Saturday, October 19, 2019

Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart

Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart,
which no unworthy affection may drag downwards;
give us an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out;
give us an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.
Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God,
understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you,
and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


St. Thomas Aquinas

Sts. Jean de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues and Companions

St. Isaac Jogues

French missionary, born at Orléans, France, 10 January, 1607; martyred at Ossernenon, in the present State of New York, 18 October, 1646. He was the first Catholic priest who ever came to Manhattan Island (New York). He entered the Society of Jesus in 1624 and, after having been professor of literature at Rouen, was sent as a missionary to Canada in 1636. He came out with Montmagny, the immediate successor of Champlain. From Quebec he went to the regions around the great lakes where the illustrious Father de Brébeuf and others were labouring. There he spent six years in constant danger. Though a daring missionary, his character was of the most practical nature, his purpose always being to fix his people in permanent habitations. He was with Garnier among the Petuns, and he and Raymbault penetrated as far as Sault Ste Marie, and “were the first missionaries”, says Bancroft (VII, 790, London, 1853), “to preach the gospel a thousand miles in the interior, five years before John Eliot addressed the Indians six miles from Boston Harbour”. There is little doubt that they were not only the first apostles but also the first white men to reach this outlet of Lake Superior. No documentary proof is adduced by the best-known historians that Nicholet, the discoverer of Lake Michigan, ever visited the Sault. Jogues proposed not only to convert the Indians of Lake Superior, but the Sioux who lived at the head waters of the Mississippi.
His plan was thwarted by his capture near Three Rivers returning from Quebec. He was taken prisoner on 3 August, 1642, and after being cruelly tortured was carried to the Indian village of Ossernenon, now Auriesville, on the Mohawk, about forty miles above the present city of Albany. There he remained for thirteen months in slavery, suffering apparently beyond the power of natural endurance. The Dutch Calvinists at Fort Orange (Albany) made constant efforts to free him, and at last, when he was about to be burnt to death, induced him to take refuge in a sailing vessel which carried him to New Amsterdam (New York). His description of the colony as it was at that time has since been incorporated in the Documentary History of the State. From New York he was sent; in mid-winter, across the ocean on a lugger of only fifty tons burden and after a voyage of two months, landed Christmas morning, 1643, on the coast of Brittany, in a state of absolute destitution. Thence he found his way to the nearest college of the Society. He was received with great honour at the court of the Queen Regent, the mother of Louis XIV, and was allowed by Pope Urban VII the very exceptional privilege of celebrating Mass, which the mutilated condition of his hands had made canonically impossible; several of his fingers having been eaten or burned off. He was called a martyr of Christ by the pontiff. No similar concession, up to that, is known to have been granted.
In early spring of 1644 he returned to Canada, and in 1646 was sent to negotiate peace with the Iroquois. He followed the same route over which he had been carried as a captive. It was on this occasion that he gave the name of Lake of the Blessed Sacrament to the body of water called by the Indians Horicon, now known as Lake George. He reached Ossernenon on 5 June, after a three weeks’ journey from the St. Lawrence. He was well received by his former captors and the treaty of peace was made. He started for Quebec on 16 June and arrived there 3 July. He immediately asked to be sent back to the Iroquois as a missionary, but only after much hessitation his superiors acceded to his request. On 27 September he began his third and last journey to the Mohawk. In the interim sickness had broken out in the tribe and a blight had fallen on the crops. This double calamity was ascribed to Jogues whom the Indians always regarded as a sorcerer. They were determined to wreak vengence on him for the spell he had cast on the place, and warriors were sent out to capture him. The news of this change of sentiment spread rapidly, and though fully aware of the danger Jogues continued on his way to Ossernenon, though all the Hurons and others who were with him fled except Lalande. The Iroquois met him near Lake George, stripped him naked, slashed him with their knives, beat him and then led him to the village. On 18 October, 1646, when entering a cabin he was struck with a tomahawk and afterwards decapitated. The head was fixed on the Palisades and the body thrown into the Mohawk.
In view of his possible canonization a preliminary court was established in Quebec by the ecclesiastical authorities to receive testimony as to his sanctity and the cause of his death.
Parkman, The Jesuits in North America (1867); Bancroft, History of the United States,III; J.G. Shea, Life of Father Jogues (New York, 1885); Jesuit Relations, 1640-1647; Abbe Forest, Life of Isaac Jogues, MSS. (St, Mary’s College, Montreal); Memorial of the death of Isaac Jogues and others, MSS. (University of Laval, Quebec); Dean Harris, History of the Early Missions in Western Canada (Toronto, 1893); Ecclesiastical Records of the State of New York, I (published by the State, 1891); Charlevoix, History of New France, II; Richemonteix, The Jesuits and New France, I, II.
T.J. CAMPBELL (Catholic Encyclopedia)
[Note: He, as well as those below were canonized by Pope Pius XI on June 29, 1930]

René Goupil

Jesuit missionary; born 1607, in Anjou; martyred in New York State, 23 September, 1642. Health preventing him from joining the Society regularly, he volunteered to serve it gratis in Canada, as a donné. After working two years as a surgeon in the hospitals of Quebec, he started (1642) for the Huron mission with Father Jogues, whose constant companion and disciple he remained until death. Captured by the Iroquois near lake St. Peter, he resignedly accepted his fate. Like the other captives, he was beaten, his nails torn out, and his finger-joints cut off. On the thirteen days’ journey to the Iroquois country, he suffered from heat, hunger, and blows, his wounds festering and swarming with worms. Meeting half way a band of two hundred warriors, he was forced to march between their double ranks and almost beaten to death. Goupil might have escaped, but he stayed with Jogues. At Ossernenon, on the Mohawk, he was greeted with jeers, threats, and blows, and Goupil’s face was so scarred that Jogues applied to him the words of Isaias (liii, 2) prophesying the disfigurement of Christ. He survived the fresh tortures inflicted on him at Andagaron, a neighbouring village, and, unable to instruct his captors in the faith, he taught the children the sign of the cross. This was the cause of his death. returning one evening to the village with Jogues, he was felled to the ground by a hatchet-blow from an Indian, and he expired invoking the name of Jesus. He was the first of the order in the Canadian missions to suffer martyrdom. He had previously bound himself to the Society by the religious vows pronounced in the presence of Father Jogues, who calls him in his letters “an angel of innocence and a martyr of Jesus Christ.”
Bressani, Les Jésuites Martyrs du Canada (Montreal, 1877); Shea, The Catholic Church in Colonial Days (New York, 1886); Rochemontiex, Les Jésuites et la Nouvelle France (Paris, 1896); Martin, Le Pére Isaac Jogues (Paris, 1882).
LIONEL LINDSAY (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Jean de Brébeuf

Jesuit missionary, born at Condé-sur-Vire in Normandy, 25 March, 1593; died in Canada, near Georgian Bay, 16 March, 1649. His desire was to become a lay brother, but he finally entered the Society of Jesus as a scholastic, 8 November, 1617. According to Ragueneau it was 5 October. Though of unusual physical strength, his health gave way completely when he was twenty-eight, which interfered with his studies and permitted only what was strictly necessary, so that he never acquired any extensive theological knowledge. On 19 June, 1625, he arrived in Quebec, with the Recollect, Joseph de la Roche d’ Aillon, and in spite of the threat which the Calvinist captain of the ship made to carry him back to France, he remained in the colony. He overcame the dislike of the colonists for Jesuits and secured a site for a residence on the St. Charles, the exact location of a former landing of Jacques Cartier. He immediately took up his abode in the Indian wigwams, and has left us an account of his five months’ experience there in the dead of winter. In the spring he set out with the Indians on a journey to Lake Huron in a canoe, during the course of which his life was in constant danger. With him was Father de Noüe, and they established their first mission near Georgian Bay, at Ihonatiria, but after a short time his companion was recalled, and he was left alone.
Brébeuf met with no success. He was summoned to Quebec because of the danger of extinction to which the entire colony was then exposed, and arrived there after an absence of two years, 17 July, 1628. On 19 July, 1629, Champlain surrendered to the English, and the missionaries returned to France. Four years afterwards the colony was restored to France, and on 23 March, 1633, Brébeuf again set out for Canada. While in France he had pronounced his solemn vows as spiritual coadjutor. As soon as he arrived, viz., May, 1633, he attempted to return to Lake Huron. The Indians refused to take him, but during the following year he succeeded in reaching his old mission along with Father Daniel. It meant a journey of thirty days and constant danger of death. The next sixteen years of uninterrupted labours among these savages were a continual series of privations and sufferings which he used to say were only roses in comparison with what the end was to be. The details may be found in the “Jesuit Relations”.
In 1640 he set out with Father Chaumonot to evangelize the Neutres, a tribe that lived north of Lake Erie, but after a winter of incredible hardship the missionaries returned unsuccessful. In l642 he was sent down to Quebec, where he was given the care of the Indians in the Reservation at Sillery. About the time the war was at its height between the Hurons and the Iroquois, Jogues and Bressani had been captured in an effort to reach the Huron country, and Brébeuf was appointed to make a third attempt. He succeeded. With him on this journey were Chabanel and Garreau, both of whom were afterwards murdered. They reached St. Mary’s on the Wye, which was the central station of the Huron Mission. By 1647 the Iroquois had made peace with the French, but kept up their war with the Hurons, and in 1648 fresh disasters befell the work of the missionaries – their establishments were burned and the missionaries slaughtered. On 16 March, 1649, the enemy attacked St. Louis and seized Brébeuf and Lallemant, who could have escaped but rejected the offer made to them and remained with their flock. The two priests were dragged to St. Ignace, which the Iroquois had already captured.
On entering the village, they were met with a shower of stones, cruelly beaten with clubs, and then tied to posts to be burned to death. Brébeuf is said to have kissed the stake to which he was bound. The fire was lighted under them, and their bodies slashed with knives. Brébeuf had scalding water poured on his head in mockery of baptism, a collar of red-hot tomahawk-heads placed around his neck, a red-hot iron thrust down his throat, and when he expired his heart was cut out and eaten. Through all the torture he never uttered a groan. The Iroquois withdrew when they had finished their work. The remains of the victims were gathered up subsequently, and the head of Brébeuf is still kept as a relic at the Hôtel-Dieu, Quebec.
His memory is cherished in Canada more than that of all the other early missionaries. Although their names appear with his in letters of gold on the grand staircase of the public buildings, there is a vacant niche on the façade, with his name under it, awaiting his statue. His heroic virtues, manifested in such a remarkable degree at every stage of his missionary career, his almost incomprehensible endurance of privations and suffering, and the conviction that the reason of his death was not his association with the Hurons, but hatred of Christianity, has set on foot a movement for his canonization as a saint and martyr. An ecclesiastical court sat in 1904 for an entire year to examine his life and virtues and the cause of his death, and the result of the inquiry was forwarded to Rome.
T.J. CAMPELL (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Noël Chabanel

A Jesuit missionary among the Huron Indians, born in Southern France, 2 February, 1613; slain by a renegade Huron, 8 December, 1649. Chabanel entered the Jesuit novitiate at Toulouse at the age of seventeen, and was professor of rhetoric in several colleges of the society in the province of Toulouse. He was highly esteemed for virtue and learning. In 1643, he was sent to Canada and, after studying the Algonquin language for a time, was appointed to the mission of the Hurons, among whom he remained till his death. In these apostolic labours he was the companion of the intrepid missionary, Father Charles Garnier. As he felt a strong repugnance to the life and habits of the Indians, and feared it might result in his own withdrawal from the work, he nobly bound himself by vow never to leave mission, and he kept his vow to the end. In the “Relation” of 1649-50, Father Ragueneau describes the martyr deaths of Chabanal and Garnier, with biographical sketches of these two fathers.
EDWARD P. SPILLANE (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Charles Garnier

Jesuit Missionary, born at Paris, 1606, of Jean G. and Anne de Garault; died 7 December, 1649. He studied classics, philosophy, and theology at the Jesuit college of Clermont, joining the order in 1624. He begged to be sent to the Canadian mission, and sailed in 1636 on the same fleet as Governor Montmagny. He was sent forthwith to the Huron country, where he was to spend the fourteen years of his heroic apostolate without once returning to Quebec. In six months he mastered the difficult language, and began a career of unceasing charity which was to be crowned by martyrdom. His zeal for the conversion of infidels brooked no hindrance nor delay. Neither distance nor weather, nor danger of death could prevent him from hastening to the stake to baptize and exhort captives of war. Filth, vermin, fetid and loathsome disease could not deter him from tending and redeeming dying sinners. His frail frame miraculously resisted the intense strain. His angelic patience amidst endless trials won him the title of “lamb” of the mission, whereof Brébeuf was styled the “lion”. Several times — first in 1637, then in 1639 with Jogues, and later with Pijart — he strove to convert the Tobacco nation. His constancy finally overcame their obstinacy. They asked for the black robes (1646), and Garnier went to dwell with them until death. After the martyrdom of Fathers Daniel (1648), Brébeuf, and Lalemant (march 1649), he calmly awaited his turn. After decimating the Hurons, the Iroquois attacked the Tobacco nation. During the massacre of St. John’s village, Garnier went about exhorting his neophytes to be faithful. Mortally wounded he dragged himself towards a dying Indian to absolve him, and received the final blow in the very act of charity (1649) on the eve of the Immaculate Conception, a dogma he had vowed to defend. His letters to his brother, a carmelite, reveal his sanctity. Ragueneau testifies to his heroic spirit of sacrifice. Parkman compares his life to that of St. Peter Claver among the blacks and styles it a voluntary martyrdom.
LIONEL LINDSAY (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Gabriel Lalemant

North American MartyrsJesuit missionary, b. at Paris, 10 October, 1610, d. in the Huron country, 17 March 1649. He was the nephew of Charles and Jerome Lalemant, and became a Jesuit at Paris, 24 March 1630. He arrived in Canada, 20 September, 1646 and after remaining in Quebec for two years, was sent to the Huron missions as de Brébeuf’s assistant. He was scarcely there a month when the Iroquois attacked the settlement of St. Ignatius which they burned, and then descended on the mission of St. Louis where they found de Brébeuf and Lalemant. After setting fire to the village and killing many of the inhabitants, they led the two priests back to St. Ignatius where they were tied to stakes and after horrible torture put to death. Lalemant stood by while his companion was being killed. De Brébeuf expired at three in the afternoon. Lalemant’s suffering began at six that evening and lasted until nine o’clock next morning. When the Iroquois withdrew, the bodies of the two priests were carried over to St. Mary’s where they were interred. Some of the relics of Lalemant were subsequently carried to Quebec.
Relations, passim; ROCHEMONTEIX, Les Jesuites de la Nouvelle France; MARTIN, Hurons et Iroquois; FERLAND, Histoire du Canada; Journal des Jesuites.
T.J. CAMPBELL (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Friday, October 18, 2019

If you desire peace...

If you desire peace in your hearts,
in your homes, and in your country,
assemble each evening to recite the Rosary.
Let not even one day pass without saying it,
no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors.

Pope Pius XI

St. Luke the Evangelist

Luke was not a Jew but a Gentile, and thought to have been a Greco-Syrian, probably born in Antioch. Though one of the four Gospel writers – known as the Evangelists – he was not one of Christ's Twelve Apostles. Whether he converted to Christianity from Judaism or paganism is not certain.

He was a disciple and companion of the Apostle Paul who mentions that he was also a medical man, “Luke, the most dear physician” and he probably helped St. Paul with his much-tried health. Luke was certainly with the great apostle in his first two imprisonments in Rome.

According to tradition, the physician and Evangelist was also an artist and painted several pictures of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Among the most famous is the Salus Populi Romani enshrined in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.

Not only is the third Gospel, written in Koine Greek, attributed to Luke by the early fathers, but Biblical scholars are in wide agreement that he also wrote the Acts of the Apostles. While traditional Christian scholarship dates the writing of his Gospel to the 60’s, others place it in the last decades of the first century.

St. Luke is believed to have died a martyr though accounts of his death vary.

He is venerated as St. Luke the Evangelist and his symbol is the bull. He is patron saint of artists, physicians, surgeons, students, and butchers.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

How to console a suffering soul

In order to console a soul in its sufferings,
point out to it all the good it can still do.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

St. Ignatius of Antioch

Ignatius, born in Syria, converted to Christianity at a young age, and was thought to be a disciple of St. John the Evangelist. He is one of the five Apostolic Church Fathers, who were instructed personally by Christ’s apostles.

An early tradition has it that he was the child that Our Lord took up in his arms, as recorded by St Mark: “And taking a child, he set him in the midst of them. Whom when he had embraced, he saith to them: Whosoever shall receive one such child as this in my name, receiveth me (9:35-36).

Consecrated bishop by the Apostles, he succeeded St. Peter and Evodius as the third Bishop of Antioch about the year 69.

An ideal pastor and true soldier of Christ, Ignatius comforted and strengthened his flock when the persecution of Domitian broke out. He was arrested during the persecution of Trajan, and shipped aboard a vessel bound for Rome. Along the route his ship made several stops, which afforded the saint opportunity of confirming the faith of various churches. He wrote several letters to these communities which have been preserved, and deal with early Catholic theology. St. Ignatius was the first to use the Greek word “katholikos”, “universal” in reference to the Church founded by Christ.

At Smyrna, he had the joy of meeting his former disciple and dear friend, St. Polycarp. His route to martyrdom was a sort of triumphant march, with Christian communities flocking to meet him everywhere, hailing and encouraging him on his way.
He was martyred in Rome on the last day of the public games, December 20 in the year 107. Condemned to be devoured by lions in the public arena, his prayer before his death was: “I am God's wheat, and I am to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts, so that I may become the pure bread of Christ. Indeed the lions devoured all of his body leaving only the large bones.

Today, these relics of St. Ignatius rest in the Church of San Clemente in Rome.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Three Streams of the Sacred Heart

From this Divine Heart three streams flow endlessly.
The first is the stream of mercy for sinners; it pours into their hearts
sentiments of contrition and repentance.
The second is the stream of charity which helps all in need and especially aids
those seeking perfection to find the means of surmounting their difficulties.
From the third stream flow love and light for the benefit of His friends
who have attained perfection; these He wishes to unite to Himself
so that they may share His knowledge and commandments
and, in their individual ways, devote themselves wholly to advancing His glory.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Religious of the Visitation Order. Apostle of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, born at Lhautecour, France, 22 July, 1647; died at Paray-le-Monial, 17 October, 1690.
Her parents, Claude Alacoque and Philiberte Lamyn, were distinguished less for temporal possessions than for their virtue, which gave them an honourable position. From early childhood Margaret showed intense love for the Blessed Sacrament, and preferred silence and prayer to childish amusements. After her first communion at the age of nine, she practised in secret severe corporal mortifications, until paralysis confined her to bed for four years. At the end of this period, having made a vow to the Blessed Virgin to consecrate herself to religious life, she was instantly restored to perfect health. The death of her father and the injustice of a relative plunged the family in poverty and humiliation, after which more than ever Margaret found consolation in the Blessed Sacrament, and Christ made her sensible of His presence and protection. He usually appeared to her as the Crucified or the Ecce Homo, and this did not surprise her, as she thought others had the same Divine assistance. When Margaret was seventeen, the family property was recovered, and her mother besought her to establish herself in the world. Her filial tenderness made her believe that the vow of childhood was not binding, and that she could serve God at home by penance and charity to the poor. Then, still bleeding from her self-imposed austerities, she began to take part in the pleasures of the world. One night upon her return from a ball, she had a vision of Christ as He was during the scourging, reproaching her for infidelity after He had given her so many proofs of His love. During her entire life Margaret mourned over two faults committed at this time—the wearing of some superfluous ornaments and a mask at the carnival to please her brothers.

On 25 May, 1671, she entered the Visitation Convent at Paray, where she was subjected to many trials to prove her vocation, and in November, 1672, pronounced her final vows. She had a delicate constitution, but was gifted with intelligence and good judgement, and in the cloister she chose for herself what was most repugnant to her nature, making her life one of inconceivable sufferings, which were often relieved or instantly cured by our Lord, Who acted as her Director, appeared to her frequently and conversed with her, confiding to her the mission to establish the devotion to His Sacred Heart. These extraordinary occurrences drew upon her the adverse criticism of the community, who treated her as a visionary, and her superior commanded her to live the common life. But her obedience, her humility, and invariable charity towards those who persecuted her, finally prevailed, and her mission, accomplished in the crucible of suffering, was recognized even by those who had shown her the most bitter opposition.
Margaret Mary was inspired by Christ to establish the Holy Hour and to pray lying prostrate with her face to the ground from eleven till midnight on the eve of the first Friday of each month, to share in the mortal sadness He endured when abandoned by His Apostles in His Agony, and to receive holy Communion on the first Friday of every month. In the first great revelation, He made known to her His ardent desire to be loved by men and His design of manifesting His Heart with all Its treasures of love and mercy, of sanctification and salvation. He appointed the Friday after the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi as the feast of the Sacred Heart; He called her “the Beloved Disciple of the Sacred Heart”, and the heiress of all Its treasures. The love of the Sacred Heart was the fire which consumed her, and devotion to the Sacred Heart is the refrain of all her writings. In her last illness she refused all alleviation, repeating frequently: “What have I in heaven and what do I desire on earth, but Thee alone, O my God”, and died pronouncing the Holy Name of Jesus. The discussion of the mission and virtues of Margaret Mary continued for years. All her actions, her revelations, her spiritual maxims, her teachings regarding the devotion to the Sacred Heart, of which she was the chief exponent as well as the apostle, were subjected to the most severe and minute examination, and finally the Sacred Congregation of rites passed a favourable vote on the heroic virtues of this servant of God. In March, 1824, Leo XII pronounced her Venerable, and on 18 September, 1864, Pius IX declared her Blessed. When her tomb was canonically opened in July, 1830, two instantaneous cures took place. Her body rests under the altar in the chapel at Paray, and many striking favours have been obtained by pilgrims attracted thither from all parts of the world. Her feast is celebrated on 17 October.
[Note: She was canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920.]
SISTER MARY BERNARD DOLL (Catholic Encyclopedia)



Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Let nothing disturb you

 Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing;

God alone suffices.

St. Teresa of Avila

St. Teresa of Avila

Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila y Ahumada, born at Avila, Old Castile, 28 March, 1515; died at Alba de Tormes, 4 Oct., 1582.

 
The third child of Don Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda by his second wife, Doña Beatriz Davila y Ahumada, who died when the saint was in her fourteenth year, Teresa was brought up by her saintly father, a lover of serious books, and a tender and pious mother. After her death and the marriage of her eldest sister, Teresa was sent for her education to the Augustinian nuns at Avila, but owing to illness she left at the end of eighteen months, and for some years remained with her father and occasionally with other relatives, notably an uncle who made her acquainted with the Letters of St. Jerome, which determined her to adopt the religious life, not so much through any attraction towards it, as through a desire of choosing the safest course. Unable to obtain her father’s consent she left his house unknown to him on Nov., 1535, to enter the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation at Avila, which then counted 140 nuns. The wrench from her family caused her a pain which she ever afterwards compared to that of death. However, her father at once yielded and Teresa took the habit.

 
After her profession in the following year she became very seriously ill, and underwent a prolonged cure and such unskillful medical treatment that she was reduced to a most pitiful state, and even after partial recovery through the intercession of St. Joseph, her health remained permanently impaired. During these years of suffering she began the practice of mental prayer, but fearing that her conversations with some world-minded relatives, frequent visitors at the convent, rendered her unworthy of the graces God bestowed on her in prayer, discontinued it, until she came under the influence, first of the Dominicans, and afterwards of the Jesuits.

Meanwhile God had begun to visit her with “intellectual visions and locutions”, that is manifestations in which the exterior senses were in no way affected, the things seen and the words heard being directly impressed upon her mind, and giving her wonderful strength in trials, reprimanding her for unfaithfulness, and consoling her in trouble. Unable to reconcile such graces with her shortcomings, which her delicate conscience represented as grievous faults, she had recourse not only to the most spiritual confessors she could find, but also to some saintly laymen, who, never suspecting that the account she gave them of her sins was greatly exaggerated, believed these manifestations to be the work of the evil spirit. The more she endeavoured to resist them the more powerfully did God work in her soul. The whole city of Avila was troubled by the reports of the visions of this nun. It was reserved to St. Francis Borgia and St. Peter of Alcantara, and afterwards to a number of Dominicans (particularly Pedro Ibañez and Domingo Bañez), Jesuits, and other religious and secular priests, to discern the work of God and to guide her on a safe road.

The account of her spiritual life contained in the “Life written by herself” (completed in 1565, an earlier version being lost), in the “Relations”, and in the “Interior Castle”, forms one of the most remarkable spiritual biographies with which only the “Confessions of St. Augustine” can bear comparison. To this period belong also such extraordinary manifestations as the piercing or transverberation of her heart, the spiritual espousals, and the mystical marriage. A vision of the place destined for her in hell in case she should have been unfaithful to grace, determined her to seek a more perfect life. After many troubles and much opposition St. Teresa founded the convent of Discalced Carmelite Nuns of the Primitive Rule of St. Joseph at Avila (24 Aug., 1562), and after six months obtained permission to take up her residence there.

Four years later she received the visit of the General of the Carmelites, John-Baptist Rubeo (Rossi), who not only approved of what she had done but granted leave for the foundation of other convents of friars as well as nuns. In rapid succession she established her nuns at Medina del Campo (1567), Malagon and Valladolid (1568), Toledo and Pastrana (1569), Salamanca (1570), Alba de Tormes (1571), Segovia (1574), Veas and Seville (1575), and Caravaca (1576). In the “Book of Foundations” she tells the story of these convents, nearly all of which were established in spite of violent opposition but with manifest assistance from above. Everywhere she found souls generous enough to embrace the austerities of the primitive rule of Carmel. Having made the acquaintance of Antonio de Heredia, prior of Medina, and St. John of the Cross (q.v.), she established her reform among the friars (28 Nov., 1568), the first convents being those of Duruelo (1568), Pastrana (1569), Mancera, and Alcalá de Henares (1570).

A new epoch began with the entrance into religion of Jerome Gratian, inasmuch as this remarkable man was almost immediately entrusted by the nuncio with the authority of visitor Apostolic of the Carmelite friars and nuns of the old observance in Andalusia, and as such considered himself entitled to overrule the various restrictions insisted upon by the general and the general chapter.
On the death of the nuncio and the arrival of his successor a fearful storm burst over St. Teresa and her work, lasting four years and threatening to annihilate the nascent reform. The incidents of this persecution are best described in her letters. The storm at length passed, and the province of Discalced Carmelites, with the support of Philip II, was approved and canonically established on 22 June, 1580. St. Teresa, old and broken in health, made further foundations at Villnuava de la Jara and Palencia (1580), Soria (1581), Granada (through her assiatant the Venerable Anne of Jesus), and at Burgos (1582). She left this latter place at the end of July, and, stopping at Palencia, Valldolid, and Medina del Campo, reached Alba de Torres in September, suffering intensely. Soon she took to her bed and passed away on 4 Oct., 1582, the following day, owing to the reform of the calendar, being reckoned as 15 October. After some years her body was transferred to Avila, but later on reconveyed to Alba, where it is still preserved incorrupt. Her heart, too, showing the marks of the Transverberation, is exposed there to the veneration of the faithful. She was beatified in 1614, and canonized in 1622 by Gregory XV, the feast being fixed on 15 October.

St. Teresa’s position among writers on mystical theology is unique. In all her writings on this subject she deals with her personal experiences, which a deep insight and analytical gifts enabled her to explain clearly. The Thomistic substratum may be traced to the influence of her confessors and directors, many of whom belonged to the Dominican Order. She herself had no pretension to found a school in the accepted sense of the term, and there is no vestige in her writings of any influence of the Aeropagite, the Patristic, or the Scholastic Mystical schools, as represented among others, by the German Dominican Mystics. She is intensely personal, her system going exactly as far as her experiences, but not a step further.

BENEDICT ZIMMERMAN (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Novena to Saint Raphael the Archangel

(Feast day, October 24)

novena-st-raphael
Prayer to St. Raphael
O Heavenly Physician and most Faithful Companion, Saint Raphael, who restored vision to the elder Tobit, conducted the young Tobias every step of his journey and preserved him unharmed; be pleased to hear my petition:
(State petition here)
O, Saint Raphael, be a doctor to my body and soul, cast away all shadows of ignorance, and assist me constantly in the perilous journey of this life, until you lead me to our Heavenly Home, where, as one of the elect, I may forever contemplate the Divine Countenance with thee. Amen
Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be,
Pray for us, o glorious St. Raphael, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
O God, who assigned blessed Raphael, the archangel, to be a companion on the road to your servant Tobias, grant to us Thy servants that we may be guarded by the protection of the same angel and be enforced by his assistance. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen

Monday, October 14, 2019

The underlying motive of Columbus' voyage

 The underlying motive of Columbus' voyage was the conversion of those
who did not know Christ as the living Son of God Who became the Son of Mary. 
His favorite prayer, said in Latin, was
Jesu cum Maria sit nobis in via, which means
"May Jesus with Mary be with us on the way." 
For Columbus this way meant both the voyage through time into eternity
and the voyage in time to bring Mary's faith in her divine Son
to a still unbelieving world.

Fr. John A. Harden, S.J.

We cannot enter heaven without...

We cannot enter a house without first speaking to the porter.
Similarly, we cannot enter heaven
without calling upon the aid of the Blessed Virgin Mary
who is the Portress of Heaven.

St. John Vianney

Pope St. Callistus I

The name of St. Callistus was made famous by the Roman cemetery along the Apian Way that he beautified while he was its papal-appointed superintendent. Today, it still bears his name though he is not buried there but in the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere. The cemetery of St. Callistus is fittingly revered for having many relics of the Christian martyrs buried within its precincts.

Roman by birth, Callistus was the slave of a Christian member of Caesar's household. He later became assistant to Pope St. Zephyrinus and then succeeded him in 218 or 219, reigning for about five years. Although the time in which he reigned was mostly peaceful for Christians under Alexander Severus whose mother was a Christian, there are historical indications that he suffered martyrdom in the year 223.

Even his enemies attest to his having ruled with equanimity, at times contravening the customs of the era in favor of wisdom and mercy.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Like a gigantic circle of fire

The sun began to spin rapidly like a gigantic circle of fire.
Then it stopped momentarily, only to begin spinning vertiginously again.
Its rim became scarlet; whirling, it scattered red flames across the sky.
Their light was reflected on the ground, on the trees, on the bushes, and
on the very faces and clothing of the people,
which took on brilliant hues and changing colors.

After performing this bizarre pattern three times,
the globe of fire seemed to tremble, shake,

and then plunge in a zigzag toward the terrified crowd.
All this lasted about ten minutes.

Finally, the sun zigzagged back to its original place
and once again became still and brilliant, shining with its everyday brightness.

The Miracle of the Sun
as described by Sister Lucia dos Santos and witnessed by more than 70,000 people

St. Edward the Confessor

Edward the Confessor was the second son of King Ethelred II and his Norman wife, Emma. After King Ethelred's death, Emma married Canute, the son of the Danish king who had overthrown her husband in 1017. Hardly ten years old, Edward and his elder brother, Alfred, were sent to Normandy. The Danes having gained the complete mastery of England, the succession, with Emma’s consent, was settled upon Hardicanute, her son by Canute. Upon Canute’s death in 1035, however, his illegitimate son, Harold, taking advantage of Hardicanute’s absence in Denmark, seized the throne for himself.

Edward and Alfred were persuaded to make an attempt to regain the English crown, but this resulted in the cruel death of Alfred who had fallen into Harold's hands, while Edward was obliged to return to Normandy. Edward was only able to reclaim the throne after Canute’s son and heir’s death in 1042. The people were eager for their legitimate ruler to return to the throne, and Edward's accession was received with wide acclaim.

Brought up in the ducal court of his Norman uncle, Edward’s sympathies and loyalties always rested strongly with the Norman people – a trait which would cause him considerable trouble later.

Yielding to the entreaty of his nobles, he took the powerful Earl Godwin’s daughter, Edith, for his wife in 1044. Out of love for God and a desire for greater perfection, Edward had taken a vow of chastity in his youth. With Edith's consent prior to their marriage, he continued to live a life of absolute continence with her.

Edward’s reign was a peaceful one. He was a wise and just ruler, well respected and favored for his revocation of many exorbitant taxes. However, conflict arose between Edward and his father-in-law, Godwin, when the latter accused Edward of bias in his ecclesiastical nominations, appearing to show favoritism to candidates of Norman origin and in rejecting the election of a relative of Godwin’s to the archbishopric of Canterbury. As tension rose to crisis level and violent friction became imminent, Godwin and his sons’ position disintegrated due to the unwillingness of their men to fight the King. Consequently, Edward seized the opportunity to bring the over-mighty Earl to heel and he and his family were banished. Within a year though, Godwin returned, and he and the King were able to reconcile.

During his early exile in Normandy, Edward had bound himself by vow to make a pilgrimage to St. Peter’s tomb in Rome. However, as he could not leave his kingdom without doing injury to his people, Pope St. Leo IX commuted its fulfillment into the rebuilding of St. Peter’s Abbey at Westminster. The King endowed it in a superb manner out of his own patrimony and it is to him that we owe the magnificence of Westminster Abbey.

Edward was the first King of England to use the “royal touch,” a form of laying on of hands by which many suffering from diseases were cured by him.

The saintly King was taken ill while attending the dedication of Westminster Abbey on December 28, 1065. He died the following week on January 5, 1066 and was buried within its walls the next day. Numerous miracles took place at his tomb, wherein his incorrupt body was enshrined, and he was canonized by Pope Alexander III in 1161. He is the only saint buried in Westminster Abbey and one of the few whose relics were not destroyed by Henry VIII.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Sixth Fatima Apparition and the Miracle of the Sun

Header-Sixth Fatima Apparition and the Miracle of the Sun
As on the other occasions, the seers, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, first saw a bright light, and then they saw Our Lady over the holm oak.


Lucia:
What does Your Grace wish of me?
Our Lady: I wish to tell you that I want a chapel built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue to pray the rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.
Lucia: I have many things to ask you: if you would cure some sick persons, and if you would convert some sinners...1Miracle-Sun744x524

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Our Lady: Some yes, others no. They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins.
Becoming sadder, she added, “Let them offend Our Lord no more for He is already much offended.”
Then, opening her hands, Our Lady shone the light issuing from them onto the sun, and as she rose, her own radiance continued to be cast onto the sun.
At that moment, Lucia cried, "Look at the sun!" 
Once Our Lady had disappeared in the expanse of the firmament, three scenes followed in succession, symbolizing first the joyful mysteries of the rosary, then the sorrowful mysteries, and, finally, the glorious mysteries. Lucia alone saw the three scenes; Francisco and Jacinta saw only the first.
The first scene: Saint Joseph appeared beside the sun with the Child Jesus and Our Lady of the Rosary. It was the Holy Family. The Virgin was dressed in white with a blue mantle. Saint Joseph was also dressed in white, and the Child Jesus in light red. Saint Joseph blessed the crowd, making the Sign of the Cross three times. The Child Jesus did the same.
The second scene: A vision of Our Lady of Sorrows, without the sword in her breast, and of Our Lord overwhelmed with sorrow on the way to Calvary.
Our Lord made the Sign of the Cross to bless the people.
Lucia could only see the upper part of Our Lord's body.
The third scene: Finally, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, crowned queen of heaven and earth, appeared in a glorious vision holding the Child Jesus near her heart.
Miracle of the Sun-Newspaper articleWhile these scenes took place, the great throng of 70,000 spectators witnessed the miracle of the sun.
It had rained all during the apparition. At the end of the conversation between Our Lady and Lucia – when the Blessed Virgin rose and Lucia shouted, "Look at the sun!" – the clouds parted, revealing the sun as an immense silver disk shining with an intensity never before seen – though not blinding.
This lasted only an instant. Then the immense disk began to "dance."
The sun spun rapidly like a gigantic circle of fire. Then it stopped momentarily, only to begin spinning vertiginously again. Its rim became scarlet; whirling, it scattered red flames across the sky.
Their light was reflected on the ground, on the trees, on the bushes, and on the faces and clothing of the people, which took on brilliant hues and changing colors.
After performing this bizarre pattern three times, the globe of fire seemed to tremble, shake, and then plunge in a zigzag toward the terrified crowd.
All this lasted about ten minutes. Finally, the sun zigzagged back to its original place and once again became still and brilliant, shining with its normal brightness. The cycle of the apparitions had ended.
Many people noticed that their clothes, soaking wet from the rain, had suddenly dried.
The miracle of the sun was also seen by numerous witnesses up to twenty-five miles away from the place of the apparition.





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Medicine for the body, medicine for the soul

In the life of the body a man is sometimes sick,
and unless he takes medicine, he will die.
Even so in the spiritual life a man is sick on account of sin.
For that reason he needs medicine so that he may be restored to health;
and this grace is bestowed in the Sacrament of Penance.

St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Wilfrid of York

Wilfrid was born in 634, the son of a nobleman. At odds with his stepmother, he was sent to the court of King Oswy of Northumbria, where Queen Eanfleda, complying with his wishes, kindly saw to his education in the sacred sciences.

In 654 he went to Europe with St. Benet, and after a stay in Lyons, went on to Rome where he studied under Boniface the Archdeacon, secretary to Pope St. Martin.
Back in England, in league with King Alcfrith of Deira, he labored to bring the Roman discipline to the English church, taking distance from Celtic usages. Among the Roman practices he worked to establish in England was the Roman calculation for the celebration of Easter.

He became abbot of the monastery of Ripon where he introduced the rule of St. Benedict, and soon after was ordained a priest.

Appointed Bishop of York, he went to France to be consecrated. Lingering, for reasons unknown, then suffering shipwreck, when he returned, found that another, St. Chad, had been appointed in his place by King Oswy.

Wilfrid did not dispute the election, but later, St. Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, found that the appointment of St. Chad had been irregular and placed St. Wilfrid in the see of York.

As a bishop, he was exemplary and beloved of his people, but his path was not peaceful. First at odds with the heir to Oswy, King Egfrith, and then with the latter’s successor, Aldfrith, he twice lost his see and twice had to travel to Rome to be reinstated, besides facing all sorts of difficulties.

He died in 709 and his body is buried in his monastery of Ripon. Part of the epitaph on his tomb reads: “… drove error far, and showed his folk sound law and liturgy … At home, abroad long time in tempests tossed … he bore a bishop’s charge … Passed to rest and gained the joys of heaven … Grant Lord his flock may tread their shepherd’s path!”

Friday, October 11, 2019

Future Belongs to Those Who Oppose Drag Queen Story Hours

Future Belongs to Those Who Oppose Drag Queen Story Hours
Future Belongs to Those Who Oppose Drag Queen Story Hours
A new kind of debate is now raging inside conservativism. In times past, we discussed the strategic and tactical options by which we might work toward common goals inside the existing political framework.
Today, the framework itself is in question. What is being discussed is the classical liberal foundation of the American political system. Indeed, both left and right have worked inside this framework for much of our nation’s history. Rarely have we faced such a challenge to the way America resolves its problems.

However, liberalism is in crisis.  Our society is in shambles and drifting steadily leftward. The most outlandish behaviors – political correctness, transgenderism and Satanism—are being mainstreamed. People are questioning the system because there appear to be no mechanisms inside this framework to prevent this decay and drift. They are looking for other solutions.
The Drag Queen Story Hour Trigger
This new state of affairs found its expression in the ongoing dialogue between National Review’s David French and First Things contributor Sohrab Ahmari. The case that triggered the French-Ahmari debate is the proliferation of what are called Drag Queen Story Hours. These events feature transvestite men who read LGBTQ-themed stories to three-year-old-and-up children at tax-supported public libraries.
According to the classical liberal interpretation defended by French, the story hours are an expression of free speech, regrettably competing in the marketplace of ideas. While we may not like it, we should not suppress but celebrate these events as expressions of differing opinions of what comprises a vision of the good life in a pluralistic society.
Help Remove Jesus Toilet Lid on Amazon
Opposing parents and conservatives are told they must allow these tax-funded public forums. They take place in value-neutral platforms open to all. To deny one party access is to deny it to all.
Reaching the Point of Absurdity
Hence comes the questioning. Common sense dictates that these events that corrupt youth be canceled.
Before our days, no one could ever have thought that we would have decayed to the point that drag queens would be reading to our three-year-olds. However, we have reached that point of absurdity. The maximizers of liberty have decreed that all must be permitted even though an overwhelming majority inside the community does not desire these lewd performances.
Satanic Christ Porn-blasphemy at Walmart — Sign Petition
In a democratic society, where the people are supposed to rule, how does this angry majority defend themselves against the Drag Queen Story Hours and similar things that happen in their communities?
There appears to be no answer.
Liberty Gone Awry
For this reason, some say liberalism has failed because its inner dynamism has pushed unrestrained and disordered liberty beyond the limits needed for society to function properly. A social consensus around certain moral norms that used to filter excesses is crumbling and coming apart. A tiny minority can now tyrannize over others in the name of liberty gone awry.
The problem with liberalism is that its value-neutral public square easily becomes a value-free place where a Ten Commandments monument and a Satanist Baphomet statue share equal space. Sacred text and pornography are equally qualified as literature. There is no notion of a moral right and wrong, save that defined by the exercise of freedom. Except when it threatens the physical integrity of another, anything can and must be tolerated. We must recognize any absurd self-identification or pronoun.
How Panera’s Socialist Bread Ruined Company
Inside today’s framework, individual freedom trumps everything. Those opposing immorality in the public square have no ground upon which to stand. There are no criteria upon which to base the standards that would limit and restrain. A weak reference to tradition, custom or even public decency immediately gives rise to cries of imposing one co-equal opinion upon another—for indeed it is.
Even an appeal to the common good or the highest good found in more classical political text falls upon deaf liberal ears since no one can define what is meant by good and even common.
No Declaration of Evil
We have reached a point where nothing can be declared definitively evil. Everything is good, save those who claim an exclusive title to good. There is no evil save those who declare other things to be intrinsically wrong. Whatever the individual decides is good and right. Even “consensual” cannibalism is defended in today’s sick public square.
As a result, those who establish the limits of what is “good” are those who forever push the envelope toward what is forbidden. Today, it is not Christianity that decides what is “moral,” but drag queens, LGBT activists and the Satanic Temple that are stretching the limits of social acceptability to their activities. And they are imposing their views upon the opposition with increasing severity.
Recourse to a Universal Moral Law
The only way to fight today’s destructive moral relativism is to have recourse to a universal moral law based on human nature and not individual whims. There must be a return to a natural law discussion that elevates the debate beyond the field of personal opinions and whims.
That is to say, there is a natural moral law, which Saint Paul says, is inscribed on the hearts of all men whereby all might know by reason those moral precepts that define the good in life. This law’s general precept, from which all the others follow, is that “good is to be done and pursued, and evil is to be avoided.” This law is valid for all times and all people in all places.
This law is not limited to Christians, although the Church is its best guardian. Throughout history, it has provided that rock of moral stability that favored human prospering. It is hardly a novel invention since American law and English common law are rooted in natural law traditions. It is not too much to insist that we might return to our roots.
The Tyranny of Anti-Natural Law
The alternative is the coming tyranny. The next aberrations beyond the story hours will soon be upon us.  When modernity abandoned natural law, it enthroned a kind of anti-natural law. It replaced the constraints of human nature with the ever-expanding expressions of freedom. This new anti-natural law gives free rein to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s fantasy world where each has “the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Indeed, when the insatiable human passions rule, they prove to be the greatest of tyrants.
If conservatives are to win the battle for America’s future, the debate needs to be reframed in these terms of right and wrong, good and evil. Those who play by the rules of the old liberal framework of moral relativism are doomed to failure since they must accept everything in the name of disordered liberty. Indeed, the future belongs to those who are not afraid to proclaim the truth: Drag Queen Story Hours are wrong.
As seen on CNS News.

Picture her in your heart

The Holy Ghost did not describe Mary in the Gospels
but left it to you to picture her in your heart.
In this way, you might comprehend
that there is no grace, no perfection, and no glory
conceivable in a simple creature
that is lacking to her.

St. Thomas of Villanova

St. Mary Soledad

Christened Bibiana Antonia Emanuela, her parents were Francis Torres and Antonia Acosta, an exemplary Christian couple running a small business in Madrid.

At first Emanuela thought of joining the Dominicans whose convent she frequented, but her request was turned down due to poor health and she decided to wait for a clearer direction to her life.

This direction came through Madrid’s Vicar, Fr. Miguel Martinez y Sanz worried about the state of the sick in his parish. He gathered seven women into a religious community devoted to their service. Emanuela was among these first "handmaids" and took the name Maria Soledad – “Solitude”, a Spanish title for the Sorrowful Mother.

Five years later Fr. Miguel took half of the community to make another foundation, leaving Mary Soledad as superior in Madrid.  After dealing with difficulties that threatened the dissolution of the group, Mother Soledad was able to secure the support of Fr. Gabino Sanchez and the queen. At this time, the community was named Handmaids of Mary Serving the Sick.

After becoming involved with the care of young delinquents, the community received ecclesiastical approval. During the cholera outbreak of 1865, their dedicated service won the love and respect of all.

Again there were difficulties and, victim of slander, Mother Soledad was removed as superior only to be reinstated after an investigation. After several of the sisters left the community, the Handmaids grew in number and in 1875 began a ministry in Havana, Cuba. The new institute received papal approval in 1876 and the community spread throughout Spain opening houses and hospitals.

After governing the Handmaids for thirty-five years, Mother Soledad died of pneumonia on January 18, 1893. At the time of her death, there were forty-six houses of the congregation spread throughout Europe and Latin America.

In 1896, at the first exhumation of her body, required during the process of canonization, it was still intact and exuded a sweet fragrance. A few years later, however, only bones remained.

In the United States the congregation is known as the Sisters Servants of Mary, Ministers of the Sick. They have six communities still involved in home health care.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

What the Holy Rosary Can Do

The Holy Rosary,
recited with the meditation on the sacred mysteries,
is a sacrifice of praise to God for the great gift of our redemption
and a holy reminder of the sufferings, death and glory of Jesus Christ.

St. Louis de Montfort

St. Francis Borgia

Francis Borgia belonged to one of the most prominent families of the kingdom of Aragon, a family that gave the Church two popes. His father, Juan Borgia, was the third Duke of Gandia. On his mother Juana’s side, Francis was the great-grandson of King Ferdinand V of Aragon.

On his arrival at the imperial court at eighteen, Francis crossed paths momentarily with a man who impressed him, and who was being arrested by the Inquisition: Ignatius of Loyola. The following year, Francis married Eleanor de Castro, a Portuguese noblewoman, with whom he had eight children. On his father’s death in 1543, he became the fourth Duke of Gandia.

At his wife's death in 1546, Francis sought admittance to the Society of Jesus. Finally, in 1550, after settling his children and the affairs of his estate, he entered the Jesuits in Rome. The news of the “Duke turned Jesuit” spread and at his first public Mass the crowd was so great, the altar had to be moved outside.

After doing wonders throughout his country he crossed into Portugal and surpassed himself there. In 1554 St. Ignatius made him commissary general of the Society of Jesus in Spain.

As commissary general, he practically founded the Society in Spain establishing many houses and colleges. He was crucial in dissolving the prejudices that his relative, Emperor Charles V, harbored against the Jesuits. He also assisted at the death of the dowager queen Juana, who had gone mad fifty years before, on the death of her husband. She died healed and at peace. He also met St. Teresa of Avila, the great reformer of the Carmelite Order, and was the first to recognize her greatness.

Back in Rome, St. Charles Borromeo, and Cardinal Ghislieri, later Pope Pius V. regularly attended his sermons. At the death of Father Laynez, second general of the Jesuits, Francis was elected Father General of the Jesuit Order.

Backed by St. Pius V who admired and trusted him, he was able to do great things for the Order in Rome and abroad, building two churches, and at times using his personal influence to obtain acceptance of the Jesuits.

Worn by the responsibilities of his post and a last trip throughout Europe in which he was publicly hailed as a saint, he returned to Rome on a littler. Through his brother, Thomas, he sent a blessing to his children and grandchildren, and as their names were spoken to him, he prayed for each.  He died on the night of September 30.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Lust

You have heard that it was said to them of old:
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her,
hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5: 27-28

St. Denis of Paris

The flourishing Church of Gaul, in present-day France, suffered terribly under the persecution of Emperor Decius, and Pope Fabian sent the Italian-born Denis and other missionary bishops to encourage and restore the Faith there.

Denis and two inseparable companions, the priest Rusticus, and Eleutherius, a deacon, arrived in the neighborhood of Paris and settled on the island in the Seine River. On this island Denis set about building a church. His fearless and tireless preaching made many converts, but also excited the anger and envy of the heathen priest. Inciting the people against the new preachers, he prevailed upon Governor Fescenninus Sissinnius, to forcibly put a stop to their teaching. Denis and his two companions were seized, tortured, and beheaded. Legend has it that St. Denis’ body stood up, and before the astonished onlookers, picked up his head, and walked six miles.

At the burial site of the three martyrs, a small shrine was erected, later to be replaced by a great basilica which became the burial place of the French kings.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

How much?

The true measure of loving God
is to love Him
without measure.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

St. Keyne

Keyne was a princess, one of the many children of King Brycan of South Wales. Growing up into a very beautiful young woman she was sought in marriage by many noble lords, but resolutely refused all of them. Instead, she took a vow of virginity and retired into solitude. It was after this resolution that she was called “Cain Wyry”, Keyne the Maiden.

Crossing over the Severn, she set up her abode on the left bank. She finally settled in the area of present-day Keynsham, in Somerset. She lived there for years making many journeys and founding oratories and churches.

Her nephew, St. Cadoc, later convinced her to return to Wales, where she settled near a mountain, at which place she caused a healing well to spring up. She died on October 8 about the year 505.
Photo by: Buckstymie

Monday, October 7, 2019

Our Lady of the Rosary

The Blessed Virgin Mary first gave the Rosary to St. Dominic of Guzman in a vision in 1208, as he earnestly begged God for a solution to the Albigensian heresy then aggressively infecting the south of France. After St. Dominic began to preach the Rosary, the days of the Albigensian error were numbered.

The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was instituted by Pope St. Pius V in honor and thanksgiving for the great victory of the Christian Maritime Coalition against the Muslim fleet at Lepanto in 1571. The "League" was formed in response to the Muslim advances made in Cyprus, with the intent of invading Western Europe. Once its forces were gathered ready to meet the Turk in the Mediterranean, St. Pius V blessed the banner of the fleet, which was solemnly consigned to its Commander in Chief, the young Don Juan of Austria, the twenty-four-year-old half-brother of King Phillip II of Spain.

As the fate of Europe hung in the balance, on October 7, 1571, the Sovereign Pontiff called for a Rosary procession in Rome and it was during that procession that the victory was decided for the Christian fleet.

At first St. Pius V instituted October 7 as the feast of Our Lady of Victory. In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title to that of “Feast of the Holy Rosary”.

In 1716 Pope Clement XI inserted the feast into the Roman Catholic calendar of saints and extended it to the whole of the Latin Rite, assigning the feast to the first Sunday in October. In 1913, Pope St. Pius X changed the date back to October 7.
On May 13, 1917, there began in Fatima, Portugal a series of apparitions of a luminous lady to three little Portuguese shepherds, Lucia dos Santos and Francisco and Jacinta Marto. She asked them to return to the same spot for five consecutive months, and that in October she would work a miracle for all to believe and reveal who she was. In every apparition the lady asked for the daily recitation of the Rosary as a remedy to life’s ills, and for peace in the world. On October 13, 1917, a crowd of 70,000 people witnessed the astounding miracle of the sun, as the fiery orb performed a fantastic dance in the sky above. The heavenly lady then revealed her name: “I am the Lady of the Rosary”.

We shall be judged

In the evening of our lives,
we shall be judged
by our love for God and neighbor.

St. John of the Cross

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Padre Pio's Advice on Guardian Angels

Padre Pio's Advice on Guardian Angels
Complied by Tonia Long


It is well known that Padre Pio had encounters with angels throughout his life. Through these encounters he came to know a great deal about their powers and their role in our lives: “to light, to guard, to rule, to guide.”
In a letter he wrote on July 15, 1913, to Anita, one of his spiritual daughters, he gives her valuable advice regarding how to act in relation to her guardian angel, locutions, and prayer.
As each and every one of us has a Guardian Angel, it would do us well to take Padre Pio’s advice to heart.
Dear daughter of Jesus,
May your heart always be a temple of the Holy Spirit. May Jesus increase the fire of his love in your soul and may he always smile upon you, as he does on all the souls that he loves. May Mary Most Holy smile upon you during all the events of your life, and abundantly make up for the absence of your earthly mother.
May your good guardian angel always watch over you, and be your guide on the rough path of life. May he always keep you in the grace of Jesus and hold you up with his hands so that you may not hurt your foot on a stone. May he protect you under his wings from all the deceits of the world, the devil and the flesh.
Have great devotion, Anita, to this beneficent angel. How consoling it is to know that we have a spirit who, from the womb to the tomb, never leaves us even for an instant, not even when we dare to sin. And this heavenly spirit guides and protects us like a friend, a brother.
But it is very consoling to know that this angel prays unceasingly for us, and offers God all of our good actions, our thoughts, and our desires, if they are pure.
Oh! For goodness’ sake, don’t forget this invisible companion, ever present, ever disposed to listen to us and even more ready to console us. Oh, wonderful intimacy! Oh, blessed companionship! If only we could understand it! Keep him always before your mind’s eye. Remember this angel’s presence often, thank him, pray to him, always keep up a good relationship. Open yourself up to him and confide your suffering to him. Be always afraid of offending the purity of his gaze. Know this, and keep it well present in your mind. He is easily offended, very sensitive. Turn to him in moments of supreme anguish and you will experience his beneficent help.
Never say that you are alone in the battle against your enemies; never say that you have no one to whom you can open your heart and confide. It would be a grave injustice to this heavenly messenger.
Humble yourself before the Lord and trust in him; spend your energy, with the help of divine grace, in the practice of the virtues, and then let grace work in you as God desires. The virtues are what sanctify the soul and not supernatural phenomena.
Pray out loud as well; the time has not yet come to abandon these prayers. Support the difficulties you experience when doing this with patience and humility. Also be ready to suffer distractions and dryness, and you must not, under any circumstances, abandon prayer and meditation. It is the Lord who wants to treat you this way for your spiritual advantage.
Forgive me if I end here. Only God knows how difficult it has been for me to write this letter. I am very sick. Pray much that the Lord may desire to free me from this body soon.
I bless you, together with the excellent Francesca. May you live and die in the arms of Jesus.
P. Pio





As a mother feels no disgust in dressing the sores of her child...

As a mother feels no disgust in dressing the sores of her child,
so Mary, the heavenly infirmarian,
never refuses to care for sinners who have recourse to her.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

St. Bruno

Bruno, of a prominent family of Cologne, was born in this ancient city around the year 1030. A promising scholar, he studied at the cathedral school of Rheims, and was ordained to the priesthood in his native Cologne.

In 1056 he became a professor of grammar and theology at his former school in Rheims where he taught brilliantly for eighteen years. Many eminent scholars and philosophers studied under him and did him honor throughout Europe, including Eudes de Châtillon, later Pope Urban II, who convoked the First Crusade.

In 1076, he was appointed chancellor of the diocese, and was about to be elected as Archbishop of Rheims when he announced he was retiring into solitude. At first, Bruno placed himself under the direction of Robert of Molesmes, who later was instrumental in the founding of the Abbey of Citeaux.

Later, given land by St. Hugh, the Bishop of Grenoble, he and six other followers settled in the mountainous reaches of Chartreuse where they first build an oratory surrounded by individual cells. Such was the origin of the Order of the Carthusians, which takes its name from Chartreuse. A great admirer of the Order's founder, Bishop Hugh made his spiritual retreats at the Chartreuse where he took Bruno for his spiritual father.

Hearing of his sanctity, and personally acquainted with his prudence and knowledge, his former pupil, now Pope Urban II, summoned Bruno to Rome. Although this presented a great trial for the saint, he obeyed, leaving one of his disciples, Landuin, as prior of the Chartreuse.

In Rome Bruno served the Holy Pontiff in various capacities, including helping in the preparation of several synods with the aim of reforming the clergy. Pressed by the pope to accept the archbishopric of Reggio in Calabria, Bruno earnestly excused himself, begging to be allowed to live in solitude. Pope Urban II finally consented that he retire into Calabria, but not so far off as Chartreuse.

With the help of a noble friend, Count Roger, Bruno settled in the valley of La Torre with a few new disciples from Rome.  Here he embraced the life of solitude with more joy and fervor than ever. It was here also, that Landuin visited him on behalf of the monks of the Chartreuse. They wished to consult their founder as to the manner in which their monastery should follow more faithfully in the spirit of its founder. Bruno instructed, comforted and urged them to perseverance and blessed them.

As he felt death approaching in 1101, Bruno gathered his monks about him and made a public confession of his life, and a profession of faith, which was lovingly preserved by his spiritual sons. He resigned his soul to God on October 6 in the year 1101.

According to Carthusian custom, which shuns all form of publicity, Bruno was never formally canonized. Nevertheless, in 1514, the Order obtained permission from Pope Leo X to keep Bruno’s feast. In 1674, Pope Clement X extended the commemoration of his feast to the Universal Church.