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Showing posts from October, 2015

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez: Husband, Father, Widower, Priest, Doorkeeper

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The saint of the day for October 30 is St Alphonsus Rodriguez, a Jesuit, who was born at Segovia in Spain, on July 12, 1531. From childhood he was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He loved her as his mother. This childlike devotion to her was the main reason for his sanctity.

When he was a teenager, Alphonsus and his older brother were sent to study in a Jesuit college. On the death of his father in 1545, he was called home from his studies, by his mother, who was burdened with the care of eleven young children. Though only a boy of fourteen, he was placed in charge of the family business, which involved the buying and selling of wool.

At the request of his mother, Alphonsus married the virtuous Maria Suarez. His married life of four years was marked with much suffering. His business suffered, and two of the couple’s three children died in infancy. He was widowed at the age of 32 and his mother died soon aftewards. He sold the business and moved in with his sisters; they helped Al…

7 Quick Takes: Books, Movies, and More!

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1. Looking for a good read? I have been reading and reviewing Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s books for the past seven years and have been a big fan. Donna-Marie has served as an inspiration to me and to all women, speaking to us in a gentle, gracious manner, guiding us spiritually, with wisdom and love. Now, she has written a book (her twentieth) that tops them all. In The Kiss of Jesus: How Mother Teresa and the Saints Helped Me to Discover the Beauty of the Cross, she shares her life story. And, what a story it is! Continue reading.



2. Need some help in sharing your faith story? Nancy Ward has the perfect evangelization tool! Check out my interview with her here.



3. Looking for a good Catholic movie to watch? Check out My All-American.




4. This past week we celebrated the feast of Sts. Simon and Jude. I am continually praying for the intercession of St. Jude, the patron of desperate situations and lost causes, hospital workers, and hospitals. He is one of my favorite saints and is a power…

Book Review: The Kiss of Jesus

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I have been reading and reviewing Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s books for the past seven years and have been a big fan. Donna-Marie has served as an inspiration to me and to all women, speaking to us in a gentle, gracious manner, guiding us spiritually, with wisdom and love. Now, she has written a book (her twentieth) that tops them all. In The Kiss of Jesus: How Mother Teresa and the Saints Helped Me to Discover the Beauty of the Cross, she shares her life story. And, what a story it is!

In this candid, astonishing autobiographical account, this soft-spoken, delicate, and devout Catholic media celebrity reveals the shocking struggles she has tackled in life. She became engaged to a drug addict who held her against her will, threatening harm to her family. She faced miscarriages, abuse, serious illness, divorce, financial difficulties, custody battles, and single motherhood – all with great inner strength and tremendous courage. Through God’s providence, she met Mother Teresa, the spi…

Sts. Simon and Jude, apostles and martyrs

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October 28 is the feast of Sts. Simon and Jude, apostles and martyrs.


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 Libya, 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.

He is the patron of tanners and woodcutters.



St. Jude, also called Thaddeus or "Courageous", is the author of the short epistle in the New Testament. He was the apostle who asked the Lord at the Last Supper why he had manifested himself only to the disciples and not to the whole world (John 14:22). He was the son of Cleophas and the woman named Mary who stood with the Blessed Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross as Our Lord was redeeming the world. He is remembered a…

Blessed Bartholomew of Vicenza

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By Jean M. Heimann

On October 27 we commemorate the feast of Blessed Bartholomew of Vicenza (1201-1270). He was a Dominican priest who used his skills as a preacher to combat the heresies of his day.

Blessed Bartholomew was born at Vicenza, Italy Vicenza in Northern Italy, and belonged to the noble family of Breganza. He became a Dominican priest at the age of twenty and received the habit from St. Dominic's own hands.

He was a very virtuous man and within a short time, he became prior of the monastery, effectively overseeing several monasteries with great wisdom and fruitfulness. Seven years later, he became Master of the Sacred Palace, an office which had been first held by Saint Dominic himself. It was during this period that Blessed Bartholomew composed his scholarly commentary on the work of Saint Denis, entitled "From the Heavenly Hierarchy.”

 In 1246, Pope Innocent IV appointed Blessed Bartholomew as Bishop of Cyprus, where he served for two years. He was then sent as …

Novena to St. Martin de Porres

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Prayer to St Martin de Porres (Begin with this prayer every day.)

Most humble Martin de Porres, your burning charity embraced not only the poor and needy but even the animals of the field. For your splendid example of charity, we honour you and invoke your help. From your place in heaven, hear the requests of your needy brethren, so that, by imitating your virtues we may live contentedly in that state in which God has placed us. And carrying our cross with strength and courage, may we follow in the footsteps of our blessed Redeemer and his most sorrowful mother, so that at last we may reach the kingdom of heaven through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


First Day
St Martin’s Humility
St Martin imitated our Lord Who was meek and humble of heart. There was no pride or vanity in Martin, who realized that God is our Creator and that we are His creatures. Martin understood that God loves us as children and only wants us to be happy. So he had the wisdom to surrender entirely to the…

Novena to All Saints begins on October 24

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The novena begins on October 24 and concludes on the Solemnity of All Saints, November 1.

The Novena prayer is prayed each day for nine days:

All Saints Novena

My heavenly brothers and sisters, from those most renowned to those of greatest obscurity, I come before you now in all humility and commend myself, and all who are dear to me, to your intercession.  Pray for us always, that we may awake each day with a burning desire for the Lord whose Face you behold, that we will maintain an intimate personal relationship with Jesus, our Savior and Head, and that we will not hesitate to proclaim God’s greatness to others, and love them as the Lord loves us.  As you offer your continual praise before the throne of God,   I raise my heart to you now to implore your powerful intercession for these special needs:  (………).  I am confident that your prayers on our behalf will be graciously heard by our loving and merciful Lord.  By his grace, may we someday join you in the glory of the Father’s hou…

St. John of Capistrano: "The Soldier Saint"

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By Jean M. Heimann

The saint of the day for October 23 is St. John of Capistrano (1385-1456), an Italian Franciscan priest, preacher, and theologian who promoted devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. He earned himself the nickname 'the Soldier Saint' when in 1456 at age 70 he led a crusade against the invading Ottoman Empire at the siege of Belgrade. He is the patron saint of chaplains, military chaplains, and judges.

John was born at Capistrano, Italy in 1385, the son of a former German knight of that city. He studied law at the University of Perugia and practiced as a lawyer in the courts of Naples. King Ladislas of Naples appointed him governor of Perugia.

During a war with a neighboring town he was betrayed and imprisoned, where he experienced a deep conversion. Upon his release, he entered the Franciscan community at Perugia. There, he began his brilliant preaching ministry, while still a deacon in 1420. Following his ordination, he traveled to many European countries and R…

Top Twenty St. John Paul II Quotes

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October 22 is the feast of Saint John Paul II. Here are my all-time top twenty favorite quotes from Saint John Paul II:

1.  "Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."

2. "True holiness does not mean a flight from the world; rather, it lies in the effort to incarnate the Gospel in everyday life, in the family, at school and at work, and in social and political involvement."

3.  "When the cross is embraced it becomes a sign of love and of total self-giving. To carry it behind Christ means to be united with him in offering the greatest proof of love … the choice is between a full life and an empty existence, between truth and falsehood."
~ Pope St. John Paul II, World Youth Day, February 2001.

4.  "As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live."

5.  "It is Jesus you seek when you dream of happiness. He is waiting for you when nothing …

St. Laura of St. Catherine of Siena

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By Jean M. Heimann

October 21 is the feast of St. Laura of St. Catherine of Siena (1874-1949), a Colombian sister who founded the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate and St. Catherine of Siena in 1914. She was renowned for her work with the native Indians of Colombia, and serves as a strong role model for South American girls.

Laura Montoya Upegui was born on May 26, 1874 in Jericó, Antioquia, Colombia, the second of three children to Juan de la Crux Montoya and Dolores Upegui.  When she was only two, her father died, defending his country in the Colombian War of 1876. Consequently, the family was left in poverty after all their possessions were confiscated. Following her father's death, Laura was sent to live with her grandmother. Laura felt orphaned and alone. To help overcome her feelings of loneliness, she took refuge in Jesus. As she grew older, she was especially sustained by meditation on Sacred Scripture and the strength she received from the Eucharis…

Novena to St. Jude begins today

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St. Jude, also called Thaddeus or "Courageous", is the author of the short epistle in the New Testament. He was the apostle who asked the Lord at the Last Supper why he had manifested himself only to the disciples and not to the whole world (John 14:22). He was the son of Cleophas and the woman named Mary who stood with the Blessed Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross as Our Lord was redeeming the world. He is remembered as a Healer.

St. Jude is the patron saint of lost or impossible causes and his novena is often prayed in desperate cases. Below are: (1) a novena for any intention, followed by (2) novena prayers for someone who is critically ill. Both are prayed for nine days.

Novena Prayers

Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus,  the Church honors and invokes you universally, as the patron of difficult  cases, of things almost despaired of, Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone.

Intercede with God for me that He bring visible and speedy help w…

Sharing YOUR Faith Story: Interview with Nancy HC Ward

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By Jean M. Heimann

As Catholics, most of us have a difficult time sharing our faith story with others. Unlike our Protestant brothers and sisters, we have not been taught to evangelize. Nevertheless, people today are hungry to hear how God is working in and through others. There is a yearning for the truth and a longing for hope in our wounded world. But how can we help others if we cannot even share how God is working in our lives?

Today I would like to share a conversation I had with Nancy HC Ward, a Catholic convert, journalist, blogger and speaker who offers a solution to this dilemma. In her new DVD "Sharing YOUR Faith Story," she tells her own conversion story while coaching her viewers on how to share their stories.


Nancy, I have been enjoying your blog, JoyAlive.net for years. It is both uplifting and inspirational. Now, you have a wonderful new resource, a DVD, entitled “Sharing YOUR Faith Story.” I recently viewed your DVD and it is an excellent resource for evangel…

St. Paul of the Cross: Priest, Mystic, Founder

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October 20 is the feast of St. Paul of the Cross (1694-1775), Italian priest, mystic, and founder of the Passionist Congregation.

Paul was born in Ovada, in northern Italy as Paolo Francesco Danei, the second oldest of sixteen children, eleven of whom died in infancy. His father was from a noble family that had been reduced to poverty over the years. His parents were devout Catholics and their strong faith provided the grace they needed to accept their trials. Paul’s mother had a deep and lively faith, which she shared with her son. She often read to him, sharing the writings of the desert fathers.  Paul received his early education from a priest and was a very virtuous and pious youth, who spent much time in prayer, attended daily Mass, and visited the Blessed Sacrament, without neglecting his duties. He had a great love and devotion for Christ Crucified.

As a young man, Paul enlisted in the Army, desiring to serve Christ in the Crusades; however, he abandoned soldiering to spend hi…

Sts. John de Brébeuf and Issac Jogues and Companions, Martyrs

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Today in the dioceses of the United States the Church celebrates the memorial of Sts. John de Brébeuf and  Issac Jogues and their companions, 17th century martyrs. They were six Jesuit priests and two lay brothers who traveled from France to North America to preach the gospel to the Huron and Mohawk natives in present-day New York, Quebec, and Onatario, Canada. 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. Issac Jogues was sent to Canada in 1636, where he worked among the Mowhawks. He was taken captive by the Iroquois in 1642 and imprisoned for thirteen months, where he …

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque: Witness to God's Passionate Love

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By Jean M. Heimann

Today’s saint, Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647 – 1690), was selected by God to be a witness to the passionate love He has for each one of us, as symbolized by the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through visions and private revelations, God used her, as His instrument, to spread His love throughout the world.

Growing up in the town of Janots in the Burgundy region of France, Margaret Mary’s childhood was marked by sickness and family problems. Her father died of pneumonia when she was only eight years old and his death left the family in a state of poverty. Relatives took control of the family home, treating both Margaret Mary and her mother cruelly. She stated: “The heaviest of my crosses was that I could do nothing to lighten the cross my mother was suffering."

Margaret Mary developed a painful rheumatic condition at 12 and was bedridden until she was 15. After considering marriage for a period of time, she decided to dedicate her life to God.

She entered the Order of Vis…

Twelve Great Quotes from St. Teresa of Avila

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October 15 is the feast of St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), a Spanish mystic and the first woman Doctor of the Church.

Here are twelve great quotes she shares with us:

1.“Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, all things are passing: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. He who possesses God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.”

2.“It is foolish to think that we will enter heaven without entering into ourselves.”

3. “It is love alone that gives worth to all things”

4.“Thank God for the things that I do not own.”

5.“You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him.”

6.“From sour-faced saints, good Lord, deliver us!”

7.“Love turns work into rest.”

8.“Be gentle to all, and stern with yourself.”

9.“God calls to us in countless little ways all the time. Through illnesses and suffering and through sorrow he calls to us. Through a truth glimpsed fleetingly in a state of prayer he calls to us. No matter how halfhearted such insights may be, God rejoices whenever we …

St. Callistus: Slave, Convict, Pope, Martyr

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Today, October 14, we commemorate St. Callistus I, who was a slave, a convict, pope, and martyr. The saint caused a major controversy, including a schism that lasted almost two decades, by choosing to emphasize God's mercy toward sinners. However, it was this enduring aspect of his leadership, as well as his martyrdom, that has confirmed his holiness.

St. Callistus (martyred c.222) was once a young slave in Rome, who got into serious trouble. He was put in charge of his master’s bank account, but mishandled his money, and lost a large sum. Out of fear, he ran away, but was caught, put in chains, and was sentenced to do hard labor in the city.

Later on, he became involved in a riot in a local synagogue and was sent to the mines of Sardinia. When, at Pope Victor’s request, the emperor freed all the Christians who had been condemned to those mines, Callistus was freed, too. From that time on, things began to improve for him.

Pope St. Zephrinus (119-217) came to know and trust the fr…

Fatima: The Miracles of October 13, 1917

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The Visionaries -- Lucia, age 9, Francisco, 8, and Jacinta, 6
By Jean M. Heimann

On Sunday in October 13, 1917, at midday, a crowd of approximately 100,000 spectators gathered on a rainy day in a wet, soggy field to witness the miracle that was about to take place. The people had gathered there because three shepherd children had predicted that at high noon Our Lady who had appeared to them several times would perform a great miracle in a field near Fatima, Portugal called Cova da Iria.

“Silence, Silence, Our Lady is coming!” Lucia shouted out, over the din of the crowd, as she saw the bright flash of light in the sky over the holm oak tree. Everyone grew quiet; a holy hush came over the crowd as they instantly fell to their knees. It was as if there was an electrically charged current running through the crowd, as they waited in eager anticipation of the miraculous appearance of the Mother of God.

Suddenly, she appeared. Our Lady was dressed all in white with brilliant beams of brigh…