Tuesday, July 31, 2012

St. Ignatius of Loyola: Brief Biography, Favorite Quotes, Prayers, and Works




Today is the memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola, priest, and founder of the Society of Jesus.

St. Ignatius of Loyola was born in 1491 in the Basque Country of Northern Spain to parents of distinguished families in that area. He was the youngest of 13 children and was called was called Iñigo. At the age of 15, he served as a page in the court of a local nobleman and later embraced a military career and became a valiant soldier.

Wounded in battle by a cannonball, which broke one leg and injured the other, he was taken prisoner by the French, who set his leg and eventually allowed him to go home to Loyola. He spent his time recuperating at the home of his brother. Confined to his sick bed , he was given pious books to read, which he grudgingly accepted. To his surprise, he enjoyed them and began to dream of becoming a "knight for Christ", pursuing the ideals of St. Francis and St. Dominic. He eventually promised to devote his life to being a knight for St. Peter if he recovered, which he did after nine months of convalescence.

Ignatius noticed that after doing good deeds for the Lord, he felt peaceful -- which he termed as a "consolation," but when he thought of being a successful soldier or of impressing a beautiful woman where he had initially felt enthused, he later felt dry. He called this a "desolation." Through this process of discernment, Ignatius was able to recognize that God was leading him to follow a path of service. Out of this experience he wrote his famous "Spiritual Exercises".

After traveling and studying in different schools, he finished in Paris, where he received his degree at the age of 43. Many initially hated St. Ignatius because of his humble and austere lifestyle. Despite this, he attracted many followers at the university, including St. Francis Xavier, and soon started his order, The Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits. He travelled to Europe and the Holy Land, then settled in Rome to direct the Jesuits. His health suffered in later years, and he was nearly blind at death. He died at the age of 65.


Favorite Quotes:

"If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that He has great designs for you, and that He certainly intends to make you a saint. And if you wish to become a great saint, entreat Him yourself to give you much opportunity for suffering; for there is no wood better to kindle the fire of holy love than the wood of the cross, which Christ used for His own great sacrifice of boundless charity."

"Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly."

~ Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Learn more about Ignatian Spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises. 

Prayers of St. Ignatius of Loyola


More Prayers


Litany In Honor of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Works of St. Ignatius Online:


Letter on Obedience, by Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Spiritual Exercises

Monday, July 30, 2012

The life of St. Hildegard of Bingen: Writer, composer and future Doctor of the Church




 (Romereports.com) St. Hildegard of Bingen is known for many things. But this coming October 7th, she'll also be known as a Doctor of the Catholic Church.


FR. ALFREDO SIMON
University of Sant Anselmo (Rome)

“She didn't just focus on theology and spirituality. She also composed music and wrote quite a bit about medicine. She also wrote theater plays and poetry.”

Doctor of the Church is someone whose theological teachings remain relevant, regardless of time. 

Even though she was a medieval writer, composer and philosopher, perhaps she's mostly known for her religious visions. They dealt with creation, redemption, God, humanity and the Church. In fact, before going public, a theological committee, approved the authenticity of her visions

FR. ALFREDO SIMON
University of Sant' Anselmo (Rome)

“When it was approved by Pope Eugene III, through the mediation of St. Bernard, she was given the green light to share those visions she had kept inside.”

She was born in Germany in the year 1098 and studied in a Benedictine monastery before becoming a nun at the age of 15.  In 2010, the Pope talked about her life and impact in two general audiences. 

BENEDICT XVI
(September 1, 2010) 

“Hildegard used her spiritual gifts for the renewal of the Church and the spread of authentic Christian living.”

In time, her writings were published and her visions were represented in drawings. Many people were impressed since she dealt with issues that were ahead of her time, especially for a woman living in the 12th century.  In her spare time, she even started a new language. 

FR. ALFREDO SIMON
University of Sant' Anselmo (Rome)

“She created a language she named 'Ignota' which she started on her own.”

She had a strong character and wouldn't shy away from confronting people, even if they had a high ranking in the Church. She exchanged letters with the Popes, emperors and kings, which was unthinkable for a woman of that time period. 

She also built a larger monastery for her fellow nuns. She died in the year 1179 at the age of 81, but her teachings remain alive.  

St. Peter Chrysologus



Today is the optional memorial of St. Peter Chrysologus, "the man of golden speech", who earned the title of Doctor of the Church for his eloquent sermons.

Born at Imola, Italy in 406, St. Peter was baptized, educated, and ordained a deacon by Cornelius, Bishop of Imola. Made Archbishop of Ravenna by miraculous intervention of St. Peter in 433, he rooted out all remaining traces of paganism, as well as a number of abuses among the Christians. In his sermons he strongly urged frequent Communion, saying, “the Body of the Lord should be the daily food of our souls.” He practiced many corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and ruled his flock with diligence and care. He died about the year 450 in his native city of Imola.

St. Peter Chrysologus Quotes:

"He is The Bread sown in the virgin, leavened in the Flesh, molded in His Passion, baked in the furnace of the Sepulchre, placed in the Churches, and set upon the Altars, which daily supplies Heavenly Food to the faithful."

"Today Christ works the first of his signs from heaven by turning water into wine. But water [mixed with wine] has still to be changed into the sacrament of his blood, so that Christ may offer spiritual drink from the chalice of his body, to fulfill the psalmist's prophecy: How excellent is my chalice, warming my spirit."

"Anyone who wishes to frolic with the devil cannot rejoice with Christ."



Friday, July 27, 2012

St. Pantaleon



Today's saint of the day is St. Pantaleon, physician and martyr. 

St. Pantaleon was born in Nicomedia, near the Black Sea in Asia. He was the son of a rich pagan, Eustorgius of Nicomedia, and a Christian mother, Saint Eubula, who instructed him in the faith, but died while he was still a child.

Pantaleon studied medicine with such great success that he was appointed as one of the court physicians to the Emperor Galerius Maximianus. The bad influence of the pagan court caused him to fall away from his Faith. A holy and zealous priest named Hermolaos helped him realize the error of his sinful ways by pointing out the example of his virtuous mother. Pantaleon returned to the Faith once more and imitated Our Lord's charity by distributing his goods among the poor and caring for the poor and the sick without charge.

When the Emperor Diocletian began his persecution, Pantaleon was accused of being a Christian. He was given the choice of denying his faith or being put to death, but no torture could force Pantaleon to deny his Faith. Pantaleon, openly confessed his Faith, and to prove that Christ is the true God, he healed a paralytic. However, the emperor viewed the miracle as a display of magic.

According to legend, Pantaleon's flesh was first burned with torches, but Christ was present with him, giving him the strength to withstand the torture. After this, when a bath of liquid lead was prepared, the fire went out and the lead became cold. He was now thrown into the sea, but the stone with which he was loaded floated. He was thrown to the wild beasts but these fawned upon him and could not be forced away until he had blessed them. He was bound on the wheel, but the ropes snapped, and the wheel broke. An attempt was made to behead him, but the sword bent, and the executioners were converted. Pantaleon implored heaven to forgive them, for which reason he also received the name of Panteleimon ("mercy for everyone" or "all-compassionate"). It was not until he himself desired it that it was possible to behead him. St. Pantaleon died around 305 A.D. He is the patron of physicians and belongs to the "Fourteen Holy Helpers." In the East, St. Pantaleon is called the "Great Marytr and Wonder-worker.


Patronage: bachelors; consumption; doctors; midwives; physicians; torture victims; tuberculosis; protection of domestic animals.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

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.


PRAYER TO ST JOACHIM AND ST ANNE

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.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

St. James the Greater



Today is the feast day of 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 were designated by the Council of Europe as historical cultural routes of international importance.

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.

Prayer to St. James the Greater

O Glorious St. James, because of your fervor and generosity Jesus chose you to witness his glory on the Mount and his agony in the Garden. Obtain for us strength and consolation in the unending struggles of this life. Help us to follow Christ constantly and generously, to be victors over all our difficulties, and to receive the crown of glory in heaven.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pope to married couples: Must make time to 'sit down' and talk




July 24, 2012. (Romereports.com) The Pope asked the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone,  to send a message to married couples on his behalf. The occasion was  the Int. Equipes Notre-Dame meeting. This Catholic group was founded by French priest Henri Caffarel in 1939.

In the letter, the Pope invites couples to be the shinning  face of the Church. He also reminds them that being married brings the responsibility of setting time aside, to sit down and talk with openness, understanding and mutual respect.

One of the main goals of this movement is to strengthen the ties between married couples.

Saint Sharbel (Charbel) Makhlouf



Today, July 24, is the feast day of Saint Sharbel (Charbel) Makhlouf, a Maronite Catholic monk from Lebanon. Sharbel is known for his great piety, and has been called "the hermit of Lebanon" and "the Wonder Worker of the East."

Saint Sharbel was born in 1828 in the small mountain village of Beqa-Kafra, Lebanon. His peasant family lived a strong faith, were attentive to the Divine Liturgy, and had a great devotion to the Mother of God.

At the age of twenty-three, he left his family to enter the Lebanese-Maronite Monastery, Notre-Dame de Mayfouk. Following studies and perpetual profession at St. Cyprian de Kfifane Monastery, he was ordained in 1859.

For the next seven years, Sharbel lived in the mountainous community of Anaya. He then spent the next twenty-three years of his life in complete solitude at Sts. Peter and Paul Hermitage near Anaya. He died there on Christmas Eve, 1898.

Sharbel had a reputation for his austerity, penances, obedience, and chastity. At times, Sharbel was gifted with levitations during prayer, and he had great devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament. He celebrated Mass close to noon so as to devote the morning to preparation, and the rest of the day to thanksgiving. In all things, Sharbel maintained perfect serenity. His untiring kindness endeared him to all, both Christians and Muslims. He died in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve. Christians and non-Christians soon made his tomb a place of pilgrimage and of cures. Numerous healings of the body, heart and mind have been obtained through his intercession.

He was beatified in 1965 by Pope Paul VI and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1977.

A Prayer for the Intercession of St. Sharbel

O Merciful Father, through the Holy Spirit, you chose Saint Charbel as a voice crying in the wilderness. His monastic life is an example to Your Church. In the Scriptures he discovered Your Holiness as Word Made Flesh, and darkness gave way to light. In the Eucharist he encountered Your Divinity as Bread of Life, and the poverty of this world gave way to the treasures of Your Kingdom. In prayer he experienced Your Silence as Mystery Present, and lonelieness gave way to communion. Through the Virgin Mother he embraced Your Son as Lover of Mankind, and hostility gave way to hospitality. We now beseech You, through his intercession, to change our hearts of stone to hearts of flesh, and to grant our special request …. We give praise to You, Your Only Begotten Son, and to Your Holy Spirit. Amen.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Pope: Shocked and Saddened by deaths in U.S.




July 23. 2012. (Romereports.com) From his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, the Pope said his thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Aurora, Denver, where at least a dozen people were shot to death and more than 50 were wounded during a movie screening.

“I share the distress of the families and friends of the victims and the injured, especially the children," said the Pope. "Assuring all of you of my closeness in prayer, I impart my blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in the risen Lord.”

The Pope also said he was praying for the victims of the recent ferry disaster, near Zanzibar where at least 68 people, many of them tourists, died.

With the Summer Olympics just a few days away, the Pope said he hopes the competition can bring about true sportsmanship and reconciliation among nations.

Benedict XVI
“I send greetings to the organizers, athletes and spectators alike, and I pray that, in the spirit of the Olympic Truce, the good will generated by this international sporting event may bear fruit, promoting peace and reconciliation throughout the world.”

During his Sunday's Angelus, Benedict XVI also reflected on how Jesus is depicted as the “Good Shepard.” The Pope called on people to open themselves by allowing God to guide them through life.

St. Bridget of Sweden




Today, July 23, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Bridget (Birgitta) of Sweden, who was a widow and Third Order Franciscan (1303 – 1373).


St. Bridget is known for her astonishing revelations documented carefully by her confessors, filling several volumes. Their accounts of her visions of biblical scenes, especially the nativity and the crucifixion, have greatly inspired imagery in Christian art and her devotions have inspired popular piety. It was, however, for her practical works of charity, that she was canonized, and not for her private revelations – which had some very harsh things to say about popes.

Bridget was born in Finista in Sweden. 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 (after an affair with the notorious Queen Joanna), 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.

Patronage: Bridget is the patron saint of Sweden and widows. She is the co-patroness of Europe, along with St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein).

The 15 St. Bridget Prayers

Saint Bridget Quote:

"There is no sinner in the world, however much at enmity with God,who cannot recover God's grace by recourse to Mary, and by asking her assistance."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rest Awhile

Saturday, July 21, 2012

St. Lawrence of Brindisi, priest and doctor



Today is the optional memorial of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, the first Capuchin Franciscan to be honored as a Doctor. 

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.

Quote

"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.

~ St. Lawrence of Brindisi



John Paul II's Last World Youth Day: Toronto 2002




July 21. 2012. (Romereports.com) July 23 marks ten years since John Paul II led his last World Youth Day meeting. It took place in Toronto back in 2002.

Despite his age, the Polish Pope showed inner strength and energy, while encouraging the youth to not fear the pain that life can bring. He also told them to seize the moment by striving to be saints, from a young age.

MSGR. RENATO BOCCARDO
Former Organizer of Papal Trips
(1 February, 2005)
“A young man told me he noticed how when John Paul II was young, his message was very powerful and provocative. But still, in old age, being weak, sick and sitting in a chair, his message is just as powerful. It leads me to believe that the power itself comes from his message. It's as if, the Pope can hide behind that message, which holds the same strength and power.”

During this World Youth Day, John Paul II called on the youth to build a civilization based on love for the third millennium, by making Christ the cornerstones of their lives.
On Sunday July 28, 2002, after the Angelus, the Pope announced the venue of the next WYD.

JOHN PAUL II
“The next World Youth Day 2005 will be in Cologne, Germany.”

But John Paul II didn't live to see that World Youth Day. He passed away on April 2, 2005. Benedict XVI was elected 17 days later on April 19th. It was the German Pope, who traveled to his native country to lead his first WYD as Pope.

Restless Heart Trailer

Friday, July 20, 2012

St. Margaret of Antioch, Patron 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.

Prayer  For Pregnancy


O Loving Lord, Saint Margaret's father was a pagan priest. Her escape from his false beliefs was depicted in a story of being swallowed by a dragon representing paganism, and then escaping from its belly as if being born anew. Because of this tale, she has become the patron saint of pregnancy, labor, and childbirth, so I ask her to pray for every expectant mother I know, especially those who are having difficult pregnancies or who have been unable to conceive. Touch their wombs, dear Lord, and give them easy deliveries and healthy children. Protect the lives of babies who might be aborted. Saint Margaret, pray for us. Amen.













Thursday, July 19, 2012

Brothers in Black on Juggling

Cardinal Edwin O'Brien: "Christians of the Holy Land, feel themselves limited in so many ways"



July 19, 2012. (Romereports.com) 
From instability to fear. Christians living in the Middle East have had to deal with several challenges in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

Throughout the years, restrictions have forced  Christians to flee Israel. That continues to be case today.

CARD. EDWIN O'BRIEN
Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre 
“The government there has put severe restrictions on travel, on labor on owning property and the good Christians of the Holy Land, feel themselves limited in so many ways.”

American Cardinal Edwin O' Brien is the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, which is a lay institution. 

With the current instability, Cardinal O'Brien says that helping Christians in Israel is critical, as  more and more feel limited in every day life. 

CARD. EDWIN O'BRIEN
Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre 
“To gain great support for the Church and the Christians of the Holy Land. I'm learning a lot day after day as far as what is going on there.”

The flight of Christians from the Holy Land has been an issue for years. Ironically, as native Israeli Christians continue to flee, thousands of Christian immigrants from other countries are arriving to the Holy Land, in hopes of finding employment.  

Saint Arsenius the Great


Today we commemorate St. Arsenius the Great.  St. Arsenius, an Anchorite, was born in 354 at Rome and died in 450 at Troe, in Egypt. 

Theodosius the Great, having requested the Emperor Gratian and Pope Damasus to find him in the West a tutor for his son Arcadius, decided on Arsenius, a man well read in Greek literature, a member of a noble Roman family, and said to have been a deacon of the Roman Church. Upon receving the request to become the tutor of young Arcadius, he left and reached Constantinople in 383, and continued as tutor in the imperial family for eleven years, during the last three of which he also had charge of his pupil's brother Honorius.

 Coming one day to see his children at their studies, Theodosius found them sitting while Arsenius talked to them standing. This he would not tolerate, and he ordered the teacher to sit while the pupils to stood.

Upon his arrival at court, Arsenius had been given a splendid establishment, and probably because the Emperor so desired, he lived a very great lifestyle, but all the time felt a growing inclination to renounce the world. After praying for a long time to be enlightened as to what he should do, he heard a voice saying "Arsenius, flee the company of men, and thou shalt be saved." Thereupon he embarked secretly for Alexandria, and hastening to the desert of Scetis, asked to be admitted among the solitaries who dwelt there.

St. John the Dwarf, to whose cell he was conducted, though previously warned of the quality of his visitor, took no notice of him and left him standing by himself while he invited the rest to sit down at table. When the John was half finished with his meal, he threw down some bread before Arsenius, bidding him with an air of indifference to eat if he would. Arsenius meekly picked up the bread and ate, sitting on the ground. Satisfied with this proof of humility, St. John kept him under his direction. The new solitary was from the beginning most exemplary, yet unwittingly retained some of his old habits, such as sitting cross-legged or laying one foot over the other. Noticing this, the abbot requested some one to imitate Arsenius's posture at the next gathering of the brethren, and upon his doing so, forthwith rebuked him publicly. Arsenius took the hint and corrected himself.

During the fifty-five years of his solitary life he was always the most meanly clad of all, thus punishing himself for his former seeming vanity in the world. In like manner, to atone for having used perfumes at court, he never changed the water in which he moistened the palm leaves of which he made mats, but only poured in fresh water upon it as it wasted, thus letting it become stenchy in the extreme. Even while engaged in manual labour he never relaxed in his application to prayer. At all times copious tears of devotion fell from his eyes. But what distinguished him the most was his disinclination to all that might interrupt his union with God. When, after a long period of searching, his place of retreat was discovered, he not only refused to return to court and act as adviser to his former pupil the Emperor Arcadius, but he would not even be his almoner to the poor and the monasteries of the neighbourhood. He invariably denied himself to visitors, no matter what their rank and condition and left to his disciples the care of entertaining them. His contemporaries so greatly admired him because of this, that they gave him the surname "the Great".

Amen

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Everyday Blessings For Moms: Called to Holiness

Vatican newspaper to be distributed in the US



July 18, 2012. (Romereports.com) The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has announced that they are expanding into the United States. It will be distributed in English by the Catholic publishing company of 'Our Sunday Visitor' based out of Indiana. They are responsible for publishing several periodicals, including the largest national Catholic newspaper, OSV Newsweekly.

They will now start distributing the Vatican newspaper to a US audience beginning in August. The American publishing group will also be handling the customer service and marketing for the paper's expansion.

The news from the pope's residence at the Vatican will now be arriving at the doorsteps of homes across America. 

Vatican purchases website domain “.catholic”




July 18, 2012. (Romereports.com) The Vatican is looking to organize some of the Church's activities on the internet by buying the web domain “.catholic”.
  
It will serve as a place for different parishes, dioceses and religious orders to be easily recognized as Catholic institutions on the web.

Just like the Catholic Church has to maintain their properties in the physical world, they will now make updates on the websites that carry the name “.Catholic”. These online activities will help to keep the Church's online message up to date.

The purchase of the domain doesn't come cheap. The Vatican paid $740,000 to apply for .catholic in four languages. It was previously owned by the corporation Assigned Names and Numbers.

No Controversy? Facts for Melinda Gates


Melinda Gates and her partners, including the British government and the world's largest abortion providers, have launched a $4 billion campaign to push birth control for poor women in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Ms. Gates claims that there is "no controversy" in powerful groups and governments promoting birth control for poor women, but the facts are that contraception IS controversial for a number of reasons.

 

Saint Camillus of Lellis, patron of hospitals the sick, and nurses

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.

Reflection:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Miracle Could Lead to Canonization of Pope John Paul II


Bogotá, Colombia, Jul 17, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News).- The testimony of a Colombian man who says he was “miraculously cured” of Parkinson's Disease through the intercession of Blessed John Paul II could allow for the canonization of the Polish pope.

According to the newspaper El Tiempo, the case involves Marco Fidel Rojas, the former mayor of the town of Huila, whose testimony has now been sent to the Vatican office heading the sainthood cause for the late pontiff.

Recounting his story to the Colombian paper, Fidel remembers experiencing the first symptoms of the disease in December of 2005. After a series of examinations, doctors determined he had suffered a stroke, which led to the development of Parkinson's.

Read the full story.

Theology of the Table: The Meaning of the Mass

Pope to speak on economic crisis for World Day of Peace



(Romereports.com) The 46th International World Day of Peace will be celebrated on January 1 of 2013. To mark the occasion, the pope has chosen the theme “Blessed are the Peacemakers” for his annual message. In it, he will address the financial crisis, as well as problems in education and politics.

The pope will also encourage everyone to take responsibility when it comes to creating peace. 

In his message, the pope will recognize the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the encyclical letter by Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, the Vatican document that lays out the importance of human dignity and freedom. It was also the inspiration for the first World Day of Peace back in 1967. 

This will be Benedict XVI's eighth message for the World Day of Peace during his time as pope.

The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne



On July 17, 1794, sixteen Carmelites caught up in the French Revolution were guillotined at the Place du Trône Renversé (now called Place de la Nation), in Paris.

When the revolution started in 1789, a group of twenty-one discalced Carmelites lived in a monastery in Compiegne France, founded in 1641. The monastery was ordered closed in 1790 by the Revolutionary gov­ernment, and the nuns were disbanded. Sixteen of the nuns were accused of living in a religious community in 1794. They were arrested on June 22 and imprisoned in a Visitation convent in Compiegne There they openly resumed their religious life.

For a full twenty months before their execution, the sisters came together in an act of consecration “whereby each member of the community would join with the others in offering herself daily to God, soul and body in holocaust to restore peace to France and to her Church.”

The nuns were not just mere victims of the Revolution overcome by circumstances. Each contemplated her martyrdom; each understood her offering. Each sought that “greater love” of giving herself for her fellow man in imitation of the Divine Lamb Who redeemed humanity.

On July 12, 1794, the Carmelites were taken to Paris and five days later were sentenced to death. Before their execution they knelt and chanted the "Veni Creator", as at a profession, after which they all renewed aloud their baptismal and religious vows. They went to the guillotine singing the Salve Regina. They were beatified in 1906 by Pope St. Pius X.

The Carmelites were: Marie Claude Brard; Madeleine Brideau, the subprior; Maire Croissy, grandniece of Colbert Marie Dufour; Marie Hanisset; Marie Meunier, a novice; Rose de Neufville Annette Pebras; Anne Piedcourt: Madeleine Lidoine, the prioress; Angelique Roussel; Catherine Soiron and Therese Soiron, both extern sisters, natives of Compiegne and blood sisters: Anne Mary Thouret; Marie Trezelle; and Eliza beth Verolot. The martyrdom of the nuns was immortalized by the composer Francois Poulenc in his famous opera Dialogues des Carmelites.

For more information on these holy women, see The Catholic Encyclopedia.

Prayer for the feast of July 17th 

 Lord God, you called Bl. Teresa of St. Augustine and her companions to go on in the strength of the Holy Spirit from the heights of Carmel to receive a martyr's crown. May our love too be so steadfast that it will bring us to the everlasting vision of your glory. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

 Prayer for obtaining graces through the intercession of the Blessed Carmelites of Compiègne 

Lord our God, You called the 16 blessed Carmelites of Compiègne to show you the greatest testimony of love through the offering of their blood that "peace may be returned to the Church and to the State." Remember the joyful and heroic fidelity with which they glorified you. May your goodness manifest their favor with you, in granting through their intercession the grace (the miracle) that we ask you in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!

Monday, July 16, 2012

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.

To learn more about the Carmelites, go here.

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!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha


Today is the memorial of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, virgin.

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.  She is scheduled to be canonized on October 21, 2012. 

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

Patronage: Ecologists; ecology; environment; environmentalism; 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).

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Catholic leaders open new forum for debate at University of Steubenville

"The Amazing Spider-Man": a movie review by Fr. Barron



Blesseds Zellie and Louis Martin, Parents of St. Therese of Lisieux



Learn more about the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux here.

St. Henry


Today is the optional memorial of 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.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

St. John Gualbert, abbot



St. John was born in Florence, Italy, at the end of the tenth century. He and his father were devastated when John's only brother, Hugh, was murdered. The man who did it was supposed to have been Hugh's friend. Urged on by his father and by his own anger, John began looking for a way to avenge his brother's death. He felt that his personal honor depended on it.
One Good Friday, he came face to face with the murderer in a narrow passageway. John drew his sword and started toward the man. Hugh's killer fell to his knees. He crossed his arms on his chest and begged forgiveness for love of Jesus who died on the cross. With a tremendous effort, John dropped his sword. He embraced his enemy and moved on down the road. When he came to a monastery church, he went in and knelt before the crucifix. He asked forgiveness for his sins. Then a miracle happened! Christ on the cross bowed his head. It was as if to tell John that he was pleased with him for forgiving his enemy. John felt that his own sins were forgiven. Such a change came over him that he went straight to the abbot of that monastery. He asked if he could join the monks.
When John's father heard about it, he said he would burn the whole monastery if his son did not come out. The monks did not know what to do. John solved the problem by cutting off his hair and borrowing a habit from one of the monks. Even his father was so impressed that he let him remain. St. John later went off to live a stricter life. He started his own community of monks.
John became a model for imitating the poor lifestyle of Jesus. He also took wonderful care of all the poor people who came to the monastery gate. God granted him power to work miracles and to give wise guidance. Even Pope St. Leo IX went to St. John to seek his advice. St. John died on July 12, 1073. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Celestine III in 1193.

Patron: forest workers; foresters; park services; parks.
Symbols: Tau staff; crucifix; church in his hand; devil under his feet.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

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.

Biography:

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


Image Source

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

St. Amalberga (Amelia)


Today's saint of the day is St. Amalberga.

St. Amalberga, otherwise Amelia, was born at Brabantrelated, and was in some way related to Pepin of Landen. Whether she was a sister or niece, the Bollandists are not sure. She was married to Witger and became the mother of three saints: Gudila, Reinelda, and Emembertus.

The Norman chroniclers speak of her as having been married twice, which seems to be erroneous. Nor are Pharailda and Ermelende admitted by the Bollandists to have been her children. She and her husband ultimately withdrew from the world; he becoming a monk, and she a nun. There is very great confusion in the records of this saint, and of a virgin who came a century after. To add to the difficulty a third St. Amalberga, also a virgin, appears in the twelfth century. The first two are celebrated simultaneously on July 10.

She died in 690 and is buried beside her husband at the Lobbes monastery. Her relics have been in Saint Peter's abbey church in Ghent, Belgium since 1073.

Patronage: She is known to protect people against arm pain, bruises, and fever.

Symbols: In art she is represented holding a palm and open book with a crown at her feet, standing on a giant sturgeon or other fish.

Tribute Concert held for Catholic Woman who saved Jewish Children



A concert was held July 5 at the Melbourne Recital Centre to remember Irena Sendler, the Polish Catholic who saved some 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of Warsaw’s ghetto.

The concert, titled “Irena’s Song: A Ray of Light through the Darkness,” featured acclaimed Israeli composer and conductor Kobi Oshrat and Israeli vocalist Karin Shifrin. The pair collaborated with the Australian Orchestra Victoria to remember the heroine through music.

Read the Full Story.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Great New Website for Lovers + Romance Quiz

I just discovered a great new website entitled "Love Letters from Kansas" and learned that I am a Resolute Lover. Discover what your heart is trying to tell you. Learn your marriage mindset and see how it fits with your partner's. Find out if you're a Rational Heart, Restless Heart, Resolute Heart, Romantic Heart or Reluctant Heart, and see what it means for your relationship. what type you are by going here.

Here is the background scoop on the website Love Letters from Kansas:

WICHITA, Kan. - July 9, 2012 - Today, Catholic Charities of Kansas announced the launch of a new public awareness campaign, "Love Letters from Kansas", which is designed to promote healthy marriage and relationship stability across the state.

Catholic Charities of Kansas has provided marriage and relationship education through its Marriage for Keeps program to close to 1,100 couples since 2007 and more than 135 individual adults since October 2011. This program features small group, researched based interactive relationship (Within My Reach) and marital (Within Our Reach) education workshops, assistance with accessing community services, employment and career development and parenting skills training.

"In 2012, many people may be asking themselves why a public awareness campaign supporting healthy marriage and romantic relationships is needed," said Cynthia Colbert, executive director, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Wichita. "Relationships impact the daily fabric of our society. The services we offer provide tangible tools for individuals that enhance the way they interact with everyone in their lives, not just their spouses or partners." Read more... Visit the Love Letters from Kansas website.

Pope Benedict XVI Quote on Miracles and Jesus



"The man Jesus of Nazareth is the transparency of God, God dwells in Him fully and, while we always seek other signs, other prodigies, we do not realise that the true sign is Him, God made flesh. He is the greatest miracle of the universe: all the love of God contained in a human heart and a human face".

 ~ Pope Benedict XVI in his Sunday homily July 8, 2012

Cardinal Burke laments resistance to Summorum Pontificum


Five years after Pope Benedict issued Summorum Pontificum, his motu proprio permitting priests to offer the extraordinary form of the Mass without first having to obtain permission from their bishops, Cardinal Raymond Burke lamented “resistance to what the Holy Father has asked.”

“There's no question that there remains in certain places a resistance to what the Holy Father has asked, and that's sad," said the prefect of the supreme tribunal of the apostolic signatura. “It's sometimes even an expression of disagreement with the Holy Father's discipline and even an expression that this is harmful for the Church.”

“There was a stripping away, a changing of the form of the rite that in my judgment was too much,” he added as he commented on the liturgical changes that followed the Second Vatican Council. “You can't take a living reality, the worship of God as God has desired that we worship him, and tamper with it without doing violence and without in some way damaging the faith life of the people.”

 In his letter to bishops accompanying the motu proprio, Pope Benedict wrote that “the two forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching.” Cardinal Burke said that he hoped the ordinary form of the Mass would eventually be enriched through the increased use of Latin and the restoration of prayers at the foot of the altar and the Last Gospel (Jn. 1:1-14).

“On the other hand, Cardinal Burke says, the practice of reading scriptural passages in modern languages has been a ‘tremendous gift’ of the post-Vatican II liturgy that should be incorporated in the Tridentine Mass,” Catholic News Service reported. “And he says that the newer version of the Mass, in which the priest typically faces the congregation, can encourage a deeper appreciation of the ‘transparent devotion’ with which priests should celebrate both forms of the liturgy.”

~ Via Catholic World News.

Earthquake rattles Rome. Epicenter registered near Pope's summer residence




July 9, 2012. (Romereports.com) A 3.5 magnitude earthquake rattled the south of Rome Monday afternoon. The epicenter was registered in the 'Castelli Romani' area, which is near 'Castel Gandolfo' where Benedict XVI is enjoying his summer vacation.

The earthquake was also felt in Italy's Montecompatri, Colonna and Monte Porzio Catone areas. 

No major injuries or damages have been reported. 

This relatively small quake follows a series of earthquakes that caused serious damage in Italy's Emila Romagna region. 

Pope visits house where he worked during Second Vatican Counci




July 9, 2012. (Romereports.com) Benedict XVI visited the House of the Society of the Divine Word in the Italian village of Nemi, where he lived between March 29th and April 3rd of 1965. It was there he worked with cardinals, bishops, and theologians to prepare the decree “Ad Gentes” for Vatican II.
 
The Pope greeted the new Superior General of the congregation, Heinz Kulüke. He also met with the missionaries and walked the gardens of the house, remembering his time there 47 years ago.

St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions, Chinese Martyrs


Today is the optional memorial of St. Augustine Zhao Rong, priest, and companions, Chinese martyrs. Saint Augustine Zhao Rong was a Chinese diocesan priest who was martyred with his 119 companions in 1815. Among their number was an eighteen year old boy, Chi Zhuzi, who cried out to those who had just cut off his right arm and were preparing to flay him alive: "Every piece of my flesh, every drop of my blood will tell you that I am Christian."

Christianity arrived in China by way of Syria in the 600s. Depending on China's relations with the outside world, Christianity over the centuries was free to grow or was forced to operate secretly.

The 120 martyrs in this group died between 1648 and 1930. Most of them (eighty-seven) were born in China and were children, parents, catechists or laborers, ranging from nine years of age to seventy-two. This group includes four Chinese diocesan priests.

The thirty-three foreign-born martyrs were mostly priests or women religious, especially from the Order of Preachers, the Paris Foreign Mission Society, the Friars Minor, Jesuits, Salesians and Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.

Augustine Zhao Rong was a Chinese soldier who accompanied Bishop John Gabriel Taurin Dufresse (Paris Foreign Mission Society) to his martyrdom in Beijing. Augustine was baptized and not long after was ordained as a diocesan priest. He was martyred in 1815.

Beatified in groups at various times, these 120 martyrs were canonized in Rome on October 1, 2000.

More information is available on The Vatican website.

Friday, July 06, 2012

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. 

MODESTY PLEDGE OF THE FRIENDS OF ST. MARIA GORETTI USA, INC.