Mary the Mother of Jesus Miracles Miracles_BC Lay Saints
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Life in this world is a period of separation from God, which is full of sorrow, and pain:
Sorrow is the bedstead, Pain the fiber with which it is woven, And separation is the quilt See this is the life we lead, O Lord. Absorption in the affairs of the world, in forgetfulness of God, is regarded by Sheikh Farid as desertion by a woman of her husband and going over to an alien house. 1266 Baba Sheikh Farid Ji
|1815 St. Francis
Xavier Bianchi Barnabite priest called “the Apostle of Naples.” stopped
1815 BD LEOPOLD OF GAICHE founded house to which missioners and preachers could retire for their annual retreat and other brethren and friends of the order could come for spiritual refreshment; numerous miracles reported at his grave
May 08 formerly May 14 1835 St. Maria Magdalen of Canossa Foundress of the Daughters of Charity saw the Blessed Mother surrounded by six religious dressed in brown herself tended the poorest and dirtiest children ecstasy, levitating
1836 St. Caspar del Bufalo Various miracles many graces were obtained by his intercession Various miracles had been worked by Don Caspar during his lifetime, and after his death many graces were obtained by his intercession. He was canonized in 1954.
1837 May 24 June 09 Anne Mary Taigi gift of prophecy, she read thoughts and described distant events incorruptible.
1846 July 16 St. Mary Magdalen Postel opened a school for girls at Barfleur; a leader in Barfleur against constitutional
priests; sheltered fugitive priests in her home venerated for her holiness and miracles
1857 Dominic Savio Bosco would write Dominic's biography known for cheerfulness, friendliness, careful observation,
and good advice (RM)
1867 October 11 St Francis Xavier Seelos No mission preaching Miracle worker
1868 Saint (Mary) Euphrasia Pelletier generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint."
bilocation V (RM)
1870 St. Anthony Mary Claret archbishop Cuba prophet miracle-worker; performed cures and had gifts of prophecy
1879 St. Bernadette Mary appeared to Bernadette 18 times and spoke with her above a rose bush in a grotto called Massabielle dressed in blue and white with a rosary of ivory and gold
Nivérnis, in Gállia, sanctæ Maríæ-Bernárdæ Soubirous, Vírginis, e Congregatióne Sorórum a Caritáte et Institutióne Christiána, Lapúrdi, adhuc juvénculæ, iterátis apparitiónibus Immaculátæ Dei Genitrícis Maríæ recreátæ; quam Pius Papa Undécimus, inter sanctas Vírgines adscrípsit.
In the city of Nevers in France, St. Mary Bernard Soubirous of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity, also called the Christian Institute. She was favoured with frequent apparitions and conversations at Lourdes with Mary Immaculate, the Mother of God. In 1933 her name was added to the roll of holy virgins by Pope Pius XI.
1887 October 11 Maria- Desolata (Emmanuela) Torres Acosta Handmaids of Mary V (RM) Miracle worker
1889 Bl. Mary Teresa de Soubiran care of working girls orphans; Eucharistic adoration; enjoyed mystical gifts of a
high order (Benedictines).
1892 ST ANTONY PUCCI a member of a religious order, the Servants of Mary, spent most of his life and achieved holiness as a parish priest and miracles of healing took place at his grave
1894 April 21 St. Conrad of Parzham Franciscan mystic lay brother Marian devotions gift of prophecy read people’s hearts
1893 Jan 05 Fr. Charles of St. Andrew; the saint of Mount Argus; received by Blessed Dominic Barberi, Passionist; Due to his poor mastery of the English language, he was never a formal preacher and he never preached missions. Rather he very successfully dedicated himself to spiritual direction, especially through the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). The fame of his virtue was such that great crowds of people would gather at the monastery to seek his blessing. There are also numerous testimonies to the outstanding miraculous cures that he worked to the extent that even during his lifetime he was known as a miracle worker.
1897 October 01 Saint Therese of Lisieux Since death worked innumerable miracles one of the patron saints of the
1898 Charbel Makhlouf the Maronite, Hermit After his death many favors and miracles were claimed through his intercession in heaven. (RM)
19th v. Sitka Icon of the Mother of God Located at the Cathedral of St Michael the Archangel in Sitka, Alaska;
Miracles have been attributed to her gaze
|1815 BD LEOPOLD OF GAICHE founded house to which missioners and preachers
could retire for their annual retreat and other brethren and friends of
the order could come for spiritual refreshment; numerous miracles reported at his grave
Bd LEOPOLD was born at Gaiche in the diocese of Perugia, the son of humble parents, and was christened John. A neighbouring priest helped him with his education and in 1751, when he was eighteen, he received the Franciscan habit in the friary at Cibotola, taking the name Leopold. After he became a priest in 1757 he was sent to preach Lenten courses of sermons which soon made him famous. As the result of his eloquence and fervour, numerous conversions took place, enemies were reconciled, and penitents besieged his confessional. For ten years, from 1768 when he was made papal missioner in the States of the Church, he held missions in several dioceses, and even after he had become minister provincial he continued his apostolic labours. Fired by the example of Bd Thomas of Con and of St Leonard of Port Maurice he was anxious to found a house to which missioners and preachers could retire for their annual retreat and where other brethren and friends of the order could come for spiritual refreshment. He had, however, many difficulties to overcome and disappointments to meet before he could realize his desire, on the lonely hill of Monte Luco, near Spoleto.
When in 1808 Napoleon invaded Rome and imprisoned Pope Pius VII, religious houses were suppressed and their occupants turned out. Bd Leopold, a venerable old man of seventy-seven, was obliged to abandon his beloved convent, and with three of his brethren to live in a miserable hut in Spoleto. While there he acted as assistant to a parish priest, but afterwards he had charge of an entire parish whose pastor had been driven out by the French. Then he was himself imprisoned for refusing to take an oath which he considered unlawful. His imprisonment, however, was of short duration, for we soon find him giving missions once more. His fame was enhanced by his prophetical powers and by strange phenomena which attended him: for example, when he was preaching his head often appeared to his congregation as though it were crowned with thorns.
With the fall of Napoleon, Bd Leopold hurried back to Monte Luco, where he set about trying to establish things as they had been before but he only survived for a few months, dying on April 15, 1815, in his eighty-third year. The numerous miracles reported to have taken place at his grave caused the speedy introduction of the process of his beatification, which reached a favourable conclusion in 1893.
Abundant information is provided by the documents printed for the process of beatification and there is a life by Fr M. Antonio da Vicenza. See also Kempf, Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century, pp. 95—96, and Seeböck, Die Herrlichkeit der Katholischen Kirche, pp. 212—213.
1815 St. Francis Xavier Bianchi Barnabite priest called “the Apostle of Naples.” stopped lava
Born in Arpino, Italy, in 1743, he became a Barnabite and was ordained in 1767. Francis worked endlessly for the poor and abandoned. His work load and austerities ruined his health, and though he lost the use of his legs, he continued in his labors. He was canonized in 1951.
Francis Xavier Bianchi, Barn. (AC)
Saint Francis studied in Naples, was tonsured at 14 and, despite his father's objections, joined the Congregation of Clerks Regular of Saint Paul (the Barnabites). After his ordination in 1767, Francis served as president of two colleges, and became famous for his gift of prophecy and the miracles credited to him (he is reported to have stopped the flow of lava from the erupting Vesuvius in 1805). He was considered and acclaimed 'Apostle of Naples' for his work among the poor and abandoned and to preserve girls from the danger of an immoral life. Owing to overwork and to his austere lifestyle, he ruined his health and lost the use of his legs. Unable to be moved because of his health, he was left alone at his college when his order was expelled from Naples and died there. He inspired boundless veneration in Naples and miracles were attributed to him (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, Delaney).
1835 St. Maria Magdalen of Canossa Foundress of the Daughters of Charity at Verona, Italy saw the Blessed Mother surrounded by six religious dressed in brown She herself tended the poorest and dirtiest children witnesses observed her rapt in ecstasy, and once she was seen levitating
Born in 1774, she was the daughter of the Marquis of Canossa, who died when Maria Magdalen was three. Her mother abandoned the family, and Maria Magdalen managed her father’s estate until she was thirty-three, then founding her institute. When she died, her Daughters of Charity were widespread. She was canonized in 1988 by Pope John Paul II.
Magdalen of Canossa, Founder (RM) Born in Verona, Italy, March 1, 1774; died there on April 10, 1835; declared venerable on January 6, 1927; beatified December 7, 1941, by Pope Pius XII; canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 2, 1988; feast day formerly on May 14.
Saint Magdalen was only five years old when her father, the marquis of Canossa, died. Two years later her mother remarried and abandoned her four children to the care of their uncles. Although they treated the children well enough, their French governess was harsh. Perhaps as a result of this ill-treatment, Magdalen suffered a painful illness when she was fifteen. Upon her recovery, she was determined to become a nun. In October 1791, she enter the Carmel for a short time before returning home to manage her father's estate until she was 33.
During the Napoleonic wars, her family took refuge in Venice. There she had a dream in which she saw the Blessed Mother surrounded by six religious dressed in brown. Our Lady led them two by two into a church filled with women and girls, into a hospital, and into a hall filled with bedraggled children. She admonished the religious to serve all three, but especially to help the poor children. Almost immediately she began tending the sick in the city's hospitals and working with children.. The family returned to Verona, where they were visited by Napoleon himself. Magdalen requested from him the empty convent of Saint Joseph, which she intended to use for the poor. Several women had already joined her in her charitable work and with the gift of the convent, they opened the first house of her institute, the Daughters of Charity. Its mission followed her vision: the education of poor girls, the service of the sick in hospitals, and the teaching of the catechism in parishes.
The doors of the house in the San Zeno district was opened to poor girls on May 8, 1808. Thereafter, community prospered and its fame spread. The Canossians were invited to open a house in Venice, then in Milan, Bergamo, Trent, and elsewhere in northern Italy. Since Saint Magdalen's death, well over 400 have been established throughout the world.
Saint Magdalen drew up the rule in Venice. The congregation received formal papal approval from Pope Pius VII in 1816 and definitive approval from Pope Leo XII in an apostolic brief dated December 23, 1828. When she was declared venerable by Pope Pius XI in 1927, he wrote that "many are charitable enough to help and even to serve the poor, but few are able deliberately to become poor with the poor."
But that is exactly what the marchioness did. She herself tended the poorest and dirtiest children. Although the congregation's primary concern was poor and neglected children, she also founded high schools and colleges, especially for the deaf and dumb. Magdalen organized closed retreats for females. In Venice, she even launched a small congregation of men to carry on similar work with boys. Following her death, the Daughters of Charity entered the mission field.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the hectic pace of her life, Saint Magdalen developed enormous powers of recollection and prayer. She attained remarkable levels of contemplation. On several occasions, witnesses observed her rapt in ecstasy, and once she was seen levitating.
Towards the end of her life, Magdalen was bent almost double and could sleep only in a sitting position. She became seriously ill in Bergamo at the end of 1834 and was taken back to the mother house in Verona. By Holy Week 1835, she knew she was dying, though none of her doctors agree with her. She asked for the last rites, then died suddenly (Benedictines, Walsh).
1836 St. Caspar del Bufalo Various miracles many graces were obtained by his intercession Various miracles had been worked by Don Caspar during his lifetime, and after his death many graces were obtained by his intercession. He was canonized in 1954.
St. Caspar del Bufalo was the Founder of the Missioners of the Precious Blood. His feast day is January 2nd. Caspar, who was born in Rome, the son of a chef, in 1786, was ordained a priest in 1808. Shortly after this, Rome was taken by Napoleon's army, and he, with most of the clergy was exiled for refusing to abjure his allegiance to the Holy See. He returned after the fall of Napoleon to find a wide scope for work, as Rome had for nearly five years been almost entirely without priests and sacraments.
In 1814 he founded the Congregation of the Most Precious Blood and in 1815, it was formally approved. The second foundation was made in 1819 and the third shortly afterwards at Albano. His wish was to have a house in every diocese, the most neglected and wicked town or district being chosen. The Kingdom of Naples in those days was a nest of crime of every kind; no one's life or property was safe, and in 1821 the pope asked del Bufalo to found six houses there. He joyfully responded but met with endless difficulties before subjects and funds were collected.
Grave difficulties arose under Pope Leo XII; but these were cleared up, and in 1824, the houses of the congregation were opened to young clergy who wished to be trained specially as missioners. In his lifetime, their work covered the whole of Italy.
Del Bufalo's biographer gives us a graphic account of a mission, describing its successive stages. Some of his methods were distinctly dramatic, e.g. the missioners took the discipline in the public piazza, which always resulted in many conversions. On the last day, forbidden firearms, obscene books, and anything else that might offend Almighty God, were publicly burnt. A cross was erected in memoriam, a solemn Te Deum sung, and the missioners went away quietly.
His last mission was preached in Rome at the Chiesa Nuova during the cholera outbreak of 1836. Feeling his strength failing, he returned at once to Albano, and made every preparation for death. He suffered terribly from cold, and at night from parching thirst, but he would not take anything to drink, so that he might be able to celebrate Mass. After the feast of St. Francis Xavier he went to Rome to die. On December 19, the doctor forbade him to say Mass; he received the last sacraments on December 28, and he died the same day.
Various miracles had been worked by Don Caspar during his lifetime, and after his death many graces were obtained by his intercession. He was canonized in 1954.
In 1824, the houses of the congregation were opened to young clergy who wished to be trained specially as missionaries. In his lifetime, their work covered the whole of Italy. Journeying from town to town, enduring endless hardships, threatened often even with death, Gaspar always taking the hardest work himself, they preached their message. One of his principles was that everybody should be made to work. He therefore founded works of charity in Rome for young and old, rich and poor of both sexes. He opened the night oratory, where our Lord is worshipped all night by men, many coming to Him, like Nicodemus, by night who would not have the courage to go to confession by day.
1837 St Caspar Del Bufalo, Founder of The Missioners of The Precious Blood
Caspar, who was born in Rome, the son of a chef, in 1786, received his education at the Collegio Romano and was ordained priest in 1808. Shortly after this Rome was taken by Napoleon’s army, and he, with most of the clergy, was exiled for refusing to abjure his allegiance to the Holy See. He returned after the fall of Napoleon to find a wide scope for work, as Rome had for nearly five years been almost entirely without priests and sacraments.
In 1814 he conducted a mission at Giano, in the diocese of Spoleto, and there the idea of the Congregation of the Most Precious Blood first came to him. He found a house at Giano suitable for his purpose, and with the help of Cardinal Cristaldi, ever his kind friend, and the hearty approval of Pope Pius VII, the new congregation was formally approved in 1815. The house and adjoining church of San Felice in Giano were given him by the pope. The second foundation was made in 1819 and the third shortly afterwards at Albano. His wish was to have a house in every diocese, the most neglected and wicked town or district being chosen. The kingdom of Naples was in those days a nest of crime of every kind; no one’s life or property was safe, and in 1821 the pope wrote with his own hand to del Bufalo asking him to found six houses there. He joyfully responded, but met with endless difficulties before subjects and funds were collected. His biographer tells us that Providence had scherzato (played practical jokes) with him, as over and over again one difficulty was overcome only to be replaced by a greater; but by degrees men gathered round him, and at last he could say he had more than all the money he wanted.
Grave difficulties arose under Pope Leo XII; but these were cleared up, and in 1824, the houses of the congregation were opened to young clergy who wished to be trained specially as missioners. The ideal was high, the work arduous. A missioner, the founder said, like a soldier or sailor, must never give in, must be ready for anything. He required from his sons not only devotion, but also hard study. To evangelize the whole world, which was their aim, they must learn foreign languages besides theology and Holy Scripture. In his lifetime their work covered the whole of Italy. Journeying from town to town, enduring endless hardships, threatened often even with death, their founder always taking the most arduous work himself, they preached their message.
Del Bufalo’s biographer gives us a graphic account of a mission, describing its successive stages. Some of his methods were distinctly dramatic, e.g. the missioners took the discipline in the public piazza, which always resulted in many conversions. On the last day forbidden firearms, obscene books, and anything else that might offend Almighty God were publicly burnt. A cross was erected in memoriam, a solemn Te Deum sung, and the missioners went away quietly. Caspar would often say at the end of a mission, exhausted but thankful, “If it is so sweet to tire ourselves for God, what will it be to enjoy Him!” One of his principles was that everybody should be made to work. He therefore founded works of charity in Rome for young and old, rich and poor of both sexes. He opened the night oratory, where our Lord is worshipped all night by men, many coming to Him, like Nicodemus, by night who would not have the courage to go to confession by day.
His last mission was preached in Rome at the Chiesa Nuova during the cholera outbreak of 1836. Feeling his strength failing, he returned at once to Albano, and made every preparation for death. He suffered terribly from cold, and at night from parching thirst, but he would not take anything to drink, so that he might be able to celebrate Mass. He asked to be left alone as much as possible, that his prayer might be less interrupted. After the feast of St Francis Xavier he went to Rome to die. On December 19 the doctor forbade him to say Mass; he received the last sacraments on December 28, and he died the same day.
Various miracles had been worked by Don Caspar during his lifetime, and after his death many graces were obtained by his intercession. We have, in fact, a long list of cures and other miraculous occurrences. He was canonized in 1954.
See the summarium presented to the Congregation
of Rites in the process of beatification, and Sardi, Notizie intorno alla vita
del beato Gaspare del Bufalo (1904). The English form of the
name Caspar or Gaspar is properly Jasper.
1837 Anne Mary Taigi Endowed with the gift of prophecy, she read thoughts and described distant events incorruptible.
Born at Siena 1769 daughter of a druggist named Giannetti, whose business failed, she was brought to Rome and worked for a time as a domestic servant. In 1790 she married Dominic Taigi, a butler of the Chigi family in Rome, and lived the normal life of a married woman of the working class. In the discharge of these humble duties and in the bringing up of her seven children she attained a high degree of holiness. Endowed with the gift of prophecy, she read thoughts and described distant events. Her home became the rendezvous of cardinals and other dignitaries who sought her counsel. She was beatified in 1920.
She frequented the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, and it was observed that her piety increased on the approach of every feast of Our Lady. The Rosary was her only book, and her devotion to the Angelus was so great that she used to fall on her knees at the first sound of the bell, even though she heard it when crossing a stream.
And she had the most important prayer of all -- the Mass. Every day, without fail, she would leave her sheep in God's care and go to Mass. Villagers wondered that the sheep weren't attacked by the wolves in the woods when she left but God's protection never failed her. On several occasions the swollen waters were seen to open and afford her a passage without wetting her garments..
No matter how little Germaine had, she shared it with others. Her scraps of food were given to beggars. Her life of prayer became stories of God that entranced the village children.
But most startling of all was the forgiveness to showed to the woman who deserved her hatred.Hortense, furious at the stories about her daughter's holiness, waited only to catch her doing wrong. One cold winter day, after throwing out a beggar that Germaine had let sleep in the barn, Hortense caught Germaine carrying something bundled up in her apron. Certain that Germaine had stolen bread to feed the beggar, she began to chase and scream at the child. As she began to beat her, Germaine opened her apron. Out tumbled what she had been hiding in her apron -- bright beautiful flowers that no one had expected to see for months. Where had she found the vibrant blossoms in the middle of the ice and snow? There was only one answer and Germaine gave it herself, when she handed a flower to her mother and said, "Please accept this flower, Mother. God sends it to you in sign of his forgiveness."
As the whole village began to talk about this holy child, even Hortense began to soften her feelings toward her. She even invited Germaine back to the house but Germaine had become used to her straw bed and continued to sleep in it.
At this point, when men were beginning to realize the beauty of her life, God called her to Himself. One morning in the early summer of 1601, her father finding that she had not risen at the usual hour went to call her; he found her dead on her pallet of vine-twigs. She was then twenty-two years old, overcome by a life of suffering.
With all the evidence of her holiness, her life was too simple and hidden to mean much beyond her tiny village -- until God brought it too light again. When her body was exhumed forty years later, it was found to be undecayed, what is known as incorruptible.
As is often the case with incorruptible bodies of saints, God chooses not the outwardly beautiful to preserve but those that others despised as ugly and weak. It's as if God is saying in this miracle that human ideas of beauty are not his. To him, no one was more beautiful than this humble lonely young woman. After her body was found in this state, the villagers started to speak again of what she had been like and what she had done. Soon miracles were attributed to her intercession and the clamor for her canonization began.Saint Germaine, watch over those children who suffer abuse as you did. Help us to give them the love and protection you only got from God. Give us the courage to speak out against abuse when we know of it. Help us to forgive those who abuse the way you did, without sacrificing the lives of the children who need help. Amen
In this way, the most unlikely of saints became recognized by the Church. She didn't found a religious order. She didn't reach a high Church post. She didn't write books or teach at universities. She didn't go to foreign lands as a missionary or convert thousands. What she did was live a life devoted to God and her neighbor no matter what happened to her. And that is all God asks.
In Her Footsteps: Do you make excuses not to help others because you have so little yourself? Share something this week with those in need that may be painful for you to give up.
|1846 St. Mary Magdalen
Postel opened a school for girls at Barfleur a leader in Barfleur against
the constitutional priests and sheltered fugitive priests in her home
venerated for her holiness and miracles
Apud Abbatíam Sanctíssimi Salvatóris, diœcésis Constantiénsis, in Gállia, sanctæ Maríæ-Magdalénæ Postel, Fundatrícis Institúti Sorórum Scholárum Christianárum a Misericórdia, a Pio Papa Undécimo in sanctárum Vírginum album relátæ.
At the abbey of our Most Holy Redeemer, in the diocese of Coutances in France, St. Mary Magdalene Postel, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy of the Christian Schools, who was added to the list of the holy virgins by Pope Pius XI.
Mary was born at Barfleur, France, on November 28 and baptized Julia Frances Catherine. She was educated at the Benedictine convent at Valognes, and when eighteen she opened a school for girls at Barfleur. When the French Revolution broke out, the revolutionaries closed the school and she became a leader in Barfleur against the constitutional priests and sheltered fugitive priests in her home, where Mass was celebrated. When the concordat of 1801 between Napoleon and the Holy See brought peace to the French Church, she worked in the field of religious education, and in 1807, at Cherbourg, she and three other teachers took religious vows before Abbe Cabart, who had encouraged her in her work - the beginning of the Sisters of the Christian Schools of Mercy. She was named superior and took the name Mary Magdalen. During the next few years the community encountered great difficulties and was forced to move several times before settling at Tamersville in 1815. It was not until she obtained the abbey of St. Sauveur le Vicomte that the congregation finally began to expand and flourish. She died on July 16 at St. Sauveur, venerated for her holiness and miracles, and was canonized in 1925.
1846 St Mary-Magdalen Postel, Virgin, Foundress of The Sisters of The Christian Schools of Mercy
John Postel and Teresa Levallois his wife were members of the bourgeoisie in the smail port of Barfleur, to whom on November 28, 1756, was born a daughter, who was baptized with the names Julia Frances Catherine. This child was of a pious disposition, and several illustrative anecdotes are told, of the sort that may be found in the childhood of some who grew up to be anything but saints; however, it may be noted that she was allowed to make her first communion when she was eight, four years earlier than was customary in those days. She was sent to a local school and afterwards to that of the Benedictine convent at Valognes, and while there she determined to devote her life to the direct service of God and her neighbour and took a private vow of perpetual virginity. On leaving school when she was eighteen she returned to Barfieur, where she opened a school for girls, and her pupiis in after life were a consistent witness to the grounding they had received from their first teacher.
Julia carried on quietly for five years, and then the revolution burst. In 1790 the National Assembly imposed an oath on the clergy to maintain the civil constitution, which oath Pope Pius VI forbade as detrimental to the freedom of the Church. Nevertheless, many clergy (the "constitutionals ") took it and the Church in France was torn by a schism.
In Barfleur the constitutional clergy had the upper hand, and Julia Postel was a leader among those who refused to attend their services or accept their ministrations. She made a secret chapel under the stairs in her house, and here Mass was offered by the abbé Lamache, rector of Notre Dame de Barfleur, who had been proscribed as "refractory". M. Lamache trusted her to the extent of reserving the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel, and Julia made the secret arrangements necessary to enable him to minister to his flock.
After a time it was deemed imprudent to reserve the Blessed Sacrament there any longer and, in accordance with the law of the Church in time of persecution or other extreme need, Julia was allowed to carry it on her person and to administer it as viaticum to the dying when no priest was at hand: a veritable "maiden-priest ", as St Pius X did not hesitate to call her in the decree of beatification.
Admiration for her was not confined to the "refractories". Once when her house had been searched the comment of the disappointed soldiers was, "Let her alone. She does nobody any harm, and is very kind to the children." Year after year of such danger, responsibility, and nervous strain could be supported only by an intense inner life. And if Julia was always with God, God showed time and again that He was always with her.
For four years after the concordat of 1801 Julia was one of those devoted workers who laboured at whatever task came next to repair the ravages of revolution in the religious life of the people; she taught, she catechized, she prepared children and adults to receive the sacraments, she organized works of mercy, and always she prayed. Then, in her fifty-first year, armed with her reputation and a testimonial from a priest, but with no material resources beyond her own hands and head, she went to Cherbourg where she heard the municipality was in need of school-teachers. She told a local chaplain, the abbé Cabart, that "I want to teach the young and to inspire them with the love of God and liking for work. I want to help the poor and relieve some of their misery. These are the things I want to do, and for long I've seen that I must have a religious congregation to do it." M. Cabart was not the man to discourage enthusiasm or fail to recognize ability. He told Julia she was just the woman he had been looking for and he would find her a house.
One was soon rented; it was dedicated in honour of our Lady, Mother of Mercy (the patron of that former chapel under the stairs); pupils were got together; three other teachers joined her, Joan Catherine Bellot, Louisa Viel and Angelina Ledanois. In 1807 these four took the vows of religion before M. Cabart, representing the bishop, and Julia took the name of Mary-Magdalen. Three years later it was reported to the charity commissioners that two hundred little girls were being instructed by them in sacred and profane knowledge, handicrafts being taught to others, ragamuffins rescued from the streets, and ten thousand francs a year given in alms.
In 1811, when the community numbered nine sisters, the Sisters of Providence returned to Cherbourg, and, rather than appear to emulate and rival them, Mother Mary-Magdalen withdrew her family to Octeville-L'Avenel, where they lived for six months in great hardship in a barn adjoining the school-house. Then they migrated to Tamerville, and looked after orphans and the poor there until their lease fell in. Again they migrated, this time to Valognes, where it looked as if the foundress's undertaking would come to nothing. There were already three convents of nuns teaching in the town, and Mother Mary-Magdalen and her six sisters had to subsist on the work of their hands, they and their twelve orphans. Sister Rosalia died, and when an untrue rumour that she had starved to death got around, the abbé Cabart thought it was the last straw, wished to sever his connection with them, and told the community it was time to give up. The superioress thought otherwise.
"Tell monsieur l'abbe ", she said, "that I am so certain that our Lord desires the realization of my aims that I shall not cease to pursue them with the greatest ardour. He who has given my daughters to me and who watches over the birds of the air can easily provide me with the means to support them. So long as God gives me strength to work I shall never leave one of them."That act of faith turned the tide-but not yet.
For two years they lived at Hamel-au-Eon, in extreme poverty, doing any work that came along, needlework, repairs, in the fields, and then Prince Le Brun offered them their former house at Tarnerville and the charge of a school.
Allmost at once a famine broke out, which gave Mother Mary-Magdalen's sisters their chance to earn a permanent place in the hearts of the people, and then in 1818 in consequence of a new by-law she had, at sixty-two years old, to sit down and pass an examination to qualify as a head teacher. Though the community was reduced by deaths to four, a school was started at Tourlaville: and with this expansion of activity the community began to grow in numbers; by 1830 a larger convent was imperatively needed. Mother Mary-Magdalen obtained the dilapidated abbey of Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte, which had been founded in the eleventh century and abandoned at the Revolution. Here in the first twelve months the community received ten postulants, before whose coming its total number was only fifteen; among them was Bd Placida Viel. In 1837 the rule by which Mother Mary-Magdalen had governed her sisters for twenty-eight years was laid aside (not on her own initiative, but without a word of protest from her) and that approved by the Holy See for the Brothers of the Christian Schools was formally adopted; a canonical novitiate was begun, and at the end of the year their vows were received by Mgr Delamare, Bishop of Coutances, who was the devoted friend and adviser of the community.
The last eight years of the foundress's life, though they had their trials, setbacks, and crosses, was a period of expansion and achievement: the congregation grew, the number of its pupils increased, and the great abbey church of St-Sauveur-le-Vicomte, which had been in ruins, began to rise again. She died when this last work was not yet finished on July 16, 1846, at the age of ninety years. Miracles were not wanting to confirm her reputation for sanctity; and in 1925 she was canonized. For forty-one years the life of St Mary-Magdalen Postel was the vicissitudes and progress of the institute that she founded; had she never been raised to the altars of the Church her name would still be rendered illustrious by the Sisters of the Christian Schools.
See the life by Mgr Grente (Eng. trans., 1928) and his Une sainte normande (1946). There are other lives in French, e.g. by Mgr Legoux (1908, in two volumes) and by P. de Crisenoy (1938).
1868 Saint (Mary) Euphrasia Pelletier generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint." bilocation V (RM)
Born on Noirmoutier Island, Brittany, France, in 1796; died at Angers, France, on April 24, 1868; beatified in 1933; canonized in 1940 by Pope Pius XII.
Rose Virginia Pelletier, one of ten children of a refuge doctor of the Vendée wars, studied at Tours and in 1814 joined the Institute of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge, founded by Saint John Eudes in 1641 to help wayward and endangered women. She was professed in 1816, taking the names Marie-Euphrasie, was elected superior in 1825 (age 29), and, at the bishop's invitation made a new foundation at Angers in 1829. Two years later, Mother Euphrasia founded a contemplative community to complement the active social work of the others.
Having done this successfully, Mother Euphrasia returned to Tours; but experience had suggested to her the desirability of radical changes in her congregation's organization. She decided that a new congregation under a central authority was needed rather than individual foundations under separate bishops. Of course, Mother Euphrasia met with opposition and was accused of being an ambitious, insubordinate innovator. Even her detractors, however, said that "she was capable of ruling a kingdom."
With modesty and determination she rode out the storm, and in 1835, papal approval was given to the Institute of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, dedicated to working with wayward girls, at Angers. The institute spread rapidly and by the time of Mother Euphrasia's death had thousands of sisters in 110 convents on four continents.
In all her work, Euphrasia provided the compassion and solicitude of the Good Shepherd to her sisters, penitents, and young girls in difficult family situations. Her strength and cheerfulness during the stormy times offer us an example of effectuating the gift of hope (Attwater, Benedictines, Bernoville, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer).
Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God and both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint."
She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later. When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there.
Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths.
As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, Admonitions, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious.
The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people.
It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.
Comment: Intimate union, God's gift to mystics, is a reminder to all of us of the eternal happiness of union he wishes to give us. The cause of mystical ecstasy in this life is the Holy Spirit, working through spiritual gifts. The ecstasy occurs because of the weakness of the body and its powers to withstand the divine illumination, but as the body is purified and strengthened, ecstasy no longer occurs. On various aspects of ecstasy, see Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle, Chapter 5, and John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul, 2:1-2.
Quote: There are many people today who see no purpose in suffering. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi discovered saving grace in suffering. When she entered religious life she was filled with a desire to suffer for Christ during the rest of her life. The more she suffered, the greater grew her desire for it. Her dying words to her fellow sisters were: "The last thing I ask of you—and I ask it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—is that you love him alone, that you trust implicitly in him and that you encourage one another continually to suffer for the love of him."
|1857 Dominic Savio Bosco
would write Dominic's biography known for cheerfulness, friendliness,
careful observation, and good advice (RM)
Born in Riva, Piedmont, Italy, in 1842; died at Mondonio, Italy, on March 9, 1857; beatified in 1950; canonized in 1954. Dominic was one of ten children of a peasant blacksmith and a seamstress. He grew up with a desire to be a priest. When Saint John Bosco began to train youths as clergy to help him care for neglected boys at Turin, Dominic's parish priest recommended today's saint. Bosco, who would write Dominic's biography, was impressed upon meeting him.
In October 1854, at the age of twelve, Dominic became a student at the Oratory of Saint Francis de Sales in Turin. He is best known for the group he organized there, called the Company of the Immaculate Conception. In addition to its devotional measures, it handled various jobs, from sweeping the floors to taking special care of boys who were misfits.
Early in his stay at the oratory, Dominic halted a fight with stones between two boys. Holding a crucifix between them he said, "Before you fight, look at this, both of you, and say 'Jesus Christ was sinless, and He died forgiving His executioners; I am going to outrage Him by being deliberately revengeful.' Then you can start- -and throw your first stone at me."
He scrupulously followed the discipline of the house, incurring resentment from some other boys from whom he expected the same behavior. Nevertheless, he never repaid ill-treatment in kind. Bosco's guidance probably curbed Dominic from becoming a young fanatic. He forbade Dominic to perform bodily mortification without his permission, believing that with ". . . heat, cold, sickness (and) the tiresome ways of other people--there is quite enough mortification for boys in school life itself."
He found Dominic shivering in bed one cold night with only a thin sheet. "Don't be crazy. You'll get pneumonia," he said. "Why should I?" replied Dominic. "Our Lord didn't get pneumonia in the stable at Bethlehem."
On one occasion when Dominic was missing from morning until after dinner, Bosco found him in the choir of the church, standing in a cramped position by the lectern, deep in prayer. He had been there for six hours, yet he thought that early Mass was not yet over. Dominic referred to these times of intense prayer as "my distractions."
Bosco reports that in one strong 'distraction,' Dominic saw a wide, mist-shrouded plain, with a multitude of people groping about in it. To them came a pontifically vested figure carrying a torch that lighted up the whole scene, and a voice seemed to say, "This torch is the Catholic faith which shall bring light to the English people."
Bosco reported this to Pope Pius IX at Dominic's request, and the pope said that it confirmed his intention to give attention to England. (You may recall that England became a primary preoccupation of Don Bosco's later life.) Some say this was the impetus for Pope Pius IX to restore a hierarchy to England in 1850.
Dominic became known for his cheerfulness, friendliness, careful observation, and good advice. Though only a boy, he was blessed with spiritual gifts far beyond his age--knowledge of people in need, knowledge of the spiritual needs of those around him, and the ability to prophesy. Dominic's fragile health worsened, and in 1857, he was sent home to Mondonio for a change of air. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and was bled, which probably hastened his death.
He received the last sacraments and asked his father to read the prayers for the dying. Toward the end, he tried to sit up. "Good- bye, Father," he said, "the priest told me something . . . but I can't remember what. . . ." Suddenly he smiled and exclaimed, "I am seeing the most wonderful things!" and died. Soon afterwards John Bosco wrote his vita, which contributed to his canonization. He was the youngest (15 years old) non-martyr to receive official canonization in the history of the Church (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, White).Dominic Savio is the patron saint of Pueri Cantors, choirs, choirboys, boys, and juvenile delinquents (White).
|1867 St Francis Xavier
Seelos No. mission preaching
was born in Fussen, Germany, in 1819. Expressing his desire for the priesthood since an early age, he entered the diocesan seminary of Augsburg after completing his studies in philosophy. Upon learning of the charism and missionary activity of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, he decided to join and go to North America. He arrived in the United States on April 20, 1843, entered the Redemptorist novitiate and completed his theological studies, being ordained a priest on December 22, 1844. He began his pastoral ministry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he remained nine years, working closely as assistant pastor of his confrere St. John Neumann, while at the same time serving as Master of Novices and dedicating himself to mission preaching. In 1854, he returned to Baltimore, later being transferred to Cumberland and then Annapolis, where he served in parochial ministry and in the formation of the Redemptorist seminarians. He was considered an expert confessor, a watchful and prudent spiritual director and a pastor always joyfully available and attentive to the needs of the poor and the abandoned. In 1860, he was a candidate for the office of Bishop of Pittsburgh. Having been excused from this responsibility by Pope Pius IX, from 1863 until 1866 he became a full-time itinerant missionary preacher. He preached in English and German in the states of Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. He was named pastor of the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he died of the yellow fever epidemic caring for the sick and the poor of New Orleans on October 4, 1867, at the age of 48 years and nine months. The enduring renown for his holiness which the Servant of God enjoyed occasioned his Cause for Canonization to be introduced in 1900 with the initiation of the Processo Informativo . On January 27, Your Holiness declared him Venerable, decreeing the heroism of his virtues.
1870 St. Anthony Mary Claret archbishop Cuba prophet miracle-worker; performed miraculous cures and had gifts of prophecy
[Antonio Maria Claret y Clara] (Spanish, priest, retreat master, missionary, founder of the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary [commonly called Claretians] and of the Teaching Sisters of Mary Immaculate, archbishop in Cuba, confessor to queen of Spain, prophet and miracle-worker, preacher of 10,000 sermons, author of 200 works, spread devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady, d. 1870 in a French Cistercian monastery at age 63)
Anthony (Antony) Mary Claret B, Founder (RM) Born in Sallent, Spain, December 23, 1807; died in Narbonne, France, October 24, 1870; canonized 1950.
“When I see the need there is for divine teaching and how hungry people are to hear it, I am atremble to be off and running throughout the world, preaching the Word of God. I have no rest. My soul finds no other relief than to rush about and preach.”
“If God's Word is spoken by a priest who is filled with the fire of charity--the fire of love of God and neighbor--it will wound vices, kill sins, convert sinners, and work wonders.”
“When I am before the Blessed Sacrament I feel such a lively faith that I cannot describe it. Christ in the Eucharist is almost tangible to me... When it is time for me to leave, I have to tear myself away from His sacred presence.” --St. Antony Claret
As the son of a weaver, Antony became a weaver himself and in his free time he learned Latin and printing. At the age of 22 he entered the seminary at Vich, Catalonia, Spain, and was ordained in 1835. After a few years he began to entertain the idea of a Carthusian vocation but it seemed beyond his strength, so he travelled to Rome to join the Jesuits with the idea of becoming a foreign missionary. Ill health, however, caused him to leave the Jesuit novitiate and he returned to pastoral work at Sallent in 1837. He spent the next decade preaching parochial missions and retreats throughout Catalonia.
During this time he helped Blessed Joachima de Mas to establish the Carmelites of Charity.He went to the Canary Islands and after 15 months there (1848-49) with Bishop Codina, Anthony returned to Vich. His evangelical zeal inspired other priests to join in the same work, so in 1849 he founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (the Claretians), dedicated to preaching missions. The Claretians have spread far beyond Spain to the Americas and beyond.
In 1850, Queen Isabella II, appointed him archbishop of Santiago, Cuba. The people of this diocese were in a shocking state, and Claret made bitter enemies in his efforts to reform the see--some of whom made threats on his life. In fact, he was wounded in an assassination attempt against his life at Holguin in 1856, by a man angered that his mistress was won back to an honest life.
At the request of Queen Isabella, he returned to Spain in 1857 to become her confessor. He resigned his Cuban see in 1858, but spent as little time at the court as his official duties required. Throughout this period he was also deeply occupied with the missionary activities of his congregation and with the diffusion of good literature, especially in his native Catalan. He was also appointed rector of the Escorial, where he established a science laboratory, a natural history museum, and schools of music and languages. He also founded a religious library in Barcelona.
He followed Isabella to France when a revolution drove her from the throne in 1868.
He attended Vatican Council I (1869-70) where he influenced the definition of papal infallibility.An attempt was made to lure him back to Spain, but it failed. Antony retired to Prades, France, but was forced to flee to a Cistercian monastery at Fontfroide near Narbonne when the Spanish ambassador demanded his arrest.
Anthony Claret was a leading figure in the revival of Catholicism in Spain, preached over 25,000 sermons, and published some 144 books and pamphlets during his lifetime. His continual union with God was rewarded by many supernatural graces. He was reputed to have performed miraculous cures and to have had gifts of prophecy. Both in Cuba and in Spain he encountered the hostility of the Spanish anti-clerical politicians (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Walsh, White).
He is the patron saint of weavers; and of savings and savings banks, a result of his opening savings banks in Santiago in an effort to help the poor (White).
|1879 St. Bernadette
Mary appeared to Bernadette 18 times and spoke with her above a rose
bush in a grotto called Massabielle dressed in blue and white with a rosary
of ivory and gold
Nivérnis, in Gállia, sanctæ Maríæ-Bernárdæ Soubirous, Vírginis, e Congregatióne Sorórum a Caritáte et Institutióne Christiána, Lapúrdi, adhuc juvénculæ, iterátis apparitiónibus Immaculátæ Dei Genitrícis Maríæ recreátæ; quam Pius Papa Undécimus, inter sanctas Vírgines adscrípsit.
In the city of Nevers in France, St. Mary Bernard Soubirous of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity, also called the Christian Institute. She was favoured with frequent apparitions and conversations at Lourdes with Mary Immaculate, the Mother of God. In 1933 her name was added to the roll of holy virgins by Pope Pius XI.
St. Bernadette patron saint of shepherds
1879 ST BERNADETTE, VIRGIN
THE story of the appearings of our Blessed Lady at Lourdes has already been told here in connection with the feast now kept throughout the Western church on February II. But on the anniversary of the death of the humble intermediary through whom the message of Heaven was communicated to the world, a few words must be said regarding this chosen soul, whose merits were known to God, but hidden for the most part from the eyes of her fellow men.
She was born on January 7, 1844, the oldest of a family of six, and though christened Marie Bernarde, was known to the family and neighbours by the pet name of Bernadette. The father was by trade a miller, and in 1844 he rented a mill of his own, but thrift and efficiency were not the distinguishing virtues of either Francis Soubirous or his wife, Louise Casterot, then still in her teens and eighteen years younger than husband. Bernadette was always a most delicate girl, afflicted with asthma and her other ailments, and the fact that she was one of the sufferers in the cholera epidemic of 1854 cannot have helped to make her more robust.
Meanwhile the family was gradually sinking into dire poverty, which probably had for one result that Bernadette’s education, even in a measure her religious education, was sadly neglected. At the date of the first apparition (February 11, 1858) the family were living in the dark airless basement of a dilapidated building in the rue des Petits Fosses. The child herself, though fourteen years of age, had not yet made her first communion and was regarded as a very dull pupil, but she was notably good, obedient and kind to her younger brothers and sisters, in spite of the fact that she was continually ailing.
The apparitions and the popular excitement which accompanied them did eventually have some effect in relieving the destitution of the Soubirous family, for people interested themselves to find work for the father but for Bernadette, apart from the spiritual consolation of these visions, which had come to an end in less than a couple of months, they left a heavy load of embarrassment from the ceaseless and indiscreet questionings which allowed her no peace. People wanted to cross-examine her about the three secrets our Lady had imparted, they wanted to press money upon her, they wanted to interview her at all sorts of hours, they wanted her to bless them or their sick folk, they even tried to cut pieces from her dress.
It was a strange form of ordeal, but for a sensitive child, and Bernadette even at eighteen was no more than a child, it was in truth a martyrdom. As a measure of protection, she was after a while taken to reside with the nuns at the hospice (1861— 1866), but even there there were often visitors who could not be denied. Sister Victorine, to whose charge she was specially confided, has recorded how “she nearly always shrank from the task of replying to the questions of those who came to see her, if only on account of the fatigue which these conversations entailed. Every effort of this sort told upon her chest and was liable to bring on a bad attack of asthma. When I took her down to the parlour, I used to see her come to a standstill near the door, and the tears, big heavy drops, welled up into her eyes— ‘Come’, I would say to her, ‘be brave’. Then she wiped away the tears, came into the room, bade a pleasant welcome to her visitors and answered everything she was asked, without a hint of impatience at their importunate questions or showing irritation when her word was doubted.”
Earlier than this, in 1859, the year after the apparitions, we have a singularly interesting account left by an English non-Catholic visitor of the impression Bernadette made upon people who had come prepared to find nothing but hysteria or imposture. The account is taken from a contemporary entry in a diary. The writer says
I ought before this to have spoken more particularly of the little girl herself. She was a pretty-looking child, 14 years of age [she was in reality 15-1/2], with large, dreamy eyes, and a quiet, sedate demeanour, which added some years to her appearance and seemed altogether unnatural in so small a figure. She welcomed us with the air of one long accustomed to receive strangers, and bid us follow her into an upper room of the humble cottage attached to her father’s mill. Two bright, happy little urchins—her brothers—were playing about and seemed no way abashed at our entrance. . . . The child offered us seats, while she herself stood by the window and answered briefly the questions I put to her, but volunteered very few remarks of her own. . . . We offered her a small donation, which she politely refused, nor would she allow us to give anything to her little brothers—and we were assured that neither the parents, nor their child, although very poor, will ever receive anything from strangers. . . . We certainly left her in the conviction that we had been talking with a most amiable little girl, and one superior to her age and station, both in manner and education and whatever may be the true account of the apparition, as far as the girl herself is concerned, we feel quite convinced of the sincerity of her faith in it.
Protestant visitors seem to have shown delicacy and consideration by comparison with some of the Catholic ecclesiastics who came to converse with Bernadette. Here is an example left on record by a certain curé who spent a day at Lourdes in January 1860, and who seemed to think that by his interest in the apparitions he was rendering a service to the poor girl herself and to the Church at large. He summoned the child, though he had been told she was poorly and suffering from a nasty cough, to come to him at his hotel through howling wind and pelting rain, and after cross-questioning her for the best part of two hours about the apparitions, the fountain, and the Blessed Virgin’s three secrets, the interview according to his own volunteered statement ended as follows
“My child, I must have quite worn you out with my questions. Please accept these three louis d’or to remunerate you for your trouble.”—” No, monsieur, I cannot take anything.”
Here Bernadette expressed herself with an energy which showed that I had deeply wounded her self-respect. I tried to press the money upon her, but her silence, eloquent both of the pain she felt and of suppressed indignation, made it clear to me that I could insist no further. So I replaced the coins in my purse, and I went on:
“My child, will you show me the medals you wear in our Lady’s honour?”
—“ They are at home. They took them from me to lay upon some sick people, and they cut the string from which they all hung.”
“Well, will you let me see your rosary?”
Bernadette took out her simple rosary with a medal at the end of it.
“Now will you not let me have this rosary? I will give you the price of it directly.”—“No, monsieur, I have no wish either to give you my rosary, or to sell it to you.”
“Oh, but I should so much like to have some souvenir of you. I have come such a long way to see you. You really ought to let me have your rosary.”
In the end she surrendered it. I clutched this heavenly booty upon which the child’s tears had fallen more than once and which had been the instrument of so many grateful and heartfelt prayers in the presence of Mary herself, for Bernadette had fingered this rosary again and again when the apparition had kept count upon a rosary of her own in the grotto of Massabielle. It seemed to me then, it seems to me now, and it always will seem to me, that in this I possess a treasure of great price.
“Will you permit me, my child, to refund you the cost of the rosary Please accept this small coin.”—“No, monsieur, I will buy myself.” But even this was not the climax. The curé’s account of the interview continues another with my own money.”
“My child, will you let me show you my scapular? I wonder if yours is made the same way.”—“No, monsieur, mine is a double one.”
“Show it me.” Bernadette modestly fishes up one end of her scapular, which is, as she said, made with double strings.
“God be praised, my daughter. Now I know a very pious soul who would esteem it such a happiness to possess half your scapular. As you see, it can easily be divided.”—“Oh, but please —“ As a great favour will you not give me half of it ? There will be plenty left, for you will still have a whole scapular.” “Monsieur, would you be willing to cut in two the rosary I have just given you?”—“No.” “Well, I cannot divide my scapular either.”
I understood that I had to give way and must press the matter no further. I told the child that I would give her my blessing, and she received it, kneeling on both knees, with all the reverence of an angel.
If Bernadette, then sixteen years old, was not tingling with indignation all over, she must already have reached a very high stage of virtue, or of resignation to the peculiar form of trial by which her soul was to be purified. Everything we know of her points to the fact that she was an exceptionally sensitive child. In 1864 she offered herself, under advice, to the sisters of Notre-Dame de Nevers. Attacks of illness postponed her departure from Lourdes, but in 1866 she was allowed to join the novitiate in the mother-house of the order. Separation from her family and from the grotto cost her much, but with her fellow-novices at Nevers she was gay, while remaining still the humble and patient child she had always been. Her ill-health continued, so that within four months of her arrival she received the last sacraments and by dispensation was permitted to take her first vows. She recovered, however, and had strength enough to act as infirmarian and afterwards as sacristan, but the asthma from which she suffered never lost its hold, and before the end came she! suffered grievously from further complications.
Characteristic of Bernadette were her simplicity of a truly child-like kind, her peasant “sanity”, and her self-effacement. She likened herself to a broom “Our Lady used me. They have put me back in my corner. I am happy there, and stop there.” But even at Nevers she had sometimes to resort to little stratagems to avoid “publicity”. Though her heart was always centred in Lourdes, she had no part in the celebrations connected with the consecration of the basilica in 1876. The abstention seems to have been in large measure her own voluntary choice she preferred to efface herself. But who shall say how much the deprivation cost her? There are few words more pathetic than the cry of Bernadette from her cell at Nevers: “Oh! sije pouvais voir sans être vue.” “Ohl if only I could see without being seen.” The conjecture suggests itself strongly that one of Bernadette’s “secrets” must have been this, that she was never of her own free will to do anything which would attract to herself the notice of other people.
Bernadette Soubirous died on April 16, 1879; she was thirty-five years old. In 1933 she was canonized, and she now appears in the Church’s official records as St Mary Bernarda: but in the hearts and on the lips of the faithful she is always St Bernadette.
Apart from the sworn testimonies of witnesses printed in the process of beatification, the most reliable evidence we possess concerning St Bernadette is probably that collected by Fr L. J. M. Cros in his Histoire de Notre-Dame de Lourdes (3 vols., 1925-1927). Numerous biographies exist in many languages. One of the earliest was that of Henri Lasserre (very unreliable), one of the latest that of Fr H. Petitot, The True Story of St Bernadette (1949). Other widely-read accounts are Mgr Ricard’s La vraie Bernadette (1896), a reply to Emile Zola; Bernadette Soubirous, by Jean Barbet, who wrote largely from local knowledge La confidente de L’Immaculée (1921), by a nun of Nevers (Eng. trans.); and Abbé J. Blazy’s life (Eng. trans., 1926). A very popular novel by Franz Wend, Song of Bernadette (1942), was criticized by Dora Bede Lebbe in The Soul of Bernadette (1947). Other popular biographies are those by F. Parkinson Keyes, Sublime Shepherdess (1940), and Mrs M. C. Blanton, Bernadette of Lourdes (1939). But for a sensitive and reliable summary Fr C. C. Martindale’s C.T.S. booklet cannot be bettered. For further particulars of the interviews with St Bernadette quoted above, see The Month, June 1924, pp. 526—535, and July 1924, pp. 26—36.
On April 16, 1879, Bernadette -- or Sister Marie - Bernard, as she was known within her order -- died in the Sainte Croix (Holy Cross) Infirmary of the Convent of Saint-Gildard. She was thirty-five.
Born into a humble family which little by little fell into extreme poverty, Bernadette had always been a frail child. Quite young, she had already suffered from digestive trouble, then after having just escaped being a victim of the cholera epidemic of 1855, she experienced painful attacks of asthma, and her ill health almost caused her to be cut off for ever from the religious life. When asked by Monsignor Forcade to take Bernadette, Louise Ferrand, the Mother Superior of the Sisters of Nevers, replied: "Monsignor, she will be a pillar of the infirmary".
At least three times during her short life-time, she received the last Sacraments. She was gradually struck by other illnesses as well as asthma: among them, tuberculosis of the lung and a tubercular tumor on her right knee. On Wednesday, April 16, 1879, her pain got much worse. Shortly after eleven she seemed to be almost suffocating and was carried to an armchair, where she sat with her feet on a footstool in front of a blazing fire. She died at about 3.15 in the afternoon.
The civil authorities permitted her body to remain on view to be venerated by the public until Saturday, April 19. Then it was "placed in a double coffin of lead and oak which was sealed in the presence of witnesses who signed a record of the events". Among the witnesses were "inspector of the peace, Devraine, and constables Saget and Moyen".
The nuns of Saint-Gildard, with the support of the bishop of Nevers, applied to the civil authorities for permission to bury Bernadette's body in a small chapel dedicated to Saint Joseph which was within the confines of the convent. The permission was granted on April 25, 1879, and on April 30, the local Prefect pronounced his approval of the choice of the site for burial. Immediately they set to work on preparing the vault. On May 30, 1879, Bernadette's coffin was finally transferred to the crypt of the chapel of Saint Joseph. A very simple ceremony was held to commemorate the event.
St. Bernadette was born at Lourdes, France. Her parents were very poor and she herself was in poor health. One Thursday, February 11, 1858, when she was sent with her younger sister and a friend to gather firewood, a very beautiful Lady appeared to her above a rose bush in a grotto called Massabielle.
The lovely Lady was dressed in blue and white. She smiled at Bernadette and then made the sign of the cross with a rosary of ivory and gold. Bernadette fell on her knees, took out her own rosary and began to pray the rosary. The beautiful Lady was God's Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. She appeared to Bernadette seventeen other times and spoke with her.
She told Bernadette that she should pray sinners, do penance and have a chapel built there in her honor. Many people did not believe Bernadette when she spoke of her vision. She had to suffer much. But one day Our Lady told Bernadette to dig in the mud. As she did, a spring of water began to flow. The next day it continued to grow larger and larger. Many miracles happened when people began to use this water. When Bernadette was older, she became a nun. She was always very humble. More than anything else, she desired not to be praised. Once a nun asked her if she had temptations of pride because she was favored by the Blessed Mother. "How can I?" she answered quickly. "The Blessed Virgin chose me only because I was the most ignorant." What humility!
St. Bernadette Soubirous 1879 Famed visionary of Lourdes, baptized Mary Bernard. She was born in Lourdes, France, on January 7, 1844, the daughter of Francis and Louise Soubirous. Bernadette, a severe asthma sufferer, lived in abject poverty. On February 11, 1858, she was granted a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a cave on the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes. She was placed in consider able jeopardy when she reported the vision, and crowds gathered when she had futher visits from the Virgin, from February 18 of that year through March 4.The civil authorities tried to frighten Bernadette into recanting her accounts, but she remained faithful to the vision.
On February 25, a spring emerged from the cave and the waters were discovered to be of a miraculous nature, capable of healing the sick and lame. On March 25, Bernadette announced that the vision stated that she was the Immaculate Conception, and that a church should be erected on the site. Many authorities tried to shut down the spring and delay the construction of the chapel, but the influence and fame of the visions reached Empress Eugenie of France, wife of Napoleon Ill, and construction went forward.
Crowds gathered, free of harassment from the anticlerical and antireligious officials. In 1866, Bernadette was sent to the Sisters of Notre Dame in Nevers. There she became a member of the community, and faced some rather harsh treatment from the mistress of novices. This oppression ended when it was discovered that she suffered from a painful, incurable illness. She died in Nevers on April 16,1879, still giving the same account of her visions. Lourdes became one of the major pilgrimage destinations in the world, and the spring has produced 27,000 gallons of water each week since emerging during Bernadette's visions. She was not involved in the building of the shrine, as she remained hidden at Nevers. Bernadette was beatified in 1925 and canonized in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.
Bernadette Soubirous V (RM) (also known as Mary Bernarda Soubirous)
Born in Lourdes, France, January 7, 1844; died in Nevers, France, on April 16, 1879; canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1933; also honored on February 18 in France.
Marie Bernarde (called Bernadette by family and friends) Soubirous, was the oldest of six children born to the impoverished miller François Soubirous, and his much-younger wife, Louise Casterot. The family lived in the basement of a damp building in the rue des Petits Fossés after her father rented a mill of his own. Bernadette was not a strong child; the dampness of their home and the vestiges of the cholera she contracted in 1854 aggravated the asthma and other ailments from which the young girl suffered.
"I am the Immaculate Conception"At age 14, she was considered to be ailing, undersized, of pleasant disposition, sensitive, and a slow student -- even stupid -- but was a kind, helpful and obedient child.
On February 11, 1858, the teenaged Bernadette was collecting scraps of wood on the bank of the River Gave when she was initially granted a vision of the Blessed Virgin, who did not identify herself at first.
For the next six months Bernadette saw a light-enhaloed female form of indescribable beauty, near a cave in the Massabielle cliff. In total, Bernadette had 18 visions of the Virgin Mary at the grotto, which principally concerned prayer and penance.
Bernadette showed people the grotto in which the BVM appeared. Most of them mocked her but from February 18 until March 4, Bernadette continued to see and talk with Our Lady every day. The clerical and civic officials who subjected Bernadette to numerous interrogations found her to be veracious and completely disinterested in self-advancement.
People followed Bernadette. The saw the girl fall into ecstasy; they heard her speak, but they saw nothing. The unknown 'lady' said to Bernadette: "I wish to see people here"; "Pray for sinners"; "Tell the priests I wish to have a chapel here"; "Processions are to come here"; "Go, drink from the spring and wash in its water."
In obedience to this last injunction, the saint dug with her hands into the earth of the grotto, and there gushed forth a spring, unknown until that day--February 25, that for years has yielded 27,000 gallons weekly. Cures effected by drinking of the water mobilized pilgrimages of thousands which streamed to the grotto.
By March 4, about 200,000 people were accompanying Bernadette to the site. When Bernadette begged the lady for a name on March 25, she replied three times using the local dialect: "I am the Immaculate Conception--" a name that the girl did not understand because word of the definition had not yet reached the people of Lourdes.
The last vision occurred on July 16, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The Church met these beginnings of the Lourdes pilgrimages with great reserve, almost with hostility. In part this was because after the appearances ceased, there was an epidemic of copycat visionaries and morbid religiosity in the district, which increased the reserved attitude of the church authorities towards Bernadette's experiences.
But Lourdes became a symbol. In an age in which the existence of or at all events the possibility of knowing a supra-mundane God was denied, a permanent medical bureau had to be opened in Lourdes, which has collected, with the help of thousands of physicians of all creeds, an immense documentation of professionally attested, inexplicable cures.
Bernadette's simplicity and integrity were never questioned. Although the publicity that accompanied her visions had helped her father to find work, Bernadette gained little more than the spiritual consolation of a few months. For some years she suffered greatly from the suspicious disbelief of some and the tactless enthusiasm and insensitive attentions of others; these trials she bore with impressive patience and dignity. She resided with the nuns at the hospice for five years (1861-1866) in order to escape the publicity, but people sought her out even there.
In 1866 Bernadette joined the Sister of Notre-Dame at Saint Gildard in Nevers, France; she had wished for entrance two years earlier but had been prevented by bad health. She was happy with the nuns. Her health remained fragile, and she was given the last sacraments within four months of her arrival; she was allowed to take her first vows through a special dispensation. She recovered, however, and worked first as an infirmarian and later as a sacristan.
Here she was more sheltered from trying publicity, but not from the 'stuffiness' of the convent superiors nor from the tightening grip of asthma. "I am getting on with my joy," she would say. "What is that?" someone asked. "Being ill," was the reply.
The nuns, disappointed by the simplicity of this child of nature, in whom they had expected to find a second Teresa of Ávila or another Catherine of Siena, made the peasant girl feel bitterly the scant esteem in which they held her; and even her superiors, with the aim of protecting the visionary of Lourdes from the sin of pride, were not sparing in humiliations.
With the excuse that she was a "stupid, good-for-nothing little thing," her profession was continually delayed. God gave to the despised creature, who was punished for 13 years because of her visions, the strength to say: "You see, my story is quite simple. The Virgin made use of me, then I was put into a corner. That is now my place. There I am happy and there I remain."
Thus, she lived out her self-effacing life, dying at the age of 35 as did Saint Benedict Labre. The events of 1858 resulted in Lourdes becoming one of the most important pilgrim shrines in the history of Christendom, ending with the consecration of the basilica in 1876. But Saint Bernadette took no part in these developments; nor was it for her visions that she was canonized, but for the humble simplicity and religious trust that characterized her whole life (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Sandhurst, Schamoni, Trochu, Walsh, White).
Saint Bernadette is the patron saint of shepherds (White).
|1887 Maria- Desolata
(Emmanuela) Torres Acosta Handmaids of Mary V (RM) Miracle worker
(also known as Mary Soledad)
Born at Madrid, Spain, in 1826; died there in 1887; beatified in 1950; canonized in 1970. Emmanuela, a truly great woman who overcame many obstacles, was the daughter of Francis Torres and Antonia Acosta, who earned their living by running a little business in Madrid. Born into poverty, she tried unsuccessfully to become a Dominican in the convent she frequented. But she did not despair. Instead she waited patiently for God to demonstrate his will for her.
His will became apparent in 1848, and she responded to the call of a Servite tertiary priest, Michael Martinez y Sanz, to found an institute for the care of the neglected sick of his parish in their own homes. In 1851, he gathered together seven women for agreed to devote themselves to service in a religious community. Among them was the 25-year-old Emmanuela, who took the name Maria-Desolata (after Our Lady of Sorrows) together with the religious habit. In 1856, Father Martinez took half the members with him to found a new house in Fernando Po, while leaving Maria-Desolata as superioress in Madrid.
The subsequent priest-director of the young institute (Handmaids of Mary) removed her and appointed another as superior. The substitution nearly spelled the death of the organization and was threatened by the bishop with dissolution. After an examination by the bishop, Maria-Desolata was reappointed, and with the help of the Augustinian Father Gabino Sanchez, the new director, they struggled on. Mother Maria was able to enlist the financial and moral support of the queen and the local authorities.
In 1861, the rule of the Handmaids of Mary received diocesan approval, and another Augustinian, Father Angelo Barra, was appointed as its director. The mission of the Handmaids expanded to encompass care for the young delinquents of Madrid. The work of the community was invaluable during the cholera epidemic in 1865. Although some of her nuns migrated to another congregation acrimoniously, the Handmaids continued to expand--this time overseas in Santiago de Cuba (1875). From that time the congregation infiltrated every part of Spain, including, in 1878, the ancient hospital of Saint Charles in the Escorial. Before her happy death 46 houses were founded (Benedictines, Walsh) .
1887 Bd Mary Soledad, Virgin, Foundress Of The Handmaids Of Mary Serving The Sick
Bd Mary Soledad Torres-Acosta belongs to the company of St Mary Michaela Desmaisières, Bd Joachima de Mas and Bd Vincentia Lopez, nineteenth-century Spanish women who attained heroic sanctity in the service of their sick, suffering and needy neighbours. The parents of Mary Soledad were Francis Torres and Antonia Acosta, an exemplary couple living obscurely by a little business in Madrid; she was the second of five children, born in 1826, and was christened Emanuela. She was a quiet child, who would hide food to give to her hungry playmates, and would rather teach them their prayers than play games. For a time it looked as if she would join the Dominican nuns, whose convent she frequented, but she was content to wait for a more clear indication of what was required of her.
This eventually came from the Chamberi quarter of Madrid, where the vicar was a Servite tertiary named Michael Martinez y Sanz, who had long been worried by the neglected state of so many of the sick in his parish. In 1851 he gathered together seven women, young and not so young, to devote themselves to their service in a religious community. The last of them was twenty-five-year-old Emanuela Torres-Acosta, who in the event was to become the real foundress of the new congregation. She took at her clothing the name Mary Soledad, Spanish for Desolata, “alone and grief-stricken”, a token of her love for our Lady of Sorrows.
The enterprise was beset with difficulties within and without-but not, it would seem, overwhelming difficulties; nevertheless its early growth was very slow. Five years after the foundation Don Michael took half of the members with him to make a separate foundation in Fernando Po; six were left in Madrid, with Sister Mary Soledad as superioress. For a moment the little group was threatened with dissolution by episcopal authority. But with the help of a new director, Father Gabino Sanchez, an Augustinian friar, it was able to struggle on; and through the enterprise of Mother Mary support was obtained from the queen and from the local authorities.
The turning point came in 1861, when the rule of the Handmaids of Mary received diocesan approval and another Augustinian, Father Angelo Barra, was appointed director. Beginning with the taking-over of an institution for young delinquents in Madrid, several new foundations were made, and in the cholera epidemic of 1865 all eyes were turned to the selfless work of Mother Mary Soledad and her nuns. A few years later there was a secession of some members to another congregation, with the usual complaints and accusations from which mother foundresses have to suffer-as one of her nuns said, Mary Soledad was an anvil, something that was being continually hit. Heaven's reply to this was to bring about, in 1875, the first foundation overseas, at Santiago in Cuba. From that time on there was an accelerated spreading of the houses and hospitals of the congregation in every province of Spain, culminating in 1878 in the taking-over of the ancient hospital of St Charles in the Escorial itself.
The work involved and the increasing commitments continued to the end of Mother Mary's life, the last ten years of which were happily serene. Towards the end of September 1887 she was taken ill, and by October 8 the end was at hand. “Mother”, said her daughters “bless us, like St Francis did.” She shook her head. But one lifted her up in bed, and she raised her hand, saying slowly, “Children, live together in peace and unity”. She died tranquilly on October 11. For thirty-five years Mary Soledad had been the leader, the guide, the human inspiration of the Handmaids of Mary, fostering them from half-a-dozen aspirants to a flourishing, well-ordered, technically efficient body of devoted religious; and since her death she has seen them spread to Italy, France, England, Portugal, the Americas. How much humbleness, how much charity, how much prudence and self-effacement is required for such a work of love it is given to few to know. But the Church knows: and in 1950 Mother Mary Soledad was declared Blessed.The apostolic letter of beatification, with a biographical note, is in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. xlii (1950), pp. 182-197. There is a life of the beata in Italian, by E. Federici (1950), reliable but very “long-winded”; and at least one in Spanish, by. J. A. Zugasti.
1889 Bl. Mary Teresa de Soubiran care of working girls orphans; Eucharistic adoration; enjoyed mystical gifts of a high order (Benedictines).
Blessed Mary-Teresa de Soubiran (AC) Born in Castelnaudary, Carcassonne, France, in 1834; died in 1889; beatified in 1946. Though she was born into nobility, Mary-Teresa wished to become a Carmelite. Her uncle, who was a priest, convinced her to found a béguinage instead in 1855. At that time she took the name Mary-Teresa. In order to attain her apostolic ends more fully, she transformed the béguinage into the Institute of Mary Auxiliatrix with the approval of her bishop. The jealousy of a manipulative sister led to Mary-Teresa being driven from her congregation and deprived of her property. Instead of giving up, in 1868, Mary-Teresa sought refuge in the Institute of Our Lady of Charity in which she was permitted to take vows and in which she persisted until her death. Only then was the truth of her situation revealed. Mary-Teresa also enjoyed mystical gifts of a high order (Benedictines).
Most women saints have been foundresses of religious orders. Their lives were not without drama, but it was not usually the sort of drama that would hit the headlines of the daily papers. The case of Blessed Mary Teresa de Soubiran was an exception. She was the victim of a melodrama that rivaled some of our soap operas. Mary Teresa de Soubiran was born into an old noble family of southern France in 1835. Her family upbringing was rather strictly religious; but that didn't matter to her, for she felt called anyway to the "hidden life" of a contemplative nun.
A priest-uncle, Canon Louis de Soubiran, ignored her preference for the cloistered life, and induced her instead to found a convent of Beguines. Beguines were almost more a pious society than a religious order. Their very liberal rule of life allowed each member to retain her own property, and even the vows of chastity and obedience were temporary rather than once-and-for-all. Mary Teresa accepted this assignment, but during the nine years it lasted she succeeded in making the rule stricter. The members eventually gave up their property, opened an orphanage, and began to devote themselves to nighttime adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In 1863 Mother Soubiran worked these ideas into a new rule, and in 1864 she and some of her sisters opened a new convent in Toulouse, where they could follow the new lifestyle. By now they had extended their program to include the care of working girls as well as orphans; and Eucharistic adoration was scheduled not just once a month but every night. Mother Teresa called the order the "Society of Mary Auxiliatrix." By 1868 Pope Pius IX had granted it the initial approval.We know that God is just, but it helps every now and then to see Him come to the rescue of those who have patiently suffered injustices. Meanwhile, in Blessed Mary Teresa's case, what a scenario!--Father Robert F. McNamara
Soon afterward, the troubles began. In 1868 Mother Teresa received a novice known as Mother Mary Frances. A capable woman, Mary Frances was chosen assistant mother-general in 1871. Five years older than the foundress, she now argued persuasively in favor of a vast program of expansion. As a result, the community spent beyond its means, and Mother Mary Frances announced that their financial position was close to bankruptcy, and she blamed it on the foundress. The upshot of it was that the sisters voted to expel Mary Teresa from the sisterhood she had established.
Cast out but still desirous of remaining a religious, Mother Mary Teresa asked for admission into another order. The Visitation nuns refused her, as did the Carmelites. Finally she was allowed to take her vows in 1877 as a member of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd. They engaged in rescue work in Parish. Thus the exiled nun banished from her thoughts - though not from her prayers - the religious community that she had originated.
Meanwhile, Mother Mary Frances had done everything possible to efface the memory of the foundress from the Society of Mary Auxiliatrix. Mary Teresa did not live to see the reaction that set in. She died of tuberculosis on June 7, 1889, completely resigned to her situation, yet foretelling that there would be a change within a year. By 1890 the Society was so weakened and Mother Frances had proved so domineering and unstable that, faced by the opposition of her nuns, she resigned her office and left the order. After her death in 1921, it was learned that when she entered the community, Mother Frances concealed the fact that she was a married woman and that her husband was still living. That meant that she had never really been a nun, much less a Mother superior, for her vows would have been invalid. Consequently, her actions as superior had also been invalid - including her expulsion of Mother Teresa. And by the same token, Mother Teresa's membership in the order she founded had continued without interruption until her death, since her exclusion had been illegal!
THIS saint, though a member of a religious order, the Servants of Mary, spent most of his life and achieved holiness as a parish priest. He was born of peasant stock at Poggiole, near Pistoia, in 1819; he was the second of seven children and was christened Eustace. As a boy his kind and gentle disposition was noticeable, as was his industry and willingness to help, especially in his parish church, of which his father was sacristan. Nevertheless, when Eustace’s inclination to become a Servite had been finally confirmed during a pilgrimage to the shrine of our Lady at Bocca, Pucci senior and his wife opposed their son’s resolution (he was their eldest boy), and it was not till he was eighteen, in 1837, that he entered the Servite priory of the Annunciation at Florence. He took the names of Antony Mary.
During his early years as a religious Brother Antony showed those qualities of frankness and of steadiness in face of difficulties that were to distinguish him all his life. Prayer and obedience were his first concern, and after them study. He was ordained in 1843, and less than a year later was appointed curate of St Andrew’s church in Viareggio. In 1847, when still only 28, he became parish priest there. Viareggio is a seaside town—a fishing-port with a ship-building yard, but chiefly a holiday resort—and here Father Antony remained for the rest of his days.
Father Antony’s flock called him “II curatino”, which can’t be translated into English; but it means that he was “a grand little man”, who was equally loved and respected. It has been said of him that he was before his time in recognizing the need for organization, and organizations, in a parish. But he never forgot that these things are but means to an end, and that end the life of divine charity; and that the living example of love must come from the father of the flock. He was the father and therefore the servant of all: the sick, the aged, the poor, all in trouble or distress, came to him, and he served them without stint. This selflessness was never more apparent than when Viareggio was visited by two bad epidemics, in 1854 and in 1866; and one of the fruits of Father Antony’s love for the young was his inauguration of a seaside nursing-home for children—something quite new in those days. To the religious instruction of children he devoted much thought and work, emphasizing that what is done in church and school must be begun and finished in the home. Nor were his concerns bounded by the limits of his parish: in his enthusiasm for the conversion of the heathen Father Antony was one of the pioneers in Italy of the work of the A.P.F. and of the Holy Childhood Society.
St Antony Pucci died on January 14, 1892 at the age of 73; his passing was greeted with an outburst of grief in Viareggio, and miracles of healing took place at his grave. He was beatified in 1952, and canonized in 1962 during the Second Vatican Council. See the decree of beatification in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. xliv (1952) ; and Un apostolo della Carità (1920), by a Servite.
1894 St. Conrad of Parzham Franciscan mystic lay brother Marian devotions gift of prophecy read people’s hearts
Born Carl Birndorfer in Parzham, Bavaria, Germany, on December 22, 1818, he became a Capuchin lay brother in 1849. For more than thirty years, Conrad served as porter or doorkeeper of the shrine of Our Lady of Altotting, and he was known for his Marian devotions. Conrad had the gift of prophecy and of reading people’s hearts. He died in Altotting on April 21. He was canonized in 1934.
1893 Fr. Charles of St. Andrew; the saint of Mount Argus; received by Blessed Dominic Barberi, Passionist; Due to
his poor mastery of the English language, he was never a formal preacher
and he never preached missions. Rather he very successfully dedicated
himself to spiritual direction, especially through the sacrament of Reconciliation
(Confession). The fame of his virtue was such that great crowds of people
would gather at the monastery to seek his blessing. There are also numerous
testimonies to the outstanding miraculous cures that he worked to the
extent that even during his lifetime he was known as a miracle worker.
Fr. Charles of St. Andrew, known in secular life as John Andrew Houben, was born on 11 December 1821 in Munstergeleen, in the diocese of Ruremond (Holland), the fourth of eleven children. He was baptized the same day with the name John Andrew. He received his First Communion on 26 April 1835 and the sacrament of Confirmation on 28 June in the same year. He began his formal education in Sittard and then in Broeksittard. In 1840 he had to interrupt his studies to enter the military. It was during this latter period that he first heard about the Congregation of the Passion. At the end of his military service he completed his studies and requested to be admitted to the Congregation. He was received by Blessed Dominic Barberi, Passionist, and he entered the novitiate in the Belgium city of Ere, near Tournai on 5 November 1845. In December of that same year he was vested with the Passionist religious Habit and was given the name of Charles of St. Andrew. Having completed the canonical year of novitiate he professed First Vows on 10 December 1850. At the conclusion of his studies he was ordained a priest by Bishop Labis, the ordinary of Tournai.
Immediately he was sent to England where the Passionists had founded three monasteries and it was here that, for a period of time, he undertook the ministry of vice-master of novices in the monastery of Broadway. He also did parochial ministry in the parish of St. Wilfred and neighboring areas until 1856 when he was transferred to the newly established monastery of Mount Argus, on the outskirts of Dublin.
Blessed Charles Houben lived almost the remainder of his life in this retreat and was greatly loved by the Irish people to point that they referred to him a native of Holland as Father Charles of Mount Argus. He was a particularly pious priest. He was outstanding in exercising obedience, in the practice of poverty, humility and simplicity and to an even greater degree, to devotion to the Passion of the Lord.
Due to his poor mastery of the English language, he was never a formal preacher and he never preached missions. Rather he very successfully dedicated himself to spiritual direction, especially through the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). The fame of his virtue was such that great crowds of people would gather at the monastery to seek his blessing. There are also numerous testimonies to the outstanding miraculous cures that he worked to the extent that even during his lifetime he was known as a miracle worker.
Precisely because of this fame that extended throughout all of Great Britain as well as in America and Australia that in 1866, in order to afford him some rest, he was transferred to England where he lived for a time in the communities at Broadway, Sutton and London. There he ministered as usual and there too, inside and outside the monastery, he was sought by the faithful, both Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
He returned to Dublin in 1874 where he remained until his death that took place at dawn on 5 January 1893.During his very solemn funeral that was attended by people from all of Ireland there was definite proof of the popular devotion that had surrounded him throughout his life. In a newspaper of the time we read: "Never before has the memory of any man sparked an explosion of religious sentiment and profound veneration as that which we observed in the presence of the mortal remains of Father Charles." The Superior of the monastery wrote to his family: "The people have already declared him a saint."
The cause of his Beatification and Canonization was introduced on 13 November 1935, and on 16 October 1988, His Holiness John Paul II proceeded with the beatification of the one whom everyone called the saint of Mount Argus.
The miracle that led to his canonization was obtained through his intercession on behalf of Mr. Adolf Dormans of Munstergeleen, the birthplace of the Blessed. The diocesan inquiry super miro was also undertaken in the diocese of Roermond (Holland) from 6 November 2002 until 19 February 2003 at which time the validity of the miracle was recognized by a Decree from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on 7 November 2003.
The medical consulta was convoked on 24 November 2005 and following the investigation of the matter, the members unanimously expressed that the cure of Mr. Dormans of "perforated, gangrenous appendicitis with generalized peritonitis that was multi-organically compromising and included extenuating and prolonged agony" was "not scientifically explainable".
The theologian consultors, in the particular Congress of 21 February 2006 and the Ordinary Congregation of Cardinals and Bishops of 12 December 2006 also gave their unanimous approval of the supernatural aspect of the said healing.
The Decree concerning the miracle was given in the presence of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI on 21 December 2006.
1897 Saint Therese of Lisieux Since her death she has worked innumerable miracles one of the patron saints of the missions the Little Flower of Jesus, born at Alençon, France, 2 January, 1873; died at Lisieux 30 September, 1897.
Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called her the "Little Flower", and found in her short life more inspiration for own lives than in volumes by theologians.
Yet Therese died when she was 24, after having lived as cloistered Carmelite for less than ten years. She never went on missions, never founded a religious order, never performed great works. The only book of hers, published after her death, was a brief edited version of her journal called "Story of a Soul." (Collections of her letters and restored versions of her journals have been published recently.) But within 28 years of her death, the public demand was so great that she was canonized.
Over the years, some modern Catholics have turned away from her because they associate her with over- sentimentalized piety and yet the message she has for us is still as compelling and simple as it was almost a century ago.
Therese was born in France in 1873, the pampered daughter of a mother who had wanted to be a saint and a father who had wanted to be monk. The two had gotten married but determined they would be celibate until a priest told them that was not how God wanted a marriage to work! They must have followed his advice very well because they had nine children. The five children who lived were all daughters who were close all their lives.
Tragedy and loss came quickly to Therese when her mother died of breast cancer when she was four and a half years old. Her sixteen year old sister Pauline became her second mother -- which made the second loss even worse when Pauline entered the Carmelite convent five years later. A few months later, Therese became so ill with a fever that people thought she was dying.
The worst part of it for Therese was all the people sitting around her bed staring at her like, she said, "a string of onions." When Therese saw her sisters praying to statue of Mary in her room, Therese also prayed. She saw Mary smile at her and suddenly she was cured. She tried to keep the grace of the cure secret but people found out and badgered her with questions about what Mary was wearing, what she looked like. When she refused to give in to their curiosity, they passed the story that she had made the whole thing up.
Without realizing it, by the time she was eleven years old she had developed the habit of mental prayer. She would find a place between her bed and the wall and in that solitude think about God, life, eternity.
When her other sisters, Marie and Leonie, left to join religious orders (the Carmelites and Poor Clares, respectively), Therese was left alone with her last sister Celine and her father. Therese tells us that she wanted to be good but that she had an odd way of going about. This spoiled little Queen of her father's wouldn't do housework. She thought if she made the beds she was doing a great favor!
Every time Therese even imagined that someone was criticizing her or didn't appreciate her, she burst into tears. Then she would cry because she had cried! Any inner wall she built to contain her wild emotions crumpled immediately before the tiniest comment.
Therese wanted to enter the Carmelite convent to join Pauline and Marie but how could she convince others that she could handle the rigors of Carmelite life, if she couldn't handle her own emotional outbursts? She had prayed that Jesus would help her but there was no sign of an answer.
On Christmas day in 1886, the fourteen-year-old hurried home from church. In France, young children left their shoes by the hearth at Christmas, and then parents would fill them with gifts. By fourteen, most children outgrew this custom. But her sister Celine didn't want Therese to grow up. So they continued to leave presents in "baby" Therese's shoes.
As she and Celine climbed the stairs to take off their hats, their father's voice rose up from the parlor below. Standing over the shoes, he sighed, "Thank goodness that's the last time we shall have this kind of thing!"
Therese froze, and her sister looked at her helplessly. Celine knew that in a few minutes Therese would be in tears over what her father had said. But the tantrum never came. Something incredible had happened to Therese. Jesus had come into her heart and done what she could not do herself. He had made her more sensitive to her father's feelings than her own. She swallowed her tears, walked slowly down the stairs, and exclaimed over the gifts in the shoes, as if she had never heard a word her father said. The following year she entered the convent. In her autobiography she referred to this Christmas as her "conversion."
Therese be known as the Little Flower but she had a will of steel. When the superior of the Carmelite convent refused to take Therese because she was so young, the formerly shy little girl went to the bishop. When the bishop also said no, she decided to go over his head, as well.
Her father and sister took her on a pilgrimage to Rome to try to get her mind off this crazy idea. Therese loved it. It was the one time when being little worked to her advantage! Because she was young and small she could run everywhere, touch relics and tombs without being yelled at. Finally they went for an audience with the Pope. They had been forbidden to speak to him but that didn't stop Therese. As soon as she got near him, she begged that he let her enter the Carmelite convent. She had to be carried out by two of the guards!
The Vicar General who had seen her courage was impressed and soon Therese was admitted to the Carmelite convent that her sisters Pauline and Marie had already joined. Her romantic ideas of convent life and suffering soon met up with reality in a way she had never expected. Her father suffered a series of strokes that left him affected not only physically but mentally. When he began hallucinating and grabbed for a gun as if going into battle, he was taken to an asylum for the insane. Horrified, Therese learned of the humiliation of the father she adored and admired and of the gossip and pity of their so-called friends. As a cloistered nun she couldn't even visit her father.
This began a horrible time of suffering when she experienced such dryness in prayer that she stated "Jesus isn't doing much to keep the conversation going." She was so grief-stricken that she often fell asleep in prayer. She consoled herself by saying that mothers loved children when they lie asleep in their arms so that God must love her when she slept during prayer.
She knew as a Carmelite nun she would never be able to perform great deeds. "Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love."
She took every chance to sacrifice, no matter how small it would seem. She smiled at the sisters she didn't like. She ate everything she was given without complaining -- so that she was often given the worst leftovers. One time she was accused of breaking a vase when she was not at fault. Instead of arguing she sank to her knees and begged forgiveness. These little sacrifices cost her more than bigger ones, for these went unrecognized by others. No one told her how wonderful she was for these little secret humiliations and good deeds.
When Pauline was elected prioress, she asked Therese for the ultimate sacrifice.
Because of politics in the convent, many of the sisters feared that the family Martin would taken over the convent. Therefore Pauline asked Therese to remain a novice, in order to allay the fears of the others that the three sisters would push everyone else around. This meant she would never be a fully professed nun, that she would always have to ask permission for everything she did. This sacrifice was made a little sweeter when Celine entered the convent after her father's death. Four of the sisters were now together again.
Therese continued to worry about how she could achieve holiness in the life she led.
She didn't want to just be good, she wanted to be a saint. She thought there must be a way for people living hidden, little lives like hers. "I have always wanted to become a saint. Unfortunately when I have compared myself with the saints, I have always found that there is the same difference between the saints and me as there is between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and a humble grain of sand trodden underfoot by passers-by. Instead of being discouraged, I told myself: God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint. It is impossible for me to grow bigger, so I put up with myself as I am, with all my countless faults. But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new.
" We live in an age of inventions. We need no longer climb laboriously up flights of stairs; in well-to-do houses there are lifts. And I was determined to find a lift to carry me to Jesus, for I was far too small to climb the steep stairs of perfection. So I sought in holy Scripture some idea of what this life I wanted would be, and I read these words: "Whosoever is a little one, come to me." It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up: I must stay little and become less and less."
She worried about her vocation:
"I feel in me the vocation of the Priest. I have the vocation of the Apostle. Martyrdom was the dream of my youth and this dream has grown with me. Considering the mystical body of the Church, I desired to see myself in them all. Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I understood that Love comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all times and places...in a word, that it was eternal! Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my Love...my vocation, at last I have found it...My vocation is Love!"
When an antagonist was elected prioress, new political suspicions and plottings sprang up. The concern over the Martin sisters perhaps was not exaggerated. In this small convent they now made up one-fifth of the population. Despite this and the fact that Therese was a permanent novice they put her in charge of the other novices.
Then in 1896, she coughed up blood. She kept working without telling anyone until she became so sick a year later everyone knew it. Worst of all she had lost her joy and confidence and felt she would die young without leaving anything behind. Pauline had already had her writing down her memories for journal and now she wanted her to continue -- so they would have something to circulate on her life after her death.
Her pain was so great that she said that if she had not had faith she would have taken her own life without hesitation. But she tried to remain smiling and cheerful -- and succeeded so well that some thought she was only pretending to be ill. Her one dream as the work she would do after her death, helping those on earth. "I will return," she said. "My heaven will be spent on earth." She died on September 30, 1897 at the age of 24 years old. She herself felt it was a blessing God allowed her to die at exactly that age. She had always felt that she had a vocation to be a priest and felt God let her die at the age she would have been ordained if she had been a man so that she wouldn't have to suffer.
After she died, everything at the convent went back to normal.
One nun commented that there was nothing to say about Therese. But Pauline put together Therese's writings (and heavily edited them, unfortunately) and sent 2000 copies to other convents. But Therese's "little way" of trusting in Jesus to make her holy and relying on small daily sacrifices instead of great deeds appealed to the thousands of Catholics and others who were trying to find holiness in ordinary lives. Within two years, the Martin family had to move because her notoriety was so great and by 1925 she had been canonized.
Therese of Lisieux is one of the patron saints of the missions, not because she ever went anywhere, but because of her special love of the missions, and the prayers and letters she gave in support of missionaries. This is reminder to all of us who feel we can do nothing, that it is the little things that keep God's kingdom growing.
Teresa of the Child (Infant) Jesus V (RM) + (also known as Thérèse of Lisieux, Marie Francoise Martin)Born in Alençon, France, January 2, 1873; died in Lisieux, Normandy, France, on September 30, 1897;
canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI, who in 1927 declared patron of foreign missions (together with Saint Francis Xavier);
in 1997, she was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II.
"I had offered myself...to the Child Jesus as His little plaything. I told Him not to use me as a valuable toy...but like a little ball of no value...He let His little ball fall to the ground and He went to sleep. What did He do during His gentle sleep and what became of the abandoned ball? Jesus dreamed He was still playing with His toy, leaving it and taking it up in turns, and then, having seen it roll quite far, He pressed it to His heart, no longer allowing it to ever go far from His little hand." --St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Thérèse was the ninth child of Louis Martin, a watchmaker, and Azélie-Marie Geurin, a maker of point d'Alençon lace. She was baptized Marie-Francoise Thérèse. Her mother died in 1877 when Thérèse was five, and the father moved the family to Lisieux, where the children could be overseen by their aunt.
Thérèse's two older sisters became Carmelite nuns at Lisieux. When she was 15, Thérèse told her father that she was so much devoted to Jesus that she wished to do the same but the Carmelites and her bishop thought that she was too young. A few months later during a pilgrimage to Rome for the jubilee of Pope Leo XIII, she met the pope. As she knelt before him, she broke the rule of silence and asked him, "In honor of your jubilee, allow me to enter Carmel at fifteen..." The pope was impressed by her fervor, but upheld the decision to make her wait.
At the end of the year, she was received in the Carmel and took the name Thérèse of the Child Jesus. Her father suffered a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized for three years. Despite her fragile health, she lived the austere life faithfully. At 22, she was appointed assistant novice mistress, although in fact she fulfilled the duties of the novice mistress. After her father died in 1894, the fourth sister joined the convent.
Her prioress Mother Agnes (her blood-sister Pauline) requested the she write her autobiography, L'histoire d'une âme (The story of a soul). She began in 1894 to write the story of her childhood, and in 1897, after finishing it the previous year, she was ordered by the new prioress, Mother Marie de Gonzague, to tell of her life in the convent. Both were combined in the final book, which was revised and circulated to all the Carmelite houses.
Thérèse of Lisieux's autobiography was three sections written specifically to her sister Pauline, her sister Marie, and her prioress. It was edited by Pauline (Sister Agnes) and made to appear as though written to her prioress. Highly edited book sold without notation until 1956. In 1952 the unedited manuscripts were published in their original form. The first English version, translated by Ronald Knox, appeared in 1958 under the title Autobiography of a saint. Thérèse was childlike, not polished, and she was sentimental. Surprisingly, Thérèse found it hard to say the rosary, which should be a comfort to those saints-in-the-making who find it difficult, too.
The appeal of the book was immediate and astonishing:
It had an instant appeal in every language into which it was translated. Her "little way" of searching for simplicity and perfection in everyday tasks became a model for ordinary people. The saint's nine years in the convent were uneventful and 'ordinary,' such as could be paralleled in the lives of numberless other young nuns: the daily life of prayer and work, faults of pride and obstinacy to be overcome, a certain moodiness to be fought, inward and outward trials to be faced. Sister Thérèse stuck bravely to her 'little way' of simple trust in and love for God.
Afflicted with tuberculosis, Thérèse hemorrhaged but endured her illness with patience and fortitude. She wished to join the Carmelites at Hanoi in Indochina at their invitation, but her illness became worse. She moved into the infirmary in 1897 and died at the age of 24. Her last words were, "I love him. My God I love you."
Since her death she has worked innumerable miracles, and her cultus has spread throughout the world. She had become the most popular saint of modern times: Thérèse had shown innumerable people that sainthood is attainable by anybody, however, obscure, lowly, untalented, by doing the small things and discharging daily duties in a perfected spirit of love for God. Her popularity was so great that a large church was built in Lisieux to accommodate the crowds of pilgrims to her shrine.
In contemplating her death, Thérèse said, "I will let fall a shower of roses," meaning favors through her intercession. From this we get the novena of St. Thérèse which requires the praying of 24 Our Fathers each day for nine days in honor of the 24 years of life that God granted the saint. It is said that when the prayer has been heard and answered, the petitioner will receive a rose from the heavenly garden as a sign. For this reason, she is called "the Little Flower of Jesus."
Thérèse's attraction is her utter simplicity. She was no scholar; no great student of the Bible or the Fathers. She simply longed to be a saint, as she believed her person could. "In my little way," she wrote, "are only very ordinary things. Little souls can do everything that I do."
She was full of fun. She drew a coat of arms for herself and Jesus, surmounted with her initials M.F.T., and the divine ones I.H.S. She made superbly innocent and happy jokes. She recorded that she would pretend she was at Nazareth in the Holy Family's home. "If I am offered salad, cold fish, wine or anything with a strong flavor, I give that to good Saint Joseph. I give the warm dishes and the ripest fruits to the Holy Virgin. I give the infant Jesus soup, rice, and jam. But if I am offered a bad meal, I say gaily to myself, 'My little girl, today it is all yours'."
Thérèse was a happy saint. Even as she suffered pain--physical and emotional (being scolded for pulling up flowers rather than weeds in the garden)--she always thanked God for everything (Attwater, von Balthasar, Benedictines, Bentley, Day, Delaney, Gorres, Robo, Sackville-West, Sheppard, White).
In art, St. Thérèse is a Discalced Carmelite holding a bouquet of roses or with roses at her feet. She is the patron saint of foreign missions (due to her prayers for and correspondence with missions), all works for Russia, France, florists and flower growers (White); aviators, and, in 1944, was named copatroness of France with Saint Joan of Arc (Delaney).
1898 Charbel Makhlouf the Maronite, Hermit After his death many favors and miracles were claimed through his intercession in heaven. (RM)
(also known as Sharbel)
Born at Béqaa-Kafra, Lebanon, in 1828; died at Annaya, 1898; beatified during Vatican Council II in 1965; canonized 1977.
Charbel left the following prayer:
Father of truth, behold your son who makes atoning sacrifice to you. Accept the offering: he died for me that I might have life.
Joseph Zaroun Makhlouf was the son of a Catholic Lebanese mule driver, who died when Joseph was in early childhood. He was raised by his uncle, who was displeased by the boy's early devotion to prayer and solitude. At the age of 23, Joseph went secretly to the monastery of Our Lady of Mayfug, a house of the Maronite Baladite order. When he was admitted to the order in 1851 he took the religious name Charbel--a 2nd century Antiochean martyr. In due course, Charbel made his solemn vows in 1853 and, in 1859, he was ordained to the priesthood, thus becoming what is known as a 'hieromonk.' This practice is more common in Roman rather than Eastern traditions.
Father Charbel traversed the divide between East and West in other ways as well. For example, one of his favorite books was the Imitation of Christ.
He lived the life of a model monk in the monastery of St. Maro at Annaya (Gibail) for 15 years--singing office in choir and working in the monastic vineyards and olive orchards with strict obedience and personal self-denial. He wished, however, to more closely imitate the Desert Fathers. To do this, in 1875, he took a hermitage near St. Peter and St. Paul.
For the next 23 years he lived an ascetic life. His home consisted of four tiny rooms and a chapel, which were shared with three others. For all these years Charbel spoke to another monk only when it was absolutely necessary. He ate but one meal of vegetables daily. He tasted no meat. He drank no wine, save a drop at the Eucharist. He ate no fruit. He also undertook four annually periods of fasting. He refused to touch money.
Instead of a bed Charbel Makhlouf had used a duvet filled with dead leaves, on top of which he used a goatskin for cover. His pillow was a piece of wood. When anyone came to inhabit the three other rooms, Charbel placed himself under obedience to them. He recited his office at midnight. During these 23 years, more and more people came to ask his counsel, prayers, and blessing.
Thus in the 19th century Father Charbel Makhlouf--along with a few other saintly men--had tried to live again the austere life of the desert fathers of the early church. He belonged to the Christian body known as Maronites, a group which traces its name back to Saint Maro, a friend of Saint John Chrysostom. This group of Christians, most of whom still live in Lebanon, have been united to the Western Church since the 12th century, thus bringing into Western Christendom traditions of great value that might readily have been forgotten. These traditions are ones of enormous self- discipline, and few have exemplified them better than Charbel Makhlouf.
After 23 years of this ascetic life, Charbel had a paralyzing stroke just before the consecration while celebrating the Eucharist in his chapel, and died eight days later on Christmas Eve. After his death many favors and miracles were claimed through his intercession in heaven. Today his tomb is visited by large numbers of people, not only Lebanese Maronites and not only Christians
It was also necessary for the Roman authorities to investigate the phenomenon of a kind of "bloody sweat" that flowed from his body during the period up to 1927 and again in 1950. Some months after his burial, the body was fresh and incorrupt and was placed in a new coffin, where a reddish perspiration flowed and caused the monks to change his clothes twice weekly. In 1927, the patriarch initiated an enquiry and the body was reburied. In 1950, after liquid was observed on the wall of the tomb, the body was found fresh and incorrupt again. Instantaneous cures and miraculous healings were claimed, some of whose beneficiaries are non- Christian. The body was reburied under concrete. This extraordinary phenomenon provides a modern, verifiable account of the types of events frequently claimed for Medieval saints (such as Enero) and frequently disregarded as superstitious (Attwater, Bentley, Farmer).
v. Sitka Icon of the Mother of God Located at the Cathedral of St Michael
the Archangel in Sitka, Alaska; Miracles have been attributed to her
One of the most revered Icons in North America: the Sitka Mother of God.
This Icon has been attributed to a famous Iconographer, Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky (1758-1826), a protégé of the Empress Catherine II who was instructed at the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg, Russia. In addition to being a great portrait painter, Borovikovsky also painted many of the Icons for the Cathedral of the Kazan Icon in St Petersburg.
Painted in the style of the Kazan Mother of God Icon, on canvas, the Sitka Mother of God Icon is 36 x 17½ inches in size. An exceptionally beautiful and detailed riza of silver covers the Icon of the Theotokos and Christ child, and the Image of God the Father blessing from above.
The Cathedral received the Icon as a gift from the laborers of the Russian American Company in 1850, two years after the Cathedral was completed. Even with their meager wages, these men generously made their contribution to the Church.
Miracles have been attributed to the Sitka Mother of God Icon over the years. It is believed that the gaze of the eyes of the Theotokos have led to the restored health of those who prayed before the Icon.
Because of the peaceful gaze of the Theotokos, the Icon has been described as a "pearl of Russian ecclesiastical art of ineffable gentleness, purity and harmony." And "...the most beautiful face of the Mother of God with the Divine Child in her arms is so delicately and artistically done that the more one looks at it the more difficult it is to tear one’s gaze away."
Originally part of the main Iconostasis at the Cathedral of St Michael the Archangel in Sitka, Alaska, the Icon is now permanently located on the far left side of the Iconostasis in a special place of honor.