ghaxir haddid 3

His cause for Beatification was introduced in February 1979, on 24 February 1979, His Holiness St Pope John Paul II signed the Decree of Introduction of the Cause for Beatification.   On Sunday, 22 June 2008, he was Beatified during a special Mass in Beirut by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, C.M.F., Prefect of Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Since Blessed Haddad’s death, additional hospitals have opened to assist those injured during the war and to assist the Kabr-Chemoun region where medical services were scarce…Vatican.va

Father al-Haddād received from President Émile Eddé the Palm Medal of Lebanese Merit on 5 January 1938 while President Bechara El Khoury awarded him the Golden Medal of Lebanese Merit on 2 June 1949 and then the Officer Degree of the Lebanese Cedars Medal on 26 November 1951.

Posted in CATECHESIS, FATHERS of the Church, LAPSED Catholics, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on the CHURCH, VATICAN Resources, YouTube VIDEOS

Thought for the Day – 22 May – The Christian in the World – You and Me!

Thought for the Day – 22 May – Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter C, Gospel: John 15:1-8

“I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me
that does not bear fruit and everyone that does,
he prunes so that it bears more fruit” … John 15:1-2

The Christian in the World

An excerpt from A Letter to Diognetus

(Nn. 5-6; Funk, 397-401)

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs.   They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life.   Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men.   Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine.   With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives.    They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through.   They play their full role as citizens, but labour under all the disabilities of aliens.   Any country can be their homeland but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country  . Like others, they marry and have children but they do not expose them.   They share their meals but not their wives.   They live in the flesh but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth but they are citizens of heaven.   Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law.

Christians love all men but all men persecute them.   Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death but raised to life again.   They live in poverty but enrich many, they are totally destitute but possess an abundance of everything.   They suffer dishonour but that is their glory.   They are defamed but vindicated.   A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference, their response to insult.   For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life.   They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body.   As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world but cannot be identified with the world.  As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world but their religious life remains unseen.   The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures.   Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred.   It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together.   The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven.   As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution.   Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself…Vatican.va

Prayer

Father of all holiness,
guide our hearts to You.
Keep in the light of Your truth
all those You have freed from the darkness of unbelief.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Prepared by the Spiritual Theology Department
of the Pontifical University of the Holy Crossdiogentus - the christian in the world - 22 may 2019.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 10 May – Blessed Ivan Merz (1896-1928)

Saint of the Day – 10 May – Blessed Ivan Merz (1896-1928) aged 32 – Layman, Teacher, Professor, Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament and of prayer, Founder of Youth Movements in Croatia – Patronages – Croatian youth, youth as a whole, World Youth Day celebrations.bl Ivan

Ivan Merz was born in Banja Luka, Bosnia, on 16 December 1896 and was baptised on 2 February 1897.   He attended elementary and middle school in Banja Luka and, after a brief period of education at the military academy of Wiener Noustadt, he enrolled in 1915 at the University of Vienna, with the dream of teaching young people in Bosnia, thus, he would be following the example of his professor, Ljubomir Marakovic, who helped Ivan to discover the richness of the Catholic faith.ivan-merz-as a boy.jpeg

In March 1916, Ivan was enlisted in the army and shipped to the Italian battle front, where he spent the greater part of two years beginning in 1917.   The war experience and its horrors marked a turning point in Ivan’s young life and contributed greatly to his spiritual growth, prompting him to abandon his future into God’s hands and to strive with all his might towards the goal of Christian perfection.

On 5 February 1918, he wrote in his diary:  “Never forget God!   Always desire to be united with Him.   Begin each day in the first place with meditation and prayer, possibly close to the Blessed Sacrament or during Mass.   During this time, plans for the day are made, one’s defects are put under examination and grace is implored for the strength to overcome all weakness.   It would be something terrible if this war had no meaning for me!…   I must begin a life regenerated in the spirit of this new understanding of Catholicism.   The Lord alone can help me, as man can do nothing on his own”.   At this time, Ivan also made a private vow of perpetual chastity.bl ivan merz 3.jpg

After the war, he continued his studies at Vienna (1919-20) and then in Paris (1920-22).   In 1923 he obtained a degree in philosophy.   His thesis was entitled “The influence of the Liturgy on the French authors”.   He then became a professor of language and French literature and was exemplary in his dedication to the students and to his responsibilities as a teacher.

In his spare time he studied philosophy and theology and deepened his knowledge of the documents of the Magisterium of the Church.

Ivan was especially noted for his interest in young people and concern for their growth in faith and holiness.   He started the “League of Young Croatian Catholics” and the “Croatian League of Eagles” within the Croatian Catholic Action Movement.   Their motto was: “Sacrifice Eucharist Apostolate”.

For Ivan, the purpose of this organisation was to form a group of front-line apostles whose goal was holiness.   The scope of this goal also flowed over into liturgical renewal, of which Ivan was one of the first promoters in Croatia.

As a Catholic intellectual, Ivan was able to guide young people and adults to Christ and His Church, through his writings and organised gatherings.   He also sought to teach them love and obedience to the Vicar of Christ and the Church of Rome.bl ivan 4.jpg

In the face of any misunderstandings and difficulties, Ivan always had an admirable patience and calm, the fruit of his continual union with God in prayer.   Those who knew him well described him as a person who had his “mind and heart immersed in the supernatural”.   Convinced that the most effective way to save souls was through efficacious suffering, he offered to God all his physical and moral sufferings, particularly for the intention of the success of his apostolic endeavours.

Shortly before his death, he offered his life for the youth of Croatia.   In short, the young man believed that his vocation was very simply “the Catholic faith”.Bl_Ivan_Merz_u_Bazilici_Srca_Isusova_13_rujna_2008

Ivan Merz died on 10 May 1928 in Zagreb.   He was 32 years old….Vatican.va

Blessed Ivan left an example of how a man can live, fight and suffer for God’s cause. Merz tried hard to give his life the “full meaning”, heading for sanctity and all his pedagogical task was devoted to the formation of apostles of sanctity.   He died with a reputation of a saint.   His shrine is located in the Basilica of the Heart of Jesus in Zagreb, Croatia.   The canonisation cause started in 1958.

He was Beatified by St Pope John Paul on Sunday, 22 June 2003 in Bosnia Herzegovina.

bl ivan merz 576px-Sacred_Heart_Basilica,_Zagreb_3
Blessed Ivan Merz’s tomb in the Basilica of the Heart of Jesus in Zagreb, Croatia

On 3 March 2018, His Excellency Francisco Mendoza De Leon, DD, bishop of the Diocese of Antipolo and local Ordinary of the Blessed Ivan Merz Centre and Reliquarium, formally opened and blessed the Blessed Ivan Merz Reliquarium.

The Blessed Ivan Merz Reliquarium (Home of the Sacred Relics) was established to house the sacred relics of Blessed Ivan Merz and of other sacred relics belonging to Our Lord, the Blessed Mother and beatified and canonised Servants of God.   It serves as spiritual oasis for pilgrims, devotees and disciples in faith of the Apostle of the Youth.

We pray that those who will visit Blessed Ivan Merz Reliquarium will experience the Lord’s kind assistance.

May those who venerate the remains of the Saints, especially of Blessed Ivan Merz, with their prayers and merits, obtain pardon for sin and protection from every adversity. blivan reliquariumbl ivan relics

Beautiful images on their website here:  https://ivanmerz.org/the-reliquarium-and-relics/

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 24 April Saint Benedict Menni OH (1841-1914) “A Heart Without Borders”

Saint of the Day – 24 April Saint Benedict Menni OH (1841-1914) “A Heart Without Borders” Priest, founder of the Hospitaller Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Patronages – Hospitaller Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, People with mental health issues, the sick, Volunteers.

BENEDICT MENNI, who is being raised to the altars today, was a faithful follower of Saint John of God OH (1495 – 1550 – Founder of the Order of Hospitallers) and, through his words and deeds, was a Herald of the Gospel of Mercy and a new Prophet of Hospitality.Header San_Benito_Menni.jpg

His origins and his Hospitaller vocation:
The city of Milan was his cradle – he was born there on 11 March 1841 and baptised the same day.   He was named Angelo Ercole (Eercole means Hercules), almost as a portent of the Herculean spirit and strength that was to characterise his whole personality.

He was the fifth of 15 children born to Luigi Menni and Luisa Figini.   His warm and hospitable home gave him the support and stimulus he needed to develop his intellectual powers and his personality.
God’s call came early on, faithful to his conscience, he gave up a good position in a bank, and with his selfless attitude to suffering, he volunteered to work as a stretcher-bearer to assist the soldiers wounded on the battlefield at Magenta, near Milan.

Attracted by the spirit of dedication and self-denial which he discovered in the Brothers of St John of God, at the age of 19 he applied to enter the Hospitaller Order.

He began his Religious life taking the name Benedict and consecrated himself to God and to the care of the sick.   And today we venerate him with the same name – Saint Benedict Menni.19991121_benedetto_menni.jpg

His Hospitaller formation and mission:
It was during his nursing and priestly studies that his Religious Hospitaller personality was gradually fashioned, which he placed at the disposal of his Superiors, embracing the cause of helping the most needy members of society, so many of whom were sick.

At that time Spain, the cradle of the Hospitaller Order, was embroiled in political strife, with open hostility to all the Religious Orders and the work of St John of God was practically dead.   It needed a new lease of life and Benedict Menni was to be the man of providence to bring it about.

He was sent to Spain in 1867 and it was there that he performed his two great works – he restored the Order of St John of God and founded the Congregation of the Hospitaller Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Thanks to his magnanimous spirit, his great capabilities and state of mind, he overcame many difficulties and did so much good to help the sick, providing them with comprehensive care.st benedict menni oh.jpg

The Restorer of the Hospitaller Order:
Sent to Spain by the Prior General of the Order, Fr Giovanni M Alfieri, who always supported him and with the blessing of the Pope, Visitor and Prior General of the Order Pius IX, even before he left Rome, Benedict Menni demonstrated a will of iron and a determined spirit.   Only a few months after his arrival in Spain he set up his first children’s hospital in Barcelona (1867), marking the beginning of his extraordinary work of restoration, which he was to carry throughout the next 36 years.

From the first moment, thanks to his commitment to his vocation, numerous generous followers rallied around him and it was through them, that he was able to guarantee continuity to his new Hospitaller institutions, that were springing up in Spain, Portugal and Mexico, to spread subsequently throughout the New World.

The Founder of the Hospitaller Sisters:
When he arrived in Granada (1878), Benedict Menni came in contact with two young women, Maria Josefa Recio and Maria Angtistias Gimenez, who set up a new women’s hospital specifically to provide psychiatric care in 1881.

It was at Ciempozuelos, Madrid, that the Mother House of the “Congregation of the Hospitaller Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus” was founded, receiving the approval of the Holy See in 1901.

Six words summarise their identity in the Hospitaller service – “pray, work, endure, suffer, in love for God and in silence”.st benedict with sisters.jpg

The new Institution soon spread its wings of merciful charity by becoming established in several countries in Europe and Latin America and later on in Africa and Asia.   At the present time, as the Congregation celebrates the Canonisation of its founder, Benedict Menni, the Sisters are present in 24 countries, with over 100 Hospitaller Centres.st benedict menni close up

Benedict Menni, their Founder and spiritual Father, imbued them with his own charismatic spirit of St John of God and for over 30 years continued to provide them with his guidance and formation in Hospitaller ascetics.

Visitor and Prior General of the Order:
The opera magna wrought by Benedict Menni as a Restorer and Founder spread, at the request of the Holy See, to the whole Order when he was appointed Apostolic Visitor (1909-1911) and subsequently Prior General (1911), which he had to resign one year later as a result of misunderstandings and for health reasons.

He spent the last two years of his life in humility and purification and died a holy death at Dinan, France, on 24 April 1914.

His mortal remains were taken by the Spanish Brothers to Ciempozuelos and today are venerated under the high altar in the Founders’ Chapel in the Hospitaller Sisters’ Mother House there.

In the glory of the saints:
The process to acknowledge his holiness opened in the diocese of Madrid where he is buried, in 1945-1947 and his virtues were recognised as heroic, by the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints on 11 May 1982, so that he was able to be called ” Venerable”.

After official acceptance of the miraculous healing of Asuncion Cacho thanks to his intercession, he was proclaimed “Blessed” in St Peter’s Basilica by St Pope John Paul II on 23 June 1985.Benedeto-menni

His message of Hospitality:
In addition to his total dedication which bore such fruit, his holy and sanctifying conduct, his life offered entirely to God and to the sick with total generosity, the witness borne by Benedict Menni has regained all its topical relevance today with his Canonisation, which is offering him to the universal Church as a model and an example to be followed, particularly by those working in health care.

Humanisation and evangelisation are challenges to the new millennium.   St Benedict Menni recalls to us and enlightens the words of our Lord, “I was sick and you visited me… Come, O blessed of my Father”.

Health care uses the benefits brought by scientific and technological progress but frequently, it is the “heart” which is missing in patient care.   Health care is often concerned more with the sickness than the sick, who are often viewed as numbers or clinical cases, rather than as brothers and sisters, to be cared for and ministered to, as persons made in the image of a suffering God....Vatican.va

St Benedict was Canonised on 21 November 1999 by St Pope John Paul II.st benedict menni-varias-unidas