Category Archives: Plague

Jun 27 – St John Southworth (1592-1654) – Priest & Martyr


-The Chapel of St George and the English Martyrs.  Note the reliquary, “feretory”, of St John Southworth on the right.  Please click on the image for greater detail.

The marble walls and floor were completed in 1931. The life-size figure of St George takes its place as chief patron of the Chapel

St George was a Roman soldier, put to death for his Christian faith about 302AD. His cult was brought to England by the Crusaders, and King Edward III made him patron of England in the fourteenth century.

In this Chapel, which is currently in the process of being decorated with its mosaic scheme, we pray especially for England, and for those who have witnessed to their Catholic faith in our land.

In the center of the floor is a rose, symbol of England; the rose motif is continued behind the altar and around the walls. Either side of the altar the red cross of St George is displayed on marble shields. Panels list servicemen who gave their lives in battle, and who are prayed for in the Cathedral.

On the facing wall is a carving of St George by Lindsey Clarke. Above the altar is the last carving of Eric Gill. It portrays Christ on the cross, not suffering, but gloriously triumphant over death; to his left stands St Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England, and to his right St John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester. Both men were executed in 1535 for their refusal to deny the Supremacy of the Pope under King Henry VIII.

Normally, St John Southworth, martyred in 1654 at Tyburn (now Marble Arch) for his Catholic faith, lies in a shrine by the grill. His body was brought to the Cathedral in 1930. It is now temporarily housed in the Chapel of the Holy Souls while the decoration of the Chapel of St George and the English Martyrs is completed.

At the entrance to the Chapel is a mosaic representing Christ the Divine Healer, erected in 1952 in memory of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Outside the Chapel, a new mosaic records St Alban, the first to shed his blood for the Christian faith on British soil. Alban was a Roman soldier in the Roman province of Britannia. He sheltered, and then changed places with, a persecuted Catholic priest. When arrested, he refused to sacrifice to the Roman gods, and was martyred. The mosaic, by Christopher Hobbs, was unveiled in June 2001.

Lord, we pray for all those who
witness to the Gospel in this land.
May all Christians work to heal
divisions within the Church,
So that together we may bear witness to Jesus Christ.


-reliquary of St John Southworth, the only Reformation martyr whose remains are wholly intact, please click on the image for greater detail.

Saint John Southworth came from a Lancashire family, the principal members of which seemed to have lived at Samlesbury Hall. He is thought to have been born in 1592 and was martyred at Tyburn on 28 June 1654. His family chose to pay heavy fines rather than give up the Catholic faith.

In 1618, John Southworth was ordained a priest at the English College, Douai (Douay) in Northern France. After returning to England, he was arrested and condemned to death in Lancashire in 1626, and imprisoned first in Lancaster Castle, and afterwards in the Clink Prison, London. On 11 April, 1630, at the insistence of Queen Henrietta Maria, he and seventeen others were delivered to the French Ambassador for transportation abroad, but, in 1636, he was reported to have been released from the Gatehouse, Westminster, and was living at Clerkenwell. From there it seems he and Henry Morse, SJ, frequently visited the plague-stricken dwellings of Westminster to administer the sacraments and comfort the sick and the dying. They both also raised money for plague-stricken families. In 1637, he appears to have been based in Westminster, where he was arrested on 28 November, before being again sent to the Gatehouse. From there he was transferred to the Clink and, in 1640, was brought before the Commissioners for Causes Ecclesiastical, who sent him back there. During these various imprisonments Fr Southworth was protected by the Secretary of State to the King, Francis Windebank, who seems to have allowed him relative freedom, and who eventually became a Catholic himself.

On 16 July, John Southworth was again freed, but by 2 December he was once more imprisoned in the Gatehouse. After his final apprehension on 19 June 1654, dragged from his bed by a Colonel Worsley, he was tried at the Old Bailey, where he insisted on pleading guilty to being a priest. He was reluctantly condemned to be hung, drawn and quartered by the Recorder of London, Serjeant Steel, who wept bitterly while reading the sentence.  He was permitted to wear his vestments at this execution, a rare honor.  He was the only Catholic martyr to die under the rule of Oliver Cromwell.  On the day of his martyrdom, he was allowed to make a long speech at the gallows.

Among his last words:

“I am come hither to die, and would willingly speak something…I am a Lancashire man and am brought hither to die not for any crime I have committed against the laws, but for being a priest, and obeying the commandments of my Savior Jesus Christ and for professing the true Roman Catholic and Apostolic Faith, in which I willingly die, and have earnestly desired the same. My study from my infancy was to find out the true and only way to serve God, and having found it, my study was to serve Him.  And I have suffered much, and many years imprisonment, to obtain that which I hope ere long I shall enjoy.

Almighty God sent his only Son my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into this world for the redemption of mankind; and although the least of His sufferings was superabundant satisfaction, yet He rested not so contented, but Himself doeth by word and example give us a rule by which we should be guided: He told St. Peter, thou art a rock, and upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it — which is the true Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church.

My faith and obedience to my superiors is all the treason charged against me; nay, I die for Christ’s law, which no human law, by whomsoever made, ought to withstand or contradict… To follow His holy doctrine and imitate His holy death, I willingly suffer at present; this gallows I look on as His Cross, which I gladly take to follow my Dear Saviour…I plead not for myself…but for you poor persecuted Catholics whom I leave behind me.

My faith is my crime, the performance of my duty the occasion of my condemnation. I confess I am a great sinner; against God I have offended, but am innocent of any sin against man, I mean the Commonwealth, and the present Government.”  He was cut short.  Closed his eyes, said his prayers, and the trap door of the gallows swung open.

The Venetian Secretary reported on his execution: he was hung, and was not dead when the executioner “cut out his heart and entrails and threw them into a fire kindled for the purpose, the body being quartered . . . Such is the inhuman cruelty used towards the English Catholic religious.”

The Spanish ambassador bought his body for forty guineas from the executioner and, in 1655, returned it to Douai after the corpse had been sewn together and embalmed (parboiled). In 1656 the recovery of Francis Howard, fifth son of the Earl of Arundel, was attributed to St John Southworth’s relics. When England and France went to war in 1793 St John Southworth’s body was buried in a lead coffin in an unmarked grave below the college for its protection. The grave was discovered in 1927 where it remained hidden until 1927 when the college was demolished to make way for housing.
His major relics were sent to St Edmund’s College, Ware, successor of the English College in Douai. In 1930, his major relics – the only complete body of a Reformation martyr – were brought to Westminster Cathedral, where a shrine was prepared for them.

He was beatified in 1929 and was canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI, as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.


-please click on the images for greater detail.

So here he lies as he has lain in state
These ninety years in this cathedral crypt
At Westminster. We come to venerate
The relics of a martyr: his heart, ripped
Out of his chest at Tyburn for a priest,
Was sewn back in at Cromwell’s stern behest.
Four times arrested and three times released,
That blessèd little man four times confessed.

His derring-do his daring deeds display,
This doughty representative of Christ.
With face behind a silver mask he lies
And if he cries we cannot see his eyes.
-Peter Hartley

St John Southworth’s feast day is 27 June, which is observed as a Solemnity at the Westminster Cathedral, London, UK.

Love,
Matthew

Plague, the Catholic way

In 1575, the black death/plague descended on Milan [Ed. Ambrosian rite, as Milan was the city also of St Ambrose.  My novice master’s religious name was Ambrose.] The city’s bishop, St. Charles Borromeo, hastened both to action and to prayer. Borromeo sold his own possessions to fund the relief effort and persuaded many wealthy citizens to contribute generously. He organized his clergy to care, materially and spiritually, for all in need. He created and staffed hospitals and quarantine houses. [Ed. we get our word “quarantine” from the forty days plague victims were required to isolate themselves, “Italian: quaranta giorni”.] Concerned by the growing ranks of the unemployed (sound familiar?) he created jobs for, or otherwise supported, large numbers of unemployed workers. Though he instilled strict distancing policies, he was nevertheless desperate not to forego his own personal contact with the suffering. Accordingly, St Charles made everyone, including his own household, treat him as though he had the plague; he went so far as carrying a long pole to keep healthy-looking people at bay when going about his business. He also made a special point of ensuring that the most vulnerable—that is, the orphaned infants whom he took “particular pleasure in rescuing”—received adequate love and attention.

Mindful above all of his flock’s spiritual needs, Borromeo went to great lengths to ensure people, despite everything, received proper religious care: “While he did not neglect their bodies, his principal solicitude was for the salvation of souls.” Most strikingly, at the peak of the epidemic, with churches closed and people confined to their homes, he had outdoor altars erected all around town, “where Mass was said daily, so that all could attend from their homes.” [Ed. the Mass “online” of its day?] He also instituted door-to-door confessions—“the confessor sitting on the doorstep outside, and the penitent kneeling within”—and home-delivery of the Eucharist on Sundays, administering the sacrament at the doorstep “as if they had been cloistered religious.”

“It did not escape him that the forty days of quarantine, if given up to idleness, afforded many temptations to sin; he therefore was heedful to provide that this time should be spent so as to promote the glory of God and the salvation of their souls.” To this end, he organized a number of activities and resources to help his flock homeschool themselves in piety and virtue. Prayerbooks were also distributed to each household, so the whole city might pray in unison at seven times of the day and night, “singing psalms and hymns in two choirs, after the manner of a chapter of canons, and saying suitable prayers, each hour being announced by the ringing of the great bell of the cathedral.” Copies of inspiring readings were translated into the vernacular and published, including works by our third-century friends Sts. Cyprian and Dionysius, relevant sermons and letters from other saints, and an account of the Franciscan St. Bernardine’s ministrations in plague-torn Siena in 1400.

Aged just nineteen, Bernardine volunteered to work in Siena’s plague hospital and encouraged his friends to do likewise. Nursing the sick and dying, he “labored with such readiness and cheerfulness of mind, that it seemed as if he were engaged in the care of his father, of his brothers, or of his own children. This should cause little astonishment, for in serving the sick, Bernardine served God, who is more than father, brother, or son to us.”

And that was not all: To provide still further against the evils of idleness, St. Charles sent round a pastoral letter, suggesting how the rest of their time might be profitably spent in mental prayer and spiritual reading, and granted special indulgences to those who practiced these exercises and prayed for the sick.

According to Borromeo’s biographer, thanks to his concern for the spiritual sustenance of the quarantined, “Milan might at this time have been not unfitly compared to a cloister of religious of both sexes serving God in the enclosure of their cells, an image of the heavenly Jerusalem filled with the praises of the angelic hosts.”

St. Henry Morse (1595–1645) and St. John Southworth (c. 1592–1654) ministered illegally to London’s Catholics during a seventeenth-century outbreak of plague. Though neither liked the other’s methods, they got results. Both were later martyred for these and other “crimes.”

Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig (1911– 1945), was arrested by the Gestapo in 1941 for preaching in defense of the Jews. Imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp, he volunteered to serve quarantined inmates who were infected with typhoid. He contracted and died from the disease. He was beatified a “martyr of charity/love”, instead of a martyr from violence, similar to St Maximillian Kolbe or St Damien De Veuster, in 2016.

St Marianne Cope

Love, trust in Him, always,
Matthew

Hospitals, hospices, and conquering the Roman Empire

“Our brethren who are freed from this world by the Lord’s summons are not to be lamented, since we know that they are not lost, but sent before; that, departing from us, they precede us as travellers, as navigators are accustomed to do; that they should be desired, but not bewailed; that the black garments should not be taken upon us here, when they have already taken upon them the white raiment there.”
St. Cyprian of Carthage

In the late 240s AD, a grave new illness arose, wreaking terror throughout the Roman Empire for the best—or rather worst—part of the next two decades. This sickness, originating in the south-eastern reaches of the then-known world, would suddenly appear in a major city and transport hub: Alexandria, Carthage, Rome. It would torment and ravage the inhabitants over the cooler winter months, then ease over the summer. Often enough, it would return the next year. And sometimes the next.

Exactly what this illness was, modern scholars are not sure. While there have been various suggestions, including smallpox and bubonic plague, the smartest money is probably on one of two possibilities: either Ebola or an especially virulent influenza-like illness. In his 2017 book The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire, historian Kyle Harper draws instructive comparisons to the global “Spanish” Flu crisis of 1918–1920 and the more recent outbreaks of H5N1 “avian flu”. Today, another parallel leaps all too readily to mind: our current coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.

Though there are clear and (for us) merciful differences – the “diseased putrefaction” of bodily extremities, necessitating amputation, being just one—there are nonetheless some striking similarities. Here we rely on the first-hand testimony of St. Cyprian, who was bishop of Carthage in modern-day Tunisia when the disease hit the city around AD 250. He speaks, for instance, of “the attack of fevers.” Severe gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting, which afflict a significant number of coronavirus sufferers, were also a major hallmark: “The bowels, relaxed into a constant flux, discharge of the bodily strength…The intestines are shaken with a continual vomiting.” Specific symptoms aside, the malady clearly thrived on close person-to-person contact, as per our own obsessions with “social distancing” and “self-isolation”. Hints from other ancient sources also suggest that, while no age group was truly “safe,” those in middle and older age brackets were at least equally, if not (as with COVID-19) harder hit. (This contrasts with the 1918–1920 pandemic, for example, which disproportionately hit the young and fit.

Though medically and historically interesting, comparing symptoms is not what is most helpful in considering our current situation. For our purposes, the most salient link between the so-called “Plague of Cyprian” and our present global crisis is something they both share with countless other such outbreaks throughout human history: the staggering costs in terms of lives and livelihoods; the anguish—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual-afflicting millions, even billions, of people; and the stress and strains put on all, but especially on those whose calling it is to serve, protect, treat, and/or care for others.

Writing within a year or two of Cyprian, another North African bishop, St. Dionysius of Alexandria, noted that “now, indeed, everything is tears and everyone is mourning, and wailings resound daily through the city because of the multitude of the dead and dying.”…St. Dionysius, just a few sentences later remarks: “Truly the best of our brethren departed from life [having contracted the disease in the course of their care for others] including some presbyters and deacons and those of the people who had the highest reputation.”

In a groundbreaking 1996 book, The Rise of Christianity, the American sociologist Rodney Stark turned the tools of his trade on the early Church—with fascinating results. Among other things, he highlighted the role that such pandemics—and Catholics’ response to them, which differed from other people’s—played in the ultimate Christianization of the Roman Empire. St. Pontius, who served as a deacon of Cyprian’s during the period in question, describes the “numberless” inhabitants in Carthage succumbing to the “dreadful plague”:

“All were shuddering, fleeing, shunning the contagion, impiously exposing their own friends—as if with the exclusion of the person who was sure to die of the plague, one could also exclude death itself. Lying about over the whole city were, no longer bodies, but the carcasses of many, demanding the pity of those passing by, who contemplated a destiny that in their turn would be their own.”

The city’s Catholics, however, were a notable exception to this general trend. While others fled to the countryside (in many cases, one assumes, taking the disease with them), as significant number of Pontius’ coreligionists stayed behind to nurse any in need, irrespective of their faith. Nor was this a local aberration. Over in Alexandria, for instance, Dionysius reports: “Most of our brethren were unsparing in their exceeding love and brotherly kindness. They held fast to each other and visited the sick fearlessly, and ministered to them continually, serving them in Christ.”

Early the next century, as a new plague ravaged parts of the Empire, Catholics again came to the help of those in need. According to Eusebius of Caesarea:

“In the midst of such illness, they alone [the Catholics] showed their sympathy and humanity through their deeds. Every day some continued caring for and burying the dead, for there were multitudes who had no one to care for them; others collected those who were afflicted by the famine throughout the the entire city into one place, and gave bread to them all.”

All things considered, it is perhaps not surprising that this selfless heroism won both admiration and converts: “[These things were] reported abroad among all people, and they glorified the God of the Christians; and, convinced by the facts themselves, confessed that they alone were truly pious and religious.” While Catholic writers may be suspected of some bias here, there is no good reason to doubt this basic assessment: even the Church’s enemies admitted the public power and persuasive pull of Catholic love for “the least of these” (Matt. 25:31– 46). In addition, Stark demonstrates how this care for the sick and dying would have had other, more subtle implications. For example, even the most basic nursing care—bringing water and food to the bedridden, say—can dramatically raise a patient’s survival prospects. Given the lack of basic hygiene and poor understanding of how contagions spread, the odds were high of contracting the latest disease at some time anyway, whether one tried to flee or not. Being a Catholic, and thus belonging to its mutual nursing syndicate, could greatly increase one’s chances of surviving. Even just knowing Catholics would help, since if they knew where you lived, they’d be able to send someone to you. These two facts—a higher survival rate for Catholics, and for people already connected to Catholics—would have important repercussions once the pandemic had passed: (1) a higher-than-before proportion of Catholics compared to the pagan population; and (2) a good number of pagans more closely networked with, and grateful to, Catholics than they had been before. Hence, they themselves were more susceptible to conversion. Repeat this whole process every generation or two and, combined with some other factors (e.g., a trend for bigger families, not least due to Catholics’ countercultural aversion to both abortion and infanticide), you have an important part of how “the West”—including North Africa and the Near East—was Christianized.

Yet so much of what is now taken for granted—from public hospitals and hospices to famine relief charities and social security—were avowedly Catholic innovations. As Bart Ehrman, a scholar of early Christianity (who is an agnostic), puts it:

“By conquering the Roman world, and then the entire West, Christianity . . . changed the way people look at the world and choose to live in it. Modern sensitivities, values, and ethics have all been radically affected by the Catholic tradition…Without the conquest of Catholicism…billions of people may never have embraced the idea that society should serve the marginalized or be concerned with the well-being of the needy, values that most of us in the West have simply assumed are “human” values.”

Ehrman is by no means alone in this assessment.”

Lk 10:37

Love, and trust in Him,
Matthew

Interdict, actual grace, sanctifying grace & pandemic

The Church as sacrament

I know it is difficult for others to understand how the well catechized Catholic sees and understands the Church.  The Church, herself, is a sacrament.  Not a club.  Not an association.  Not something convenient, social, or popular to belong to, rather, the Church is an absolute necessity and vehicle for salvation.  Extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

“Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; He is present to us in His body which is the Church. He Himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.” (CCC 846)

Both CCC 847 and Gaudium Et Spes 22, regarding salvation outside the Church, say, basically, “may”, “ought”. They do not say “will”, “shall”, 51% chance, or any other equivocation from the original formula of Extra ecclesiam nulla salus. And while Mt 18:18, and God gives His authority to His Church, His continuing presence on earth, God does not give away His power to save whomsoever He shall choose, whensoever He may choose.  He is God.  His Church recognizes this.

Actual & Sanctifying Grace

While belonging to the Church is a “necessary” vehicle, Mt 7:21. Therefore, all before baptism bear the deficiency of original sin, baptism is regenerative in grace. It is grace, sanctifying grace, to be in “the state of grace”, conscious of no mortal sin unrepented and absolved of, that makes us acceptable to God, to be in, to remain in the presence of God after death.  God in His infinitely brilliant, beyond comprehension brilliance, where no sin cannot be unconsumed, does not tolerate less than His own grace in His presence.  My mother would call her children, I assume my sister, too, but there was never much question about her, but definitely her sons and regularly ask, “(Name) are you in the state of grace?” Lovingly, like a mother who says, “If my children lose their faith, I have failed as a mother” would do.  Right?  Everybody knows what that’s like.  Right?  Everybody got those calls from their mothers.  Right? 🙂

Sanctifying grace stays in the soul. It’s what makes the soul holy; it gives the soul supernatural life. More properly, it is supernatural life.

Actual grace, by contrast, is a supernatural push or encouragement. It’s transient. It doesn’t live in the soul, but acts on the soul from the outside, so to speak. It’s a supernatural kick in the pants. It gets the will and intellect moving so we can seek out and keep sanctifying grace. You can obtain supernatural life by yielding to actual graces you receive. God keeps giving you these divine pushes, and all you have to do is go along.

Sanctifying grace implies a real transformation of the soul. Recall that most of the Protestant Reformers denied that a real transformation takes place. They said God doesn’t actually wipe away our sins. Instead, our souls remain corrupted, full of sin. God merely throws a cloak over them and treats them as if they were spotless, knowing all the while that they’re not.

But that isn’t the Catholic view. We believe souls really are cleansed by an infusion of the supernatural life. Of course, we’re still subject to temptations to sin; we still suffer the effects of Adam’s Fall in that sense (what theologians call “concupiscence”); but God has removed the sins we have, much like a mother might wash the dirt off of a child who has a tendency to get dirty again. Our wills are given the new powers of hope and charity, things absent at the merely natural level.

He sends you an actual grace, say, in the form of a nagging voice that whispers, “You need to repent! Go to confession!” You do, your sins are forgiven, you’re reconciled to God, and you have supernatural life again (John 20:21–23). Or you say to yourself, “Maybe tomorrow,” and that particular supernatural impulse, that actual grace, passes you by. But another is always on the way, God is never abandoning us to our own stupidity (1 Tim. 2:4).

Once you have supernatural life, once sanctifying grace is in your soul, you can increase it by every supernaturally good action you do: receiving Communion, saying prayers, performing corporal or spiritual works of mercy. Is it worth increasing sanctifying grace once you have it; isn’t the minimum enough? Yes and no. It’s enough to get you into heaven, but it may not be enough to sustain itself. The minimum isn’t good enough because it’s easy to lose the minimum, due to our original sin.  Our defect, not God’s.  Our defect in preternatural justification, holiness, and grace lost in original sin.

We must continually seek God’s grace, continually respond to the actual graces God is working within us, inclining us to turn to Him and do good; even as original sin causes tempts us to turn away and do evil. This is what Paul discusses when he instructs us: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain” (Phil. 2:12–16).

Sacraments as primary vehicles of grace

BALTIMORE CATECHISM #3
LESSON 13 – ON THE SACRAMENTS IN GENERAL

Q. 574. What is a Sacrament?

A. A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.

In Catholicism, the seven sacraments are the primary vehicles of grace. To be deprived of them is a serious matter to Catholics for the above stated reasons. If, like in Japan, where for 200 years hidden Catholic communities maintained the faith from the seventeenth century when Catholicism was made illegal in Japan, and clergy expelled, until the nineteenth century when hidden Catholic communities who had kept the faith in Nagasaki and Imamura without clergy were rediscovered by returning missionaries, Catholics would believe God would supply the necessary graces for salvation in the absence of the sacraments.

However, as a means of censure, prohibition of the sacraments could mean the endangerment of one’s soul. Interdict today, it has a long history and technicalities, has the effect of forbidding the person or community, often referred to as “personal” or, in the case of a community, “local”, interdict from celebrating or receiving any of the sacraments, including the Eucharist, or to celebrate the sacramentals. One who is under interdict is also forbidden to take any ministerial part (e.g., as a reader if a layperson or as a deacon or priest if a clergyman) in the celebration of the Eucharist or of any other ceremony of public worship.

However, in the case of a ferendae sententiae interdict, as opposed to latae sententiae, or automatically, similar to excommunication, ferendae sententiae interdict is one incurred only when imposed by a legitimate superior or declared as the sentence of an ecclesiastical court, those affected are not to be admitted to Holy Communion (see canon 915), and if they violate the prohibition against taking a ministerial part in celebrating the Eucharist or some other ceremony of public worship, they are to be expelled or the sacred rite suspended, unless there is a grave reason to the contrary. In the same circumstances, local ordinaries (bishops) and parish priests lose their right to assist validly at marriages.

Automatic (latae sententiae) interdict is incurred by anyone using physical violence against a bishop, as also by a person who, not being an ordained priest, attempts to celebrate Mass, or who, though unable to give valid sacramental absolution, attempts to do so, or hears a sacramental confession. Automatic interdict is also incurred by anyone falsely accusing a priest of soliciting sexual favors in connection with confession or attempting to marry while having a perpetual vow of chastity.

An interdict is also the censure that canon law says should be imposed on someone who, because of some act of ecclesiastical authority or ministry publicly incites to hatred against the Holy See or the Ordinary (Bishop), or who promotes or takes up office in an association that plots against the Church, or who commits the crime of simony.

Our pandemic imposed interdict


by Br Bartholomew Calvano, OP

“Many saints have lived through tumultuous times—much like our own. Look no further than the fourteenth century; it seems to bear a striking resemblance to our present state of affairs. In fact, a quick read through one saint’s writings and you would think that she was living today.

Saint Catherine of Siena was born in the middle of the fourteenth century when the black death swept through Europe. Italy was far from united at the time, for all of the city states were embroiled in near ceaseless warfare (of smaller or larger scale) with one another.

At times, the Pope was even placing cities under interdict so that there were many who could not receive the Sacraments on account of their rebellious leaders. Saint Catherine was sometimes called on to act as an intermediary in these conflicts, such as when she traveled to Avignon in order to convince the Pope to lift the interdict on Florence.

Despite these many tribulations, the Catholic Church and her members persevered through this period of upheaval and uncertainty. And how did they do it? We can look to St. Catherine as a model. Her response to all of the troubles in the world was to implore the Lord to act through his Christian servants, both lay and ordained. She prayed for their renewed fidelity to the vocation God had given them. Whenever she prayed thus, she never failed to include herself as needing the same help she was asking for others.

Saint Catherine’s humble trust in God can serve as an example for us during these uncertain times. Below is an excerpt from a prayer that she said on Passion (Palm) Sunday in 1379, a little more than a year before her death at the age of 33. Perhaps you will find her centuries-old appeal to resonate with the needs of our present day and age.

“Oh Godhead,

my Love,

I have one thing to ask of You.

When the world was lying sick

You sent Your only-begotten Son

as doctor,

and I know You did it for love.

But now I see the world lying completely dead—

so dead that my soul faints at the sight.

What way can there be now

to revive this dead one once more?

For You, God, cannot suffer,

and You are not about to come again

to redeem the world

but to judge it.

How then

shall this dead one be brought back to life?

I do not believe, oh infinite Goodness,

that You have no remedy.

Indeed, I proclaim it:

Your love is not wanting,

nor is Your power weakened,

nor is Your wisdom lessened.

So You want to,

You can,

and You know how

to send the remedy that is needed.

I beg You then,

let it please Your goodness

to show me the remedy,

and let my soul be roused to pick it up courageously.

Response: [St. Catherine pauses here to listen to the Lord’s response.]

True,

Your Son is not about to come again

except in majesty,

to judge,

as I have said.

But as I see it,

You are calling Your servants christs,

and by means of them

You want to relieve the world of death

and restore it to life.

How?

You want these servants of Yours

to walk courageously along the Word’s way,

with concern and blazing desire,

working for Your honor

and the salvation of souls,

and for this

patiently enduring pain,

torments,

disgrace,

blame—

from whatever source these may come.

For these finite sufferings,

joined with their infinite desire,

You want to refresh them—

I mean, You want to listen to their prayers

and grant their desires.

But if they were merely to suffer physically,

without this desire,

it would not be enough

either for themselves or for others—

any more than the Word’s Passion,

without the power of the Godhead,

would have satisfied

for the salvation of the human race.

Oh best of remedy-givers!

Give us then these christs,

who will live in continual watching

and tears

and prayers

for the world’s salvation.

You call them Your christs

because they are conformed with Your only-begotten Son.

Ah, eternal Father!

Grant that we may not be foolish,

blind,

or cold,

or see so darkly

that we do not even see ourselves,

but give us the gift of knowing Your will.

I have sinned, Lord.

Have mercy on me!

I thank you,

I thank you,

for You have granted my soul refreshment—

in the knowledge You have given me

of how I can come to know

the exaltedness of Your charity(love)

even while I am still in my mortal body,

and in the remedy I see You have ordained

to free the world from death.”

-“Prayer 19” in The Prayers of Catherine of Siena, trans. Suzanne Noffke (San Jose: Authors Choice Press, 2001), 212-15.

Love & hope, trust in Him ALWAYS!!!,
Matthew

The Black Death & the Protestant Revolution

“The arrival of the Black Death in Christendom — perhaps the most destructive pandemic in world history, which killed, by very reliable estimates, about half the population of Europe. In some areas the death toll may have been as high as 80 percent.

“It was a visitation upon a scale so enormous as to strike a blow at medieval society which might have dissolved it — and nearly did dissolve it. . . . In some places towns and villages sank never to rise again. . . . You may trace its effects even today in the half-finished buildings which were stopped dead and their completion never undertaken.”22

It’s no wonder many Catholics believed that Pestilence, the first of St. John’s Four Horsemen, had made his prophesied appearance (see Rev. 6).

One of the cruelest ironies about the Black Death is the way it contributed so heavily to the deterioration of the clergy. In what way? Imagine the workload for a priest: confessions, last rites, comfort to survivors, and Christian burial (when possible) from sunup to sundown for weeks, months, years on end. And though science did not yet know what caused the Black Death, everyone knew very well by common sense alone that whoever spent time around the plague usually died from it sooner or later. So the clergy who took the sacraments into the plague zones were spiritually akin to the firemen who ran toward the Twin Towers on 9/11 while everyone else was running away. The faithful bishop, the loyal priest, the dutiful deacon all ministered as long as they could, and then died. The cowards and deserters fled and survived — to become practically the whole clergy in the post plague years. No wonder the fifteenth century was such a dumpster fire.

As a direct result of this factor, the Faith itself got lost somewhere along the way — or adulterated, at any rate, by a nasty tincture of superstition. The plague shut down churches and monasteries, all the places where the real Christian Faith was meant to be taught (and had been for a long time, despite individual lapses).

Many of the clergy ordained to replace the fallen became “Mass priests” — priests, that is, who literally did nothing but recite the Mass because they had no training and did not know how to preach. Deprived of solid doctrine this way, the laity took on bad doctrines, often spread by teachers who were simply ignorant. Sub-Christian notions crept back in and distorted Catholic teaching.

The Church’s perfectly sound traditions about the correct use of sacramentals, for instance, were allowed to mix with leftovers from Europe’s recently dead pagan past. Sacred medals became charms; relics were confused with rabbit’s feet. In a disaster area like this, with no time to spare for jumping through moral or theological hoops, quick cures were needed — so the Church became a source for magic pills, not spiritual salvation. Doctors and theologians kept the true teaching on the books, to be sure, but popular extravagances happened far away from the universities. “For instance,” as Belloc writes,

the doctrine of the Invocation of Saints is clear; but towards the end of the Middle Ages you get men robbing one shrine to enrich another. The doctrine of the use of Masses is clear, and especially their use for the benefit of the souls in Purgatory; but the superstition that a Mass in this place was efficacious, and in that was not — the superstition which confuses mechanical repetition with spiritual force grew as the Middle Ages declined.23

Somewhat akin to this are the many fantastic legends about the saints and the early Church that grew up during these years, based, in many cases, on few, if any, historical facts. Most of them were perhaps harmless — saints who never existed, shrines built at the sites of miracles that never happened — harmless, that is, until they came to be confused with the actual tenets of the Faith. Laypeople lost the ability to distinguish between actual Sacred Tradition and tradition with a small t (i.e., just old, oft-repeated stories, many times nothing but wives’ tales). Worse, both sets of ideas came to be held with the same tenacity — leaving the Resurrection of Our Blessed Lord in the same category with St. George’s dragon.

And then, a few decades later, when some Lollard or Lutheran came along, bringing proofs against the “Donation of Constantine” or the “False Decretals,” many a vulnerable papist joined the Protestants in their Bible-only beliefs, convinced that they had now seen the folly of “man-made” Christianity.

When the Black Death began to subside in the late 1300s, some measure of order was restored. Why, afterward, weren’t efforts made to sort through these fables and false documents? There were — but only after the Protestant revolt. Before then, there was simply too little incentive to overcome the inertia. And here, of course, is where the bad shepherds returned big time. Too much money was being generated by this point, money the Church had come to depend on. The best example is the most famous: the sale of indulgences, against which Luther wrote his Ninety-Five Theses.”

-Bennett, Rod. Bad Shepherds: The Dark Years in Which the Faithful Thrived While Bishops Did the Devil’s Work . (c) 2018 Sophia Institute Press. Kindle Edition. Location: 874-913

Love,
Matthew

22 Hilaire Belloc, The Crisis of Civilization (Charlotte, NC: TAN Books, 1992), 89.
23 Ibid., 81.

The Black Death



-by Steve Weidenkopf

“As the modern world struggles to handle the impact of the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, commentators are making comparisons to previous viral outbreaks such as the Influenza Pandemic (or “Spanish Flu”) in the early twentieth century or the Black Death in the fourteenth century. Although historical comparisons can be helpful in some situations, they are not always beneficial because the context in which these events occurred is often not sufficiently acknowledged.

The Black Death is one of the best-known calamities in human history, but the society it ravaged and its impacts on Christendom and the Church are not widely understood. Given the current health crisis gripping the modern world, it may be profitable to investigate the period in an effort to shed a different light on the current situation.

In the mid-fourteenth century, a nasty virus carried to Europe by merchants from the East attacked Christendom. Known at the time as “the pestilence,” “the plague,” or “the great mortality” (the term “Black Death” was coined first in the sixteenth century but entered popular usage in the nineteenth century), it began in China, spread to Mongolia, the Byzantine Empire, and the Crimea, from which it entered Sicily and spread throughout Europe. Every country in Christendom was affected except Poland and Bohemia, which had limited merchant activity with the rest of Europe.

England suffered greatly from three waves of the plague over the course of a century. So great the devastation that the country did not return to its pre-plague population of six million until the mid-eighteenth century.

The deadly pestilence occurred in three forms: bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic plague. Bubonic plague produced painful buboes in the lymph nodes, especially in the groin, armpits, and neck. Symptoms included high fever, swelling of the lymph nodes, diarrhea, vomiting, headaches, convulsions, and dizziness. The septicemic plague involved an infection of the blood and produced black and blue marks on the body, abdominal pain, and other symptoms. The pneumonic plague produced shortness of breath, chest pain, and coughing as the infection settled in the lungs.


-physician protective gear of the 14th century. The belief was disease was caused by bad smells, which certainly accompany disease after the fact. But, the belief in bad smells as a cause led to the masks seen here. The beak was filled with sweet smelling herbs, or such, and the entire outfit certainly lessened the direct contact with germs to a horrific degree, which supported the use of the garment and mask and theory in lieu of anything more enlightened. So, while the beak and outfit looks awful and chilling, it did have a practical intended purpose.

Medieval doctors did not have accurate knowledge of the transmission of germs and immunology, so a wide spectrum of treatment options was employed, including enemas and bloodletting. Some doctors endorsed abstinence from seafood, sexual activity, and bathing. Jacme D’Agramont, a Spanish physician and professor at the University of Lerida, wrote in his book Regimen of Protection against Epidemics that, “habitual bathing is also very dangerous, because the bath opens the pores of the body and through these pores corrupt air enters and has a powerful influence upon our body.”

Although the plague affected parts of Europe differently, recent estimates put the overall death rate at fifty percent of Christendom’s total population over a two-year period. Cities were devastated and many urban dwellers fled to the countryside in an attempt to escape the pestilence. The volume of deaths was staggering as thousands died daily. In the Burgundian village of Givry the annual death rate before the plague was forty; in 1348, the village lost 650 souls. The southern French city of Avignon, home at this time to the popes, witnessed 11,000 deaths over a five-week period. The calamity produced extreme reactions. Some people believed the plague was punishment from God for the sins of humanity, so they publicly practiced extreme penances, such as scourging. A group known as the Flagellants developed. They preached doctrinal errors and ran afoul of the Church hierarchy because of their unorthodox and unauthorized preaching and penitential processions. The chronicler Heinrich of Herford recorded their vicious flagellations and wanderings from place to place:

“I have seen, when they whipped themselves, how the iron points became so embedded in the flesh that sometimes one pull, sometimes two, was not enough to extract them. They wandered the land… but when they came to cities, towns, and large villages and settlements, they marched down the street in procession, with their hoods or hats pulled down a little to cover their foreheads.”

The Flagellants required members to pledge not to leave the fraternity without permission of superiors, to practice silence, never to scourge themselves to the point of illness or death, to give alms to the poor, and to pray for an end to the pestilence. The people generally viewed the Flagellants favorably due to their overall appearance of piety and extreme penances. The Church, however, found the Flagellants independent streak troublesome and their unorthodox preaching unacceptable. Pope Clement VI (r. 1342­–1352) suppressed the group in 1349 in the bull Inter Solicitudines.

In searching for an explanation for the outbreak of the plague, some Christians blamed the Jewish people. Rumors circulated in southern France and Spain, where the majority of Europe’s Jews lived, that the Jews had poisoned wells with the plague. Sadly, these rumors led to pogroms, mostly in German areas, in the fall of 1348, eventually encompassing nearly a hundred cities and towns by 1351. During the violence, Jews were burned, robbed, expelled, and forced to convert to the Christian Faith in order to spare their lives. Some Jews chose immolation and other forms of suicide rather than suffer at the hands of the mobs.

The Jewish community in Strasbourg suffered greatly as 900 Jews out of a population of 1,884 were killed. In some areas, bishops protected the Jewish people from harm. Notably, the Jewish community in Avignon, site of the papal residence, did not suffer because of the plague due to papal protection. Additionally, Pope Clement VI issued the bull Sicut Judeis in July 1348 declaring the Church’s protection of Jews throughout Christendom. Pope Clement highlighted the false charge against the Jews about the plague:

“It does not seem credible that the Jews on this occasion are responsible for the crime nor that they caused it, because this nearly universal pestilence, in accordance with God’s hidden judgment, has afflicted and continues to afflict the Jews themselves.”

The impact of the great pestilence on Christendom was widespread. Europe suffered great economic turmoil as trade was reduced and society witnessed a severe shortage of laborers. Spiritually, people gravitated to the Faith and sought solace in prayer and the sacraments.

The Church lost nearly forty percent of its priests to the Black Death. Some towns saw the death of ninety percent of priests. The English clergy died at an alarming rate, including three archbishops of Canterbury in the span of a year. Monasteries suffered immensely as the plague wiped out entire religious communities. The high percentage of clergy deaths because of the plague produced a shortage of priests, which the Church tried to ameliorate by lowering the minimum age of ordination from twenty-five to twenty. Although understandable given the circumstances, this action produced a cadre of inexperienced, young, and poorly formed priests. The quality of the priesthood suffered and with it the Church as a whole, as ecclesiastical abuses became widespread in the fifteenth century, leading—many believe—to the Protestant Revolution in the sixteenth century.”

Love,
Matthew

Feb 1 – St Henry Morse, SJ, (1595-1645) – Priest & Martyr

st_henry_morse_400_cropped

Henry Morse, born in Brome, Suffolk, England, in 1595, was raised a Protestant. He enrolled as a law student in London’s Inns of Court. While there, however, he became increasingly dissatisfied with the established religion and more convinced of the truth of the Catholic faith.

Crossing the English Channel, he went to Douai, France, which was then an English Catholic center. Once received into the Church, he decided to study for the priesthood, and made his studies first at Douai, then at the English College in Rome, as Douai had too many students. Although ordained in Rome as a secular priest, he secured permission from the Father General of the Jesuits to be admitted to the Society of Jesus once he got back to England.

Father Morse had scarcely landed in Britain and been accepted as a Jesuit candidate when he was arrested and imprisoned in York Castle.   Upon arrival at a port in England, he was asked by the English port authorities to take the oath of allegiance acknowledging the king’s supremacy in religious matters. The recent convert resolutely refused and was arrested and imprisoned for four years and was released in 1618 when the king decided to get rid of hundreds of religious dissenters by banishing them to France.  He was ordained in 1623.

He had not yet had time to make the novitiate required of those who aspired to Jesuit vows. Providentially, however, he found another Jesuit imprisoned in York Castle. This Father Robinson supervised his novitiate in prison! Therefore, when his three-year term was up, he emerged a full-fledged junior member of the Society.

Banished to the Continent on his release, Father Morse spent some time as a chaplain to English soldiers who served the King of Spain in the Low Countries. Then in 1633 he returned to England secretly, using the name “Cuthbert Claxton,” and he spent the next four years ministering in London.

Now, in 1636-1637 the dread “Black Plague” again became epidemic in London. Morse was kept doubly busy taking care of bodies as well as souls. He made up a list of 400 infected families, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, whom he regularly visited. He himself caught the disease three times, but each time he recovered. His zeal and thoughtfulness were deeply appreciated and nearly 100 families on his list eventually asked to be reconciled to the Catholic Church.

Unfortunately, the police also learned about Morse’s activities, and arrested him on February 27, 1636. The charges were that he was a priest and that he had “perverted” several hundred of “His Majesty’s Protestant subjects.” Put on trial, he was acquitted of the second charge but not of the first. However, he was bailed out through the intervention of Charles I’s Catholic wife, Queen Henrietta Maria. Then, in 1641, the king was forced to decree the exile of all Catholic priests. Father Henry, unwilling to embarrass his bail bondsmen, returned to Flanders and resumed his work as chaplain of the English soldiers there.

In 1643 Father Morse’s Jesuit superiors sent him back to the mission, this time in northern England, where he was less known.  He accidentally walked into a group of soldiers late one night who suspected he was a priest.  He was arrested and held overnight in the home of a local official.  He escaped with the aid of the Catholic wife of one of his captors.  He enjoyed freedom for 6 weeks but one day he and his guide lost their way in the countryside and innocently knocked on the door of a house to ask for directions. The man who answered was one of the soldiers who had recently apprehended him and remembered him well and there would be no fifth escape.  Tried once more, he was sentenced to death in accord with the law that forbade exiled priests to return to Britain.  He was visited in prison by the ambassadors of other Catholic countries.

On the day of his execution, February 1, 1645, Father Morse was able to celebrate Mass. Then four horses were harnessed to the wicker hurdle on which he was dragged to the gallows that stood on Tyburn Hill. As usual, there was a crowd of the curious on hand to see the show. But also in attendance, to pay their respects, were the French ambassador and his suite, the Spanish and Portuguese ambassadors, and the Flemish Count of Egmont.

As was customary, the condemned priest was allowed to make some final remarks. “I am come hither to die for my religion……I have a secret which highly concerns His Majesty and Parliament to know. The kingdom of England will never be truly blessed until it returns to the Catholic faith and its subjects are all united in one belief under the Bishop of Rome.” He ended by saying: “I pray that my death may be some kind of atonement for the sins of this kingdom.” Then he said his prayers and asked that the cap be pulled over his eyes; beat his breast 3 times, giving the signal to a priest in the crowd to impart absolution. He then said: “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.” After he was dead his body was torn open, his heart removed, his entrails burned and body quartered. In accordance with the custom that followed executions, his head was exposed on London Bridge and his quartered body was mounted on the city’s four gates.

Egmont and the French ambassador had their retainers dip handkerchiefs in the martyr’s blood. Later on, these relics were the occasion of cures.

San Enrique Morse

St. Henry Morse, pray that we may be as resilient and resolute in our duty to serve the King of the Universe as you were while you were here on earth, and beset by the injustices of your day and age. Pray that our priests will serve Our King as you have done. Pray that we too will serve the King, and our brethren, with such charity, tenacity, and fortitude, as labor in spreading the Good News while we wait in joyful hope for the coming of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Love,
Matthew

Jan 23 – St Marianne Cope, OSF, (1838-1918), “He paulele ho’i ‘oe”, = “Faithful to God’s Loving Plan”

Mother_Marianne_Cope_in_her_youth

-1883, Sister Marianne Cope, just before her departure from Germany to Hawaii.

In one of the most beautiful, colorful, loveliest, Eden-like places on earth, the cross of a horrific disease had turned everything grey; taken the taste out of life.  It took the Gospel and a nun –  in love with God and color –  to bring joy back, for beauty to return to people’s lives:

Interview with Mother Marianne’s Nurse, Sister Magdalene, in 1941:

Utica Reporter:  “Do the books and stories about Mother Marianne exaggerate her qualities?”

Nurse: “No, Mother Marianne was the gentlest, the cheeriest and the most dignified person you could imagine, and a disciplinarian, too.”

“She revolutionized life on Molokai, brought cleanliness, pride and fun to the colony. People on Molokai laugh now—like other people in the world, laugh at the same things, the same dilemmas and jokes.”

“It was Mother Marianne who bought the girls hair ribbons and pretty things to wear, dresses and scarves. Women keep their cottages and their rooms in the big communal houses neatly, pride fully. There are snowy bedspreads, pictures on the walls. They set their tables at meal time with taste, Mother Marianne brought that about.”

“She interested the women in color harmony. Sit in services at the back of the church in Molokai and observe the lovely arrangements of color of the women. When Mother Marianne went to the island, people there had no thought for the graces of life. ‘We are lepers,’ they told her. ‘What does it matter?’ Well, she changed all that. Doctors have said that her psychology was 50 years ahead of her time.”

Sister Magdalene was one of the nuns who attended Mother Marianne during her last illness, an old woman, but still valiant.

“She knew that the end was near but on that last day she insisted on joining the nuns at mealtimes. ‘No tears,’ she said. ‘Of course, I am coming to table. Why not?’ That night she died while we were at her bedside, August 9, 1918.”

On January 23, 1838, a daughter was born to Peter and Barbara Cope of Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany. The girl was named after her mother. Two years later the Cope family immigrated to the United States and settled in Utica, New York. Young Barbara worked in a factory until August 1862, when she went to the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis in Syracuse, New York. After solemn profession of her religious vows, having taken the religious name Marianne, in November of the next year she began teaching at Assumption parish school.

Marianne held the post of superior in several places and was twice the novice mistress of her congregation. A natural leader, three different times she was superior of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, where she learned much that would be useful during her years in Hawaii.

Elected provincial in 1877, Mother Marianne was unanimously re-elected in 1881. Two years later the Hawaiian government was searching for someone to run the Kakaako Receiving Station for people suspected of having leprosy. More than 50 religious communities in the United States and Canada were asked. None accepted. When the request was put to the Syracuse sisters, 35 of them volunteered immediately. On October 22, 1883, Mother Marianne and six other sisters left for Hawaii where they took charge of the Kakaako Receiving Station outside Honolulu; on the island of Maui they also opened a hospital and a school for girls.

In 1888, Mother Marianne and two sisters went to Molokai to open a home for “unprotected women and girls” there. The Hawaiian government was quite hesitant to send women for this difficult assignment; they need not have worried about Mother Marianne! On Molokai she took charge of the home that Blessed Damien DeVeuster (d. 1889) had established for men and boys. Mother Marianne changed life on Molokai by introducing cleanliness, pride and fun to the colony. Bright scarves and pretty dresses for the women were part of her approach.

Awarded the Royal Order of Kapiolani by the Hawaiian government and celebrated in a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, Mother Marianne continued her work faithfully. Her sisters have attracted vocations among the Hawaiian people and still work on Molokai.

Sisters_of_St._Francis_in_1886_at_the_Branch_Hospital_for_Lepers_in_Kakaako,_Honolulu

-1886, The Sisters of St. Francis, at the Kakaʻako Branch Hospital.  Left to right: Sr. M. Rosalia McLaughlin, Sr. M Martha Kaiser, Sr M. Leopoldina Burns, Sr. M Charles Hoffmann, Sr. M. Crescentia Eilers, and Mother Marianne Cope. At center, rear: Walter Murray Gibson.

To the Reverend Sister Marianne
Matron of the Bishop Home, Kalaupapa

To see the infinite pity of this place,
The mangled limb, the devastated face,
The innocent sufferers smiling at the rod,
A fool were tempted to deny his God.

He sees, and shrinks; but if he look again,
Lo, beauty springing from the breast of pain!—
He marks the sisters on the painful shores,
And even a fool is silent and adores.

-poem by Robert Louis Stevenson
Kalawao, May 22, 1889

Mother Marianne Cope was beatified on May 14, 2005.  Over one hundred faithful followers from Hawai‘i attended the beatification ceremony Rome. Three hundred followers from the Blessed Mother’s religious order in Syracuse were also in attendance. During the ceremony the Hawaiian song Makalapua was sung. The song was a favorite of Mother Marianne Cope.

Makalapua –  The Opening Flower (Hawaiian traditional)

`O makalapua ulu mähiehie
`O ka lei o Kamaka`eha
No Kamaka`eha ka lei nä Li`a wähine
Nä wähine kïhene pua

Hui:
E lei ho`i, e Lili`ulani e
E lei ho`i, e Lili`ulani e

Ha`iha`i pua kamani (pauku) pua ki
I lei (ho`owehi) wehi no ka wahine
E walea ai ka wao kele
I ka liko io Maunahele

Lei Ka`ala i ka ua o ka naulu
Ho`olu`e iho la i lalo o Hale`au`au
Ka ua lei koko `ula i ke pili
I pilia ka mau`u nene me ke kupukupu

Lei aku la i ka hala o Kekele
Na hala moe ipo o Malailua
Ua maewa wale i ke oho o ke kawelu
Na lei Kamakahala o ka ua Wa`ahila

—-

The sweetest and most fragrant flowers of the garden
For the lei of Kamaka`eha
The goddesses of the forest weave a lei for Kamaka`eha
The ladies with baskets of flowers

Chorus:
Here is your lei, o Lili`ulani
Here is your lei. o Lili`ulani

Kamani leaves entwined with ti flowers
A lei to beautify the fair Lili`u
One who loves the beauteous and fragrant uplands
Where bud the flowers at Maunahele

Ka`ala wears a lei of rain and showers
Pouring down on Hale’au’au
Rainbow mist that is a lei on pili grass
Where nene grass grows close to kupukupu ferns

Wearing a lei of hala fruit of Kekele
Hala of Malailua that lovers dream of
Swaying freely amid kawelu grasses
Kamakahala flower leis of Wa`ahila rain

This song incorporates both names of the Queen Lili’uokalani, Hawaii’s last monarch: Lili`u (smarting) and Kamaka`eha (sore eyes) a name given to her at birth by Kina`u, her grand aunt who was suffering from sore eyes at that time. It was a Hawaiian custom to name a child for an important event at the time of their birth. Maunahele was the name of the gardens in the shadow of the pali on the windward side. These gardens were sacred to Lia, the mountain goddess of flowers. The Kamani tree (calaphyllum inophyllum) native of Hawaii has edible nuts and fragrant flowers. The ti or ki (cordyline ternminalis) an indigenious plant has leaves that are used for cooking, thatching houses and making hula skirts. The fibrous roots when cooked make a sweet candy and when fermented, produce an intoxicating beverage.

Father_Damien_on_his_funeral_bier_with_Mother_Marianne_Cope_by_his_side

-April 15, 1889, Mother Marianne with funeral bier of Fr Damien of Molokai.

“The charity of the good knows no creed and is confined to no one place.”  (1870’s)

“I do not think of reward; I am working for God, and do so cheerfully.”  (1902)

“I am hungry for the work…  I am not afraid of any disease, hence it would be my greatest delight even to minister the abandoned ‘lepers.'”

Mother_Marianne_Cope_with_sisters_and_patients,_1918

-Mother Marianne Cope, a few days before she died, with sisters and patients, 1918.

Love,
Matthew