Wednesday, August 23, 2017

What is the greatest thing you can do?

Know that
the greatest service that man can offer to God
is to help convert souls.

St. Rose of Lima

St. Rose of Lima

Born Isabel Flores y de Oliva in Lima, the capital city of Peru, her nickname, “Rose,” came from a childhood incident in which a household servant attested to having seen the child’s face turn into a mystical rose. She took the name formally as her own, at her confirmation in 1597 by the saintly Archbishop of Lima, Turibio de Mogrovejo.

Remarkable, even as a child, for her great reverence and love for all that related to God, she developed an intense devotion to the Infant Jesus and His Holy Mother, and gave herself up to a life of prayer and mortification. Industrious and adept, she became very proficient in the arts of sewing, embroidery and lace-making, and used her needle to help support her home and family, and as a means to assist the many poor who came to depend on her generous alms.

In imitation of St. Catherine, whom she took as a saintly role model, she fasted three times a week, wore rough clothing, and roughened her face and hands to combat the temptations to vanity. She spent hours on her knees before the Blessed Sacrament and contrary to the usual practice of the time, was a daily communicant. Assailed by tremendous temptations against the Faith and the virtue of purity, which caused her excruciating agony of mind and desolation of soul, she multiplied her mortifications and prayers, and with her confessor’s approval, took a vow of virginity. In this last resolve, Rose had to combat the opposition of her parents, who wished her to marry. The battle of wills continued for ten years until, won over by her patience and prayer, they gave their consent to her decision. At the age of twenty, Rose received the habit of St. Dominic as a tertiary Dominican. From that moment onwards, the severity and variety of her mortifications redoubled.

With her brother’s help, she built herself a little cell from sun-dried bricks in the garden behind their home. Here she would retire at night for solitude and prayer and take whatever rest she permitted her body on a bed of broken glass and pottery, rough stones and thorns. She took to wearing an iron chain around her waist and a metal-spiked crown concealed about her head. Entire days without food would be followed by sleepless nights spent in prayer. During her suffering, Our Lord fortified her with the knowledge of His presence and consoled her with His love, frequently revealing Himself to her and drawing her soul into ecstasies that lasted for hours. During these sublime embraces with God, she offered Him all her penances and mortifications in reparation for the offences against His Divine Majesty, for the sins of idolatry, for the conversion of sinners, and for the souls in Purgatory.

During her last illness, her constant prayer was "Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart.” Rose died in 1617 at the age of thirty-one years. She was beatified by Clement IX in 1667 and canonized in 1671 by Clement X, thus becoming the first American-born saint.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Queenship of Mary

“Since the great Virgin Mary was raised to the dignity of Mother of the King of Kings, the Church justly honors her, and wishes that she be honored with the glorious title of Queen,” writes St. Alphonsus de Liguori.

Blessed Pope Pius IX said of Mary: “Turning her maternal Heart toward us and dealing with the affair of our salvation, she is concerned with the whole human race. Constituted by the Lord Queen of Heaven and earth, and exalted above all choirs of Angels and the ranks of Saints in Heaven, standing at the right hand of Her only-begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, she petitions most powerfully with Her maternal prayers, and she obtains what she seeks.”

In his 1954 encyclical, Ad Coeli Reginam, Pope Pius XII established the feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Universal Church. In so doing, the Holy Father was officially giving sanction to a devotion that had existed from the earliest centuries of the Church to the sovereign Mother and Queen of heaven and earth and Mediatrix of all graces. Because of her eminence, the Blessed Virgin Mary is entitled to the highest honor that can be bestowed upon any creature, for she is the glorious Queen of the universe.
“We commend that on the festival there be renewed the consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Upon this there is founded a great hope that there may arise an era of happiness that will rejoice in the triumph of religion and in Christian peace,” the Holy Father writes.

“Therefore, let all approach with greater confidence more than before, to the throne of mercy and grace of our Queen and Mother to beg help in difficulty, light in darkness and solace in trouble and sorrow…

“…Whoever, therefore, honors the lady ruler of the Angels and of men—and let no one think themselves exempt from the payment of that tribute of a grateful and loving soul—let them call upon her as most truly Queen and as the Queen who brings the blessings of peace, that She may show us all, after this exile, Jesus, who will be our enduring peace and joy.”

Do you want to win?

Prudence is a virtue whereby
we choose the adequate means for obtaining the end we have in mind.
Thus, great acts of heroism can be as prudent as strategic retreats.
If the goal is to win,
advancing is more prudent in ninety percent of the cases than retreating.
The evangelic virtue of prudence is nothing else.

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveria

Monday, August 21, 2017

How Our Lady Transformed Francisco and Jacinta into Great Saints


By Seth Hakes

On the morning of May 13th, 2017, perhaps the most amazing event that happened at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal was the canonization of Jacinta Marto and her brother, Francisco. They became the youngest children to be canonized (who are not martyrs) in nearly 2,000 years of Christianity.
How did these two children achieve Christian perfection at such young ages? How did they acquire virtues in the heroic degree which took other saints a lifetime of asceticism to achieve? How did Our Lady transform these two children into great saints?


Transformation from Child to Saint
The saints agree that perfect obedience requires giving up one’s own will. Saints Francisco and Jacinta adhered faithfully to Mary’s will at the least prompting. Her apparitions gave their lives a higher purpose and transformed them in a matter of months. One sign of this transformation is a change of will. Our Lady told them to pray and they did. Our Lady asked them to offer sacrifices and they did. They did numerous penances such as wearing coarse ropes directly against their skin all the time. Even when the rope cut into their skin and the pain it caused prevented them from sleeping at night, they wouldn’t relent from practicing such a severe penance. However, when Our Lady instructed them not to wear the ropes at night, they again obeyed.
Another remarkable transformation took place in the very hearts of Jacinta and Francisco. The children’s only desire was to please Mary. They were willing to do anything for love of Jesus and Mary, offering penances of hunger, thirst, discomfort and the constant harassment of disbelievers.
One radical example of the very real persecution they endured occurred on August 13, 1917. On their way to their fourth appointment with Our Lady, the three children were abducted by the administrator of Ourém. During their imprisonment, the other prisoners wanted to distract Jacinta by singing and dancing with her. She quickly tired of this. In order to do something more pleasing to Mary, Jacinta hung her Brown Scapular on the wall, invited everyone in the prison cell to kneel before it, and they all prayed the Rosary.
Even when the administrator threatened to throw them in a cauldron of boiling oil if they didn’t reveal the secret Our Lady entrusted to them, these children chose death rather than displeasing Our Lady. To live or to die no longer mattered to them. To please Jesus and Mary became their only concern.
To read more about the fourth apparition of Our Lady - Click here!

Mary Changed Their Lives and Dreams
It is known that these children were not always little saints. They began as very typical children. One example of this is that, before the Angel of Peace appeared to them, they prayed an abbreviated version of the rosary. Instead of saying each prayer, they would simply say the words “Our Father” and “Hail Mary.” In this way, they were able to get back to their games all the sooner. Mary radically changed their lives. What they used to see as a chore was now a source of spiritual nourishment. They soon burned with the desire to pray the Rosary, not just every day, but many times throughout the day.
All children grow up full of hopes and expectations. Some will dream of becoming famous like a professional athlete or an actor. Others dream of becoming rich. Others dream of something more honorable like becoming a firefighter, a policeman, a professor or a war hero. Surely, Francisco and Jacinta had their childhood dreams as well.
But, when Our Lady appeared to them, any dream they may have had vanished. They no longer dreamed about the joys of the world. Their only joy was to obey Mary’s will. They no longer hoped for a long, full and happy life. Their only hope was to go to Heaven. They no longer dreamed of fame or riches. Their only dream was to please God, console the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and convert and save sinners.

They Made Her Heart Theirs
How were such young children transformed into great saints? The answer seems to be an invitation and a challenge to everyone, especially children, for all times. They simply made Mary’s will their will. They made her desires their desires. They made her hopes and dreams theirs. In short, they made her heart theirs. Perhaps, this is the best explanation of what devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is.

My sacred duty

How I tremble to think that souls can be punished for all eternity on account of the negligence of their pastor, that innocent people can be led from the path of truth because the words of the Inspired Text were never preached to them, and that the spirit of the world, and of our time especially, should pour into ill-instructed minds for want of a firm hand to check its tide. I have a sacred duty to defend the truth openly, for God will ask me to render an account for all those souls who have strayed into the ways of perdition.

Pope St. Pius X

Pope St. Pius X

Giuseppe Melchiore Sarto was born at Riese in the diocese of Treviso in 1835 to Giovanni Battista and Margherita Sanson Sarto. His childhood was one of poverty, being the son of the village postman. Though poor, his parents valued education, and Giuseppe walked six kilometers to school every day.

The excellence he demonstrated in all of his studies was only outdone by the sterling quality of his moral character, which evinced admiring accolades from his superiors at the seminary of Padua. Ordained at the age of twenty-three in 1858, Fr. Sarto spent nine years as curate in Tombolo and then nine as pastor in Salzano, striving to be “all to all” and truly living his priesthood to the fullest. In 1875, he was named a Canon of the Cathedral of Treviso and Chancellor of the diocese. Nine years later, he was consecrated as the Bishop of Mantua. Raised to the Cardinalate on June 12, 1893, he was made Patriarch of Venice three days later.

Upon the death of Pope Leo XIII in 1903, Cardinal Rampolla del Tindaro was posed to succeed him. However, against to the protests of the conclave, Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria, making use of an age-old privilege of the Holy Roman Emperors, used his power of veto against the Cardinal, and Cardinal Sarto was elected instead. Taking the name of Pius, the new pope immediately put an end to the rights of any civil authority to interfere with a papal election.

The name of Pope Pius X is associated with the battle against the errors of Modernism attacking the Church. With the laser-like quality of a saint, the new Pope penetrated the wiles of the new “ism” to its very essence. The whole tendency of Modernism is anti-dogmatic, seeking to tailor dogma to the culture of the age through ambiguity and dilution of divinely revealed doctrine. A 1907 decree of the Holy Office condemned certain writers and propositions. This decree was followed by the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, defining the dangerous tendencies and errors of the new heresy which Pius X defined as “the synthesis of all heresies”. Strong disciplinary measures followed, one of them being the requirement for all bishops, priests, and teachers to take the “Oath against Modernism,” an oath of fidelity to the perennial teachings and doctrines of the Catholic Church.

In this first encyclical letter Pope Pius X announced his ideal to “renew all things in Christ.” In the light of this ideal, he greatly promoted the Holy Eucharist, formally recommending daily Communion when possible, and reducing the age of first communicants from adolescence to the age of reason. He also facilitated the reception of Holy Communion by the sick, and urged daily reading of the Holy Scriptures.

In 1903 the Holy Father issued an instruction on sacred music which struck at current abuses. He was also responsible for a thorough reorganization of the tribunals, offices and congregations of the Holy See.

The eleventh anniversary of his election was met with the beginning of World War I. It is said the outbreak of the war killed him: he became ill and died in 1914. He was canonized in 1954 by his successor, Pope Pius XII.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

When affection becomes infection

The fact that spiritual goods
taste good to us no more, or
seem to be goods of no great account,
is chiefly due to our affections being infected
with the love of bodily pleasures, among which,
sexual pleasures hold the first place: for the love
of those pleasures leads man to have a distaste for spiritual things.

St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Bernard was born in 1090 in Dijon, France, the third son of Tescelin, the noble Lord of Fontaines, and Aleth, a daughter of the Lord of Montbard. He and his five brothers were well-educated and well-learned in Latin and military exercises, Bernard being educated with particular care by his parents, because, while yet unborn, a devout man had foretold his great destiny.

Bernard fought the temptations of youth with assiduous prayer and the practice of virtue, often to a heroic degree and, at an early age, determined upon a life of solitude. His ardent devotion to the Blessed Virgin, gave rise to some of the most sublime writings ever penned on the Queen of Heaven. He studied the Holy Scriptures so intensely that the Word of God became as it were his own language. In the year 1112, Bernard left his home to join the monastery of Citeaux, which followed the very austere Cistercian rule. Bernard brought with him some thirty men, among them four of his brothers and an uncle, who had no previous thought of the religious life.

In 1115, the abbot of Citeaux sent Bernard and twelve monks to build a new house in the region of Champagne. The beginnings of what came to be known as Clairvaux, were trying and painful. The monks lived under their new abbot most poorly, surviving off what little the coarse land had to offer. The austerities practiced were so severe that Bernard’s health was seriously impaired. Nevertheless, disciples flocked in droves to the new monastic community, and the monks soon numbered one hundred and fifty, among them his youngest brother and his own father.

Renowned for his wisdom, Bernard was often called upon by both Church and State authorities to settle disputes. He defended the rights of the Church against the encroachments of kings and princes and, in the schism that broke out in 1130, was chosen to judge between two rival popes. Until the death of the anti-pope in 1138, he was forced to leave the solitude of his cloister repeatedly by order of Pope Innocent II to combat the resurgence of the schism. In 1139, heresy took the place of schism, and he was once again championing the Church’s cause in the public arena. The year 1145 saw one of Bernard’s Cistercian sons elevated to the throne of Peter. Pope Eugene III lost no time in calling for a new crusade against the Muslims and commissioned Bernard to preach the crusade throughout Europe. His preaching was accompanied by numerous miracles and thousands flocked to the Cross.

As Abbot of Clairvaux for forty years, he founded one hundred and sixty-three monasteries in different parts of Europe. At his death, they numbered three hundred and forty-three. Having brought the Order out of obscurity, he is considered one of the founders of the Cistercian Order.

Bernard spent the last several years of his life in great pain. He saw the death of his contemporaries as a warning of his own approaching end and prepared himself accordingly. He died in 1153 and was canonized in 1174. Pope Pius VIII named Doctor of the Church in 1830.

The Scapular—A Powerful Weapon Against the Devil

Abbé Francis Trochu, in his book, The Cure D’Ars, relates a story of a young lady who, having decided to consecrate her life to religion, sought the holy pastor of Ars, Saint John Vianney, for a general confession.
When she finished relating her sins, St. John Vianney asked her if she was not forgetting something. The girl, upon recollecting her thoughts, could not recall anything else. The holy priest then proceeded to refresh her memory.
He asked her if she remembered a certain dance where she encountered a handsome young man with whom she desired to dance, but who, in turn, only danced with the other girls, passing her up.
Surprised, again she replied in the affirmative, that such was indeed true. The Cure D’Ars then asked her if she remembered how downcast she had felt at the snub, and how, upon leaving the ballroom, she had glanced back once more and had seen the young man dancing with a girl, but this time there were two small blue lights under his feet.
Again she agreed and confirmed that in fact she had seen the two blue lights under the youth’s feet, but that, finding them strange, she could not account for them.
Saint John Vianney then explained to her that the young man was in fact the Devil in human form, and that the only reason why he would not dance with her was because she was wearing the holy Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

100th Anniversary of the Fourth Fatima Apparition




On August 13, the day the fourth apparition was to take place, the seers were not at Cova da Iria.
They had been abducted by the mayor of Vila Nova de Ourém, who attempted to force from them the secret revealed in the apparition of July 13. The children held fast despite the mayor imprisoning them, and threatening to plunge them in boiling oil.

At Cova da Iria, thunder, followed by lightning, was heard at the usual time.
The spectators noticed a small white cloud that hovered over the holm oak for a few minutes. Phenomena of coloration were observed on the faces of the people, the clothing, the trees, and the ground.
Our Lady had certainly come, but she had not found the seers.
On August 19, at about four o'clock in the afternoon, Lucia was with Francisco and another cousin at Valinhos, a property belonging to one of her uncles, when the atmospheric changes that preceded the apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria began to occur: a sudden cooling of the temperature and a waning of the sun.
Feeling that something supernatural was approaching and enveloping them, Lucia sent for Jacinta, who arrived in time to see Our Lady appear – heralded as before by a bright light – over a holm oak slightly larger than the one at Cova da Iria.

Lucia: What does Your Grace wish of me?
Our Lady: I want you to continue to go to Cova da Iria on the thirteenth of each month and to continue to pray the Rosary every day. On the last month, I will perform the miracle for all to believe.
Then Our Lady’s face became more serious, and even upset.
Our Lady: If they had not taken you to Ourém, the miracle would have been even greater.
Lucia: What does Your Grace want done with the money that the people leave at Cova da Iria?
Our Lady: Have two portable stands made. You and Jacinta with two other girls dressed in white carry one of them, and let Francisco carry the other one with three other boys. The portable stands are for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The money that is left over should be contributed to the chapel that they shall build.
Lucia: I would like to ask you for the healing of some sick persons.
Our Lady: Yes, I will cure some during the year.
Becoming sadder, she recommended anew the practice of mortification, saying lastly, 'Pray, pray much, and sacrifice for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to sacrifice and pray for them.'
As usual, she then began to rise toward the east. The seers cut boughs off the tree over which Our Lady had appeared to them and took them home. The boughs gave off a uniquely sweet fragrance.




Read:  Fifth Apparition


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Why so many souls go to hell

Pray, pray much,
and make sacrifice for sinners,
for many souls go to hell
because there is no one to sacrifice and pray for them.

Our Lady to Lucia dos Santos

St. John Eudes

John Eudes was born in 1601 in the Norman village of Ri, France, to devout parents who consecrated him to the Holy Virgin. In 1615 he made a vow of chastity while he was studying with the Jesuits of Caen. On that occasion he consecrated himself to Mary, from which time he was notable for his fervent devotion to her.

Eudes left the Jesuits to enter the Congregation of the Oratory, founded by the famous Fr. Pierre de Berulle, who worked to re-establish orthodoxy of doctrine and sanctity of life among the clergy. John Eudes thought that the training of priests should also be a priority, so in 1643, he left the Oratory and founded the Society of Jesus and Mary to specialize in seminary education. The first seminary of the Eudists Fathers, as they became known, opened in Caen, shortly followed by many others.

In order to convert women of ill-fame and assist those who had converted from a wayward life, he founded another institution, the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity. He also instituted the parish mission to evangelize neglected souls. For many years, he preached to large crowds in churches or open fields, in the courts of nobles and the King. His sermons were renowned for his strong condemnation of the vices of his audience, the brilliant eloquence with which he delivered them and, above all, the eminent sanctity which shone forth from him and gave substance to all his words.
He spread the devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and was instrumental in procuring the Church’s approval of liturgical offices in Their honor. Always faithful to the Chair of Peter, he was persecuted by the Jansenists, whom he counter-attacked with energy.

He died on August 19, 1680, with the names of Jesus and Mary on his lips.

Friday, August 18, 2017

How to judge clothes

An excess of immodesty in fashion involves, in practice, the cut of the garment.
The garment must not be evaluated according to the estimation of
a decadent or already corrupt society,
but according to the aspirations of a society
which prizes the dignity and seriousness of its public attire.

Pope Pius XII

St. Helena of Constantinople

Helena was born about the middle of the third century on the Nicomedian Gulf. The daughter of a humble innkeeper, she became the lawful wife of the Roman general Constantius Chlorus and bore him a son, Constantine, in the year 274.

When Constantius became co-Regent of the West in 292, he forsook Helena to marry Theodora, the step-daughter of the Emperor Maximianus Herculius, his patron. But her son remained faithful and loyal to his mother. Upon the death of Constantius, in 308, Constantine, who succeeded him, summoned his mother to the imperial court, conferred upon her the title of Augusta, ordered that all honor should be paid her as the mother of the sovereign, and had coins struck bearing her effigy.

Her son’s influence caused Helena to embrace Christianity after his victory over Maxentius. From the time of her conversion she led an earnestly Christian life and by her own influence and generosity favored the wider spread of Christianity. She had many churches built in the West where the imperial court resided.

Despite her advanced age, in the year 324, at the age of sixty-three, she undertook a journey to Palestine where she had resolved to bring to God, the King of kings, the homage and tribute of her devotion. When she “had shown due veneration to the footsteps of the Savior,” she had two churches erected for the worship of God: one was raised in Bethlehem near the Grotto of the Nativity, the other on the Mount of the Ascension, near Jerusalem. She also embellished the sacred grotto with rich ornaments.

Everywhere she went, Helena Augusta visited churches with pious zeal and enriched them by her benevolence. Her generosity embraced not only individuals but entire communities. The poor and destitute were the special objects of her charity.

Her memory in Rome is chiefly identified with the church of S. Croce in Gerusalemme, built in honor of the true Cross. Also enshrined in the basilica are the other relics of the Passion of Our Lord which the Emperor’s mother had brought back to Rome from the Holy Land.

Constantine was with his mother when she died, at the advanced age of eighty years or thereabouts. This must have been about the year 330, for the last coins which are known to have been stamped with her name bore this date. Her body was brought to Constantinople and laid to rest in the imperial vault of the church of the Apostles. In 849, her remains were transferred to the Abbey of Hautvillers, in the French Archdiocese of Reims.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

When you feel the assaults of passion and anger

When you feel the assaults of passion and anger,
then is the time to be silent
as Jesus was silent
in the midst of His ignominies and sufferings.

St. Paul of the Cross

St. Beatriz da Silva

Beatriz de Menezes da Silva was one of eleven children of Rui Gomez da Silva, the first Magistrate of Campo Maior, on the border of Spain and Portugal, and of Isabel de Menezes, an illegitimate daughter of Dom Pedro de Menezes, the 1st Count of Vila Real and the 2nd Count of Viana do Alentejo, under whom Silva served in Ceuta. João de Menezes da Silva, better known as Blessed Amadeus of Portugal and a noted reformer of the Order of Friars Minor, was her brother.

In 1447 Beatriz accompanied the Princess Isabel of Portugal, to Castile as her lady-in-waiting when Isabel left to marry King John II of Castile and became Queen of Castile and León. Although they had been close friends, Beatriz's great beauty began to arouse the irrational jealousy of the Queen, who had Beatriz imprisoned in a tiny cell without food.

During her incarceration, Our Lady, attired in the blue and white habit of the Conceptionist Order, appeared to Beatriz and instructed her to found an order in her honor. With much difficulty, she finally escaped her imprisonment after three days and took refuge in the Dominican monastery of Toledo. Beatriz lived with the Dominicans for nearly forty years without becoming a member of the Order.

Queen Isabel was a frequent visitor during those years and was of great material assistance to her former lady-in-waiting in the foundation of the religious order in honor of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Most Holy. In 1484 Beatriz, with some companions, took possession of a monastery in Toledo deeded to their new community by Queen Isabel. The new religious order adopted the Cistercian Rule in 1489, bound themselves to the daily recitation of the Office of the Immaculate Conception and were placed under obedience to the Archdiocese of Toledo.
Beatriz da Silva died on August 9, 1492, ten days before the solemn inauguration of her new Order. She is buried in the first monastery given to the Conceptionists by Queen Isabel, the motherhouse of the Order in Toledo. In 1501, Pope Alexander VI placed the Conceptionists under the Rule of St. Clare and, in 1511, Pope Julius II granted them a Rule of their own.

Among Beatriz da Silva’s illustrious spiritual daughters are to be found two remarkable mystics: Madre Mariana de Jesús Torres y Berriochoa (c.1563-1635) to whom appeared Our Lady of Good Success and were given many revelations concerning the crisis in the Church in the twentieth century and the Venerable María de Jesús de Ágreda (1602-1665) author of the Mystical City of God.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

There will be consequences

One must live the way one thinks
or end up thinking
the way one has lived.

Paul Bourget

St. Stephen of Hungary

The first King of Hungary was born a pagan in 975, the son of the Hungarian chieftain Géza. Together with his father, he was baptized in 985 by St. Adalbert, the Archbishop of Prague, on which occasion he changed his heathen name Vaik (Vojk) to Stephen.

In 995, he married Gisela, a sister of Henry, the Duke of Bavaria, the future Emperor St. Henry II, and in 997 he succeeded his father as chief of the Hungarian Magyars.

In order to make Hungary a Christian nation and to establish himself more firmly as ruler, Stephen sent the Abbot Astricus to Rome to petition Pope Sylvester II for the royal dignity and the power to establish episcopal sees. The pope acceded to his wishes and, in addition, presented Stephen with a royal crown in recognition of his sovereignty.

The new King of the Hungarians endeavored above all to establish his nation on a sound moral foundation and to that end he suppressed blasphemy, murder, adultery and other public crimes, and established a feudal system throughout Hungary. To this day, King Stephen is universally recognized as the architect of the independent realm of Hungary.

He founded a monastery in Jerusalem and hospices for pilgrims at Rome, Ravenna, and Constantinople. A close friend of St. Bruno, he also corresponded with St. Odilo of Cluny. The last years of his life were embittered by illness and family troubles. When late in 1031 his only son, Emeric, lost his life on a bear hunt, his cherished hope of transferring the reins of government into the hands of a pious Christian prince were shattered.

During his lifetime a quarrel arose among his various nephews concerning the right of succession, and some of them even took part in a conspiracy against his life. He was buried beside his son at Stuhlweissenburg, and both were canonized together in 1083.
First Photo by: Andrzej Otrebski                                                                     Second Photo by: Granada Turnier

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped in the act of giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father. It was fitting that God's Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God."
"Thus St. John Damascene, an outstanding herald of this traditional truth, spoke out with powerful eloquence when he compared the bodily Assumption of the loving Mother of God with her other prerogatives and privileges.

"Gathering together the testimonies of the Christians of earlier days, St. Robert Bellarmine exclaimed: 'And who, I ask, could believe that the ark of holiness, the dwelling place of the Word of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, could be reduced to ruin? My soul is filled with horror at the thought that this virginal flesh which had begotten God, had brought him into the world, had nourished and carried him, could have been turned into ashes ... '"

Quotes above are taken from Pope Pius XII’s Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus defining the Dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

It was fitting...

"It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep
her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who
had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles.
It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live
in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross
and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had
escaped in the act of giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father.
It was fitting that God's Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that
she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God."

Pope Pius XII—Definition of the Dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Monday, August 14, 2017

Mary is the most perfect and most holy work of God

Mary is the most perfect and most holy work of God, for
as St. Bonaventure said,
God can create a greater and more perfect world,
but He cannot exalt a creature to higher dignity
than that to which He exalted Mary.

St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe

About the Feast of the Assumption




The Feast of the Assumption
The Feast of the Assumption

The Assumption was a beautiful favor God granted to His mother. It began when Our Lady, very suavely died. Her passing is customarily called Our Lady’s dormition because the grace with which she passed from this life and the short elapse before her resurrection, made her death seem more like a dream.After death, Our Lady resurrected, in imitation of Our Lord Jesus Christ. God then assumed her, body and soul, into Heaven, in the presence of the Apostles and many of the faithful.
The Assumption was a true glorification of Our Lady before the eyes of men and will remain so until the end of the world. Nevertheless, it was a mere foreshadowing of the glory she received in Heaven.
To benefit fully from this mystery, we will make a “composition of place,” according to the method of Saint Ignatius. Thus, we will imagine how the Assumption took place. In this, we are free to reconstruct the event as best conforms to our piety, because there are no detailed descriptions of it.

So we begin, imagining the Apostles, assembled before Our Lady’s body, on their knees in prayer. The presence of all the princes of the Church made the atmosphere ineffable, noble, sublime and recollected. Their countenances mimicked those found in the paintings of Fra Angelico.
The Feast of the Assumption
Fra Angelico’s artwork.


Meanwhile, the Angels in Heaven were slowly gathering and filling the celestial court. Their faces were also like those portrayed by Fra Angelico. Empyrean Heaven was filled with the most diverse, yet nuanced, colors that radiated in such a way, as to create a truly incomparable scene.
Certainly, things could have happened this way, for if Our Lady was able to fill the sky with such diverse colors during the miracle of the sun at Fatima, why could she not have filled Heaven with colors on the day of her Assumption?
Her soul descended to earth and reunited with her body, revivifying it. She then stood up, body and soul, as the respect and recollection of all those around increased. The physical similarity between her and Our Lord, as mother and Son, was more apparent than usual. Also present, the Savior stood, transfigured, before her and increasingly communicated Himself to her.
As a result, her majesty and queenliness increased together with her motherly kindness. Everything about her that was most intimate was supremely manifested at that moment.
Some Angels – perhaps the most splendid of Heaven – approached and began to lift her upwards. As she slowly rose, the skies were marvelously transformed, until little by little, they returned to their normal state and the witnesses dispersed with a sensation similar to what they had experienced when Our Lord ascended.

They were filled with reverence and awe. The event had shown them that Our Lady was greater than anything they had dared imagine. However, their admiration was already transfixed by deep longings for their motherly queen, who would no longer be with them.
The Feast of the Assumption
The Assumption was a true glorification of Our Lady before the eyes of men and will remain so until the end of the world. Nevertheless, it was a mere foreshadowing of the glory she received in Heaven.

Meanwhile in Heaven, Our Lady’s triumph was just beginning. The entire Church Triumphant received her, especially Saint Joseph. Our Lord welcomed her and the Holy Trinity crowned her as Queen of Heaven and Earth.
These two aspects show the glorification of Our Lady before the Church Triumphant and Militant. And what about the Church Suffering?
Certainly, the souls in Purgatory were also inundated with graces. It is not too audacious to suppose that the Queen of Heaven took most of them to Heaven that day. Thus, there was exuberance throughout the entire Church.
I believe something similar to this will be repeated at the onset of the Reign of Mary,1 prophesied by Saint Louis de Montfort, when we will see the world transformed and Our Lady’s glory shining on earth.

Her reign will begin with marvelous days of graces, the likes of which have seldom, if ever, been seen before. Our Lady’s magnificence must be thus projected before the eyes of men. To understand why, we need only think of the tremendous celebrations men have prepared for victorious war leaders throughout history.
For example: the enormous ticker tape parade given for General MacArthur in 1951 and the tremendous feasts the Romans prepared for victorious generals show that men understand that the glory of a conqueror must be made manifest.
Since Our Lord is infinitely more generous than men and Our Lady’s victory will be greater than that of any conqueror, He will certainly usher in her triumph in an immeasurably greater way than these celebrations. Her glory will shine before men like it did during the Assumption.
The Feast of the Assumption
The entire Church Triumphant received her, especially Saint Joseph. Our Lord welcomed her and the Holy Trinity crowned her as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

We should meditate on this as we approach the Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption. We should also consider which virtue we should ask of her on this holy day. Certainly, everyone should ask for the virtue he most lacks. However, this does not prevent us from asking Our Lady for a sense of her glory and the understanding that everything in Creation represents her splendor.

Since she is the highest created expression of God, we should struggle to defend and strive to establish the highest possible expression of her spirit on earth. This will make us true knights and crusaders of Our Lady, struggling for her glory on earth. I believe this is the most proper virtue for which to ask on the feast of Our Lady’s Assumption.

The preceding text was taken from an informal lecture Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira gave on August 14, 1965. It has been translated and adapted for publication without his revision. – Ed.

Footnotes

The great Marian saint spoke numerous times of a coming, worldwide rebirth of the Church and Christian civilization, which he called the “Reign of Mary.” Such a prediction fits perfectly with the promise Our Lady made at Fatima, when she said: “Finally, my Immaculate Heart will Triumph!”

St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe

The second son of pious parents, St. Maximilian Kolbe was born on January 8, 1894 at Zdunska Wola in Poland, which at that time was under Russian occupation. In Baptism he received the name of Raymond.

Seriousness and recollection marked his nature even as a child. One day, while correcting him, his mother chided him saying, “Son, I don’t know what is going to become of you!” This comment so impressed itself upon him that Raymond turned to Our Lady in prayer asking her the same question. The Virgin Mary appeared to him and presented him with two crowns, one of white roses, the other of red ones. She asked him if he were willing to accept either of them, explaining that the white one symbolized a life of perfect chastity and the red that he would die a martyr. The boy joyfully replied that he would accept both. For the rest of his life, Raymond preserved a strong and tender devotion for the Blessed Virgin who, time and time again, was to prove his unfailing intercessor and constant protector. His confidence in Our Lady was total.

Raymond Kolbe enrolled in the Franciscan minor seminary at Lwów in 1907 where he received the religious name of Maximilian. He professed his final vows in 1914 in Rome, at which time he adopted the additional name of Maria in honor of his devotion to the Blessed Virgin, whom he invoked under the title of “the Immaculata.” Ordained in 1918, he returned to Poland the following year with doctorates in theology and philosophy, but seriously ill with tuberculosis. His lectures and conversations during his year and a half in the sanatorium of Zakopane, where he was sent for his own recovery from the brink of death, became the catalyst of a number of conversions.

Friar Maximilian was an avid defender of Holy Mother Church and of the Holy Father. While still a seminarian in Rome, he organized the Militia of the Immaculata – a spiritual army explicitly founded to combat Communism and Freemasonry, which were taking hold in Russia and Europe, to work for the conversion of sinners and the enemies of the Catholic Church through the intercession of the Virgin Mary. He boldly launched into publishing as a means of apostolate and was soon running one of the largest publishing houses in the entire world that produced a daily newspaper, a monthly magazine, a calendar, and books on various topics, all printed in several languages. Radio was likewise utilized as a means of evangelization and to speak out against the growing atrocities of the Nazi regime.

In 1927 Maximilian Kolbe founded Niepokalanów, the “City of the Immaculata” where he fulfilled the office of superior until 1930. The next six years he spent as a missionary in Japan where he taught philosophy in the major seminary. There he also founded a second “City of the Immaculata” which became one of the great missionary centers in Japan. From 1936 until his death, he again served as superior in Niepokalanów, Poland. By 1939 the religious community there consisted of 762 friars and presented a considerable moral force in Poland on the very eve of the Second World War.

Maximilian Kolbe was arrested by the German Gestapo on February 17, 1941. He was transferred to the Auschwitz concentration camp three months later. At the end of July, when three prisoners disappeared, ten men were picked to be starved to death in punishment and as a warning to anyone else who attempted to escape. Kolbe volunteered to take the place of one of the men who was a young husband and father.

While awaiting death, Maximilian helped prepare the souls of the condemned men and encouraged them by constant reminders that they would soon be in heaven. After two weeks of starvation and dehydration, he was the only one left alive and on August 14 the guards gave him a lethal injection of carbolic acid. His emaciated body was cremated on the feast of the Assumption of Mary.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

How a country gains respect

He who is faithful to God
is faithful to his country and to his family,
and the more the fear of God animates the citizens of a country,
the greater and the more respected will the nation be.

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus

Pontian was elected pope in 230 and reigned until the year 235. The schism of Hippolytus continued during his episcopate. Towards the end of his pontificate there was a reconciliation between the schismatic party and its leader with the Roman pontiff. After the condemnation of Origen at Alexandria, a synod was held by Pontian in Rome, which concurred in the decisions of the Alexandrian synod against Origen.

In 235 during the reign of Maximinus the Thracian a persecution directed chiefly against the heads of the Church began. One of its first victims was Pontian, who with Hippolytus was banished to the unhealthy island of Sardinia. To make the election of a new pope possible, Pope Pontian resigned his holy office on September 28, 235. Consequently, Anteros was elected in his stead but reigned for less than two months. Shortly before this or soon afterwards Hippolytus, who had been banished with Pontian, became reconciled to the Roman Church, and with this the schism he had caused came to an end.

How much longer Pontian endured the sufferings of exile and harsh treatment in the Sardinian mines is unknown. According to old and no longer existing accounts, he died in consequence of the privations and inhuman treatment he had to bear.

Pope Fabian (236-50), successor to Pope Anteros, had the remains of Pontian and Hippolytus brought to Rome at a later date and Pontian was buried in the papal crypt of the Catacomb of Callixtus.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

How to make all things easy

The reformation of the soul starts in
self-knowledge and confidence in God.
Our self-knowledge will let us know
we have many things to correct and reform

and that it cannot be done by our own efforts.
Confidence in God will let us hope in Him, know that we can do all in Him,
and that with His grace all things are possible and easy.

St. Jane Frances de Chantal

St. Jane Frances de Chantal

Born at Dijon in France in 1572, Jane was very pious and religious from a very young age. In 1592 she married the Baron de Chantal, who inherited many debts along with his title. Despite the early financial worries, she and her husband were devoted to each other and to their four children. She restored order in the household, which was on the brink of ruin, and was generous with the little she had by allowing the poor to visit her home for food. Often people who had just received food from her would pretend to leave, go around the house and get back in line for more. When asked why she let them get away with this, she replied, "What if God turned me away when I came back to him again and again with the same request?"

In 1601, the Baron was accidentally killed while hunting. It was said he forgave the man who shot him before he died. Left a widow with four young children at the age of twenty-eight, Jane took a vow of chastity and begged God to send her a spiritual guide. In a vision, God showed her the one He had intended for this very purpose. During Lent in the year 1604, while visiting her father in Dijon, the young widow recognized the orator preaching the sermon as the mysterious director who had been shown to her, and placed herself under his guidance. Francis de Sales was the Bishop of Geneva and later co-founded the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary with her.

St. Francis de Sales’ method of attaining perfection consisted in always keeping one’s will united to the Divine will, in taking so to speak one’s soul, heart, and longings into one’s hands and giving them into God’s keeping, and in seeking always to do what is pleasing to Him.

The Order of the Visitation was founded in 1610 for those women desirous of seeking perfection but unable to subject themselves to the austere practices of penance and mortification in force in all the religious orders at the time.

Often sought after for spiritual counsel, Mother de Chantal would frequently advise: "Should you fall even fifty times a day, never on any account should that surprise or worry you, instead, ever so gently set your heart back in the right direction and practice the opposite virtue, all the while speaking words of love and trust to Our Lord after you have committed a thousand faults, as much as if you had committed only one. Once we have humbled ourselves for the faults which God allows us to become aware of in ourselves; we must forget them and go forward."

Jane Frances de Chantal died in 1641 at sixty-nine years of age and was canonized in 1767.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Endurance demands faith

Gladly endure whatever goes against you
and do not let good fortune lift you up: for
the latter destroys faith, while the former demands it.

St. Clare of Assisi

St. Clare of Assisi (Feast: August 11)


Once, during an enemy attack against Assisi, the fierce Saracens invaded San Damiano, entered the confines of the monastery and even the very cloister.
Fainting in terror, their voices trembling with fear, they cried out to their Mother, Saint Clare. What happened next was recorded by the Franciscan friar, Tommaso da Celano:

“Saint Clare, with a fearless heart, commanded them to lead her, sick as she was, to the enemy, preceded by a silver and ivory case in which the Body of the Saint of saints was kept with great devotion.
And prostrating herself before the Lord, she spoke tearfully to her Christ: ‘Behold, my Lord, is it possible You want to deliver into the hands of pagans Your defenseless handmaids, whom I have taught out of love for You? I pray You, Lord, protect these Your handmaids whom I cannot now save by myself.’
Suddenly a voice like that of a child resounded in her ears from the tabernacle: ‘I will always protect you!’ ‘My Lord,’ she added, ‘if it is Your wish, protect also this city which is sustained by Your love.’ Christ replied, ‘It will have to undergo trials, but it will be defended by My protection.’
Then the virgin, raising a face bathed in tears, comforted the sisters: ‘I assure you, daughters, that you will suffer no evil; only have faith in Christ.’ Upon seeing the courage of the sisters, the Saracens took flight and fled back over the walls they had scaled, unnerved by the strength of she who prayed.
And Clare immediately admonished those who heard the voice I spoke of above, telling them severely: ‘Take care not to tell anyone about that voice while I am still alive, dearest daughters.’”
The miracles performed during her life by this first spiritual daughter of St. Francis were indeed numerous. Her confidence in her divine Spouse was total and unconditional. Having once renounced all earthly possessions for love of Him, she tenaciously thwarted every attempt – even by several well-meaning popes – to mitigate the absolute poverty she and her religious sisters had so willingly embraced.
After St. Francis’ death in 1226 and until her own in 1253, Clare continued to hold fast to the counsels St. Francis had given her and to direct the order in the true spirit of its founder: total renunciation of all earthly possessions and an unconquerable faith and confidence in Divine Providence.

St. Philomena, Miracle Worker: Virgin & Martyr


“Let the little children come unto me, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt 19:14)

Daughter of Light
What do St. John Vianney, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, St. Peter Eymard, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini and St. Pio of Pietrelcina all have in common? Besides being saints, that is!
They were all devoted to St. Philomena, a mysterious saint whose life and heroic death were not uncovered for a millennia and a half after she died.
St. Philomena (meaning “daughter of light”) lay quietly in her resting place in Rome for over 1,600 years. Then, in His infinite wisdom, God decided it was time to reveal this pearl of great price to the whole world and she made her “debut” in 1802, when the bones of a female between the ages of 13 and 15 were discovered in the catacomb of St. Priscilia.
An inscription near her tomb read "Peace be with thee, Philomena," along with drawings of two anchors, three arrows and a palm. Near her bones was discovered a small glass vial, containing the remains of blood. Because it was a popular custom of the early Christians to leave symbols and signs of martyrdom such as these, it was easily determined that St. Philomena was a virgin and a martyr.
Her popularity soon became widespread, with her most memorable devotees being St. John Vianney, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, St. Peter Eymard, and St. Peter Chanel. After being miraculously cured, Ven. Pauline Jaricot insisted with Pope Gregory XVI to begin the examination for the beatification of St. Philomena, who was to become known as the "wonder worker." After hundreds of other miraculous cures, she was beatified in 1837.
Pope Leo XII granted permission for the erection of altars and churches in her honor. Pope Gregory XVI authorized her public veneration, and named her patroness of the Living Rosary.
The cure of Pope Pius IX, while archbishop of Imola, was attributed to St. Philomena. In 1849, he named her patroness of the Children of Mary. Pope Leo XIII approved the Confraternity of St. Philomena, and raised it to an Archconfraternity. Pope Saint Pius X raised the Archconfraternity to a Universal Archconfraternity, and named St. John Vianney its patron.
St. Philomena holds a special place in the hearts of all America Needs Fatima members, as she was named the Patroness of the Living Rosary and the Patroness of the Children of Mary. She is the only person recognized as a saint solely on the basis of her powerful intercession, and powerful it is! She has come to the aid of countless souls who have turned to her and placed their hope in Our Lord’s words that “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Filling in the Blanks
Now, as amazing as the discovery of the saint’s tomb was, there still remained many questions about this saint. Where did she come from? Who were her parents? Why and how did she die? In 1833, she obligingly appeared to Dominican Sister Maria Luisa di Gesù (1799–1875), revealing details about her short life and her heroic death.
According to Sister Maria Luisa di Gesù, St. Philomena told her she was the daughter of a king in Greece who, with his wife, had converted to Christianity in the late third century.
At the age of about 13 she took a vow of consecrated virginity. When the Emperor Diocletian threatened to make war on her father, her father went with his family to Rome to ask for peace.
The Emperor fell in love with the young Philomena and, when she refused to be his wife, he subjected her to a series of torments:

  • scourging, from whose effects two angels cured her;
  • drowning with an anchor attached to her (two angels cut the rope and raised her to the river bank);
  • being shot with arrows, (on the first occasion her wounds were healed; on the second, the arrows turned aside; and on the third, they returned and killed six of the archers, after which, several of the others became Christians).
Finally, the Emperor had her decapitated. The story goes that the decapitation occurred on a Friday at three in the afternoon, as with the death of her Spouse, Jesus Christ.
When her tomb was discovered in 1802, two anchors, three arrows, a palm and an ivy leaf, symbols of her martyrdom, were found on the tiles there.
St. Philomena also revealed to Sr. Maria that her birthday was January 10th, and that her martyrdom occurred on August 10th, which happened to be the exact same date that her relics arrived in Mugnano, Italy, where they remain for veneration to this day.

Favorite of the Cure of Ars
One day, St. John Marie Vianney, Curé of Ars (1876-1859), was given a very special gift from a very special lady. Ven. Pauline Jaricot, foundress of the Living Rosary, she talked to him often about the mysterious Saint of Mugnano and introduced St. Philomena to him formally by giving him one of her relics.
There is not a biography of the Curate of Ars where St. Philomena is not mentioned. In France he was the greatest promoter of her devotion. He had a statue of St. Philomena placed in his parish church, and then built a Basilica in her honor in Ars. This holy man of God, in his characteristic humility, attributed all the miraculous works that occurred in Ars to the intercession of St. Philomena.
It is further recorded that he called St. Philomena the New Light of the Church Militant, a title befitting this little child who, because of her great love for God amidst trial and persecution, is truly a saint for our times.
St. John Vianney commissioned this painting of St. Philomena and it is housed in the Shrine of Ars, France.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

This is worth more than all the knowledge in the world

There is more value in a little study of humility
and in a single act of it
than in all the knowledge in the world.

St. Teresa of Avila

St. Lawrence Martyr

St. Lawrence, one of the deacons of the Roman Church, was one of the victims of the persecution of Valerian in 258, like Pope Sixtus II and many other members of the Roman clergy. At the beginning of the month of August, in the year 258, the Roman emperor issued an edict, commanding that all bishops, priests, and deacons should be put to death. This imperial command was immediately carried out in the city of Rome. On the 6th Pope Sixtus II was apprehended in one of the catacombs, and executed without delay. As he was led to execution, Lawrence followed him. “Father, where are you going without your deacon?" he said. "I am not leaving you, my son," answered the Pope, "in three days you will follow me." Two other deacons, Felicissimus and Agapitus, were put to death the same day. Three days later, on the 10th of August of that same year, Lawrence, the last of the seven deacons, also suffered a martyr’s death.

St. Ambrose of Milan and the poet Prudentius, give particular details about St. Lawrence’s death. Ambrose relates that when St. Lawrence was asked to bring forth the treasures of the Church he hastily traveled throughout the city, gathering the poor. On the third day, he brought them to the prefect, who believed the Church had treasure hidden away, and said, “These are the treasures of the Church." The disappointed prefect angrily condemned Lawrence to death. The saint was stripped of his clothing and tied on top of a gird-iron over a slow fire that roasted his flesh little by little. Defiant in spite of his intense suffering, the holy deacon audaciously commanded his executioners “Turn me over. That side is cooked.” The holy audacity of this deacon-martyr inspires noble souls until today.

St. Lawrence is considered one of the most venerated martyrs of the Catholic Church since the fourth century.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

If you want to be always in God's company, pray and read

Prayer purifies us,
reading instructs us …
If a man wants to be always in God’s company,
he must pray regularly and read regularly.
When we pray, we talk to God; when we read, God talks to us.

St. Isidore of Seville

Bl. Amadeus of Portugal

João Mendes da Silva, better known as the Blessed Amadeus of Portugal, was born in 1420 in Campo Maior on the eastern side of the country. The youngest son of twelve children, he was closely related to the Counts of Vila Real and Viana do Alentejo, whose lands lay near the border of Portugal and Spain. St. Beatriz da Silva, the foundress of the Order of the Immaculate Conception, was one of his sisters, and a strong devotion to this prerogative of Our Lady – centuries before it was defined as a dogma – was a profound spiritual characteristic they both shared.

João was married very young, but soon after entered the Hieronymite monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe in Spain, where he spent about ten years. Inspired by a vision of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Most Holy to join the Franciscans, he sought admission to their friary in Ubeda in Lombardy where he entered as a lay brother in 1452 and took the name of Amadeus.

Initially not well received by his confreres, some of whom took him for a religious fraud, he was widely persecuted within the Order bearing all the humiliations inflicted upon him with great patience. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1459 at the insistence of his superiors. Amadeus subsequently became renowned throughout the houses of the Order for his holiness and miracles.

In 1469, he founded the Friary of Notre Dame de la Paix under the protection of the Archbishop of Milan. This friary soon became the center of a Franciscan reform which eventually spread throughout Italy and beyond. When the Minister General of the Franciscan Order, Francesco della Rovere, was elected to the throne of Peter as Pope Sixtus IV, he summoned Amadeus to Rome to be his confessor and counselor.

The reform of the Franciscan Order begun by St. Amadeus led to his founding of a distinct branch of the Friars Minor which was ultimately named after him. Amadeus later returned to Milan, where he died in 1482.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Love? Or selfishness?

What a weakness it is to love Jesus Christ
only when He caresses us,
and to be cold immediately once He afflicts us.
This is not true love.
Those who love thus love themselves too much
to love God with all their heart.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

St. Dominic de Guzman

Dominic was born in 1170 in Castile, Spain, to Felix Guzman and Joan of Aza (who later became a blessed). He was sent to school in Palencia when he was fourteen, and while he was still a student, was made Canon of the Cathedral of Osma. He went on to complete his studies and was ordained a priest, taking up his role at Osma.

Around the year 1204, Dominic accompanied the bishop of Osma to Denmark. Their travels took them through Languedoc, in southern France, where the Albigensian heresy, the belief that the body is evil, was rampant. The host at an inn where they stopped was an Albigensian. Dominic spent a whole night in discussion with him and by morning he had converted the innkeeper. That is when Dominic saw his true vocation in spreading and defending the Catholic Faith.

With papal permission, Dominic spent nearly ten years preaching in France with a small group of men living under the rule of St. Augustine. Then, in the year 1216, his small group became a community: the Order of Preachers. Dominic sent his followers far and wide, establishing friaries in Spain, France and Italy.

Dominic became ill and died in 1221 at the age of fifty-two.

Monday, August 7, 2017

When we fall...

One may fall,
one may not be always faithful;
but Love, knowing how to draw profit from all,
very quickly consumes whatever may displease Jesus, leaving nothing
but profound and humble peace in the depths of the soul.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

St. Cajetan

Cajetan was born in 1480 in Vicenza, Italy to Caspar, the Count of Thiene and Mary di Porto, both members of the nobility of Vicenza. He educated himself in theology and Cannon Law, and in 1516, was ordained a priest. He joined the Oratory of Divine Love in Rome, a group devoted to piety and charity, shortly after his ordination. He returned to Vicenza in 1528 and joined a religious order similar to the Oratory of Divine Love, but consisting only of men of the lowest stations of life. He sought out the sick and poor and served them.

In 1524 Cajetan was part of a group of holy men who strived to reform the Church, which was in moral chaos at that time. He and three other men made their profession in the presence of a papal delegate and named their congregation The Theatine Clerks Regular.

Cajetan died in 1547, after a life of service to the Catholic Church and to the poor. He was canonized in 1671.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Why did Jesus show Himself transfigured?

He led them up the mountain and showed them
His kingship before His passion, and His power before His death,
His glory before His disgrace, and His honor before His dishonor, so that,
when He was arrested and crucified by the Jews,
they might know that He was not crucified through weakness,
but willingly by His good pleasure
for the salvation of the world.

St. Ephrem the Syrian

Transfiguration of Our Lord



"And after six days Jesus took Peter and James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain apart. And He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun and his garments became white as snow. And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here.

If Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for Thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias. And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye Him.
And the disciples hearing this, fell upon their faces, and were very much afraid. And Jesus came and touched them and said to them, Arise, and fear not. And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man is risen from the dead." (Matthew 17:1-6)
The feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord celebrates the revelation of Christ's divinity on Mount Tabor in Galilee (Mark 9:1-8; Luke 9:28-36).
By drawing aside the veil that hid the splendor of His divine nature from their physical sight, Our Lord desired to strengthen them spiritually for the suffering of His upcoming Passion and Death.
Just as His humanity cloaked His divinity while He walked the earth, so now in the Holy Eucharist, both His humanity and His divinity are hidden from our earthly sight. Veiled under the appearance of bread and wine is the same Lord and God that was transfigured before the astonished gaze of Peter, James and John on the heights of Mount Tabor.



Saturday, August 5, 2017

When? Where?

To the servant of God
… every place is the right place,
and every time is the right time.

St. Catherine of Siena

Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major

Santa Maria Maggiore or St. Mary Major is the largest church in the world honoring the Virgin Mary and was erected in the immediate aftermath of the Council of Ephesus of 431, which proclaimed Mary Mother of God.
Standing atop one of Rome’s seven hills, the Esquiline, it is also called Santa Maria ad Nives, or "at the snow." It is said that the Mother of God chose this location for a church dedicated in her honor by a miraculous snow that fell upon this spot in summer. Legend has it a rich and pious Roman senator and his wife thought of donating their money and properties to the Church. That night, in August of 358, Our Lady appeared in the dreams of the senator and Pope Liberius asking them to build her a basilica in the exact place where snow would fall that night. Since then, Our Lady has been venerated in Italy as “Our Lady of the Snow.”

The basilica is also home to a few remnants of the humble crib in which Christ was laid at His birth. These pieces of the manger were carried to Rome by Christians fleeing the Muslim conquest of the Holy Land in the 7th century. They are preserved in a silver reliquary resembling an ordinary manger, upon which lies an image of the Infant Jesus. The Holy Crib is the object of particular devotion and veneration during the liturgical ceremonies of Christmas Eve and Midnight Mass. On Christmas morning there is a procession in honor of the Holy Crib of the Infant Jesus, which culminates in the exposition of the sacred relic on the high altar.

Another venerable treasure of Santa Maria Maggiore is the icon of Our Lady under the invocation of  "Salus Populi Romani," literally translated as "health (or salvation) of the Roman people." According to tradition, this image of Mary embracing Jesus as a young boy was the work of the evangelist St. Luke, who painted it on a tabletop made by Our Lord himself in St. Joseph's carpentry shop. This miraculous icon has been carried in processions around Rome on many occasions. In 593 the newly-elected Pope St. Gregory the Great had the icon carried in public procession through the streets of Rome praying for an end to the Black Plague. Pope St. Pius V followed his example in 1571 to pray for victory during the Battle of Lepanto, as did Pope Gregory XVI in 1837 to pray for the end of the cholera epidemic.
Second Photo by: Fczarnowski