Saturday, October 31, 2009

Catholic Speakers Month: Johnette Benkovic -- a Woman of Grace


 Brief Biography


Johnette Benkovic is the founder and president of Living His Life Abundantly International, Inc., a Catholic evangelization apostolate with outreach ministries in television, radio, print, and the Internet. She is the founder of Women of Grace, a Catholic apostolate for Christian women that features a number of programs including conferences, curricula, study groups, and more.

After years of being a non-practicing Catholic, Johnette experienced a deep conversion back to her Catholic faith in 1981 and discerned a call to share the gospel message through the media. She has been a consistent presence in Catholic radio since 1987 and in Catholic television since 1988.

Johnette is executive producer for The Abundant Life on EWTN, a television program that discusses contemporary issues from a Catholic perspective. She is also the host of Women of Grace, a one hour talk show on AM/FM stations and short wave and satellite radios.


My Personal Reflections on Johnette

Johnette Benkovic is someone I deeply admire and who has fascinated me not only with her informative and engaging shows on TV and the radio, but also by the way she lives her life. I can't recall when I first started watching Johnette's The Abundant Life on EWTN, but it was when the show first came on the air. The topics were so interesting I felt compelled to come back for more. Johnette was someone I could relate to - a revert to the faith, close to my own age, a professional woman, someone who had grown up during the '60's and had survived the sexual revolution as well as the changes in the Catholic Church following Vatican II. These were challenging times when women were deceived by the culture regarding their femininity. Johnette's approach to these issues was fresh and challenging. She was a woman who was seeking spiritual growth not only for herself, but for other women, who shared a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

I have met Johnette in person twice during my life. The first time was in 2003 at a conference sponsored by Our Sorrowful Mother's Ministry in Vandalia, Illinois. Johnette was scheduled to speak on Saturday, but had arrived on Friday night, so I was happy to have the opportunity to have a brief private meeting with her. She signed my copy of "Full of Grace" and we spoke about her ministry, as well as the Community of St. John -- I was surprised that she not only knew about the Community, but had met our founder, Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe, and had heard him speak at the home of an Oblate in Texas. Johnette was personable, very friendly, and quite knowledgable.

When I heard her speak the following day -- I was mesmerized by her witness -- not only by her dramatic presentation -- but also by the story itself, and her deep spiritual insights, her inner strength, and her wisdom. When she spoke about authentic femininity, my spirit was on fire with the truth and I was deeply touched. When I turned to see what my husband's reaction was to her powerful words, I noticed the tears in his eyes, and knew that he. too, had been deeply moved. Afterward, he shared that he never realized this unique type of spirituality that women possessed and wish he had known about this earlier in his life. It was a spiritual awakening for both of us.The truth we learned through her talk that day was that God has entrusted every woman -- single or married, with or without children -- with an important task: to bring spiritual life to the world around her, following the example of the Blessed Mother.

The second time I was blessed to see Johnette was this past August in Wichita, Kansas at the Midwest Catholic Family Conference. I was thrilled to see her again -- it had been six years since our last meeting -- and I knew a lot had happened in her life since the first time we met.

This time her presentation was even more dramatic and her witness even more powerful. She came across as a strong evangelist -- testifying to the graces that she received through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to deal with the crises that had occurred within her life over the past few years: first the death of her 25-year-old son in March, 2004, to a vehicular accident, shortly after his return from Iraq, where he served in the First Infantry Division of the U.S. Army and, second, the loss of her husband, Anthony, to an aggressive form of terminal brain cancer in April, 2007. She shared some of the details of her trials, the way in which she handled them as a woman of God, a woman consecrated to Jesus through Mary. Her witness this time was even more inspiring than the first. She not only spoke about her suffering, but manifested the depth of her suffering through her words, actions, and emotions, which were tempered by her strong faith and intellect. She shared the secret to dealing with suffering and the unique graces we are given in our trials. Her witness was uplifting, encouraging, wise, and prophetic.


We spoke briefly after her talk and she was so gracious to have her photo taken with me. In the photo above, I have deleted my image from the picture and kept hers. Isn't she a beautiful woman interiorly as well as exteriorly?

Links:


Living His Life Abundantly

Johnette Benkovic's Moment of Truth radio program on Ave Maria Radio

Anthony's Memorial Website


The Abundant Life on EWTN


Women of Grace blog


~ © Jean M. Heimann, October 31, 2009

This story was written as part of Support a Catholic Speaker Month, sponsored by Fallible Blogma. 

Have a Happy and Holy All Hallow's Eve



Halloween or All Hallows' Eve is not a liturgical feast on the Catholic calendar, but the celebration has deep ties to the Liturgical Year. These three consecutive days — Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day — illustrate the Communion of Saints. The Church Militant (those on earth, striving to get to heaven) pray for the Church Suffering (those souls in Purgatory) especially on All Souls Day and the month of November. We also rejoice and honor the Church Triumphant (the saints, canonized and uncanonized) in heaven. We also ask the Saints to intercede for us, and for the souls in Purgatory. More here.

The History of All Hallow's Eve

In 834, the evening of October 31 became All Hallow's Eve when Pope Gregory IV established November 1 as the feast of All Saints, followed by a day in honor of her soon-to-be saints, the feast of All Souls. This time of year was chosen because it was the time of barrenness on the earth. The harvest was in, the summer done, and the world was brown, drab, and mindful of death. Snow had not yet descended to comfort and hide the bony trees or blackened fields; so with little effort man could look about and see a meditation on death and life hereafter.

Apparently how you spent the vigil of All Saints depended on where you lived in Christendom. In Brittany the night was solemn and without a trace of merriment. On their "night of the dead" and for forty-eight hours thereafter, the Bretons believed the poor souls were liberated from Purgatory and were free to visit their old homes. The vigil for the souls, as well as the saints, had to be kept on this night because of course the two days were consecutive feasts — and a vigil is never kept on a feast.

Breton families prayed by their beloveds' graves during the day, attended church for "black vespers" in the evening and in some parishes proceeded thence to the charnel house in the cemetery to pray by the bones of those not yet buried or for whom no room could be found in the cemetery. Here they sang hymns to call on all Christians to pray for the dead and, speaking for the dead, they asked prayers and more prayers. Late in the evening in the country parishes, after supper was over, the housewives would spread a clean cloth on the table, set out pancakes, curds, and cider. And after the fire was banked and chairs set round the table for the returning loved ones, the family would recite the De Profundis (Psalm 129) again and go to bed. During the night a townsman would go about the streets ringing a bell to warn them that it was unwise to roam abroad at the time of returning souls.

It was in Ireland and Scotland and England that All Hallows' Eve became a combination of prayer and merriment. Following the break with the Holy See, Queen Elizabeth forbade all observances connected with All Souls' Day. In spite of her laws, however, customs survived; even Shakespeare in his Two Gentlemen of Verona has Speed tell Valentine that he knows he is in love because he has learned to speak "puling like a beggar at Hallowmas." This line must have escaped the Queen.

Tricks or treats

Begging at the door grew from an ancient English custom of knocking at doors to beg for a "soul cake" in return for which the beggars promised to pray for the dead of the household. Soul cakes, a form of shortbread — and sometimes quite fancy, with currants for eyes — became more important for the beggars than prayers for the dead, it is said. Florence Berger tells in her Cooking for Christ a legend of a zealous cook who vowed she would invent soul cakes to remind them of eternity at every bite. So she cut a hole in the middle and dropped it in hot fat, and lo — a doughnut. Circle that it is, it suggests the never-ending of eternity. Truth or legend, it serves a good purpose at Halloween.

The refrains sung at the door varied from "a soul cake, a soul cake, have mercy on all Christian souls for a soul cake," to the later:

Soul, soul, an apple or two,
If you haven't an apple, a pear will do,
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for the Man Who made us all.

Here they had either run out of soul cakes or plain didn't care. Charades, pantomimes, and little dramas, popular remnants of the miracle and morality plays of the Middle Ages, commonly rehearsed the folk in the reality of life after death and the means to attain it. It is probably from these that the custom of masquerading on Halloween had its beginning.

~ Excerpted, in part, from The Catholic Education Resource Center

Be sure to visit the following links:

Halloween and All Saints Day by Father William Saunders

Friday, October 30, 2009

Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary: You are Invited



You can either make or renew your consecration by attending in person or going online.


This November, the Brothers of St. John are pleased to offer a series of talks to help anyone interested in making a total consecration of themselves to Jesus through Mary according to the teaching and spirituality of St. Louis DeMontfort.  These talks are perfect for anyone who would like to make the consecration or those who have made it in the past, and are looking to make it for the first time or renew it on December 8th.

The talks will be held at the Spalding Pastoral Center 419 NE Madison Ave. Peoria, IL 61603.  There will be one talk given per week, with a special talk on Dec. 6th, just two days before the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. 

The talks will last from 7pm until approximately 8:30 pm. on November 3, 10, 17, 24, and Dec. 1.  On Sunday, December 6th, a final talk will be given at the Brothers' Priory (11223 W. Legion Hall Road; Princeville, IL 61559) at 4:30 pm.

Two opportunities will be given to make or renew this Consecration on the Feast Day of Our Lady. All are invited to join the Brothers at Holy Mass on the 8th at approximately 11:15, or, if you work on that day, you make your consecration at a special Vigil Mass of the Immaculate Conception at 7 pm on Dec. 7th at the Brothers'. 

All of the talks, given by Father Nathan, will also be broadcast live on Radio Maria, and all are welcome to tune in, no matter where they are in the country, to the live broadcasts over www.radiomaria.org.  Simply scroll down to "Listen live" on the homepage, click on it, and listen in.

Please invite your friends to come -- there is plenty of room at the Spalding Center, and it is important to help spread this wonderful devotion.


Today's Saint: St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, Marvelous Mystic and Humble Doorkeeper

St Alphonsus, or Alonzo as he was called in Spain, was born at Segovia in Spain, on July 12, 1531. From childhood he was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He loved her as his mother. This childlike devotion to her was the main reason for his sanctity.

When he was a teenager, Alphonsus and his older brother were sent to study in a Jesuit college. On the death of his father in 1545, he was called home from his studies, by his mother, who was burdened with the care of eleven young children. Though only a boy of fourteen, he was placed in charge of the family business, which involved the buying and selling of wool.

At the request of his mother, Alphonsus married the virtuous Maria Suarez. His married life of four years was marked with much suffering. His business suffered, and two of  the couple’s three children died in infancy. He was widowed at the age of 32 and his mother died soon aftewards. He sold the business and moved in with his sisters; they helped Alphonsus raise his son, and taught their brother prayerful meditation. When his son died, Alphonsus decided to follow his call to the priesthood.

Alphonsus wanted to become a Jesuit. Twice he was refused admittance due to his older age, but providence came to his rescue. He entered the novitiate at the age of thirty-seven, and after six months, he was instructed to go to the Jesuit college of Montesion in Palma on the island of Majorca off the coast of Spain, to complete his novitiate training. At the end of his novitiate, he was assigned various duties and was made doorkeeper at the college. He remained in this office for 46 years.

Nothing could be more insignificant in the eyes of the world and more monotonous in itself than such a life. By his deep interior spirit that animated him, Alphonsus transformed and transcended it with his: fervent spirit of prayer, deep union with God, devotion to Mary, especially the Rosary, which allowed him to live constantly in the presence of God even in the most difficult times. His spirit of obedience was remarkable. His love for his fellowmen and his spirit of penance inspired many to follow him. People in high positions came to him in their troubles and difficulties to seek his advice. He exercised a powerful influence for good upon his own Brothers, many of whom reached a high degree of sanctity. Of these the greatest was St Peter Clever, a fellow Jesuit, whom Alphonsus prepared to become the apostle of Slaves in the New World. Many owed their vocation to priesthood and religious life to him.

The last year of his life, was one of great suffering. He died on October 31, 1617, with the name of Jesus on his lips.

As a humble porter, Alphonsus was always appreciated for his kindness and holiness; however, it was only after his death that his memoirs revealed the quality and depth of his prayer life. It was then that others learned that the humble Jesuit who had been gifted by God with remarkable mystical graces, ecstasies and visions of our Lord, our Lady and the saints.

Alphonsus was beatified in 1825, and was canonized by Pope Leo XIII on 15 January, 1888 together with his spiritual disciple, St Peter Claver.

St. Alphonsus is the patron saint of Majorca, Spain.


Prayer for New Life through Death to Sin
(Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez)

Though Your most holy passion and death, I beg of you, Lord, to grant to me a most holy life, and a most complete death to all my vices and passions and self-love, and to grant me sight of your holy faith, hope and charity.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

40 Days for Life Reaches Milestone: 2,000 Babies Saved from Abortion


"Through the grace and mercy of God -- and the faithful prayers of more than 200,000 volunteers standing vigil outside abortion facilities -- an incredible miracle has taken place," said David Bereit, national director of 40 Days for Life.

"Starting with the first-ever 40 Days for Life campaign in Bryan/College Station, Texas in 2004, and continuing through the international 40 Days for Life effort that is under way this fall, we now have confirmed reports of at least 2,000 babies whose lives have been saved from the tragedy of abortion," Bereit said. "Who knows what wonders each of these children will bring to the world!"

Two thousand children would be enough to fill at least 80 classrooms. Two thousand children would be enough to make up 180 teams of little soccer players -- "and just as importantly," said Bereit, "this could represent 180 teams of soccer moms -- women who will enjoy watching their children run and jump and shout -- blessings they would have never known if they had fallen for the lies that are so often disguised by the rhetoric of 'choice.'"

Frequently, it is simply the sight of people peacefully standing in prayer that will convince a woman to turn away from abortion. "When people ask me what to say when they're at the vigil," said Bereit, "I often say -- just pray and don't worry about it. We have countless stories of women rejecting abortion and leaving the clinics even when not a single word was spoken."



Click here to read the entire story.

Breaking News: Bishops Call for Massive Catholic Opposition to Abortion in Health Care Reform

PTL! This is wonderful news:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - An E-mail directive has been sent from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-Life Activities Secretariat mobilizing every parish in the United States of America. It contains an urgent message which is to be distributed in every parish this weekend and announced at every single Mass. This massive and urgent appeal may be unprecedented in our history as Catholics in America. It is an effort to mobilize the Catholic faithful on an urgent matter of public policy concerning the fundamental and foundational human right to life.

The E-Mail specifically asks that no parish opt out of this initiative. 


Click here to read the entire story. 


  

Inspiring Video: 40 Days for Life in Charlotte, NC

Listen as volunteers in the Charlotte, North Carolina 40 Days for Life share the blessings they have experienced as part of this worldwide pro-life initiative:

Birth control pills can double stroke risk

 
  Double your fun? I think not!


The Pill still has the potential to kill (babies as well as moms):

Oral contraceptives can nearly double the risk of stroke in women, a U.S. review of studies finds.

Dr. Jose Biller, Dr. Michael J. Schneck and Dr. Sarkis Morales-Vidal, all Loyola University Health System neurologists, say oral contraceptives used today contain much lower concentrations of estrogens than older preparations.

The review, published in MedLink Neurology, found there were about 4.4 ischemic strokes for every 100,000 women of childbearing age, but birth control pills increase the risk of stroke 1.9 times, to 8.5 strokes per 100,000 women.

However, for women who take birth control pills and also smoke, have high blood pressure or have a history of migraine headaches, the stroke risk was significantly higher. Read the entire story here.

FR. ANTOINE THOMAS, CSJ, APPEARING ON EWTN TONIGHT


Fr. Antoine Thomas, CSJ, and Jordan Allott, who collaborated on Father's last three DVD's, will be interviewed live on Life on the Rock tonight, Thursday, October 29th at 7 p.m. CST (8 p.m. eastern time). The title of tonight's Show is The Eucharist Expedition: To the Summit! Ask Fr. Antoine a question.

Fr. Antoine is a member of the Community of St. John and I am an Oblate with this community. I have known Fr. Antoine for several years now and I can say from first hand experience that Fr. Antoine is one of the most interesting and informative spiritual instructors I have ever known. He is wonderful with children as well as with adults. This is a program you won't want to miss.

For more information about the Community of St. John please visit their websites:

* Children of Hope
* The Community of St. John
* The Community of St. John in the U.S.
* Biography of Father Marie - Dominique Philippe, OP, Founder of the Community of St. John

Feast of Blessed Maria Restituta, Martyr, Hero of the Holocaust


Today we celebrate the feast of Helen Kafka, better known as Blessed Maria Restituta.

Helen Kafka was born in 1894 to a shoemaker and grew up in Vienna, Austria. She initially worked as a salesgirl and then as an assistant  caregiver at the Lainz public hospital, which brought her into contact with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.  At the age of 20, she decided to join the Order and took the name Restituta, after a 4th century Christian martyr.

In 1919, she began working as a surgical nurse at the Moulding hospital in Austria.  When the Germans took over the country, she became a local opponent of the Nazi regime.  Her conflict with them escalated after they ordered her to remove all the crucifixes she had hung up in each room of a new hospital wing.

Sister Maria Restitua refused and she was arrested by the Gestapo in 1942.  She was sentenced to death for "aiding and abetting the enemy in the betrayal of the fatherland and for plotting high treason.”

Martin Bormann decided that her execution would provide "effective intimidation" for other opponents of the Nazis. She spent her remaining time in prison caring for other prisoners; even the Communist prisoners spoke well of her. She was offered her freedom if she would abandon her religious community; but she refused.

 Blessed Maria was beheaded March 30, 1943 in Vienna.  Pope John Paul II beatified her on June 21, 1998.


Saint Quote:

"I have lived for Christ; I want to die for Christ."


~ Blessed Maria's last recorded words

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shocking: Planned Parenthood's Declaration of Debauchery

 The International Planned Parenthood Federation released a declaration of Sexual Rights, seeking to impose its twisted views on human sexuality on all nations. The declaration, if ever fully realized, would remove all legal, social, and religious barriers from all forms of sexual perversions in virtually any situation including public areas.

All of the Bishops Reject Health Care Bill: It Fails To Protect Human Life

CNA reported this today:

All of the Catholic bishops in Texas released a statement on health care reform on Tuesday, warning that the legislation currently under consideration does not adequately ensure the protection of all human life.

The statement issued by the Texas Catholic Conference, which represents all 15 dioceses in Texas, said that the bishops “hope that our national leaders will work together to bring about genuine life-affirming reform to our nation’s health care system.” 


“Our Catholic moral tradition teaches that every human being, from the moment of conception to natural death, has an innate dignity that entitles him or her to certain rights and protections, including the fundamental right to life and the right to affordable health care, which flows from the right to life,” they stated. However, the bishops of Texas also said that they are concerned that the current proposed reforms do not respect these human rights. They singled out the Capps Amendment for criticism, saying that it “does not adequately ensure the protection of all human life.” 

Last night Marcel at Aggie Catholics shared this story with the blogosphere, and today, Thomas, The American Papist, adds these Bishops to the list he has been compiling for over a month now on U.S. Bishops who vigorously oppose the current health care reform proposals being debated in Congress. I agree with the point Thomas makes there -- that the message they are sending out is very clear -- it is against Catholic teaching to support the health care bill as it currently exists based on the above statement -- in short, it does not adequately protect all human life  -- from the moment of conception to natural death. 

The Bishops want "genuine life-affirming reform" not this phony and deceptive bill the Obama admisnistration is attempting to force upon us. The advocates and creators of this bill want us to believe that abortion isn't going to be covered (at the tax-payers expense) and  that there will not be rationing for the elderly and disabled and that this will all be done without massive tax increases. They are trying to make us believe that it is wise for us to give up our privacy and control (individual decision making) and let the government control this aspect of our lives. We'll be so much better off that way, they claim. These culture of death advocates think we can't see through their trickery, but God has gifted us with His wisdom and discernment so that we will remain faithful and obedient to His laws and His commands, not those of our secular society. I am grateful to these Bishops who have spoken out -- for, we as Catholics, look to the leadership of  the Church to shepherd us and to point us to the truth.

Perspectives on abortion: CNN profiles Troy Newman, LeRoy Carhart

On October 27, 2009, CNN profiled late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart vs. Operation Rescue's Troy Newman - 'his number one foe".

Along with that, CNN featured 6 videos of audio clips against a backdrop of graphic stills for 3 pro-lifers (Troy Newman, Larry Donlan, and Mike Whitaker) and 3 pro-aborts (LeRoy Carhart, Katherine Spillar, and Nikki Krempasky).

This is Troy Newman's video vignette:




Here's late-term abortionist's Leroy Cathcart's vignette:





Click here to read the entire story CNN profile: Late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart vs. "his No. 1 foe" at Jill Stanek's blog.

Time for Some Laughter: Tim Hawkins on Homeschooling

Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles

El GRECO
Apostle Saint Simon
1606 - Oil on canvas
Museo del Greco, Toledo

The name of St. Simon usually appears eleventh in the list of the apostles. The first cousin of Jesus, he was born at Cana and is surnamed "The Zealot." He preached in Egypt, Spain, and Lybia, leaving behind him the fertile hills of Galilee, where he had been engaged in the healthful cultivation of the vineyards and olive gardens. He later rejoined his brother, Saint Jude, in Persia, where they preached and died as martyrs together. 
 
EL GRECO
Apostle Saint Thaddeus (Jude)

1606 - Oil on Canvas
Museo del Greco, Toledo

Sts. Simon and Jude left the comfort and safety of their secure environment to go out into the world and to preach the gospel, converting many hearts. As simple farmers, they appear to be the least likely candidates to be called to perform such a great task for the Lord. However, the Lord chooses the simple and and the weak and empowers them with grace to do the "impossible." Let us pray that we, too, will be obedient to the Lord in the little tasks He calls us to do each day so that we, too, can carry out His will in our lives and draw others to Him -- an accomplishment which would otherwise be impossible without our permission and acceptance of the gift His grace.

St. Jude is the patron saint of hospital workers, desperate situations, and impossible causes.

St. Simon is the patron saint of sawers and tanners.

Prayer
Father, You revealed yourself to us through the preaching of your apostles Simon and Jude. Help us follow their example, to draw others to You through our actions today, as we perform our daily duties and endeavor to carry out your holy will in our lives. Amen.

Novena to St. Jude




Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Aborted Fetal Material Used in Anti-Wrinkle Creams


 

Children of God for Life announced today that Neocutis, a bio-pharmaceutical company focused on dermatology and skin care is using aborted fetal cell lines to produce several of their anti-aging skin creams.

"It is absolutely deplorable that Neocutis would resort to exploiting the remains of a deliberately slaughtered baby for nothing other than pure vanity and financial gain," stated Executive Director Debi Vinnedge. "There is simply no moral justification for this."

For years Children of God for Life has been a watchdog on pharmaceutical companies using aborted fetal cell lines in medical products and they have received thousands of inquiries from the public on the use of aborted fetal material in cosmetics.

Until now, this was the first time they have encountered any company bold enough to put the information right on their own website and product literature.  A quick investigation into the science behind the products revealed the shameless data.

Neocutis' key ingredient known as "Processed Skin Proteins" was developed at the University of Luasanne from the skin tissue of a 14-week gestation electively-aborted male baby donated by the University Hospital in Switzerland.  Subsequently, a working cell bank was established, containing several billion cultured skin cells to produce the human growth factor needed to restore aging skin. The list of products using the cell line include: Bio-Gel, Journee, Bio-Serum, Prevedem, Bio Restorative Skin Cream and Lumiere.  But Vinnedge is calling for a full boycott of all Neocutis products, regardless of their source.

"There is absolutely no reason to use aborted babies for such selfish motives," Vinnedge said. "It is anti-life, anti-woman and counter-productive as Neocutis is about to find out!"

Children of God for Life is calling on rival cosmetic companies to take advantage of some free advertising by their company.

"We know there are companies using moral sources for collagen and skin proteins. We intend to publicly promote these other cosmetic companies competing with Neocutis that are willing to step forward and contact us."

Meanwhile Vinnedge advises women who are using Neocutis products to throw them in the garbage and to contact the company to express their concerns.

In addition she advised, "Contact some of these competing companies and ask them to verify their products are morally produced.  If they are willing to commit to it in writing, they will get our endorsement."

Contact Neocutis:
Neocutis Inc.
3053 Fillmore Street # 140
San Francisco CA 94123
Phone: 1-866-636-2884

Rep. Bart Stupak -- Is Barack Obama Playing Word Games with ObamaCare, Abortion?

 Michigan Democrat tells Terence Jeffrey of CNS News that president may be playing word games on ObamaCare and abortion coverage.


Pro-life Quote --Judie Brown: The Final End to Abortion in America will come when...


"The final end of abortion in America will come when every human being begins to appreciate his own life as a gift from God and the lives of those entrusted to his care as the true blessings they are. A culture that affirms life will not practice contraception nor will it murder its progeny."

~ Judie Brown, from her article THE FINAL END OF ABORTION IN AMERICA WILL COME WHEN…

Girl Gets "Flu" Shot & Now Can Only Walk Backwards!

The Holy Shroud can be visited starting April 10, 2010

The Holy Shroud will be on display from April 10 through May 23 or 2010 at the Cathedral of Turin in northern Italy. The pope is also expected to visit the shroud as are thousands of pilgrims who for the first time will see the shroud after treatments for its conservation were made to it in 2002. The official website of the Holy Shroud is here.



For More Information, please see the following:   

NCReg: Benedict to Visit Shroud in May 

CNS: Pope will travel to northern Italy in May to see Shroud of Turin

Seeking Women Who Have Had Abortions In Ohio



Via Operation Rescue:

Operation Rescue is asking women who have had abortions in Ohio in the past year to contact them.

"We are conducting a research project and are encouraging women who are ready to share their stories about their abortion experiences in Ohio to contact us as soon as possible," said Operation Rescue Senior Policy Advisor Cheryl Sullenger. "Of course, all communications with us will be held in strictest confidence."

We are especially looking for women who had abortions at Women's Med Center on Stroop Rd. in Kettering (near Dayton), or at Cincinnati Women's Services on Jefferson Ave. in Cincinnati over the past 12 months.

If you had an abortion in Ohio in the past year, we would love to speak with you. Your communications will remain confidential and your identity will be protected. Contact Operation Rescue at 316-683-6790, ext. 112, or e-mail us at cheryl[at]operationrescue.org.

Saint of the Day: St. Frumentius, Bishop, Apostle of Ethiopia


Saint Frumentius was still a child when his uncle, a Christian philosopher of Tyre in Phoenicia, took him and his brother Edesius on a voyage to Ethiopia. In the course of their voyage the vessel anchored at a certain port, and the barbarians of that country slew with the sword all the crew and passengers, except the two children.


Because of their youth and beauty they were taken to the king at Axuma, who, charmed with the wit and sprightliness of the two boys, took special care of their education, and later made Edesius his cup-bearer and Frumentius, who was a little older, his treasurer and secretary of state. The king, on his deathbed, thanked them for their services and in reward gave them their liberty.

After his death the queen begged them to remain at court and assist her in the government of the state until the young prince came of age; this they did, using their influence to spread Christianity. When the young king reached his majority, Edesius desired to return to Tyre, and Frumentius accompanied him as far as Alexandria. There he begged Saint Athanasius, its Patriarch, to send a bishop to the country where they had spent many years; and the Patriarch, considering him the best possible candidate for this office, in the year 328 consecrated him bishop for the Ethiopians.


Vested with this sacred character he gained great numbers to the Faith by his discourses and miracles, and the entire nation embraced Christianity with its young king, thus fulfilling a famous prophecy of Isaiah, uttered 800 years before Christ. (Isaiah 45:14) Saint Frumentius continued to feed and defend his flock until it pleased the Supreme Pastor to call him home and reward his fidelity and labors, in about the year 383.

The Glorious Freedom of the Children of God

Swine Flu Vaccine Information

"According to a number of studies, vaccine contamination is widespread, with vaccines containing pestivirus, mycoplasma, viral fragments, DNA fragments and bacterial components, all of which can produce chronic systemic...... disorders, cancer, neurologic diseases and even slow brain degeneration."

~Dr. Blaylock / board certified neurosurgeon/ awarded the Integrity in Science award by the Weston Price Foundation.

Swine Flu Data

Related Posts on Catholic Fire:

Barack Obama, the First Family, and the H1N1 Vaccine

Seasonal flu shot may increase H1N1 risk

18 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD NOT VACCINATE YOUR CHILDREN AGAINST THE FLU

Doctor Admits Vaccine Is More Deadly Than Swine Flu Itself & Will Not Give It To His Kids

Pregnant Women and Swine Flu Testing 

Makers Of Vaccination Refuse To Take Swine Flu Vaccine 

 Don't Inject Me! 

Swine Flu Vaccine containing mercury to be given to children, pregnant women

 Autism rates skyrocket in America as vaccines target more children

Monday, October 26, 2009

Michael Voris from Real Catholic TV: Signs of the Times

 A Vortex commentary from http://www.RealCatholicTV.com:

Pregnancy Resource Centers: Turning Despair to Hope


 Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

One of the most encouraging facts about the pro-life effort in our country is that there are far more pregnancy resource centers (over 2300) than there are abortion mills (about 740).

The centers used to be called “crisis pregnancy centers” and were often advertised with the promise of “free pregnancy tests.” Now, the more common term is “pregnancy resource centers” (PRCs), and the range of services provided goes far beyond pregnancy testing, and includes the services of fully licensed medical clinics.

Moreover, these centers do not just operate on their own with the support of their local communities. Rather, there are large well-organized networks of pregnancy centers, united by a commitment to professional standards of care, expert training programs, and joint efforts to make sure everyone knows exactly where to turn for alternatives to abortion.

All this is good news for the pro-life movement, and to help spread that good news, a report was recently compiled by several of the leading pregnancy resource networks and organizations that foster them. Called “A Passion to Serve, A Vision for Life,” this pregnancy center report for 2009 was prepared by Heartbeat International, Care Net, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, LIFE International, and the Family Research Council. The corresponding website is www.apassiontoserve.com.

Read the entire article here.

Pelosi wants to ram the pro-abortion health care bill through the House


Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Ca.) is planning to try to ram the massive health care bill (H.R. 3200) through the House on short notice, without allowing consideration of a critical pro-life amendment.  National Right to Life is urging every pro-life citizen to immediately TELEPHONE the office of his or her representative in the U.S. House of Representatives with a clear and firm message urging a NO vote on the so-called "rule," which is the procedural vote that would allow passage of H.R. 3200 with no amendments allowed, and also to vote against the pro-abortion bill itself.

Even if you have already called and written your representatives in Congress about the health care bills, it is critical that you call again now.  This will just take a few minutes.  For guidance on how to make your call, click here.

Once there, you will see a box labeled "CALL NOW."  Once you enter your zip code in that box, you will be shown the name and phone number of your representative in the U.S. House, along with suggested "talking points" that will help you deliver a crisp, clear message to your representative's staff person in Washington, D.C.

Saved from Abortion: The Remarkable Stories behind Four Pro-Life "Saves"


Via LifeSiteNews:

The words a sidewalk counselor spoke to a woman entering the abortion center in Dallas, Texas summed things up so accurately. "I know the baby is not the problem," the counselor said, "but it's the situation you are in."

The woman took information from the counselor but continued into the clinic -- while 40 Days for Life vigil participants prayed for her and her child.
An hour later, the woman came out of the clinic in tears.

She was married, she said, but thinking about abortion -- though she doesn't know why it got to that point. But when she saw people praying, she knew abortion was not the answer, and that indeed, it was her situation that was the problem, not the baby.

Read the rest here.

Being There: 40 Days for Life Campaign



This week's National Catholic Register has an excellent article by the editors on the The 40 Days for Life Fall 2009 campaign about a lady I know from Wichita, KS. It also has some great news about this year's campaign.

Obama's Doctor Shortage


Alysia Finley at WSJ writes about Obama's doctor shortage and what he's doing to make it worse:

In his campaign for health-care reform, President Obama has repeatedly harped about a primary care doctor shortage. "The status quo is we don't have enough primary care physicians," President Obama said in an ABC interview in July. The president promises that his health-care reform proposal will address the problem of a primary care physician shortage---and he's right. He will make it worse.

Mr. Obama wants to provide insurance for an additional 30 million Americans, but recent experience in Massachusetts shows that universal coverage will result in an even greater physician shortage and longer waiting times for patients.

Read the full story here. 


H/T:  Kate Wicker.

Barack Obama, the First Family, and the H1N1 Vaccine



I think it's interesting to note that while Barack Obama has declared the swine flu as a national emergency, his own daughters will not be vaccinated for H1N1. 

This article raises a good point -- how can the country be expected to trust the safety of the vaccine if the first family doesn't receive it themselves?   Yes, they need to do it on camera with a reputable doctor who won't accept bribes for shooting them up with sugar water. Although, I'm not sure I would even trust it then, knowing the outrageous deception of this current administration. Neither Barack Obama nor his HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have any respect for human life -- both are promoters of the culture of death and long-time abortion advocates.

A question I have for my readers to ponder is: Why is Barack Obama so eager to have everyone in this country vaccinated for H1N1, when he and the rest of his family won't get vaccinated themselves? Why is he encouraging Americans to get this vaccine when the makers of this vaccine refuse to take it themselves?


Related Posts on Catholic Fire:

Seasonal flu shot may increase H1N1 risk

18 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD NOT VACCINATE YOUR CHILDREN AGAINST THE FLU

Doctor Admits Vaccine Is More Deadly Than Swine Flu Itself & Will Not Give It To His Kids

Pregnant Women and Swine Flu Testing 

Makers Of Vaccination Refuse To Take Swine Flu Vaccine 

 Don't Inject Me! 

Swine Flu Vaccine containing mercury to be given to children, pregnant women

 Autism rates skyrocket in America as vaccines target more children

WRAP encourages Americans to take action against pornography

This year, the annual White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Week runs Sunday, Oct. 25, through Sunday, Nov. 1. WRAP Week is intended to inform the public and public officials about the harms of pornography and the need to enforce obscenity and related laws.

Resources for individuals and groups are available at www.moralityinmedia.org ("WRAP Campaign"). These include information about ordering white ribbons and a sheet describing what citizens can do during WRAP Week and throughout the year, sample letter to U.S. Attorney General Holder, sample letter to state prosecutors, sample Proclamation, and sample prayers and sermons.

MIM President Robert Peters had the following comments:

"Our nation is facing a moral crisis which is giving rise to, among other things, teen promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases (including AIDS), abortions, children born to single mothers, divorces, sexual abuse of children, rape, trafficking in women and children, on-the-job sexual harassment and lost worker productivity. The costs associated with these problems are incalculable. 

"It is clear that the explosion of hardcore pornography on the Internet and elsewhere is fueling this moral crisis. It is also clear that ignoring the problem (the Clinton administration) and failing to take necessary steps to effectively curb the problem (the Bush administration) won't solve the problem. 

"The government's ongoing failure to enforce federal obscenity laws should be a matter of great concern to President Obama and Attorney General Holder.

"While enforcement of obscenity laws is not the whole answer to the pornography problem, vigorous enforcement will put many hardcore pornographers out of business and encourage others to get or stay out. It will also send the message that pornography is a moral and social evil. Youth especially need to hear this message. 

"The Supreme Court has held that obscenity laws can be enforced against 'hardcore pornography,' and these days most commercially distributed pornography is 'hardcore.' Among other things, hardcore pornography depicts teen promiscuity, group sex, gang bangs, marital infidelity, sex with prostitutes, siblings and animals, sex mixed with excrement, and the rape and torture of women. 

"The Court has also said there are 'legitimate governmental interests' at stake in stemming the tide of commercialized obscenity, which include protecting public safety, family life, and morality, and maintaining a decent society. 

"Clearly, children also need protection both from exposure to hardcore pornography and from sexual predators who use this material to groom their victims and arouse themselves."

~ Via Christian Newswire

Saint of the Day: St. Evaristus, Pope and Martyr


St. Evaristus lived in the second century. He was from a Jewish family in Bethlehem. They were living in Greece at the time of their son's birth. Evaristus was brought up in the Jewish religion. His father was so pleased with the boy's virtue and knowledge that he sent him to the best teachers. Evaristus became a Christian when he grew older. 
So great was his love for his new faith that he decided to become a priest. At Rome, where he performed his ministry, everyone grew to admire and love him. So it was that when the pope was martyred, Evaristus was chosen to take his place. He felt he was completely unworthy of being pope, but God knew better. These were times of persecution for the Church. Such bad lies were spread about the Catholic faith that the Romans thought nothing of putting Christians to death. Every man who became pope was almost certain of being arrested. 
For about eight years, Pope St. Evaristus ruled the Church. His zeal was so great that the number of believers grew larger every day. At last, however, he was captured. The jailers were amazed to see the joy on the holy old man's face as he was led to prison. St. Evaristus thought himself very privileged to have been found worthy to suffer and die for Jesus. No better gift could have been given him than his martyrdom. Pope St. Evaristus died in 107.

Often our lives take unexpected turns, but if we find our strength in God, he will give us his peace.

~ Via The Daughters of St. Paul.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Priesthood Sunday


Happy Priesthood Sunday to all our beloved priests! 


 Prayer for Priests


We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry. Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love. Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit. Lead them to new depths of union with your Son. Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son. Intercede for our priests that, offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

St. John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests.

 Suggestions for Couples and Families to Celebrate World Priest Day

Intercession for Priests 

A Prayer for Priests 

Is Obama Poised to Cede US Sovereignty?

On October 14, Lord Christopher Monckton gave a presentation in St. Paul, MN on the subject of global warming. In this 4-minute excerpt from his speech, he issues a dire warning to all Americans regarding the United Nations Climate Change Treaty that is scheduled to be signed in Copenhagen in December 2009. A draft of the treaty can be read here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Let's Expose the CCHD



Read Mary Ann Kreitzer's blog post We Have a Short Window to Expose the CCHD; Let's Do It! at LES FEMME - THE TRUTH to learn more about this.

H/T: Esther

St. Anthony Mary Claret: A Man on Fire With Love


Today is the memorial of St. Anthony Mary Claret -- a favorite saint that my husband introduced me to several years ago when he gave a talk on this amazing man of God. I don't think I have heard of any saint who was filled with so much zeal for his apostolate. He was a monk and a mystic who exerted an unusual amount of influence over the laity by obeying the call of God.

Born on Christmas eve, 1807, in the village of Sallent, in Catalonia, Spain, Anthony was a very pious child. When he was eleven years old, the bishop visited his school and asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. Without the least bit of hesitation, he replied: "A priest."

As a young adult, Anthony Claret excelled as a maker of cloth as a weaver in his father's textile factory. He then studied for the priesthood, desiring to be a Jesuit. Ill health prevented him from entering the Order, so he served as a diocesan priest. He was ordained at age 27 and busied himself preaching in rural areas, organizing conferences for clergy, and writing. Zeal for the salvation of souls spurred him on to preach an estimated 25,000 sermons, write 144 books, and preach countless missions.

During his mission work, he accepted no money and walked everywhere
-- from town to town through rugged terrain. He had only one pair of shoes, one set of clothes and a few books. He neither ate meat nor drank wine, and slept only 3 - 5 hours per night.

After one remarkable mission, Father Claret's bishop wrote: "this town has never seen the likes of this. Enemies are at peace. Scandals have been ended. Broken marriages are repaired. Restitutions have been made. No one can withstand the fire of his preaching, the kindness of his manner. Everyone, even the proudest, fall at his feet."

The secret of his success was LOVE. He summed it up this way: "Love is the most necessary of all virtues. Love in the person who preaches the word of God is like fire in a musket. If a person were to throw a bullet with his hands, he would hardly make a dent in anything; but if the person takes the same bullet and ignites some gunpowder behind it, it can kill. It is much the same with the word of God. If it is spoken by someone who is filled with the fire of charity- the fire of love of God and neighbor- it will work wonders." (Autobiography #438-439).

In 1848, he established a publishing house at Barcelona and in the following year, founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, or the "Claretians". Shortly thereafter, he was appointed Archbishop of Santiago in Cuba, where he worked for six years to organize and evangelize his diocese. During that time, he visited every parish in his diocese four times (Some of these had not seen a bishop in 60 years) and conducted missions in each one, plus confirmed those who had not been (300,000), and rectified the invalid marriages (9,000). He also founded another new congregation, the Sisters of Mary Immaculate, dedicated to the instruction of the young. Miracles surrounded his work, and he possessed the gift of prophecy and the reading of hearts. He often saw Our Lord and Our Lady (to whom he was especially devoted), receiving from them instruction, encouragement, and prophecies. At the request of our Blessed Mother, he spread devotion to the Holy Rosary and was considered to be a latter day St. Dominic.

During a single day's visit to the city, he would preach to the local clergy, to several convents of nuns, and (in the evening) to the laity, besides hearing confessions much of the day. For his miracles and preaching, the Spaniards called him another St. Vincent Ferrer.

Though he avoided politics, both political parties considered him to be Spain's most influential man. He was so hated by the revolutionaries that they tried to kill him no less than 14 times and were still searching for him as he lay dying, an old man in exile.

St. Anthony Mary Claret died in the Cistercian monastery at Fontfroide in southern France on October 24, 1870 and was canonized in 1950.

Into his 35 years as a priest he packed 100 years of work.

Patron: Catholic press; Claretians; Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; weavers; savings banks; foundations.


Favorite Quote:

“A son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a man who is consumed with love and who sets on fire everything in his path. He is a man who unceasingly expends himself to light the fire of divine love in the world. Nothing stops him; he places his joy in privations, he undertakes all works for the glory of God; he embraces willingly every sacrifice, he is happy in the midst of calumnies; he exults in torments. He can think of but one thing — working, suffering, and seeking at all times the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls, to imitate Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Learn more about him here.

Recommended Reading:

 
The Autobiography of St. Anthony Mary Claret, TAN BOOKS And Publishers, INC. Rockford, IL, 1985.

The Life of St. Mary Anthony Claret, Fanchon Royer, TAN BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS INC., Rockford, IL, 1985.

Miracles of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Fr. Juan Echevarria, TAN BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS, INC., Rockford, IL


Friday, October 23, 2009

Pro-lifers Opt for a Healthy Alternative to Race for the Cure



A large group of Mississippi homeschoolers and their parents who run for causes most weekends had signed up for their local upcoming Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The Komen Foundation educates on breast cancer and helps fund research, but also during a one-year period donated more than $700,000 to Planned Parenthood, the biggest abortion-provider and referral operation in the world.

Steve Crampton of the homeschool cross-country running team "The Spartans" learned of the report on OneNewsNow and went into action.

"We asked [the Komen Foundation] for our money back, [and] they agreed to refund us graciously," he shares. "[But] rather than have a weekend where we didn't run at all, we decided [to try to] put something together ourselves. So it was pretty much last minute, but what has been birthed here is the 'Race for the Unborn.'"


Read the entire article here.

Scandalous: Nun volunteers at abortion clinic in Illinois

I was shocked to read this!



A Dominican nun has been seen frequenting an abortion facility in Illinois recently - but not, as one might expect, to pray for an end to abortion or to counsel women seeking abortions, but to volunteer as a clinic escort.

Local pro-life activists say that they recognized the escort at the ACU Health Center as Sr. Donna Quinn, a nun outspokenly in favor of legalized abortion, after seeing her photo in a Chicago Tribune article.

I would certainly hope that this "nun" will be reprimanded by her superiors and that this sinful and scandalous behavior will cease immediately. It is beyond my comprehension how someone like this can even consider herself Catholic, much less claim to be a Dominican nun. None of the Dominicans I have known ever behaved like this. Not only is she defying Church teachings, but she is supporting the murder of innocent children and endangering the lives of women. In addition, she is an accomplice in this sin. She definitely needs our prayers, but so do her superiors.

Saint of the Day: St. John of Capistrano, Priest

St. John was born at Capistrano, Italy in 1385, the son of a former German knight of that city. He studied law at the University of Perugia and practiced as a lawyer in the courts of Naples. King Ladislas of Naples appointed him governor of Perugia.

During a war with a neighboring town he was betrayed and imprisoned. Upon his release he entered the Franciscan community at Perugia in 1416. He and St. James of the March were fellow students under St. Bernadine of Siena, who inspired him to institute the devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus and His Mother. John began his brilliant preaching apostolate while a deacon in 1420. After his ordination, he traveled throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia, preaching penance and establishing numerous communities of Franciscan renewal.

When Mohammed II was threatening Vienna and Rome, St. John, at the age of 70, was commissioned by Pope Callistus II to preach and lead a crusade against the invading Turks. Marching at the head of 70,000 Christians, he gained victory in the great battle of Belgrade against the Turks in 1456. Three months later, he died at Illok, Hungary.

Patron: chaplains; jurists; judges; military chaplains.

Prayer: Lord, You raised up St. John to console your people in their distress. Grant that we may be always safe under Your protection and preserve Your Church in unending peace. Amen.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Don't Shut Us Out




 As a candidate for President, Barack Obama promised us transparency and an open forum when it came to health care. President Obama has instead met behind closed doors, away from the public, and away from the press. Send a message to the President: Dont Shut us Out by visiting http://dontshutusout.org

~ Via letfreedomringusa.

Jill Stanek: 200 abortionists, Jeanne Tiller get aborted eye-full at National Abortion Federation event

National Abortion Federation, George Tiller, abortion.jpg
On October 17, the National Abortion Federation held a "Remembering Dr. Tiller" event at the Westin Hotel in Denver, with 200 abortionists from around the world attending. I simply can't imagine being in a room full of abortionists. Their hands, yuck. What did they talk about? Although the thought of all this truly creeps me out, this is the sort of event where I'd like to be a fly on the wall.

Jeanne Tiller accepted the award on behalf of her husband George, who was murdered May 31.

Read the rest at Jill Stanek's blog.

PERSONHOOD MOVEMENT LAUNCHES IN NEVADA


Washington, DC (22 October 2009) – Nevada became the seventh state to launch a “personhood” initiative yesterday.

The amendment reads simply:

“In the great state of Nevada, the term ‘person’ shall apply to every human being.”

“We are thrilled the people of Nevada are finally taking steps to fulfill the dream of the civil rights movement,” said Judie Brown, president of American Life League. “They are working for the fundamental right to human personhood, without which, no other rights exist. For the people of Nevada and the six other states pursuing personhood initiatives, this is about human rights and justice.”

As a citizen-led initiative, approximately 97,000 signatures are needed for the proposed amendment to get on the 2010 statewide ballot. Nevada joins Montana, Michigan, Colorado, California, Florida and Missouri.

Personhood Nevada, the group sponsoring the petition drive, is led by Richard Ziser, a human rights activist who recently led the successful campaign to define marriage in the Nevada Constitution as a union between one man and one woman.

“It’s time for the people of this country and the people of Nevada to demand that all human beings, from their biological beginning, be recognized and protected as persons under the law.” 


~ Via Katie Walker. 

Image: Via Jill Stanek.

Traditional Anglicans "profoundly moved" by Pope's new provision for converts



“We are profoundly moved by the generosity of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI."

“It more than matches the dreams we dared to include in our petition of two years ago. It more than matches our prayers. In those two years, we have become very conscious of the prayers of our friends in the Catholic Church. Perhaps their prayers dared to ask even more than ours."

~  Archbishop John Hepworth, The Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion 


Read the entire story at Catholic News Agency.

Related posts on Catholic Fire:  

Pope Benedict approves structure to accept Anglicans into Catholic Church

Wednesday Audience: St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Last of the Church Fathers



This photo is from my personal collection when I made a pilgrimage to Rome in 2006 and had a private audience with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.

VATICAN CITY, 21 OCT 2009 (VIS) - In the catechesis he delivered during his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father turned his attention to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), known as the last of the Church Fathers "because in the twelfth century he renewed and updated the great theology of the Fathers".

Born in Fontaines, France, Bernard entered the monastery of Citeaux at the age of twenty. In 1115 he was sent by St. Stephen Harding, third abbot of Citeaux, to found a new monastery at Clairvaux where Bernard himself became abbot. At Clairvaux the saint "insisted on the importance of a sober and restrained lifestyle, in food, in clothing and in the structures of the monastery, at the same time encouraging support and assistance for the poor", the Holy Father explained.

From Clairvaux, where the community grew steadily, Bernard corresponded regularly and often with people of all kinds, and wrote a large number of sermons and treatises. As of 1130 he also concerned himself with serious questions affecting the Holy See and the Church. With his writings he combated the heresy of the Cathars who, by spurning matter and the human body, also spurned the Creator. Likewise, he "defended the Jews, condemning the ever more widespread outbreaks of anti-Semitism".

Click here to read the entire story.

Saint of the Day: St. Mary Salome

Wife of Zebedee. Mother of Saint John the Apostle, and Saint James the Greater. May have been a cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary. One of the "three Marys," the holy women who ministered to Jesus during his earthly ministry, and may have accompanied him on his travels. Witnessed Christ's death on the cross, his entombment, and his resurrection. Mark mentions Salome as one of the women who came to anoint the body of Jesus on the morning of the Resurrection.

Legend says that after the Resurrection she went to Veroli, Italy and spent the rest of her life there spreading the Good News.

Like the Jewish greeting "Shalom" and the Arab "Salaam," Salome is based on an Aramaic word meaning health and peace. It would be hard to think of a more fitting name for a mother.

It is quite probable that Salome was the sister of the Blessed Virgin, and it is certain that she was the wife of Zebedee and the mother of James the Greater and John the Evangelist (Matthew 20:20; 27:56). In the Gospel of St. Matthew (20:20ff) it is written: "Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Him with her sons and did Him homage, wishing to ask Him for something. He said to her, 'What do you wish?' She answered Him, 'Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at Your right and the other at Your left, in Your kingdom.'"

Salome was one of the women who followed Jesus and served him (Mark 15:41), witnessed His Crucifixion and death at Calvary (Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:40), and who brought spices to embalm him on Easter morning (Mark 16:1ff) (Delaney, Encyclopedia).

In art, Mary Salome is shown with her two sainted children (James and John) in her arms. Occasionally Mary Salome is present at the Nativity because there is a legend that the doubting Salome was a midwife, who came, unbelieving, to the stable at Bethlehem and was converted (cf. Jameson, Legends of the Madonna). Sometimes Mary Salome together with Mary Cleophas support the Virgin at the Crucifixion or they are present with Mary Magdalene at the Resurrection. (CNA)