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Category Archives: Our Beloved Saints and Holy People

DO NOT CRY, WE ARE GOING TO HEAVEN

DO NOT CRY, WE ARE GOING TO HEAVEN

ABOUT SAINT MARY GUO LI, WIDOW AND MARTYR (1835-1900)

Mary Guo Li, a native of Hu-jia-che, China (Hebei Province), was a Catholic wife and grandmother, with numerous children and grandchildren, all of whom were raised in the Catholic faith.

In 1900 a Chinese quasi-religious faction known to history as the “Boxers” embarked upon a bloody persecution of Christians in China.

Mary instructed her children and grandchildren that under no circumstances were they to deny their faith, warning two of her sons, “Remember that if you apostatise, I shall no longer be your mother!”

On 29th June 1900, the Boxers raided the family’s home, murdered Mary’s husband Guo Zhinfang, and torched the house.

Sensing that she would soon share her husband’s fate, Mary spent the days that followed preparing herself with the recitation of the rosary, fasting, and spiritual reading.

On 7th July the sixty-five-year-old grandmother was put to death by the Boxers together with three of her daughters and four of her grandchildren. Before being executed, Mary offered a final word of encouragement to her family, telling them, “Don’t cry. We are going to heaven to enjoy eternal life.”

“They are happy whose life is blameless, who follow God’s law.” (Ps 118:1)

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VEN. ROSALIE CADRON-JETTE: BEYOND THE JUDGMENTS OF THIS WORLD

VEN. ROSALIE CADRON-JETTE: BEYOND THE JUDGMENTS OF THIS WORLD

MEMORIAL: APRIL 5th

…Venerable Rosalie Cadron-Jette… was born in Lavaltrie, Canada, in 1794. During her lifetime in her part of Canada, who would take care of unmarried pregnant women: shelter them, feed them, and provide medical attention before, during, and after the births of their children? No one, it seems, except Venerable Rosalie.

LOVE AND CARE FOR THOSE IN NEED

Venerable Rosalie grew up on a farm, her father earning a comfortable living. Even at a young age she showed love and care for those in need. She would help orphaned and abandoned children, mend clothes, take food to the hungry and visit the sick. According to the custom at that time, Venerable Rosalie married a man much older than herself: she was 16 and he was 33. She gave birth to 11 children, four of them dying at a young age. However, Venerable Rosalie became widowed at the age of 38, her husband dying from a cholera epidemic.

ONE NIGHT, A FRANTIC KNOCK SHOOK HER FRONT DOOR

The providence of God led Venerable Rosalie to her eventual ministry. One night, a frantic knock shook her front door. Hysterically, a woman begged to be let inside. She screamed that two sailors were chasing her with a hatchet intending to kill her. The woman was hidden in the house and the two sailors arrived. Having not found the woman in the house they eventually left. It later emerged that the woman, whose name was Jean-Marie, was working as a prostitute. Venerable Rosalie encouraged Jean-Marie to change her life. (Many years later Venerable Rosalie received a letter from Jean-Marie thanking her for her help and advice and stating that she had emigrated to the United States and was now happily married).

THE “HARMFUL TALK OF LOCAL PEOPLE”

For many years after her encounter with Jean-Marie, Venerable Rosalie dedicated her life to assisting single pregnant women and prostitutes, this at a time when being single and pregnant created a great stigma. Word spread that Venerable Rosalie helped people in need and the local Bishop asked her to help six children who had become orphans. Within a few days homes had been found for all these children. When more prostitutes and pregnant women were coming to Venerable Rosalie and staying with her to be looked after, some members of Venerable Rosalie’s family confronted her by saying that she was dishonouring the family name and that her reputation was being ruined by the harmful talk of local people.

“I AM STAYING HERE”

“It makes us feel bad to hear the things that people are saying about you. You are going to come home with us”, they said. They picked up her belongings and waited for Venerable Rosalie to come out and come home with them. Instead, Venerable Rosalie said, “Take everything I own, if you want; but as for me, I’m staying here.”

DOING GOD’S WILL

After all, she felt she was doing God’s will by looking after these women. Venerable Rosalie obtained bigger premises and never turned away any woman in need of shelter. Eventually, other caring women joined her in her work, leading to the formation of the Institute of the Sisters of Misericorde. Sadly, Venerable Rosalie then became ill with a kidney disease. As her health worsened she prayed for the pregnant women and prostitutes in need of help and advised her sisters to always love their work of caring for them.

SACRIFICES AND WORKS FOR GOD’S GLORY

Her Bishop came to her with the Blessed Eucharist and said, “My dear child, you may die now; go and receive your crown in heaven which God has lovingly prepared for you to reward you for all the sacrifices and works which you have so generously undertaken for His glory.” The next day, 5th April 1864, Venerable Rosalie died.

The cause for her canonisation was presented to the Vatican. In 2013 Pope Francis declared that Rosalie should be called ‘Venerable’, a step on the road to being declared a saint.

Some years after Venerable Rosalie’s death, one of her sisters declared at a religious meeting that ‘Rosalie placed herself beyond caring about the judgments of the world, when she placed before herself only conforming to the holy will of God.’ Good advice for all of us!

– From: Spiritual Thought From Fr. Chris, 4/2017

 

 

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ST ISIDORE OF SEVILLE – AN EXAMPLE IN ALL GOOD WORKS

ST ISIDORE OF SEVILLE – AN EXAMPLE IN ALL GOOD WORKS

ST ISIDORE; BISHOP, CONFESSOR, AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH – FEAST DAY: APRIL 4

Isidore, a Spaniard by nationality, was born at Carthagena, while his father, Severian, was governor of the province. He received a well-rounded and pious training from his two brothers, Leander, Bishop of Seville, and Fulgentius, Bishop of Cartagena, and he came from his masters a most eminent scholar in all human knowledge and a pattern of all Christian virtues.

A most eminent scholar

After the death of Leander, he was raised to the See of Seville and made Vicar Apostolic of Spain. As a bishop he set an example in all good works and was especially solicitous in restoring ecclesiastical discipline. In a council assembled at Seville, he broke up and destroyed the heresy of the Acephali which was then threatening Spain.

A pattern of all Christian virtues

So great was the universal reputation that he had attained for piety and learning that he had scarcely been dead sixteen years when he merited to be called the Outstanding Doctor. He wrote most useful books full of learning. He presided over the fourth Council of Toledo, the most celebrated of all those convened in Spain. Finally, after having governed his See for about forty years, he went to heaven from Seville, in the year 636.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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HOLD ON TO THE GOOD AND STAY IN THE FOOTPRINTS OF YOUR PIOUS ANCESTORS – ST NICHOLAS OF FLUE

HOLD ON TO THE GOOD AND STAY IN THE FOOTPRINTS OF YOUR PIOUS ANCESTORS – ST NICHOLAS OF FLUE

“[On]…21st March one of the saints celebrated by the Church is St Nicholas of Flue, known also as Brother Klaus. He was born in 1417 in the Swiss canton of Unterwalden. At the age of 21 St Nicholas entered the army and took part in the Battle of Ragaz, distinguishing himself as a soldier. He became a member of the lay organisation called the Friends of God. Members sought closeness to Jesus through a disciplined life, especially meditation on His Passion.

Closeness to Jesus

At the age of 30 St Nicholas married Dorothy Wissling, and during twenty years of happy marriage they had ten children. St Nicholas left the army at the age of 37, having always carried his rosary beads with him wherever he travelled. After leaving the army he became a councillor and a judge for his canton.

His Divine Calling

At the age of 50 St Nicholas sensed the call of God to lead a more contemplative life. His wife and children believed that he had this divine calling and did not oppose him. St Nicholas left his family and spent the next 20 years in a remote cottage in Ranft. He prayed most of the night, but in the afternoon was happy to receive visitors.

He prayed most of the night

Although unable to read or write, St Nicholas had the gift of spiritual counsel and natural good judgement. Even top leaders sought his direction on spiritual, personal or political matters. In 1481 St Nicholas played a major role in solidifying the unity of Switzerland through his advice given to those involved in this endeavour. St Nicholas died on 21st March 1487 in Ranft after a short illness. He was beatified in 1669 and canonised by Pope Pius XII in 1947. He is the Patron Saint of Switzerland and of the Swiss Guards who protect the Pope.

A document from that time preserved St Nicholas’ fundamental wisdom:

Always put God first… do not mix in the affairs of others or ally yourself with a powerful stranger. Guard against discord and self-interest… do not let grow among you self-interest, jealousy, hatred, envy and factions, or these will work against you… don’t let innovations and roguery seduce you. Hold on to the good and stay on the road in the footprints of your pious ancestors. If you do that, neither storm nor tempest can harm you and you will overcome much evil.”

– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr. Chris 3/2017

 

 

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ST ANTONIUS OF FLORENCE – HOLY FROM A VERY EARLY AGE

ST ANTONIUS OF FLORENCE – HOLY FROM A VERY EARLY AGE

ST ANTONIUS OF FLORENCE, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR – FEAST DAY: MAY 10

Born at Florence of good parents, Antonius even as a child showed signs of great sanctity. At sixteen, he entered the Dominicans and from then on his reputation for outstanding virtue grew.

He became a Dominican Friar

His observance of abstinence and chastity was very strict. He was called Antonius the Counsellor because of his skill in that work. Eugene IV appointed him Archbishop of Florence, but Antonius only accepted reluctantly and out of respect for the authority of the Apostolic See.

He accepted reluctantly

As archbishop, he was eminently prudent, pious, and charitable, and full of gentleness and priestly zeal. He had a thorough, self-taught knowledge of most of the sciences, and wrote many learned books on them. He died on the sixth of the Nones of May in 1459. Adrian VI entered his name on the list of saints.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Roman Breviary, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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ST HEDWIG – SHE SERVED THE POOR ON BENDED KNEES

ST HEDWIG – SHE SERVED THE POOR ON BENDED KNEES

Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. (Matthew 25:34-36)

ST HEDWIG, WIDOW – FEAST DAY: OCTOBER 16

Hedwig, notable for her royal birth, was the maternal aunt of St Elizabeth, daughter of the King of Hungary. She was given in marriage to Henry, Duke of Poland, and she brought up her children in the fear of God. To serve God more fully, she persuaded her husband that they should make a vow of continence. After his death, she took the habit at the Cistercian monastery at Trebnitz, and there she devoted herself to contemplation and delighted to assist at the Divine Office and Mass.

She possessed extraordinary strength of soul

Distinguished by the noblest virtues, by the strictest penance, by the gravity of her counsels and candour of soul, she became an outstanding example of religious piety. It was her custom to voluntarily subject herself to all the others and to do the more menial chores, to serve the poor on bended knees and to wash and kiss the feet of lepers. Her patience and strength of soul were extraordinary, as was shown upon the death of her son Henry, Duke of Silesia, who was killed in battle by the Tartars. Renowned by the fame of her miracles, especially after her death, Clement IV added her to the number of the saints.

– From: An Approved Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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AFTER FIRST COMMUNION SHE GAINED MORE SELF-CONTROL AS SHE DEEPENED HER UNDERSTANDING OF GOD: ST ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY

AFTER FIRST COMMUNION SHE GAINED MORE SELF-CONTROL AS SHE DEEPENED HER UNDERSTANDING OF GOD: ST ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY

She had a terrible temper as a child

On 16th October, Pope Francis celebrated a Mass of Canonisation, giving the church some new saints. One of these is St Elizabeth of the Trinity. She was born in 1880 in the military base at Avord in France. Her father was a Captain. St Elizabeth was baptised in the chapel of the military base. Sadly, her father died when St Elizabeth was seven years old and the family moved to Dijon. St Elizabeth had a terrible temper as a child, but after receiving her First Holy Communion she was able to gain more self-control as she deepened her understanding of God.

She gained an understanding of the Most Holy Trinity

She also gained a profound understanding of the Most Holy Trinity, which she cultivated in ardent devotion. St Elizabeth started to visit the sick, sing in the church choir and taught religion to the young people who worked at the local factories. As she grew older, St Elizabeth became interested in entering the Discalced Carmelite Order, though her mother was very much against this. St Elizabeth declined marriage from several men because of the desire that she had for religious life.

A fulfilled life of selfless, loving service

St Elizabeth entered the Dijon Carmel in 1901. She said, “I find Him everywhere while doing the washing as well as while praying.” Realising that she had become very ill, she also said: “I think in heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them to go out of themselves in order to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep in the great silence within which will allow God to communicate Himself to them and transform them into Himself.” Her spirituality is considered to be remarkably similar to that of her contemporary St Therese of Lisieux, who was also in Carmel. The two saints shared a zeal for the salvation of souls. St Elizabeth died at the young age of 26, having contracted Addison’s disease. Though her death was painful, St Elizabeth gratefully accepted her suffering as a gift from God. Her last words were: “I am going to Light, to Love, to Life.”

St Elizabeth of the Trinity, pray for us.

– From: Spiritual Thought From Fr Chris, 2016

 

 

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