Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Travel

My husband and I returned late last night from a several day visit to his family in Montreal, Quebec. We typically stay in a residence for pilgrims to St. Joseph's Oratory or L'Oratoire Saint-Joseph which is located at the corner of Côte-des-Neiges and Queen Mary Road. This site is of international renown and is the largest shrine dedicated to St-Joseph in the world. The body of Blessed Andre Bessette is also here for public veneration along with his incorrupt heart. Read more about this great miracle worker here. People come to this holy place by the bus load from all over the world. Unfortunately, it is located in a city which has lost its faith.
Montreal was once the cradle of Catholicism for all of North America. Now most parishes are empty and dying.... My husband veritably fled from Quebec and strongly dislikes visiting there. I find the city beautiful and exciting - I love le metro, the restaurants, the coffee shops (big sigh) but the lack of faith and belief is rather shocking. If you think the US has lost its faith, try spending any amount of time in Montreal. That said, I do have a great love and affection for this city and I pray for her people's conversion. I invite you all to join with me and perhaps just utter one Hail Mary for Quebec, Canada and her bishops and priests.
May Mary's prayers go with you always. Amen+

Our Lady of Kibeho VI

Other Apparition sites

The Apparitions of Mary, that followed the first one to Alphonsine, take place in the dormitory until January 16, 1982, and from that date, either in the schoolyard, for public Apparitions, or in the dormitory of the students, or in a place converted into a chapel. It is there that the students come to pray in the evening, and it will be the moment favored by the Blessed Virgin to visit one of the seers of the school. The students are present during the Apparition, and often the talks with the Virgin are about school life. These Apparitions are considered private, and the public is not allowed.
However, all can attend the Apparitions in the schoolyard. There is a conversation between the seer and the Apparition. All can hear and record the words of the seer, but they obviously cannot hear the words of the Virgin Mary. Very soon, the crowds become larger, especially in May, 1982, the month dedicated to Mary.
A podium and powerful speakers are installed to allow journalists and the members of the medical and theological commission to circulate freely, and above all, to allow the population to hear the dialogue of the seers. On August 15, 1982, there were 20,000 people.
Towards the end of an Apparition, the Blessed Virgin asks the seers to bless the crowd. The seers are in ecstasy; they do not see the crowd, but a garden of flowers, some fresh, and others faded. Our Lady asks the seers to water the flowers, and explains that the fresh flowers represent people whose hearts are turned to God, whereas the faded flowers represent those whose hearts are turned to earthly things, especially to money.

Mystical journeys

There are also the mystical journeys. Alphonsine experienced this phenomenon on March 20 and 21, 1982. She informs the Sister directress and her classmates in advance: “I will look dead, but don't be afraid; don't bury me!” The journey lasts eighteen hours. Priests, nurses, religious, the medical assistant of the Red Cross, all can see Alphonsine plunged into a deep sleep, her body straight and very heavy. They cannot lift her nor separate her hands that are joined. During this journey, the Blessed Virgin shows her Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell.
Another impressive phenomenon that took place in Kibeho was the fasts and the silences requested by Jesus or Mary. This was also checked by the commission of inquiry. These fasts could last up to fourteen days, without harming the health of the seers.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Our Lady of Kibeho V

Anathalie presents rosaries to be blessed by Mary

Two other seers

On January 12, 1982, Our Lady grants the prayers of the students, and also appears to a young girl, Anathalie Mukamazimpaka, and will appear to her until December 3, 1983.
And on March 2, 1982, to the surprise of all, Our Lady appears to Marie Claire Mukangango. It is like a bomb in the school, for Marie Claire was one of those who had showed her unbelief the most. Her Christian life was nothing special, and was even far from being exemplary! She called Alphonsine “a fool”. And now, it is her turn to be seized by a mysterious power. The Virgin Mary chose her to spread Her message, and from now on, Marie Claire keeps saying: “One must meditate on the Passion of Jesus, and on the deep sorrows of His Mother. One must recite the Rosary every day, and also the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, to obtain the favour of repentance.” Marie Claire will have Apparitions until September 15, 1982.

Marie Claire Mukangango presents the Rosary of Seven Sorrows. She was killed during the war in 1994.

The blessing of water
In January and February, 1982, diabolical phenomena take place in the dormitory. To cast away these unknown forces, the nuns use Lourdes' water, which has a soothing effect, but soon there is no more water left. So Anathalie is asked to have some water blessed by the Virgin Mary during the Apparitions. This was on March 2, 1982. Thus started, at Kibeho, the habit of having water blessed by the Virgin Mary before the Apparition.
There are now three seers at Kibeho, all from the college. The three of them are now recognized by the Church: Alphonsine, Anathalie, and Marie Claire.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Our Lady of Kibeho IV

Dorm in Kibeho where Mary appeared

Mary will progressively make Herself known to the students, and win them over. She gives advice, encourages, makes remarks to bring them on the right path. She is really the Mother who, in Her motherly love, educates Her children. Our Lady really became the Queen of this school. She should be the Queen of all schools!
One knows that the present situation in schools worldwide is awful, because God has been chased out, because His law is no longer taught. It is even forbidden to pray to Him in schools! Every morning, when we go to Mass, our heart breaks when we see school buses arriving to school, loaded with children. Poor little ones, who are taught that God does not exist! Mary came to Kibeho in a school, to set the example to the whole world, and to show how students can be transformed when God's law is taught in schools.
Because of the strong opposition that the first Apparitions had caused, some teachers and students had said: “We will believe in the coming in our school of Mary, the Mother of God, only if She appears to others besides Alphonsine.” The seer replied to them: “Pray yourselves to obtain this favor.”

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Our Lady of Kibeho - Bonus Post

I found the website for one of the seers of Kibeho. She is actively trying to spread devotion to Our Lady's Sorrows specifially via Our Lady's Chaplet or Rosary of Seven Sorrows. The following is an excerpt - I urge each of you to read this and take the message of Our Lady to heart. I have been telling you for some time the great and abundant spiritual benefits for the soul who is devoted to Mary's Sorrows:

The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin dates back to the Middle Ages but was lost to time and disappeared in history.
The rosary recalls the major Seven Sorrows the Blessed Mother suffered through with love and compassion during the life, trials, and agonizing death of her son Jesus Christ.
The Seven Sorrows Rosary is very special to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin, and she wants all of us to say it as often as possible. During the Holy Mother’s apparitions to Marie-Claire in Kibeho, she assigned the young visionary with a mission to reintroduce the Rosary of The Seven Sorrows to the world. Before her death during the Rwandan genocide, Marie-Claire travelled widely teaching the rosary to thousands of people, who have taught it to thousands of others. This special rosary has been gaining new international popularity since the Church approved the Marian apparitions in Kibeho in 2001. It is my hope even more people will learn about this amazing rosary.
The following is a description of, and directions for saying, The Seven Sorrows Rosary as the Virgin Mother herself taught it to Marie-Claire in Kibeho. It may be prayed aloud, or in silent contemplation, alone or with others, but the key is for the prayers, reflections, and meditations always to come from the depths of your heart.
During her visitations to Kibeho, the Virgin revealed that The Seven Sorrows Rosary possessed immense spiritual power for those who said it sincerely. She promised that when prayed with an open and repentant heart, the rosary would win us the Lord’s forgiveness for our sins and free our souls from guilt and remorse. She also promised that overtime the rosary would develop within us a deep understating of why we sin, and knowledge would give us he wisdom and strength to change or remove any internal flaws, weaknesses of character, or personality faults causing unhappiness and keeping us from enjoying the joyous life God intended for us to live.
The Rosary of The Seven Sorrows contains all the power you need to change your life for the better, to obtain peace and happiness, to realize your true potential, fulfill all your dreams, and grown closer to God’s light. It is a glorious gift to us from Our Lady of Kibeho; learn how to say it and say it often. I speak from experience when I promise that you will never regret leaning this wonderful rosary and that you will soon lose track of the countless blessing praying with The Seven Sorrows Rosary will bring into your life.

Source: Immaculee Ilibagiza website - Go here to continue on and read the directions for praying this powerful rosary! You can also purchase there her book and a CD on praying this rosary.

Our Lady of Kibeho III

Alphonsine Mumureke, seer of Kibeho
First Apparition
Alphonsine Mumreke, the first seer of Kibeho, is 17 years old, and is in her first year at the secondary school of Kibeho. She is very pious, and has always shown a great love for the Blessed Virgin. She also likes to attend Holy Mass. Here is how she relates the first Apparition:
“It took place on Saturday, November 28, 1981, at 12:35 p.m. I was in the dining room of the school, serving my classmates. All of a sudden, I heard a voice calling me.”
Mary: “My daughter.”
Alphonsine: “Here I am.”
“I went to the corridor, and saw a very beautiful woman. I knelt down, made the Sign of the Cross, and asked: ‘Who are you?’”
Mary: “Ndi Nyina Wa Jambo (in the local language, ‘I am the Mother of the Word’). In the religion, what do you prefer?”
Alphonsine: “I love God and His Mother, who gave us the Child who redeemed us.”
Mary: “If it is so, I have come to calm you, because I have heard your prayers. I would like your friends to have Faith, because they do not believe strongly enough.”
Alphonsine: “Mother of the Saviour, if it is really You who has come to tell us that here, in this school, we have little Faith, You do love us. I am really filled with joy that You appear to me.”
Alphonsine relates: “The Virgin was not white as She is usually seen in holy pictures. I could not determine the color of Her skin, but She was of incomparable beauty. She was barefoot and had a seamless white dress, and also a white veil on Her head. Her hands were clasped together on Her breast, and Her fingers pointed to the sky. Later, I was told that I was in the dining room. My classmates told me that I was speaking in several languages: French, English, Kinyarwanda, etc.
“When the Blessed Virgin was about to leave, I said three ‘Hail Marys’ and the prayer, ‘Come, Holy Spirit’. When She left, I saw Her rise to Heaven like Jesus.”
At the end of the Apparition, the seer remained motionless for a quarter of an hour, as if she was paralyzed, and all the efforts to get her out of ecstasy were in vain. Neither the teachers nor the nuns gave credence to what Alphonsine said. They rather spoke of illness instead of apparitions. (source)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Great Blog Post

Christine Mirabilis (or the Astonishing)
Virgin, 1224 A.D.
Feast day: July 24th

Go here for a MUST read on St. Christine the Astonishing. She is one of my favorite saints, being a lover of the extreme side of Catholicism. A story of a saint such as this begs the question - "Do you really believe this stuff?" And for me, the answer is...yes I certainly do for nothing is impossible for God.

Our Lady of Kibeho II

Kibeho Seconday School
Rwanda in 1980

Vandalism was rampant all over the country from 1980 to 1981. Almost all of the statues of the Virgin Mary that were at the entrance of villages were mutilated, destroyed, or stolen. This was a sad time when Mary was almost forgotten, and barely prayed to. Even several priests did not pray the Rosary any more, influenced by the propaganda of false theologians who would like to make us believe that this devotion is out of date. Catholics are humiliated; the clergy begins to give up.
It is in this time of discouragement that Mary chose to visit Rwanda. From 1981 to 1989, this country heard of the Virgin Mary as never before. Kibeho is located in the south of the country, the poorest area of Rwanda. The presence, in this place, of two dynamic priests made the population fervent.

The school of the Apparitions

At the start of the new school year in 1981, there were 120 students, divided into three classes. Three nuns are directing the school. The other teachers – one woman and five men – are lay people. They are all Rwandans. Two are Protestant, the others are Catholic. The majority of the students are Catholic, but there are also 17 Protestant and 2 Moslem students. Morals are far from being exemplary. (source)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Our Lady of Kibeho I

The Blessed Virgin Mother of God appeared in Kibeho Rwanda as Our Lady of Sorrows. The next several postings will be a series on this apparition and Our Lady's message. This apparition has the official approval from the Roman Catholic Church.

On July 2, 2001, the Holy See released the declaration of Bishop Augustin Misago of Gikongoro, on the Apparitions that took place in 1982-83 in Kibeho. Here are some excerpts:
“Two study commissions, one of doctors and one of theologians, were immediately set up by the local Bishop; they have been at work since April 1982... The advanced state of the study commissions' work now offers sufficient elements to allow competent ecclesiastical authorities to pronounce definitively on this question.
“As a result, Bishop Augustin Misago of Gikongoro, who represents this authority, has published his declaration concerning the definitive judgement on the Apparitions of Kibeho, Rwanda. This important event in the history of the Diocese of Gikongoro, as in the life of the Church in Rwanda, took place on 29 June 2001, on the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, during a solemn Mass concelebrated in the cathedral of Gikongoro. All the Catholic bishops of Rwanda, with the Apostolic Nuncio of Kigali, were present...
“The Bishop declared: Yes, the Virgin Mary appeared at Kibeho on November 28, 1981, and in the months that followed. There are more reasons to believe in the Apparitions than to deny them... The Apparitions of Kibeho are now officially recognized... The name given to the Marian sanctuary at Kibeho is "Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows". (emphasis added)
“That Kibeho become a place of pilgrimage and of encounter for all who seek Christ and who come there to pray, a fundamental centre of conversion, of reparation for the sins of the world and of reconciliation, a point of meeting for all who were dispersed, as for those who aspire to the values of compassion and fraternity without borders, a fundamental centre that recalls the Gospel of the Cross.
“This Declaration makes it possible to respond to the expectations of the People of God and to bring new enthusiasm to the public devotion recognized already for 13 years”. (Taken from “L'Osservatore Romano”, weekly edition in English, July 11, 2001, page 8.)
In 1988, without officially approving of the Apparitions, Bishop Jean Baptiste Gahamanyi, of the Diocese of Butare, of which Kibeho was a part at that time, authorized public devotion at the site of the Apparitions. Today, Kinbeho is part of the Diocese of Gikongoro, led by Bishop Augustin Misago.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blight of Error

(photo credit) "Tip blight caused by Phomposis"

My husband and I recently completed a novena to St. Joseph. There is one line in this novena which made a particular impression on me as he read it each night:

"Save us from all blight of error"

Isn't this an apt term for what is going on so commonly today? I read the news and I think "Lord save us from this blight of error." I sometimes look in the faces of my patients, so much sadness, depression and anxiety and my soul will utter the word "blight" silently of course...

The definition of BLIGHT:

Blight\ (bl[imac]t), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Blighted; p. pr. & vb. n. Blighting.] [Perh. contr. from AS. bl[=i]cettan to glitter, fr. the same root as E. bleak. The meaning "to blight" comes in that case from to glitter, hence, to be white or pale, grow pale, make pale, bleach. Cf. Bleach, Bleak.]

1. To affect with blight; to blast; to prevent the growth and fertility of.
"[This vapor] blasts vegetables, blights corn and fruit, and is sometimes injurious even to man." --Woodward.
2. Hence: To destroy the happiness of; to ruin; to mar essentially; to frustrate; as, to blight one's prospects.
"Seared in heart and lone and blighted." --Byron.


Blight. verb; That which frustrates one's plans or withers one's hopes; that which impairs or destroys.
"A blight seemed to have fallen over our fortunes." --Disraeli.

For all those abused by those whose duty it is to care...

"Once in winter her stepmother, Hortense, accused her of stealing bread, and threatened to beat her with a stick. Germaine opened her apron, and summer flowers tumbled out. Neighbors and her parents were awed and began to treat her as a holy person. Her parents invited her to rejoin the household, but Germaine chose to live as she had."

There are far too many children who become the victims of those who ought to care for them. This is a great evil. Our culture of death, so in love with contraception and abortion, has become calloused. Child abuse is one of the many rotten fruits of the devil.

I wish to offer this post along with my small prayers through the intercession of St. Germaine Cousin - the patron of abused children.

Lord I beg you to hear the cries of the little ones who through no fault of their own, suffer the wickedness and cruelty of those who should be loving them. Lord, let the sound of my supplication ascend to your ears. I recommend each suffering soul to your Divine and Infinite Mercy. Release them from the bondage of abuse, the victims as well as the perpetrators. Lord, let my cry come unto You, I beg you to heal the heart and soul of the little one of whom I have had recent contact, do not allow any more abuse for this child. Heal her soul Lord and make of her and her sister great saints! Do not allow this injustice to offend You any longer, for all sins are committed against Thee. Lord have mercy. Amen+

"In 1601 she was found dead on her straw pallet under the stairs, and she was buried in the Church of Pibrac opposite the pulpit. When accidentally exhumed in 1644 during a renovation, her body was found incorrupt."

~ Picture of St. Germaine Cousin's incorrupt body

Documents attest to more than 400 miracles or extraordinary graces through the intervention of Saint Germain. They include cures of every kind (of blindness, both congenital and resulting from disease, of hip and spinal disease), and the multiplication of food for the distressed community of the Good Shepherd at Bourges in 1845.

Read more about this incredible saint here and here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The 56 Meme

Open the book nearest to you and post from page 56 the 5th sentence and 2 to 5 sentences thereafter:

"All women who give a family history of boys with developmental delay, extreme hyperactivity, and speech and language problems should be offered fragile X carrier testing. All DNA tests require recovery of DNA; this is accomplished by obtaining nucleated cells. For DNA analysis of newborns, children, or adults, nucleated cells are easily recoverable from peripheral blood samples."
~Obstectrics and Gynecology 4th ed. Beckmann et al; Lippincott.

Tells you what sort of books I have around me! :) Now go to mass, its a holy day of obligation!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Persecution & Hope

Pope Benedict XVI (far right) on the day of his ordination 6/21/51

"It is when we attempt to avoid suffering by withdrawing from anything that might involve hurt, when we try to spare ourselves the effort and pain of pursuing truth, love, and goodness, that we drift into a life of emptiness, in which there may be almost no pain, but the dark sensation of meaninglessness and abandonment is all the greater. It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love." —POPE BENEDICT XVI, —Spe Salvi, n. 37

No truer words were ever spoken. Persecution is coming, perhaps not to every part of every nation, but to the Christian who lives a Christian life, very real persecution is coming. Can't you feel the wicked wind coming? The secret is to not be of this world, be unattached to your things for they are just so much rubbish. Cast yourself upon the feet of Jesus, call upon Mary - bow down to the ground at her feet before the cross of Christ and the floodgates of mercy will be open to you! Joy is found in embracing the crosses in your life!

"Turn me over, I am done on this side!"

~St. Lawrence as he was being burned to death

Did Jesus always know He was God??

"Jesus in the Synagogue at Nazareth" By: Greg Olson
Jesus, reading from the prophet Isaiah in his home town of Nazareth, to fulfill the prophecy about himself. Luke 4:15-21

The answer of course is YES. Go here for an excellent post explaning this better than I could: "Q: Was Jesus confused about who He was and what He was here for? A. No. He always knew Who He was and what He was here for. He was NOT confused. However, there are many theologians who are confused." LOL!

I cannot tell you how often this error in understanding of the nature of Jesus comes up. I have been told on several occasions that Jesus did not know He was God until the earlier part of His ministry, or until the Transfiguration or some other stupid time. Jesus always was, always is and always will be the Eternal Word, the all knowing, all seeing, omnipotent GOD. May His name be blessed forever!

Here is a list of associated common and condemned heresies:
Adoptionism- God granted Jesus powers and then adopted him as a Son. He was not eternally existent with the Father, He was adopted by the Father after testing at his baptism. (I used to believe this-no one taught it to me.)
Apollinarianism- Jesus’ divine will overshadowed and replaced the human.
Arianism - Jesus was a lesser, created being.
Docetism- Jesus was divine, but only seemed to be human.
Gnosticism - Dualism of good and bad and special knowledge for salvation.
Kenosis - Jesus gave up some divine attributes while on earth.
Modalism - God is one person in three modes. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit just three names for same, one person, God.
Monophysitism- Jesus had only one nature: divine. He was not fully human.
Nestorianism - Jesus was two persons. Mary did not give birth to God the Son
Socinianism - Denial of the Trinity. Jesus is a deified man.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Blessed Virgin Mary's Wedding Ring?

Thank you to Vincenzo who sent me a link to this image. This ring is located in the Cattedrale Santo Anello. Again, I cannot read italian so I'm posting this here in the hopes that someone can go to this site and interpret for us what is said of this ring.

Here is the description Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich gives of the Blessed Virgin Mary's wedding ring: "I saw the Blessed Virgin’s wedding-ring; it is neither of silver nor of gold, nor of any other metal; it is dark in color and iridescent; it is not a thin narrow ring, but rather thick and at least a finger broad. I saw it smooth and yet as if covered with little regular triangles in which were letters. On the inside was a flat surface. The ring is engraved with something. I saw it kept behind many locks in a beautiful church. Devout people about to be married take their wedding-rings to touch it. "

If this is Mary's ring, this would be an apt description of it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Is the Holy Grail really lost?

Photo above - the agate cup of the Holy Grail sits upon a gold base. The gold base is adorned with two emeralds. The base is dated to be a more recent addition to the Grail but it is also very old.

The Chapel of the Holy Grail in Valencia Cathedral, Valencia Spain. The Chapel of the Holy Grail
contains an agate cup which many people believe to have been used by Christ during the last supper.

Read more about the history of this highly researched relic HERE. Also don't miss a very well done blog entry by Father Zuhlsdorf says: "It could really be it, after all." Read the full post
at his famous What does the prayer really say blog HERE.

Our Holy Father John Paul II venerating this same chalice. He later said mass using it - it was also said this was the first "Peter" to say mass with this chalice since St. Peter.

Food for thought...we most likely will not know until all is revealed at the end of time.

Missing Holy Relic

"I saw the Blessed Virgin’s wedding-ring; it is neither of silver nor of gold, nor of any other metal; it is dark in color and iridescent; it is not a thin narrow ring, but rather thick and at least a finger broad. I saw it smooth and yet as if covered with little regular triangles in which were letters. On the inside was a flat surface. The ring is engraved with something. I saw it kept behind many locks in a beautiful church. Devout people about to be married take their wedding-rings to touch it. " ~Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich from "The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary"

Does anyone know of this ring? Where is it and are there any pictures of it? My searching has come up empty...
By the way...the picture above is a drawing made from the highly detailed description of the wedding clothes of the Blessed Virgin Mary as related from the visions of Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich. You can read this account in THIS book. These are traditional jewish wedding clothes from the time.

Beautiful Mary Holding Jesus II

O Holy Virgin Mother of God - I entrust the entire world to thine intercession. Convert sinners, save souls - especially mine and all those for whom I pray. It is my sincere wish to spend all eternity seated at thy feet, looking up to gaze upon your face! Amen+

Our Lady of Sorrows at the Hour of our Death

(picture source)
This right here, the picture above - this is precisely what I hope and pray for with all my being to take place at the hour of my death. A rosary in my hand, her scapular around my neck, Mary helping me to press the cross of Jesus to my dying lips that I may breathe forth my soul in her blessed presence. There is no grace greater than that of a happy death.
DO NOT FORGET: One of the promises of devotion to Mary's Sorrows is what this picture depicts! She will come to you, right to your side and you will SEE HER FACE and be personally assisted by her at your death. To better know how great a grace this is, read the following:
"Three awful thoughts cross the mind of a dying sinner: the vision of his past life with all its sins; the vision of the future and the inevitable punishment to come; the vision of the present and the divine justice from which he cannot escape. The judgment commences on the death bed. It is the opinion of theologians that man is judged in the actual spot where he dies. Ah! if the day of death were the day of divine justice only, it would too often be a dreadful day. But it is also Mary’s day and for that reason it is a day of mercy and rejoicing. To counteract discouragement, Mary places three consoling visions before the eyes of the dying: the thought of the past and all the favors received from her; the vision of Paradise where she reigns as Queen; and even, as has frequently occurred, her presence at death beds. No matter what temptation assails the child of Mary, he is strengthened and consoled by his heavenly Mother."

Holy Mass

"To Calvary through the Mass"
This is a thought worthy of our contemplation. Every time we go to Mass we go to Calvary. We also step outside of time and enter into eternity. How well do we realize this? How grateful or ungrateful are we for this great gift? In times past people would walk for hours in all sort of weather to just watch a Mass - as weekly, let along daily communion was not in practice. The faithful of early medieval times would crowd into small chapels and kneel down just get a faint glimpse of the elevation taking place behind bars. The priest alone would recieve but the faithful would offer thier prayers to the Lord in faith that they were heard. How very ungrateful we are now for the abundance of graces poured out upon us.
Lord I believe, help my unbelief! Amen+

Monday, November 24, 2008

St. Winifred

Statue of St. Winifred, in this Catholic parish of St. Winifred, Pittsburgh PA.
Catholic Mom of 10 has a great post about St. Winifred's shrine in Wales. I hope she posts more specifics about her pilgrimmage there. It is truly one of my goals in life to visit this holy well. Go here for more information. And here is a prayer to St. Winifred:
O blessed Winefride, pure virgin and glorious martyr, so especially chosen, so divinely graced and so wonderfully restored from death to life! Hope of all that fly unto thee with full confidence and humility! We, though, unworthy, yet thy devoted pilgrims, make our petitions unto thee. Sanctuary of piety, look upon us with patient eyes; receive our prayers, accept our offerings, and present our supplications at the throne of mercy, that through thy powerful intercessions God may be pleased to bless our pilgrimage, and to grant our requests and desires; through Christ our Lord. Amen +
To learn more about this beautiful saint's life go here, here, and here
St. Winifred, my beloved patron saint, ora pro nobis!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lilies of the Valley

Well I learned something new today. The above flower, the Lily of the Valley is also known as "Our Lady's Tears." From Wikipedia;
"The flower is also known as Our Lady's tears since, according to Christian legend, the tears Mary shed at the cross turned to Lilies of the Valley. According to another legend, Lilies of the Valley also sprang from the blood of Saint Leonard of Noblac during his battles with a dragon. Other names include May Lily, May Bells, Lily Constancy, Ladder-to-Heaven, Male Lily and Muguet."
"The name "Lily of the Valley" is also used in some English translations of the Bible in Song of Songs 2:1, although whether or not the Hebrew word "shoshana" (usually denoting a rose) originally used there refers to this species is uncertain. The meaning of this flower is "You will find Happiness."
My mother used to have many of these fragrant flowers in her gardens around my childhood home. I'll have to plant a bunch of these in the spring around our new statue of Mary shrine in the backyard.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Beautiful Mary

Ok, I'm busy and stressed and I just need sometimes to look upon the beautiful face of Mary and know that she is the Queen of Heaven and I am so honored and so unworthy to have her as my intercessor. Thank you Mary Mother of God for all your prayers, all your suffering on behalf of us poor sinners. I place all my worries and cares at your feet as so many peices of straw.

Mary Queen of Apostles, be my guide, be my salvation! Amen+

Monday, November 17, 2008

Purgatorian Archconfraternity

“Oh no! That is not sufficient. It is the Blood of Jesus Christthat is needed to extinguish the flames by which I am consumed;it is the August Sacrifice that will deliver me from these frightful torments.”
(A Soul from Purgatory to Bl. Henry Suso)

By request, I have posted here a link to the Transalpine Redemptorists who have organized the Purgatorian Archconfraternity. Here can be enrolled the souls of your beloved dead who can be greatly assisted by their prayers and masses!

They also have a blog here. Check them out! They also have a periodical magazine here - pictured above.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Persecution cometh...

St. Thomas Becket, bishop of Canterbury, martyred 1170 A.D

"The world is rapidly being divided into two camps, the comradeship of anti-Christ and the brotherhood of Christ. The lines between these two are being drawn. How long the battle will be we know not; whether swords will have to be unsheathed we know not; whether blood will have to be shed we know not; whether it will be an armed conflict we know not. But in a conflict between truth and darkness, truth cannot lose." —Bishop Fulton John Sheen, D.D. (1895-1979)

The devil and his minions do indeed prowl about the world seeking for those they can devour.

We must repent all our sins, forgive all who have ever harmed us, go to confession and pray for the strength to lead holy lives. Never quit, never give up, hold fast to your Catholic faith even if the entire world stands against you. It matter not one bit what others think of you - care ONLY about what God thinks of you. Seek to please Him and Him alone.

To those who have fear - Fear not for the Lord your God will rescue you from the hands of your enemies! By His mighty arm you will be saved! Do not be afraid! Do not trade the salvation of your soul for the ashes of comforts of this life. How sad will be the soul on Judgment Day who does this! We must not apostasize, no matter the worldly consequence.

"Death but not sin!" ~St. Dominic Savio

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Prayer invoking Mary's Tears

Assist me by the wings of your prayers
O you who are called the Mother of the living,
so that on my exit from this valley of tears
I may be able to advance without torment
to the dwelling of life that has been prepared for us
to lighten the end of a life burdened by my iniquity.
Healer of the sorrows of Eve, change my day of anguish
into a feast of gladness. Be my Advocate, ask and supplicate.
For as I believe in your inexpressible purity,
so do I also believe inthe good reception that is given to your word.
O you who are blessed among women, help me with your tears
for I am in danger. Bend the knee to obtain my reconciliation, O Mother of God.
Be solicitous for me for I am miserable.

~St. Gregory of Narek (A.D. 1010)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We must continue to fight

Please take a moment to sign this petition.

Indulgences for Dummies

(photo credit to Micki at Holy Cards for your Inspiration)
From the German: "Eternal rest grant unto them, may eternal light shine upon them. May they rest in peace!"
The following is a summary from the Handbook of Indulgences available here for purchase. No Catholic home should be without it!
Who Needs Indulgences?: Anyone with unforgiven venial (less serious) sin or temporal punishment remaining from sins forgiven in life. This applies to the living and the souls suffering in purgatory. In reality, most souls go to purgatory before entering heaven.

What are Indulgences?: An indulgence is a remission of time in purgatory drawn form the 'spiritual treasury' of Jesus, Mary and the Saints who earned graces which they did not need. The Roman Catholic Church, the True Church, unlocks these graces through its authority to 'bind and loose' (Matthew 16:19). They may be applied by a person to himself/herself or offered to a soul (or the souls) suffering in purgatory.

How are Indulgences Gained?:

1. The person must be baptized and free from mortal sin (in the state of grace).

2. The person must have the intention (desire or goal) of obtaining the indulgence (they are not gained accidentally).

3. The work/works prescribed by the Church must be completely and correctly performed.

What is a Partial Indulgence?: A partial indulgence remits a part of the temporal punishment due. There is no limit to the number of partial indulgences that can be obtained in a single day.

What is a Plenary Indulgence?: A plenary indulgence remit all of the temporal punishment due leaving the soul completely clean. This would allow a soul to escape purgatory and enter heaven.

How is a Plenary Indulgence Obtained?:
1. The prescribed work must be performed.

2. In addition to the normal conditions, the person gaining the indulgence must be completely free from all all attachment to sin, including venial sin.

3. The person gaining gaining the indulgence must go to sacramental confession at least 20 days before or after the day that the work is performed.

4. The person gaining the indulgence must receive communion and pray for the intentions of the Pope (at least one Our Father and Hail Mary) specifically for each plenary indulgence desired.

5. The Church lengthened the time for confession, communion and prayer for the Pope to 20 days before or after the day of the indulgence (January 29, 2000: Gift of Indulgence document).

6. Only one plenary indulgence can be obtained a day (the only exception being that a second may be obtained at the moment of death).

What are Some of the Works Meriting the Plenary Indulgence?: Refer to the Handbook of Indulgences for additional places and times of the year which plenary indulgences may be obtained. The works below are referenced with the Handbook's listing number.

1. Way/Stations of the Cross in a Church by moving from station to station while meditating at each one.

2. Rosary: five decades said with others (family, parish members, religious community).

3. Reading Sacred Scripture for at least 30 minutes.

4. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for at least 30 minutes.

5. Visiting a Church or Oratory on All Souls Day with recitation of one Our Father and the Creed.

6. Hearing a Papal Blessing via radio/television when given to Rome and the world. Must be live.

7. Moment of Death: if a priest is unavailable, a person in the state of grace may obtain a plenary indulgence providinga. They have been (a.) in the habit of reciting some prayers during their lifetime (which substitutes for the required confession/communion/prayers for the Pope)and (b.) They are properly disposed (free from attachment to sin, including venial sin).

What are the Works Which Earn a Partial Indulgence?

1. Prayers and pious invocations.

2. Visit to a cemetery and praying for the dead (plenary from Nov. 1-8 with usual conditions).

3. Performing in the spirit of faith adn mercy a corporal or spiritual Work of Mercy (including almsgiving) to serve someone in need. (Second General Grant)

4. Mortification/penance: voluntarily depriving oneself of what is licit/allowed and pleasing to them. (Third General Grant).

5. Works meriting a plenary indulgence may also be performed for a partial indulgence.

How Can I Gain Every Indulgence Possible?: A key aspect of indulgences is having the intention of gaining the indulgence: they are not gained accidentally or automatically. An easy way to avoid loosing indulgences is making a simple prayer at the beginning of the day asking to gain all indulgences earned. Here is an example:

"I desire to gain each indulgence I earn through prayer and work today. Amen.+"

Monday, November 10, 2008

What are Indulgences?

From New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism (Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur; 1962)

435. What is an indulgence? An indulgence is the remission granted by the Church of the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven.

436. How many kinds of indulgences are there? There are two kinds of indulgences, plenary and partial.

437. What is a plenary indulgence? A plenary indulgence is the remission of all the temporal punishment due to our sins.

438. What is a partial indulgence? A partial indulgence is the remission of part of the temporal punishment due to our sins.

439. How does the Church by means of indulgences remit the temporal punishment due to sin? The Church by means of indulgences remits the temporal punishment due to sin by applying to us from her spiritual treasury part of the infinite satisfaction of Jesus Christ and of the superabundant satisfaction of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the saints.

440. What is the superabundant satisfaction of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the saints? The superabundant satisfaction of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the saints is that which they gained during their lifetime but did not need, and which the Church applies to their fellow members of the communion of saints.

441. What must we do to gain an indulgence for ourselves? To gain an indulgence for ourselves we must be in the state of grace, have at least a general intention of gaining the indulgence, and perform the works required by the Church.

442. Can we gain indulgences for others? We cannot gain indulgences for other living persons, but we can gain them for the souls in purgatory, since the Church makes most indulgences applicable to them.

Friday, November 7, 2008

How to Help the Holy Souls

To him therefore who knoweth to do good, and doth it not, to him it is sin (James 4:17)

There are a variety of ways to help the Holy Souls. Some of which are listed in a previous post, others are below. Keep in mind virtually everthing and anything can be offered to God as an act of love and charity for them. "Lord, may each movement of my hand today be for your glory and for the assistance of your faithful departed. Amen+" Practiced regularly, you will be shocked at what your little prayers and offerings have merited you at your particular judgement!

"The Holy Sacrifice is the greatest help we can offer, because its effect depends on itself, and not on the piety of the priest who offers it...If we cannot have a Mass said, we should at least hear Mass for our dear departed. A Mass has infinite merit..." (My Catholic Faith; 1949-1954)

In addition to the Requiem Mass following death, a Mass for the departed may be arranged for just about any day of the year. The following are days of traditional significance for Masses for the Departed:

1. All Souls Day

2. Third day/year following burial (Christ's time in the tomb); Seventh day/year (symbolic of eternal repose; St. Ambrose) and 30th day/year (St. Ambrose) from death or burial.

3. Yearly anniversary day from death or burial

4. Gregorian Masses: 30 consecutive Masses following the repose (burial) popularized by 6th Century Pope St. Gregory the Great. This could also be ANY 30 days following the death of a person because God hears all prayers outside of time.

5. Purgatorian Society Masses: daily masses said for souls those enrolled.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Beautiful Holy Card

Another simply incredible holy card from Micki and Holy Cards for your Inspiration. And this right after returning from a week in Nashville!

What Does it Mean to Pray for the Poor Souls?

It means everything that we can offer for the faithful departed.

~We can offer our bodily pains in expiation for their sins.
~We can offer our spiritual sufferings, our disappointments and fears, our discouragement and estrangement from those we love.
~We can offer our vocal prayers, like the Rosary, the Memorare, the Angelus, the recitation of the Divine Office.
~We can offer our mental prayers, like the Way of the Cross, our daily meditation and examination of conscience.
~We can offer our mortifications, like giving up some delicacy at table, or performance of some unpleasant work.

But the most effective offering we can make for the Poor Souls is the Holy Eucharist at the Sacrifice of the Mass, Holy Communion and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Over the centuries, the Catholic faithful have by now offered countless Masses for the Poor Souls. In the Society of Jesus, we priests are expected to offer one Mass each month for all the deceased Jesuits. This amounts to over sixteen thousand Masses that are to be said every month for the members of the Society of Jesus who are still in purgatory.

May I offer a recommendation? During the month of November, I suggest that we make a list of all the deceased persons whom we wish to specially remember in our Masses, prayers and sacrifices for the repose of their souls. Add to this list as those enter eternity whom you wish to specially commend to the mercy of God. This, by the way, is called a Necrology. Every Catholic diocese in the world has a Necrology of its deceased priests. Every family should have its own Necrology of deceased members whom we daily remember to our merciful Lord.

Every time you say the grace after meals, be sure to add the invocation, "May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen." In every Rosary you recite, do not forget to say after each decade, " O, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and bring all souls to heaven, especially those who are in most need of thy mercy."
Remember that devotion to the Poor Souls is really a covenant between them and us. We pray and sacrifice for them, They can pray and suffer for us. They appreciate whatever help we give them, to lessen their suffering and to shorten their stay in Purgatory. They will continue to show their appreciation when we join them in a heavenly eternity.

(From a homily by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. accessed here)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Truth about Liberalism

" he (Pope Benedict XVI) says that liberalism's idea of conscience is that: "Conscience does not open the way to the redemptive road to truth - which either does not exist or, if it does, is too demanding. It is the faculty that dispenses with truth. It thereby becomes the justification for subjectivity, which would not like to have itself called into question. Similarly, it becomes the justification for social conformity. As mediating value between the different subjectivities, social conformity is intended to make living together possible. The obligation to seek the truth terminates, as do any doubts about the general inclination of society and what it has become accustomed to. Being convinced of oneself, as well as conforming to others, is sufficient. Man is reduced to his superficial conviction, and the less depth he has, the better for him."

~Pope Benedict XVI at theTenth Bishops' Workshop of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, on "Catholic Conscience: Foundation and Formation" Accessed at La Salette Journey.

We must always, at every time and in all places seek the truth!! I find solace in this bible passage:

John 14:1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me.
John 14:2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
John 14:4 You know the way to the place where I am going."
John 14:5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

The Two Sides of Purgatory

It must seem strange to speak of devotion to the Poor Souls. But it is not really strange. Devotion to the Poor Souls has two sides: our side and the side of the souls in purgatory.
On their side, the Poor Souls are united with us in the one Kingdom of Christ. They can pray and obtain blessings for us here on earth. They are united, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, with the pilgrim Church in the Communion of Saints. We are therefore encouraged to invoke their aid, with a confidence of being heard by those who understand our needs. They know from their own experience what it means to carry the cross here on earth.

On our side we are to do everything we can to help the Poor Souls in the Church Suffering. The sufferings in purgatory are not the same for all. They depend on each person's degree of sinfulness. St. Thomas Aquinas held that the least pain in purgatory is greater than the worst pain in this life. St. Bonaventure held that the worst suffering after death was greater than the worst suffering on earth, but the same could not be said regarding the least pain in purgatory. In general, however, we should say that the pains of purgatory are greater than those on earth.

To atone for your sins...

Scripture tells us that, "For charity delivers from death and keeps you from entering the darkness"; and that "Water extinguishes a blazing fire: so almsgiving atones for sin." Our Lord says: "But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you.”


St. Thomas Aquinas said: "Of all prayers, the most meritorious, the most acceptable to God are prayers for the dead, because they imply all the works of charity, both corporal and spiritual."

Go here to read the full article. I highly recommend this one and remember, it is not simply a nice thing to pray for the souls in purgatory, it is your duty.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why are Souls in Purgatory?

In order to understand why the Poor Souls are in purgatory, as Catholics we should know what we believe about the double effect of every sin. Every time we sin we lose more or less of God's grace. This we call "guilt." Every time we sin we also incur a debt of pain. This we call "penalty."
Mortal sins are called mortal because they deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace and the right to heaven. Mortal sins also incur the debt of eternal punishment.

When mortal sins are forgiven in the sacrament of penance, sanctifying grace is restored and the debt of eternal punishment is removed. But normally there is still temporal punishment to be expiated. Moreover, venial sins always carry with them a debt of temporal punishment, which is more or less remitted, depending on a person's spiritual dispositions.

This immediately tells us that because we are sinners we must expect to suffer in expiation for our sins. The choice we have is between patiently suffering here on earth or suffering in purgatory after our bodily death.

November if the Month of the Holy Souls

Who Are the Poor Souls?

The Poor Souls are the souls of those people who died in the friendship of God. But they still have some suffering to undergo for the sins they had committed during their lives on earth. It is the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church that there is a purgatory. As the word itself indicates, purgatory is the state of those who still have to be cleansed of the penalty which they owe for their past offenses against God.

The Poor Souls are poor because they are in suffering and need our help. We know from Sacred Scripture that there is a purgatory, as described in the second book of Maccabees, which unfortunately has been removed from the Protestant Old Testament. As described in Sacred Scripture, Judas Maccabeus, the leader of a Jewish army, decided to offer a sacrifice for the Jews who had died in battle. The Bible then tells us,"If he had not expected the fallen to rise again, it would have been superstitious and foolish to pray for the dead." However, since he believed in the resurrection of the dead, "he had this atonement sacrifice offered for the dead, so that they might be released from their sins" (II Maccabees 12:41?45).

The existence of purgatory is a defined truth of the Catholic faith. Those who die without the guilt of mortal sin, but with temporal punishment still due for their past offenses "are cleansed after death in purgatorial or cleansing punishments."

It is commonly believed that the principal suffering in purgatory is the pain of loss. The souls are temporarily deprived of the Beatific Vision.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Holy Sonnet

The following is a beautiful poem written the man pictured above, John Donne. He lived in England from 1572 – 1631. He was a poet in the Jacobean style. I am a poor alto among other much better altos in my church choir. Tonight I returned from practice where we sang a beautiful and powerful song setting this sonnet to music:

At the round earth's imagin'd corners, blow

Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise

From death, you numberless infinities

Of souls, and to your scatter'd bodies go;

All whom the flood did, and fire shall o'erthrow,

All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,

Despair, law, chance hath slain, and you whose eyes

Shall behold God and never taste death's woe.

But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space,

For if above all these my sins abound,

'Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace

When we are there; here on this lowly ground

Teach me how to repent; for that's as good

As if thou'hadst seal'd my pardon with thy blood.

~Holy Sonnet VII

One can picture the general resurrection in this verse - O what a day that will be!

Going out of town

I will be leaving for a 10 day out of town business trip tomorrow. This business trip will take me to Nashville. I've been there once before years ago and its an interesting city! Won't see much of the sights, but will be in classes most every day. I do hope to get in a little night life in the evenings! Pray I return safely and may Mary keep you always in her prayers!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Would like your input...

I know this blog is not about politics, it is rather about Catholicism and more specifically Catholic devotion, but....

As an ardent Catholic, I vote based on the candidate's voting record/views on the sanctity of life - the human right that all others are subject to. I have therefore voted overwhelmingly for Republican candidates for this very reason. I have been very disappointed with the "all talk and no do" of the Republicans, also they seem to have embraced neo-conservatism and have abandonned the people on many of the traditional social conservative issues.

I recently heard the Constitution party candidate for President speak on NPR and I was very impressed. I am seriously thinking of voting for this party but do not want to actly rashly. Does anyone know anything about this party? Any members out there who read my humble blog? Please give me some advice!

Go here to read more about the Constitution Party.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Challenge for the World

Do you think there are ANY circumstances in which abortion is acceptable?? If you answer yes to this question - go HERE, watch the video and then tell me you still think this way.

The world will not reject abortion until the world SEES abortion.

This video can be viewed in either english or spanish.

Our Lady of Fatima, please pray for those considering
abortion and turns their hearts toward mercy!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

St. Agnes of Rome ~ My Daughter's Paton Saint

My 17 year old daughter was confirmed the day before yesterday and she chose St. Agnes as her patron saint. Her father and I are very pleased with this choice. When she was about 9 years old, I used to read the children each night after bedtime prayers and story from a children's book of saints. I hope I never forget the way her face lit up when I read the story of St. Agnes. "Mommy, can she be MY patron saint?" She has had a devotion to her ever since, along with Sts. Michael, Sebastian and Lucy. The bishop asked her how she plans to emulate the virtues of St. Agnes and she replied "I will remain pure and chaste like her." Isn't that beautiful!? May the Lord be praised! Here are some more beautiful images of this powerful saint and her brief life story...

St Agnes Virgin Martyr

Holy Agnes was martyred on 21st January c305 AD in the Piazza Navona in Rome, at the tender age of twelve or thirteen. The son of the Governor of Rome proposed marriage, but Agnes preferred virginity. Her refusal to accept his hand, sent the Governor into a rage, and he threatened to expose Agnes’s parents as Christians, and so face certain death. He tried to persuade Agnes to change her mind by making her walk naked through the city, but her hair miraculously grew to cover her body and save her nakedness. This could not change her mind, so Agnes was burned at the stake, but the flames refused to touch her. She was sent to the lions, who made no attack on her. The son of the Governor goaded the lions who then attacked and killed him. The Father, distraught at his son’s death, pleaded with Agnes to pray for him, and at her intercession he was restored to health. Undeterred, the Governor had Agnes beheaded. Her body was buried in the Catacombs outside the city. On the octave day, she appeared in a vision, full of assurance of her well-being.

Her preference of death, rather than any violation to her young sacred body won her much renown in the early Church, most especially in Europe.

Her severed head is in the Church of Sant’ Agnese in Agone in the Piazza Navona. Her body is in the Basilica of Sant’ Agnese fuori le Mura (St Agnes outside the Walls) on the Via Nomentana.

Because of the resemblance of her name, Agnes to agnus (latin for lamb) she is often represented in Art carrying a lamb. And, on her feast day in the Basilica of St Agnes the Holy Father blesses lambs, from which the sisters of St Agnes’ convent make the Sacred Pallia, worn by Archbishops. Once the Pallia are made, they rest above the tomb of St Peter in the Vatican, from where new Archbishops receive them from the Holy Father.

We celebrate with her and all the saints, their victory over death and suffering through Jesus. We also pray and hope that we will be amongst their number and remain loyal to the faith which she professed, live and died by.

Holy Agnes, pray for us and for my daughter until she stand beside you in heaven!