Thursday, March 23, 2017

Stories of Mary 16: Mary And The Nun-Prostitute



 
Oh, Mary, defend thou me,
or tell me to whom I shall have recourse,
and who can protect me better than thou.
DISCOURSE:
Our advocate has shown how great is her kindness towards sinners by her mercy to Beatrice, a nun in the monastery of Fontebraldo, as related by Cesarius, and by Father Rho.

This unhappy religious, having contracted a passion for a certain youth, agreed to flee with him from the convent; and, in fact, she went one day before a statue of the blessed Virgin, and there deposited the keys of the monastery, for she was portress, and boldly departed.
Arrived in another country, she led the miserable life of a prostitute for fifteen years. It happened that she met, one day, the agent of the monastery in the city where she was living, and asked of him, thinking he would not recognize her again, if he knew sister Beatrice?
“I knew her well,” he said. “She is a holy nun, and at present is mistress of novices.”
At this intelligence she was confounded and amazed, not knowing how to understand it. In order to ascertain the truth, she put on another dress and went to the monastery.
She asked for sister Beatrice, and behold, the most holy Virgin appeared before her in the form of that same image to which at parting she had committed her keys, and her dress.
The divine mother thus spoke to her: “Beatrice, be it known to thee that, in order to prevent thy disgrace, I assumed thy form, and have filled thy office for the fifteen years that thou hast lived far from the monastery and from God. My child, return, and do penance, for my Son is still waiting for thee; and strive by thy holy life to preserve the good name I have gained thee.” She spoke thus and disappeared.
Beatrice re-entered the monastery, resumed the habit of a religious, and, grateful for the mercy of Mary, led the life of a saint. At her death she made known the foregoing incident, to the glory of this great queen.
PRAYER: 
Oh great mother of my Lord, I now see that the ingratitude shown by me, for so many years to God and to thee, would justly merit that thou shouldst abandon all care of me, for the ungrateful are no more worthy of favors.
But, oh Lady, I have a great idea of thy goodness; I believe it to be far greater than my ingratitude; continue, then, oh Refuge of Sinners, to help a miserable sinner who confides in thee. Oh mother of mercy, extend thy hand to raise a poor fallen creature who implores thy mercy.
Oh, Mary, defend thou me, or tell me to whom I shall have recourse, and who can protect me better than thou.
Can I find an advocate with God more merciful and more powerful than thou, who art His mother? Thou, having been created for the Mother of the Savior, art destined to save sinners, and hast been given me for my salvation.
Oh, Mary, save him who has recourse to thee. I do not merit thy love, but the desire thou hast to save the lost gives me the hope that thou dost love me; and if thou lovest me, how can I be lost?
Oh my beloved mother, if, as I hope, I am saved by thee, I will no longer be ungrateful; I will make amends by perpetual praises and by all the affection of my soul for my past ingratitude, and will make some return for the love thou bearest me.
In heaven, where thou reignest and wilt reign forever, I will always joyfully sing thy mercies, and forever I will kiss those loving hands that have freed me from hell as often as I have deserved it for my sins.
Oh Mary, my liberator, my hope, my queen, my advocate, my mother, I love thee, I wish thee well, and will always love thee.
Amen, amen; thus I hope, so may it be.


This “Stories of Mary – Stories of the Rosary” is taken from the Glories of Mary, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus Liguori; New Revised Edition, P.J. Kennedy & Sons. Copyright 1888 by P.J

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Secret of Mary

Considering Our Lady’s action upon the three Fatima children in a broader sense, the changes she brought about in them was something extraordinary — something far beyond their capacity. From this, we gather that Our Lady suddenly and suavely transformed them through her repeated apparitions.
   
    Bl. Francisco Marto     Bl. Jacinta Marto
Here we discover something akin to the “Secret of Mary,” of which Saint Louis de Montfort speaks. We see grace working profoundly in souls, and we see how it works silently, without the person perceiving it. As a result, the person feels truly free. More than ever, the person feels inspired to practice virtue and reject the evil chains of sin; consequently, their love of God blossoms.
Their desire to serve Him increases, and so does their hatred of sin. This marvelous transformation of soul occurs in such a way that the person does not experience the systematic uphill struggle of those who follow the classical system of the spiritual life to obtain virtue, sanctity, and Heaven. Much to the contrary, Our Lady changes them suddenly.
The changes in the two children Our Lady called to Heaven, Jacinta and Francisco, was particularly striking. What does this mean? Does this mean Our Lady will perform the same transformation upon us?
Is it a foretaste of how Our Lady intends to change Humanity when she fulfills her Fatima promises?
Can I say that the transformation in the souls of Jacinta and Francisco are the beginning of Our Lady’s reign? Is this not her triumph over the souls of Jacinta and Francisco, heralds of Our Lady’s message, who helped others accept the Fatima message through their prayers and sacrifices? And who still help us today through their prayers in Heaven?
If this is true, it is logical that Jacinta and Francisco be our intercessors before Our Lady and obtain the coming of her reign in our hearts. Is this not the mysterious transformation that we call the “Secret of Mary”?
I firmly believe that we must ask Jacinta and Francisco to transform us, to grant us the same gifts they received, and to guide us, whose mission it is to live and to preach the Fatima message.
Adapted from a lecture of Prof. Plinio CorrĂȘa de Oliveira on October 13, 1971.

How to breathe the spirit of divine grace

Those who open their mouth
to confess their faith
breathe the spirit of divine grace,
which is the life of the soul.

St. Anthony of Padua

St. Nicholas Owen

Perhaps no single person did more for the preservation of the Catholic Faith when its practice was forbidden in England than Nicholas Owen.

A “diminutive man” according to one report, and called “Little John” on that account, Nicholas Owen was possibly a builder by trade. He worked for eighteen years with the clandestine Jesuit missionaries Fathers Henry Garnet and John Gerard and built expertly concealed hiding places for priests and Catholic fugitives.

In an age of license, Nicholas led a singularly innocent life, untainted by the allurements of the world. His confessor affirms that he preserved his baptismal innocence unto death.

Every time Nicholas was about to design a hiding place, he began the work by receiving the Holy Eucharist, accompanied the project by continuous prayer and offered the completion of the work to God alone. No wonder his hiding places were nearly impossible to discover.

After working in this fashion for some years, he was received into the Society of Jesus by Father Garnet as one of England’s first lay brothers. For reasons of concealment, his association with the Jesuits was kept a secret.

He was arrested with Father John Gerard on St. George’s day in 1584. Despite terrible torture, he never revealed the least information about the whereabouts of other Catholics. He was released on a ransom paid by a Catholic gentleman, as his services in contriving hiding places were indispensable.

The unique and successful escape of Father Gerard from the Tower of London was most certainly planned by Owen, although the escape itself was carried out by two others.

Finally, on January 27, 1606, after a faithful service of twenty years, Nicholas Owen fell once more into the hands of his enemies. Closely pursued by government officials, he and three other Jesuits successfully avoided detection for eight days, hidden in a couple of priest holes at Hindlip Hall in Worcester- shire. Concealed in the two small cramped spaces in which they could neither stand upright nor stretch their legs, they received nourishment through small drinking straws hidden in the building’s own structure. Attempting to protect the two priests by drawing attention to himself, Owen left his hiding place first. His fellow lay brother was arrested with him as soon as he emerged from hiding; Fathers Garnet and Oldcorne were seized soon after.

His enemies exulted when they realized they finally had their hands on the great builder of hiding places. Father Gerard wrote of him: "I verily think no man can be said to have done more good of all those who labored in the English vineyard. He was the immediate occasion of saving the lives of many hundreds of persons, both ecclesiastical and secular.”

Brother Nicholas was hung upon a wall; during “interrogation” periods, iron gauntlets were fastened about his wrists from which he hung for hours on end, day after day. When this torture proved insufficient to make him talk, weights were added to his feet. Finally, the pressure caused his entrails to burst forth, causing his death. He revealed nothing.
First Photo by: Quodvultdeus

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Virtue is nothing without this

Virtue is nothing
without the trial of temptation, for
there is no conflict without an enemy,
no victory without strife.

Pope St. Leo the Great

St. Enda of Aran

In the land evangelized by St. Patrick, there emerged in subsequent centuries a number of saints, who by the sanctity of their lives firmly established Christianity in Ireland. Among these is to be numbered the great St. Enda of Aran.

Enda was born in the sixth century to Oriel of Ulster, son of Conall Derg of Ergall, to whose principality he succeeded upon his death. One of his sisters was married to Oengus the king of Munster; another, the holy Fanchea, was abbess of a monastery. It was the pious exhortations of the latter that compelled him to leave the world and embrace the monastic life. He embarked on a pilgrimage to Rome to venerate the relics of the Apostles and was there ordained a priest.

Upon his return to Ireland, he built a church in Drogheda along the River Boyne and founded a religious community. From his brother-in-law, King Oengus of Munster, he obtained the grant of the wild and barren isle of Aran (Aranmore) in the Bay of Galway, where he founded the famous Monastery of Killeaney. Such was the fame acquired by this monastery and its abbot, that the island was called “Aran of the Saints”. Many of the great Irish saints had some connection with Aran and St. Enda: St. Brendan the Voyager, St. Kiaran of Clonmacnoise, St. Columba of Iona, St. Finnian of Clonard and others. So numerous were the pilgrims to Aran that St. Columba called it “The Rome of Pilgrims”.

Enda divided the island into ten parts, in each of which he built a monastery and over which he set superiors. His monastic settlement was known for its austerity, holiness and learning, and became a burning light of sanctity for centuries in Western Europe.

This father of Irish monasticism died in advanced old age and was buried on Aran Mor.

Stories of Mary 15: Of Convicts And Rosaries

What I’m about to tell you will back up
everything you believe about the
Blessed Mother and her rosary. 

Dear Mr. Ritchie,
What I’m about to tell you will back up everything you believe about the Blessed Mother and her rosary.
I am a volunteer in the sheriff’s department detention ministry program here in [name of city deleted], California. One afternoon, when I was done with Catholic services held for six pods (6 very large cells), I said ‘goodnight’ to the officers and began making my way toward the elevator to exit the jail.
I was wondering if we were really making a difference with the inmates. Were they learning anything? Were they paying attention? Were they praying only during the sessions together?
Just as I was getting ready to enter the elevator [to exit], two police officers came running, calling me back. I thought: what now?
They approached me and said, “We are really glad to see you when you come here for services.” He was talking to me and John C., my assistant.
“When those convicts come out of your services, they actually come out tranquilized. There is no fuss; they go to their pods and relax at the tables or their bunks.”
Continuing, he said: “One day, we saw the inmates starting to gather around the beds. We thought that something was about to happen for that’s what they do when a fight is about to break out. We alerted other officers and the group [of inmates] kept growing.”
“We got ready and just as we were about to go in to break it up, all of a sudden they pulled out their rosaries from their pockets, dropped to their knees bowing their heads, and began their prayer. We were so surprised....astounded! We stayed away and just watched.”
“We never have problems with the Catholics that go to your services. We want you to know that you guys make a difference here.”
We (John and I) thanked them for the info and left very gratified knowing that our questions were answered in the only way they could have been answered…by our Blessed Mother. She had control there where normally only Satan has control, and she wanted us to know it!
In my thirteen years there I have seen many things that have rocked me to the bone. This is only one of them.
Mr. Ritchie, if I could help with more dollars I would, but even some of us are hard pressed at times. I make it the best way I can and even then God does not let me go broke.
He reminds me when I pick up a penny, nickel, dime, quarters, and, yes, even dollar bills laying on the sidewalk or parking lot. He has a great way of saying, ‘Don’t worry, Sal, I got you covered.’
Mr. Ritchie, you are doing very great things on a very great scale. Don’t worry, God has your back, too.
Yours truly in Christ,
Salvador

P.S. Note to Salvador and all of our dear America Needs Fatima members:
YOU all, after Our Lady, are what keeps us pushing ahead. We can only do the things we do because of your prayers and financial generosity, and Our Lady’s kindness. Please never forget that. You are responsible for what we do and share in it all.
And thank you for your letter and may Our Lady reward you for such an important spiritual work of mercy.
Our Lady showed that she wants such apostolate done with unfortunate prisoners (and all people) when she allowed her very innocent and tender Fatima seers be thrown in jail with hardened criminals and, by the time they were released, the innocent ones had all those prisoners praying a rosary together!
She is a friend and mother of repentant prisoners.
Refugium peccatorum, ora pro nobis! (Refuge of sinners, pray for us!)

The above unsolicited Story of Mary is taken from a recent letter from a member of America Needs Fatima to Mr. Robert Ritchie, Executive Director of America Needs Fatima.