"To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop." ~ Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, n.101
Everything is grace, everything is the direct effect of our Father's love.Everything is grace because everything is God's gift.Whatever be the character of life or its unexpected events -- to the heart that loves, all is well.
"Thank you Jean, you are a beautiful soldier for the cause. I appreciate your superb work. Keep it up!"
Amazing Catechists and Catholic Mom Puppet Show Ministry
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Michelle, Unborn Word of the Day
"When I read your blog, I just want to comment on everything, your insights are just so on-key!" Leticia, Causa Nostrae Laetitiae and Cause of Our Joy.
"I enjoy your blog every day. It is the best Catholic blog out there. Thank you so much for all the work you put into it!"
Ellen Gable, author, "Emily's Hope"
"I love the zeal Jean puts into her posts, especially when it comes to the prolife movement." Esther, A Catholic Mom in Hawaii.
"Thank you, Jean....Awesome, Awesome information for those of us who are........may I say politically illiterate, but wanting to vote educated!! I'm leaning on you for voting info!!"
Ebeth, A Catholic Mom climbing the Pillars
"Jean of Catholic Fire...provides so much informative content. She posts about pro-life issues and events, what happened 'on this day', biographies of saints, prayer intentions, and lots more each day. No matter what she's posting about, I can always come away each day feeling uplifted...and that's saying a lot for me, as I'm someone who often tries to avoid thinking about some of the political and other issues that she posts about. It must be her strong faith and trust in God, as well as her love, shining through her posts, that inspire me." Margaret Mary Myers , Reflections, Catholic BVI Readers, VIP Homeschooler.
"PH, NC, RT, IT, O, H+, R+, T, C, NLU, AM, BS, F... Take that, Catholic Fire! You think you can curse us with your Latin language stuff? Well, try this on for size: May your life-spirit be exchanged with that of an polar bear who has just been stranded on an ice-floe that broke off because of global warming!" Father Tim, Spirit of Vatican 2
Today is the feast of my Confirmation saint, St. Catherine of Siena, Caterina di Giacomo di Benicasa (1347 - 1380). As a mystic, activist, reformer, contemplative, and Doctor of the Church, she is one of the most prominent figures in Christian history.
Catherine, the youngest of twenty-six children, was born in Siena on March 25, 1347. During her youth she had to contend with great difficulties on the part of her parents. They were planning marriage for their favorite daughter; but Catherine, who at the age of seven had already taken a vow of virginity, refused. To break her resistance, her beautiful golden brown tresses were shorn to the very skin and she was forced to do the most menial tasks. Undone by her patience, her mother and father finally relented and their child entered the Third Order of St. Dominic -- a lay order.
Catherine managed a large household of followers, all of whom called her "Mama". She served as spiritual director to royalty and religious. She lived in poverty and fasted severely (living only on the Eucharist) but always seeing to it that her friends were well fed. She prayed for several hours at a time and often went into ecstasy. She routinely cared for the sick in hospitals and visited those in prisons. Even the most hardened criminals embraced the faith when she visited them. She read the thoughts and knew the temptations of her companions, even at long distances. She saw people's secret sins and confronted these people, urging them to repent. She touched hearts so effectively that the Friars Preachers had to assign three priests to handle the confessions of her penitents.
As time went on, her influence reached out to secular and ecclesiastical matters. She made peace between worldly princes. The heads of Church and State bowed to her words. She weaned Italy away from an anti-pope, and made cardinals and princes promise allegiance to the rightful pontiff. She fought hard to defend the liberty and rights of the Popes and did much for the renewal of religious life. She also dictated books full of sound doctrine and spiritual inspiration. She died on April 29, 1380. In 1970, Pope Paul VI declared her a Doctor of the Church.
Against fire; bodily ills; Europe; fire prevention; firefighters; illness; Italy; miscarriages; nurses; nursing services; people ridiculed for their piety; sexual temptation; sick people; sickness; Siena, Italy; temptations.
A Few of my favorite quotes from St. Catherine of Siena
"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."
"Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind."
"Merit consists in the virtue of love alone, flavored with the light of true discretion without which the soul is worth nothing."
"Strange that so much suffering is caused because of the misunderstandings of God's true nature. God's heart is more gentle than the Virgin's first kiss upon the Christ. And God's forgiveness to all, to any thought or act, is more certain than our own being."
Here is an excerpt from The Dialogue (Catherine's dialogue with God in which God is speaking to her) which is just beautiful!
Holy Spirit, come into my heart, by your power I journey to You, God, and grant me charity with fear. Protect me, o Christ, from every evil thought, warm me with Your sweet love, so that each burden seems light to me. My holy Father and my sweet Lord, help me always in all my endeavors, Christ love, Christ love.
~Composed and written by St. Catherine at Rocca d'Orcia in 1377, after miraculously having learned to write.
Louis de Montfort's life is inseparable from his efforts to promote genuine devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus and mother of the church. Totus tuus ("I am all yours.") was Louis's personal motto; Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) chose it as his episcopal motto.
Born to a poor family in 1673 in the Breton village of Montfort, as an adult, Louis identified himself by the place of his baptism instead of his family name, Grignion. After being educated by the Jesuits and the Sulpicians, he was ordained as a diocesan priest in 1700.
He preached parish missions throughout western France, walking from city to city. His years of ministering to the poor prompted him to travel and live very simply, sometimes getting him into trouble with church authorities. In his preaching, which attracted thousands of people back to the faith, Father Louis recommended frequent, even daily, Holy Communion (not the custom then!) and imitation of the Virgin Mary's ongoing acceptance of God's will for her life.
Louis founded the Missionaries of the Company of Mary (for priests and brothers) and the Daughters of Wisdom, who cared especially for the sick. His book, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, has become a classic explanation of Marian devotion. He also wrote The Secret of the Rosary, which is the first work to describe the method by which the Rosary is prayed today. Louis died in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sevre, where a basilica has been erected in his honor. He was canonized in 1947.
A Few of My Favorite St. St. Louis de Montfort Quotes:
"Pray with great confidence, with confidence based on the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ. God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray."
“We fasten our souls to Your hope, as to an abiding anchor. It is to Her that the saints who have saved themselves have been the most attached and have done their best to attach others, in order to persevere in virtue. Happy, then, a thousand times happy, are the Christians who are now fastened faithfully and entirely to Her, as to a firm anchor!” (Treatise on True Devotion, n. 175).
"The cross is the greatest gift God could bestow on His Elect on earth. There is nothing so necessary, so beneficial, so sweet, or so glorious as to suffer something for Jesus. If you suffer as you ought, the cross will become a precious yoke that Jesus will carry with you."
"Mary alone gives to the unfortunate children of unfaithful Eve entry into that earthly paradise where they may walk pleasantly with God and be safely hidden from their enemies. There they can feed without fear of death on the delicious fruit of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They can drink copiously the heavenly waters of that beauteous fountain which gushes forth in such abundance."
"She [Mother Mary] is an echo of God, speaking and repeating only God. If you say "Mary" she says 'God'."
"If you put all the love of all the mothers into one heart it still would not equal the love of the Heart of Mary for her children."
“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day be led astray. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood.”
Read the Fire Prayer of St. Louis in which St. Louis de Montfort pleads for apostles to remedy the present-day crisis of the Church that he foresaw.
Why St. Louis Marie de Montfort is so Special to me
About thirteen years ago on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes I made my Consecration to Jesus through Mary via the St. Louis de Montfort method. I can't even begin to tell you about all the graces I have received since then. A few years later, when I renewed my consecration, my husband Bill, also made his consecration via this method. When I presented a talk to our parish on the Blessed Virgin Mary and her various apparitions, I shared the deep love Karol Wojtyla had for our dear Mother as a result of consecrating himself to her as a young factory worker in Krakow during World War II and how this love and devotion effected him his entire life and his teachings as Pope John Paul II. In my research for this presentation, I also discovered that St. Louis preached in the same area of France where my ancestors lived, and, although I don't know how he interacted with them, I would like to think that his teachings and his great love and devotion for Our Blessed Mother impacted them in a powerful way and that they, too, shared this love of Our Lady, surrendering their hearts totally to her.
Why not consider making your consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary? To learn more, go here.
To read the works of St. Louis de Montfort, go here.
This is an inspiring story from the Wichita Eagle about a brave military man from Wichita whose life was spared through the intercession of Father Emil Kaupan. I was recently introduced to Major Chris Shaner by his parents, who have been actively involved in the RCIA program in the Catholic Diocese of Wichita.
“Every excuse abortion supporters gave to stop this bill was either lame or a lie. They accuse us of passing the bill solely to limit access to abortion, when what it actually does is limit access to dangerous abortion clinics that cut corners for profit because the inherent shame of abortion prevents women from filing lawsuits or clamoring for state corrective action. And we are proud indeed to deny access to dangerous chemical abortions via webcam at the numerous sites across Kansas that were being eyed by Planned Parenthood."
Under the new licensure, ultrasound use is now mandated for all abortions, and under the 2009 Kansas Woman's Right to Know and See provision, the mother must be asked if she wishes to see the ultrasound and receive a hard copy.
Abortionists will now be required to have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility. The facility will renew licensure annually upon completion of an inspection, and will be subject to an unannounced inspection during that calendar year.
H Sub SB 36 prevents abortions by surgery or pills by non- physicians and bans the novel "webcam" abortions where dangerous abortion pills would be dispensed remotely via computer. The number of Kansas abortions by pill continue to rise, (26.8% in 2010) at a rate well above the national average.
The non-reporting of injuries and deaths of women at Kansas abortions was a topic of today's Senate debate. Sen. Pilcher-Cook remarked that the absence of hard data on abortion injuries exactly proved the need for the bill. H Sub SB 36 will require abortion-licensed facilities to report maternal deaths from abortions to the state health department within one business day, and maternal injuries within 10 calendar days.
Continue reading. My Opinion: This bill is definitely a step in the right direction and I'm happy that it passed, but I won't be satisfied until abortions are prohibited in this country. Abortion is murder and we need to persist in praying that all people will be able to see it for what it is -- the taking of innocent human life.
He's a man who has every right to enter the Guinness Book of World Records. During his pontificate, John Paul II, quickly broke all the records set by his predecessors. In fact, just a few months after being elected Pope, he was nicknamed Hurricane Wojtyla.
He visited 129 countries. He made 104 trips abroad and another 146 within Italy. He traveled over 1,200,000 kilometers, which is more than three times the distance from Earth to the Moon or the equivalent of going around the world 30 times.
Today's saint is St Zita (1212-72), the patron saint of domestic servants and housekeepers.
She was born in Tuscany, Italy in the village of Monsagrati. Zita came from a poor, but deeply devotional family. To help support the family, she became a maid of a wealthy family, Fatinelli, in the nearby Tuscan city of Lucca, serving them loyally for 48 years.
Zita considered her work as an employment assigned to her by God and obeyed her master and mistress in all things as being placed over her by God. She always rose several hours before the rest of the family and spent time in prayer while they slept. She started each day with Holy Mass before she began performing her duties.
Zita visited the sick and those in prison, giving them hope and spreading the gospel message. She was well - known for all her works of charity and her sweet, joyful disposition.
Zita had a great love for the poor and donated her own food or that of her master to the poor. At first, her employers were upset by her generous gifts of food to the poor, but in time, they were completely won over by her patience and goodness.
On one morning, Zita left her chore of baking bread to tend to someone in need. Some of the other servants made sure the Fatinelli family was aware of what happened. When they went to investigate, they claimed to have found angels in the Fatinelli kitchen, baking the bread for her.
On another occasion, Zita had given away the family's supply of beans to the townsfolk during a severe famine. Upon suspecting this, the Fatinelli family went to the cupboard to find it full - the beans hand been miraculously replaced.
Another recorded event was just as dramatic, if not more so. On Christmas Eve, Zita had given away a prized and treasured family cloak to a shivering man at the doorway of St. Fredaino, the local church. While the elder Fatinelli was in the midst of a fit of fury, an elderly man came to the door and returned the heirloom. When townsfolk heard of the event, they decided that the man must have been an angel. From that point on, the doorway of the St. Fredaino church in Lucca has been called the "Angel Portal".
With the passage of the years Zita’s fellow servants and the Fatinellis came to realize that she was a genuine saint. The family made her mistress of the household and eventually governess of the Fatinelli children.
St. Zita died peacefully in the Fatinelli house on April 27, 1272. It is said that a star appeared above the attic where she slept at the moment of her death. Zita was canonized in 1696.
Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Good Counsel.
On the Feast of Saint Mark, the Evangelist, April 25 1467, the people of Genazzano, Italy witnessed a marvelous sight. A cloud descended upon an ancient church dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel. When the cloud disappeared, an image of Our Lady and the Child Jesus was revealed which had not been there before. The image, on a paper-thin sheet, was suspended miraculously.
Soon after the image's appearance many miracles were attributed to the intercession of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Because of this, Pope Paul II ordered an investigation and the results have been preserved.
It was later discovered that the very same image had been seen in a church dedicated to the Annunciation in Scutari, Albania. The image in this church was said to have arrived there in a miraculous manner. Now, the image had been transported from Albania miraculously to avoid sacrilege from Moslem invasion.
A commission of inquiry determined that a portrait from the church was indeed missing. An empty space the same size as the portrait was displayed for all to see.
Many miracles continue to be attributed to Our Lady of Good Counsel. Pope Saint Pius V, for example, credited victory in the Battle of Lepanto to Her intercession.
Several Popes have approved the miraculous image. In 1682 Pope Innocent XI had the portrait crowned with gold. On July 2 1753 Pope Benedict XIV approved the Scapular of Our Lady of Good Counsel, and was the first to wear it. In 1884 a special Mass and Office of the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel was approved by Pope Leo XIII.
For more than 500 years the image has continued to attract countless pilgrims.
Although much of the church was destroyed during World War II, the image has remained intact - and continues to be suspended miraculously.
Our Lady of Good Counsel is the patron saint of those seeking enlightenment.
O Mary of Good Counsel, inflame the hearts of all who are devoted to you, so that all of them have shelter in you, O great Mother of God. O most worthy Lady, let everyone choose you as teacher and wise counselor of their souls, since you are, as Saint Augustine says, the counsel of the Apostles and counsel of all peoples. Amen.
The second Gospel was written by St. Mark, who, in the New Testament, is also called John Mark. St. Mark and his mother, Mary, were highly regarded in the early Church, and his mother's house in Jerusalem served as a meeting place for Christians there. It was to her house that St. Peter fled following his miraculous escape from prison.
St. Mark is believed to be the young man who ran away when Jesus was arrested (Mark 14:51-52), and the "John whose other name was Mark" (Acts 12:25).
St. Mark, a cousin of Barnabas, accompanied Saint Paul on his first missionary journey and later went with him to Rome. He was a disciple of Saint Peter whose teaching was the basis for Mark's gospel. Mark is said to be the founder of the church of Alexandria.
St. Mark is the patron saint of attorneys and notaries.
"Go out into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature."
Lord, help me to follow in the footsteps of St. Mark and to fall in love with You completely, desiring only Your will in my life. Help me to hear your voice and to be guided by the Holy Spirit to do all that You ask of me. Amen.
Benedict XVI washed the feet of twelve Roman priests imitating the gesture of Jesus towards the Apostles. It was during the Mass of the Lord's Supper that he presided in the Basilica of St. John Lateran. During the celebration, he was given alms collected for the victims of earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Holy Thursday is also known as "Maundy Thursday." The word maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum (commandment) which is the first word of the Gospel acclamation:
Mandátum novum do vobis dicit Dóminus, ut diligátis ínvicem, sicut diléxi vos:
"I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you." (John 13:34)
These are the words spoken by our Lord to His apostles at the Last Supper, after he completed the washing of the feet. We should imitate Christ's humility in the washing of the feet.
By meditating on the Gospels (cf. Matt 26:1 ff.; Mark 14:1 ff.; Luke 22:1 ff.; John 13:1 ff.), we can recall to mind Jesus' actions of that day. Father Bernard Strasser summarizes all the events of that first Holy Thursday:
In all the German speaking countries, Slavic nations and in Hungary this day is also known as "Green Thursday." The word is a corruption of the German word grunen (to mourn) to the German word for green (grün). Many people believe they must eat green at today's meal, which is probably derived from from the Jewish Passover meal that included bitter herbs.
Easter or Paschal Triduum is the ancient name given to the three days of the ‘pasch’ or ‘passing over’ of the Lord, beginning on the evening of Holy Thursday and ending on Easter Sunday. This is the "Feast of feasts", the high point of the Church’s liturgical year, when we celebrate the heart of our faith -- the great mystery of salvation when Our Lord Jesus Christ passes through suffering and death to the new life of the Resurrection.
The triduum liturgies teach us the meaning of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. The richness of the rituals and symbols help us to experience the mysteries of Jesus’ final hours, His passion, suffering -- and His rising from the dead. In a special way, during these three days,we come together as God's people to remember the saving act of Jesus, the miracle of His resurrection – and to celebrate our faith and identity as Catholics. Because Christ was willing to die for our sins and was raised from the dead, death is no longer the end of life for us. It is the beginning of a new life in Him.
How can we enter deeply into these mysteries?
We have spent the past six weeks of Lent preparing to celebrate this great feast of all feasts. We have reflected on our personal failures to follow Christ in our thoughts, our words and our deeds. We have tried to make amends for the harm we have done by our actions and by our inaction. We have demonstrated our love for him and our neighbor by giving alms and by performing spiritual and corporal works of mercy. We have received the sacrament of Reconciliation and have received God's forgiveness and mercy which has filled our hearts with peace and joy. Now, we continue to fast and pray. The purpose of the fasting is to gain awareness into the mysteries of the Triduum. Fasting from food – and sin -- and increasing our acts of love, we stand at the foot of the cross on Good Friday –and reflect on the Passion of Christ. Jesus died for each of us. What greater love is there than this? Fasting helps us to become acutely aware of the hunger we have for Jesus - our desire to be like Him and our need for spiritual nourishment in order to do so. It causes us to eagerly desire to receive His body and his blood in the Holy Eucharist.
"Consider now attentively the three holy days of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of the Lord. From these three mysteries we realize in the present life that of which the cross is symbol, while we realize through faith and hope, that of which the burial and resurrection is symbol."
~ St. Augustine (Letter 55,14,24).
In Benedict XVI's general audience, he explained the meaning of the Easter Triduum, the three days when the Church celebrates the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. The pope invited Catholics to make a thorough confession to prepare for these days.
He explained Holy Thursday is when oils are blessed for baptism, confirmation, and the ordination of priests as well as anointing the sick and commemorating the institution of the Eucharist.
Jesus carries this betrayal in love so that we too may be able to carry in love all the struggles the Church is now living, all the struggles of humanity. We know that these battles are terrible and sometimes they make us lose hope. Well, no! They should not make us lose hope! The stronger the battle, the more Jesus is present and the more He wants to be glorified in our heart. And Jesus is glorified in our heart to the extent that love triumphs. This is truly what the glory of Christ is: love victorious over betrayal, victorious over all lies.
~ Excerpted from Return to me ... Daily Meditations for Lent By Father Philippe, O.P., Philosopher and Founder of The Community of St. John compiled by the Sisters of St. John
We understand the suffering of Jesus' heart, His sadness over one of His disciples, one of those He had chosen and therefore one of those whom He loves: "One of you will betray me." Here we see the two extremes: the disciple whom Jesus loves, John close to Jesus' heart, and Judas, who draws further and further away, who turns in on himself and closes himself in on his evil will. A division arose among those whom Jesus had chosen and loved and the cause of this division is Judas' jealousy towards John. Judas did not directly will Jesus' death, but he could not stand Jesus' love for John. Judas did not go to the end in his first love and he rejected this first love because he saw that another was first passing ahead of him. Let us ask Jesus for the grace to be faithful to the end in our love for Him and that nothing, absolutely nothing, make us stray from Him. May He always be the one we love above all things.
~ Excerpted from Return to me ... Daily Mediations for Lent By Father Philippe, O.P., Philosopher and Founder of The Community of St. John compiled by the Sisters of St. John
Today we commemorate Christ's entry into Jerusalem for the completion of the Paschal Mystery. In the old calendar before Vatican II, the Church celebrated Passion Sunday two Sundays before Easter, and then Palm Sunday was the beginning of Holy Week. The Church has combined the two to reinforce the solemnity of Holy Week.
The Palm Sunday procession is formed of Christians who, in the "fullness of faith," make their own the gesture of the Jews and endow it with its full significance. Following the Jews' example we proclaim Christ as a Victor... Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. But by our faith we know, as they did not, all that His triumph stands for. He is the Messiah, the Son of David and the Son of God. He is the sign of contradiction, acclaimed by some and reviled by others. Sent into this world to wrest us from sin and the power of Satan, He underwent His Passion, the punishment for our sins, but issues forth triumphant from the tomb, the victor over death, making our peace with God and taking us with Him into the kingdom of His Father in heaven.
Please pray for a Catholic family who face repossession of their only car (which is used for work) and eviction from their home. Pray that the Lord will rescue them from this situation and provide an income to sustain them. Pray also for peace of mind and heart.
Today is the optional memorial of St. Stanislaus, the Bishop of Cracow, Poland. A champion of the liberty of the Church and of the dignity of man, he defended the lonely and the poor. When he reproached King Boleslaus II for his immoral life, the king himself killed him during Mass.
Stanislaus was born in 1030 and was educated at Gnesen and at Paris. After his ordination to the priesthood he was made a canon of the cathedral at Cracow as well as archdeacon and preacher. Upon the death of the bishop of Cracow, he was nominated bishop of the diocese by Pope Alexander II.
The king at the time, Boleslaus II, trying to strengthen his own power, led an expedition against the grand duchy of Kiev, making himself very unpopular with the nobles of the country, who opposed his policies. St. Stanislaus of Cracow sided with the nobles, led by the king's brother, Ladislaus, and this brought him into conflict with the king.
Stanislaus had opposed the king before for his tyrannical ways and once confronted him boldly for his immoral behavior when Boleslaus had abducted the wife of a Polish nobleman and carried her off to his castle. No one seemed willing to face the king from a fear of his rage, but Stanislaus boldly went to the king and threatened excommunication if he did not change his ways. Furious, the king promised revenge on the bishop. Later, Stanislaus sided with the nobles in their opposition to the king's political policies, and the king accused him of being a traitor and condemned him to death.
At first the king commanded his soldiers to kill the bishop when he was celebrating Mass at St. Michael's chapel in Cracow, but the soldiers refused, fearing to bring down upon themselves the wrath of God. Undeterred, the king himself entered the church, drew his sword, and killed the bishop, ordering his soldiers to dismember the body.
Pope Gregory VII placed the country under interdict and Boleslaus fell from power, fleeing to Hungary, where he entered the monastery of Osiak to do penance for his crime. Stanislaus, canonized by Pope Innocent IV in 1253, is one of the patron saints of Poland.
~ The One Year Book of Saints by Rev. Clifford Stevens
Today the Church celebrates St. Gemma Galgani, virgin, mystic, and patron of pharmacists.
Gemma Galgani was born in Lucca, Italy on March 12, 1878, the fourth of eight children. Her mother, who had been a very caring woman, died at the age of thirty - five when Gemma was only seven.
For the next eighteen years the family experienced much grief and misfortune. Gemma looked after her brother who had tuberculosis and who died when he was eighteen. Her father was a prosperous pharmacist but the prolonged illness of others in the family was a drain on his resources and the family was reduced to poverty. To add to this, Gemma's father developed cancer of the throat and Gemma nursed him with great care until his death.
Gemma had an immense love for the poor, and helped them in any way she could. After her father's death, the nineteen - year -old Gemma became the mother of her seven brothers and sisters.
At age 20, Gemma, who from an early age had known loss and bereavement, developed a curvature of the spine. Also, meningitis set in and left her deaf. Large abscesses formed on her head, her hair fell off, and her limbs became paralyzed. A doctor examined her and attempted many remedies which all failed. She only grew worse. Her condition was such that she was helpless and dependent on others. By praying a novena to St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother (who was then Venerable Gabriel) she was miraculously cured.
Gemma bore the stigmata, receiving the wounds of Christ on her hands and feet each Thursday evening through Friday afternoon beginning in June 1889 and continuing into 1901. As a visionary, she saw her guardian angel daily, who protected and consoled her, and occasionally scolded her for her faults.
Gemma had a profound prayer life and a deep union with God. She attended Mass twice a day, while receiving communion once. She faithfully said her rosary, and in the evening, went to vespers. She never neglected any of her other duties.
In 1902, Gemma in good health since her miraculous cure, gave herself to God as a victim soul, offering her suffering for the salvation of souls. Jesus accepted her offer. She then became seriously ill. Though briefly recovering her health, through Divine Providence, she soon became ill again.
She died at on Holy Saturday, April 11, at the age of 25 and was canonized just 37 years after her death.
Quote:“If you really want to love Jesus, first learn to suffer, because suffering teaches you to love.”
During Lent, I have been trying to avoid blogging much about politics in favor of focusing on religious and spiritual topics, but now I can no longer keep silent. Our government is shutting down in order to ensure that taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood is protected. As a result, our military will suffer. In order to ensure that Planned Parenthood is funded and that abortion is protected in this country, the government is shutting down, which will result in our military seeing less money in their paychecks or no paychecks at all. How utterly absurd and immoral! Our government has reached the climax of its imbecility.
I agree with Sarah Palin, who so eloquently expresses my feelings on Facebook: "It’s about time the President step up to the plate and lead responsibly. Our troops who are putting themselves in harm’s way deserve a Commander in Chief who is not AWOL from the debt debate. The American people deserve a president who will take on the tough challenges and understand that funding “Car Talk” is not as crucial as funding our troops at a time of three wars."
What kind of person is it who would want to use our money to pay for abortions and deny our military families money to support their families? This kind of thinking can only come from someone who is morally depraved.
PHOENIX - The U.S. House passed a 1-week stop gap measure Thursday. It will fund the military for the rest of the year, and cuts $12 billion in domestic spending.
President Obama has already threatened to veto that bill -- and Senator Harry Reid has made no promises that it will even get a hearing in the Senate.
If the government does shut down, pay for military members could be delayed.
Thursday, we spoke with a military family who's also hoping lawmakers can iron out a deal before the shutdown. It's a nervous time for military families here in the valley.
If the shutdown happens, they would likely see less money in their paychecks or no paychecks at all.
It's a scary thought for Amy Hurles, whose husband is serving overseas. She already has enough to worry about.
"We're relying all on his income," says Hurles, who takes care of their four kids while Army Corporal Dale Hurles works.
If there's a government shutdown, the family might not get a paycheck.
"I don't understand how they could do that you know. My husband is fighting for our country he can't stop working... I don't know why they can't just get it settled. I don't understand what they're thinking or how they can get away with that."
Hurles says she's already trying to figure out how she'll get by if her husband's military paycheck doesn't come in.
"I have dentist appointments for my boys, and I'm like ok I'm going to have to cancel those, and my daughter has kidney problems and her doctor's appointment is kind of far, and her car takes a lot of gas. And I'm like am I going to be able to get her to those appointments?"
With her husband on the other side of the world, Hurles would essentially have to cope with a shutdown all by herself. She's hoping it won't come to that.
"I would find a way, I would find a way, but yeah it would be hard."
If there's a shutdown, the defense secretary says service members will first get a half-paycheck. After that the money might not come at all -- but the feds say members of the military will eventually get paid for all the time they work.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates addressed the possible delay while talking with troops serving in Iraq.
"Frankly, I remember when I was your age I did a lot of livin' from paycheck to paycheck, so, I hope this thing doesn't happen because I know it will be an inconvenience for a lot of troops," said Gates.
The saint of the day for April 8 is St. Julie Billart.
Saint Julie was born in Cuvilly, France, on July 12, 1751 to a loving family. She was a woman of serenity, despite the great personal suffering she endured. The Billiart family survived many hardships, including the deaths of several children. When Julie was 16, she went to work as a teacher to help support her family. One night, robbers invaded her home and shot her father as she stood by helplessly. He recovered from the incident, but the trauma caused Julie, who was then 23, to become paralyzed and a complete invalid.
Besides her physical and emotional distress, Julie suffered religious persecution. During the French Revolution, Julie opened her home as a hiding place for loyal priests, which forced her to flee and hide from danger. Throughout her suffering and trials, she steadfastly trusted in God’s goodness. Her motto was: “Oh, how good God is!”
At the age of 53, Julie and her very good friend, Françoise Blin de Bourdon, along with two other women, made their vows as Sisters of Notre Dame in Amiens, France. The new order was dedicated to the education of the poor as well as young Christian girls and the training of catechists.
A variety of difficult circumstances caused her to move her congregation to Namur, Belgium, several years later. Today these sisters are known as the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
A short time after the founding of the order, Julie was miraculously cured and walked again for the first time in over 20 years. She died peacefully in 1816 at the age of 64. Pope Paul VI canonized her in 1969.
Patronage: against poverty, bodily ills, impoverishment, poverty, sick people, sickness
Prayer to St. Julie Billiart
Saint Julie, through your great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, you were miraculously cured and favored by many graces. By your powerful intercession, obtain for us above all, great trust in God in all difficulties of life, the strength to accomplish in all things the precious will of God and the special grace we now humbly ask of you. Amen.
American Life League explains how Planned Parenthood is an enemy of the Catholic Church and proposes a new approach to how the Church may deal with Catholics who support America's largest abortion chain.
For the list of Catholic Representatives voting "NO" on defunding Planned Parenthood click here.
On the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's historic prayer gathering with religious leaders, Pope Benedict XVI will again address the faiths of the world in the small Italian town of Assisi, the hometown of St. Francis. The pope has invited leaders of other faiths, scientists, and cultural leaders to the event.
The event will be a day of “reflection, dialogue, and prayer for peace and justice in the world.”
The saint of the day for April 7 is St. John Baptist de la Salle, father of modern education and the patron saint of teachers. He is known for promoting and reforming Christian education, especially among the poor.
John Baptist de la Salle was born at Rheims in France in 1651. After ordination to the priesthood, he devoted himself to the education of boys and the founding of schools for the poor. He liquidated his personal fortune (about $400,000) and donated it to the poor in the form of bread during the great famine of 1683-1684.
He Instituted the process of dividing students into grades and established the first teacher's school. He started high schools and trade schools.
John brought his companions together as a religious congregation, founding the order known today as Christian Brothers. He suffered from asthma and rheumatism in his later years and died at Rouen in 1719 on Good Friday. He was canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1900 and named patron of teachers by Pope Pius XII in 1950.
Quotes from St. John Baptist de la Salle:
"Be driven by the love of God because Jesus Christ died for all, that those who live may live not for themselves but for him, who died and rose for them. Above all, let your charity and zeal show how you love the Church. Your work is for the Church, which is the body of Christ."
"I will often consider myself as an instrument which is of no use except in the hands of the Workman. Hence I must await the orders of Providence before acting and be careful to accomplish them when unknown."
In his general audience in St. Peter's Square today, attended by more than 10,000 people, Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis to St. Therese of Lisieux, or St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, "who lived in this world for only twenty-four years at the end of the nineteenth century, leading a very simple and hidden life, but who, after her death and the publication of her writings, became one of the best-known and loved saints".
"Little Therese", the Pope continued, "never failed to help the most simple souls, the little ones, the poor and the suffering who prayed to her, but also illuminated all the Church with her profound spiritual doctrine, to the point that the Venerable John Paul II, in 1997, granted her the title of Doctor of the Church ... and described her as an 'expert in scientia amoris'. Therese expressed this science, in which all the truth of the faith is revealed in love, in her autobiography 'The Story of a Soul', published a year after her death".
Therese was born in 1873 in Alencon, France. She was the youngest of the nine children of Louis and Zelie Martin, and was beatified in 2008. Her mother died when she was four years old, and Therese later suffered from a serious nervous disorder from which she recovered in 1886 thanks to what she later described as "the smile of the Virgin". In 1887 she made a pilgrimage to Rome with her father and sister, where she asked Leo XIII for permission to enter Carmel of Lisieux, at just fifteen years of age. Her wish was granted a year later; however, at the same time her father began to suffer from a serious mental illness, which led Therese to the contemplation of the Holy Face of Christ in his Passion. In 1890 she took her vows. 1896 marked the beginning of a period of great physical and spiritual suffering, which accompanied her until her death.
In those moments, "she lived the faith at its most heroic, as the light in the shadows that invade the soul" the Pope said. In this context of suffering, living the greatest love in the littlest things of daily life, the Saint realised her vocation of becoming the love at the heart of the Church".
She died in the afternoon of 30 September, 1897, uttering the simple words, "My Lord, I love You!". "These last words are the key to all her doctrine, to her interpretation of the Gospel", the Pope emphasised. "The act of love, expressed in her final breath, was like the continued breathing of the soul ... The words 'Jesus, I love You' are at the centre of all her writings".
St. Therese is "one of the 'little ones' of the Gospel who allow themselves to be guided by God, in the depth of His mystery. A guide for all, especially for... theologians. With humility and faith, Therese continually entered the heart of the Scriptures which contain the Mystery of Christ. This reading of the Bible, enriched by the science of love, does not oppose academic science. The 'science of the saints', to which she refers on the final page of 'The Story of a Soul', is the highest form of science".
"In the Gospel, Therese discovers above all the Mercy of Jesus ... and 'Trust and Love' are therefore the end point of her account of her life, two words that, like beacons, illuminated her saintly path, in order to guide others along the same 'little way of trust and love', of spiritual childhood. Her trust is like that of a child, entrusting herself to the hands of God, and inseparable from her strong, radical commitment to the true love that is the full giving of oneself", the Holy Father concluded.
April 6, 2011. (Romereports.com) During the general audience, Benedict XVI called for peace in Libya and the Ivory Coast saying that all channels of peaceful dialogue should be opened to avoid more deaths.
“Violence and hate is always a lost cause! I therefore make a renewed and heartfelt appeal to all parties to the cause to initiate a process of peacemaking and dialogue, and to avoid further bloodshed.”
The Pope expressed his hopes for Cardinal Peter Turkson, whom he appointed as papal envoy to Ivory Coast, for his safe entry to the country in order to help rebuild the peace.
“I follow with great apprehension the dramatic events that the populations of the Ivory Coast and Libya are experiencing in these days. Furthermore, I hope that Cardinal Turkson, whom I have commissioned to visit the Ivory Coast to demonstrate my solidarity, may soon be able to enter the country.”
The Pope said he is praying for the victims and expressed his closeness to all those who are suffering from the consequences of the violence.
Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis of the general audience to St. Therese de Lisieux, a Carmelite nun who died at just 23 years old and was proclaimed patroness of the missions by Pope Pius XI and a Doctor of the Church by John Paul II in 1997.
Benedict XVI noted that this saint has a crucial importance in the history of the Church.
“Her name in religion – Sister Theresa of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face – expresses the heart of her spirituality, centred on the contemplation of God’s love revealed in the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption.”
The Pope explained how St. Therese of Lisieux fell ill and offered all her suffering as salvation for the souls of the world. He also said that this saint can serve as an example to all of us.
“Theresa found her vocation to be 'love in the heart of the Church'. May her example and prayers help us to follow 'the little way of trust and love' in spiritual childhood, abandoning ourselves completely to the love of God and the good of souls.”
Among the nearly 10,000 attendees filling St. Peter's square for the general audience, several bands and choirs performed songs dedicated to the pope.
Today's saint of the the day is Blessed Pierina Morosini, virgin and martyr (1931 - 1957), patron of rape victims and martyr of purity.
Martyr for Purity and Dignity of the Woman
Pierina Morosini, daughter of Roque Morosini and Sara Norris, was born on January 7, 1931 in Fiobbio di Albino, Bergamo, Italy. Pierina was the eldest of nine children in this impoverished family. She was a young, devout woman, known as to be deeply in love with God and a faithful Catholic. Pierina received the Sacrament of Confirmation at age 6 and began attending daily mass, rising at 5 am in order to attend mass at 6 am. After mass, she would return home and then travel ½ hour to the village to go to school. Pierina was very talented and was the best student in her class but her family was poor and at the age of 11 she had to leave her studies in order to go to learn the trade of tailoring. At age 15, she began working at a cotton spinning mill in Albino. Still attending daily mass, she joined the Third Order Franciscans, taking vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
Pierina was very active in the Church, working as a catechist, collecting offerings for seminarians and doing other works. An important event in her life was her pilgrimage to Rome, in 1947, to attend the Beatification of Maria Goretti, during which she said, “It would be a great happiness for me to die like Maria Goretti.” Her friends responded by saying,” If you die as she did, we promise to come to your beatification.” Pierina was ready to suffer and having already received suffering from the Lord…she never complained.
Pierina was attacked by a 20 year old man on April 4, 1957. In defense of her virginity, she took a stone to hit her aggressor, but he took the stone from her and struck her on the head with it.
She fell down on the path where she was later found by her brother, Santo. The parish priest, who was called immediately, gave her the Last Sacraments and was then sent to a hospital in Benevento. She died on April 6, 1957.
Pierina was buried on April 9, 1957. Even then, she was already believed to be a saint and everyone wanted to tough her coffin. On April 9, 1983, her remains were carried from the cemetery to the parish church. Her body appeared to be in a good state of preservation.
When Pope John Paul II beatified her in Rome in 1987, he spoke of her as a symbol of purity in our violent, modern world.
Here’s the latest exclusive preview of the CATHOLICISM project, coming out this Fall 2011. This clip is from episode 5, “The Indispensable Men: Peter, Paul and the Missionary Adventure.
“Paul’s message was indeed designed to turn the world upside down. Precisely because it was the proclamation of a new King and, therefore, of an entirely new way of organizing things. If our teaching of the faith is too often tepid and uninspiring, authentic Christian proclamation is as subversive and explosive as the earthquake that shook the prison walls in Philippi.” – Fr. Barron, Episode 5, CATHOLICISM
The saint of the day for April 5 is St. Vincent Ferrer.
St. Vincent Ferrer was a famous Dominican missionary, credited with having converted thousands of Europeans to Catholicism. He was born in Valencia, Spain, in 1350 and entered the Dominican Order at the age of 17.
After years of study in Toulouse, in 1379, he was retained by Cardinal Pedro de Luna, legate of the Court of Aragon, who was trying to win the king to the obedience of the Avignon pontiff.
When France withdrew from the obedience of Avignon in September 1398 and the troops of Charles VI laid siege to the city, St. Vincent was struck by a fever that nearly killed him. He was miraculously cured after having an apparition of Christ, accompanied by St. Dominic and St. Francis. He began his preaching ministry again in November 1399, and for 20 years was a missionary in Western Europe.
He was responsible for the conversion of thousands in the different regions of France, Switzerland, Spain and Italy, including an estimated 25,000 Jews. He had a huge following, and his assemblies would sometimes number 10,000 people.
St. Vincent performed many miracles. He lived austerely, sleeping on the floor, perpetually fasting, and waking at two in the morning to chant the Office. He would celebrate Mass daily and preach afterwards, sometimes for three hours.
He died April 5, 1419 and was canonized in 1455.
St. Vincent Ferrer is the patron of: builders, plumbers, and construction workers.
Do you desire to study to your advantage? Let devotion accompany all your studies, and study less to make yourself learned than to become a saint. Consult God more than your books, and ask him, with humility, to make you understand what you read. Study fatigues and drains the mind and heart. Go from time to time to refresh them at the feet of Jesus Christ under his cross. Some moments of repose in his sacred wounds give fresh vigor and new lights. Interrupt your application by short, but fervent and ejaculatory prayers: never begin or end your study but by prayer. Science is a gift of the Father of lights; do not therefore consider it as barely the work of your own mind or industry."
Mondays are the best days during the campaign. Monday means that it’s time to report the number of saves. So here’s some good news to start your week.
Thus far in the current 40 Days for Life campaign, there have been 253 babies saved from abortion — that we know of! It’s the “that we know of” part that gives me the greatest hope. Who knows but the Lord Himself how many lives have been saved because Planned Parenthood can’t find an abortionist in Columbia, Missouri, where a 40 Days for Life vigil is going on? Abortions have not taken place there since January!
This week, the Susan B. Anthony List contacted Republican presidential hopefuls to ask them where they stand on defunding Planned Parenthood.
Several potential candidates, including Gov. Haley Barbour, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Gov. Sarah Palin, and Gov. Tim Pawlenty provided statements directly to the SBA List that were lengthy and clearly advocated revoking the tens of millions of dollars the abortion business receives annually from the federal government.
It looks like we have some wonderful potential choices for the 2012 presidential election -- let's pray that one of them will win this election. I have been praying for a strong Catholic pro-life candidate who lives out his/her faith to be elected in the upcoming presidential election; however, I believe that any one of these candidates would be a major improvement over what we have now.
Rome is finalizing preparations for the beatification of John Paul II. According to official sources 300,000 people are coming so far. But there is still room in the Eternal City for more. The city's hotel occupancy is currently at 80%. There are two camping areas just outside of Rome, available at very low price. Given the increase in room rates, hotels have pledged to ensure "high quality and no speculation on room rates."
Italy, France, Canada, Kuwait, Argentina, U.S.A., Malta, South Africa, and Germany are some of the nations from which people have registered for the May 6th - 8th ONE MILLION ROSARIES FOR UNBORN BABIES. The Saint Michael the Archangel Organization, coordinator of the prayer event, has also received one or more registration forms from Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Portugal, New Zealand, Philippines, India, Romania, Poland, Spain, Australia, Columbia, Northern Ireland, Singapore, and England.
Each person participating in the ONE MILLION ROSARIES FOR UNBORN BABIES prayer event will pray at least one Rosary for an end to the surgical and non-surgical killing of unborn human persons. With less than five weeks before the start of the prayer event, about 8,000 Rosaries have been registered. (The count is being kept at the homepage of the website www.SaintMichaelTheArchangelOrganization.org.)
A selection of some of the communications received by the Saint Michael the Archangel Organization about the ONE MILLION ROSARIES FOR UNBORN BABIES prayer event prayer event reveals the following:
• 162 Rosaries have been registered by a grade school located within the Archdiocese of Los
Angeles; 200 Rosaries have been registered by an academy for girls in Illinois; and, 220 Rosaries
have been registered by a grade school in Louisiana;
• The Daughters of Mary, Mother of the Church Congregation in the Philippines has registered
• A husband and wife from Wisconsin will pray 20 Rosaries each within the 3-day prayer event;
• A parish along with others from South Africa have registered 93 Rosaries;
• A total of 850 Rosaries has been registered by two Courts of the Catholic Daughters of the
Americas(one Court is from Iowa and the other one is from Kentucky);
In addition to participating, persons are also strongly encouraged to help promote the ONE MILLION ROSARIES FOR UNBORN BABIES prayer event. Two of the many ways pro-lifers can do this
include the following:
1) Contact one or more principals/teachers and ask that students be given the opportunity to pray the Rosary for the unborn babies at school on the Friday, May 6th date;
2) Contact at least one priest and ask him to:
a) lead the Rosary before or after the Saturday vigil Mass on May 7th;
b) lead the Rosary before or after at least one Mass on Sunday, May 8th.
Information about the ONE MILLION ROSARIES FOR UNBORN BABIES prayer event, including how to register and additional ways to promote it, is available at www.SaintMichaelTheArchangelOrganization.org (A person may also request information by writing to: Saint Michael the Archangel Organization; P. O. Box 41257; Memphis, Tennessee 38174; U.S.A. Please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you live in the U.S.A.)
Today is the optional memorial of St. Isidore of Seville, the patron saint of the Internet and the author of the first encyclopedia.
A Confessor, Doctor of the Church, and Bishop of Seville, Isidore was born in Cartagena, Spain, 560 and died in Seville, Spain in 636. He was younger brother to Saint Fulgentius of Astigi and Saint Florentina and succeeded his brother, Leander, a monk, to the See of Seville in 599.
He began as a poor student, but he turned his problem over to God and became one of the most learned men of his time. During his episcopacy he devoted his time and energy to promoting science and establishing schools and convents. He presided over the synod of Seville, 619, and the synod of Toledo, 633. He was a prolific writer whose literary works included: a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a history of Goths, and a history of the world beginning with creation.
He is the patron saint of computers, computer technicians, computer programmers, and the Internet. His symbols are bees and a pen.
So, how does Saint Isidore of Seville become the patron saint for the Internet? The Observation Service for Internet, who drew its mission from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, researched the Internet and related technologies to select a patron saint that best reflects the concerns and ideals of computer designers, programmers and users. The saint chosen by The Observation Service for Internet was Saint Isidore. "The saint who wrote the well-known "Etymologies", gave his work a structure similar to that of the database. He began a system of thought known today as 'flashes;' it is very modern, despite the fact that it was discovered in the sixth century.
Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. Both are good when both are possible. Otherwise, prayer is better than reading.
If a man wants to be always in God's company, he must pray regularly and read regularly. When we pray, we talk to God; when we read, God talks to us.
All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection. By reading we learn what we did not know; by reflection we retain what we have learned.
Reading the Holy Scriptures confers two benefits. It trains the mind to understand them; it turns man's attention from the follies of the world and leads him to the love of God.
The conscientious reader will be more concerned to carry out what he has read than merely to acquire knowledge of it. In reading we aim at knowing, but we must put into practice what we have learned in our course of study.
The man who is slow to grasp things but who really tries hard is rewarded, equally he who does not cultivate his God-given intellectual ability is condemned for despising his gifts and sinning by sloth.
Learning unsupported by grace may get into our ears; it never reaches the heart. But when God's grace touches our innermost minds to bring understanding, his word which has been received by the ear sinks deep into the heart.