Category Archives: April

Apr 29 – St Catherine of Siena, OP, (1347-1380) – United w/Christ’s Mystical Body

“Born on the Feast of the Annunciation in 1347, Catherine was the twenty-third child of the wool dyer Jacopo Benincasa and his wife Lapa. From a young age, Catherine was devoted to Christ and the Church. She wished to join a group of third-order Dominican women known informally as the Mantellate or “Cloaked Sisters” and formally as the Sisters of Penance of St. Dominic. The group of laywomen wore a white woolen dress with a white veil and black cape and lived in their own homes.

Her family desired marriage for Catherine, however, and they persecuted Catherine in an effort to convince her to acquiesce to their plan. Her personal room was taken away and she was given a multitude of chores around the house to keep her so busy that she would have no time for prayer. Distraught at the behavior and unsure how to convince her family otherwise, on the advice of a Dominican friar Catherine cut off her hair to dissuade potential suitors. Finally, she informed her family of the visions of Christ she experienced as a youth and her pledge of virginity out of love for him. This admission finally convinced her father that her desire to join the Mantellate was authentic and so the family acquiesced. Catherine joined the group in 1366 at the age of nineteen.

Catherine experienced a rich spiritual life from an early age, with locutions from Christ and visions of the Savior—the first when she was six—the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Dominic, Sts. Mary Magdalen, John the Evangelist, Peter and Paul, and even King David. When she was still a little girl, a vision of the Blessed Mother prompted Catherine to request her assistance in remaining a virgin for life so that she could be espoused to Jesus. Her prayers were answered and when she was twenty-one, Jesus appeared to her and presented an invisible engagement ring as a sign of their spiritual union. Catherine could see the ring and it remained visible to her for the rest of her life, but it was invisible to others.

Catherine’s spiritual life included also great spiritual gifts and miraculous events. She had great concern for the sick and suffering in Siena, especially those afflicted with diseases that repelled others. Catherine cared for a woman afflicted with leprosy, which she contracted in her hands as a result. When the women died, Catherine buried her, and the leprosy miraculously left, and she was healed. Catherine desired the salvation of all souls and interceded with the Lord on the behalf of others; for this, the Lord gifted Catherine with the ability to know the state of another’s soul. This special spiritual illumination allowed Catherine to sense the “beauty or ugliness” of the souls in her presence but also those she could not see. Souls in a state of mortal sin reeked in Catherine’s presence. In the presence of Pope Gregory XI, Catherine would inform the pontiff that his court, “which should have been a paradise of heavenly virtues” was instead full of “the stench of all the vices of hell.” When in Avignon on a mission to convince the pope to return his residence to Rome, Catherine met a young beautiful woman, who was the niece of a cardinal. The woman could not look Catherine in the eye and when Bl. Raymond of Capua, Catherine’s confessor, asked Catherine about the woman later, that told him the young woman, beautiful on the outside, reeked of decay. The woman was an adulteress and a priest’s mistress.

In 1376, Catherine received a spiritual gift from the Lord reserved to only a few holy saints: the stigmata or the wounds of Christ’s crucifixion. But Catherine begged the Lord not to allow the wounds to be visible on her body, for fear they would attract others out of curiosity and detract from proper attention to Christ. He agreed, and so Catherine suffered silently with the wounds for the rest of her life; they became visible on her body only at death. In one of her many ecstasies, in which she was oblivious and impervious to the outside world, Catherine received a supernatural garment from Christ, which provided the ability to wear the same amount of clothing in winter or summer with no physical discomfort. Catherine wore a single tunic over a petticoat in all seasons thanks to this exceptional gift.

Catherine lived during the time of the Avignon Papacy, when the papal residence and court was in southern France, causing great scandal throughout Christendom. St. Bridget of Sweden (1302-1373) had worked tirelessly to end the scandal and bring the popes back to Rome, sending letters to the popes in Avignon urging their return.

When St. Bridget died, the holy cause passed to Catherine, who wrote to the pope in one letter: “Come, come and resist no more the will of God that calls you: and the hungry sheep await your coming to hold and possess the place of your predecessor and champion, Apostle Peter. For you, as the vicar of Christ, should rest in your own place.” However, Catherine realized that letters were not sufficient to effect such a change, so she decided that a personal visit to France was necessary to bring Christ’s vicar home.

Prayer, virtuous living, trust and hope in divine providence, and respectful obedience to the hierarchy, as found in the life of St. Catherine of Siena, are the foundation of authentic Catholic response to crises in the Church. That foundation will effect genuine change and yield enduring reform in Christ’s Mystical Body.”

Love,
Matthew

Apr 6 – St Juliana of Cornillon (aka of Liège)(1193-1258) – Promoter of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi


On Wednesday, 17 November [2010], at the General Audience in St Peter’s Square, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI commented on St Juliana of Cornillon, better known as Juliana of Liege, who lived in the 12th century. The following is a translation of the Pope’s Catechesis, which was given in Italian.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This morning too I would like to introduce a female figure to you. She is little known but the Church is deeply indebted to her, not only because of the holiness of her life but also because, with her great fervour, she contributed to the institution of one of the most important solemn Liturgies of the year: Corpus Christi.

She is St Juliana de Cornillon, also known as St Juliana of Liège. We know several facts about her life, mainly from a Biography that was probably written by a contemporary cleric; it is a collection of various testimonies of people who were directly acquainted with the Saint.

Juliana was born near Liège, Belgium between 1191 and 1192. It is important to emphasize this place because at that time the Diocese of Liège was, so to speak, a true “Eucharistic Upper Room”. Before Juliana, eminent theologians had illustrated the supreme value of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and, again in Liège, there were groups of women generously dedicated to Eucharistic worship and to fervent communion. Guided by exemplary priests, they lived together, devoting themselves to prayer and to charitable works.

Orphaned at the age of five, Juliana, together with her sister Agnes, was entrusted to the care of the Augustinian nuns at the convent and leprosarium of Mont-Cornillon.

She was taught mainly by a sister called “Sapienza” [wisdom], who was in charge of her spiritual development to the time Juliana received the religious habit and thus became an Augustinian nun.

She became so learned that she could read the words of the Church Fathers, of St Augustine and St Bernard in particular, in Latin. In addition to a keen intelligence, Juliana showed a special propensity for contemplation from the outset. She had a profound sense of Christ’s presence, which she experienced by living the Sacrament of the Eucharist especially intensely and by pausing frequently to meditate upon Jesus’ words: “And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20).

When Juliana was 16 she had her first vision which recurred subsequently several times during her Eucharistic adoration. Her vision presented the moon in its full splendour, crossed diametrically by a dark stripe. The Lord made her understand the meaning of what had appeared to her. The moon symbolized the life of the Church on earth, the opaque line, on the other hand, represented the absence of a liturgical feast for whose institution Juliana was asked to plead effectively: namely, a feast in which believers would be able to adore the Eucharist so as to increase in faith, to advance in the practice of the virtues and to make reparation for offences to the Most Holy Sacrament.

Juliana, who in the meantime had become Prioress of the convent, kept this revelation that had filled her heart with joy a secret for about 20 years. She then confided it to two other fervent adorers of the Eucharist, Blessed Eva, who lived as a hermit, and Isabella, who had joined her at the Monastery of Mont-Cornillon. The three women established a sort of “spiritual alliance” for the purpose of glorifying the Most Holy Sacrament.

They also chose to involve a highly regarded Priest, John of Lausanne, who was a canon of the Church of St Martin in Liège. They asked him to consult theologians and clerics on what was important to them. Their affirmative response was encouraging.

What happened to Juliana of Cornillon occurs frequently in the lives of Saints. To have confirmation that an inspiration comes from God it is always necessary to be immersed in prayer to wait patiently, to seek friendship and exchanges with other good souls and to submit all things to the judgement of the Pastors of the Church.

It was in fact Bishop Robert Torote, Liège who, after initial hesitation, accepted the proposal of Juliana and her companions and first introduced the Solemnity of Corpus Christi in his diocese. Later other Bishops following his example instituted this Feast in the territories entrusted to their pastoral care.

However, to increase their faith the Lord often asks Saints to sustain trials. This also happened to Juliana who had to bear the harsh opposition of certain members of the clergy and even of the superior on whom her monastery depended.

Of her own free will, therefore, Juliana left the Convent of Mont-Cornillon with several companions. For 10 years — from 1248 to 1258 —she stayed as a guest at various monasteries of Cistercian sisters.

She edified all with her humility, she had no words of criticism or reproach for her adversaries and continued zealously to spread Eucharistic worship.

She died at Fosses-La-Ville, Belgium, in 1258. In the cell where she lay the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and, according to her biographer’s account, Juliana died contemplating with a last effusion to love Jesus in the Eucharist whom she had always loved, honoured and adored. Jacques Pantaléon of Troyes was also won over to the good cause of the Feast of Corpus Christi during his ministry as Archdeacon in Lièges. It was he who, having become Pope with the name of Urban IV in 1264, instituted the Solemnity of Corpus Christi on the Thursday after Pentecost as a feast of precept for the universal Church.

In the Bull of its institution, entitled Transiturus de hoc mundo, (11 Aug. 1264), Pope Urban even referred discreetly to Juliana’s mystical experiences, corroborating their authenticity. He wrote: “Although the Eucharist is celebrated solemnly every day, we deem it fitting that at least once a year it be celebrated with greater honour and a solemn commemoration.

“Indeed we grasp the other things we commemorate with our spirit and our mind, but this does not mean that we obtain their real presence. On the contrary, in this sacramental commemoration of Christ, even though in a different form, Jesus Christ is present with us in his own substance. While he was about to ascend into Heaven he said ‘And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age’ (Matthew 28:20) “.

The Pontiff made a point of setting an example by celebrating the solemnity of Corpus Christi in Orvieto, the town where he was then residing. Indeed, he ordered that the famous Corporal with the traces of the Eucharistic miracle which had occurred in Bolsena the previous year, 1263 , be kept in Orvieto Cathedral — where it still is today.

While a priest was consecrating the bread and the wine he was overcome by strong doubts about the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist. A few drops of blood began miraculously to ooze from the consecrated Host, thereby confirming what our faith professes.

Urban IV asked one of the greatest theologians of history, St Thomas Aquinas — who at that time was accompanying the Pope and was in Orvieto — to compose the texts of the Liturgical Office for this great feast. They are masterpieces, still in use in the Church today, in which theology and poetry are fuse. These texts pluck at the heartstrings in an expression of praise and gratitude to the Most Holy Sacrament, while the mind, penetrating the mystery with wonder, recognizes in the Eucharist the Living and Real Presence of Jesus, of his Sacrifice of love that reconciles us with the Father, and gives us salvation.

Although after the death of Urban IV the celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi was limited to certain regions of France, Germany, Hungary and Northern Italy, it was another Pontiff, John XXII, who in 1317 reestablished it for the universal Church. Since then the Feast experienced a wonderful development and is still deeply appreciated by the Christian people.

I would like to affirm with joy that today there is a “Eucharistic springtime” in the Church: How many people pause in silence before the Tabernacle to engage in a loving conversation with Jesus! It is comforting to know that many groups of young people have rediscovered the beauty of praying in adoration before the Most Blessed Sacrament.

I am thinking, for example, of our Eucharistic adoration in Hyde Park, London. I pray that this Eucharistic “springtime” may spread increasingly in every parish and in particular in Belgium, St Juliana’s homeland.

Venerable John Paul II said in his Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia: “In many places, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is also an important daily practice and becomes an inexhaustible source of holiness. The devout participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic procession on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is a grace from the Lord which yearly brings joy to those who take part in it. Other positive signs of Eucharistic faith and love might also be mentioned” (n. 10).

In remembering St Juliana of Cornillon let us also renew our faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. As we are taught by the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist in a unique and incomparable way. He is present in a true, real and substantial way, with his Body and his Blood, with his Soul and his Divinity. In the Eucharist, therefore, there is present in a sacramental way, that is, under the Eucharistic Species of bread and wine, Christ whole and entire, God and Man” (n. 282).

Dear friends, fidelity to the encounter with the Christ in the Eucharist in Holy Mass on Sunday is essential for the journey of faith, but let us also seek to pay frequent visits to the Lord present in the Tabernacle! In gazing in adoration at the consecrated Host, we discover the gift of God’s love, we discover Jesus’ Passion and Cross and likewise his Resurrection. It is precisely through our gazing in adoration that the Lord draws us towards him into his mystery in order to transform us as he transforms the bread and the wine.

The Saints never failed to find strength, consolation and joy in the Eucharistic encounter. Let us repeat before the Lord present in the Most Blessed Sacrament the words of the Eucharistic hymn “Adoro te devote”: [Devoutly I adore Thee]: Make me believe ever more in you, “Draw me deeply into faith, / Into Your hope, into Your love”.

Thank you.

Pope Benedict XVI

Taken from:
L’Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
24 November 2010, page 18

-by St Thomas Aquinas, OP

(Opusculum 57, in festo Corporis Christi, lect. 1-4)

“O precious and wonderful banquet!

Since it was the will of God’s only-begotten Son that men should share in his divinity, he assumed our nature in order that by becoming man he might make men gods. Moreover, when he took our flesh he dedicated the whole of its substance to our salvation. He offered his body to God the Father on the altar of the cross as a sacrifice for our reconciliation. He shed his blood for our ransom and purification, so that we might be redeemed from our wretched state of bondage and cleansed from all sin. But to ensure that the memory of so great a gift would abide with us for ever, he left his body as food and his blood as drink for the faithful to consume in the form of bread and wine.

O precious and wonderful banquet, that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness! Could anything be of more intrinsic value? Under the old law it was the flesh of calves and goats that was offered, but here Christ himself, the true God, is set before us as our food. What could be more wonderful than this? No other sacrament has greater healing power; through it sins are purged away, virtues are increased, and the soul is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual gift. It is offered in the Church for the living and the dead, so that what was instituted for the salvation of all may be for the benefit of all. Yet, in the end, no one can fully express the sweetness of this sacrament, in which spiritual delight is tasted at its very source, and in which we renew the memory of that surpassing love for us which Christ revealed in his passion.

It was to impress the vastness of this love more firmly upon the hearts of the faithful that our Lord instituted this sacrament at the Last Supper. As he was on the point of leaving the world to go to the Father, after celebrating the Passover with his disciples, he left it as a perpetual memorial of his passion. It was the fulfilment of ancient figures and the greatest of all his miracles, while for those who were to experience the sorrow of his departure, it was destined to be a unique and abiding consolation.”

-Beethoven, Symphony 7, Allegretto

Sacris solemniis
iuncta sint gaudia,
et ex praecordiis
sonent praeconia;
recedant vetera,
nova sint omnia,
corda, voces, et opera.

Noctis recolitur
cena novissima,
qua Christus creditur
agnum et azyma
dedisse fratribus,
iuxta legitima
priscis indulta patribus.

Post agnum typicum,
expletis epulis,
Corpus Dominicum
datum discipulis,
sic totum omnibus,
quod totum singulis,
eius fatemur manibus.

Dedit fragilibus
corporis ferculum,
dedit et tristibus
sanguinis poculum,
dicens: Accipite
quod trado vasculum;
omnes ex eo bibite.

Sic sacrificium
istud instituit,
cuius officium
committi voluit
solis presbyteris,
quibus sic congruit,
ut sumant, et dent ceteris.

Panis angelicus
fit panis hominum;
dat panis caelicus
figuris terminum;
O res mirabilis:
manducat Dominum
pauper, servus et humilis.

Te, trina Deitas
unaque, poscimus:
sic nos tu visita,
sicut te colimus;
per tuas semitas
duc nos quo tendimus,
ad lucem quam inhabitas.

At this our solemn feast
let holy joys abound,
and from the inmost breast
let songs of praise resound;
let ancient rites depart,
and all be new around,
in every act, and voice, and heart.

Remember we that eve,
when, the Last Supper spread,
Christ, as we all believe,
the Lamb, with leavenless bread,
among His brethren shared,
and thus the Law obeyed,
of all unto their sire declared.

The typic Lamb consumed,
the legal Feast complete,
the Lord unto the Twelve
His Body gave to eat;
the whole to all, no less
the whole to each did mete
with His own hands, as we confess.

He gave them, weak and frail,
His Flesh, their Food to be;
on them, downcast and sad,
His Blood bestowed He:
and thus to them He spake,
“Receive this Cup from Me,
and all of you of this partake.”

So He this Sacrifice
to institute did will,
and charged His priests alone
that office to fulfill:
to them He did confide:
to whom it pertains still
to take, and the rest divide.

Thus Angels’ Bread is made
the Bread of man today:
the Living Bread from heaven
with figures dost away:
O wondrous gift indeed!
the poor and lowly may
upon their Lord and Master feed.

Thee, therefore, we implore,
O Godhead, One in Three,
so may Thou visit us
as we now worship Thee;
and lead us on Thy way,
That we at last may see
the light wherein Thou dwellest aye.

Adóro te devóte, látens Déitas,
Quæ sub his figúris, vere látitas:
Tibi se cor meum totum súbjicit,
Quia, te contémplans, totum déficit.

Visus, tactus, gustus, in te fállitur,
Sed audítu solo tuto créditur:
Credo quidquid díxit Dei Fílius;
Nil hoc verbo veritátis vérius.

In cruce latébat sola Déitas,
At hic látet simul et humánitas:
Ambo támen crédens átque cónfitens,
Peto quod petívit latro pœnitens.

Plagas, sicut Thomas, non intúeor,
Deum támen meum te confíteor.
Fac me tibi sémper mágis crédere,
In te spem habére, te dilígere.

O memoriále mortis Dómini,
Panis vivus, vitam præstans hómini,
Præsta meæ menti de te vívere,
Et te illi semper dulce sápere.

Pie pellicáne, Jesu Dómine,
Me immúndum munda tuo sánguine,
Cujus una stilla salvum fácere,
Totum mundum quit ab ómni scélere.

Jesu, quem velátum nunc aspício,
Oro fíat illud, quod tam sítio:
Ut, te reveláta cernens fácie,
Visu sim beátus tuæ glóriæ. Amen.

I devoutly adore you, O hidden Deity,
Truly hidden beneath these appearances.
My whole heart submits to you,
And in contemplating you, It surrenders itself completely.

Sight, touch, taste are all deceived in their judgment of you,
But hearing suffices firmly to believe.
I believe all that the Son of God has spoken;
There is nothing truer than this word of truth.

On the cross only the divinity was hidden,
But here the humanity is also hidden.
Yet believing and confessing both,
I ask for what the repentant thief asked.

I do not see the wounds as Thomas did,
But I confess that you are my God.
Make me believe more and more in you,
Hope in you, and love you.

O memorial of our Lord’s death!
Living bread that gives life to man,
Grant my soul to live on you,
And always to savor your sweetness.

Lord Jesus, Good Pelican,
wash my filthiness and clean me with your blood,
One drop of which can free
the entire world of all its sins.

Jesus, whom now I see hidden,
I ask you to fulfill what I so desire:
That the sight of your face being unveiled
I may have the happiness of seeing your glory. Amen.

Pange, lingua, gloriósi
Córporis mystérium,
Sanguinísque pretiósi,
Quem in mundi prétium
Fructus ventris generósi
Rex effúdit géntium.

Nobis datus, nobis natus
Ex intácta Vírgine,
Et in mundo conversátus,
Sparso verbi sémine,
Sui moras incolátus
Miro clausit órdine.

In suprémæ nocte coenæ
Recúmbens cum frátribus
Observáta lege plene
Cibis in legálibus,
Cibum turbæ duodénæ
Se dat suis mánibus.

Verbum caro, panem verum
Verbo carnem éfficit:
Fitque sanguis Christi merum,
Et si sensus déficit,
Ad firmándum cor sincérum
Sola fides súfficit.

Tantum ergo sacraméntum
Venerémur cérnui:
Et antíquum documéntum
Novo cedat rítui:
Præstet fides suppleméntum
Sénsuum deféctui.

Genitóri, Genitóque
Laus et jubilátio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedíctio:
Procedénti ab utróque
Compar sit laudátio.
Amen. Alleluja.

Sing, my tongue, the Saviour’s glory,
Of His Flesh, the mystery sing;
Of the Blood, all price exceeding,
Shed by our Immortal King,
Destined, for the world’s redemption,
From a noble Womb to spring.

Of a pure and spotless Virgin
Born for us on earth below,
He, as Man, with man conversing,
Stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
Then He closed in solemn order
Wondrously His Life of woe.

On the night of that Last Supper,
Seated with His chosen band,
He, the Paschal Victim eating,
First fulfils the Law’s command;
Then as Food to all his brethren
Gives Himself with His own Hand.

Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature
By His Word to Flesh He turns;
Wine into His Blood He changes:
What though sense no change discerns.
Only be the heart in earnest,
Faith her lesson quickly learns.

Down in adoration falling,
Lo, the sacred Host we hail,
Lo, o’er ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail:
Faith for all defects supplying,
When the feeble senses fail.

To the Everlasting Father
And the Son who comes on high
With the Holy Ghost proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty.
Amen. Alleluia.

Verbum supernum prodiens,
Nec Patris linquens dexteram,
Ad opus suum exiens,
Venit ad vitæ vesperam.

In mortem a discipulo
Suis tradendus æmulis,
Prius in vitæ ferculo
Se tradidit discipulis.

Quibus sub bina specie
Carnem dedit et sanguinem;
Ut duplicis substantiæ
Totum cibaret hominem.

Se nascens dedit socium,
Convescens in edulium,
Se moriens in pretium,
Se regnans dat in præmium.

O salutaris hostia,
Quæ cæli pandis ostium,
Bella premunt hostilia;
Da robur, fer auxilium.

Uni trinoque Domino
Sit sempiterna gloria:
Qui vitam sine termino
Nobis donet in patria.

The heavenly Word proceeding forth,
Yet leaving not his Father’s side,
And going to His work on Earth,
Has reached at length life’s eventide.

By false disciple to be given
To foemen for His blood athirst,
Himself, the living bread from heaven,
He gave to his disciples first.

In twofold form of sacrament,
He gave His flesh, He gave His blood,
That man, of soul and body blent,
Might wholly feed on mystic food.

In birth man’s fellow-man was He,
His meat while sitting at the board;
He died, our ransomer to be,
He reigns to be our great reward.

O saving Victim, opening wide
The gate of heaven to man below;
Our foes press hard on every side,
Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow.

All praise and thanks to thee ascend
For evermore, blessed One in Three;
O grant us life that shall not end,
In our true native land with Thee.

“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ. . . . They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes.” –St Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2-7:1 [A.D. 110]).

“We call this food Eucharist. . . . For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus.” –St Justin Maryr (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).

Love,
Matthew

Apr 28 – St Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716), Priest & Confessor, God Alone!!


-Statue in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Saint Louis de Montfort, Founder Statue by Giacomo Parisini, 1948, in which St Louis tramples the devil who holds a scroll listing the 7 deadly sins.  Please click on the image for greater detail.

When I encounter non-Catholics concerned about the Catholic emphasis on the Blessed Mother, I assure them not to worry they will love her more than Jesus did.

I
La croix dans le mystère
Est voilé pour nous ci-dessous;
Sans grande lumière pour voir,
Qui sa splendeur connaîtra-t-elle?
Seul l’esprit noble
Cette trace secrète élevée;
Et personne ne trouvera le ciel
Qui ne le saisit pas par grâce.
Dieu seul.

The Cross in mystery
Is veiled for us below;
Without great light to see,
Who shall its splendor know?
Alone the lofty mind
Shall this high secret trace;
And none shall heaven find
Who grasps it not by grace.
God Alone.

II
La nature que la croix abhorre;
La raison lui donne un froncement de sourcils;
Le savant l’ignore.
Satan le démolit.
Malgré un art pieux,
Même l’âme fervente
Souvent, cela ne me tient pas à cœur,
Mais joue le rôle du menteur.
Dieu seul.

Nature the Cross abhors;
Reason gives it a frown;
The learned man ignores It.
Satan tears it down.
Despite a pious art,
Even the fervent soul
Oft takes it not to heart,
But plays the liar’s role.
God Alone.

III
L’arbre est essentiel,
Et nous qui connaissons son coût
Doit monter au Calvaire
Ou languir et être perdu.
Comme le dit Saint Augustin
Avec un tollé inquiétant,
Nous sommes tous réprouvés
A moins que Dieu ne nous châtie.
Dieu seul.

Essential is the Tree,
And we who know its cost
Must mount to Calvary
Or languish and be lost.
As Saint Augustine states
With outcry ominous,
We all are reprobates
Unless God chastens us.
God Alone.

IV
Sa nécessité

Une route vers le ciel court:
L’autoroute de la Croix.
C’était le fils royal,
Son chemin vers la vie après la perte.
Et chaque pierre
Qui guide les pieds du pèlerin
Est ciselé juste pour s’adapter
Dans la rue sainte de Sion.
Dieu seul.

Its Necessity

One road to Heaven runs:
The highway of the Cross.
It was the royal Son’s,
His road to life from loss.
And every stone of it
That guides the pilgrim’s feet
Is chiseled fair to fit
In Zion’s holy street.
God Alone.

V
Vain est la victoire
De celui qui, vainqueur
Le monde manque de maîtrise
De soi par la souffrance;
Vain s’il n’a pas Christ,
Tuez le Christ, pour exemplaire,
Ou repousse les sacrifiés
Pour la crainte de blessure et de cicatrice.
Dieu seul.

Vain is the victory
Of him who, conquering
The world, lacks mastery
Of self through suffering;
Vain if he has not Christ,
Slain Christ, for exemplar,
Or spurns the Sacrificed
For dread of wound and scar.
God Alone.

VI
Ses victoires

Croix du Christ, retenant l’enfer,
A vaincu la malédiction d’Eden,
Citadelle de Satan prise d’assaut,
Et a gagné l’univers.
Maintenant à son groupe fidèle
Il donne cette arme brillante
Pour armer le cœur et la main
Contre le mal sprite.
Dieu seul.

Its Victories

Christ’s Cross, restraining Hell,
Has conquered Eden’s curse,
Stormed Satan’s citadel,
And won the universe.
Now to His faithful band
He gives that weapon bright
To arm both heart and hand
Against the evil sprite.
God Alone.

VII
Dans ce signe de bon augure
Tu seras vainqueur,
Dit-il à Constantine,
Qui ce fier Standard portait;
Un augure glorieux,
Dont la valeur prodigieuse
Les dossiers sont tous d’accord
Au paradis et sur terre!
Dieu seul.

In this auspicious Sign
Thou shalt be conqueror,
Said He to Constantine,
Who that proud Standard bore;
A glorious augury,
Of whose prodigious worth
The records all agree
In Heaven and on earth!
God Alone.

VIII
Sa gloire et son mérite

Malgré un sens trompeur
Et le changement inconstant de la raison,
La croix en toute confiance
Nous prenons comme le propre cadeau de la vérité.
Une princesse que nous voyons
En qui, que la foi se confesse,
Nous trouvons toute la charité,
Grâce, sagesse, sainteté.
Dieu seul.

Its Glory and Merit

Despite deceitful sense
And reason’s fickle shift,
The Cross with confidence
We take as Truth’s own gift.
A princess there we see
In whom, let faith confess,
We find all charity,
Grace, wisdom, holiness.
God Alone.

IX
L’amour de Dieu n’a pas pu résister
Une telle beauté ou son appel,
Qui lui a dit de garder un rendez-vous
Avec notre humanité.
Venant sur terre, il a dit:
Ceci, Seigneur, et rien de plus:
Ta croix sauvée enracinée
Ici dans le cœur de mon sein.
Dieu seul.

God’s love could not resist
Such beauty or its plea,
Which bade Him keep a tryst
With our humanity.
Coming to earth, He said:
This, Lord, and nothing more:
Thy saving Cross imbed
Here in My bosom’s core.
God Alone.

X
Il l’a pris, l’a trouvé juste,
Un objet pas honteux
Mais l’honneur, le fait partager
La flamme la plus tendre de son amour.
De l’heure matinale de l’enfance
Son désir gardé en vue
Comme la beauté serait une fleur
La croix de sa joie.
Dieu seul.

He took it, found it fair,
An object not of shame
But honor, made it share
His love’s most tender flame.
From childhood’s morning hour
His longing kept in sight
As beauty would a flower
The Cross of His delight.
God Alone.

XI
Enfin dans sa caresse
Longtemps recherché avec impatience,
Il est mort de tendresse
Et la totalité de l’amour.
Ce cher baptême suprême
Pour lequel son cœur avait pleuré,
La croix est devenue son chrisme,
L’objet de l’amour est indéniable.
Dieu seul.

At last in its caress
Long sought for eagerly,
He died of tenderness
And love’s totality.
That dear supreme baptism
For which His heart had cried,
The Cross became His chrism,
Love’s object undenied.
God Alone.

XII
Le Christ a appelé le pêcheur
Un Satan scandaleux
Quand il grimaça pour scanner
Ce que le Christ porterait pour nous.
La croix du Christ que nous pouvons adorer,
Sa Mère, nous ne pouvons pas.
O mystère et plus!
une merveille au-delà de la pensée!
Dieu seul.

Christ called the Fisherman
A Satan scandalous
When he but winced to scan
What Christ would bear for us.
Christ’s Cross we may adore,
His Mother we may not.
O mystery and more!
a marvel beyond thought!
God Alone.

XIII
Cette croix, maintenant largement dispersée
Sur terre, un jour se lèvera
Transporté, glorifié,
Aux cieux célestes.
Sur une hauteur nuageuse
La croix, brillante,
Doit, par sa vue même,
Jugez à la fois les rapides et les morts.
Dieu seul.

This Cross, now scattered wide
On earth, shall one day rise
Transported, glorified,
To the celestial skies.
Upon a cloudy height
The Cross, full-brillianted,
Shall, by its very sight,
Judge both the quick and dead.
God Alone.

XIV
Vengeance, la croix pleurera
Contre ses ennemis maussades;
Pardon et joie d’en haut
Et la bénédiction pour ceux
D’une fidélité prouvée
Dans la foule immortelle,
Chanter sa victoire
Avec chanson universelle.
Dieu seul.

Revenge, the Cross will cry
Against its sullen foes;
Pardon and joy on high
And blessedness for those
Of proved fidelity
In the immortal throng,
Singing its victory
With universal song.
God Alone.

XV
Dans la vie, les saints aspiraient
Rien que la croix;
«C’était tout ce qu’ils voulaient,
En comptant tout sauf la perte.
Chacun, mécontent
Avec de telles afflictions douloureuses
Comme le châtiment du ciel a envoyé,
Se condamna à plus.
Dieu seul.

In life the Saints aspired
To nothing but the Cross;
‘Twas all that they desired,
Counting all else but loss.
Each one, in discontent
With such afflictions sore
As chastening Heaven sent,
Condemned himself to more.
God Alone.

XVI
Saint-Pierre, en prison,
Il y avait une plus grande gloire
Qu’à Rome, il a gagné
La première chaise du Christ-Vicaire.
Saint André, fidèle, s’écria:
O bonne croix, laisse-moi céder
Pour toi et en toi te cache,
Où la mort dans la vie est scellée.
Dieu seul.

St. Peter, prison-chained,
Had greater glory there
Than when at Rome he gained
The first Christ-Vicar’s chair.
Saint Andrew, faithful, cried:
O good Cross, let me yield
To thee and in thee hide,
Where death in Life is sealed.
God Alone.

XVII
Voyez comment le grand Saint-Paul
Dépeint avec un maigre brillant
Son ravissement mystique,
Mais des gloires à la croix.
Plus admirable encore,
Il est plus riche en mérite,
Derrière son cachot
Que dans son extase.
Dieu seul.

See how the great St. Paul
Depicts with meagre gloss
His rapture mystical,
But glories in the Cross.
More admirable far,
More merit-rich is he,
Behind his dungeon bar
Than in his ecstasy.
God Alone.

XVIII
Ses effets

Sans croix, l’âme
Est lâche et docile;
Comme le feu à un charbon
La croix s’enflamme.
Celui qui n’a pas souffert,
Dans l’ignorance est liée;
Seulement dans le sort dur de la douleur
Est-ce que la sainte sagesse est trouvée.
Dieu seul.

Its Effects

Without a Cross, the soul
Is cowardly and tame;
Like fire to a coal
The Cross sets it aflame.
One who has suffered not,
In ignorance is bound;
Only in pain’s hard lot
Is holy wisdom found.
God Alone.

XIX
Une âme non éprouvée est pauvre
En valeur; nouveau, sans formation,
Avec un destin incertain
Et peu de sagesse a gagné.
O douceur souverain
Que ressentent les affligés
Quand heureux que sa douleur
Aucune consolation humaine ne vole!
Dieu seul.

A soul untried is poor
In value; new, untrained,
With destiny unsure
And little wisdom gained.
O sweetness sovereign
Which the afflicted feels
When pleased that to his pain
No human solace steals!
God Alone.

XX
C’est par la croix seule
La bénédiction de Dieu est conférée,
Et son pardon connu
Dans le mot absolu.
Il veut que tout porte
La marque de ce grand sceau;
Sans cela, rien n’est juste
Pour lui, aucune beauté réelle.
Dieu seul.

‘Tis by the Cross alone
God’s blessing is conferred,
And His forgiveness known
In the absolving word.
He wants all things to bear
The mark of that great seal;
Without it, nought is fair
To Him, no beauty real.
God Alone.

XXI
Partout où la place est donnée
La croix, les choses autrefois profanes
Devenez instinct avec le ciel
Et jeté leur tache.
Sur la poitrine et le front, signe de Dieu,
Porté fièrement pour lui,
Bénira avec Power Divine
Chaque tâche que nous entreprenons.
Dieu seul.

Wherever place is given
The Cross, things once profane
Become instinct with Heaven
And shed away their stain.
On breast and brow, God’s sign,
Worn proudly for His sake,
Will bless with Power Divine
Each task we undertake.
God Alone.

XXII
C’est notre caution,
Notre seule protection,
La pureté blanche de notre espoir,
La perfection de notre âme.
Si précieux est sa valeur
Que les anges apporteraient
L’âme la plus bénie sur terre
Pour partager nos souffrances.
Dieu seul.

It is our surety,
Our one protection,
Our hope’s white purity,
Our soul’s perfection.
So precious is its worth
That Angels fain would bring
The blest soul back to earth
To share our suffering.
God Alone.

XXIII
Ce signe a un tel charme
Que sur l’autel
Le prêtre peut Dieu désarmer
Et tirez-le de son trône.
Au-dessus de l’hôte sacré
Ce signe puissant qu’il joue,
Signale le Saint-Esprit,
Et le Divin obéit.
Dieu seul.

This Sign has such a charm
That at the altar-stone
The priest can God disarm
And draw Him from His throne.
Over the sacred Host
This mighty Sign he plays,
Signals the Holy Ghost,
And the Divine obeys.
God Alone.

XXIV
Avec cet adorable signe
Un parfum est diffusé
Le plus exquis et le plus fin,
Un parfum rarement utilisé.
Le prêtre consacré
Lui fait cette offrande
Comme encens d’Orient,
Rencontrez la couronne du roi du ciel.
Dieu seul.

With this adorable Sign
A fragrance is diffused
Most exquisite and fine,
A perfume rarely used.
The consecrated priest
Makes Him this offering
As incense from the East,
Meet crown for Heaven’s King.
God Alone.

XXV
Sagesse éternelle toujours
Tamise nos pauvres crasses humaines
Pour celui dont le cœur et la volonté
Est digne de la croix,
Cherche toujours un esprit rare
Dont chaque pouls et chaque souffle
Est-ce le courage de supporter
La Croix-Christ jusqu’à la mort.
Dieu seul.

Eternal Wisdom still
Sifts our poor human dross
For one whose heart and will
Is worthy of the Cross,
Still seeks one spirit rare
Whose every pulse and breath
Is fortitude to bear
The Christ-Cross until death.
God Alone.

XXVI
O Croix, laisse-moi me taire;
Dans le discours, je t’abaisse.
Que ma présomption, écrasée,
Son insolence s’efface.
Depuis toi j’ai reçu
Imparfaitement, en partie,
Pardonnez-moi, ami lésé,
Pour mon cœur réticent!
Dieu seul.

O Cross, let me be hushed;
In speech I thee abase.
Let my presumption, crushed,
Its insolence erase.
Since thee I have received
Imperfectly, in part,
Forgive me, friend aggrieved,
For my unwilling heart!
God Alone.

XXVII
Chère Croix, ici en cette heure,
Je m’incline devant toi avec admiration.
Demeurez avec moi au pouvoir
Et enseigne-moi toute ta loi.
Ma princesse, laisse-moi briller
Avec ardeur dans tes bras;
Accorde-moi de savoir chastement
Le secret de tes charmes.
Dieu seul.

Dear Cross, here in this hour,
I bow to thee in awe.
Abide with me in power
And teach me all thy law.
My princess, let me glow
With ardor in thine arms;
Grant me to chastely know
The secret of thy charms.
God Alone.

XXVIII
En te voyant si juste,
J’ai faim de posséder
Ta beauté, mais j’ose
Pas dans mon infidélité.
Viens, maîtresse, par ta volonté
Éveille mon âme faible
Et je te donnerai encore
Un cœur renouvelé et entier.
Dieu seul.

In seeing thee so fair,
I hunger to possess
Thy beauty, but I dare
Not in my faithlessness.
Come, mistress, by thy will
Arouse my feeble soul
And I will give thee still
A heart renewed and whole.
God Alone.

XXIX
Pour la vie je te choisis maintenant,
Mon plaisir, honneur, ami,
Seul objet de mon vœu,
Seule joie à laquelle j’ai tendance.
Par pitié, imprimer, tracer
Vous sur mon coeur,
Mon bras, mon front, mon visage;
Et pas un rougissement ne commencera.
Dieu seul.

For life I choose thee now,
My pleasure, honor, friend,
Sole object of my vow,
Sole joy to which I tend.
For mercy’s sake, print, trace
Yourself upon my heart,
My arm, my forehead, face;
And not one blush will start.
God Alone.

XXX
Je possède avant tout
Je choisis ta pauvreté;
Et pour ma tendresse
Ta douce austérité.
Maintenant sois folle sage
Et toute ta sainte honte
Comme la grandeur à mes yeux,
Ma gloire et ma renommée.
Dieu seul.

Above all I possess
I choose thy poverty;
And for my tenderness
Thy sweet austerity.
Now be thy folly wise
And all thy holy shame
As grandeur in my eyes,
My glory and my fame.
God Alone.

XXXI
Quand, par votre majesté,
Et pour votre gloire,
Tu m’auras vaincu,
Cette conquête que je prendrai
Comme victoire finale,
Bien que digne de ne pas tomber
Sous tes coups, ou sois
Une moquerie pour tous.
Dieu seul.

When, by your majesty,
And for your glory’s sake,
You shall have vanquished me,
That conquest I shall take
As final victory,
Though worthy not to fall
Beneath thy blows, or be
A mockery to all.
God Alone.

-Hymn, Triumph of the Cross by St. Louis de Montfort

God alone.


-by Br Louis Mary Bethea, OP

“Today we also celebrate the great Breton saint, Louis de Montfort. Tall, very strong, stubborn, and with a quick temper…After his seminary studies at St. Sulpice he would begin his missionary life with crushing rejection and resistance. Yet, tromping barefoot from town to town across France, he would be the instrument of great conversion because he trusted in

God alone.

St. Louis embraced the scorn of others, whether it came from a bishop or a supercilious nitwit jeering at him during a mission. Yet he never felt worthy of the mockery that he received: I am not worthy “of being a sign of contradiction to the world.” He attributed the fruits of his labors wholly and rightly to the grace of his Creator. Blossoming from his blessed humility, St. Louis’s famous motto was born:

God alone.

Commonly, when not preaching to the faithful, he would storm the local establishments of ill repute to implore conversions of heart. His frequent companion, Pierre des Bastieres, described one such instance when “one man, furious at this intrusion, drew his sword, and threatened to run him through the body unless he immediately left. […] Completely unperturbed, he looked his assailant straight in the eye and told him that he was very ready to be killed on condition that his murderer would promise to change his way of life. Such courage completely broke the man’s nerve; he trembled so badly that he could scarcely sheathe his sword, and had to grope his way to the door” (The Man Called Montfort, 108). This was the effect of St. Louis because he was a man for

God alone.

St. Louis’s love of Jesus through Mary and his zealous way of life, always yearning for the salvation of souls, stands out as an example to follow, especially when times grow difficult like during our present viral pandemic. Fortified by heavenly consolation, St. Louis was always with the God who dwelt in his heart, enabling his perseverance even to the point of his own demise for the salvation of another…Yet in his humility, St. Louis attributed everything to God, recognizing that God alone was his goal, in God alone is the living bread of life for which man yearns and by which man is saved; he realized that the glory forever belongs to

God alone.”

St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673 – 1716) was born in Brittany, France, to a large farming family. As a child he displayed an unusual spiritual maturity and spent much time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. At the age of 19 he went on foot to Paris to study theology at a prestigious school with the support of a benefactor; along the way he gave his possessions to the poor and made a lifelong vow to live in poverty supported entirely on alms. He was ordained a priest at the age of 27, and at 32 discovered his calling to be an itinerant preacher, receiving the title of “Apostolic Missionary” from the Pope after his bishop tried to silence him. For the next 17 years he preached missions in countless towns and villages throughout France with an emphasis on renewal and reform. His fiery devotion, oratory skill, and identification with the poor led many souls to conversion. He was persecuted by the Jansenists, who, in their spiritual pride, poisoned him, banished him from preaching in their dioceses, and made an assassination attempt on his life. He had a profound devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and taught on the power of the Holy Rosary. He also wrote a number of classic works on Marian devotion, the most famous being True Devotion to Mary.

“We do find, it is true, great battles to fight, and great hardships to master; but that good Mother makes herself so present and so near to her faithful servants, to enlighten them in their darknesses and their doubts, to strengthen them in their fears, and to sustain them in their struggles and their difficulties, that in truth this virginal path to find Jesus Christ is a path of roses and honey compared with other paths.”
—St. Louis de Montfort

“Pray with great confidence, with confidence based on the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ. God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray.”
–St. Louis De Montfort

“O most loving Jesus, deign to let me pour forth my gratitude before Thee, for the grace Thou hast bestowed upon me in giving me to Thy holy Mother through the devotion of Holy Bondage, that she may be my advocate in the presence of Thy majesty and my support in my extreme misery.

Alas, O Lord! I am so wretched that without this dear Mother I should be certainly lost. Yes, Mary is necessary for me at Thy side and everywhere that she may appease Thy just wrath, because I have so often offended Thee; that she may save me from the eternal punishment of Thy justice, which I deserve; that she may contemplate Thee, speak to Thee, pray to Thee, approach Thee and please Thee; that she may help me to save my soul and the souls of others; in short, Mary is necessary for me that I may always do Thy holy will and seek Thy greater glory in all things.

Ah, would that I could proclaim throughout the whole world the mercy that Thou hast shown to me ! Would that everyone might know I should be already damned, were it not for Mary! Would that I might offer worthy thanksgiving for so great a blessing! Mary is in me.

Oh, what a treasure! Oh, what a consolation! And shall I not be entirely hers? Oh, what ingratitude! My dear Saviour, send me death rather than such a calamity, for I would rather die than live without belonging entirely to Mary. With St. John the Evangelist at the foot of the Cross, I have taken her a thousand times for my own and as many times have given myself to her; but if I have not yet done it as Thou, dear Jesus, dost wish, I now renew this offering as Thou dost desire me to renew it.

And if Thou seest in my soul or my body anything that does not belong to this august Princess, I pray Thee to take it and cast it far from me, for whatever in me does not belong to Mary is unworthy of Thee.

O Holy Spirit, grant me all these graces. Plant in my soul the Tree of true Life, which is Mary; cultivate it and tend it so that it may grow and blossom and bring forth the fruit of life in abundance.

O Holy Spirit, give me great devotion to Mary, Thy faithful spouse; give me great confidence in her maternal heart and an abiding refuge in her mercy, so that by her Thou mayest truly form in me Jesus Christ, great and mighty, unto the fullness of His perfect age. Amen.”

“My Jesus, I long ardently For you to come to me this day; Without you life is misery. Come to me soon, I pray. Without the fervor that you bring, O Love, I languish night and day; And do you not desire my love? Inflame my heart, I pray. Good Shepherd, bear your lost sheep home Within your arms, whene’er I stray; From ravening wolves that round me roam Oh, keep me safe, I pray. O bread of Life, for you I sigh,

Give me yourself without delay; For otherwise my soul must die. Give me to eat, I pray. O fount of living waters clear, How long and weary is the way; Refresh my soul which thirsts for you. Give me to drink, I pray. O loving Lord, my soul is chilled By icy winds that round me play; O fire of love, let me be filled With warmth from you, I pray. Like the blind man who cried to you: Have mercy on me, Lord, I say, O Mary’s Son, that I may see; Increase my faith, I pray. Lord, I am sick beyond all cure, But with a word you can display Your power; without you death is sure. O heal me, Lord, I pray. My Lord, I knock upon your door; Your favors I can ne’er repay, Yet in my want I beg for more. Fulfill my needs, I pray. I am not worthy, Lord, that you Should come into my house today As heavenly food; say but the word And heal my soul, I pray. Lord, you alone are my true friend, My treasure which can ne’er decay; All earthly joys do you transcend. Do visit me this day.”
-Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort

“Often, actually very often, God allows his greatest servants, those who are far advanced in grace, to make the most humiliating mistakes. This humbles them in their own eyes and in the eyes of their fellow men.”
-St. Louis de Montfort

“When will the happy time come when the divine Mary will be established Mistress and Queen of all hearts, in order that she may subject them fully to the empire of her great and holy Jesus? When will souls breathe Mary as the body breathes air? When that time comes, wonderful things will happen in those lowly places where the Holy Ghost, finding His dear spouse, as it were, reproduced, in all souls, shall come in with abundance, and fill them to overflowing with His gifts, and particularly with the gift of wisdom, to work miracles of grace.”
—St. Louis de Montfort

“Let us say boldly with St. Bernard that we have need of a mediator with the Mediator Himself, and that it is the divine Mary who is the most capable of filling that charitable office. It was through her that Jesus Christ came to us, and it is through her that we must go to Him. If we fear to go directly to Jesus Christ, our God, whether because of His infinite greatness or because of our vileness or because of our sins, let us boldly implore the aid and intercession of Mary, our Mother. She is good, she is tender, she has nothing in her austere and forbidding, nothing too sublime and too brilliant. In seeing her, we see our pure nature.”
— St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary

Love,
Matthew

Apr 28 – Bl Carino of Balsamo, OP, (d. 1293) – Assassin of St Peter of Verona, OP

lorenzo_lotto_-_madonna_and_child_with_st_peter_martyr_-_wga13648
– “Madonna w/Christ Child, Young St John the Baptist & St Peter of Verona, OP”, Lorenzo Lotto, oil on canvas, 1503, 55 cm (21.7 in) x 87 cm (34.3 in), National Museum of Capodimonte, Naples, Italy.

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” -Is 1:18

image
-by Br Thomas Martin Miller, OP (Br. Thomas Martin Miller was raised as a Lutheran in York County, PA by his parents Charles and Patricia and discovered the Catholic Church while attending Boston College.)

“On April 6, 1252, St. Peter of Verona was assassinated by two men hired by the Cathar heretics in retribution for his preaching of the Catholic faith. He famously began to write the Creed in his own blood while he was dying, and was canonized just eleven months later, becoming the first canonized martyr of the Order of Preachers. He was not a lay brother, and today is not his feast. Today is instead the feast of Bl Carino of Balsamo, OP—locally venerated as a blessed—he being the man who cut off the top of St. Peter’s head with a pruning axe, mortally wounded Peter’s companion Domenico, and then returned to stab Peter with a dagger before he could finish writing his faith in the dust.

While Carino’s accomplice seemingly fled to heretic strongholds in the Alps, beyond the reach of the law, Carino made it only as far as Forli, where he collapsed in exhaustion and was taken to the hospital of St. Sebastian. His crime was unknown there, but overcome with fear of death and hell, Carino made his confession when a priest came to visit the sick—Bl. James Salomini, prior of the Dominicans in Forli. Upon his recovery, Carino decided to make religious life part of his penance, and having won the trust of Bl. James, was clothed at Forli in the habit of the lay brothers of the Order of Preachers. Upon his death in 1293, Carino, aware of the gravity of his crimes, asked to be buried in unconsecrated ground rather than in the conventual cemetery. The friars acceded to his wishes, but the people of Forli, now acquainted with his sanctity, demanded not merely that he be moved to the conventual cemetery but that he be raised to the honors of the altar. (Such is how saints are made, actually, via populi.)

How did an assassin end up under Our Lady’s mantle in heaven with his confessor and his victim? In the thirteenth century, as now, murder was an impediment to priestly ordination, and the Order of Preachers has always had a clerical character due to the close connection between preaching and the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist. Nonetheless, the plea of all candidates to enter the Order is not for admission as a candidate for holy orders but rather for “God’s mercy and yours.”

As our Franciscan brothers have specially signified the corporal works of mercy by the poverty of their own communities, Dominicans have specially signified the spiritual works of mercy by acts of mercy to their own brethren. Even as heinous a crime as murder in the service of those who hated the true faith of Christ was (given contrition) no obstacle to living religious vows, and that life of penance was Carino’s way of thanking God for the mercy of absolution. This focus on God’s grace and mercy is distinctively Dominican, but it has its roots in the Benedictine traditions of labor and hospitality.

As the monastic tradition developed in the medieval period, a distinction arose between monks who had been raised from their youth as oblates of the monastery, immersed in both study and religious observance, and those who came to the monastery as adults, generally without those advantages. These latter were known as conversi because their lives had been visibly transformed (or converted).

But while they shared the religious life of those who had been raised as oblates, their lack of education and sometimes their manifestly immoral histories acted as impediments to ordination. Rather than performing the sacraments, they passed on the mercy which they had received by engaging in the manual labor required to provide hospitality, whether to guests at Benedictine monasteries or Dominican clerics deeply engaged in study.

Carino was transformed by grace from a man who persecuted Christ into one who recognized his Lord in the truth his fellow friars preached and in the needs of the poor. He lived this vocation of the convert with heroic sanctity. He cared for both the clerics in the convent vowed to poverty and the destitute outside its walls.
Found wounded by sin and physical exhaustion in the hospital of St. Sebastian, Carino was blessed to perform penances that bore both spiritual and material fruit in the Church’s field hospital of mercy. His pruning axe had pierced the skull of St. Peter of Verona, but Peter pierced Carino with an arrow of grace: the “Credo” he traced on the ground in his blood is not only the beginning of the Nicene Creed, but also an acrostic of the Latin phrase “Carinus Religiosus Erit Dominicani Ordinis” (Carino will be a religious of the Dominican Order).”

After his death, Carino was venerated by the people of Forlì.

The regulation of Carino’s cult by the papacy began in 1822, but the death of Pius VII delayed the process, and the paperwork was misplaced.[2] Carino is buried at the Cathedral of Forlì, and in 1934, Cinisello Balsamo obtained Carino’s head, a translation at which Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster participated. Carino’s feast day is celebrated on April 28, the day of this translation.

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Love & His Grace & Mercy,
Matthew

Apr 13 – St Margaret of Castello, (TOSD)OP, (1287-1320) – Patroness of the Beauty, Dignity, & Sanctity of Human Life

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“Though father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.” -Ps 27:10

In our society, where medical testing can be done to assure that only children without defects are born, those who are born with handicaps are often regarded as “tragic” oversights. In this light, the “unwanted” of the world have a patron saint in a medieval woman who was born a crippled, blind and hunchbacked dwarf.

St Margaret of Castello, a Third Order Dominican, like me, was born in the fourteenth century in Metola, Italy to noble parents who wanted a son. When the news was brought to the new mother that her newborn daughter was a blind, hunchbacked dwarf, both parents were horrified. Little Margaret was kept in a secluded section of the family castle in the hopes that her existence would be kept secret. However, when she was about six years old, she accidentally made her presence known to a guest. Determined to keep her out of the public eye, her father had a room without a door built onto the side of the parish church and walled Margaret inside this room. Here she lived until she was sixteen, never being allowed to come out. Her food and other necessities were passed in to her through a window. Another window into the church allowed her to hear Mass and receive Holy Communion. The parish priest became a good friend, and took upon himself the duty to educate her. He was amazed at her docility and the depth of her spiritual wisdom.


-where Margaret was held prisoner from age 6, please click on the image for greater detail.


-please click on the image for greater detail

When Margaret was sixteen years old, her parents heard of a shrine in Citta di Castello, Italy, where many sick people were cured. They made a pilgrimage to the shrine so that she could pray for healing. However, Margaret, open to the will of God, was not healed that day, or the next, so her parents callously abandoned her in the streets of the town and left for home, never to see her again. At the mercy of the passersby, Margaret had to beg her food.

Margaret was passed from family to family until she was adopted by a kindly peasant woman named Grigia, who had a large family of her own. Margaret’s natural sweetness and goodness soon made themselves felt, and she more than repaid the family for their kindness to her. She was an influence for good in any group of children. She stopped their quarrels, heard their catechism, told them stories, taught them Psalms and prayers. Busy neighbors were soon borrowing her to soothe a sick child or to establish peace in the house.


-St Margaret of Castello statue, Saint Patrick Catholic Church, Columbus, OH, where there is a shrine to her. Please click on the image for greater detail.

Her reputation for holiness was so great that a community of sisters in the town asked for her to become one of them. Margaret went happily to join them, but, unfortunately, there was little fervor in the house. The little girl who was so prayerful and penitential was a reproach to their lax lives, so Margaret returned to Grigia, who gladly welcomed her home.

Later, Margaret was received as a Dominican Tertiary and clothed with the religious habit. Grigia’s home became the rendezvous site of troubled souls seeking Margaret’s prayers. She said the Office of the Blessed Virgin and the entire Psalter by heart, and her prayers had the effect of restoring peace of mind to the troubled.

Denied earthly sight, Margaret was favored with heavenly visions. “Oh, if you only knew what I have in my heart!” she often said. The mysteries of the rosary, particularly the joyful mysteries, were so vivid to her that her whole person would light up when she described the scene. She was often in ecstasy, and, despite great joys and favors in prayer, she was often called upon to suffer desolation and interior trials of frightening sorts. The devil tormented her severely at times, but she triumphed over these sufferings.

, -please click on the image for greater detail.

A number of miracles were performed by St Margaret. On one occasion, while she was praying in an upper room, Grigia’s house caught fire, and she called to Margaret to come down. The blessed, however, called to her to throw her cloak on the flames. This she did, and the blaze died out. At another time, she cured a sister who was losing her eyesight.

Beloved by her adopted family and by her neighbors and friends, Margaret died at the early age of 33. From the time of her death, her tomb in the Dominican church was a place of pilgrimage. Her body, even to this day, is incorrupt. More than 200 miracles have been credited to her intercession after her death. She was beatified in 1609. Thus the daughter that nobody wanted is one of the glories of the Church.

After her death, the fathers received permission to have her heart opened. In it were three pearls, having holy figures carved upon them. They recalled the saying so often on the lips of Margaret: “If you only knew what I have in my heart!”


-relic of Bl Margaret of Castello, Saint Patrick Catholic Church, Columbus, OH, where there is a shrine to her. Please click on the image for greater detail.

W. R. Bonniwell writes, “Her cheerfulness, based on her trust in God’s love and goodness, was extraordinary. She became a Dominican tertiary and devoted herself to tending the sick and the dying” as well as prisoners in the city jail.

How does Margaret’s story apply to our times? Her parents wanted a boy, and if not a boy, at least a perfect girl. In the eyes of the world, she was useless, and what right do useless people have to live? St Margaret helped innumerable others by her life and her good deeds, finding holiness by uniting her sufferings to Christ’s. And now, some 670 years after her death, she teaches us valuable lessons by her very being.

St Margaret lived a life of hope and faith, practicing heroic charity, though little was shown her in return. She came from a home where she was deprived, not because her parents had no wealth, but because they valued their material wealth and status more than their spiritual treasures.

-please click on the image for greater detail.

Deprived of all human companionship, Margaret learned to embrace her Lord in solitude. Instead of becoming bitter, she forgave her parents for their ill treatment of her and treated others as well as she could. Her cheerfulness stemmed from her conviction that God loves each person infinitely, for He has made each person in His own image and likeness. This same cheerfulness won the hearts of the poor of Castello, and they took her into their homes for as long as their purses could afford. She passed from house to house in this way, “a homeless beggar being practically adopted by the poor of a city” (Bonniwell, 1955).

St Margaret died on April 13, 1320 at the age of 33. More than 200 miracles have been credited to her intercession since her death. She was beatified in 19 October 1609.  She was canonized 24 April 2021. Thus, the daughter that nobody wanted is now one of the glories of the Church.  Her body remains incorrupt.

First Vespers:
Ant. This is a wise Virgin whom the Lord found watching, who took her lamp and oil, and when the Lord came she entered with Him into the marriage feast. (P.T. Alleluia.)
V. Pray for us St Margaret. (P.T. Alleluia.)
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. (P.T. Alleluia.)

Lauds:
Ant. Come, O my chosen one, and I will place my throne in thee, for the King hath exceedingly desired thy beauty. (P.T. Alleluia.)
V. Virgins shall be led to the King after her. (P.T. Alleluia.)
R. Her companions shall be presented to Thee. (P.T. Alleluia.)

Second Vespers:
Ant. She has girded her loins with courage and hath strengthened her arm; therefore shall her lamp not be put out forever. (P.T. Alleluia.)
V. Pray for us Blessed Margaret. (P.T. Alleluia.)
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. (P.T. Alleluia.)

Prayer:
Let us Pray: O God, Who wast pleased that St Margaret, Virgin, should be born blind, that, the eye of her heart being inwardly enlightened, she might continually contemplate Thee alone, be Thou the light of our eyes, that we may have no part in the darkness of this world, but be enabled to arrive at the land of eternal brightness Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer to Margaret of Castello

Compassionate God, You gave Your divine light to St Margaret who was blind from birth, that with the eye of her heart she might contemplate You alone. Be the light of our eyes that we may turn from what is evil and reach the home of never-ending light. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
– General Calendar of the Order of Preachers

Novena to the St Margaret of Castello

First Day:
O St Margaret of Castello, in embracing your life just as it was, you gave us an example of resignation To the will of God. In so accepting God’s will, you knew that you would grow in virtue, glorify God, save your own soul, and help the souls of your neighbors. Obtain for me the grace to recognize the will of God in all that may happen to me in my life and so resign myself to it. Obtain for me also the special favor, which I now ask, through your intercession with God.

Let us pray…
O God by whose will the blessed virgin, Margaret, was blind from birth, that the eyes of her mind being inwardly enlightened she might think without ceasing on You alone; be the light of our eyes, that we may be able to flee the shadows in this world, and reach the home of never-ending light. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, glorify your servant St Margaret, by granting the favor we so ardently desire. This we ask in humble submission To God’s Will, For His honor and glory and the salvation of souls.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

Second Day:
O St Margaret of Castello, in reflecting so deeply upon the sufferings and death of our Crucified Lord, you learned courage and gained the grace to bear your own afflictions. Obtain for me the grace and courage that I so urgently need so as to be able to bear my infirmities and endure my afflictions in union with our suffering Savior. Obtain for me also the special favor which I now ask through your intercession with God.

Let us pray…
O God by whose will the blessed virgin, Margaret, was blind from birth, that the eyes of her mind being inwardly enlightened she might think without ceasing on You alone; be the light of our eyes, that we may be able to flee the shadows in this world,
and reach the home of never-ending light. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, glorify your servant St Margaret, by granting the favor we so ardently desire. this we ask in humble submission to God’s will, for His honor and glory and the salvation of souls.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

Third Day:
O St Margaret of Castello, your love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament was intense and enduring. It was here in intimacy with the Divine Presence that you found spiritual strength to accept suffering, to be cheerful, patient, and kindly towards others. Obtain for me the grace that I may draw from this same source, as from an exhaustible font, the strength whereby I may be kind and understanding of everyone despite whatever pain or discomfort may come my way. Obtain this for us through your intercession with God.

Let us pray…
O God by whose will the blessed virgin, Margaret, was blind from birth, that the eyes of her mind being inwardly enlightened she might think without ceasing on You alone; be the light of our eyes, that we may be able to flee the shadows in this world,
and reach the home of never-ending light. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, glorify your servant St Margaret, by granting the favor we so ardently desire. this we ask in humble submission to God’s will, for His honor and glory and the salvation of souls.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

Fourth Day:
O St Margaret of Castello, you unceasingly turned to God in prayer with confidence and trust in His fatherly love. It was only through continual prayer that you were enabled to accept your misfortunes, to be serene, patient, and at peace. Obtain for me the grace to persevere in my prayer, confident that God will give me the help to carry whatever cross comes into my life. Obtain for me also the special favor which I now ask through your intercession with God.

Let us pray…
O God by whose will the blessed virgin, Margaret, was blind from birth, that the eyes of her mind being inwardly enlightened she might think without ceasing on You alone; be the light of our eyes, that we may be able to flee the shadows in this world, and reach the home of never-ending light. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, glorify your servant St Margaret, by granting the favor we so ardently desire. this we ask in humble submission to God’s will, for His honor and glory and the salvation of souls.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

Fifth Day:
O St Margaret of Castello, in imitation of the Child Jesus, who was subject to Mary and Joseph, you obeyed your father and mother, overlooking their unnatural harshness. Obtain for me that same attitude of obedience toward all those who have legitimate authority over me, most especially toward the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Obtain for me also the special favor which I now ask through your intercession with God.

Let us pray…
O God by whose will the blessed virgin, Margaret, was blind from birth, that the eyes of her mind being inwardly enlightened she might think without ceasing on You alone; be the light of our eyes, that we may be able to flee the shadows in this world, and reach the home of never-ending light. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, glorify your servant St Margaret, by granting the favor we so ardently desire. this we ask in humble submission to God’s will, for His honor and glory and the salvation of souls.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

Sixth Day:
O St Margaret of Castello, your miseries taught you better than any teacher the weakness and frailty of human nature. Obtain for me the grace to recognize my human limitations and to acknowledge my utter dependence upon God. Acquire for me that abandonment which leaves me completely at the mercy of God. Obtain for me also the special favor which I now ask through your intercession with God.

Let us pray…
O God by whose will the blessed virgin, Margaret, was blind from birth, that the eyes of her mind being inwardly enlightened she might think without ceasing on You alone; be the light of our eyes, that we may be able to flee the shadows in this world, and reach the home of never-ending light. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, glorify your servant St Margaret, by granting the favor we so ardently desire. this we ask in humble submission to God’s will, for His honor and glory and the salvation of souls.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

Seventh Day:
O St Margaret of Castello, you could have so easily become discouraged and bitter; but, instead, you fixed your eyes on the suffering Christ and there you learned from Him the redemptive value of suffering . How to offer your pains and aches, in reparation for sin and for the salvation of souls. Obtain for me the grace to learn how to endure my sufferings with patience. Obtain for me also the special favor which I now ask through your intercession with God.

Let us pray…
O God by whose will the blessed virgin, Margaret, was blind from birth, that the eyes of her mind being inwardly enlightened she might think without ceasing on You alone; be the light of our eyes, that we may be able to flee the shadows in this world, and reach the home of never-ending light. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, glorify your servant St Margaret, by granting the favor we so ardently desire. this we ask in humble submission to God’s will, for His honor and glory and the salvation of souls.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

Eighth Day:
O St Margaret of Castello, how it must have hurt when your parents abandoned you! Yet you learned from this that all earthly love and affection, even for those who are closest, must be sanctified. And so, despite everything, you continued to love your parents – but now you loved them in God. Obtain for me the grace that I might see all my human loves and affections in their proper perspective… in God and for God. Obtain for me also the special favor which I now ask through your intercession with God.

Let us pray…
O God by whose will the blessed virgin, Margaret, was blind from birth, that the eyes of her mind being inwardly enlightened she might think without ceasing on You alone; be the light of our eyes, that we may be able to flee the shadows in this world, and reach the home of never-ending light. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, glorify your servant St Margaret, by granting the favor we so ardently desire. this we ask in humble submission to God’s will, for His honor and glory and the salvation of souls.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

Ninth Day:
O St Margaret of Castello, through your suffering and misfortune, you became sensitive to the sufferings of others. Your heart reached out to everyone in trouble – the sick, the hungry, the dying prisoners. Obtain for me the grace to recognize Jesus in everyone with whom I come into contact, especially in the poor, the wretched, the unwanted! Obtain for me also the special favor which I now ask through your intercession with God.

Let us pray…
O God by whose will the blessed virgin, Margaret, was blind from birth, that the eyes of her mind being inwardly enlightened she might think without ceasing on You alone; be the light of our eyes, that we may be able to flee the shadows in this world, and reach the home of never-ending light. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, glorify your servant St Margaret, by granting the favor we so ardently desire. this we ask in humble submission to God’s will, for His honor and glory and the salvation of souls.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

Prayer
O my God, I thank you for having given St Margaret of Castello to the world as an example of the degree of holiness that can be attained by anyone who truly loves you, regardless of physical abnormalities. In today’s perverted culture, Margaret would have, most likely, never been born; death through abortion being preferable to life, especially life in an ugly distorted twisted body. But Your ways are not the world’s ways… And so it was Your Will that Margaret would be born into the world with just such a malformed body. It is Your way that uses our weakness to give testimony to Your power. Margaret was born blind, so as to see You more clearly; a cripple, so as to lean on You completely; dwarfed in physical posture, so as to become a giant in the spiritual order; hunch-backed, so as to more perfectly resemble the twisted, crucified body of Your Son. Margaret’s whole life was an enactment of the words expressed by Paul: “So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me and that is why I am content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:10). I beseech you, O God, to grant through the intercession Of Blessed Margaret of Castello, that all the handicapped … and who among us is not?… all rejected, all unwanted of the world may make their weaknesses their own special boast so that your power may stay over them now and forever. Amen.

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-Dominican Sisters look at the to-scale statue of Blessed Margaret of Castello

Castello Nursing Simulation Learning Center at Saint Thomas West Hospital, the state-of-the-art nursing simulation laboratory, named after St Margaret of Castello, O.P. (1287–1320). The Castello Center consists of 24 simulated patient care settings, including critical care, neonatal care, residential care facilities, hospice, and home health.

UPDATE 9/19/2021:

On April 24 of this year, Pope Francis canonized a third-order Dominican, St. Margaret of Castello (1287–1320), by what is called equipollent canonization. This means that instead of waiting for a second miracle and then canonizing St. Margaret by a solemn declaration during a canonization mass, Pope Francis waived the requirement for a second miracle and canonized her by virtue of signing the decree. Since there was no canonization mass, a solemn mass will be celebrated today at the Church of St. Dominic in Città di Castello, Italy, where her body is buried. In honor of this occasion, one of our brothers has composed a Litany of St. Margaret of Castello. We publish it here with the hope that it will promote devotion to St. Margaret and will be an aid for the prayer of those who seek her powerful intercession.

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V. Lord, have mercy. R. Lord, have mercy.

V. Christ, have mercy. R. Christ, have mercy.

V. Lord, have mercy. R. Lord, have mercy.

V. Christ, hear us. R. Christ, hear us.

V. Christ, graciously hear us. R.Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God,

Holy Mary, pray for us.

Holy Mother of God,

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary,

St. Margaret of Castello, pray for us.

St. Margaret of Metola,

St. Margaret, spouse of the Lord Jesus,

St. Margaret, daughter of the Blessed Virgin Mary,

St. Margaret, devotee of St. Joseph,

St. Margaret, image of Holy Father Dominic,

St. Margaret, lustrous pearl of the Most High,*

St. Margaret, virginal lily of the Mantellate,**

St. Margaret, chosen vessel of Lady Poverty,

St. Margaret, ardent apostle of charity,

St. Margaret, pattern of Eucharistic piety,

St. Margaret, mirror of prayer and penance,

St. Margaret, model of mercy and compassion,

St. Margaret, patroness of the blind and the disabled,

St. Margaret, servant of the sick and the outcast,***

St. Margaret, comfort to the afflicted,

St. Margaret, relief to the abandoned,

St. Margaret, strength of the burdened,

St. Margaret, hope of the unwanted,

St. Margaret, shelter for the homeless,

St. Margaret, advocate for the aborted,

St. Margaret, blind but illumined by Christ,

St. Margaret, lame but animated by Christ,

St. Margaret, deformed but conformed to Christ,

St. Margaret, dwarfed but restored in Christ,

St. Margaret, wondrous heart of pearls,****

St. Margaret, incorruptible sign of salvation,

St. Margaret, glorious intercessor before the throne of God,

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world. Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world. Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world. Have mercy on us.

Pray for us, St. Margaret of Castello, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

O God, who made the virgin Saint Margaret of Castello strong by the power of Christ, grant, we pray, that, through her intercession, we may so boast in our weaknesses as to merit the grace of life eternal. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Explanation of certain titles attributed to St. Margaret of Castello:

*The title “lustrous pearl of the Most High” is derived from Fr. Andrew Hofer’s beautiful hymn in honor of St. Margaret, O Lustrous Pearl in Heaven’s Light. (For those unaware, the name “Margaret” means “pearl.”) It also invokes the language of Luke 1:32, where the archangel Gabriel says of the child to be born of Mary, “He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.”

**The title “virginal lily of the Mantellate” emphasizes the distinct privilege of St. Margaret as a virgin among the “Mantellate” (the name used for the third-order community she joined), which, at the time, consisted almost entirely of widows.

***The title “servant of the sick and the outcast” is taken from Sr. Mary Elizabeth O’Brien’s excellent book of the same name, Blessed Margaret of Castello: Servant of the Sick and the Outcast.

****The title “wondrous heart of pearls” alludes to the well-known testimony of others, who, after her death, found three pearls embedded within the heart of St. Margaret.

Love,
Matthew

Apr 14 – Bl Peter Gonzalez, OP, (1190-1246) – St Elmo’s Fire!!!

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-statue of “Saint” Telmo/Elmo, Frómista, province of Palencia, Spain.

Bl Peter, is sometimes referred to as Pedro González Telmo, Saint Telmo, or Saint Elmo. González was educated by his uncle, the Bishop of Astorga, who gave him a canonry when he was very young. On one occasion, he was riding triumphantly into the city, his horse stumbled, dumping him into the mud to the amusement of onlookers (this happens to A LOT of saints?). Humbled the canon reevaluated his vocation and later resigned his position to enter the Dominican Order. González became a renowned preacher; crowds gathered to hear him and numberless conversions were the result of his efforts.

He spent much as his time as a court preacher. After King Saint Ferdinand III of Castile and Leon captured Córdoba, Peter was successful in restraining the soldiers from pillaging the city.

Fearing that the honors and easy life offered by the king’s court would lead him to return to his previous ways, he left the court and evangelized to shepherds and sailors. Peter devoted the remainder of his life to preaching in northwest Spain, and developed a special mission to unlettered Spanish and Portuguese seamen. He died on April 15, 1246, at Tui and is buried in the local cathedral.

Although his cultus was confirmed in 1741 by Pope Benedict XIV, and despite his common epithet of “saint,” Peter was never formally canonized. Peter González was beatified in 1254 by Pope Innocent IV.

The diminutive “Elmo” (or “Telmo”) belongs properly to the martyr-bishop Saint Erasmus (died c. 303), one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, of whose name “Elmo” is a contraction. However, as Erasmus is the patron saint of sailors generally, and Peter González of Spanish and Portuguese sailors specifically, they have both been popularly invoked as “Saint Elmo.”

St. Elmo’s fire is a pale electrical discharge sometimes seen on stormy nights on the tips of spires, about the decks and rigging of ships, in the shape of a ball or brush, singly or in pairs, particularly at the mastheads and yardarms. It also appears on aircraft in flight especially on the nose of the plane where it can be seen dramatically by the pilots. The mariners believed them to be the souls of the departed, whence they are also called corposant (corpo santo). The ancients called them Helena fire when seen singly, and Castor and Pollux when in pairs.

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norbert_keliher
Br Norbert Keliher, OP, is a graduate of Harvard University, where he studied Latin and Greek. Before entering the order, he spent a year teaching in New York City and a year studying theology at Notre Dame.

“Imagine that you’re on a seventeenth-century Spanish merchant ship, sailing back with wares from the East Indies. A storm overtakes you, with howling wind and monstrous waves. Who would you call on for help? None other than St. Elmo, of course. In 1662, some sailors reported that the saint himself appeared to them and the sea calmed down.

We all need help on the seas of life, and it is good to know that we have a ready intercessor in St. Elmo (or Telmo)—not the fuzzy red animal thing, but a 13th-century Dominican Blessed. To Dominicans he is known as Bl. Peter Gonzalez, and his feast is celebrated today, April 14th.

Each saint lives out some part of the mystery of Christ, whose full measure is too great for any one person to embody. In Bl. Peter’s case, he has a share in our Lord’s power over the wind and waves. Jesus demonstrated His own power over nature on the Sea of Galilee, and Bl. Peter’s intercession makes it available to sailors of the past and present.

Bl. Peter Gonzalez was one of the Dominicans from St. Dominic’s own time, entering the Order in 1219. He was from Spain and spent most of his active preaching life in his home country. He had a wide-ranging ministry which included serving in the royal court of Ferdinand III, helping to improve the morals of the king’s army, preaching to Muslims, and working among the poor. But Bl. Peter is best known for the last part of his ministry, in which he preached to sailors in Spain and Portugal. His concern for their souls was the source of the sailors’ devotion to him, because he was tireless in his efforts to reach them, whether they were in taverns or on the docks. After his death, the sailors remembered both his love for them and a weather-related miracle that he had performed.

On this occasion, Bl. Peter was preaching outside the city of Bayonne to a large crowd when a storm rolled in. The people were afraid that rain would soon follow the thunder and lightning, and got ready to leave. But Bl. Peter, like any good preacher, did not want to lose his audience. He reassured them that God would protect them, and then prayed for help against the storm. At a distance around the crowd, rain flooded the countryside but did not touch those listening to Bl. Peter. Who could forget an experience like this? News of the miracle spread quickly, and sailors who knew it started to invoke Bl. Peter’s intercession at sea after he died.

Whether we invoke him under the name of St. Elmo or Bl. Peter Gonzalez (the former name was already popular among sailors, and they started using it for Bl. Peter), this holy man will come to our aid in the midst of our personal storms. Not many of us will encounter a storm on the high seas, but we all know what it is like to reach a crisis, when every person and event seems to be working against us. Our Lord wants us to trust not only in Him, but in the intercessors He has given for our benefit. Appealing to a saint when we are desperate increases our faith in God’s Providence, which wisely orders all things. We receive a glimpse of how He intends for us to receive help from just this saint at just this time. Afterward, our gratitude at being helped strengthens our devotion to that particular saint, as well as our awareness of how close the whole communion of saints is to us.

The next time a storm hits, try this short prayer: “Bl. Peter Gonzalez, pray for us!”

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Ah, to pine for one’s youth!! 🙁

In Shakespeare’s The Tempest (c. 1623), Act I, Scene II, St. Elmo’s fire acquires a more negative association, appearing as evidence of the tempest inflicted by Ariel according to the command of Prospero:

PROSPERO:

Hast thou, spirit,
Perform’d to point the tempest that I bade thee?

ARIEL:

To every article.
I boarded the king’s ship; now on the beak,
Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin,
I flamed amazement: sometime I’ld divide,
And burn in many places; on the topmast,
The yards and bowsprit, would I flame distinctly,
Then meet and join.
— Act I, Scene II, The Tempest

The fires are also mentioned as “death fires” in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

“About, about, in reel and rout, The death fires danced at night; The water, like a witch’s oils, Burnt green and blue and white.”

Almighty God, you bestowed the singular help of Blessed Peter on those in peril from the sea. By the help of his prayers may the light of your grace shine forth in all the storms of this life and enable us to find the harbor of everlasting salvation. 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. – General Calendar of the Order of Preachers

Love,
Matthew

Apr 6 – The Holy Preaching

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-by Br Christopher Wetzel, OP, English Province

“Preaching is in fact a dangerous activity. The life of Peter of Verona, often called Peter Martyr, illustrates one dimension of this danger.

One of the earliest members of the Order of Preacher, St. Peter Martyr preached vigorously against the heresy of the Cathars despite threats against his life. Due to his efforts, many Cathars converted to Catholicism, leading a group of Milanese Cathars to plot against him and to hire an assassin, one Carino of Balsamo. On April 6th, 1252, Carino and an accomplice set upon Peter and his companion as they made their way from Como to Milan. Carino struck Peter’s head with an axe and Peter rose to his knees, recited the beginning of the Apostle’s Creed and, according to legend, dipped his fingers in his own blood and wrote on the ground: “Credo in Unum Deum” before dying. It would seem that preaching is a dangerous business.

However, Jesus concludes the Beatitudes by telling his disciples “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Martyrdom is in fact a blessing. Yet preaching remains dangerous even when the great reward of martyrdom is off the table.

Consider what Blessed Humbert of Romans wrote in his Treatise on Preaching:

There are three evils to be noted which result from a premature and rash acceptance of the office of preaching.

The first is that the good results which the preacher might have produced at the proper time will be imperiled. It is necessary, St. Gregory informs us, to warn those, who, because of their age or their incompetence, are unsuited to exercise this office, and who nevertheless meddle in it prematurely; for their rashness endangers the good results which they would later have achieved. Eager to undertake what they are not prepared for, they lose forever the good they might have accomplished at the right time.

The second evil resulting from too early entrance into the office of preaching is the obstacle which the preacher places in the way of his own formation; for whoever undertakes a task before he has the necessary strength makes himself for the future weak and useless. As one author of the lives of the Fathers admonishes: “Refrain from instructing too early, for you will thus weaken your understanding for the rest of your life.”

The third evil is the danger of the preacher losing his own soul. In regard to this St. Gregory wishes that those who are impatient to assume the office of preacher to consider the fledglings which, before their wings are strong enough, try to fly into the skies, but soon fall back to earth; or to consider a foundation newly-built and insecure, which, instead of becoming a house when the superstructure is added to it, rather collapses and becomes a pile of ruins; or to consider those infants born prematurely before being completely formed in the womb of their mother, and who fill graves rather than homes.

The innumerable evils resulting from haste prompts Ecclesiasticus to say: “A wise man will hold his peace till he see opportunity” (Ecclus. 20:7).

It is also for this reason that Isaias gives the following warnings: “. . . and it shall bud without perfect ripeness and the sprigs thereof shall be cut off with pruning hooks: an what is left shall be cut away and shaken out. And they shall be left together to the birds of the mountains and the beasts of the earth: and the fowls shall be upon them all summer, and the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them” (Isa. 18:5-6).

And finally, it is for the same reason that our Lord Jesus Christ before His Ascension, commanded His preachers, the Apostles, “Wait here in the city until you be clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). St. Gregory, explaining this, says: “We remain in the city when we retire into our innermost soul, not venturing forth with idle words, but waiting the coming of the divine power, before we appear before men to preach the truth which we now possess.”

Let us then carefully prepare ourselves for the Holy Preaching. Holy Father Dominic, pray for us.”

Love,
Matthew

Apr 25 – St Mark, Mighty in Courage!!!

st__mark_the_evangelist_by_lordshadowblade-d62zolm-please click on the image for greater detail

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-by Br John Mark Solitario, OP

“As a child I remember being given a keychain or card meant to make me feel good about my baptismal name. As I recall, the intention of the giver was fully realized. The revelation made me quite proud: the tagline reading something like “Mark: mighty warrior.” Most little boys don’t put up a fuss when they learn their name is derived from Mars, the Roman god of war!

I did not yet know the story of the other Mark.

Christian tradition remembers the more humble origins of St. Mark. First, we look to St. Mark’s Passion, to the betrayal and arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane: “[the disciples] all left him [Jesus] and fled. Now a young man followed him wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body. They seized him, but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked” (Mk 14:50-52).

Perhaps the young man would prefer that we gloss over this line and move on! However, some have suggested that the fleeing youth was the Gospel writer himself. Whether or not the scared adolescent was the Mark whom early Christians recognized to be the author of the earliest-penned Gospel, one thing is certain: he draws our attention and our empathy.

Indeed, Mark can teach us something about being Christian today, even though what we know about him can only be surmised and pieced together:

Mark, who also was called by the Jewish name John, was the son of the Mary to whose house Peter fled after escaping from Herod’s imprisonment. The author of the Acts of the Apostles describes this house by saying that “many people gathered [there] in prayer” (Acts 12:12). Some have even suggested this to be the same place as the Upper Room where the Last Supper took place and the apostles received the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost.

John Mark accompanied his cousin Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey (Acts 13). For some reason, Mark soon left Paul and his relative to return home. Paul later refused to bring Mark on a subsequent mission due to his previous desertion and lack of perseverance (Acts 15:38).

In time, Mark appears to have become a co-worker of Paul in spreading the Gospel (see 2 Tim 4:11 and Col 4:10). This could be the same Mark who was affectionately referred to by Peter as his son (1 Pet 5:13). This same man, according to numerous Church fathers, worked as Peter’s secretary and composed the Gospel which takes his name.

So, not only did Mark grow up in a household of faith, but he may have met Jesus and witnessed the crisis of Holy Thursday. Later on he was invited to accompany his elders in proclaiming the new Christian faith. But for some reason–perhaps timidity, anxiety, or discomfort–he did not feel up to the task. Simply put, he was not yet willing to play that part.

But something more happened to John Mark. Later, as an evangelist, he penned Jesus’ response to the young man who would be His disciple:

“Amen I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.” (-Mk 10:29-30)

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– by Giuseppe Vermiglio, “Saint Mark the Evangelist”, c. 1630, oil on canvas, please click on the image for greater detail

Mark knew that being a follower of Jesus invited mockery and scorn even as it promised unimaginable blessing. Yet the example he gleaned from his mentor St. Peter–initial weakness, followed by a return to friendship with Jesus, and then great courage in the face of a horrible death–must have profoundly impacted his outlook.

Mark emphasizes the reason we have for hope amidst life’s struggles. First, as modern followers of Jesus we can be surprised by the support we receive from our new “brothers and sisters” in Christ. Next, when we do suffer for our faith–through ostracization, being bound by temptation and anxiety, sacrificing our time–we can take courage because we do not experience these things alone. Rather, we have these words of assurance, as recorded by Mark: “The God of grace Who called you to His eternal glory through Christ will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little” (1 Pet 5:10). By His Cross, Jesus joins our plight and infuses it with new meaning.

St. Mark’s life and Gospel are not gifts to be taken lightly. He points past the physical safety and emotional contentment for which we often settle to something greater: a truly blessed life in this world, but not without sufferings, followed by the prize which exceeds all human hope. Yes, we need courage for this pursuit. But we should never rely on ourselves alone, lest we abandon Jesus upon discovering ourselves to be spiritually naked! May Jesus’ words to that earnest but imperfect youth be words that we trustingly take to heart: “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God” (Mk 10:27). Blessed the one who, with St. Mark, learns to stand by the suffering Christ so as to win every good thing.

St. Mark, mighty in courage, pray for us!”

St. Mark the Evangelist (1st c.) was born to Jewish parents living in Libya in North Africa, later settling in Cana of Galilee not far from Jerusalem. Mark became one of the 70 disciples of Jesus and the author of the Gospel that bears his name. According to tradition, St. Peter the Apostle was married to a relative of St. Mark’s father, and after Mark’s father died, Peter looked after him like his own son. Being a close disciple of St. Peter, the first Bishop of Rome, Mark’s Gospel is addressed to Gentile converts to the Christian faith living in Rome. Most of what we know about his life and missionary activity is recorded in the New Testament. He traveled to Egypt and founded the Church there, and was martyred c. 68 A.D. by being dragged through the streets of Alexandria until his body was torn to pieces. St. Mark is the patron of lawyers and prisoners.


-please click on the image for greater detail

Love,
Matthew

Apr 29 – “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on (spiritual) fire!”

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Lk 12:49

“Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on (spiritual) fire!” -St Catherine of Siena, OP

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-by Br Jordan Zajac, OP

“…Catherine offered this advice over six hundred years ago, it seems perfectly suited for modern sensibilities. That is to say, our dulled spiritual sensibilities. …

to consider any aspect of ourselves or our actions outside of our connection to God is the first and most fundamental misstep. Only the Incarnate Lord can supply the heat needed to start the kind of fire for which He, and St. Catherine along with Him, yearn.

Like other mystics and saints, St. Catherine returns again and again to the image of the Divine Fire—a symbol for the experience of God’s presence in contemplative prayer. But St. Catherine is unique among the saints for the way she uses this image to build a simple, yet profound kind of pyromaniacal pedagogy—a system for spiritual development rooted in a deeper union with God. It is in the context of this spiritual teaching that we can best appreciate both halves of Catherine’s most famous quote.

Expressed in another way, “be who God meant you to be” means “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). How can we, so weak and limited, possibly strive for a perfection that mirrors God’s? As with all His teachings, Christ would not ask it of us unless He knew we were capable, and that it would contribute to our ultimate happiness. Here the Fire becomes crucial. St. Catherine identifies the Divine Fire as nothing other than charity—God’s “inestimable Fire” of love for us, His creatures. As St. Thomas explains, man’s spiritual life consists principally in charity, and the person that is perfect in charity is said to be perfect in the spiritual life. This is the kind of perfection to which Christ calls us.

The process can only begin, as it did for Catherine, by experiencing that Fire. More often we feel simply burned out, not burning with God’s love. Physical sensations, as well as emotions, however, are unsteady guides. When relying on them, we’ll sputter out like firecrackers, whereas a persevering will and simple faith will keep us going even when we don’t feel like we are getting anywhere. The Fire may be gone in feeling, but not in grace. “Lord, set me on fire with Your love,” we can ask with humble directness. Or we can thoughtfully pray the Magnificat, the prayer of Mary when she literally had the Divine Fire within her, to reignite us. Then there are the sparks provided in the sacraments. Receiving absolution in Confession is like a molotov cocktail for the soul. St. Catherine says that man comes to Mass like an unlit candle, and when Communion is received worthily his candle is lit.

Elsewhere Catherine uses the image of coals. Coals, we could say, are happiest when they’re on fire, because that is what they are meant to be. The more thoroughly they are heated, the more they take on the very fire they’re in. The same goes for the soul enflamed by the Fire. Just as love transforms a person into what he loves, Catherine explains, so our soul’s inflamed love of God (Who is Charity Itself) produces a more intense, sincere love of neighbor. It is by this charity that we begin to truly set the world on fire.

“We are the Easter people,” Pope St. John Paul II declared. But there can be no Easter without fire. The Easter season begins and ends in flames: the Vigil commences with a blazing fire, and Pentecost is signaled by tongues of flame. This year, the feast of the patron saint of holy pyromania falls halfway between, bridging the two solemnities in a meaningful way. Through her incandescent intercession, may we not burn out or burn down, but rather burn within—and without, to the world.

Love & Happy Easter People! Let us blaze with His love!
Matthew

Apr 18 – Bl Marie-Anne Blondin, SSA, (1809-1890), Foundress of Congrégation des soeurs de Sainte-Anne (Sisters of St Anne)

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-by Karel Doruyter

Dan 12:23, Mt 5:10

“No money like public money.  No love like family love.  No politics like Church politics.” -MPM

If you are scandalized, as I am often, by the humanity, the “original sinfulness”, of a Church full of sinners, starting with myself, Rom 3:23, I can offer you little comfort.  However, I do think you will find “a better class of losers (sinners)”, with apologies to Mr. Travis, within than without.  And, our hope is NOT our own righteousness, but His.  Heb 6:19, 1 Cor 15:19.

When you are discouraged, even by your fellow Christians, those whom you KNOW should imitate Him MORE, invoke the aid of Bl Marie-Anne Blondin, SSA.  Pray to her to ask Him to give you (and me!, please) strength & perseverance.

Esther Blondin, in religion “Sister Marie Anne”, was born in Terrebonne (Quebec, Canada) on April 18, 1809, in a family of deeply Christian farmers. From her mother she inherited a piety centered on Divine Providence and the Eucharist and, from her father, a deep faith and a strong patience in suffering. Esther and her family were victims of illiteracy so common in French Canadian milieux of the nineteenth century. Still an illiterate at the age of 22, Esther worked as a domestic in the Convent of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, that had been recently opened in her own village. A year later, she registered as a boarder in order to learn to read and write. She then became a novice in the Congregation but had to leave, due to ill health.

In 1833, Esther became a teacher in the parochial school of Vaudreuil. Little by little, she found out that one of the causes of this illiteracy was due to a certain Church ruling that forbade that girls be taught by men and that boys be taught by women. Unable to finance two schools, many parish priests chose to have none. In 1848, under an irresistible call of the Spirit, Esther presented to her Bishop, Ignace Bourget, a plan she long cherished: that of founding a religious congregation “for the education of poor country children, both girls and boys in the same schools”. A rather new project for the time! It even seemed quite rash and contrary to the established order. Since the State was in favor of such schools, Bishop Bourget authorized a modest attempt so as to avoid a greater evil.

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-the “nemesis”, Rev. Louis-Adolphe Marechal, most in need of God’s mercy!  Mt 23.

The Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Anne was founded in Vaudreuil on September 8, 1850. Esther, now named “Mother Marie Anne”, became its first superior. The rapid growth of this young Community soon required larger quarters. During the Summer of 1853, Bishop Ignace Bourget transferred the Motherhouse to Saint Jacques de l’Achigan. The new chaplain, Father Louis Adolphe Marechal, interfered in an abusive way in the private life of the Community. During the Foundress’ absence, Father changed the pupils’ boarding fees. Should he be away for a while, he asked that the Sisters await his return to go to confession. After a year of this existing conflict between the chaplain and the Foundress, the latter being anxious to protect the rights of her Community, Bishop Bourget asked Mother Marie Anne, on August 18, 1854, “to resign”. He called for elections and warned Mother Marie Anne “not to accept the superiorship, even if her sisters wanted to reelect her”. Even though she could be reelected, according to the Rule of the Community, Mother Marie Anne obeyed her Bishop whom she considered God’s instrument. And she wrote: “As for me, my Lord, I bless Divine Providence a thousand times for the maternal care she shows me in making me walk the way of tribulations and crosses”.

Mother Marie Anne, having been named Directress at Saint Genevieve Convent, became the target of attacks from the Motherhouse authorities, influenced by the dictatorship of Father Marechal. Under the pretext of poor administration, Mother Marie Anne was recalled to the Motherhouse in 1858, with the Bishop’s warning: “take means so that she will not be a nuisance to anyone.” From this new destitution and until her death on January 2, 1890, Mother Marie Anne was kept away from administrative responsibilities. She was even kept away from the General Council deliberations when the 1872 and 1878 elections reelected her. Assigned to mostly hidden work in the laundry and ironing room, she led a life of total self-denial and thus ensured the growth of the Congregation. Behold the paradox of an influence which some wanted to nullify! In the Motherhouse basement laundry room in Lachine, where she spent her days, many generations of novices received from the Foundress a true example of obedience and humility, imbued with authentic relationships which ensure true fraternal charity. To a novice who asked her one day why she, the Foundress, was kept aside in such lowly work, she simply replied with kindness : “The deeper a tree sinks its roots into the soil, the greater are its chances of growing and producing fruit”.

The attitude of Mother Marie Anne, who was a victim of so many injustices, initially not even being listed in the directory of sisters, allows us to bring out the evangelical sense she gave to events in her life. Just as Jesus Christ, who passionately worked for the Glory of His Father, so too Mother Marie Anne sought only God’s Glory in all she did. “The greater Glory of God” was the aim she herself gave her Community. “To make God known to the young who have not the happiness of knowing Him” was for her a privileged way of working for the Glory of God. Deprived of her most legitimate rights, and robbed of all her personal letters with her bishop, she offered no resistance and she expected, from the infinite goodness of God, the solution to the matter. She was convinced that “He will know well, in his Wisdom, how to discern the false from the true and to reward each one according to his deeds”.

Prevented from being called “Mother” by those in authority, Mother Marie Anne did not jealously hold on to her title of Foundress; rather she chose annihilation, just like Jesus, “her crucified Love”, so that her Community might live. However, she did not renounce her mission of spiritual mother of her Community. She offered herself to God in order “to expiate all the sins which were committed in the Community”; and she daily prayed Saint Anne “to bestow on her spiritual daughters the virtues so necessary for Christian educators”.

Like any prophet invested with a mission of salvation, Mother Marie Anne lived persecution by forgiving without restriction, convinced that “there is more happiness in forgiving than in revenge”. This evangelical forgiveness, guarantee of “the peace of soul which she held most precious”, was ultimately proven on her death bed when she asked her superior to call for Father Marechal “for the edification of the Sisters”.

As she felt the end approaching, Mother Marie Anne left to her daughters her spiritual testament in these words which are a resume of her whole life : “May Holy Eucharist and perfect abandonment to God’s Will be your heaven on earth”. She then peacefully passed away at the Motherhouse of Lachine, on January 2, 1890, “happy to go to the Good God” she had served all her life.

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Prayer to Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin

Lord, you gave to
Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin
a heart impassioned for Your glory
and You called her to serve with tenderness
the young, the poor, and the sick.

You gave her hope
in the most difficult moments in her life
and You led her to deep serenity.

Be praised, Lord,
for your humble servant.
Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin.

Through her intercession
grant us favor
that we ask of You with confidence. Amen.

Prayer of the Elderly

Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin
you, like us, lived
through the stages of a long life,
and so we come to you with confidence.

Through the events
that continue to mark our lives,
help our faith grow even stronger
and our love more unselfish.
In seeing us, may others find peace
and renew their courage.

You, who lived in absolute trust
of the heavenly Father,
free us from fear.
Help us, even now,
experience the joy
promised to people of good will. Amen.

“Model of a humble and hidden life, Marie-Anne Blondin found interior strength by contemplating the cross, showing us that the life of intimacy with Christ is the surest way to give fruits mysteriously and fulfill the mission willed by God.”
-Pope John Paul II at the beatification of Blessed Marie-Anne

Love,
Matthew