Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fr. Marie - Dominique Philippe and the Community of St. Jean (John) -- Part I

Fr. Marie - Dominique Philippe

I had seen photos of the founder of my Oblate Community -- the Community of St. John -- but I had never met him in person. When I journeyed to Rome on pilgrimage, I met this inspired man of God for the first time and realized how blessed how I am to be a part of the congregation which he founded 30 years ago.

Born in 1912 in northern France, Father Marie - Dominique Philippe, was eighth in a family of twelve children. Seven children within his immediate family chose to enter the religious life.

Encouraged by his uncle, Dominican Father Pierre Thomas Dehau, he entered the Order of Preachers in 1930 at the age of 18. He studied philosophy and theology at Saulchoir in Kain, Belgium, and was ordained to the priesthood on July 14, 1936, at the age of 24.

Father Philippe was appointed Professor of theology at the Saulchoir at Etiolles, Paris, then later served as Professor of Philosophy at the University of Fribourg from 1945 - 1982.

Several of Fr. Philippe's (French) students who desired to consecrate their lives totally to Christ asked him to be their spiritual director. During the summer of 1975, five of these students decided to meet regularly with a priest from the diocese of Versailles, France. The priest was one of Fr. Philippe's former students who had been authorized by his bishop to undertake studies leading toward a doctorate in theology. A communal life was initiated with the students, which included rising at 5:30 a.m., one hour of silent parent, Morning prayer, and then Mass.

Fr. Philippe did not live with the group, but continued living with his fellow Dominicans. He came to see the brothers weekly for spiritual direction. At this time, he did not consider himself to be mandated to assist in the birth of a new religious community. His official duty was teaching philosophy and he sent the young people who came to him back to their bishops or religious congregations.

Then what happened to change his mind?

Fr. Philippe took the advice of Marthe Robin, a French mystic ,(1902 - 1981) who has been compared to St. Catherine of Siena and St. Therese of Lisieux. Marthe was born a normal, healthy intelligent girl who, as a young woman, became mysteriously stricken with paralysis of her legs, then her arms, and was finally forced to remain in bed. She ceased eating, drinking, and sleeping. In 1930, she received the stigmata and began to relive the Passion of Christ in her body each week. Having consecrated herself totally to God, Marthe was struck blind in 1940, and offered her eyes for France.

Until 1981, Marthe welcomed into her room thousands of visitors who came seeking spiritual advice and encouragement. During her lifetime, she served as spiritual director to many clergy.
Fr. Philippe had known Marthe since 1946. He presented his dilemma to her: some of his students wanted to form a little community and were seeking his help. Marthe replied quite simply that he couldn't refuse their request; he couldn't abandon them.

Fr. Philippe began a year long search for a community coomunity for the group. On December 8, 1975, at the end of a retreat preached at the abbey of Lerins, the group consecrated themselves to Mary.

The first official recognition dates from Rome took place on April 27, 1978, when the Congregation for Religious allowed the Abbot of Lerins to proceed with the brothers' ties to the abbey "ad experimentum", that is, as an experiment carried out provisionally (for seven years), with the intention that the Community would eventually obtain its own statute.

It was then that we took the name "Community of Saint John. A rule of life was drafted by Fr. Philippe, who was inspired particularly by the prayer of Christ in Chapter 17 of Saint John's Gospel - and the Constitutions, which describe the internal affairs of the Community.

Thus the essential bond with "Peter" was rapidly established. It is found in the Rule of Life, which explicitly states that the "Brothers of Saint John will obey the Sovereign Pontiff as their highest superior".

Why was the Community of St. John founded?

From the very beginning, the community insisted on the search for truth through philosophical and theological work; a life consecrated to God, emphasizing silent prayer in community and the Eucharist; the importance of communal life in intense fraternal charity.

Yet it is impossible to live all this without the discovery of a personal bond with the Virgin Mary whom we receive as our Mother, following the example of St. John (Jn. 19:27) : "And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they may also be consecrated in truth" (John 17:19).

For further information:

Marthe Robin: A Modern Day Mystic, by Jean M. Heimann, Canticle Magazine, Fall 2005.

St. Jean.Com -- International website

The Community of St. John in the United States

Children of Hope

US Supreme Court Gives Unanimous Victory to Pro-Life Protesters

Via Operation Rescue:

Washington, DC - Feb 28, 2006 The United States Supreme Court issued an unanimous ruling today finally clearing pro-life protesters of a 20-year old suit brought by NOW under the Federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) laws. Joseph Scheidler, a long- time pro-life activist from Chicago, took the lead in defending the case on behalf of over 20 defendants, including Operation Rescue.

In an historic third trip to the nation’s highest court, Justice Stephen Breyer issued the unanimous opinion clearly stating that the case is over and that pro- lifers may not be sued under RICO. This decision also puts an end to a nationwide injunction against the protesters.“We are very excited to finally see this case put behind us once and for all,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “This is a victory not only for pro-lifers, who can now exercise their First Amendment rights to speak out about abortion without fear of a RICO suit, but it is also a victory for the women and babies who are entering our nation’s abortion mills, who now will have greater access to more information and practical assistance that can help them spare the lives of their pre-born children.”

“This is a victory that is a long time in coming, but whose arrival was never in doubt,” said Rev. Patrick Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition. “Every American owes Joe Scheidler a debt of gratitude for fighting this battle over two decades to preserve freedoms for all Americans.”

Get Fr. Frank Pavone's reaction here.

Read Joe Scheidler's reaction here.

My reaction:

Praise the Lord!
Thank you, Jesus, for anwering our prayers!
Thank you, Mary!

"Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied."

~ Matthew 5:6

"Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer."

~ Romans 12: 12

Monday, February 27, 2006

Entertainment for a Monday Afternoon

I am a d10

Take the quiz at dicepool.com

To avoid unloading about 200 boxes I decided to take this quiz. It's good at avoiding other meaningful tasks, too. Enjoy!

Via Northwestern Winds.

Which Star Trek Character Are You?

Kathryn Janeway. All your friends and those around
you will be there at your side, just don't
get too far away from them or they'll think
you're in trouble.

Which Star Trek Character Are You?

Via Church of the Masses.

Back From Pilgrimage: Some Highlights

I am back from my pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi, Siena, and Florence. We also completed the move to our new home this weekend. Praise the Lord for His many blessings and abundant graces! Thank you so much for all your prayers.

The pilgrimage was challenging for me in many ways, but the sacrifices were well worth it. Here are just a few highlights of my trip:

1. The opportunity to personally meet and shake hands with Pope Benedict XVI. (I was hoping to just be able to get a glimpse of him!)

2. The opportunity to meet with approximately 18oo fellow Oblates, Brothers, and Sisters from the Community of St. Jean (John) from all over the world in Rome to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its founding.

3. The opportunity to meet our 93 year old founder,
Fr. Dominique Phillipe, O.P. -- to hear his words of inspiration and encouragement -- and to receive the Holy Eucharist from him.

4. Eucharistic Adoration at St. Peter's Basilica

5. Visiting the Catacombs.

6. Touring the Sistine Chapel, which was breath-taking.

7. Visiting the hermitage of St. Francis of Assisi. (Assisi was my favorite place.)

8. Picnicking with the Community outside of
the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

9. Visiting St. Dominic's Basilica in Siena, where my Confirmation saint --
Catherine of Siena -- lived. Her incorrupt head is located here.

10. Eucharistic Adoration at Siena, where a
Eucharistic miracle first occurred over 250 years ago and continues today.

I hope to share more with you as I settle into my new home. Thanks again for all your prayers. God bless you!

St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows

Also known as Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother; Gabriel Possenti; Francis Possenti; Francesco Possenti

Francis Possenti was the eleventh of thirteen children born to Agnes and Sante, a well-to-do professional and respected Catholic family, in Assisi, Italy on March 1, 1838.

He was baptized in the same font in which St. Francis of Assisi had been baptized. His later life would mirror that of Francis -- as he turned from the pleasures and excesses of this world to the glory of the next.

Francis grew up in a household where devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows was a part of his everyday family life. He lived the life of a typical teenager, becoming popular for his warm and outgoing personality, his love of dancing, hunting and the theater.

During a procession of an icon of the Mother of Sorrows, Francis heard Our Lady speak to him and tell him that he was not meant to live in the world, but God desired him to become a religious. On the night that his father had arranged for him to become engaged, Francis departed, leaving his home to enter the Passionate novitiate. His journey, however, was delayed by well-intentioned relatives, who attempted to dissuade Francis from joining the order. Nevertheless, he was able to overcome all their arguments and persuade them of the genuine nature of his religious vocation.

Francis took vows in the Passionist community, taking the name of Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, reflecting the devotion -- planted in his childhood home by his mother's image of the Pieta that he always had to Our Lady of Sorrows. In the novitiate he cultivated a great love for Christ Crucified and Our Lady of Sorrows. Gabriel attained holiness in a very short space of time; he was consumed with love for Christ, through Our Lady of Sorrows. Indeed as well as the vow made by all Passionists to spread devotion to Christ Crucified, Gabriel took an additional vow to spread devotion to Our Sorrowful Mother.

His writings reflect his close relationship with God and His Mother, especially his Resolutions which detail in great precision the method he used to attain such unity with the Passion of Christ and perfection of the Passionist rule. As a Passionist he grew daily in love with Our Lord and Mary, the Virgin of Sorrows and soon came to the perfection of Christian virtue.

He died from tuberculosis at the young age of 24. Saint Gabriel is remarkable because he obediently and willingly converted in a very short time from a life of excess, devoted to the pleasures of this world, to becoming inextricably linked to the Passion of Our Lord. He shows us that we are all blessed with the graces to fall in love with Our Lord, no matter what the cost.

Pope Benedict XV canonized Gabriel in 1920 and declared him a patron of Catholic youth. His patronage is also invoked by the Church for students, seminarians, novices and clerics. Saint Gemma Galgani held that it was St. Gabriel who had cured her of a disease and led her to a Passionist vocation.

Message from St. Gabriel:

“Love Mary! She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand to accompany you on the trip to eternity.”

~ Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother

Prayer to Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother

O good St. Gabriel, God inspired you to love the passion of Jesus as it was reflected in the heart of Mary, his mother. By her side, you stood beneath the cross of Jesus, gazing on him as she did, and sharing her compassion.

O St. Gabriel, we wish, like you, to grow in love for God and all his people. Remember us in the trials of our life. Remember especially those who are young and in need.

Support us, all our days, by your holy prayers. And when this life is done, may we join you in heaven in the joyful company of Jesus and Mary. Amen.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Nine Years ago tomorrow, on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, I gave my heart to My Mother. February 11th is the day I consecrated myself to Mary.

This year, it is the day I will begin a new spiritual journey -- I will make a pilgrimage to Rome and to various cities in Italy, including Siena and Assisi. I can hardly contain myself --I feel so much joy at the opportunity to grow in grace and to visit these holy places where my favorite saints once lived. I am also quite eager to see our new Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. What makes it even more special is the fact that while health problems and financial hardships prevented me from going on similar pilgrimages in the past, they are no longer obstacles in my path. So, I know that God is opening the door for me to take part in something very unique and special. The fact that this is to take place on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes tells me that my Mother played a large part in making this dream of mine a reality. I pray that I will be obedient to what God is asking me to do as a result of this great grace and be open to the new ways that He is asking me to grow spiritually through this pilgrimage.

I will be gone but a short time -- approximately two weeks -- and will return to blogging very soon. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers and your special intentions close to my heart.


Our Blessed Mother appeared to a very poor young girl, Bernadette Soubirous, 18 times in 1858. On the feast of the Annunciation in 1858, Our Lady revealed to Bernadette, " I am the Immaculate Conception." Because the dogma of the Immaculate Conception had been officially proclaimed less than four years earlier, and Bernadette could not have even known of its existence, great credibility was given to Bernadette by the repetition of the Blessed Mother’s words. It was an affirmation from Heaven about the truth of the dogma.

During one of these apparitions, when Bernadette was told by Mary to begin digging in the ground; she obediently did so, to the townspeople’s scorn. Water immediately began flowing from the spot where Bernadette dug, a tiny stream that has since has grown to the size of a small river. Thousands of healings have been reported as the result of people bathing in or drinking this miraculous water. The walls of the grotto where the Blessed Mother appeared are lined with the crutches of the lame who have walked away from the waters, totally healed.

What is the main message of Lourdes? First, we are called to look at the grace and holiness of Christ in Mary, become converted, and be healed. It is a call to enter fully into the mystery of the redemption. The second part of the message was Bernadette herself – simple Bernadette. She was uneducated and poor. She could not explain things very well. But, she had a pure heart. And, it was this purity of heart that opened her up to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit and to experience the fruits of the redemption.

Our Lady made unusual requests of Bernadette – to eat grass like salad, to dig in the dirt and mud with her hands to find a healing stream. Though humbling, Bernadette willingly performed these tasks despite the fact that she was laughed at and looked down up by the townspeople. Mary’s appearance and Bernadette’s response present a picture of what it means to love God with our whole heart, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is a visible expression of purity of heart that calls us "Be it done unto me completely and fully according to your word.
Accomplish in my life fully what you want to accomplish." This is in contrast to our culture where one’s own will, pleasures, desires, and interests take precedence. In our culture, the motto is, "Be it done according to my will."

Let us follow the example of Bernadette in her purity of heart and let our hearts be tested and refined by the light of the Son, as we follow in His footsteps.

Voting Begins for 2006 Catholic Blog Awards

Voting for Catholic Blogs begins today so go here and vote for your favorites. It ends on February 16.

St. Scholastica, Virgin

Today is the feast of St. Scholastica (480 - 543), the twin sister of St. Benedict and head of the monastery at Plombaria, under her brother's direction.

The siblings were very close. They met once a year at a house near the Monte Cassino monastery to discuss spiritual matters.

Saint Gregory tells the charming story of their last meeting. The saints had spent their time together in the mutual comfort of "heavenly talk" and with nightfall approaching, Benedict prepared to leave. Scholastica believed that it would be their last opportunity to see each other alive, so she asked Benedict to spend the evening in conversation. Benedict sternly refused because he did not wish to break his own rule by spending a night away from his monastery in Monte Cassino. Scholastica cried, laid her head upon the table, and prayed that God would intervene. As she did so, a sudden storm arose. There were brilliant flashes of lightning, a loud peal of thunder, and the rain and hail came in such a torrential downpour that Benedict and his companions were unable to depart.

"May Almighty God forgive you, sister" said Benedict, "for what you have done.""I asked a favor of you," Scholastica replied, "and you refused it. I asked it of God, and He has granted it!"

They shared a beautiful, intimate spiritual conversation throughout the night.Just after his return to Monte Cassino, Benedict saw a vision of Scholastica's soul departing her body, ascending to heaven in the form of a dove. She died just three days after their last meeting.

Prayer: O God, to show us where innocence leads, you made the soul of your virgin Saint Scholastica soar to heaven like a dove in flight. Grant through her merits and her prayers that we may so live in innocence as to attain to joys everlasting. This we ask through our Lord.

For more information on St. Scholastica, go here.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Stanek WND column: "A Distant Thunder"

"A Distant Thunder" is a compelling new movie that combines supernatural chills with courtroom drama to expose the reality of partial-birth abortion. The film is very good, and it is also very important to the pro-life movement.

The plot of "A Distant Thunder" centers on a nurse who has accused an abortionist of killing a baby he accidentally delivered alive while attempting a partial-birth abortion.

"A Distant Thunder" was written and directed by an award-winning Hollywood producer and has been featured at two film festivals, where at one it won finalist for best short film.
I wish I could tell you the shocking plot twist at the end of "A Distant Thunder," but doing so would be as mean as giving away the end to "The Sixth Sense" to those who haven't seen it.
But I can tell you other aspects of the movie....
Continue reading my column, "A Distant Thunder," on WorldNetDaily.com.

Via Jill Stanek and Pro-life Blogs.


"God whispers in our pleasures but shouts in our pains. Pain is His megaphone to rouse a dulled world." ~ C.S. Lewis

When Suffering Is Sweet

"It has come to this, that I can no longer suffer because all suffering is sweet. Besides, it is a mistake to worry as to what trouble may be in store; it is like meddling with God's work. We who run in the way of love must never allow ourselves to be disturbed by anything.If I did not simply suffer from one moment to another, it would be impossible for me to be patient; but I look only at the present moment forget the past; and I take good care not to forestall the future. When we yield to discouragement or despair it is usually because we give too much thought to the past and to the future."
~ St. Therese of Lisieux

"Thus to share in the sufferings of Christ is, at the same time, to suffer for the kingdom of God. In the eyes of the just God, before his judgement,Those who share in the sufferings of Christ become worthy of this kingdom."
~Salvifici Doloris- On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering-Pope John Paul II-1984

"And Christ, through His own salvific suffering, is very much present in every human suffering, and can act from within that suffering by the powers of His Spirit of truth, His consoling spirit."
~Salvifici Doloris- On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering- Pope John Paul II-1984

"Pray for me; often when I cry to heaven for help it is when I feel most abandoned. But when I turn to God and his saints and thank them notwithstanding I believe they want to see how far I shall trust them. But the words of Job have not entered my heart in vain: "Even if God should kill me, I would still trust him."
~ Job13: 15

"Praying together with the one who suffers is the just response to the suffering. The cruelest response to suffering is the attempt to explain it away, to tell the one who suffers: "This is why this is happening. I'm sorry that you can't see the answer, but it's clear to me."
~ Msgr. Lorenzo Albacette

"If we could read the secret history of our enemies,we would find in each person’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility."
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Kindness—mere kindness—cannot tolerate suffering. Love can.
~Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering

Since we are [Christ’s] body, we too are the bread that is broken for others. Our failures help heal other lives; our very tears help wipe away tears; our being hated helps those we love.
~ Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering

How you approach the problem of suffering depends on how you approach life itself. There are only two ways. Either meaning is surrounded by matter, or matter is surrounded by meaning.
~ Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering

Suffering is not blessed because it is suffering but because it is [Christ’s]. Suffering is not the context that explains the cross; the cross is the context that explains suffering.
~ Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering

True love, unlike popular sentimental substitutes, is willing to suffer. Love is not “luv.” Love is the cross. Our problem at first, the sheer problem of suffering, was a cross without Christ. We must never fall into the opposite and equal trap of a Christ without a cross.
~ Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering

The more you try to avoid suffering…The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.
— Thomas Merton

"I admit it has taken a long time to arrive at this degree of self-abandonment; but I have reached it now, and it is the Lord himself who has brought me here."
~ St. Therese of Lisieux

"[S]uffering, especially during the last moments of life, has a special place in God’s saving plan; it is in fact a sharing in Christ’s passion and a union with the redeeming sacrifice which he offered in obedience to the Father’s will."
~Declaration on Euthanasia- Rome 1980

Fetal Pain Bills Advanced in 23 US States

A total of 23 US states have introduced fetal pain legislation – 19 in 2005, and four this year, which would require that abortionists disclose to women the reality that killing an unborn baby by abortion causes pain to the child.

Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota and Wisconsin have all passed the bills, although Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed the legislation last month. Doyle claimed that, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the bill failed “to reflect a consensus of medical opinion,” and “intrudes on the doctor-patient relationship in a heavy-handed manner.”

What about the intrusion on the unborn child? You certainly aren't speaking up for the person whose life is at stake here! In your eyes that child doesn't count, I suppose, because he/she is not a registered voter, Governor Doyle.

In Utah and Indiana, fetal pain laws have passed through the House and are en route to their Senates. This year, Arizona, Iowa, Missouri and Oklahoma all introduced similar legislation.

The federal counterpart, The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, was introduced concurrently in the House by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-New Jersey) and in the Senate by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) last fall. The motions have yet to be acted on in either the House or Senate.

Let us pray that all this legislation which supports the weakest and most vulnerable among us gets passed very quickly. Please see my article on pain in the unborn child below.

Pro-life Quote of the Day

"Abortion kills twice. It kills the body of the baby and it kills the conscience of the mother." Abortion is profoundly anti-women. Three quarters of its victims are women: Half the babies and all the mothers."

~ Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Holy Father Has Private Audience with Laura Bush

Pope Benedict today received US First Lady Laura Bush and told her that he was worried about terrorism around the world and violence sparked by the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

''He talked to me about the worries of terrorism, the worries right now about the violence in Beirut, Damascus and other cities,'' she told reporters after the meeting the Pope.

''His hope and certainly our hope (is) for peace and tolerance for each of us, to treat everyone else with respect,'' she said.
[Entire Story]

Conversing with Jesus

Today I am praising the Lord for ...

the great gift of my Catholic faith and the wonderful opportunities He has been giving me to atone for my own sins and those of the whole world.

my Catholic family who faithfully pray, support, and encourage me in all that I do.

the upcoming pilgrimage to Rome with my Community.

Today I am praying for...

Rebecca Dussault, as she prepares to race in Cross Country Skiing in the Olympics this week. This is a huge moment for her as she seeks to race fast and give glory to God. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati is the patron of her journey. I am praying that the Lord grants her health and speed, peace of mind and strength of will to do the best she can.

all those who are living in despair and for the healing of all those who have been brutally wounded and traumatized by the culture of death.

the sick, the weak, the poor -- especially the spiritually poor -- that they will be drawn ever close to the heart of the Lord and trust in Him to provide for all their needs.

world peace, an end to terrorism, and for safety for all our military who are in harm's way.

the repose of the souls of the faithful departed, especially all those who will die today.

the closing of George Tiller's abortion mill and all abortion mills.

the reversal of Roe V. Wade.

all mothers and the fathers of aborted children, who suffer deep grief and regret over a choice they can never reverse.

Julie D's special intentions.

T.O.'s special intentions.

Teresa, who is discerning a religious vocation.

Mother Angelica and the Poor Clares.

the special intentions of the Community of St. John and our upcoming pilgrimage to Rome to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Community.

the special intentions of my Oblate prayer partner.

employment for Gilles, father of seven children, who has just been laid off from his job.

healing for Victor, Ed, and Bob, who are suffering from prostate cancer.

all pro-life bloggers and for all those who are persecuted and threatened for their pro-life beliefs, that they will be blessed with an abundance of graces to give them strength to fight the good fight and to obtain victory for life.

a special intention.

improved health as I prepare for my pilgrimage to Rome.

Please join me in praying for these intentions. If you have a special need or request, I would be happy to pray with you and for you. God reward you!

USA Today Biased in Reporting Abortion - Pain Legislation

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- National newspaper USA Today has been accused of bias in reporting on the rise in the number of bills in state legislatures to inform women about the pain abortion causes unborn children. Such bills are a way of helping the unborn baby by providing anesthesia and helping women avoid abortions.

Leading experts on the issue of fetal pain say that it's a definite fact that unborn children, especially in later stages of pregnancy, feel intense pain during an abortion.

However, USA Today only cited claims by pro-abortion Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, who vetoed a fetal pain bill last month, that unborn children don't feel pain.

The newspaper did not public any information from experts in the field who say fetal pain is conclusive or mention Congressional hearings validating the concept. [Entire Story]

TAKE ACTION: Contact USA Today and urge the newspaper to report both sides of the issue and include information in future articles about doctors who verify babies feel pain during abortions. You can contact USA Today at editor@usatoday.com

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


A reader recently made this comment: "Basically my question is this: how is it possible for you to act so caring for the unborn, which are nothing more than a bundle of living cells, with no feelings nor consciousness that depends on its host body in order to continue to live?"

First of all, the unborn baby is not just a bundle of cells, it is a living, growing human being; it is a human life with a soul; it is the magnificent creation of God. The baby growing in the mother's womb does not belong to the mother or the father-- it is a gift from God. It belongs to God. It is God's child -- created in His own likeness and image.

Secondly, babies in the womb do indeed feel pain. Because they cannot verbalize that pain in words, they are the most vulnerable victims of violence in our society today. They are living in their mother's wombs -- which should be the safest place on earth for them. It should be a warm, comforting, nurturing environment where they feel completely secure. Yet, this is the place where over 45,ooo,ooo babies in the US alone have suffered death in obscenely torturous ways. Unborn babies do feel pain when they are being murdered in the womb.

With the advent of sonograms and live-action ultrasound images, doctors and nurses began to see unborn babies at 20 weeks gestation react physically to outside stimuli such as sound, light and touch.

The sense of touch is so acute that even a single human hair drawn across an unborn child's palm causes the baby to make a fist.

More recently, surgeons entering the womb to perform corrective procedures on tiny unborn children have found that those babies will flinch, jerk and recoil from sharp objects and incisions.

"In instances when a fetal bladder is obstructed and we need to go in and puncture it to drain the bladder, the unborn baby will pull away," explains Dr. Steven Calvin, a practicing perinatologist and chair of the Program in Human Rights in Medicine at the University of Minnesota, where he also teaches obstetrics. "The neural pathways are present for pain to be experienced quite early by unborn babies."

The pain is agonizing. Since medical researchers now widely agree that unborn babies at 20 to 24 weeks gestation experience pain during prenatal surgery, they most certainly feel pain during abortion.

The obvious and horrifying conclusion is that millions of aborted unborn children have silently suffered pain in their final minutes of life.

The most common methods used to abort unborn babies at 20 weeks gestation or more involve sharp-edged instruments to cut, tear and twist the baby's body into pieces, which are extracted from the womb.

In a partial-birth abortion, the unborn baby is delivered feet first, except for the head, which is punctured at the base of the skull with a sharp object. The brains are then suctioned out, killing the child.

Saline instillation is another later-term abortion method in which salt water is injected into the womb through the mother's abdomen. The unborn baby swallows this fluid, is poisoned and dies slowly in a process that sometimes takes 24 hours. The toxic saline solution causes severe burns over the unborn child's entire body.

Medical facts on fetal pain

Medical researchers around the world are acknowledging that the human fetus feels pain much earlier in its development than once thought. Here is proof:

The fetus at 20 weeks gestation "is fully capable of experiencing pain. … Without question, all of this is a dreadfully painful experience for any infant subjected to such a surgical procedure."

— Robert J. White, M.D.,PhD., professor of neurosurgery at Case Western University, Cleveland, Ohio, in testimony before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, March 21, 1996

— Jean A. Wright, M.D., M.B.A., Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Emory School of Medicine, White Paper: Advances in the Understanding of Fetal Pain, Christian Medical Association

Unborn babies have heightened sensitivities

According to Dr. Paul Ranalli, neurologist at the University of Toronto, unborn babies between 20 and 30 weeks development may actually feel pain more intensely than adults. He says this is a "uniquely vulnerable time, since the pain system is fully established; yet the higher- level pain-modifying system has barely begun to develop."

Given the medical evidence that unborn babies experience pain, compassionate people are viewing abortion more and more as an inhumane and intolerable brutality against defenseless human beings.

Wichita Eagle has More to Say about Phil Kline and "Expert" Witness

Via Emily at After Abortion.

Kansas attorney general Phil Kline has been seeking for several years to access the records of abortion clinics in Kansas in order to determine whether sexual crimes against minors have gone unreported.

Today, the Wichita Eagle has a long article about Vince Rue, who has been called as an expert witness in the litigation surrounded Kline's request: Kline's consultant known for anti-abortion research. [More]


VATICAN CITY, FEB 8, 2006 (VIS) - In Wednesday's General Audience, celebrated in the Paul VI Hall, Pope Benedict XVI commented on the second part of Psalm 144, "Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom."

The psalmist focuses his attention, said the Holy Father, "on the love that the Lord reserves, in a special way, for the poor and weak. This Divine royalty is not arrogant or haughty, as can sometimes happen with the exercise of human power. God expresses His royalty by inclining before the most fragile and defenseless of creatures."

"God is, above all else, a Father who sustains those who are about to fall and lifts back up again those who have fallen in the dust of humiliation. Living beings are directed therefore to the Lord, as hungry beggars, and as a loving Father He offers the necessary nourishment to live."
[Entire Article]

Spiritual Quote for the Day

"Because I was small and weak, Jesus stooped down to me and in secret taught me the marvels of His love."

~ St. Therese of Lisieux

Conversing with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration

Today I am praying to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist for the following intentions:

spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional healing for Francesco Jesus Alonso
, an atheist, for his conversion, and for the salvation of his soul. I pray that he will come to know the goodness and beauty of God in his life, that Mother Mary will lead him to Jesus, and that he will embrace his Catholic family. Remove the scales from his spiritual eyes, Dear Mother, and let him forever gaze on the light of your glorious Son, Jesus. I pray that the Light of Love and Truth will fill his life, and he will be surrounded by the peace of His presence and the joy of His love. Mother, soften this hardened soul and let it melt with the fullness of the love that your crucified Son, Jesus, has given us through His Passion and death on the cross. I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, through the intercession of Our Blessed Virgin Mary. Amen.

for all those who are living in despair and for the healing of all those who have been brutally wounded and traumatized by the culture of death.

the sick, the weak, the poor -- especially the spiritually poor that they will be drawn ever close to the heart of the Lord and trust in Him to provide for all their needs.

world peace, an end to terrorism, and for safety for all our military who are in harm's way.

the repose of the souls of the faithful departed, especially all those who will die today.

for all mothers and the fathers of aborted children, who suffer deep grief and regret over a choice they can never reverse.

for the many women who have died from so-called "safe, legal" abortions.

that all pro-lifers will spread victory to every segment of our society.

that we will all become strong and courageous advocates for the babies who cannot speak, write, protest, vote or even pray.

for an end to poverty in the world -- particularly spiritual poverty.

for the conversion of all those who claim to be pro-woman, but insist on killing female babies in the womb.

for all pro-life bloggers and for all those who are persecuted and threatened for their pro-life beliefs, that they will be blessed with an abundance of graces to give them strength to fight the good fight and to obtain victory for life.

for an end to prejudice against the tiny babies threatened by abortion.

a special intention for

Jules' blogging buddy.

Barb's friend's brother and family.

a special intention for Julie D.

employment for Gilles, father of seven children, who has just been laid off from his job.

healing for Victor, Ed, and Bob, who are suffering from prostate cancer.

for a special intention.

Please join me in praying for these intentions. If you have a special need or request, I would be happy to pray with you and for you. God reward you!

You, A Nun?

Check out this inspiring and uplifting vocational story by Sr. Imelda Marie of the Most Holy Eucharist, Poor Clare of Perpetual Adoration.

Compendium of the Catechism to be made available March 31

The new Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church will be available starting March 31, says the U.S. bishops' conference.

The 200-page synthesis of the 1992 Catechism will be published exclusively by USCCB Publishing, the publishing office of the episcopate.

USCCB Publishing will launch the Compendium in English and Spanish at the 2006 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. The paperback version will be available first with the hardcover to follow shortly after.

The Compendium consists of 598 questions and answers, echoing to some degree the format of the popular Baltimore Catechism which was a standard text in many Catholic parishes and schools from 1885 to the 1960s.

Catholic Online has more information:

Last Published Letter of a Murdered Priest

Here is a translation of the last letter published by Father Andrea Santoro, in the magazine Window to the Middle East, which he founded in Italy. The 60-year-old priest was shot and killed Sunday while praying in his parish in Trabzon, Turkey.

This line sticks with me when I refect on his life: "May our life be the wax that is consumed willingly."

Witness: Teen Girls Hurt Most By Sex

A child psychiatrist testifying for Kansas Attorney General Phil Kline told a federal judge that teenage girls' access to birth control pills should be limited but not boys' ability to buy condoms. But Allan Josephson of Louisville, Ky., also testified Monday that his expert opinion had been influenced by a private consultant for the state. The consultant, Vincent Rue, has received more than $150,000, Kline's office told The Wichita Eagle, to help defend the attorney general in a lawsuit entering its second week. Josephson's opinions included that sex causes more harm to girls than to boys and that, if a pregnancy results, abortion doesn't teach kids the lesson they need to learn. Full story...

Via Pro-life Blogs.

Baby Killer Operating Under Inactive License

Wichita, KS – Operation Rescue photographers were on hand Tuesday when abortionist Ronald N. Yeomans arrived in Wichita for a day of child-killing at Central Women’s Services. These photographs document that Yeomans is currently aborting babies while his Kansas medical license is listed as “inactive”.

As Yeomans stepped around his pickup to enter the shabby and neglected abortion mill, he glibly waved to the pro-lifers and snidely remarked, “Well, we’ve got a nice big greeting committee out today! Thank you for coming!”

Yeomans replaced abortionist Sherman Zaremski, 76, who is currently unable to make the trip to Wichita from his home in Leawood, KS, because of health problems.

Yeomans has a connection with Wichita’s better-known abortionist, George R. Tiller. Both are 1967 graduates of the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Tiller’s graduation photo appears on page 93 of the 1967 Jayhawkers MD Yearbook, and Yeomans’ photo is featured on page 94.

“While Yeomans’ medical license is listed as ‘inactive’ he is actively killing innocent little pre-born babies in two Kansas communities,” said OR Outreach Coordinator Cheryl Sullenger. “We pray that Yeomans will repent and stop shedding of innocent blood.”

View Additional Photos

Via Operation Rescue.


The Community of St John has organized an international pilgrimage to Rome to celebrate the Cty's 30th anniversary of existence (founded Dec 8, 1975), and to express our heartfelt support for our new Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. There will be about 1500 Brothers, Sisters, Oblates and friends in attendance.

We have organized a modest group of 40 pilgrims from the US. In addition to three days with the entire Community in Rome, our group will travel to Assisi, Siena and Florence.

We/I shall carry you in my prayers as we visit many holy places and the tombs of many saints (one being the tombs of Sts Peter and Paul, and also that of our recently deceased Holy Father, the Servant of God Pope John Paul II). Should you wish to share any requests with me, please mention them in the comment section below and we/I will be happy to pray for these at daily Mass, during my Eucharistic Adoration time, and throughout the pilgrimage.

St. Josephine Bakhita, Virgin

Bakhita was born in Eastern Sudan around 1869 and was captured by slave traders, who named her Bakhita, which means "lucky one".

Bakhita came from a happy, loving tribal family, which consisted of her parents, three brothers, and four sisters. In comparison to other African tribal families, her family was well to do, as her uncle was the village chief and her father owned cattle and large plantations. When Bakhita was about nine years old, slave traders captured her.

During the course of her life, she was sold five times before she received her freedom. She was subjected to many cruel tortures, some of which included whip lashing, which tore off her flesh, and being tattooed multiple times on her body via incisions with a razor and having salt rubbed into her womb. Despite the cruel treatments, she had no resentment or bitterness in her heart, but prayed for those who hurt her.

When Bakhita’s fourth owner, Callisto (Legnani), an agent of the Italian Consul in Sudan, was recalled to Italy, Bakhita insisted on accompanying him, and her master could not refuse her. On the ship bound for Italy, however, the Consul gave Bakhita to some fellow countrymen, Mr. and Mrs. Micheli, who needed a nanny for their child in Mirano Veneto, Italy.

It was in Italy at age 21 that the Canossian Sisters in Venice introduced Bakhita to the Catholic faith. Accompanying the five-year-old child she cared for to the Sister’s boarding school in Venice, Bakhita received religious instruction along with the child. When the child’s parents returned from Sudan to take them both back to Africa, Bakhita refused to go, but insisted that she remain in Italy to complete her religious instruction and to practice her faith. When Mrs. Michieli's pleas and threats toward Bakhita failed, she appealed to the King’s Procurator, who informed her that slavery was illegal in Italy.

Bakhita was now a free woman – free to serve the One she loved. Approximately two months later, on January 9, 1890, Bakhita was baptized and confirmed and was given the names Josephine and Margaret and Bakhita. She also made her first Holy Communion on the same day.

Bakhita continued her studies at the school for four more years, then began her postulancy with the Canossian Sisters on December 3, 1893, in the same house where she had lived for five years. On the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1896, Sr. Josephine made her final vows at the Motherhouse in Verona, where the foundress, Magdalene of Canossa, had lived and died.

For six years, Bakhita remained in Venice, performing simple household tasks. Then, in 1902, she was transferred to Schio, a small town in the beautiful mountain area of northern Italy. Her first assignment there was as a cook. She sought to do her best, taking special care that the food she prepared was as pleasing as possible and she even heated the dishware in the winter to ensure warm meals for the boarding school girls and the Sisters.

In 1935, the Sisters asked Sr. Josephine to go on a speaking tour to tell her faith story as a form of missionary work. The shy and modest Sister reluctantly consented, as she disliked being the center of attention. She relayed her witness to captivated audiences for the next year and always did so "For God’s Glory." For the next two years, she served as the doorkeeper at the Sister’s missionary novitiate in Milan.

In 1938, Sr. Josephine’s health was beginning to decline, so she returned to Schio to perform household chores. She celebrated a joyous golden 50th anniversary as a religious on December 8, 1943 with nearly the whole town present, congratulating and thanking her for all her work.

As Bakhita’s life drew to a close, she began to spend more time with the Lord, gazing upon Him in the tabernacle or on the crucifix and praying. She spent much time in prayer for her fellow missionary Sisters."At times, I have sleepless nights: then I feel bored and sad. But I do not pay any attention to it: I offer my suffering and I feel happy. I thank God for the many graces granted me, happy to have something to offer in return, as a token of my gratitude."

As she was nearing the end of her life on this earth, some of her Sisters, expressed their concerns and fears about God’s judgement to her, to which Bakhita replied, "When a person loves another, she wishes to be together [with him], so why be afraid? Death takes us to God."She added, "I am going slowly, slowly towards eternity…I carry two bags with me; one contains my sins, the other, much heavier, contains the infinite merits of Jesus Christ. When I appear before the tribunal of God, I will cover my ugly bag with the merits of Our Lady. Then, I shall open the other and will present to the eternal Father the merits of His Son Jesus. I will tell Him: "Now, judge from what you see."Sister Josephine suffered from a violent attack of pneumonia in the winter of 1947 and her fever caused her to go through periods of delirium and unconsciousness. When she regained consciousness, someone asked her, "How are you Sr. Josephine? Today is Saturday." As she lay dying, she replied, "Yes, I am so happy: Our Lady, Our Lady!" These were her last words on February 8, 1947.

Pope John Paul II canonized St. Josephine Bakhita on October 1, 2000.

"Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!"

~ St. Josephine Bakhita

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bishop Anthony Fisher warns against "chemical abortion"

Feb. 07 (CWNews.com) - Australian Bishop Anthony Fisher has warned a parliamentary panel that approval of the abortion drug RU-486 will not cut down on the number of surgical abortions performed in the country.

Bishop Fisher, a Sydney auxiliary, argued: "Australians are deeply concerned that the abortion rate is already too high, and clearly this new treatment will not help to reduce abortion." He warned that the move to "chemical abortions" would have a powerful social impact.

The bishop was testifying on a plan to remove the question of approving RU-486 from the authority of health minister Tony Abbott, a pro-life Catholic, and leave the decision in the hands of the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which supervises pharmaceuticals. Church leaders have argued that RU-486 cannot be considered an ordinary medication.

Several years ago, I boycotted a "Christian" hospital in IL that was using RU-486 to abort babies. I stood outside with others and prayed the rosary. I also handed out copies of the hospital abortion policies. It was interesting to see the reactions of people who had no idea that this "reputable" hospital was endangering the lives of women and killing their babies. One woman could hardly believe her ears. She repeated over and over, "This hospital -- abortions here? They're killing babies here?"
We handed out flyers explaining the dangers of RU-486 as back then the average person knew very little about it. Of course the local liberal newspaper ran an article on it describing it as a "safe new abortion drug" and touted it as beneficial to women.

Doctors Urge Australia Parliament to Not Approve RU 486 Abortion Drug

A group of doctors in Australia has urged members of the nation's parliament to not approve the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug responsible for killing women worldwide and injuring countless thousands more. Meanwhile, a new poll shows a majority of Australians are opposed to abortion.

Australians Against RU 486, an ad hoc group created to oppose the Thursday vote on the issue, released a letter from 86 doctors who said the risks associated with the pills is "unacceptable."

"Given recent evidence in the United States, including the deaths of at least 11 women and a mortality rate 10 times that of surgical abortion, we believe that RU486 poses a significant medical risk to Australian women," the doctors said.

The doctors who signed the letter work as GPs and obstetricians in rural and metropolitan practices across the nation.

Meanwhile, a new survey shows a majority of Australians oppose abortions.

Conducted by independent research company Market Facts on behalf of the Australian Federation of Right to Life Associations, the survey showed 51 percent of Aussie residents opposed abortion in most circumstances when it is used.

Who in their right mind would want to take a pill that would kill them as well as the baby growing inside of them? Most likely no one -- if they were told the truth. I commend these doctors for their ethical and moral behavior and for not hiding the truth about these dangerous drugs from their patients.

Conversing with Jesus

Today I am praying for...

the repose of the soul Fr. Andrea Santoro, 60, of the diocese of Rome, a missionary in Turkey, who was killed on Sunday, February 5. I am also praying for his muderer(s) -- for their repentance, conversion, and the salvation of their souls.

protection for all our priests spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

all our Bishops that they be guided by the Holy Spirit with God's wisdom in their decision-making, that they unite their hearts and minds with the Holy See and receive the protection of Our Blessed Virgin Mary in all their actions.

Pope Benedict XVI and all his special intentions.

all in the pro-life movement that they may move forward with haste to that great day of victory.

justice for Christin Alysabeth Gilbert, who died on January 13, 2005, from complications to third trimester abortion procured at Women's Health Care Services in Wichita, Kansas. I am also praying for the repose of her soul and for healing for her family.

all women who have had abortions that they may be strenghtened through the merciful heart of Jesus Christ.

a special intention for Julie D.

Moneybag's father and Emily

a special intention for Amy P.

a special intention for Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

all those who blog for life.

the special intentions of my Oblate prayer partner.

healing for Victor, Ed, and Bob, who are suffering from prostate cancer.

all those who are ridiculed, threatened, abused or persecuted because of their pro-life beliefs.

an end to violence in the world and peace for all.

Teresa and her discernment for a religious vocation.

our Catholic colleges that they will teach the truth and produce strong Catholic men and women faithful to the magesterium of the Church, who live out the faith in their daily lives.

the conversion of those who are Catholics in name only.

Senate To Vote On Homosexual Marriage Ban In Early March

Help Send U.S. Senate One Million Letters Supporting Marriage Protection Amendment

The U.S. Senate will vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA) in early March. This constitutional amendment will make marriage between one man and one woman the only legal marriage. Your help is needed in sending one million emails to the Senate in support of the MPA. Senators who vote against the MPA, or support a filibuster to avoid a vote on the MPA, are supporting homosexual marriage.


Those favoring homosexual marriage are already contacting their Senators urging defeat of the MPA. Time is short! Please send your letters today!

Send an email by clicking on AFA.net.

Click Here to email your two U.S. Senators now!

Dominican Leader “Highly Recommends” Homosexual Cowboy Film

I thought I heard it all until I read this bit of news today:

SAN ANTONIO, Texas, February 7, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A prominent Dominican has written a review praising the gay cowboy film Brokeback Mountain as “an engrossing story, a plea for tolerance, and a sad, emotional film that will touch anyone who has ever been in love.”

Fr. Tom Condon, OP, student master for St. Martin de Porres Province of the Dominicans, writes about the propaganda-laden film with a strangely tender voice, given that it openly portrays sex between cowboys as beautiful and precious. His praise for the film flies directly in the face of Catholic teaching that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.”

Brokeback Mountain works hard to seduce the watcher into sympathy for the “love” between the hardened but sensitive cowhands, but in fact it is a weighty pitch for legitimizing homosexuality that carefully avoids the raunchier aspects of the original story by Annie Proulx. In her account the men develop a sexual “taste” for each other that never carries with it such emotional baggage as the movie would like us to believe—sex between the cowboys begins out of boredom and isolation and continues as a sort of physical addiction which they feed on a periodic basis.

Fr. Condon says the movie haunts him—he finds uncontrolled emotion between the two men, meeting after a two-year absence, to be “beautiful and startling.” The misery caused to their wives and children, as they continue their clandestine relationship over 20 years, is entirely eclipsed for Fr. Condon by the pathos of the two men missing each other in between “fishing” trips.

Condon appears to be entirely unfazed by the more sordid elements of the film, concentrating as he does on a vision of the movie as “an exploration of the mystery of the depths of human sexuality and relationship.”

Ok, what is going on with this "love affair" with homosexuality by some within the Church - especially with those who are working with, educating, and ministering to our youth?

The Church teaches that engaging in homosexual acts is not only sinful, but a mortal sin and yet I am constantly reading about Catholic clergy who are describing it in glowing terms, attempting to make it appear glamorous and desirable to our youth. What's going on here? It sounds like Satan is making his presence acutely known and attacking the Church like it's never been attacked before. We have an obligation, as Catholics who are faithful to the teachings of the Church, to speak out and step on this ugly cockroach (a descriptive word for Satan, not the Dominican priest) and stamp him out. I am getting my rosary out and am going to have a long talk with Our Mother about this. It's no wonder Our Mother is weeping.

To express concern over Fr. Tom Condon’s review to the Dominicans, contact:

Fr. Marty Gleason
Southern Dominican Province1
421 North Causeway Blvd.
Suite 200Metairie, LA 70001
Phone: (504) 837-2129
Fax: (555) 555-5555

Email: co fremiliano@opsouth.org
or richardop_114@yahoo.com

Bro. Carlos Azpiroz Costa,
OPMaster of the Order of Preachers
Br Dominique Renouard

Vicar to the Master of the Order

Br Gerald Lee Stookey
Assistant for the Provinces of the U.S.A.

All three above at Tel. : 39-06-57-94-05-55

General Curia
Piazza Pietro D'Illiria
1Rome, 00153 Italy

Memorial of Blessed Rosalie Rendu

Also known as Jeanne Marie Rendu, she was the eldest of four girls bron to a middle class mountain family Her parents, who were small property owners, enjoyed a certain affluence and true respect throughout the area. Jeanne Marie was baptized the day she was born in the parish church of Lancrans.

Jeanne Marie Rendu was born 9 September 1786 at Confort, a district of Gex in the Jura Mountains. She was the eldest of four girls. Her parents, simple living mountain people and small property owners, enjoyed a certain affluence and true respect throughout the area. Jeanne Marie was baptized the day she was born in the parish church of Lancrans. Her Godfather by proxy was Jacques Emery, a family friend and future Superior General of the Sulpicians in Paris.

Jeanne Marie Rendu was three years old when the Revolution broke out in France. From 1790 it was mandatory for the clergy to take an oath of support for the civil Constitution. However, many priests, faithful to the Church, refused to take this oath. They were chased from their parishes, some were put to death and others had to hide to escape their pursuers. Jeanne's family hid those who stayed to minister to French Catholics, claiming that they were hired farm hands. Jeanne made her first Holy Communion one night by candlelight in the basement of her home celebrated by one of these covert priests.

Her father died when she was nine years old, and her 4 month old sister a few months later. Jeanne Marie, aware of her responsibility as the eldest, helped her mother, especially in caring for her younger sisters.

Educated for two years at an Ursuline boarding school in Gex, France, she began working with the Daughters of Charity at the local hospital. At age 16, Jeanne Marie went to the motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity in Paris to join them, taking the name Sister Rosalie.

The intensity of her new devotional life harmed her health, and she was transferred to the house in the Mouffetard District, one of the poorest areas in Paris at that time. She worked with the poor and the sick in the slum for 54 years, teaching catechism and reading to young women.

In 1815, Sr. Rosalie became Superior of the Community at rue des Francs Bourgeois. Two years later the Community would move to rue de l'Epée de Bois for reasons of space and convenience. All her qualities of devotedness, natural authority, humility, compassion and her organizational abilities would be revealed. To assist those who were suffering, she started a free clinic, pharmacy, school, orphange, child-care center, youth club for young workers, and a home for the elderly poor.

Extreme hardships were common in the Mouffetard District. Epidemics of cholera followed one after another. Lack of hygiene and poverty fostered its virulence. She herself was seen picking up dead bodies in the streets.

During the uprisings of July 1830 and February 1848, barricades and bloody battles were the marks of the opposition of the working class stirred up against the powerful. Archbishop Affre, Archbishop of Paris, was killed trying to intervene between the fighting factions. Sr. Rosalie was deeply grieved. She herself climbed the barricades to try and help the wounded fighters.

In 1852, Napoleon III decided to give her the Cross of the Legion of Honor. She was ready to refuse this individual honor but Fr. Etienne, Superior General of the Priests of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity, made her accept it.

Always in fragile health, Sr. Rosalie never took a moment of rest, always managing to overcome fatigue and fevers. However, age, increasing infirmity, and the amount of work needing to be done eventually broke her strong resistance and equally strong will. During the last two years of her life she became progressively blind. She died on February 7, 1856 after a brief acute illness.

Quote: “If you want someone to love you, you must be the first to love; and if you have nothing to give, give yourself.”

~ Blessed Rosalie Rendu

Spritual Quote of the Day

"The heart of Christ is what birthed the Church. The Church beats with the heart of Christ and that is where we are called to live. How do we become the mystical heart of Christ? The best and most perfect way to do it is through the heart of Mary."

~ contained in a homily given by Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer, STL, President of Human Life International.

St. Theodore of Heraclea

St. Theodore was a Christian soldier who set on fire the temple of the mother-goddess Cybele at Amasea (303 A.D.). The prefect of the legion promised mercy if he repented his act and renounced the Christian faith. Theodore persevered bravely; accordingly he was cast into prison and his flesh ripped by iron hooks so that his ribs were exposed. In the midst of indescribable torture he sang joyfully, "I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise will ever be in my mouth" (Ps. 33).

Praying and singing the glories of Christ, he was burned alive. A panegyric by St. Gregory of Nyssa on his virtues is extant. Theodore's head has been venerated at Cajeta since the Middle Ages. In ancient times, particularly among the Greeks, this soldier-martyr was honored as patron of armies. During the seventh century a church was dedicated to him in Rome, and his picture appears upon the apse mosaic in the church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian.

Symbols: Post and iron hooks; white horse; temple of Cybele in flames; crown of thorns; cross; Roman armor; sword.

Via Catholic Culture.

Prayers for our Military Men and Women.

Monday, February 06, 2006

DePaul University to Offer Minor in "Queer Studies"?

The largest Catholic university in the U.S. has instituted a "Queer Studies" program

DePaul University in Chicago -- the largest Catholic university in the United States -- is launching a "queer studies" program that looks at issues of homosexuality. DePaul will be the first Catholic university to offer a minor in the topic, and could face the wrath of the Vatican.

Via Lair of the Catholic Caveman and Thoughts of a Regular Guy.

Just when you think that some of our Catholic Universities couldn't get any more pagan and secularized than they already are, you read something like this and just shake your head.

Ok, I can appreciate how it is important to understand the problems involved in homosexual behavior and to learn to deal with those who are afflicted with this spiritual sickness, especially if you are going to train to be a counselor or involved in ministry to those who are recovering homosexuals or those who seek to change their behavior. What I don't understand is how a large Catholic university can offer this as a minor. I also wonder how this will be presented to our impressionable youth. Will homosexuality and the gay culture be presented in a positive, "non-judgmental" (that is, approving) light? With all the scandals that have been taking place in the Church I would hope that someone who is an orthodox Catholic would present the topic from a standpoint that is consistent with the teachings of the magesterium and not with that of our pagan, secular society. Only a person who is very grounded in the faith and of high moral fiber would qualify for such a position. A minor in homosexual studies? Somehow I just can't picture that on a resume.