Thought for the Day – 19 February – “If you do not believe, you will not understand”

Thought for the Day – 19 February – Tuesday of the Sixth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Mark 8:14–21 and the memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

And He said to them “Do you not yet understand or comprehend?”...Mark 8:21

Faith, the theologians say, is a certain and obscure habit of soul.   It is an obscure habit because it brings us to believe divinely revealed truths, that transcend every natural light and infinitely exceed, all human understanding.   As a result, the excessive light of faith bestowed on a soul, is darkness for it – a brighter light will eclipse and suppress a dimmer one.   The sun so obscures all other lights, that they do not seem to be lights at all when it is shining and instead of affording vision to the eyes, it overwhelms, blinds and deprives them of vision since its light is excessive and disproportioned to the visual faculty.   Similarly, the light of faith in its abundance, suppresses and overwhelms that of the intellect…

Another clearer example…  If those born blind were told about the nature of the colours white or yellow, they would understand absolutely nothing, no matter how much instruction they received, since they never saw these colours…   Only the names of these colours would be grasped, since the names are perceptible through hearing…   Such is faith to the soul – it informs us of matters we have never seen or known…   The light of natural knowledge does not show them to us…   Yet we come to know it through hearing, by believing, what faith teaches, in blinding our natural light and bringing it in to submission.   St Paul states:  “Faith comes through hearing” (Rm 10:17).   This amounts, to saying, that faith is not a knowledge, derived from the senses but an assent of the soul, to what enters through hearing…   Faith, manifestly, is a dark night for souls but in this way, it gives them light.   The more darkness it brings on them, the more light it sheds.   For by blinding, it illumines them, according to those words of Isaiah:  “If you do not believe, you will not understand” (cf. Is 7:9).isaiah 7 9 - if you do not believe you will not understand 19 feb 2019.jpg

Blessed John Sullivan was illuminated by the Light of faith, in his many hours of silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, the place where our light is found.

God and Father,
You honour those who honour You.
Make sacred the memory
of Your servant John Sullivan,
by granting through his intercession,
the petition we now make
……………….(name the petition)
and hastening the day,
when his name will be venerated
by the title of Saint.
We make our prayer
through Christ our Lord,
in the Holy Spirit,
God forever.

Blessed John Sullivan, Pray for Us!bl-john-sullivan-pray-for-us-no-2-19-feb-2018.jpg


Quote/s of the Day – 19 February – Blessed John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

Quote/s of the Day – 19 February – the Memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

“Any friend of the poor
is a friend of God.”


“I hope every single one of you, will have broken, every resolution you made, in the retreat before the end of the week, and if not then, at least in a fortnight. It will do you good and humble you, provided you get up and begin again and do not flop down and lie there on the broad of your back, saying “It’s no use, it’s all over.” Not a bit of it, it’s not all over, it’s only beginning. So up with you and start again. Remember, each time you fall, that you are not back where you were before but are starting again, from where you fell.”

remember each time you fall - bl john sullivan 19 feb 2019.jpg

“Be always beginning.
Let the past go.
The saints were always beginning.
That is how they became saints.”

be always beginning - bl john sullivan 19 feb 2019.jpg

Death is
“Looking on
the lovely Face of God.”

Blessed John Sullivan (1861-1933)

death is ...looking on the lovely face of god - bl john sullivan 19 feb 2019

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints -19 February

Bl Alvarez of Cordova
St Auxibius
St Baoithin
St Barbatus of Benevento (c 610-682)
St Beatus
St Belina
St Boniface of Lausanne
St Conon of Alexandria
St Conrad of Piacenza
Bl Elizabeth of Mantua
St Gabinus
St George of Lodeve

Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

His life:

Bl Józef Zaplata
St Lucia Yi Zhenmei
St Mansuetus of Milan
St Odran
St Proclus of Bisignano
St Quodvultdeus
St Valerius of Antibes
St Zambdas of Jerusalem

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on MERCY, SAINT of the DAY, SPEAKING of .....

Quote/s of the Day – 17 November – The Memorial of St Elizabeth of Hungary – Apostle of Charity (1207-1231) – Speaking of: Charity/Mercy

Quote/s of the Day – 17 November – The Memorial of St Elizabeth of Hungary – Apostle of Charity (1207-1231)
Speaking of:  Charity/Mercy

As long as anyone has the means
of doing good to his neighbours
and does not do so,
he shall be reckoned a stranger
to the love of the Lord.

St Irenaeus (130-202) Father of the Churchas-long-as-anyone-has-the-means-st-irenaeus-8-oct-2018-speaking-of-seeking-the-good-samaritan

“Mercy imitates God and disappoints Satan.”mercy imittes god - st john chrysostom - 17 nov 2018

“No one has ever been accused for not providing ornaments
but for those who neglect their neighbour,
a hell awaits with an inextinguishable fire
and torment in the company of the demons.
Do not, therefore, adorn the church
and ignore your afflicted brother,
for he is the most precious temple of all.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Churchno-one-has-ever-st-john-chrysostom-16-jan-2018

“Compassion, my dear Brother,
is preferable to cleanliness.
Reflect that with a little soap,
I can easily clean my bed covers
but even with a torrent of tears,
I would never wash from my soul,
the stain, that my harshness toward
the unfortunate would create.”

St Martin de Porres (1579-1639)compassion-my-dear-brother-st-martin-de-porres-3-nov-2018

“All our religion is but a false religion
and all our virtues are mere illusions
and we ourselves are only hypocrites
in the sight of God,
if we have not that universal charity for everyone –
for the good and for the bad,
for the poor and for the rich
and for all those who do us harm,
as much as those who do us good.”

St John Vianney (1786-1859)all-our-religion-is-but-a-false-religion-st-john-vianney-4-aug-2018

“Any friend of the poor, is a friend of God.”

Blessed John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)any-friend-of-the-poor-is-a-friend-of-god-bl-john-sullivan-19-feb-2018

Posted in JESUIT SJ, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 19 February – The Memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

Thought for the Day – 19 February – The Memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

It was at Clongowes that his life of prayer and penance began to be noticed.   He ate the plainest of food.   Staff who looked after rooms said his bed was untouched and he slept on the floor.   He was always seen in the chapel praying until late and rising early to do so again.   At times, he hardly seemed to notice the world around him.   But if he was hard on himself, he was never so on others.   Despite his brilliant mind and academic achievements it was his holiness that was recognised.   Many revered him as a saint.   He prayed constantly – he walked with God continually – he listened to Him and he found Him and God worked through him.   Many who were in need of spiritual or physical healing flocked to him and asked his prayers – and strange things happened.   The power of God seemed to work through him and many were cured.

But there was another dimension.   Apart from his work as teacher, spiritual father and retreat director, Father Sullivan was a familiar figure amongst the sick and the needy for miles around Clongowes.   He visited them on foot or on an old battered bicycle.   On these home visits to the poor, he brought them small luxuries, including a bit of tobacco, tea and sugar, as well as oranges and apples.   In time, there was an ever-widening circle of others, whom he visited in hospitals and consoled by letter, or who came to him from almost every county in Ireland to ask the intercession of his prayers in their illness and misfortunes.   He constantly heard confessions in the church attached to the college. People came by bicycle, by horse or donkey and cart, or arranged a lift in a car for a sick person.   In later years, it was a common sight to see several vehicles waiting outside the door, in which invalids had been brought to receive his blessing.

Neither weather nor distance seemed to be major obstacles.   Once Fr Sullivan walked fourteen miles there and fourteen miles back to pray with and to bless a sick person.   His bicycle brought him on longer journeys, including visits to Dublin and back.   In his threadbare clothes and his aged and patched boots, he was a familiar sight on the roads around Clongowes and further afield.

Fr Sullivan’s prayers restored people to health, cured their pain, relieved them of psychological problems.   His compassion and reverence for the person was often observed.   He would draw very close to them, when even medical staff found their condition near nauseating.   There have been hundreds of testimonies attributing various healings to him during his life and a number of those are seen as miracles and have been verified as such, which has led to his beatification.

Cardinal Amato, at the Beatification ceremony, also referred to an incident when Fr John, on one of his customary visits to the sick, encountered a priest already in the cottage visiting.   “The pastor asked him to leave, fearing a dangerous opponent in the ministry. Upon his brusque command, Fr Sullivan knelt down and asked forgiveness.   The pastor was profoundly moved.”  The profound humility of Bl John reaches out now still to us all.   May we constantly pray for his intercession that God may grace us with this greatest of all virtues, humility!

PRAYER for the CANONISATION of Blessed JOHN SULLIVAN (1861-1933)

O God, who honour those who honour You,
make sacred the memory of Your servant,
John Sullivan,
by granting through his intercession
the petition we now make
[bring to mind your intention]
Hasten the day when his name will be numbered
among those of Your saints.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.

Bl John, pray for us!bl john sullivan pray for us no 2- 19 feb 2018


Quote/s of the Day – 19 February – The Memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

Quote/s of the Day – 19 February – The Memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

“Any friend of the poor, is a friend of God.”any friend of the poor is a friend of god - bl john sullivan - 19 feb 2018

“Take life in instalments.
This one day now.
At least let this be a good day.
Be always beginning.”

Blessed John Sullivan (1861-1933)take life in instalments - bl john sullivan 19 feb 2018


One Minute Reflection – 19 February – The Memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

One Minute Reflection – 19 February – The Memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)

Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours...Mark 11:24mark 11 24

REFLECTION – “In prayer,don’t mind the scaffolding.   Get at God.”in prayer, dont mind the scaffolding, get at god - bl john sullivan - 19 feb 2018

PRAYER – God of mercy, teach us to live as You have ordained.   Help us to follow Your commandments with courage and steadfast devotion.   Let our Saviour be our master, help us to learn from Him, the ways of prayer in silence.  Fill us with the fire of the Holy Spirit, that we may learn how to pray.   Grant blessed Trinity, that by the prayers of Blessed John Sullivan, who so clearly gave himself totally in prayer, we may grow in holiness.  Through Jesus our Lord, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever.   Amenbl john sullivan pray for us - 19 feb 2018

Posted in JESUIT SJ, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 19 February – Blessed John Sullivan S.J. (1861-1933)

Saint of the Day – 19 February – Blessed John Sullivan S.J. (1861-1933) – Priest, Religious, Lawyer, Teacher, Writer, Miracle Worker, Apostle of Charity. Patronages – Ecumenism, teachers.   Blessed John (8 May 1861 – 19 February 1933) was an Irish Roman Catholic priest and a professed member of the Jesuits.   Sullivan was known for his life of deep spiritual reflection and personal sacrifice;  he is recognised for his dedicated work with the poor and afflicted and spent much of his time walking and riding his bike to visit those who were troubled or ill in the villages around Clongowes Wood College school where he taught from 1907 until his death.HEADER BEAUTIFUL

From the 1920s onwards there were people who testified to his healing power despite the fact that he never claimed credit or causation for himself from these reported cases.  Father Sullivan was known for his friendliness, his amiable nature was coupled with a somewhat shy temperament but one willing to aid those who needed it most.   He was noted for his strong faith and for leading multiple penances on himself such as eating little.

Sullivan had long been admired during his life and was known as a man of inspirational holiness which prompted for calls for his beatification;  the cause later opened and would culminate on 7 November 2014 after Pope Francis confirmed his heroic virtue and named him as Venerable.   The same pope approved a miraculous healing credited to his intercession on 26 April 2016.   His beatification, the first ever to take place Ireland, took place in Dublin on 13 May 2017 and was celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Amato.Beatification Mass for Bl John Sullivan 13 May 2017- Cardinal Angelo Amato-ecumenicalsnip - bl john - 13 may 2071 beatification poster

Childhood and education
John Sullivan was born in mid-1861 at 41 Eccles Street in the old Dublin.   He was born as the last of five children to Sir Edward Sullivan (10.07.1822–13.04.1885) – member of the Church of Ireland and a successful barrister who would later become the Lord Chancellor of Ireland – and Elizabeth Josephine Bailey (1823–27.01.1898) – a Roman Catholic from a prominent land-owning household in Passage West.   Sullivan was raised as a Protestant and was baptised in the local Church of Ireland parish of Saint George on Temple Street on 15 July 1861.   One sister was Annie Sullivan (1852-25.01.1918) and a brother was William (23.02.1860–07.07.1937).   The girls were raised as Catholics while the sons were raised as Protestants.   The first child was Annie and then came Edward, Robert and William.

In late 1861 the household relocated to 32 Fitzwilliam Place in Dublin.   In 1873 he was sent to the Portora Royal School in Enniskillen with his brother William.   In 1877 his brother Robert (1853–77) drowned after a boating accident in Killiney Bay along with Constance Exham who was the daughter of a family friend.

After his time at the Portora Royal School he followed in his father’s footsteps and went to Trinity College from 1879 where he studied classics.   He was awarded the Gold Medal in Classics in 1885 and he studied for the English Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in London.   During this period he travelled across Europe and spent time taking walking tours in Macedonia and Greece as well as Asia Minor.   He spent several months in one of the Orthodox monasteries on Mount Athos and even contemplated entering it as a monk.   He travelled through Southern Italy en route home but was forced to prolong his stay there due to contracting smallpox.

Upon his father’s death in 1885 he came into a comfortable inheritance.   He was a frequent visitor to the Hospice of the Dying at Harold’s Cross where he brought comfort and companionship in addition to small tokens of food and drink as well as clothing to those ill people.   Even after he became a teacher at Clongowes Wood College he continued these small luxuries to the poor including a bit of tobacco while also providing them with tea and sugar as well as oranges and apples.   His brother novices remember him for his small kindnesses extended to his classmates.BL JOHN SULLIVAN IN HIS TWENTIES - MY SNIP

Conversion and priesthood
Sullivan was received into the Roman Catholic Church on 21 December 1896 in a celebration that the Jesuit priest Michael Gavin presided over at Farm Street Church Mayfair in central London.   His family had expressed their great surprise upon his decision to convert to the Catholic faith.   He commenced his Jesuit novitiate on 7 September 1900 at Saint Stanislaus College at Tullabeg.   On completion of his novitiate around 1901 he was sent for his philosophical studies – until 1904 – to Saint Mary’s Hall in Stonyhurst.   In 1904 – once he concluded his studies – he went to Milltown Park in Dublin for his theological studies and the Archbishop of Dublin William Walsh later ordained Sullivan as a Jesuit priest in the chapel at Milltown Park on 28 July 1907.   He said his first Mass at the convent of the Irish Sisters of Charity at Mount Saint Anne’s in

Sullivan soon after took up a teaching position at Clongowes Wood College which was an all-male boarding school the Jesuits managed near Clane.   From 25 July 1919 until 20 May 1924 he served as the rector of the Juniorate and Retreat House at Rathfarnham Castle on the outskirts of Dublin.   Sullivan then returned to teaching at Clongowes Wood College after this.   Sullivan was untiring in his attention to the sick and he would travel miles to make a sick call which was often on foot but also riding a battered bike.   On one occasion a workman by chance passed the chapel at the school at 2:00 am to see Sullivan in deep prayer on his knees.   Each Holy Thursday, he spent five or six hours kneeling before the altar.

Illness and death
In February 1933 he began suffering severe abdominal pains and so was transferred on 17 February from the college to Saint Vincent’s Nursing Home in Lower Leeson Street in Dublin while asking for his breviary to be brought to him.  Sullivan died at 11:00 pm on 19 February 1933 with his brother Sir William Sullivan at his side;  an old friend who was present at his death said: “He died well”.   He was buried in Clongowes Wood Cemetery.   In 1960 his remains were exhumed and transferred to Saint Francis Xavier Church on Upper Gardiner Street.

In 1944 his name was placed on the list that the Jesuit postulator Carlo Micinelli had set up in relation to prospective sainthood causes that could be opened;  opening the process saw him titled as a Servant of God.   The informative process that opened in 1953 saw the accumulation of witness testimonies and documentation being gathered and this process was completed in September 1960.   The Congregation for the Causes of Saints were given the evidence and validated the informative process in acceptance in 1969 prior to theologians approving his spiritual writings in 1972.   On 22 February 2000 the C.C.S. issued the official “nihil obstat” to the cause which acted as a formal introduction to the cause and approval of its continuation.

In June 2002 another process was held in Dublin to collate further evidence and the findings of this particular tribunal were forwarded to the C.C.S. who validated it on 18 October 2002.   In 2004 the postulation submitted the Positio dossier to the C.C.S. for inspection with their consulting theologians approving its contents on 19 November 2013;  the C.C.S. later approved this on 16 October 2014.

On 7 November 2014 he was named as Venerable after Pope Francis – himself a Jesuit – approved a decree acknowledging the heroic virtue of the late priest’s life based on the cardinal and theological virtues.   Sullivan’s beatification depended on the approval of a miracle that was an unexplainable healing after his death;  one such case was investigated in Ireland and it received C.C.S. validation on 10 February 2006.   The C.C.S. approved this miracle on 19 April 2016 after the medical experts and theologians approved it.   The pontiff – on 26 April 2016 – approved a miracle attributed to the late priest’s intercession and thus approved his beatification to take place.   The miracle approved was the 1954 healing of a cancerous tumor on the neck of the Dublin woman Delia Farnham.

The beatification was celebrated in Dublin at the Saint Francis Xavier Church on 13 May 2017.   He was also the first person to ever be beatified in Ireland.Beatification Mass for Bl John Sullivan 13 May 2017- Cardinal Angelo Amato-ecumenicalBeatification Mass for Bl John Sullivan 13 May 2017- Cardinal Angelo AmatoBeatification Mass for Bl John Sullivan 13 May 2017

The current postulator for this cause is the Jesuit priest Anton Witwer.   The current vice-postulator is the Jesuit priest Conor Harper.

Devotions and legacies
There is a constant demand for blessings with his vow crucifix which is kept in the Saint Francis Xavier Church where his remains are located in the Sacred Heart Chapel.  There is a special Mass celebrated in that church once each month dedicated to him and there is also an annual Mass to celebrate his life at the same church celebrated close to the commemoration of his 1933 death.   The people of Kildare created their own monument to the late priest in Clane close to Clongowes Wood College.Coffin - bl john sullivan - ireland - snipmy snip - bl john sullivan

Sullivan had been a Protestant until he reached middle age though that church was an important aspect to his life.   On 8 May 1983 the retired Church of Ireland Archbishop George Simms gave the address at a memorial service to honour Sullivan’s life and work which was held in Saint Georges Church on Temple Street.   The Catholic Auxiliary Bishop James Kavanagh attended and bought with him a text from Pope John Paul II reading:  “His Holiness asks you to convey his cordial greetings to all present. In communion of prayer he gives thanks to Almighty God for the extraordinary gifts bestowed on Father Sullivan during his life and for the spirit of mutual understanding, reconciliation and goodwill which his memory enkindles between various christian communities in Ireland today”.


Miracles during his lifetime
There have been miracles reported during Sullivan’s life such as the two mentioned below:

The cure of Michael Collins (b. 1925) – nephew of the famed Michael Collins – from infantile paralysis.  The child awoke one night in October 1928 in extreme distress and the summoned doctor diagnosed him with infantile paralysis.   Mrs Collins drove to the school seeking out Sullivan’s assistance;  Sullivan promised to say a Mass but also rode his bike to their home where he touched the child’s leg and prayed over him for two hours.
The cure of Miss Kitty Garry (aged ten at the time) from TB;  he blessed her and the ailment left her after a month.artwork - bl john