Showing posts from October, 2011

How do authentic Catholics celebrate All Hallow's Eve and the Feast of All Saints?

I celebrate it by attending the Vigil Mass of all Saints Day and welcoming neighbors and friends into my home for refreshment, passing out special treats to children, and celebrating the feast of All Saints once again with Mass and a special meal with my family.

Here are how some authentic Catholic families are celebrating :

Leticia at Cause of Our Joy: Catholics celebrate All Hallow's Eve

Elena at Association of Catholic Women Bloggers: Celebrating All Saints Day

Josette at Association of Catholic Women Bloggers: Catholics and Halloween

Halloween: The Real Story! Father Augustine Thompson, O.P. is a great article.

Leon Suprenant at Catholics United for the Faith gives you all the faith facts and background you need to understand All Hallow's Eve.

And, here are the Top Ten Ways to have a Catholic Halloween.

Don't miss this one:  Should Catholics Celebrate Halloween?

If you still need ideas, be sure to read Ideas for Sanctifying Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day.


Blessed Maria Restituta: Hero of the Holocaust

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

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

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

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

Martin Bormann decided that her ex…

Audrey Hepburn: Exhibit Shows Her Life as a Mother and Actress

Her name is synonymous with elegance and beauty. Her films, forever classic. Now a unique exhibit in Rome, is putting the spotlight back on Audrey Hepburn. But this time, it's not just her professional life that's getting attention.

Hollywood plans newest biblical films on lives of Noah, Moses and Judah Maccabee

Hollywood is preparing three big films on biblical personalities. These are the stories of Noah, Moses and Judah Maccabee. On October 3, Paramount Pictures announced the start of the movie production “Noah”. After a tough battle with 20th Century Fox, Paramount came away with the rights to the project.

The film will be directed by Darren Aronofsky and has the same screenwriter from “Gladiator”. While the main actor is slated to be Christian Bale.

The other two biblical projects are being produced by Warner Bros.

The first is the big-budget film “Gods and Kings” about the life of Moses. Among the possible directors, Steven Spielberg has been mentioned as a possibility.

According to The Guardian newspaper, this project could be delayed by the other Warner project on Judah Maccabee from Mel Gibson.

A feminine perspective on the New Evangelization


Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles and Martyrs

El GRECO Apostle Saint Simon 1606 - Oil on canvas Museo del Greco, Toledo
The name of St. Simon usually appears eleventh in the list of the apostles. The first cousin of Jesus, he was born at Cana and is surnamed "The Zealot." He preached in Egypt, Spain, and Lybia, leaving behind him the fertile hills of Galilee, where he had been engaged in the healthful cultivation of the vineyards and olive gardens. He later rejoined his brother, Saint Jude, in Persia, where they preached and died as martyrs together.

EL GRECO Apostle Saint Thaddeus (Jude) 1606 - Oil on Canvas Museo del Greco, Toledo
Sts. Simon and Jude left the comfort and safety of their secure environment to go out into the world and to preach the gospel, converting many hearts. As simple farmers, they appear to be the least likely candidates to be called to perform such a great task for the Lord. However, the Lord chooses the simple and and the weak and empowers them with grace to do the "impossible." Let us pray…

Fr. Barron comments on "The Ides of March" (SPOILERS)


St. Frumentius of Ethiopia

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

Because of their youth and beauty they were taken to the king at Axuma, who, charmed with the wit and sprightliness of the two boys, took special care of their education, and later made Aedesius his cup-bearer and Frumentius, who was a little older, his treasurer and secretary of state. The king, on his deathbed, thanked them for their services and in reward gave them their liberty. After his death the queen begged them to remain at court and assist her in the government of the state until the young prince came of age; this they did, using their influence to spread Christianity. When the young king reached his majority, Aedesius desired to return to Tyre…

Blessed Damian of Fulcheri

Today is the feast of Blessed Damian of Fulcheri, a Dominican priest.

Damian was born at the end of the fourteenth century to wealthy, Italian nobility. As a baby he was kidnapped by a man who was mentally ill. His parents prayed to Our Lady, and searchers were led to the baby by a miraculous light. He was returned to his family unharmed.

Damian entered the Dominican order at Genoa and became a diligent student and later, a dedicated priest. He was well-known for his forceful preaching and hundreds of people were converted during his missions in Italy.

Damian died in Modena, Italy in 1484, and immediately became the object of much pious speculation, because of the miracles worked at his tomb. He was beatified in 1848 by Pope Pius IX (cultus confirmed).

God of truth, for the salvation of the faithful you endowed Blessed Damian with wondrous virtues and powers of speech. Through his prayers may we hear your word with an open heart and hold fast to it with patience. We ask this thr…

The Young Nuns

Tonight the program is airing in the UK and hopefully we'll get to see it online here.

From The Anchoress:

Speaking of encouraging our children to serve the church, the BBC is looking at the slow but steadily-increasing numbers of young women investigating the consecrated life:

Catherine describes herself as “a girly girl” who loves to be pampered. She has also wanted to be a nun since she was four years old.

Like many of her contemporaries, the 25-year-old has spent the last few years travelling, partying and studying for a degree in languages at King’s College in London.

She also worked as a model, but for her it was an unfulfilling experience and left her thinking again about devoting her life to God.

“I went to castings, they always wanted me to do catwalk shows,” she says. “I remember after my first professional paid show, going home and feeling really empty. Feeling like ‘is that it’? ‘That’s not great as I thought it would be’.

“I love people and I love having a good time,…

Mom Refuses Chemo to Save Daughter

Knowing that only chemotherapy would save her from terminal neck cancer, newly-pregnant Stacie Crimm made the ultimate sacrifice. The 41-year-old, who had been told by doctors she would never be able to conceive a child, decided to refuse the treatment so her unborn daughter could live instead. Stacie was able to survive for five months before being forced to deliver Dottie Mae by Cesarean section - and even managed to hold her on one occasion before succumbing to the cancer three days later.

The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales

This feast honors the hundreds of British men and women who died for their faith in wake of the dispute between the Pope and King Henry VIII during the 16th century. Many loyal Catholics were tortured and killed by the British state from 1535 to 1679.

In 1970, the Vatican selected 40 martyrs, men and women, lay and religious, to represent the full group of about 300. Each martyr has their own day of memorial, but they are all remembered as a group on October 25.

The forty martyrs are:

Augustine Webster
John Houghton
Robert Lawrence

Richard Reynolds

John Stone

Alexander Briant
Edmund Arrowsmith
Edmund Campion
David Lewis
Henry Morse
Henry Walpole
Nicholas Owen
Philip Evans
Robert Southwell
Thomas Garnet

Alban Roe
Ambrose Edward Barlow
John Roberts
Friars Observant
John Jones

John Wall
Secular Clergy
Cuthbert Mayne
Edmund Gennings
Eustace White
John Almond
John Boste
John Kemble
John Lloyd
John Pain
John Plesington
John Southwo…

Quote of the Day: Hans Urs von Balthasar

"Our situation today shows that beauty demands for itself at least as much courage and decision as do truth and goodness, and she will not allow herself to be separated and banned from her two sisters without taking them along with herself in an act of mysterious vengeance. We can be sure that whoever sneers at her name as if she were the ornament of a bourgeois past--whether he admits it or not--can no longer pray and soon will no longer be able to love."

~ Hans Urs von Balthasar(The Glory of the Lord, Vol. 1)

Pope canonizes three new saints in St. Peter's Square

October 24, 2011. ( The Catholic Church welcomed three new saints when Benedict XVI canonized Luigi Guanella, Guido Maria Conforti and Boniface Rodriguez in St. Peter's Square. All three have unique stories. The Italian bishop, Guido Maria Conforti, founded the Xaverian Missionaries. He always showed an interest in being a missionary, but because of health issues it wasn't possible. The ceremony was symbolic since it took place on World Mission Day.

Benedict XVI
“He was the first to give a testimony of what he had experienced. He taught his missionaries that perfection consists in doing the will of God according to the model of Jesus on the Cross.”

When speaking about Luigi Guanella, the pope highlighted his compassion toward the needy. Benedict XVI said the new saint was “an apostle of charity.” Listening on the front row, were a group of handicapped people, who receive help from the Don Guanella Center.

Benedict XVI
“In his testimony, full of humanity and c…

St. Anthony Mary Claret

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

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

As a young adult, Anthony Claret excelled as a maker of cloth as a weaver in his father's textile factory. He then studied for the priesthood, desiring to be a Jesuit. Ill health prevented him from entering the Order, so he served as a diocesan priest. He was ordained at age 27 and busied himself preaching in rural ar…

The New Winners of the Stylish Blog Award

My special thanks to two lovely ladies and blogging friends, Ellen Gable and Esther G. for nominating me in the Stylish Blogger Awards. They have asked me to write seven things about myself and to nominate five other blogs (below).

Here are some little known facts about me:

1. When I was a child, I always wanted to be a writer and a nun when I grew up.

2. Although I grew up in the city, I love the outdoors and the country-- I like hiking, going on hayrides, and  fishing.

3. My favorite movies as a child were: The Sound of Music, The Ten Commandments, and The Parent Trap -- the original versions, of course.

4. I am a cat lover and have owned over a dozen cats since I was a child. My oldest cat was almost 20 years old -- a shaded silver Persian named Moonshadow (after the Cat Stevens song).

5. I love art (especially portrait sketching) and listening music of all genres.

6. I was once quite athletic and played on an all girls' basketball team in high school (There were few of them a…

Snowmen (2011) - Official Trailer

A surprising discovery in the snow catapults three small-town boys into the spotlight. When their instant celebrity fades, the boys hatch a plan to set a Guinness World Records® title ensuring their names will never be forgotten. Along the way, the trio battles schoolyard bullies, unites their community and discovers that while fame may be fleeting - true friendship lasts forever.

The film stars Bobby Coleman (Last Song), Ray Liotta (Wild Hogs), Bobb'e J. Thompson (Role Models), Josh Flitter (Ace Ventura Jr) and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future).

Maintaining Chastity

Father Ken Van Haverbeke, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, talks about how to maintain one's chastity when tempted to view pornography.

Fr. Barron comments on What Faith Is and What Faith Isn't


Pope canonizes Luigi Guanella, a hero of the defense of life

October 21, 2011. ( Italian Luigi Guanella was a champion for the defense of life. Born in 1842, he founded two congregations dedicated to serving those who were disabled and abandoned by their families.

Behind every person he would see a gift from God, which he said, has value in itself. He defended the dignity of the elderly, sick, and the mentally and physically disabled, who were abandoned or badly treated by their families.

Pino Beneditos
San Giuseppe Rehabilitation Center (Italy)
“One day, the bishop of Como showed up because he had to speak with him about their activities, their charitable projects, and Don Guanella was with the mentally disabled, with his 'good kids'. He was playing cards with them and to make them happy he finished the game, but had to leave the bishop in the waiting room.”

He would tell the priests and nuns who followed him to trust in God's help, but to work hard in their lives. The fruits of their labor are obvious. The grou…

Pope canonizes Mother Boniface, known for work toward women's economic independence

October 21, 2011. ( The Spanish nun Bonifacia Rodriguez will be remembered for her fight to help poor women to learn a trade. Before becoming a nun, she was actually a rope maker. She went on to found her own religious order known as the Servants of St. Joseph, right in the local shop where she worked.

It was in 1874, in the midst of the industrial revolution. From that moment, she and the Jesuit Francisco Butinyà devoted themselves to helping poor women to make a decent living and discover their faith in everyday life.

The new order allowed the nuns to dress like the artisans of the country. There was no dowry asked of them to enter the convent, where they would work side by side with lay people. It was a project that did not please everyone.

Sister Victoria López
Servant of Saint Joseph
“It was a life project that was too new for it to be understood. Still, some clergy of Salamanca don't understand it. They don't grasp how the gospel works in the project th…

Blessed Charles of Austria

The saint of the day is Blessed Charles of Austria.

Charles was born in 1887 in Lower Austria to Archduke Otto and Princess Maria Josephine of Saxony. He grew up in a Catholic family, received a solid Catholic education, and developed a strong devotion to the Eucharist and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He took on the motto: “I strive always in all things to understand as clearly as possible and follow the will of God, and this in the most perfect way.” In 1911, he married Princess Zita of Bourbon and Parma, and they had eight children.

The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 triggered World War I. At this point, Charles became the presumptive heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Two years later, upon the death of his great-uncle, Emperor Francis Joseph, Charles became emperor and king of Hungary. He saw his office as a mandate from God and as a way to implement Christian charity and social reform.

He worked to end the war and was the only leader to …

The Mighty Macs: A Movie Review

I recently had the wonderful opportunity of previewing The Mighty Macs. I had no idea what to expect from this film, but when I watched it I fell head over heels in love with it. This isn’t just one woman’s view, but my husband enjoyed the film just as much, if not more, than I did.

The setting is a tiny Catholic women’s’ college Philadelphia 1971. Immaculta College is looking for a coach and newly married Cathy Rush accepts the job. Mother Superior wants someone who will help the girls get some exercise to "suppress their hormones," while Kathy wants so much more for her team. As a woman ahead of her time, she wants her team to strive for perfection and to become competitive, in order to open up the doors of opportunity for them in the world of women’s’ basketball (which were basically non-existent until Cathy Rush came on the scene.)

Cathy’s ambitious goal is not without obstacles. She quickly learns there is no gymnasium on campus. She receives little support from the sc…

St. Paul of the Cross

Today is the optional memorial of St. Paul of the Cross.

St. Paul of the Cross was born in Ovada in northern Italy as Paolo Francesco Danei in 1694. As a young man, he helped his father who was a merchant. Paul received his early education from a priest and was a very virtuous and pious young man, who spent much time in prayer, attended daily Mass, and spent much time before the Blessed Sacrament without neglecting his duties.

At the age of 19, Paul had a vivid experience of the depth of God's love. As a result of this experience, he aspired to live a life of perfection. While still a layman, he left everything behind and founded the Congregation of Discalced Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion (Passionists) in 1721.

While contemplation and prayer were at the very heart of Paul's life and the life of his new institute, Paul himself soon became a very famous popular preacher, spiritual guide, writer and mystic. For Paul the Passion of Christ was the most vivid witness to …

Pope Benedict: The love of God is forever


Andrea Bocelli sings Schubert's "Ave Maria" at the Vatican

What an amazing voice! What a beautiful gift from God!

During the meeting with participants of the Congress for the New Evangelization, the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli sang for the audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall.

St. Isaac Jogues, St. John de Brébeuf and Companions: Models for Pro-lifers

Today in the dioceses of the United States the Church celebrates the optional memorial of Sts. Issac Jogues and John de Brébeuf (priests and martyrs) and their companions (martyrs). They were Jesuit missionaries who died martyrs in North America, where they preached the Gospel.

Eight French Jesuit missionaries came to North America in the 17th century, amidst the hardships of sickness and extreme poverty, to bring the Word of God to the native Indians. They endured many horrific tortures and death in order to accomplish what they had set out to do.

In 1625, St. John de Brebuf, at age 32, entered into the Huron tribe in the harsh frontier of Canada. John had tuberculosis, but the climate so agreed with him that the Hurons, surprised at his endurance, called him Echon, which meant load bearer. John was tortured and martyred in 1649. The Indians, hoping to gain the incredible strength he had, drank his blood.

St. Isaac Jogues was sent to Canada in 1636, where he worked among the Mowhawks…

St. Luke: Evangelist, Physician

Today is the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist. It is believed that St. Luke was born a Greek and a gentile. A physician at Antioch, and a painter, St. Luke became a convert of Saint Paul and afterwards his fellow-laborer. Luke was the writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles and has been identified with St. Paul's "Luke, the beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14). Saint Luke shared the shipwreck and perils of Saint Paul's voyage to Rome, and was with him in his last days. He later died a martyr's death in Achaia. Next to St. John, St. Luke's gospel writings are my favorite part of the New Testament.

There are so many beautiful scripture verses that have so much personal meaning for me. Although Luke was not an eye witness, he was a historian who carefully researched his material and obtained details from eye witnesses. As a physician, Luke emphasizes the miracles and the merciful love of Jesus, which heals his children and welcomes alll into his arms …

Pope Benedict declares a 'Year of Faith'

Pope Benedict XVI has declared a “Year of Faith” which will begin in October 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

“It will be a moment of grace and commitment to a more complete conversion to God, to strengthen our faith in Him and proclaim Him with joy to the people of our time,” said the Pope, making his announcement during Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Year of Faith will run from October 11, 2012, until November 24, 2013, which is the Solemnity of Christ the King. Continue reading.

St. Ignatius of Antioch

“No earthly pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way. I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire.”

~ Saint Ignatius of Antioch

Today is the memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch, one of the great Bishops of the early Church.

Born aroud the year 50 in Syria, Ignatius was an Apostolic Father of the Church, a disciple, with Saint Polycarp, of Saint John the Evangelist, and the third bishop of Antioch, the former See of Peter before he went to Rome.

In 117 he was sentenced to death by the Emperor Trajan and arrested in Antioch. He was brought, on a slow journey that lasted months, to the circus in Rome to be devoured by lions.

During his months of captivity he wrote seven letters to Christian congregations in the Mediterranean, who he referred to generally as the “Catholic” (universal) Church – thus coining the term for the first ti…

St. Teresa of Avila: Virgin and Doctor

Today is the memorial of St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), who was born in Avila and died in Alba, Spain. When only a child of seven, she ran away from home in the hope of being martyred by the Moors; in this way, she said she could come to see God. At the age of eighteen she joined the Carmelite Order and chose Christ as her heavenly Spouse. With the help of St. John of the Cross she reformed most of the Carmelite convents and founded new ones. She reached the highest degree of prayer and through prayer obtained such knowledge of divine things that in 1970 Pope Paul VI named her the first woman Doctor of the Church.

St. Teresa of Avila: Favorite Quotes and Prayers

Prayer for a Busy Life by St. Teresa of Avila

Brief Biography of St. Teresa of Avila

Detailed Biography of St. Teresa of Avila

Excerpts from Interior Castle:

"This body has one fault, that the more people pamper it, the more its wants are made known. It is strange how much it likes to be indulged. How well it finds some goo…

Vatican organizes key events to promote the New Evangelization

October 14, 2011. ( The pope will personally lead two key events organized to promote the New Evangelization. The events are unique, since they'll be first gatherings on the New Evangelization that will take place here in Rome, to encourage and further its cause.

Arch. Rino Fisichella
President, Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization
“It's a sign of the importance the Pope gives to the New Evangelization, for it was he who instituted the Pontifical Council. The Pope will meet with us on Saturday as part of the celebration. On Sunday, he will preside over the Mass in St. Peter's Square with all the new evangelizers.”

Part of the meeting will include an exchange of ideas on the New Evangelization. On Saturday October 15th, representatives of the New Evangelization will speak. They include mother Veronica Berzosa, who is the founder of Iesu Communio. She heads a new religious order with a high success of vocations. Also speaking is Italian writer Vi…

St. Callistus I, pope and martyr

Today is the optional memorial of St. Callistus I. This great pope and martyr lived in the first part of the third century. He was once a young slave in Rome, who got into serious trouble. His master, a Christian, had put him in charge of a bank. Somehow, Callistus lost the money deposited with him by other Christians. In fear, he ran away from Rome. He was caught, after jumping into the sea to try to get away. His sentence was a terrible one: he was chained and put to hard labor in a mill.

From this punishment Callistus was released, only because his creditors hoped he could get some of their money back. But once again he was arrested, this time for having gotten into a fight. He was sent to the mines of Sardinia. When the emperor freed all the Christians who had been condemned to those mines, Callistus was freed, too. From that time on, things began to go better for him.

Pope St. Zephrinus came to know and trust the freed slave. He placed him in charge of the public Christian cemete…

St. Edward the Confessor

The saint of the day for October 13 is St. Edward the Confessor.

Edward, the last king of the Anglo-Saxons, a grandson of the martyr-king Edward, passed his youth in exile with his uncle, a Norman leader. In an environment of sin he preserved innocence of life. Called to the throne of England in 1042, he sought to put into practice the Christian ideals for a ruler, with the help of God's grace. His first efforts were directed toward a renewal of religion in the hearts of his people. Priests were invited into his kingdom, churches were built. Yielding to pressure, he married, but is said to have retained virginity during his whole married life.

His favorite saint was St. John the Evangelist; he would not deny any request asked in his name. One day the Beloved Disciple appeared to him in the form of a beggar and asked alms in the name of the fourth evangelist; as Edward had no ready money, he gave up the ring on his finger. Shortly thereafter St. John returned the ring with the mess…

Fatima: 94th anniversary of the Marvelous Miracle of the Sun

Above: The crowd experiencing the Miracle of the Sun.

Above: Photo of "the Miracle of the Sun" taken at Fatima on 13 October 1917, as published in L'Osservatore Romano in 1951. Believed to be in the public domain.
Today is the 94th anniversary of the sixth apparition of Fatima. On October 13, 1917, the three children Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, went to the field called the Cova da Iria as Our Lady had instructed. There was a huge crowd gathered even though it was pouring rain. They were there to see the miracle. They had come from all over Portugal. The press was covering this story and it appeared in the European papers.

Our Lady spoke "I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes. Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended."

Then, opening her hands, she …

New pro-life film about an abortion survivor

"I laughed so hard, and cried so hard, and healed."

~ Abortion survivor Gianna Jessen’s blurb about the upcoming pro-life film, October Baby, via Live Action, October 11

H/T: Jill Stanek

Our Lady of the Pillar (Nuestra Señora del Pilar)

The first Marian apparition in history appeared to Saint James the Apostle, the brother of Saint John the Evangelist, on the bank of the river Ebro in Saragossa, Spain. Unlike every other recorded apparition, this one took place during the earthly life of the Mother of God.

According to tradition, She had promised Saint James that when he needed it most in his difficult mission to the pagans in today's Spain, she would appear to him to encourage him. In the year 40 A.D., while praying one night, the Virgin appeared with the Child Jesus standing on a pillar and asked Saint James and his eight disciples to build a church on the site, promising that “it will stand from that moment until the end of time in order that God may work miracles and wonders through my intercession for all those who place themselves under my patronage.”

The church of Our Lady of the Pilar in Zaragoza, is the first church dedicated to Mary in history and it remains standing to this day, having survived invasi…

Pope: monasteries have a precious social function

Pope Benedict XVI met with the people of the Italian town of Serra San Bruno on Sunday during his pastoral visit to Calabria. In remarks to the people he celebrated the historic monastery there, saying that the presence of a monastic community is a constant reminder of God, opening upon the sky. "The climate that reigns in our society," he said, "is not healthy - it is tainted by a mindset that is not Christian, or even human, because it is dominated by economic interests, is concerned only with earthly things." In a world that marginalizes God and neighbor, without regard for the common good, therefore, monastic communities play an indispensable role: they clean up the environment, opening to the spiritual dimension.

Blessed Pope John XXIII

Today is the feast of Blessed Pope John XXIII, pope from 1958-1963, best known for convening the Second Vatican Council. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 3, 2000. His feast is assigned to the day on which the first session of Vatican II opened in 1962. His feast is not on the General Roman Calendar, but can be celebrated locally.

Born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli at Sotto il Monte, Italy on 25 November 1881; elected Pope on October 28, 1958; died June 3, 1963 in Rome; beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 3, 2000.

Angelo was the fourth child of 14, born to pious parents. His religious education was entrusted to his godfather who instigated in him a deep response to the mystery of God.

He entered the minor seminary in 1892 at the age of 11, became a Secular Francsican in 1896 and in 1901 he entered the Pontifical Roman Seminary. On being ordained in 1904 he was appointed secretary to the bishop of Bergamo and taught in the seminary.

His great friends among the saint…

Saint of the Day: St. Francis Borgia

St. Francis Borgia Exorcizing By Francisco José de Goya

St. Francis Borgia was born October 28, 1510, at Gandia, Valencia, Spain, the first of 17 children, to noble parents. He was the son of the Duke of Gandia, the great grandson of Pope Alexander VI, the notorious Borgia pope, and the grandson of King Ferdinand of Aragon. He was named after St. Francis of Assisi.

Following the death of his mother at the age of ten he was educated by his uncle, the Archbishop of Saragossa. Because he posessed many natural gifts he became a favorite at the court of Charles V.

In 1539, Francis was appointed Viceroy of Catalonia, and four years later, on his father’s death, the Duke of Gandia. He built a university there, received the degree of Doctor in theology. After his wife died in 1546, Francis entered the Society of Jesus in 1548, having made provision for his eight children.Two years later he left Gandia, never to return, and joined the Jesuits in Rome. He immediately set about initiating grand p…

Our Lady of the Rosary

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. This feast was instituted by Pope St. Pius V in thanksgiving for the great naval victory over the Turks at the battle of Lepanto on this day in the year 1570, a favor due to the recitation of the Rosary. This victory saved Europe from being overrun by the forces of Islam.

Lepanto, perhaps the most complete victory ever gained over the Ottoman Empire, on October 7, 1571, is commemorated by the invocation "Help of Christians," inserted in the Litany of Loretto. At Belgrade the Turks were defeated on the Feast of Our Lady ad Nives in 1716. A second victory gained that year on the Octave of the Assumption determined Pope Clement XI to command the Feast of the Rosary to be celebrated by the universal Church. Leo XIII added the invocation "Queen of the most Holy Rosary, pray for us," to the Litany of Loretto. The Feast is in reality a great festival of thanksgiving for the signal and countless benefits bestowed on Christen…

Blessed Marie Rose Durocher

The saint of the day  for October 6 is Blessed Marie Rose Durocher. 

Eulalie Durocher was born Born October 6, 1811 at St. Antoine (a small village near Montreal) in Quebec, Canada, the tenth of eleven children. At the age of 16 she felt she had a vocation to the religious life, but was turned away because of her frail health. At eighteen, following the death of her mother, her priest brother invited her and her father to come to his parish which was not far from Montreal . For twelve years she served as his housekeeper and facilitator of pastoral activities. In this capacity, she became known for her graciousness, her gift of hospitality, and her leadership skills. This position also opened her eyes to the great need for instruction of youth - especially for young women who received very little education at that time in Canada.

It was Eulalie's dream that every parish be blessed with an order of teaching sisters, although she never imagined that she would be the founder due to he…

St. Maria Faustina, Apostle of Divine Mercy

Today is the optional memorial of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska (1905 - 1938), a Polish nun who was chosen by Jesus to remind the world of the mystery of God's merciful love, the devotion to Divine Mercy.

Saint Maria Faustina was born Helena Kowalska in a small village west of Lodz, Poland on August 25, 1905. She was the third of ten children. When she was 15 years old, she quit school in order to work as a housekeeper to help support her family. By the time she was 18, she was sure that God was calling her to a religious life, but her parents objected. So she tried to put it out of her mind. But one night, while at a village dance, Helena saw Jesus, sad and suffering. The very next day she packed a small bag and went to the capital city of Warsaw to join the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, whose members devote themselves to the care and education of troubled young women. The following year she received her religious habit and was given the name Sister Maria Faustina, to which she ad…

St. Francis of Assisi: A Brief Bio, Writings, Quotes, and Prayers

Brief Bio:

Saint Francis of Assisi, “the little beggar” is perhaps the most popular saint in history.

Francis was born in 1182 in Assisi, Italy and his baptismal name was John, but his father renamed him Franceso, in honor of his love for France. The son of a wealthy merchant, Francis had time and money to host lavish banquets for young nobles who proclaimed him "King of Feasts." Parties and selling cloth left Francis little time for God.

A handsome, charming and educated young man, he spent his early life leading young nobles to parties. He dreamed of knighthood and longed for the adventurous life of chivalry. In pursuit of that dream, he joined in the war between Assisi and Perugia at the age of 20.

In that war, Francis fought with youthful enthusiasm, but was wounded and taken prisoner. Spending the next year in a dungeon, he contracted malaria. Ransomed by his father, a more reflective Francis returned to Assisi. Sickness overtook him and in that languishing experience h…