Quote/s of the Day – 29 May – Sunday within the Octave of Ascension – The Memorial of St Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi O.Carm (1566-1607)
“You will be consoled according to the greatness of your sorrow and affliction; the greater the suffering, the greater will be the reward.”
“By opening the door of our heart to love for God, this love dissolves all self-love in us. But we must open the door!”
“Prayer ought to be humble, fervent, resigned, persevering and accompanied by great reverence. One should consider, that he stands in the presence of God and speaks with a Lord before whom the Angels tremble, from awe and fear.”
“Never utter, in your neighbour’s absence, what you would not say, in their presence.”
Notre-Dame des Ardents / Our Lady of Ardents, Arras, France (1095) – 29 May:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “A wax candle is kept in the Cathedral of Arras, which is held to have been brought thither by Our Lady, in the year 1095.”
Our Lady of Ardents, or Notre-Dame des Ardents d’Arras in French, is a small, charming red brick Church in the lower part of Town in Arras.. It was built in the beautiful style unique to the twelfth Century, in order to celebrate the appearance of the Blessed Virgin and to commemorate the miraculous assistance, she gave to the people then living in the region. According to Tradition, there was a terrible epidemic that was given the name ‘the hellfire’ that ravaged the countryside in that year of 1105 and all men felt, that they were in the clutches of the specter of Death. The Evil of Ardent, the disease caused a kind of gangrene in the limbs and the strange sickness, caused terrible suffering in all parts of the body and laid low, both men and women and even their children, throughout the whole of the region.
There were, at that time, two minstrels, one named Itier, who lived in Brabant and the other, named Norman, who lived in the Chateau de Saint-Pol. They had vowed a mortal hatred, as Norman had killed Itier’s brother. One night they both had the same dream – the Virgin Mary, dressed in white, appeared to them and told them to go to the Cathedral. Norman, who was closer, arrived first. As he entered the Cathedral he saw all the patients who had taken refuge there. He found the Bishop and told him of the apparition but Bishop Lambert thought that Norman was mocking him and sent him away. Itier arrived the following day and also spoke to the Bishop. When the Bishop told Itier that someone named Norman had come to tell him of the same vision, Itier asked where he was because he intended to kill him on the field, to avenge his brother’s death. Bishop Lambert then understood, that the Blessed Virgin had sent the two men to be reconciled. The Bishop spoke to each separately and then put them in each other’s presence and asked them to give each other, the kiss of peace and then spend the night in prayer, inside the Cathedral.
It was Pentecost Sunday, 28 May 1105, at about three o’clock in the morning, when the Virgin Mary appeared to the two minstrels in the Cathedral. Norman and Itier witnessed a sudden light as the Blessed Virgin descended from the height of the nave, carrying a lighted candle in her hands. She gave the men the candle intended for the healing of the sick and explained to them, what they must do. A few drops of the wax that fell from the candle were to be mingled with water, giving it miraculous properties the people would then drink this water.
All who believed were healed. The two minstrels, now brothers, distributed the miraculous water and the epidemic ceased. There were many prodigies of healing that went on for hundreds of years, especially with wounds, inflammations and ulcers. All of this shows how reconciliation and prayer, are pleasing to God and can precipitate great miracles, as well as ending or preventing wars. The Bishop of Arras wanted to build a Church worthy of Our Lady of Ardents and to receive the relic of the Holy Candle. The Church was consecrated in 1876 just before the definitive establishment of the Third Republic.
This relic, the Holy Candle, can still be seen today. On the eve of Corpus Christi and the four following days, the Holy Candle was lit and shown to the people. It has not diminished! The reliquary of the Holy Candle is a masterpiece of art, which preserves the relic of the Holy Candle. The content of the reliquary has been the object of veneration and every year, it is presented to pilgrims, during the time period which runs between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost.
St Bona of Pisa St Conon the Elder St Conon the Younger St Daganus St Eleutherius of Rocca d’Arce St Felix of Atares St Gerald of Mâcon Bl Gerardesca of Pisa Bl Giles Dalmasia St Hesychius of Antioch St John de Atarés
St Maximinus of Trier (Died c 346)Bishop and Confessor St Maximus of Verona St Restitutus of Rome Bl Richard Thirkeld St Theodosia of Caesarea and Companions St Votus of Atares St William of Cellone
Martyrs of Toulouse: A group of eleven Dominicans, Franciscans, Benedictines, clergy and lay brothers who worked with the Inquisition in southern France to oppose the Albigensian heresy. Basing their operations in a farmhouse outside Avignonet, France, he and his brother missioners worked against heresy. Murdered by Albigensian heretics while singing the Te Deum on the eve of Ascension. They were beaten to death on the night of 28 to 29 May 1242 in the church of Avignonet, Toulouse, France and Beatified on 1 September 1866 by Pope Pius IX (cultus confirmation). • Adhemar • Bernard of Roquefort • Bernard of Toulouse • Fortanerio • Garcia d’Aure • Pietro d’Arnaud • Raymond Carbonius • Raymond di Cortisan • Stephen Saint-Thibery • William Arnaud • the Prior of Avignonet whose name unfortunately has not come down to us. The Church in which they died was placed under interdict as punishment to the locals for the offense. Shortly after the interdict was finally lifted, a large statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was found on the door step of church. Neither the sculptor nor the patron was ever discovered, nor who delivered it or how. The people took it as a sign that they were forgiven, but that they should never forget, and should renew their devotion to Our Lady. They referred to the image as “Our Lady of Miracles.” Until recently there was a ceremony in the church on the night of the 28th to 29th of May, the anniversary of the martyrdom. Called “The Ceremony of the Vow”, parishioners would gather in the church, kneel with lit candles, and process across the Church on their knees, all the while praying for the souls of the heretics who had murdered the Martyrs.
Martyrs of Trentino: Three missionaries to the Tyrol region of Austria, sent by Saint Ambrose and welcomed by Saint Vigilius of Trent. All were Martyred – Alexander, Martyrius and Sisinius. They were born in Cappadocia and died in 397 in Austria.
Quote/s of the Day – 25 May – The Memorial of St Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi O.Carm (1566-1607)
“Trials are nothing else but the forge that purifies the soul of all its imperfections.”
“O Sisters, if we would only comprehend the fact that while the Eucharistic Species remain within us, Jesus is there and working in us inseparably with the Father and the Holy Spirit and, therefore, the whole Holy Trinity is there.”
“The last thing I ask of you — and I ask it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ — is that you love Him alone, that you trust implicitly in Him and, that you encourage one another continually, to suffer for the love of Him.”
One Minute Reflection – 25 May – “Mary’s Month” – Monday of the Seventh week of Easter, Readings: Acts 19:1-8, Psalm 68:2-7, John 16:29-33 and the Memorial of St Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi O.Carm (1566-1607)
“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have conquered the world.” ... John 16:33
REFLECTION – “Let nothing intervene to hinder the progress of any who travel alongside each other, in this evangelical life but let us walk with agile step though the road be rough and hard, let us show a brave and manly spirit, overcome obstacles, pass along from pathway to pathway, from hill to hill, until we climb onto the mountain of the Lord and make a home for ourselves in the holy place of His impassibility.
Now, companions assist each other on the way; so then, my brothers, as the apostle says: “Bear one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2) and make up for whatever is lacking to others (cf. 2 Cor 8:14 ; Phil 2:30). To the negligence that perhaps holds sway today, noble courage will succeed tomorrow, now one is in gloom and then suddenly one rises to the surface and discovers joy again, at one moment our passions rise up but soon God comes to help us, they are broken and calm returns. For you will only be seen like this yesterday and the day before but, dear friend, you will not always remain the same but the grace of God will draw near you, the Lord will fight for you and perhaps, like the great Antony, you will say: “Where were you just now?” and he will answer: “I wanted to see your combat.”
For now, let us persevere, children, dear children, let us be patient for a little, brothers, dear brothers.… Who will be crowned without having fought? Who will go to rest if he is not tired (cf. 2 Tim 2:5-6)? Who will gather the fruits of life without having planted virtues in his soul? Cultivate them, prepare the earth with the greatest care, take trouble over it, sweat over it, children, God’s workers, imitators of the angels, competitors with incorporeal beings, lights for those who are in the world (cf. Phil 2:15)!” … St Theodore the Studite (759-826) Monk – Catechesis 28
PRAYER – Lord God, as You brought joy to the world, through the resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, grant that through His Virgin Mother, we may constantly seek and recognise our Lord and Saviour and turn to Him in complete trust and love. May we ever live in confidence and share our joy with our neighbour. St Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi, pray that we may know the courage of our Saviour. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 25 May – Saint Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi O.Carm (1566-1607) Carmelite Nun and Mystic, Ecstatic, she bi-located and was the intercessor of many miracles, Stigmatist – born as Caterina de’ Pazzi (but in the family was called Lucrezia) in 1566 at Florence, Italy and died on 25 May 1607 of natural causes. Patronages – against bodily ills, against sexual temptation, against sickness, sick people, Naples (co-patron).
The second of four children, Caterina was born in Florence on 2 April 1566, to Camilo de’ Pazzi and Maria Buondelmonti. In the comfortable setting of a noble family, that began to call her Lucrezia, after her paternal grandmother, the young girl grew up peacefully and with a certain sensitivity to the aesthetic side of her social condition. Her heart was open to God and to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, in great simplicity, which is something we can see in the way she might share her lunch pack with a needy person, out of compassion, or the way she would help the children of the poor by gently offering them the first truths of faith. Her mother’s deep piety and the visits to her home by the Jesuit Fathers, that her parents invited regularly, helped to stamp on Caterina’s soul that sense of Church, “sensus ecclesiae,” that in later life would appeal so much to her conscience.
At eight years of age, she was sent as a pupil to the nuns at San Giovannino. The nuns, who noticed the contemplative nature of the child, prepared her for First Holy Communion and not many weeks later, Caterina was sufficiently mature to offer her virginity to God. She was ten years old and now she didn’t need anymore to get the scent of Jesus, by standing near her mother when she had received Holy Communion, now, she began to meditate on the humanity of Jesus. As she was learning to read, she came across the Athanasian Creed and she was very inspired by it. In the same way, she grew to be totally enamoured by the meditations of St Augustine and the Lord’s Passion by Loarte, which she read on the advice of Fr Andrea Rossi, who was her Spiritual Director. The artworks below are of St Augustine writing on her heart.
She had not yet reached the age of seventeen, when she showed her desire to be consecrated to God in religious life. Having overcome the initial opposition of her family, she entered the monastery in Borgo San Frediano, to join the Carmelite community of Santa Maria degli Angeli who were very happy to have her. They allowed her to begin as a Postulant on 8 December 1582. This community, that was well known to and highly regarded by the Bishop of Florence, was attractive to the young girl, principally because of the possibility of receiving Holy Communon everyday.
Two months after entering, on 30 January 1853, Caterina received the Carmelite habit, and with it, the name, Sr Maria Magdalena. At the end of the novitiate year, it was decided, that she would put her profession back until there were other Novices ready to join her. Maria Magdalena , however, got very sick in the following months, to the point of almost dying. With little hope of recovery – even the best doctors in the city had failed to diagnose what today we would call pneuomonia – the Prioress decided to have her make her profession in danger of death, in articulo mortis.
About one hour after her profession, something happened to Magdalena. It was an experience of rapture in God. The sisters tell us that when they went to visit her in the infirmary, they came upon the young eighteen year old patient, transfigured and looking very beautiful. From that day onwards, it was 27 May 1584, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, the Lord visited her every morning, for forty days and revealed the depth of his love to her. These frequent episodes gave rise to many misgivings in the young girl whose only desire was to live in the hiddenness of her life in Carmel but, it was obvious, that this kind of grace had to be recognised and preserved. For that reason, the sisters began very soon to take notes, writing down what Magdalena. would say while in ecstasy and what she would say, out of obedience, to the Prioress and Mistress.
Towards the end of that same year, a new period of divine favour began for her. This time, Jesus, the divine Word, held her in intense conversation (reported in I Colloqui) that revealed increasingly, the bridal relationship that Christ had formed with her. It was in one of those ecstasies that Christ brought her into His passion and death. It was Holy Week in 1585 – her experiences included the Stigmata impresssed on her soul, the Crown of Thorns, the Crucifixion and every scene from the Gospel was displayed, as if it was happening live in that slender tormented body. Then, on the Sunday after Easter, she received from her divine Bridegroom the ring of her mystical marriage.
The manuscript titled, Revelazioni e Intelligenze, gives a faithful account of the communication of God’s grace, that in the days between the vigil of Pentecost and the Sunday of the Blessed Trinity, gave Magdalena, an entry into the revelation, of the inner dimensions of her Trinitarian life. What was communicated to her, was what goes on between the divine person, and how the human person can fulfil a supernatural vocation, by allowing this mystery dwelling within, to do its work.
The central element in this understanding, is the saving mission of the Word, Love, made flesh in the most pure womb of the Virgin Mary and the intuition of “dead love” as the highest expression of the ultimate gift of self.
On the last day of this intense octave of Pentecost, Magdalena began to see, with some clarity, that the moment had arrived when God, as He had made known to her already on a few occasions, was about to take away from her, the enjoyment of His presence. That was the beginning of five very difficulty years of torment and temptation, to the point where she felt as if she had been thrown into the “lions’ den” and reduced to “nothing.” In these interior trials, described in the Probazione, Jesus continued to support her but without lessening the radical purification that striped her bare, made her more simple and extremely receptive to His visits. In the heart of the crucible, however, Magdalena also received understanding from God concerning the condition of the Church of her time – so slow to implement the renewal sought by the Council of Trent – and she felt that she was being drawn by the Truth, to be involved in a practical way, in calling to order prelates, cardinals and even the Pope, Sixtus V. The twelve letters that she dictated in ecstasy, in the Summer of 1586 are collected in the volume titled, Rinnovamento della Chiesa. The five years of trial restored to us a Magdalena. transformed . The Lord had brought her through a divinising process, through which, today, she could well be considered a master and guide.
After Pentecost 1590, she returned to the normality of ordinary life, something she had always wanted. Apart from just a few and important, moments of ecstasy (reported in the second part of the Probazione) her days passed quietly as she went about the jobs she had to do (on account of her spiritual maturity she was put in charge of the young sisters in formation) and all the other forms of humble service that she tended to seek. Then the experience of “naked suffering” took hold of her and this would unite her once and for all to the Crucified Bridegroom.
Sr Magdalena could read the thoughts of others and predict future events. For instance, during one ecstatic event she predicted the future elevation to the Papacy of Cardinal Alessandro de’ Medici (as Pope Leo XI). During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured many sick people.
The symptoms of tuberculosis began to appear in 1603. As her strength declined, she suffered the added pain of not being able to feel anything of the Lord’s presence. Just her presence in the community, in the eyes of the sisters, had become a vision of God’s work of art about to be completed. On 25 May 1607, at 3 p.m. in the afternoon, Sr Maria Magdalena, at the age of forty-one gave up her spirit.
She was buried in the choir of the Monastery chapel. She was Beatified in 1626 by Pope Urban VIII. At her Canonisation in 1668, her body was declared miraculously incorrupt. Her body is located in the Monastery of Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi in Careggi.
St Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi O.Carm (1566-1607) (Optional Memorial) About St Maria Magdalena:
St Agustin Caloca
St Aldhelm of Sherborne
Bl Antonio Caixal
Bl Bartolomeo Magi di Amghiari
St Cristobal Magallanes Jara
St Denis Ssebuggwawo
St Dionysius of Milan
St Dunchadh of Iona
St Egilhard of Cornelimünster
Bl Gerardo Mecatti
St Injuriosus of Auvergne
St Iosephus Chang Song-Jib
Bl James Bertoni
Bl Juan of Granada
St Leo of Troyes
St Madeline Sophie Barat
St Matthêô Nguyen Van Ðac Phuong
St Maximus of Evreux
Bl Nicholas Tsehelsky
St Pasicrates of Dorostorum
Bl Pedro Malasanch
St Pherô Ðoàn Van Vân
St Scholastica of Auvergne
St Senzio of Bieda
St Urban I, Pope
St Valentio of Dorostorum
St Victorinus of Acquiney
St Winebald of Saint Bertin
St Worad of Saint Bertin
St Zenobius of Florence