Thursday, February 25, 2010

Brief Blogging Break

For the next week, I will be in attendance at the Catholic Writer's Conference, and will be involved in very important work related to my writing career. I would deeply appreciate your prayers at this time.

I may be back to put up a few essential posts, but need to focus on the project to which the Lord has entrusted to me.

Thank you, dear readers, for your patience with me and for your support and prayers. You remain in my heart and prayers. I will return soon. God bless you!

Saint Walburga

Historically today is the feast of St. Walburga, sister of Sts. Willibald and Winebald.

St. Walburga was born in Devonshire England, around 710. She was the daughter of a West Saxon chieftain and the sister of St. Willibald and Winebald. Walburga was educated at Wimborne Monastery in Dorset, where she became a nun. In 748, she was sent with St. Lioba to Germany to help St. Boniface in his missionary work. She spent two years at Bishofsheim, after which she became Abbess of the double monastery at Heidenheim founded by her brother Winebald. At the death of Winebald, St. Walburga was appointed Abbess of both monasteries by her brother Willibald, who was then Bishop of Eichstadt. She remained the superior in charge of both men and women until her death in 779. She was buried first at Heidenheim, but later her body was interred next to that of her brother, St. Winebald, at Eichstadt.

For some reason an aromatic fluid with healing qualities began to flow (and still flows) from a fissure in a rock on which their tomb stands. Its healing powers were attributed to her, and the fluid became known as St. Walburga's Oil. was seen as a sign of her continuing intercession. The oil has always been collected and given to pilgrims. Healings attributed to St. Walburga's intercession continue to be reported up to the present day. For more information on St. Walburga, see Fr. Nicholas Schofeld's post at Roman Miscellany. To learn more about the Benedictine nuns of Abtei St. Walburg, go here.

Lenten Hymn for Meditation: Stabat Mater

English Version:
Stabat mater dolorosa
juxta Crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat Filius.

Cuyus animam gementem,
contristatam et dolentem,
pertransivit gladius.

O quam tristis et afflicta
fuit illa benedicta
Mater Unigeniti.

Quae moerebat et dolebat,
Pia Mater cum videbat
Nati poenas incliti.

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
Matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplicio?

Quis non posset contristari,
Christi Matrem contemplari
dolentem cum Filio?

Pro peccatis suae gentis
vidit Jesum in tormentis
et flagellis subditum.

Vidit suum dulcem natum
moriendo desolatum,
dum emisit spiritum.

Eia Mater, fons amoris,
me sentire vim doloris
fac, ut tecum lugeam.

Fac ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum Deum,
ut sibi complaceam.

Sancta mater, istud agas,
crucifixi fige plagas
cordi meo valide.

Tui nati vulnerati,
tam dignati pro me pati,
poenas mecum divide.

Fac me tecum pie flere,
crucifixo condolere,
donec ego vixero.

Iuxta crucem tecum stare,
et me tibi sociare
in planctu desidero.

Virgo virginum praeclara,
mihi iam non sis amara:
fac me tecum plangere.

Fac ut portem Christi mortem,
passionis fac consortem,
et plagas recolere.

Fac me plagis vulnerari,
fac me cruce inebriari,
et cruore Filii.

Flammis ne urar succensus
per te Virgo, sim defensus
in die judicii

Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
da per matrem me venire
ad palmam victoriae.

Quando corpus morietur,
fac ut animae donetur
Paradisi gloria.

At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had pass'd.

Oh, how sad and sore distress'd
Was that Mother highly blest
Of the sole-begotten One!

Christ above in torment hangs;
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
Whelm'd in miseries so deep
Christ's dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother's pain untold?

Bruis'd, derided, curs'd, defil'd,
She beheld her tender child
All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of His own nation,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above;
Make my heart with thine accord.

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ our Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.

Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all my sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him who mourn'd for me,
All the days that I may live.

By the cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.

Virgin of all virgins best,
Listen to my fond request
Let me share thy grief divine.

Let me, to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of thine.

Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it hath swoon'd
In His very blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In His awful Judgment day.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
Be Thy Mother my defence,
Be Thy cross my victory.

While my body here decays,
May my soul Thy goodness praise,
Safe in Paradise with Thee.


 Translation via Fish Eaters.

Queen Esther

A great Lenten Meditation on Esther, my favorite biblical character in the Old Testament, based upon today's first reading at Mass:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Heavenly Hymn for Lent: God of Mercy and Compassion

A hymn for Lent, sung by by the Daughters of Mary, imploring the mercy of God. The melody is traditionally French and was adapted from Pergolesi.

Examination of Conscience and Frequency of Confession

Bishop Michael O. Jackels of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita:

How to go to Confession

 Perhaps it's been awhile since you have been to Confession and you have forgotten how it works.  Or maybe you will be entering the Church and making your first Confession soon. Perhaps you're not Catholic and you're simply curious about what happens when a Catholic goes to Confession. Whatever the reason, this video may be helpful to you.

H/T: Patrick Madrid

Lenten Quote of the Day

"Pray and pray much; it is in prayer that you will find the greatest strength."

~ Saint Just de Bretenières

Humor: The Old Priest

Washington, D.C. - an old priest lay dying in the hospital. For years he had faithfully served the people of the nation's capital. He motioned for his nurse to come near.

"Yes, Father?" said the nurse.

"I would really like to see President Obama and Speaker Pelosi before I die", whispered the priest.

"I'll see what I can do, Father", replied the nurse.

The nurse sent the request to The President and Congress and waited for a response. Soon the word arrived; President Obama and Nancy Pelosi would be delighted to visit the priest.

As they went to the hospital, Obama commented to Pelosi, "I don't know why the old priest wants to see us, but it will certainly help our images and might even get me re-elected. After all, I'm IN IT TO WIN."

Pelosi agreed that it was a good thing.

When they arrived at the priest's room, the priest took Obama's hand in his right hand and Pelosi's hand in his left hand. There was silence and a look of serenity on the old priest's face.

Finally President Obama spoke. "Father, of all the people you could have chosen, why did you choose us to be with you as you near the end?"

The old priest slowly replied, "I have always tried to pattern my life after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

"Amen", said Obama.

"Amen", said Pelosi.

The old priest continued, "Jesus died between two lying thieves;

I would like to do the same."

H/T: Joan

What is celibacy?

Celibacy can be a choice in life, or a condition imposed by circumstances.

While attending a Marriage Weekend, Frank and his wife, Ann, listened to the instructor declare, 'It is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other."

He then addressed the men, 'Can you name and describe your wife's favorite flower?'

Frank leaned over, touched Ann's arm gently, and whispered, 'Gold Medal-All-Purpose, isn't it?' And thus began Frank's life of celibacy . . . . . . . . .

H/T: Joan

Amazing Video: The Miracle of Life

The Miracle of Life shows us how amazing and wonderful the gift of Life is that God has blessed us with. Through incredible ultrasound video and photos we can actually see this miracle as we watch a baby develop in the womb.

Fr. Pavone Calls for Public Christian Burial of Aborted Babies Found in the Freezer of Phildadelphia Abortion Clinic

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said today that the 24 bodies of dead babies found in the freezer of a Philadelphia abortion clinic should be given a reverent burial as soon as possible, and that this should be a public event in which people can mourn the loss of these lives.

"The disrespect that the abortion industry has for the human body is seen not only in the fact that they kill these children, but also in how they treat their bodies after death," Fr. Pavone explained. "It is time now for the bodies of these children to be honored with a dignified burial. It should be a public event, so that our nation will have the opportunity to see that abortion is not an abstraction, and so that people can make up in some fashion for the disrespect with which these children have been treated."

Fr. Pavone has conducted a number of funerals around the country for children whose bodies were recovered from abortion clinic trash dumpsters. "Next to killing the children, there's nothing that the abortion industry wants more than to keep the violence hidden. Our responsibility is to expose it," Fr. Pavone concluded.

~Via Christian Newswire. 

Philadelphia's CBS 3 is reporting that Dr. Kermit Gosnell, an abortionist in West Philadelphia is under investigation by state and federal authorities after a woman died following an abortion in his office. During a raid on Monday, police discovered more than two dozen frozen dead babies.

H/T: Suzy B.

For Additional Information:

Jill Stanek: Two dozen frozen fetuses found at Philadelphia abortion clinic

Creative Minority Report: History of An Abortionist

Suzy B.: Dead, Frozen Babies Found in Philadelphia Abortion Clinic

New Blog features daily reflections on the Sacred Liturgy from a Roman Catholic Priest

Fr. Tom Hoisington, a Roman Catholic priest from the Diocese of Wichita, has started a new blog, Reflections on the Sacred Liturgy, which offers reflections on the daily Mass readlings, as well as resources for Lent, Extraordinary Form Resources, and Resources for the study of the Latin Language. It is a beautiful blog for both study and reflection and I highly recommend it.

Jonah and the Whale

A great Lenten Meditation based upon today's first reading at Mass:

Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco

Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco was beatified in 2001 as a model of holiness for priests. He was dedicated to his priestly ministry, preaching spiritual retreats and missions, teaching catechism to youth and organizing prayer evenings for young people and adults at the parish. He had a deep devotion to the crucified Christ throughout his life and worked to build the devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus among the faithful.

He was born Dec. 1, 1831, in Pagani, Italy, the seventh of eight children. Orphaned by the age of 10, his uncle, a priest, took charge of his education.

Since 1839, the year of the canonization of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Thomas Maria had dreamed of the priesthood. He entered the seminary in 1847 and was ordained in 1855. In 1862 he opened a school of moral theology in his home to train priests for the ministry of confession. That same year he founded the priestly Society of the Catholic Apostolate for missions among the faithful.
In 1873, deeply moved by the plight of an orphaned street girl, Fr. Thomas Maria founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood. Many orphanages sprung from his travels throughout Southern Italy.

Fr. Thomas Maria died of liver disease Feb. 24, 1891 at the age of 59.


For more information, see The Vatican.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Virtues for Lent: Today's Virtue -- Strength

STRENGTH: “And there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother” (Jn 19:25)

*Acting from conviction and deep love

*Standing at the Cross with Jesus in bereavements, worries, doubts

*Being willing to act as God would have me act, despite feelings of aversion

*Being open to the truth of my weakness and being willing to change

*Perseverance in keeping a commitment

*Fidelity to ‘little things’ in the course of my ‘daily duties’

~ Via The IHM Sisters.

Lenten Quote from St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

"The more we have denied ourselves during the day, the nearer we are each evening to the heart of our Lord."

~ St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Caravaggio: Exhibition in Rome

 A spectacular exhibition. 28 frames compiled from the most important museums in the world are in Rome to commemorate a special date. 400 years since the death of one of the most important Baroque artists, Caravaggio. Carravaggio is one of my favorite artists. To learn more about him and to view more of his work, go to .

Pope John Paul II beatification process almost complete

Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who was John Paul II’s personal secretary for 40 years, told participants at a Colombian conference that the late-Pope's beatification process “is practically finished.”

In Colombia, where Cardinal Dziwisz traveled to participate in a conference on the legacy of John Paul II, the cardinal remarked that the beatification process of the pilgrim Pope “is practically finished.”

“In order for the beatification to take place, it is important that the Church recognizes a miracle in which he has interceded. There is a case that is currently being investigated and it is of the miraculous healing of a French nun suffering from Parkinson’s.”

Regarding the date of the beatification, the cardinal said, “It is not known, but his tomb is visited by thousands who thank him for favors.”

“Not only do Christians want to see him made a saint, but Jews and Muslims as well.”

Read the entire story here.

Pro-life groups oppose new Obama plan for health-care reform

We all need to oppose this horrible proposal that promotes the murder of our children. Abortion is not health care! Passing this legislation will only make matters in our country worse and lead to the demise of our nation. Please contact your congressmen today and let them know you oppose Obama's death care legislation. See below for more information on how to do this.

Pro-life activists in Washington, DC, have reacted strongly against a new health-care reform proposal unveiled by President Barack Obama, noting that the legislation would provide government support for abortion.

Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan, the sponsor of a pro-life amendment that was included in the version of the legislation passed by the House of Representatives, called the Obama version "unacceptable" because it adopted the approach of the Senate version. Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, went further:

None of President Obama's proposed changes diminish any of the sweeping pro-abortion problems in the Senate bill, and he actually proposes to increase the funds that would be available to directly subsidize abortion procedures (through Community Health Centers) and to subsidize private health insurance that covers abortion (through the premium-subsidy tax credits program).

In a separate statement the Catholic Medical Association (CMA) echoed the opposition to support for abortion, but said that there are other reasons to oppose the latest proposal, including the need to arrive at bipartisan solution that is economically viable and protects the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship. The CMA called attention to the numerous polls showing that most Americans oppose current plans for health-care reform, adding that "this public opposition is well founded." In fact, the CMA statement said, the "legislation not only will fail to bring about authentic reform, but will make the current challenges faced by patients, providers, and the American people even worse." 

~ Via Catholic World News.

Please contact your members of Congress to tell them:

“Do not support any health care reform bill that does not include language to block government funding of abortion!”

 Here’s how to reach them:


Previous Post: 

Obama's new trillion dollar 'health care' plan proposal posted; contains massive abortion funding

Lila Rose Video exposes Planned Parenthood in 10th Case of Child Sex Abuse Coverup

Lila Rose and Live Action Films today exposed yet another Planned Parenthood sting in its undercover investigation and video series. New undercover footage shows staff at a Milwaukee, WI Planned Parenthood abortion clinic counseling a purportedly 14-year-old statutory rape victim not to tell anyone about her 31-year-old boyfriend and coaching her how to obtain an abortion without her parents' consent.

In the video, after hearing the girl is 14 and her boyfriend is "much older," the counselor says whether or not the situation will be reported by clinic workers "depends on the person you're disclosing that information to." When the girl says that her boyfriend is 31, the counselor tells her, "You don't have to say anything" about the statutory rape and instructs her, "Just give them the information that's needed." The counselor also confirms that the 31-year-old "boyfriend" will be paying for the abortion.

In Wisconsin, sex between an adult and a minor under age 16 is a felony, and health care professionals are required to report such cases to law enforcement immediately. The law specifically includes abortion providers in this requirement.

Ave Maria University to Host National Mass for Terri's Day

Terri's Foundation and Priests for Life are happy to announce that Ave Maria University will once again host "The National Mass for Terri's Day" at the Ave Maria Oratory at Ave Maria University, located near Naples, Florida.

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, and Father Thomas Euteneuer, President of Human Life International, will be joined by many other priests and faithful for the Mass at 5 PM on Wednesday, March 31.

Priests for Life and Terri's Foundation established the "International Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Terri Schindler Schiavo, and All of Our Vulnerable Brothers and Sisters" ("Terri's Day") two years ago.
Its purpose is to foster education, prayer, and activism regarding discrimination against the disabled, and advocacy for people in situations similar to what Terri and her family faced so that no one will again suffer as she did. Terri's Day is recognized each year on March 31st, the date of Terri's death.

Just last week a new study released in The New England Journal of Medicine found that many persons diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative (PVS) are, in fact, responsive.

"What is worse is that persons with cognitive disabilities thought to be in this 'PVS' condition, like Terri, are routinely being denied food and hydration -- their most basic rights. These new findings in the NEJM underscores the importance of why this dangerous and often mistaken PVS diagnosis needs to be stopped when being used as a standard to kill our most vulnerable," noted Terri's brother Bobby Schindler.

All are invited to attend "The National Mass for Terri's Day" on Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 at 5:00 PM ET. Address: Ave Maria University 5050 Ave Maria Boulevard, Ave Maria, FL 34142-9505.

You can visit Terri's Foundation and Priests for Life to learn more about defending the vulnerable. The website also provides suggestions for observing Terri's Day.

~ Via Christian Newswire.

Related Post:

In Memory of Terri on the 4th Anniversary of Her Death


Today's saint is St. Polycarp of Smyrna (- 155), a disciple of the Apostles, bishop of Smyrna, and a friend of St Ignatius of Antioch. He is one of the earliest Christians whose writings still survive.
St. Polycarp was one of the immediate disciples of the Apostles, in particular St. John the Evangelist. He embraced Christianity very young and was named bishop of Smyrna. He was greatly respected by the faithful, wrote many letters and formed many holy disciples. His epistle to the Philippians - the only one to be preserved - demonstrates his apostolic spirit, his profound humility and meekness, and his great charity.

St. Polycarp fought against heresy. He also taught that Christians must walk in truth, do God’s will, keep all of His commandments, and love whatever He loved. Christians must refrain from all fraud, avarice, detraction, and rash judgment. They must repay evil with forgiveness and mercy. He taught that one must pray all the time, so as not to be led into temptation, fast, persevere and be joyful.

During his episcopate, a violent persecution broke out in Smyrna against the Christians. During this time, though fearless, the bishop retreated to a neighboring village, spending most of his time in prayer.

A boy betrayed the bishop, and horsemen came by night to arrest him. He met his captors at the door, ordered them a supper, and prayed for two hours before he went with them.

He was led directly to the proconsul, who ordered him to blaspheme Christ. St. Polycarp refused and he was to be burned alive.

The executioners would have nailed him to the stake, but he convinced them that it wasn’t necessary. So they simple tied his hands behind his back. At the end of his prayer, the executioners set the fire, but the large flames formed into an arch, gently encircling but not burning his body. Exasperated, officials ordered a spearman to pierce him. Such a quantity of blood flowed from his left side that it put out the fire. The Christians wanted St. Polycarp’s body but the centurion burnt it to ashes. The bones were kept as relics. 

St. Polycarp is the patron against ear ache and dysentery.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Beautiful Lenten Hymn

 Attributed to Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604). In the Roman Breviary this hymn is used at Vespers during Lent for both Sundays and the ferial Office from the first Sunday in Lent until the Friday before Passion Sunday.

Deal Hudson: "It's Time for a Catholic Tea Party"

At the American Conservative Union's recent annual meeting, Deal Hudson, president of the Catholic Advocate, hosted an event with the theme “It's time for a Catholic Tea Party.”

The annual meeting of the ACU, called the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) took place in Washington D.C. from Feb. 18-20.
Hudson told attendees of the Catholic Advocate event that “it was time for Catholics to realize they don't need permission from their bishops to become politically active.”

Hudson's remarks were made in the context of a campaign to “reform the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD)” that he is helping lead. The CCHD, which is under jurisdiction of the U.S. bishops, has recently come under fire for its alleged connections with a network of community organizations that have promoted abortion and the homosexual agenda.

Clarifying what he means by a “Catholic Tea Party,” Hudson said, “We are not calling for the dismantling of the USCCB, not at all. Episcopal conferences are fully mandated by the documents of Vatican II and the Code of Cannon Law.”

“But,” Hudson continued, “we want the USCCB to be managed in a way that does supplant the role and responsibility of the laity and programs like the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. In the case of USCCB programs like the CCHD a serious overhaul is necessary to prevent Catholic money from being spent on organizations supporting abortion and same-sex marriage.”

“$2,000,000 has been spent this way and it needs to stop,” Hudson claimed.

Read the entire story.

Obama's new trillion dollar 'health care' plan proposal posted; contains massive abortion funding

President Obama's  new trillion dollar 'health care' plan proposal was posted on the White House website today.

Steven Ertelt at Life News reports:

President Barack Obama has proposed changes he thinks should be included in the changes made to the Senate health care bill as Democrats move ahead with their plan to railroad the bill thorough Congress via reconciliation. However, Obama does not propose any changes to the massive abortion funding.

In fact, analysis from one pro-life organization finds Obama's plan actually increases the total potential abortion funding.

The current Senate bill contains massive abortion funding that could force taxpayers to fund hundreds of thousands of abortions and it has other pro-abortion problems.

But the new Obama health care proposal, unveiled today in advance of the White House health care summit, leaves intact that Senate language funding abortions. Read more here.

In response to President Obama's release of a new health care proposal, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser offered the following response:

"In a last gasp to save his top domestic priority, President Obama is taking a new approach to health care: 'bipartisanship.' Yet his proposal released today missed the mark on the most significant area of bipartisan agreement: limiting public funds for abortion.

"Over seventy percent of Americans oppose funding abortion through health care reform legislation. And last fall, one quarter of the President's own party joined Republicans to support the consensus Stupak-Pitts Amendment to exclude abortion coverage in the House.

"In the face of obvious bipartisan consensus against abortion funding, the President remains deaf to the voices of American taxpayers. President Obama's most precious domestic priority is on life support, but he still refuses to jettison abortion coverage. It appears that abortion ideology is more precious to this president than his top domestic priority.

"On behalf of the majority of Americans who opposed funding abortion with our tax dollars, I urge participants at Thursday's health care summit – GOP members especially – to defend the American conscience. National consensus will only be reflected in clear language to ensure taxpayer dollars will not fund abortion or any health care plans that cover abortion. This is the federal status-quo, and it's what an increasingly pro-life America demands."

Pope Benedict quote on Lent

"Lent is like a long 'retreat' during which we can turn back into ourselves and listen to the voice of God, in order to defeat the temptations of the Evil One. It is a period of spiritual 'combat' which we must experience alongside Jesus, not with pride and presumption, but using the arms of faith: prayer, listening to the word of God and penance. In this way we will be able to celebrate Easter in truth, ready to renew the promises of our Baptism".

~ Pope Benedict XVI, from his Sunday remarks before praying the Angelus in St. Peter's Square on February 21, 2010

Catholic Membership is showing robust growth

The Catholic Church’s membership in the United States grew at the “robust” rate of about 1.5 percent in 2008, according to National Council of Churches’ (NCC) new 2010 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches.

A slight loss in Catholic membership in the U.S. was reported in the 2009 Yearbook, but the NCC said the latest figure shows “robust growth.” The figures come from 2008 statistics. The growth outpaces the estimated U.S. population growth rate in 2008, listed as 0.9 percent, according to the CIA World Factbook.

There are now an estimated 68.1 million Catholics in the United States.

Read the story here.

Dr. Alveda King: Billboards of Black Babies Are Spreading Hard Truth

Dr. Alveda King, Pastoral Associate and Director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life, said today that the "Black babies are an endangered species" billboard campaign by is causing controversy because it points out hard truth.
"Abortion on demand has always been sold – and 'sold' is the word – as an answer to a whole host of problems, but instead of eliminating economic hardship, familial stress, or societal ills, it has only eliminated people, a disproportionate number of whom were African Americans," said Dr. King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "Like the stunning video, the 'black babies are an endangered species' billboards bring home the message that abortion is predicated on lies. It's time that those lies were exposed."

My comment: I have seen Maafa 21 and highly recommend it. It is a powerful video which conveys the truth about black genocide in the 21st century. These billboards are a great way of getting the truth out!

Related Posts:

Lenten Spiritual Exercises begin in the Vatican

The annual spiritual exercises of the Pope and the Roman Curia began on Sunday afternoon, February 21st, with Eucharistic exposition and the celebration of Vespers. The exercises, which will take place in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel of the Vaticans Apostolic Palace, will continue all week in the presence of Benedict XVI, with sessions in the morning and the afternoon. They will come to an end on Saturday, February 27th, and during the retreat all audiences will be cancelled, including the weekly general audience on Wednesday, February 24th. This years meditations will be directed by the Salesian priest, Fr. Enrico Dal Covolo and the theme is: The Lessons of God and of the Church on the priestly vocation.

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, apostle

Today is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, so I have included a photo from my pilgrimage to Rome (Vatican City) in February 2006. The above photo is the beautiful bronze statue of St. Peter created by Arnolfo di Cambio, c.1300 which is located in the northwestern nave of St. Peter's Basilica. Pilgrims who come to the Basilica traditionally touch and kiss its foot, so that it is literally worn thin.

View some beautiful photos of the Chair of Peter here.

The feast of the Chair of St. Peter commemorates the teaching authority - the Magesterium of the Vicar of Christ who occupies the throne of St. Peter. The Catechism teaches that "it is the Magesterium's task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of possibility of professing the true faith without error" so that "the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. (CCC 890). The exercise of the authority of the Chair of Peter gives rise to the unity that distinguishes the Church. It provides clarity and security in our search for meaning... "Celebrating the chair of Peter means attributing a strong spiritual significance to it and recognizing it as a privileged sign of the love of God, the eternal Shepherd, who wanted to gather his whole church and lead her on the path of salvation."

~ Pope Benedict XVI

Source: The Magnificat

Collect: All-powerful Father, You have built Your Church on the rock of Saint Peter's confession of faith. May nothing divide or weaken our unity in faith and love. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Related Posts: 

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Apostle - Pilgrimage Photos Included

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Make Room for Christ this Lent

 At the beginning of Lent, Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen reminds us that emptying ourselves through little mortifications and self-denial makes room for Christ in our lives.  

Future ( A Priests for Life Commercial)

One of three commercials that airs in between the Gospel of Life TV Program and the EWTN series "Defending Life." This shows how an abortion alters the course of the future.   

Blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto

 Today's saints are Blessed Francisco and Jacinto Marto, the visionaries at Fatima.

Francisco, 11, and Jacinta, 10, are the youngest non-martyrs to be beatified in the history of the Church. The brother and sister, who tended to their families’ sheep with their cousin Lucia Santo in the fields of Fatima, Portugal, witnessed the apparitions of Mary, now commonly known as Our Lady of Fatima.

During the first apparition, which took place May 13, 1917, Our Lady asked the three children to say the Rosary and to make sacrifices, offering them for the conversion of sinners. The children did, praying often, giving their lunch to beggars and going without food themselves. They offered up their daily crosses and even refrained from drinking water on hot days.

In October 1918, Francisco and Jacinta became seriously ill with the Spanish flu. Our Lady appeared to them and said she would to take them to heaven soon.

Bed-ridden, Francisco requested his first Communion. The following day, Francisco died, April 14, 1919. Jacinta suffered a long illness as well. She was eventually transferred to a Lisbon hospital and operated for an abscess in her chest, but her health did not improve. She died Feb. 20, 1920.

Pope John Paul II beatified Francisco and Jacinta May 13, 2000, on the 83rd anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, teaching us that even young children can become saints.

A clip from the 1952 movie Miracle Of Our Lady Of Fatima as the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared for the first time to the three seers Francisco, Jacinta & Lucia at the Cova Da Iria, Fatima, Portugal in May 13, 1917:

When Bishops do the right thing

Ought we rejoice in Lent? Well, Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon, has given us the absolute best reason to rejoice in a penitential season: he yanked the title "Catholic" from a hospital in his diocese that refuses actually to be Catholic. What a refreshing development in episcopal leadership! In fact, Lent is probably the perfect time for such an act to take place because it is an exercise of discipline and courage, which we love to see in our prelates. Bishops who are true shepherds, and not politicians, strengthen us and enliven our faith - thank you, Bishop Vasa!

The point of contention that the good bishop had with the St. Charles Hospital in Bend, OR was the hospital's practice of surgical sterilization. Apparently the Board of Directors thought that the Church's clear prohibition of this practice was, uh, optional. So after a fair and timely investigation, the bishop could not convince the hospital administration to change practices and simply yanked the Catholic name and insignia from the building with the exception of the cross on top to remind them of their failure to live up to the challenge of the Cross. Can't you hear the bishop wince when the president of the healthcare chain, James Diegel, said that the hospital had "an obligation to provide comprehensive health care services to our patients while remaining true to our values of compassion and caring for all"? This sounds like slimy Planned Parenthood language if you ask me. Outside of the fact that sterilization is the direct mutilation of an organ of the body and is not true health - care, the Church condemns the act in no uncertain terms as immoral. Well, the bishop was right not to tolerate that kind of nonsense - and the Church is stronger for it! One hates to think how many other nominally Catholic hospitals are getting away with the same thing due to lack of honest Church investigations into their practices.

In serving an international mission like HLI, I have a privileged chance to see many bishops around the world who actually do the right thing when the terms of their office require it, and their churches are generally vibrant and faithful because of their strong leadership. There are just a handful of bishops in the technologically-sophisticated western world, however, who exhibit the resolute moral courage that is required to remove the title of "Catholic" from an institution that is in rebellion against the authentic Faith; even fewer who have the guts to discipline a public figure who betrays the Faith in favor of his own leftist values. (Vice President Joe Biden, by the way, appeared in public on Wednesday with ashes on his forehead....) Yet, there is a growing trend in the United States toward greater episcopal strength and orthodoxy, and we have to applaud it when we see it because these bishops will be severely attacked and will need our support.

In a related case, Bishop Tobin of Providence, RI recently told Congressman Patrick Kennedy he couldn't receive Communion and was assailed ferociously by the pseudo-Catholic Chris Matthews on MSNBC; yet, lo and behold, the dissenting congressman decided not to run for Congress in the next term. Are the two things related? One can't know for sure, but I would still call it a net gain for Catholic orthodoxy. When bishops do the right thing - there is no telling what can happen, even in godless politics.

The name "bishop" in the original Greek mean "overseer." In other words, he "watches over" his flock. We, as members of Christ's faithful, truly long for the courageous oversight of bishops - our faith, our families and our souls need such pastoral care. If you haven't already decided on a special intention this Lenten Season, please pray in a special way for our bishops; prayers, fasting, and sacrifices can be offered for their continued strength and defense of the Church.

~Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International


Late on Friday, pro-lifers defeated AttorneyGeneral Six's Robo-Call Privacy Act (SB 456) by a final vote of 13-27 in the Senate.  The bill would have restricted the use of auto-dial calls by non-profit groups, including Kansans for Life.

This is a big win, particularly since A.G. Six put out a big press push yesterday (which is now removed from his website).

Kansans for Life opposed the bill, warning that the bill exempted arbitrary entities and hampered free speech.  Kansas already has a  Do-Not-Call law, which applies to unwanted business calls.

Sen Terry Bruce (R-Hutchinson) carried the opposition to SB 456, and warned that it violated Constitutionally-protected free speech with severe financial penalties.

Sen. Karin Brownlee (R-Olathe) and Dick Kelsey (R-Goddard) warned about the chilling effect the bill would have on various charities.

Before the vote, Sen. Tim Huelskamp (R-Fowler) secured an amendment to exempt political speech, which is really the target of such bills.

Senators who voted to protect free speech with the Huelskamp amendment (all are Republicans) include: Steve Abrams, Pat Apple, Jim Barnett, Karin Brownlee, Terry Bruce, Jeff Colyer, Les Donovan, Tim Huelskamp, Dick Kelsey, Julia Lynn, Bob Marshall, Ty Masterson, Carolyn McGinn, Ralph Ostmeyer, Mike Peterson, Mary Pilcher-Cook, Dennis Pyle, Jean Schodorf, Mark Taddiken, Susan Wagle.

Friday, February 19, 2010

It's the First Friday in Lent


Saint Conrad was living peacefully as a nobleman of Piacenza. He had married when quite young and led a virtuous and God-fearing life. One day, when engaged in his usual pastime of hunting, he ordered his attendants to set fire to some brushwood where game had taken refuge. The prevailing wind caused the flames to spread rapidly, and the surrounding fields and forest were soon in a state of conflagration. A mendicant who happened to be found near the place where the fire had originated was accused of being the author; he was imprisoned, tried and condemned to death. As the poor man was being led to execution, Conrad, stricken with remorse, declared the man innocent and confessed his own guilt openly. In order to repair the damage of which he had been the cause, as he then volunteered to do, he was obliged to sell all his possessions. He repaid his neighbors for all the losses they had suffered, then retired to a distant region where he took the Third Order habit of Saint Francis, while his wife entered the Order of Poor Clares.

After visiting the holy places in Rome, he went to Sicily and dwelt for forty years in strict penance, sleeping on the bare ground with a stone for pillow, and with dry bread and raw herbs for food. God rewarded his great virtue by the gift of prophecy and the grace of miracles. He died while praying on his knees in 1351, surrounded by a bright light, in the presence of his confessor, who was unaware for some time of his death because of his position. He is invoked especially for the cure of hernias.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Martha and Mary - a Lesson!

What do Martha and Mary have to say about "social justice"?  

Michael Voris asks, "Do you see the Church's primary mission as tending to souls or to the body?"

Pope Decries "Scourges" of Abortion and Contraception

Pope Benedict XVI told a group of visiting Romanian bishops on Friday to resist the “scourges” of abortion and artificial birth control.

The pontiff said the Church should set up “parish consultancy services” for young people to help them combat the “scourges of abortion, corruption, alcoholism and drugs, as well as birth control by methods contrary to the dignity of the human person.”

Read the entire story here.

Head of Pontifical Academy for Life Should be Removed: Academy Members

By Hilary White, Rome correspondent

ROME, February 17, 2010 ( – Five prominent members of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life are calling on the pope to remove Archbishop Rino Fisichella as the Academy’s president following their plenary meeting in Rome last week.

According to these key PAV members, Fisichella has manipulated both the media and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in order to deflect blame for damage to the Church caused by an article he wrote last year in which he appeared to condone the abortion of twins in Brazil.

Read the entire article.

Massachusetts 'Catholic College': Contact Planned Parenthood for Emergency Contraception

A Massachusetts Catholic college’s “emergency contraception options and resources” list includes links to Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts and to the state government’s “access to emergency contraception” web site. The list is found of the web page of the Stonehill College Women’s Center, which also offers links to gay activist organizations.

In addition, the college’s Book of Majors-- published in 2005 by the Office of Academic Services-- lists “Planned Parenthood counselor” among “professional careers” for gender studies majors.

Founded in 1948 by the Congregation of the Holy Cross, Stonehill College has 2,426 students, all of them undergraduates.


Mississippi collects over 130,000 signatures for Personhood Amendment

A grass roots organization in Mississippi has amassed over 130,000 signatures in order to place a Personhood amendment on an upcoming ballot in the state. The amount of signatures well surpasses the minimum requirement of 89,285 needed for a ballot initiative.

Personhood Mississippi, a non-profit group that seeks to “protect all life, regardless of age, health, function, physical or mental dependency, or method of reproduction,” reported that this latest ballot initiative broke the state record and garnered more signatures than any other initiative in Mississippi's history. Volunteers have been collecting signatures since February 11, 2009.

Read the entire article here. 

Related Posts:

Judie Brown: 40 Years in the Wilderness

 Deal Hudson: Personhood and Politics

 Personhood expands to three new states

The American Life League Training and Activism Week and Personhood Conference (Photos)

Personhood Kansas Launches Campaign to Amend Constitution, Recognize Human Rights

Personhood Colorado Announces Roe v. Wade Memorial Press Conference with Eduardo Verastegui, Star of Bella

'Personhood' to be theme at 2010 Roe anniversary

Deal Hudson of 'Inside Catholic' to Speak on Catholic Social Teaching at Human Personhood Conference

Young Women and Personhood



Laws, Lies, and Videotape

Catholic man charged with violating court order by taking daughter to church

A Catholic man could face prison after violating a temporary court order that forbade him from taking his toddler to Mass. Joesph Reyes of Chicago is in the midst of a bitter divorce suit with his estranged wife, Rebecca Shapiro, who is Jewish.

Shapiro was awarded custody of their three year old girl when the couple split and has raised the child in the Jewish faith. Reyes pleaded “not guilty” in a hearing on Tuesday.

The arraignment comes after Reyes had previously received a 30-day restraining order forbidding him from “exposing his daughter to any other religion that the Jewish religion” after he had his daughter baptized a Catholic and sent pictures of the occasion to his soon to be ex-wife.

Read the story here.

Fr. Frank Pavone: Minnesota Case a Great Encouragement to Those Who Stand for Life

STATEN ISLAND, NY, Feb. 18 /Christian Newswire/ -- Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, commented today on the case of a 26-year-old woman who held a knife to the throat of a pro-life sidewalk counselor outside a Duluth, Minnesota abortion clinic, then changed her mind and decided not to abort.

"This case illustrates what is true across the board about those seeking abortions and even those performing abortions: they are conflicted and ambivalent.  Despite any effort to appear sure of what they are doing, they aren't.  Despite the rhetoric about 'freedom of choice,' they resort to abortion because they feel they have no freedom and no choice," Fr. Pavone asserted.

"And the lesson for pro-life activists is that what often presents itself as anger and upset is often the first stage of conversion. We should not be afraid of these reactions."

Petition Urges KS Supreme Court Send Planned Parenthood's 107 Charges to Trial

With 107 criminal charges against Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri stalled for months in the Kansas Supreme Court, Operation Rescue has launched a petition to to send the illegal late-term abortion case to trial.

“Planned Parenthood has been investigated. A judge has found that there is probable cause to believe that it has broken the law. One hundred and seven criminal charges have been filed, twenty three of which are felonies. It’s time to clear the log-jam, put aside political obstructionism, and allow this case to go forward to trial on its merits,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

Listen to 1-minute radio commentary airing on Bott Radio Network.

Former Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline filed the massive abortion case on October 17, 2007, three months before leaving office. Current District Attorney Steve Howe, a political rival of Kline’s, has shown no interest in pursuing a prosecution.

But the case actually began as early as September, 2004, when as Attorney General, Kline issued subpoenas for 90 abortion records from Planned Parenthood and the now-closed Women’s Health Care Services. The two abortion clinics refused to comply, launching Kline on a 3-year legal odyssey that involved a complex series of legal maneuvers – many of them conducted in secrecy – that frequently landed the case before the Kansas Supreme Court.

Eventually Kline received the records with all patient identifying information redacted. Those records were the basis for his charges against Planned Parenthood.

However, former Chief Justice Kay McFarland issued an order at the request of the new Attorney General Steven Six, preventing the District Attorney’s office from accessing the evidence against Planned Parenthood, and gagging the custodian of those records, District Court Judge Richard Anderson. Subpoenas for other witnesses were quashed.

Anderson had overseen Kline’s investigation into illegal abortions from the beginning, and went so far as to seek an opinion from a police handwriting expert who confirmed suspicions that certain evidence had been “manufactured” by Planned Parenthood.

On May 13, 2009, the Kansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments on an appeal asking the Court to reinstate the State’s subpoenas for witnesses against Planned Parenthood and for Anderson’s gag order to be lifted.

The case has since sat dormant with no ruling in sight. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood continues to collect $300,000 in Kansas tax money and more evidence has surfaced indicating that the abortion group continues to flout the law.

“The criminal case against Planned Parenthood has a complex history that has overshadowed the serious nature of these charges,” said Newman. “There has been every effort made by the powers that be in Kansas to impede this case and prevent it from going to trial. That kind of political obstruction in a criminal prosecution is intolerable if public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary is to be maintained.”

“Let the witnesses testify and let the evidence come forward at trial and let a judge and jury decide. The petition will let the Court know that the public is watching. It’s time for the secrecy and stonewalling to stop.”



  • Timeline

  • Read the Complaint

  • Article with links to other important court documents

  • The Case That Time Forgot

  • Saint Bernadette Soubirous

    Born in Lourdes, France, on January 7, 1844, Bernadette was the first  child of Francois and Louise Soubirous, a poor peasant family. A severe asthma sufferer, Bernadette was such a poor student that she was unable to make her First Holy Communion until she was 14. She had many trials to contend with as a child -- poverty, health problems, which caused her to be behind in school, many responsibilities as the oldest child of six siblings, moving from one poor place to another, and a father who escaped from his financial problems by drowning them in alcohol.

    Her education was entrusted to the Sisters of Charity and Christian Instruction. - a teaching and nursing order whose mother-house is at Nevers, in central France. The Sisters soon discovered that although Bernadette had a quiet, modest demeanor, she had a lively sense of humor and a pleasing personality.

    It was to this simple 14-year-old girl that Our Lady chose to appear in what is known as the apparitions at Lourdes. Between February 11 and July 16, 1858, the Blessed Mother appeared to Bernadette 18 times in the hollow of the rock at Lourdes, called “de Massabielle”.

    On March 25, the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1858, she said to the little shepherdess who was only fourteen years of age: "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, when Bernadette repeated the words, it gave credibility to her apparitions. It was confirmation from heaven that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was indeed true.

    At age 22, Bernadette entered the convent of  the Sisters of Charity in Nevers. Although she had many trials there, she happily performed the menial tasks assigned to her, working initially in the kitchen, then later as an assistant in the infirmary. In September, 1878, at the age of 34, Bernadette made her perpetual vows. After suffering heroically and secretly for years from tuberculosis of the bone in the right knee, which caused excrucixiating pain, she died a holy death on April 15, 1879.

    St. Bernadette is the patron of: the poor, the sick, people ridiculed for their piety, and Lourdes, France.

    ~ © 2010 Jean M. Heimann

    Saint Quote:

    "Whatever trials the Lord sends you, whatever sacrifices He asks of you, whatever duties He imposes on you, always have this response of love and faithfulness on your lips and in your heart: 'Hear is your servant, O my God, ready to undertake all, to give all, to sacrifice all, as long as Your will may be accomplished in me and on all the the earth'."

    ~  St. Bernadette Soubirous, From the private notes of St. Bernadette of Lourdes, A Holy Life, by Patricia A. McEachern, Ph.D.

    For more information about St. Bernadette, see the following:

    A Biography of St. Bernadette - by Dan Paulos

    The Apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes

    Official Site of Lourdes 

    Apparitions of St. Bernadette Soubirous, My Name is Bernadette.

    What does Lent mean?

    Related Posts:

    Ash Wednesday: Pope Benedict and Lent 

    Lenten Quote for Ash Wednesday

     Ash Wednesday: A Journey into the Desert

     Lenten Ideas 2010

    Lent: The sounds of the season

    English Translation:

    Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.
    Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.

    To Thee, highest King,
    Redeemer of all,
    do we lift up our eyes
    in weeping:
    Hear, O Christ, the prayers
    of your servants.

    Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.

    Right hand of the Father,
    way of salvation,
    gate of heaven,
    wash away our
    stains of sin.

    Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.

    We beseech Thee, God,
    in Thy great majesty:
    Hear our groans
    with Thy holy ears:
    calmly forgive
    our crimes.

    Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.

    To Thee we confess
    our sins admitted
    with a contrite heart
    We reveal the things hidden:
    By Thy kindness, O Redeemer,
    overlook them.

    Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.

    The Innocent, seized,
    not refusing to be led;
    condemned by false witnesses
    because of impious men
    O Christ, keep safe those
    whom Thou hast redeemed.

    Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.


    Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

    Ad te Rex summe,
    omnium Redemptor,
    oculos nostros
    sublevamus flentes:
    exaudi, Christe,
    supplicantum preces.

    Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

    Dextera Patris,
    lapis angularis,
    via salutis,
    ianua caelestis,
    ablue nostri
    maculas delicti.

    Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

    Rogamus, Deus,
    tuam maiestatem:
    auribus sacris
    gemitus exaudi:
    crimina nostra
    placidus indulge.

    Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

    Tibi fatemur
    crimina admissa:
    contrito corde
    pandimus occulta:
    tua, Redemptor,
    pietas ignoscat.

    Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

    Innocens captus,
    nec repugnans ductus;
    testibus falsis
    pro impiis damnatus
    quos redemisti,
    tu conserva, Christe.

    Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    Ash Wednesday: Pope Benedict and Lent

    Did you get your ashes today? I'm still wearing mine. Once again, I had the opportunity to assist in distributing ashes which, to me, is a great privilege. It is such a joy to see families approach the altar with everyone from infant to adult receiving the ashes. We are all on this spiritual journey together. During this great season of Lent, each one of us seeks conversion in his /her own unique way. We are all here to help one another not only make it through the season of Lent, but to assist one another in getting to heaven. Let's keep that in mind as we strive to meet our goals during this Lenten season. How can we assist others in our lives obtain that ultimate goal? Whether it be through prayer for another, a sacrificial act on our part, a word of encouragement or comfort, we are all companions on this journey.

    When Liberals Attack!

    Michael Voris continues to comment on the abuses against human life.

    Catholic Foster Care in D.C. is forced out

    As reported in today’s Washington Post, Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Washington has ended its foster-care program. At issue was the right of the archdiocese to reject gay marriage and remain a city contractor; a bill legalizing same-sex marriage recently passed in the District.

    Archbishop Donald Wuerl is a man of principle and prudence: he did not want to end the foster-care program, but he was left with no realistic option. District lawmakers could have granted the kind of religious exemptions that would have ensured a continuation of services, but instead they sought to create a Catch-22 situation for the archdiocese. Surely they knew that Archbishop Wuerl was not going to negotiate Catholic Church teachings on marriage, yet that hardly mattered to them.  The real losers are the children who were served by the Catholic Church.
    Those who say that Wuerl is throwing the kids overboard are phonies. If Planned Parenthood were told that as a condition of public funding it had to refer Catholic women having second thoughts about abortion to a crisis pregnancy center, it would scream violation of church and state, refuse the money and end this program. Well, Archbishop Wuerl isn’t about to allow the state to run roughshod over Catholic doctrine, and that is why he is being forced to drop the foster-care program. 

    Prudent lawmakers interested in balancing church and state interests and servicing children would not seek to impose secular views on sectarian institutions. But that’s not what D.C. legislators opted to do, leaving Archbishop Wuerl with no realistic alternative. 

    Related Information:

    A great pro-life video

    Filmed and produced by Franciscan University students, sharing the experience of some of the 750 person strong FUS representation at the 2010 March for Life in Washington, DC. Ending comment by Most Reverend John D'Arcy, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

    Seven Holy Founders of the Order of Servites

    These seven men were born at Florence and led lives as hermits on Monte Senario, especially venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary. On Friday, April 13, 1240, the hermits received a vision of Our Lady. She held in her hand the black habit, and a nearby angel bore a scroll reading Servants of Mary Mary told them, You will found a new order, and you will be my witnesses throughout the world. This is your name: Servants of Mary. This is your rule: that of Saint Augustine. And here is your distinctive sign: the black scapular, in memory of my sufferings.

    They accepted the wisdom of Our Lady, wrote a Rule based on Saint Augustine and the Dominican Constitutions, adopted the black habit of an Augustinian monk, and lived as mendicant friars. The men founded the Order of Servites which in 1304 received the approval of the Holy See. They are venerated on this day which is said to be the day on which Saint Alexis Falconieri, one of the seven, died, in the year 1310.

    All seven were beatified on December 1, 1717 by Pope Clement XI and canonized in 1887 by Pope Leo XIII.

    To learn more about the Order of Servites (The Servants of Mary), go here.

    Fr. Barron comments on Pope John Paul II taking the discipline

    Fr. Barron answers, "What does it mean to take part in this ascetic practice (the self-imposed discipline that Pope John Paul II practiced)?