Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blogging Break: Study Time

It's that time again. I'm working on a project for my graduate studies in theology and will be taking a brief blogging break until August 1st.  See you then!

Sts. Joachim and Anne

Today is the memorial of St. Joachim (whose name means Yahweh prepares) and St. Anne (whose name in Hebrew means grace), the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the grandparents of Jesus. Tradition has it they first lived in Galilee and later settled in Jerusalem where the Blessed Virgin Mary was born and raised.

Joachim and Anne were a rich and pious couple who had been married for a long time, but found themselves childless. The couple prayed fervently for a child and promised to dedicate their first born to the service of God. An angel appeared to Anne and told her, "The Lord has looked upon thy tears; thou shalt conceive and give birth and the fruit of thy womb shall be blessed by all the world". Joachim also received the same message from the angel. Anne gave birth to a daughter whom she called Miriam (Mary), who was conceived without sin. As a child, Mary was taken to the temple and her parents suffered great sorrow but at the same time joy for fulfilling the vows they had made to the Lord.

We know very little about the lives of Joachim and Anne, but we do know that they must have been outstanding people to have been entrusted with raising the Mother of God.

St. Anne is the patron saint of the province of Quebec, where the well-known shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre, (the site of many miracles) is located. She is patroness of women in labor and those who have difficulty conceiving; she is represented holding the Blessed Virgin Mary in her lap, who again carries on her arm the Both Joachim and Anne are the patron saints of grandparents.

Devotion to St. Anne dates back to the sixth century in the Church of Constantinople and the eighth century in Rome. St. Joachim was honored very early by the Greeks, who celebrate his feast on the day following the Blessed Virgin's birthday.

My memories of celebrating today's feast as a child are very vivid. My home parish held a novena to St. Anne nine days prior to her feast day and I remember going to church every evening with mom to the devotions. I was always in awe of how my mom and the other women in our small French community were so devoted to St. Anne. When mom asked which of us kids wished to accompany her, I always volunteered -- it was a special treat and a privilege to participate in this summer evening novena praying the beautiful devotions in the quiet, candle lit church that smelled of incense and sweet perfume. It was so meditative and mystical --at times I could almost feel St. Anne's holy presence in the contemplative setting. I also remember feeling a sense of joy and accomplishment when it was over -- as if I had helped mom in achieving something special for our family and for the Lord.


Great and glorious patriarch, St Joachim, and good St Anne, what joy is mine when I consider that you were chosen among all God’s holy ones to assist in the fulfillment of the mysteries of God, and to enrich our earth with the great Mother of God, Mary most holy. By this singular privilege, you have become most powerful with both the Mother and her Son, so as to be able to obtain for us the graces that are needful to us.

With great confidence I have recourse to your mighty protection, and I commend to you all my needs, both spiritual and temporal, and those of my family. Especially do I entrust to your keeping the particular favor that I desire and look for from your intercession.

And since you were a perfect pattern of the interior life, obtain for me the grace to pray earnestly, and never to set m heart on the passing goods of this life. Give me a lively and enduring love for Jesus and Mary. Obtain for me also a sincere devotion and obedience to Holy church and the sovereign pontiff who rules over her, in order that I may live an die in faith and hope and perfect charity. Let me ever invoke the holy Names of Jesus and Mary. And may I thus be saved. Amen.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cardinal Burke on Suffering and Respect for Human Life

"No matter how much a life is diminished, no matter what suffering the person is undergoing, that life demands the greatest respect and care. It's never right to snuff out a life because it's in some way under heavy burden."

~ Cardinal Burke (speaking at the Kansas City archdiocese on July 23, 2011)

Read more here.

Come My Beloved: A Book Review

Edited By Ellen Gable Hrkach and Kathy Cassanto, released June 15, 2011, Full Quiver Publishing, Pakenham, Ontario, 152 pages, Paperback $9.99, Kindle: $2.99 (Amazon).

Reviewed by JEAN M. HEIMANN, freelance writer, wife and mother, graduate student in theology, retired educator, psychologist, and oblate with the Community of St. John.

Come My Beloved is a beautiful collection of twelve true inspiring stories of Catholic courtship. Ellen Gable Hrkach and Kathy Cassanto have interviewed married couples of all ages, from a variety of locales and backgrounds, and asked both the husband and wife to recount the details of their courtship. The stories, presented from both the male and the female perspective, are told in an intimate, conversational style, which easily arouse the reader’s interest and make it a quick, interesting read. What I found most appealing was that each story was very unique, and no two stories were alike. Each has its own theme, its own storyline, and its own unique characters.

While the stories presented are romantic in nature, the challenges each couple face and deal with are also discussed, which adds to the excitement of each story. The struggles vary. There is one story in which the woman is totally uninterested in the man initially, but his persistence pays off. Another story depicts the obstacles a previously married couple faces. Yet another focuses on the difficulties of a long-distance relationship.

Come My Beloved captured my heart, as it depicts stories of enduring love, based on Catholic teaching and Catholic values. Each couple honestly shares their love for God and how their relationship is based on that love. Each of the stories is faith-building, uplifting, inspirational, humorous, romantic, and hopeful. Each one left me with a sense of peace, joy, and hopefulness about the vocation of Catholic marriage.

I believe Come My Beloved is a valuable treasure for those who are discerning the vocation of marriage and it is uplifting reading for all those who enjoy a good love story.

~ © Jean M. Heimann, July, 2011 

Quote of the Day

‎"A woman too weary for articulate prayer will find that for her the best of all prayer is the unspoken act of faith in Christ in her children."

~ Caryll Houselander

St. James the Greater

Today's saint of the day is St. James the Greater. St. James, known as the Greater, in order to distinguish him from the other Apostle St. James, our Lord's cousin, was St. John's brother, and, like him, a fisherman. He was one of the witnesses of the Transfiguration and one of those who slept through most of the Agony in the Garden. He was the first of the apostles to be martyred, being beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I to please the Jewish opponents of Christianity. He was buried in Jerusalem, and nothing more is known about him until the ninth century.

At this time we learn of a tradition that the relics of St James were brought to Spain some time after his martyrdom, (perhaps early, perhaps as late as 830), and his shrine at Compostela in Galicia grew in importance until it became the greatest pilgrimage center in western Europe. In every country there are churches of St James and known, well-trodden pilgrim routes. In Paris, the Tour St Jacques marks the start of the route and the Rue St Jacques points straight towards Compostela. In England, pilgrim routes lead from all parts of the country to the major ports that were used on the pilgrimage.

This network of routes is a vital witness to the fact that the Middle Ages were not the static stay-at-home time that we often think them to be: everyone must have known someone, or known someone who knew someone, who had made the pilgrimage.The scallop-shell, the emblem of St James, has become the emblem of pilgrims generally. In 1987 the pilgrimage routes to Compostela have been designated by the Council of Europe as historical cultural routes of international importance; and the Confraternity of St James is working to restore and upgrade the refuges on a route which is still in active pilgrim use today.

Patron: Against arthritis; against rheumatism; Antigua, Guatemala; apothecaries; blacksmiths; Chile; Compostela, Spain; druggists; equestrians; furriers; Galicia, Spain; Guatemala; horsemen; knights; laborers; Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Nicaragua; pharmacists; pilgrims; Pistoia, Italy; rheumatoid sufferers; riders; soldiers; Spain; Spanish conquistadors; tanners; veterinarians.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Another Prayer for Rain

O God, in Whom we live and move, and have our being, grant us rain, in due abundance, that, being sufficiently helped with temporal, we may the more confidently seek after eternal gifts. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer Source: Novena in Honor of St. Isidore: Patron of Farmers by National Catholic Rural Life Conference, National Catholic Rural Life Conference

A Prayer for Rain

God our heavenly Father
through your Son you promised
to those seeking first your kingdom
and your righteousness
all things necessary for bodily welfare:
send us, we pray, in this time of need,
rain to water the earth,
that we may receive its produce
to strengthen and sustain us
and always praise you for your bounty;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saint Bridget of Sweden

The saint of the day for July 23 is St. Bridget of Sweden, visionary, mystic, devoted wife and mother, and advocate for reform in the Church.

Bridget was born in Finista in Sweden in 1303. From childhood, the Lord granted her special graces, visions and an extraordinary understanding of divine mysteries. At age seven, she had a vision of the crucified Jesus in all the suffering and sorrow of his Passion, which enkindled within her a deep devotion for our Savior.

The daughter of a provincial governor and judge, at age 13, Bridget married Ulf Gudmarsson, a prince, who was then eighteen; they lived happily together for twenty-eight years and had eight children, among them St. Catherine of Sweden. Bridget convinced her husband, by her own example, to live a life of piety and to strive for holiness.

At age 32, Bridget became the lady in waiting to Queen Blanche of Namur and King Magnus II of Sweden. She was known for her charitable acts, especially caring for the sick, but the royalty appeared more content to admire her piety rather than to follow her example.

After her youngest son died in 1340, she and her husband went on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. On the return trip, Ulf became quite ill, and they returned home soon afterwards. Upon their return, Ulf' entered the Cistercian monastery and died there at the age of 46. Bridget was a widow at age 41. She continued to live in the world, but became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis, spending much of her time in prayer and penance.

At this time, Bridget’s visions became more frequent and intense and she began to wonder if they were from the devil; however, God assured her that they were not, but that she was to become His bride and His mouthpiece.

It was His voice in her visions that dictated to her to found a new religious order, even specifying the details of the Rule for that order. She then founded The Order of the Most Holy Savior, or Bridgettines, which consisted of a double monastery for both men and women at Vadstena. King Magnus and his queen generously supported the monastery. Any surplus of money they received was given to the poor and used to provide books for study. Through Bridget, Christ reprimanded the popes for not returning to Rome from Avignon; but even calling Clement VI (1342-52) “a destroyer of souls, worse than Lucifer, more unjust than Pilate, and more merciless than Judas” failed to change his mind. She also delivered several messages to Pope Innocent VI, Urban V, and Gregory XI.

Directed by God to go the Holy Land in 1371, Bridget set out on pilgrimage with her daughter, Catherine, two of her sons, and other pilgrims. Her son Charles died in Naples on the way there, and they were nearly shipwrecked, but once they made it there, Bridget was blessed with extraordinary graces. In the Holy Land, she received detailed visions of episodes in the life of Jesus in the places where they were said to have occurred. She also admonished the people of Cyprus and Naples for their immoral ways, with little effect. She arrived back in Rome early already ill and died on July 23, 1373, at the age of seventy – one. Her remains were taken back to the monastery at Sweden. She was canonized in 1391 Pope Boniface IX.

Quote: "Lord, show me the way and make me ready to follow it." ~ St. Bridget of Sweden

Patron: Europe; Sweden; widows.


St Bridget’s works that can be found online include:

The Revelations of Saint Birgitta, Book 1

Medieval Sourcebook: St. Bridget: Revelation to the Popes, 14th Century

Prayers and Promises:

Fifteen Prayers and Twenty-One Promises to St. Bridget

Friday, July 22, 2011

First ever maternity home for college students to open in US

Vatican releases new numbers on Catholics in Spain for World Youth Day

Saint of the Day: St. Mary Magdalene

On July 22, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Mary Magdelene, one of the most prominent women mentioned in the New Testament.

Her name comes from the town of Magdala in Galilee, where she originated. Scripture introduces her as a woman “who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out” (Lk. 8:2).

Some scholars identify Mary Magdalene with the sinful woman who anointed the feet of Christ with oil in the house of Simon the Pharisee (Lk. 7:36-50). Others associate her with Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (Lk. 10:38-42, Jn. 11). Some believe the three figures to be one person, while others believe them to be three distinct individuals.

What the Scriptures make certain about Mary Magdalene is that she was a follower of Christ, who accompanied and ministered to him (Lk. 8:2-3). The Gospels record her as being one of the women present at Christ’s crucifixion.

In addition, she was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection. The Gospels all describe Mary Magdalene going to the tomb on Easter morning. When she saw that the tomb was empty, she stood outside, weeping. Jesus appeared to her and asked her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” (Jn. 20:15)

She did not recognize him, however, and thought he was the gardener, until he said her name, “Mary!” (Jn. 20:16) Upon hearing this, Mary recognized him. She returned to the grieving disciples to announce to them the message of the Resurrection.

Pope Benedict XVI spoke about Mary Magdalene in his address before the Angelus on July 23, 2006. He referred to her as “a disciple of the Lord who plays a lead role in the Gospels.”

The Pope recalled Mary Magdalene’s presence “beneath the Cross” on Good Friday, as well as how “she was to be the one to discover the empty tomb” on Easter morning.

“The story of Mary of Magdala reminds us all of a fundamental truth,” Pope Benedict said. “A disciple of Christ is one who, in the experience of human weakness, has had the humility to ask for his help, has been healed by him and has set out following closely after him, becoming a witness of the power of his merciful love that is stronger than sin and death.”

Patron: Apothecaries; Casamicciola, Italy; contemplative life; contemplatives; converts; druggists; glove makers; hairdressers; hairstylists; penitent sinners; penitent women; people ridiculed for their piety; perfumeries; perfumers; pharmacists; reformed prostitutes; sexual temptation; tanners; women.

Symbols: Rich rainment; box of ointment; skull; book; vase of sweet spices; crucifix; open book; boat.

Prayer to St. Mary Magdalene

Saint Mary Magdalene,
woman of many sins, who by conversion
became the beloved of Jesus,
thank you for your witness
that Jesus forgives
through the miracle of love
You, who already possess eternal happiness
in His glorious presence,
please intercede for me, so that someday
I may share in the same everlasting joy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Nine Day Novena for Life begins August 7th

The Diocese of Wichita Respect Life and Social Justice Office


The Archdiocese of Kansas City, KS Pro-Life Office

Is sponsoring a Nine Day Novena of Prayers and Masses

From August 7th to August 15th (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

We are asking our Diocesan families to offer up their prayers, sacrifices, Holy Communions, Rosaries, fasts, and Holy Hours with the intention of making Kansas Abortion Free Permanently. If your parish wants to offer up Mass(es) for this intention during the Nine Day Novena please contact Fr. Edmond Kline at mediatrix@catholic.org with your information and he will send you the stipend for the Mass.

Abortion Clinic Developments: There are three major abortion clinics in the Kansas City metro area in Kansas. 1) Two of the abortion clinics in Kansas City were recently forced to close due to the new health dept. regulations. But they were able to re-open due to a federal judge ruling. 2) Planned Parenthood in Overland Park is facing 107 civil and criminal charges. 3) Kansas withholds $300,000 in Title X monies from Planned Parenthood. 4) In Wichita a “doctor” Mila Means is attempting to open an abortion clinic. And just announced 5) Julie Burkhardt wants to open a clinic in Wichita—unrelated to Mila Means.

Help make Kansas: The First Abortion Free State!

May We Recognize Together LIFE as God’s Gift!

~ Via Kansans for Life.  

Prayer for Life to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Oh Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of Life,
We honor you as Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Thank you for pointing us to Jesus your Son,
The only Savior and hope of the world.
Renew our hope in him,
That we all may have the courage to say Yes to life,
And to defend those children in danger of abortion.
Give us your compassion
To reach out to those tempted to abort,
And to those suffering from a past abortion.
Lead us to the day when abortion
Will be a sad, past chapter in our history.
Keep us close to Jesus, the Life of the World,
Who is Lord forever and ever. Amen.

Vatican website goes mobile

Pope plans trip to Germany

St. Lawrence of Brindisi

The saint of the day for July 21 is St. Lawrence of Brindisi, the first Capuchin Franciscan to be honored as a Doctor of the Church.

St. Lawrence was born at Brindisi, in the kingdom of Naples, Italy, on July 22, 1559 and named Caesar de Rossi. He took the name Lawrence when he became a Capuchin Franciscan at the age of 16.

While still a deacon, St. Lawrence of Brindisi became known for his powerful preaching and after his ordination startled the whole of northern Italy with his amazing sermons. Because he could speak Hebrew, he worked for the conversion of the Jews living in Rome.

In 1596, he became a high-ranking superior in the order, and five years later was sent to Germany with Blessed Benedict of Urbino. They founded several priories throughout Europe. Lawrence also helped to raise an army to combat the Turks in Hungary, where he won a battle against them by leading the troops into battle with only a crucifix to protect himself.

In 1602, St. Lawrence became the master general of his order. He worked, preached and wrote to spread the Good News. He went on important peace missions to Munich, Germany, and Madrid, Spain. The rulers of those places listened to him and the missions were successful. But St. Lawrence became very ill. He had been tired out by the hard traveling and the strain of his tasks. He died on his birthday, July 22, in 1619. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Leo XIII in 1881. He was honored as "apostolic doctor" by Pope John XXIII in 1959.

St. Lawrence, like his spiritual father St. Francis of Assisi, had an ardent devotion to the Immaculate Mother of God. He was the first to write on all aspects of theology that concern the Blessed Virgin.

In the practice of the religious virtues St. Lawrence equals the greatest saints. He had the gift of contemplation and often fell into ecstasy when he celebrated Holy Mass. He had a great devotion to the Rosary and the Office of the Blessed Virgin.

His written works include a commentary on Genesis, several treatises against Luther, and nine volumes of sermons.


"God is love, and all his operations proceed from love. Once he wills to manifest that goodness by sharing his love outside himself, then the Incarnation becomes the supreme manifestation of his goodness and love and glory. So, Christ was intended before all other creatures and for his own sake. For him all things were created and to him all things must be subject, and God loves all creatures in and because of Christ. Christ is the first-born of every creature, and the whole of humanity as well as the created world finds its foundation and meaning in him. Moreover, this would have been the case even if Adam had not sinned."

“The Word of the Lord is a light for the mind and a fire for the will, so that man may know and love God. For the inner man, who lives through the living grace of God’s Spirit, it is bread and water, but bread sweeter than honey and water better than wine or milk…. It is a weapon against a heart stubbornly entrenched in vice. It is a sword against the flesh, the world and the devil, to destroy every sin”.

~ St. Lawrence of Brindisi

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pope will meet with his former students at Castel Gandolfo

It's a tradition that started well before Benedict XVI became pope. Every year, he holds a private meeting with his former students to discuss theology. This year, the theme will be “The New Evangelization.”

Pope names Charles Chaput, first Native American archbishop in U.S. to lead Philadelphia's archdiocese

The city of Philadelphia will soon have a new archbishop. The pope appointed Monsignor Charles Chaput to lead one of the biggest archdiocese in the U.S. Within just a few months, the 66 year old will leave his current post as archbishop of Denver to take on his new role.

Chaput is the first Native American archbishop in the country. He's also a member of the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Indians. More than anything, he's mostly known for being an outspoken and conservative voice in the Church, especially on issues like abortion, stem cell research and gay marriage.

Chaput will replace 76 year old Cardinal Justin Rigali who plans to retire after serving in Philadelphia since 2003.

The formal transition is expected to take place on September 8th, 2011.

~ Via Rome Reports.

St. Margaret of Antioch, Patron Saint of Pregnant Women

The saint of the day for July 20 is St. Margaret of Antioch (275-290), martyr.

Margaret of Antioch was a Christian virgin whose tortures and martyrdom became famous in early books of Acts. Her mother died when she was an infant and her father was a pagan priest. She was converted by her nursemaid, who adopted her. At the age of fifteen, she was noticed by the local prefect who was attracted by her beauty and wanted to marry her, but she spurned him and vowed to keep her virginity for Christ. He turned her in to the Roman authorities to be persecuted. In prison she was swallowed by Satan in the form of a dragon, but the cross she was carrying irritated his throat, and he spit her out unharmed.

Her persecutors tried to kill her by fire and then by drowning, but each time, she survived, converting the growing crowd of onlookers. Finally, she was beheaded, along with her many converts, by Emperor Diocletian.

At the time of her death, she prayed that her persecutors would be pardoned and also that women in childbirth would call upon her for a safe delivery. She is the patron saint of pregnant women, nurses, peasants, and sterility. She also intercedes for those who call on her from their deathbed and is the patron saint of the terminally ill.

Margaret was one of the saints who spoke to St. Joan of Arc, and she is included in a group of saints known as the Fourteen Holy Helpers, who are venerated for their special ability to intercede for people. St. Margaret's feast day is July 20 in the West and July 13 in the East.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Saint of the Day: St. Macrina the Younger

The saint of the day for July 19 is St. Macrina the Younger.

St. Macrina (330-380) was the eldest child in a family of saints. Her grandparents were martyrs. Her parents, Basil and Emmelia, are also recognized as saints. She was well educated by her mother and was able to read at an early age. Macrina, in turn, became the teacher of her younger brothers Basil, later bishop of Neocaesarea, and Gregory, later bishop of Nyssa, who themselves became two of the greatest teachers in the Universal Church.

At age 12, Macrina was engaged to be married, but when her fiancé died quite suddenly, she decided she would not marry despite subsequent offers. Instead, she dedicated her life to raising her brothers and assisting her mother with housework, cooking, and directing the servants. She also devoted a good part of her time to prayer. After her siblings had grown up, they called her Macrina the Great, as they had in their childhood, a sign of the high respect they had for her.

On the death of their father, Basil took her, with their mother, to a family estate in Pontus. Here, with their servants and other companions, they consecrated themselves to God and led a contemplative life. Macrena succeeded her mother in becoming the head of the double monastery of women and men founded by Basil.

Kissing an iron crucifix that held the relics of the Cross of the Savior, which she always had close to her, St. Macrina died peacefully in the year 379. She was buried beside her parents.

An English translation of the Life of Macrina by her younger brother St. Gregory of Nyssa, in the form of a letter to a mutual friend, is available online. St. Gregory tells us that Macrina "reached the highest summit of human virtue by true wisdom."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hawaiian nun's cause for sainthood jumps forward with second miracle

The cause for sainthood of Blessed Hawaiian nun Marianne Cope has received Vatican approval of a second miracle.

‘Defunding Planned Parenthood Action Center’ Launched

“Concerned citizens need to tell their friends and family to visit StopPlannedParenthood.com and to get involved as soon as possible.”

STOPP International, a project of American Life League, announced today that it is launching a major education campaign to raise public awareness supported by an action center that helps citizens to “stop waste, fraud, and the abuse of public funds by Planned Parenthood and its inside-the-beltway supporters.”
“Our Defunding Planned Parenthood Action Center is the first to integrate short educational videos, current research, and up-to-the-moment news with user friendly technology that will help inform, motivate, and empower citizens to make a difference,” said Johanna Dasteel, who headed the development of the action center over the last several months. “We are witnessing an explosion all across the country from average citizens who do not want to see Planned Parenthood get another penny of taxpayer money. Our action center will help those voices be heard.”

Recently, there has been a growing call for a full Congressional investigation of Planned Parenthood.  “President Obama defends millions in taxpayer subsidies to a corrupt organization like Planned Parenthood, but then threatens to cut off payments to seniors and veterans,” added Dasteel.

ALL also released a commentary and video (which you can view below), both titled Hiding Behind Hyde, explaining why the Hyde Amendment does little if anything to stop tax dollars from funding abortions as claimed.

St. Camillus de Lellis

The saint of the day for July 18 is Saint Camillus of Lellis, patron of hospitals the sick, and nurses.

When St. Camilus was born (in Italy, 1550), his mother was nearly sixty years old. His mother died while he was still a child and his father was an officer in both the Neapolitan and French royal armies, leaving him neglected. While still a youth, he became a soldier in the service of Venice and later of Naples, remaining there until 1574.

While Camillus referred to himself as a great sinner, his only vice seemed to be gambling. He gambled away everything he had and to atone for actions, he went to work as a laborer on the new Capuchin buildings in Manfredonia. Here, after a moving exhortation from the Friar, he completed his conversion and begged God for mercy, at the age of twenty-five.

Camillus entered the Capuchin novitiate three times, but a nagging leg injury, received while fighting the Turks, each time forced him to give it up. He went to Rome for medical treatment where Saint Philip Neri became his priest and confessor. He moved into San Giacomo Hospital for the incurable, and eventually became its administrator.

He decided to become a priest at the encouragement of St. Philip Neri, and was ordained at the age of 34. He established his Order, the Fathers of a Good Death, for the care of the sick. Camillus chose a red cross as the distinguishing badge for the members of his Order to wear upon their black cassocks, and he taught his volunteers that the hospital was a house of God, a garden where the voices of the sick were music from heaven. Once when he was discouraged, he heard the consoling words from the crucifix, “This is my work, not yours”.

Camillus was a strong and powerful man, about 6'6" tall, but suffered throughout his life from abscesses on his feet. In spite of this infirmity, he was active in organizing his Order.

After leading the movement throughout Italy, Camillus died on July 14, 1614. In 1742, Pope Benedict XIV proclaimed Camillus de Lellis blessed; in 1746 he canonized him, calling him the “Founder of a new school of charity”.

Quote: “Think well. Speak well. Do well. These three things, through the mercy of God, will make a man go to Heaven.”

~ Saint Camillus de Lellis

Prayer to Saint Camillus of Lellis

Most wonderful Saint, your compassion for the sick and the dying led you to found the Servants of the Sick. As the Patron of nurses and hospital workers, infuse in them your compassionate spirit. Make hospitals resemble the inn in Christ's Parable to which the Good Samaritan brought the wounded man saying: "Take care of him and I will repay you for it." Amen.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Of Gods and Men: A Movie Review

I just finished watching Of Gods and Men, which is a profoundly moving spiritual film that nourishes the soul with its powerful gospel message.  Of Gods and Men is based on an event in Algeria in 1996, when eight French Cistercian monks were taken hostage by terrorists. They live peacefully in a Muslim community,  caring for the sick and the poor, and employing some of their neighbors as workers. Brother Luc is the aging, asthmatic doctor who cares for the sick and gives them “grandfatherly” advice.  

Most of the film is focused on the daily activities of the monks: community prayer, gardening, cooking, making honey, sharing meals together, and helping their neighbors. There is a revolution in the land and terrorism abounds – a group of Croatian workers have their throats slit. The monks are offered military protection, but they refuse assistance from a corrupt government. The Algerian government then asks the monks to leave, and they must decide what to do both individually and as a community. The group is initially split – some express fear, confusion, uncertainty, and the desire to leave, while others believe their work is here and that they are called to stay. One of the monks suggests that they should pray about their decision, which is also what Brother Christian, the prior, encourages them to do.

In the meantime, the terrorists pay the monks a visit on Christmas Eve, demanding that they provide medical care to a wounded comrade. Brother Christian refuses, quoting the Koran to their leader. Christian also tells him that this night is not like any other night – it is Christ’s birthday. The leader apologizes and the terrorists leave peacefully.

I won’t divulge what happens later in the film, but will share that this film brought much joy and peace to my heart. It is a contemplative experience captured on film, much like Into Great Silence, but this time, the filmmaker delves even deeper into the minds, hearts, and souls of the monks whose lives he recreates so appealingly on film. This is truly a masterpiece and a must-see movie.

I give Of Gods and Men my highest rating -- an A+

© Jean M. Heimann, July, 2011

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Today is the patronal feast of the Carmelites. The Order of Carmelites takes its name from Mount Carmel in Israel, which was the first place dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and where a chapel was erected in her honor before her Assumption into heaven.

In the Old Testament, Mount Carmel was a holy place sanctified by the memory of Elijah and his followers - who fought for the rights of the true God 900 years before Christ.

Christians would interpret Elijah's vision of the cloud rising from the Mediterranean sea as a symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose Son would be the Messiah and Savior (1 Kings 18, 42-45). After the days of Elijah and Elisha other holy hermits lived on Mt. Carmel and led solitary, contemplative lives, praying and fasting. Along with the austere figure of Elijah, they looked for inspiration to the Mother of God. Her Latin title was "Virgo Dei Genitrix", which means "Virgin Mother of God".

July 16th is also the feast of the "Scapular of Mount Carmel." On this day in 1251, pious tradition says, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Saint Simon Stock, General of the Carmelites at Cambridge, England, showed him the scapular and promised supernatural favors and her special protection to his Order and to all persons who would wear her scapular. When she presented the scapular to him, she told him, "This is your privilege: whoever dies in it will be saved."

To obtain the indulgences and other benefits promised to those who wear the Carmelite scapular, a person must be invested by a priest and must lead a consistent Christian life.

For more information on today's special feast day and the special indulgences attached to wearing the scapular, please see my post: Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Practices, Promises, and Indulgences Plus Novena and Feast Day. Also, this site provides detailed information on the brown scapular itself.

Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel composed by Saint Simon Stock

O Beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, holy and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a pure virgin, assist us in our necessity! O Star of the Sea, help and protect us! Show us that you are our Mother! Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us!

Happy feast day to all my readers -- especially to my Carmelite friends!

Photo source

Friday, July 15, 2011

St. Bonaventure

Today, July 15,  is the feast day of St. Bonaventure, bishop and doctor, who is known for his leadership of the Franciscans and his great intellectual contributions to theology and philosophy.

St. Bonaventure, known as "the seraphic doctor," was born at Bagnorea, Italy in 1221. He received the name of Bonaventure as a result of an exclamation of St. Francis of Assisi, when, in response to the pleading of the child's mother, the saint prayed for his recovery from a dangerous illness, and, foreseeing his future greatness, cried out "O Buona ventura"- O good fortune!

Because of the spirit that filled him and his writings, he was initially called the Devout Doctor; but in more recent centuries he has been known as the Seraphic Doctor after the “Seraphic Father” Francis because of the truly Franciscan spirit he possessed.

At the age of twenty-two, St. Bonaventure entered the Franciscan Order. After he made his vows, he was sent to Paris to complete his studies under the celebrated Alexander of Hales, an Englishman and a Franciscan. When Alexander died, Bonaventure continued his course under his successor, John of Rochelle. In Paris he became the intimate friend of the great St. Thomas Aquinas. He received the degree of Doctor, together with St. Thomas Aquinas. Like St. Thomas Aquinas, he enjoyed the friendship of the holy King, St. Louis.

Bonaventure was known as a brilliant teacher and a powerful preacher. At the age of thirty-five he was chosen General of his Order and became known as its second founder. He restored a perfect calm to the Order where peace had been disturbed by internal dissensions. He did much for his Order. He wrote 500 sermons and composed The Life of St. Francis. He also assisted at the translation of the relics of St. Anthony of Padua. He was nominated Archbishop of York by Pope Clement IV, but he begged not to be forced to accept that dignity. Gregory X obliged him to take upon himself a greater one, that of Cardinal and Bishop of Albano. He died while he was assisting at the Second Council of Lyons, on July 15, 1274. He was canonized in 1482 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1588.

St. Bonaventure's greatest work is his Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, written when he was 27 years old. He is best known, however, for The Soul's Journey into God.


"When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard more than that proceeding from the mouth. "

"Suffering is like a kiss that Jesus hanging from the cross bestows on persons whom He loves in a special way. Because of this love He wants to associate them in the work of the redemption."

"Meditation on Christ in His humanity is corporeal in deed, in fact, but spiritual in mind. . . . By adopting this habit, you will steady your mind, be trained to virtues, and receive strength of soul....Let meditation of Christ's life be your one and only aim, your rest, your food, your desire, your study."

~ St. Bonaventure

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fr. Barron: Why does the Church restrict the reception of Holy Communion to Catholics?

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha

The saint of the day for July 14 is Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the first native American to be declared blessed. She is the patroness of the environment and ecology along with St. Francis of Assisi.


Known as the "Lily of the Mohawks" and and the “Geneviève of New France,” Kateri was born near the town of Auriesville, New York, in the year 1656, the daughter of a Mohawk warrior and a Catholic Algonquin woman whom he had saved from captivity at the hands of the Iroquois. She was four years old when her parents and younger brother died of smallpox. The disease also attacked Kateri, scarring her face and impairing her eyesight.

Kateri was adopted by her two aunts and an uncle. She converted as a teenager. When she was baptized at the age of twenty, she experienced great hostility from her tribe.

Although she had to suffer greatly for her Faith, she remained firm in it. To escape persecution and death threats, Kateri joined the new Christian colony of Indians in Canada. Here she lived a life dedicated to prayer, penitential practices, and care for the sick and aged. Every morning, even in bitterest winter, she stood before the chapel door until it opened at four and remained there until after the last Mass. She was devoted to the Eucharist and to Jesus Crucified. At 23, she took a vow of virginity, a heroic and unprecedented act for a Native American woman, who was expected to marry.

She died on April 17, 1680 at the age of twenty-four. Devotion to Kateri is responsible for establishing Native American ministries in Catholic Churches all over the United States and Canada. Kateri was declared venerable by the Catholic Church in 1943 and she was Beatified in 1980. Work is currently underway to have her Canonized by the Church. Hundreds of thousands have visited shrines to Kateri erected at both St. Francis Xavierand Caughnawaga and at her birth place at Auriesville, New York. Pilgrimages at these sites continue today.

Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha is the first Native American to be declared a Blessed.

Patronage: Ecologists; ecology; environment; environmentalism; environmentalists; exiles; loss of parents; people in exile; people ridiculed for their piety; World Youth Day.

Symbols: lily (a symbol of her purity); a cross (a symbol of her love of Jesus Christ); or a turtle (a symbol of her clan).

Prayer for the Canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha

O God who, among the many marvels of Your Grace in the New World, did cause to blossom on the banks of the Mohawk and of the St. Lawrence, the pure and tender Lily, Kateri Tekakwitha, grant we beseech You, the favor we beg through her intercession; that this Young Lover of Jesus and of His Cross may soon be counted among her Saints by Holy Mother Church, and that our hearts may be enkindled with a stronger desire to imitate her innocence and faith. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

~Imprimatur: Most Reverend Howard J. Hubbard, DD, Bishop of Albany, N.Y.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bill!

 Wishing my Wonderful Husband a Day filled with Blessings!

Happy 25th Birthday, Honey!

Photo Source

Saint of the Day: St. Henry

Henry II, successively Duke of Bavaria, King of Germany and Emperor, devoted himself to the spread of religion by rebuilding churches and founding monasteries.

Henry II, son of Henry, Duke of Bavaria, and of Gisella, daughter of Conrad, King of Burgundy, was born in 972. He succeeded his father as Duke of Bavaria, and in 1002, he was elected emperor. In 1014, he went to Rome and received the imperial crown at the hands of Pope Benedict VIII.

Henry worked hard to establish peace in Europe. However, to defend justice, he had to fight many wars. He was honest in battle and insisted that his armies be honorable too.

Henry married a gentle and loving woman named Cunegund (or Kunigunda) around 998. She, too, has been proclaimed a saint. The couple remained childless. Some sources claim the two lived chastely, but there is no proof of this.

Emperor Henry was one of the best rulers of the Holy Roman Empire. He promoted needed reforms in the monasteries and strengthened the various ecclesiastical sees of his kingdom, built churches and monasteries, and ruled wisely, tempering justice with mercy. He was a man of prayer and was greatly attracted to religious life, but accepted his role as husband and ruler and fulfilled his duties generously.

Henry was just fifty-two when he died in 1024. He was proclaimed a saint by Blessed Eugene III in 1146. Pope St. Pius X named Emperor Henry the patron of Benedictine Oblates.

Patronage: Basel, Switzerland; Benedictine Oblates; childless people; disabled people; dukes; handicapped people; kings; people rejected by religious orders; physically challenged people; sterility.

Symbols: Sword and church; lily; crown; dove on an orb; model of Bamburg cathedral.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Saint Ignatius Delgado

The saint of the day for July 12 is St. Ignatius Delgado.

St. Ignatius Delgado was a Spanish missionary and is now one of the martyrs of Vietnam.

He was born in Villafeliche, Spain, in 1761. He was raised in a pious family, became a Dominican priest and served as a missionary to Vietnam for almost 50 years.

He was named coadjutor vicar-apostolic at East Tonkin, Vietnam. However, government-sanctioned persecution of Christians began soon after. He was arrested, locked in a cage put on public display for ridicule and abuse, and left to die. He died of hunger and exposure in 1838.

The martyr was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1988.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Saint of the Day: St. Benedict of Nursia

Today is the feast of St. Benedict of Nursia, the twin brother of St. Scholastica, the patron of Europe, and the founder of Western monasticism.


Tradition teaches that St. Benedict lived from 480 to 547, though we cannot be sure that these dates are historically accurate. His biographer, St. Gregory the Great, pope from 590 to 604, does not record the dates of his birth and death, though he refers to a Rule written by Benedict. Scholars debate the dating of the Rule though they seem to agree that it was written in the second third of the sixth century.

Saint Gregory wrote about St. Benedict in his Second Book of Dialogues, but his account of the life and miracles of Benedict cannot be regarded as a biography in the modern sense of the term. Gregory's purpose in writing Benedict's life was to edify and to inspire, not to seek out the particulars of his daily life. Gregory sought to show that saints of God, particularly St. Benedict, were still operative in the Christian Church in spite of all the political and religious chaos present in the realm. At the same time it would be inaccurate to claim that Gregory presented no facts about Benedict's life and works. According to Gregory's Dialogues Benedict was born in Nursia, a village high in the mountains northeast of Rome. His parents sent him to Rome for classical studies but he found the life of the eternal city too degenerate for his tastes.

Consequently he fled to a place southeast of Rome called Subiaco where he lived as a hermit for three years tended by the monk Romanus.

The hermit, Benedict, was then discovered by a group of monks who prevailed upon him to become their spiritual leader. His regime soon became too much for the lukewarm monks so they plotted to poison him. Gregory recounts the tale of Benedict's rescue; when he blessed the pitcher of poisoned wine, it broke into many pieces. Thereafter he left the undisciplined monks. Benedict left the wayward monks and established twelve monasteries with twelve monks each in the area south of Rome.

Later, perhaps in 529, he moved to Monte Cassino, about eighty miles southeast of Rome; there he destroyed the pagan temple dedicated to Apollo and built his premier monastery. It was there too that he wrote the Rule for the monastery of Monte Cassino though he envisioned that it could be used elsewhere.

The thirty-eight short chapters of the Second Book of Dialogues contain accounts of Benedict's life and miracles. Some chapters recount his ability to read other persons' minds; other chapters tell of his miraculous works, e.g., making water flow from rocks, sending a disciple to walk on the water, making oil continue to flow from a flask. The miracle stories echo the events of certain prophets of Israel as well as happenings in the life of Jesus. The message is clear: Benedict's holiness mirrors the saints and prophets of old and God has not abandoned his people; he continues to bless them with holy persons.

Benedict is viewed as a monastic leader, not a scholar. Still he probably read Latin rather well, an ability that gave him access to the works of Cassian and other monastic writings, both rules and sayings. The Rule is the sole known example of Benedict's writing, but it manifests his genius to crystallize the best of the monastic tradition and to pass it on to the European West.

Gregory presents Benedict as the model of a saint who flees temptation to pursue a life of attention to God. Through a balanced pattern of living and praying Benedict reached the point where he glimpsed the glory of God. Gregory recounts a vision that Benedict received toward the end of his life: In the dead of night he suddenly beheld a flood of light shining down from above more brilliant than the sun, and with it every trace of darkness cleared away. According to his own description, the whole world was gathered up before his eyes "in what appeared to be a single ray of light" (ch. 34). St. Benedict, the monk par excellence, led a monastic life that reached the vision of God.

~ +Abbot Primate Jerome Theisen OSB STD

Patronage: Against nettle rash; against poison; against witchcraft; agricultural workers; cavers; coppersmiths; dying people; erysipelas; Europe; farm workers; farmers; fever; gall stones; Heerdt, Germany; inflammatory diseases; Italian architects; kidney disease; monks; nettle rash; Norcia, Italy; people in religious orders; schoolchildren; servants who have broken their master's belongings; speliologists; spelunkers; temptations.

Quote: "Prayer ought to be short and pure, unless it be prolonged by the inspiration of Divine grace."

~ St. Benedict of Nursia

Friday, July 08, 2011

Fr. Barron: Why the New Atheists Want You to Loose Your Faith

 It is our responsibility to defend the faith.  How good are we at engaging the arguments of the new atheists?

Nine Day Novena to Prepare for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Starts Today

The America Needs Fatima blog has the full novena and the origins of this devotion here.

St. Jeanne-Marie Kerguin

Franciscan Missionary and Martyr

Today's saint of the day is St. Jeanne-Marie Kerguin, also known as: Giovanna Kerguin, Juana María Kerguin, Marie Santa Natalia, and Marie de Sainte Nathalie.

Jeanne-Marie was born on May 5, 1864, at Belle-Isle en Terre, France to a poor peasant family. Her mother died when she was quite young, and she was forced to take over the household chores for the family. With her home obligations fulfilled, she joined the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in 1887, taking the name Marie Santa Natalia. There she happily threw herself into a life of prayer and devotion to the simplest and most menial tasks of her house. She was assigned first to Paris, then to Carthage in north Africa. She encountered health problems and was sent to Rome to recover. There she answered the call of her Order to work as a missionary. She arrived in China in March 1899, and was almost immediately hospitalized for several months with typhus. Her short lived career ended during a crackdown on foreign missionaries during the Boxer Rebellion. St. Jeanne - Marie Kerguin was beheaded on July 9, 1900, at at Taiyuanfu, China. She was one of the Martyrs of Shanxi and one of the Martyrs of China. She was canonized on October 1, 2000 by Pope John Paul II at Rome.

Saint Quotes:

"Do not be afraid. Death is only God who is passing by."

"I am happy to have to suffer. When one suffers one is detached from the world.God wishes that I love more than all else; He has been so generous to me and has done so much for me since I came into this world."

Archbishop Dolan reflects on Same Sex "Marriage", Intolerance, and Theophobia

Reflecting on the recent passage of same-sex "marriage" in New York, Archbishop Timothy Dolan stated:

My brother bishops of New York were particularly prophetic. When I arrived here a little over two-years ago, they told me realistically that we faced a looming battle over the defense of marriage. They advised me that the odds were not in our favor, and that some experts were even suggesting that we give-in and not put up a fight...

We have been bloodied, and bruised, and, yes, for the moment, we have been defeated. But, we’re used to that. So was the Founder of our Church.

The real forces of “intolerance” were unmasked here. The caricature, of course, is that those defending traditional marriage were the right-wing bigots and bullies …As one respected columnist has observed, the problem is not homophobia but theophobia — a hatred by some of God, faith, religion, and the Church

Read his full reflection.

A Baby and a Bulldog

This is sooo cute!

H/T: Matthew Archibold at Creative Minority Report.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Pope gets ready for vacation in Castel Gandolfo

Everyone needs a vacation every now and then, the Pope is no exception. This week, Benedict XVI will head out to the usual spot, Castel Gandolfo, a small village just south of Rome. Things won't be as busy as they are in the eternal city, but still the Pope will have plenty to do. On Sunday's he'll hold the Angelus and Papal Blessing for the public and on his free time, he's reportedly planning on finishing the third and last part of his book “Jesus of Nazareth.”

Prayers for Those Seeking Employment

Find more more prayers at my posts here and here.

Fantastic Nun Video: An Inspiration to all

Attendance surges at "Miraculous" Marian Shrine in Wisconsin

I believe that attendance will soar even more after the American public views this TV program (expected to air on July 13) which will be exploring the history, theology, and the unparalleled importance of the Blessed Virgin to Christians and even non-Christians throughout history, and will be featuring the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin.

The number of pilgrims visiting the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin has increased nearly tenfold since Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay officially approved the Marian apparitions that took place there in 1859.

“The turnout has been incredible,” the bishop said. “It's been a wonderful gift to the diocese. So many people are coming, and there are all kinds of reports of answered prayers and healings continuing.”

Read the full story.

Related Posts:

Our Lady of Good Help: The First Approved Marian Apparition In The U.S.A.

Photo Source

Blessed Maria Romero Menses

Today's Saint of the day is Blessed Maria Romero Menses, Salesian Sister and Social Apostle of Costa Rica.

Blessed Maria Romero Meneses (1902-1977) is a saint of the new millennium. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2002.

She was born in Granada, Nicaragua, in 1902 to a wealthy family; her father was a government minister. At the age of 12, she was extremely sick and paralyzed for six months with rheumatic fever. She was cured by the intercession and apparition of Our Lady Help of Christians, during which sh understood her vocation to be a Salesian sister.

She entered the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters) and made her final profession in 1929. Two years later, she was transferred to San Jose, Costa Rica. She taught music, drawing and typing to rich girls. She also trained catechists and trades to the poor. She inspired many of her students to join her in her work with the poor and was known for helping people come to know God in a personal way.

More and more, her ministry became focused on social development, helping the rich to see how they could help the poor. She set up recreational centers in 1945, food distribution centers in1953, a school for poor girls in 1961, and a clinic in 1966. In 1973, she organized the construction of seven homes, which became the foundation of the village Centro San Jose, a community where poor families could have decent homes.

She died of a heart attack in 1977 in Nicaragua.

For more information, go here.


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

New Book: The Church and The New Media

The Church and New Media is an important book coming out in August 2011, edited by Brandon Vogt. The book has 12 contributors that highlight different ways in which the Church uses new media to bring the Good News to the world. It has a forward by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, of Boston, and an afterword by Archbishop Dolan, of New York. Some of the contributors include Mark Shea, Fr. Robert Barron, Thomas Peters, Marcel LeJeune, Lisa Hendey, and Jennifer Fulwiler.

A new website has been set up to announce the book. You can also follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Aggie Catholics has more information here.

Vatican announces it will unveil secret archives of World War II

Sin and Self-Esteem

The notion that we can commit sins and become guilty of moral wrongdoing does not sit well with citizens of the post-Enlightenment. It clashes with their self-esteem; it is unscientific, unmodern and unfashionable.

Yet throughout history the prevailing consensus has been that guilt is a natural response to one's deliberate and voluntary complicity in moral wrongdoing, and that man persists in suffering both in body and in soul when his guilt remains unconfessed and unatoned.

~ Dr. Donald DeMarco

St. Maria Goretti: Patron of Youth, Young Women, Purity, and Victims of Rape

Today is the feast of St. Maria Goretti (1890-1902), a peasant girl who was stabbed fourteen times, while fighting off a rapist. She died forgiving her killer.

Maria Goretti was born on October 16, 1890, in Coranaldo in the province of Ancona in Italy, the third of seven children of Assunta and Luigi Goretti. When Maria was six, her father, realizing he could not support his growing family on the barren countryside, took them south, toward Rome, to a village near Anzio, believing that in the rich, warm farmlands of the Mediterranean he would find a more prosperous living and a make a better life for his family. In order to make ends meet, Maria’s father entered into partnership with a man called Serenelli, and shared a house with him and his two sons, one of whom was called Alessandro. Luigi was a hard worker, but suffering from malaria, typhus, meningitis and pneumonia, he died in 1900, leaving his family peniless. Maria, now a child of ten, was doing the work of a grown woman, while suffering from hunger and mortification daily.

Maria impressed everyone with her radiant purity. She was naturally pious, kind, and helpful. She was also outstandingly beautiful – and Alessandro Serenelli was a very passionate and undisciplined man. She resisted his attentions, which only made her all the more desirable, and narrowly managed to escape a serious sexual assault, which he made her promise to keep secret by threats of murder.

A month later Alessandro arranged things so that he would be alone in the house with Maria; and he had a dagger. She tried to resist, begging him to be careful to save his immortal soul, but he thrust a handkerchief into her mouth to prevent her from crying out, tied her up, and threatened her with the dagger. She could, the theologians say, have consented then, with no danger to her soul; but her love of purity was too great. Enraged, Alessandro ripped her body fourteen times with a sharp blade and left her bleeding and unconscious. She did not die, though her entrails were hanging out from one of her abdominal wounds. She was taken to hospital, seven miles of rough road in a horse-drawn ambulance, and was operated on for more than two hours. She lived for twenty hours more, became a Child of Mary, received the Last Sacrament, and specifically forgave her murderer. She died in the afternoon of 6 July 1902, at the age of eleven years, eight months, and twenty days.

Alessandro narrowly escaped being lynched, and was tried and sentenced to thirty years’ in prison with hard labor. For the first seven years or so he maintained a cynical and defiant attitude, but he repented, and dreams of Maria herself were largely responsible for his repentance and conversion.

In 1908, six years after her death, Maria came to Alessandro in a dream or a vision, so real, it was for him reality. His prison cell was transformed into a beautiful garden filled with fragrant flowers and surprising masses of lilies. A figure in white was gathering the lilies. She turned to him and he cried out: "Maria! Oh, Mariettina!" and she came to him, carrying an armful of white lilies, which she handed to him, one by one, each representing a wound he had inflicted don her. And she repeated her dying wish that one day his soul would reach her in Heaven.

Maria was beatified in 1927. Alessandro was released in 1928; and he and Maria’s mother received Communion side by side on Christmas Day 1937, and they spent Christmas together. Maria was canonized in 1950. Her mother was present at the ceremony, the first time this has ever happened. Some people say that Alessandro was present, too. Eventually, he found peace as a gardener in a Capuchin monastery and as a lay brother of the Secular Third Order. His favorite flower was the lily. He died in 1970.

Maria is a beautiful model of purity, chastity, love and forgiveness for those in our society today -- both young and old. She took to heart the words of the priest who upon reception of her first Holy Communion told her,"A Catholic will always rather die than sin against God." She chose to die rather than to sin, and to become a shining saint of purity. She received strength to die as a martyr for purity through her frequent reception of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. She forgave the man who murdered her and helped him repent and turn back to his faith. Impossible, you say? How could anyone forgive someone who commited such a heinous crime? Nothing is impossible with God.

Official Prayer to St. Maria Goretti

Oh Saint Maria Goretti who, strengthened by God's grace, did not hesitate even at the age of twelve to shed your blood and sacrifice life itself to defend your virginal purity, look graciously on the unhappy human race which has strayed far from the path of eternal salvation. Teach us all, and especially youth, with what courage and promptitude we should flee for the love of Jesus anything that could offend Him or stain our souls with sin. Obtain for us from our Lord victory in temptation, comfort in the sorrows of life, and the grace which we earnestly beg of thee (here insert intention), and may we one day enjoy with thee the imperishable glory of Heaven. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, etc.

St. Maria Goretti, pray for us!

More prayers to St. Maria Goretti can be found here.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Abortion Litigation Heats up in Kansas

Of course, PP is suing -- they don't want to lose the $200K they are making from our tax money here in Kansas!

 Planned Parenthood sues to stop Kansas’ Title X tax money from being prioritized to full-serve facilities

Last Monday, Planned Parenthood (PP) filed suit in federal court to force the state of Kansas to give PP nearly one-third million dollars in tax money.

This is money PP grabbed annually, but it is taxpayer money that pays for services that can be adequately performed in other medical settings.

The newly approved Kansas budget directs that family planning services financed in any way under “Title X” federal rules must be contracted primarily with public health clinics and secondarily with qualified non-public hospitals or health centers that provide comprehensive health care– both primary and preventative.

In plain language, Kansas wants to support the local health clinics that see patients of all ages and provide a wide range of services including immunizations, screenings, physicals, and referrals. These health clinics are easily accessible, important to a community, and serve the poor. By definition of their limited practices, Planned Parenthood fails in this mission.

Read more in this blog KFL post and in this Lifenews story

 Kansas law for inspection-based abortion business licensing is put on hold

Kansas’ new abortion facility licensure law went into effect Friday, July 1, but by 4pm, a court-order granted a temporary injunction against the entire law until a trial is held. See KFL press release here.

The 2 Kansas abortion businesses that did not undergo the required inspection from the state health division (KDHE), joined in filing a lawsuit claiming

there wasn’t enough time to comply with new regulations,
the regulations were unneeded and onerous, and
the entire endeavor is a plan to end abortion in Kansas.

Read these KFL blog posts:

Only PP gets licensed, other 2 KS abortion clinics file suit

Court grants clinics’ injunction without full information

Aid for Women fails licensure, trainee seeks Wichita funding

Pope opens art exhibition: "The Splendor of Truth, Beauty of Charity"

Pope Benedict XVI opened the exhibition titled "The Splendor of Truth, Beauty of Charity." It brings together 60 works of art made by 60 artists from around the world. The works were given to the Pope as a gift for his 60th anniversary as an ordained priest. The art ranges from jewelry, music and of course paintings. All of them have a special meaning, and all of them were made by world renowned artists and also by those with emerging talent.

Catholic Priest defends true marriage against promoters of contrary-to- nature unions

I found this video on Father Z.'s blog and felt compelled to pass it along, particularly in light of the recent legislation in New York, legalizing same sex unions, which are contrary to natural law.

The video is about a priest in El Paso, Texas, Fr. Michael Rodriguez. Fr. Rodriguez spoke at a City Council Meeting about an ordinance extending health-care benefits to unmarried “partners” of city employees. Then a City rep, a member of the Council, attacked the Catholic Church in response to Fr. Rodriguez statement.

Father Rodriguez does an amazing job of defending Catholic Truth!

St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria

The saint of the day for July 5 is St. Anthony Maria Zaccaria, founder of the Barnabites.

 He was born at Cremona, Italy, in 1502, of noble parents. His father died when very young, and his eighteen-year-old mother was left to bring up her only son in the love of God and tenderness for the poor. As a child he gave his coat to a poor beggar who was shivering with cold.

He studied philosophy and medicine at the Universities of Pavia and Padua and became a licensed physician in 1524, but was striving more earnestly to care for souls than to heal their material envelope. Sometimes when he was traveling as a doctor and found abandoned children, he assembled them to teach them their Christian duties. He desired a more perfect life and wider possibilities for the apostolate of a Christian. He therefore studied theology, and was twenty-six years old when ordained in 1528.

Those present at the first Mass of Saint Anthony Maria saw him surrounded with an extraordinary light and a crown of Angels. He himself seemed to be an Angel on earth. By his preaching and example, Cremona was renewed, and then the young apostle went to Milan. To remedy disorders of every kind resulting from the war, he founded there the Order of Regular Clerics of Saint Paul, since called Barnabites because they were entrusted with the church of Saint Barnabas. He had a great devotion to Saint Paul and desired that his religious imitate the glorious Apostle. He also established a community of Sisters, called the Angelicals, and a confraternity for fathers of families. He animated all of his followers with his great love for God.

Despite opposition of various kinds, in 1532 the Constitutions of his two communities were approved by Pope Clement VII. Their founder defended his religious with persevering gentleness in all the difficulties they encountered, and recommended to them to spend their free moments in conversation with Jesus crucified. God favored him with exceptional gifts; he read in hearts and saw the future. He died when only 36 years old, in 1539, and was canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1897.


"That which God commands seems difficult and a burden. The way is rough; you draw back; you have no desire to follow it. Yet do so and you will attain glory."

"Unfurl your flags for Jesus Crucified is about to send you to proclaim everywhere the vital energy of the Spirit."

Read St. Anthony's Letters here.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Blessed John Paul II on America

“America you are beautiful . . . and blessed . . . . The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless. If you want equal justice for all and true freedom and lasting peace, then America, defend life.”

~ Blessed John Paul II

Photo via Patriot Action Network.

Happy Independence Day!

Related Posts for the 4th of July:

Fourth of July Quote: Thomas Jefferson on Happiness for Americans

For the 4th of July: Great Quotes by Great Americans

Fourth of July Quote: Thomas Jefferson on Happiness for Americans

 “I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”  

~Thomas Jefferson

For the 4th of July: Great Quotes by Great Americans

"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."

~ George Washington (1789 - 1797), first President of the United States

"The care of human life and happiness, not destruction, is the first and only object of legitimate government."

~ Thomas Jefferson, (1743-1826) third President of the United States, Principal Author of the Declaration of Independence

As the Declaration of Independence was being signed, 1776, Samuel Adams declared:

"We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come."

~ Samuel Adams (1722 - 1803) is one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom."

~ Thomas Paine  (1737 - 1809) is one of the founding fathers of the United States.

"Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it." 

~ Abraham Lincoln, (1809 - 1865) the 16th President of the United States

"If the Declaration of Independence states our creed, there can be no right to abortion, since it means denying the most fundamental right of all, to human offspring in the womb. But if human beings can decide who is human and who is not, the doctrine of God-given rights is utterly corrupted. Abortion is the unjust taking of a human life and a breach of the fundamental principles of our public moral creed."

~ Ambassador Alan Keyes