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THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS IN FOR A LONG PERIOD OF PERSECUTION

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS IN FOR A LONG PERIOD OF PERSECUTION

“FRANCE WILL SUFFER”

“I can no longer restrain my Son!” Our Lady had declared sadly to Estelle Faguette at Pellevoisin in 1876. The world continued to ignore its Mother’s warnings and to bring ever closer the great punishment that was to befall it.

THE DEVIL IS “EVERY DAY REDOUBLING HIS EFFORTS” 

Two years after the apparitions at Pellevoisin, the frail sixty-eight-year-old Cardinal Pecci became the new Pontiff, Pope Leo XIII. “It is not the tiara you are giving me, but death,” the Pope said to the Cardinals who elected him. It is true that the papal tiara has been a heavy burden in these days when the devil is “every day redoubling his efforts.” Nevertheless, Pope Leo XIII reigned for twenty-five years, until 1903. He thus became the first Pontiff of our twentieth century.

Pope Leo XIII earned the title “Pope of the Workingman” because of his great encyclical Rerum Novarum. Like Karl Marx, the Pontiff recognised the great abuse that had been brought about by the Industrial Revolution. But his solution, based on the teachings of Christ, was vastly different from the class warfare advocated by Marx. Employers who were making large profits were slow to follow the Pope’s plan of granting justice to the workingman. Some even denounced him as a socialist. Had Pope Leo XIII been heeded, Communism would not be the threat that it now is.

ITALY’S SECULAR GOVERNMENT’S SEIZURE OF THE VATICAN

As a protest against Italy’s unjust seizure of the Vatican, Pope Leo XIII followed the example of his predecessor and did not leave the Vatican during his entire reign. Relations improved slightly with some countries, but only slightly. Germany, under Chancellor Bismarck, engaged in a persecution of the Church. France, now in the firm grip of the anti-clericals, passed law after law to hamstring the Church.

SECULAR FRANCE PASSED LAW AFTER LAW TO HAMSTRING THE CHURCH 

When Estelle Faguette had an audience with Pope Leo XIII in 1900, she said, “Holy Father, the Blessed Virgin said that France will have to suffer.”

“Yes,” said the Pontiff sadly, “France will have to suffer.”

Fourteen years later, World War I broke out, and most of the battles were fought on French soil. This war was even more devastating than the one of 1870-1871 had been.

Cardinal Sarto was elected to succeed Pope Leo XIII. “Since I must suffer I will take the name of those who have suffered,” he said, “I will be called Pius.”

France caused Pope Pius X great anguish, as it had his predecessors. In 1904, the government declared that the concordat which had been in effect with the Holy See for a century was at an end. The Law of Separation was passed the following year. By this law, the government confiscated all possessions of the clergy as well as of charitable institutions. Religious congregations were disbanded. Many of the religious were forced to leave the country. Nuns were driven from their work in schools and hospitals. Churches were looted.

Many of the French people protested. The men sent to despoil the churches were often attacked by the infuriated peasants, and many of them had to have guards to protect them. Nevertheless, the sacrilegious work went on. “And France,” our Lady had said at Pellevoisin, “what have I not done for her? How many warnings and yet she refused to listen!

The misnamed liberalism which was scourging France spread to Spain and – this is interesting in the light of later developments – to Portugal. The king and his son were murdered. The next king was forced to abdicate. A republic was established. A Law of Separation, based on the one in France, was passed, and the Church was in for a long period of persecution.

“THE CHURCH WAS IN FOR A LONG PERIOD OF PERSECUTION”

In the dark days in which we are now living, the most encouraging signs we behold are increased devotion to Mary and increased devotion to her Son in the Eucharist. It is largely to Pope Pius X, “Pope of the Eucharist”, that we owe the latter. It was he who urged frequent Communion and permitted children to receive Communion as soon as they reached the age of reason.

In 1916, two years after the death of Pius X, an angel appeared to three children near Fatima in Portugal. They were aged nine, eight, and six. The angel placed a Host on the tongue of Lucia, the oldest. To Francisco and Jacinta, who had not made their first Communion, he presented a chalice, and they drank from it. The angel said: “Take the body and blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” He seemed to be expressing at the same time displeasure with the state of the world and approval of the early Communion advocated by Pius X.

It was to these same three children that our Lady was later to appear.

MEN WERE ABOUT TO REAP THE TERRIBLE PUNISHMENT THAT WAS DUE TO THEM

The war clouds were gathering in the last part of the reign of Pope Pius X. Men were about to reap the terrible punishment that was due to them for having “horribly outraged” their God.

THE POPE TRIED TO AVERT THE LOOMING WORLD WAR

The Pontiff tried in every way possible to avert the war, but he saw that he was doomed to fail. He told his Secretary of State that a war would break out in 1914. Early in May, 1914, he said to a South American who was returning home, “How fortunate you are that you will not be here when war breaks out in a very short time.

When he heard that Archduke Ferdinand of Austria had been assassinated, he knew that the conflict had begun. “Oh, my poor children!” he cried. “This is the last affliction which the Lord is sending me! Willingly would I sacrifice my life to ward off this terrible scourge!”

Twice the Austrian ambassador asked Pope Pius to bless the armies of that country. He was told, “I bless peace.”

Austria declared war on Serbia. Russia joined the conflict on the side of Serbia. Germany came to the aid of Austria.

Pope Pius was stricken by what the physicians thought to be a minor illness, but he died on August 10, 1914. Those about him knew that he died of a broken heart.

Pope Pius was declared a Saint. He was beatified June 3, 1951, and was canonised May 29, 1954.

THE POPE WAS FORBIDDEN TO TAKE PART IN THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS 

The new Pontiff, Benedict XV, strove valiantly to bring an end to the war. The leaders on both sides were convinced that they could win, however, and they were in no mood to stop fighting when victory seemed within their grasp. Never before had there been such destruction. This was the first war in which airplanes were used, and death rained from the skies. Ships were sunk; cities levelled. Women and children were victims along with the fighting men.

The Pope tried to arrange a truce on Christmas Day. Great Britain, Germany and Belgium seemed sympathetic, but France and Russia said no. Cannons continued to roar, and blood continued to flow on the birthday of the Prince of Peace.

When Italy entered the war, she made the Allies promise that the Pope would not be allowed to take part in the peace negotiations. She was afraid the matter of the Papal States might be brought up.

IT “APPEARS TO US AS THE SUICIDE OF CIVILISED EUROPE” 

The Pope’s efforts for peace went on constantly. On March 6, he said to his Vicar-General, Cardinal Pompili: “A father whose sons are engaged in a violent conflict is not at liberty to cease his pleadings for peace, even though they disregard his tears and exhortation… Therefore, we must again raise our voice against this war which appears to us as the suicide of civilised Europe.”

Far from diminishing, the war, like a giant conflagration, was spreading throughout the world. Portugal was engulfed in 1916, the United States in April, 1917. By this time almost every country in the world was involved.

EVENTS OF SINISTER IMPORTANCE 

In Russia, events of sinister and far-reaching importance were taking place. The war was going badly for that country which had been misruled for so many years by the czars. A revolution broke out in March 1917, and Czar Nicholas II abdicated.

An unstable provisional government was set up in Russia. It was not to last for long. Conditions were in a state of chaos, and the followers of Karl Marx thrive on that sort of thing. On April 16, Nicolai Lenin and Leon Trotsky, leaders of the Communists, arrived in Petrograd to make their plans for taking over the country.

In May, 1917, the month of our Lady, the world situation seemed hopeless. The war had been going on for almost three years, and no end was in sight… On May 5, 1917, when everything appeared darkest, Pope Benedict XV addressed a letter to his Cardinal Secretary of State in which he recounted his unsuccessful efforts to bring about peace. Then he said:

“Because all graces… are dispensed by the hands of the most holy Virgin, we wish the petitions of her most afflicted children to be directed with lively confidence, more than ever in this awful hour, to the great Mother of God.

“We charge you, then, Lord Cardinal, to communicate to all the bishops of the world our ardent desire that recourse be made to the Heart of Jesus, Throne of grace, and that to the Throne recourse be made through Mary… To Mary, then, who is the Mother of Mercy, and omnipotent by grace, let loving and devout appeal go up from every corner of the earth… Let it bear to her the anguished cry of mothers and wives, the wailing of little ones, the sighs of every generous heart, that her most tender and benign solicitude may be moved and the peace we ask be obtained for our agitated world.”

The Pope also directed that “Queen of Peace” be added to Mary’s titles in the Litany of Loreto.

Eight days later – as if in direct answer to the Pope’s appeal – the Mother of God appeared to the three shepherd children of Fatima.

(Next chapter – Fatima)

From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2020 in Words of Wisdom

 

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A LADY OF INCOMPARABLE BEAUTY APPEARED AT THE FOOT OF THE ALTAR

A LADY OF INCOMPARABLE BEAUTY APPEARED AT THE FOOT OF THE ALTAR

OUR LADY’S FIRST MESSAGE TO THE MODERN WORLD – PARIS, 1830

“Come to the chapel, the Holy Virgin is waiting for you.” Zoe Catherine Laboure, a postulant in the Daughters of Charity, awoke to see a child about four or five years old standing at the side of her bed. He was enveloped in a golden light. She later said that she believed him to be her guardian angel.

This happened in the mother house of the Daughters of Charity in Paris. The date was July 18,1830, the eve of the feast of St Vincent de Paul, founder of the community.

“BE AT EASE”

Catherine sat up, astonished and a little troubled. “How can I get up and running cross the dormitory without waking my companions?” she asked.

“Be at ease,” the child replied. “It is half past eleven and everyone is asleep. I will come with you.”

Catherine followed the child to the chapel, which, to her surprise, was lit up, “as if for Midnight Mass.” He led her to the altar rail, and she knelt down. “Here is the Holy Virgin,” he announced.

Almost at once, a sound like the rustling of silk caused her to look up. A Lady of incomparable beauty appeared at the foot of the altar. She stepped forward and sat on the chair normally reserved for the Director of the seminary. She was dressed in an ivory robe and blue mantle. A white veil fell over her shoulders.

“THE SWEETEST JOY OF MY LIFE”

Catherine rushed forward and threw herself to her knees. She rested her clasped hands on the knees of the Blessed Virgin. It was “the sweetest joy of my life,” she said later, “a delight beyond expression.”

“My child,” the Blessed Mother said, “God wishes you to undertake a mission. For it, you will have much to suffer, but you will overcome that by recalling that you do so for the glory of God…”

Much of what our Lady said was for Catherine’s ears alone and has never been revealed. The words which we do know began Mary’s message to the modern world, a message which was climaxed at Fatima and which has not yet been concluded.

“THE TIMES ARE EVIL” 

“The times are evil,” our Lady said. “Terrible things are about to happen in France. The throne will be destroyed, and the whole world will be convulsed by terrible calamities.

“But come to the foot of the altars. Here great graces will be poured out upon all who ask them with confidence and fervour. They will be bestowed upon the great and upon the small.”

Our Lady made some declarations about the community to which Catherine belonged, adding: “I love it very much.

“But grave troubles are coming. There will be great danger. Do not fear. God and Saint Vincent will protect the community. I myself shall be with you…

“DO NOT FEAR” 

“At one moment, when the danger is acute, everyone will believe all to be lost. You will recall my visit and the protection of God…

“There will be victims in other communities. There will be victims among the clergy of Paris. The Archbishop will die… The cross will be trampled upon… Blood will run in the streets… The world will be plunged into sadness…”

Catherine understood that some of the events described would take place soon. The others would take place in about forty years, or about 1870.

“I SHALL GRANT YOU MANY GRACES”

Our Lady’s last words to Catherine on this visit were: “My eyes are ever upon you. I shall grant you many graces. Special graces will be given to all who ask them, but people must pray.

When our Lady had disappeared, “like a cloud that had evaporated,” the child led Catherine back to her dormitory. The clock was striking two as she got back into bed.

THE PRODUCT OF AN OVERWROUGHT IMAGINATION? 

Catherine was not allowed to tell anyone of her experience, except her confessor, Father Aladel. The priest was inclined to dismiss the story as the product of an overwrought imagination.

A FEW DAYS LATER… 

Father Aladel was surprised a few days later when a Revolution broke out in Paris, but Catherine was not surprised. Our Lady had foretold it. Many were killed. Bands of men and boys broke into churches. Crucifixes were profaned. Convents were pillaged. Priests were ill-treated, and the Archbishop was forced to go into hiding. The mother house in the Rue du Bac shook with gunfire and was surrounded by an angry mob. It did seem that all was lost, but true to our Lady’s promise, the buildings remained unharmed.

“MANY PEOPLE DO NOT RECEIVE GRACES BECAUSE THEY DO NOT ASK FOR THEM”

Our Lady’s second visit to Catherine took place on November 27, 1830, four months after the first one. This time Mary appeared over the high altar in the convent chapel. Her head was covered with a soft white veil. She was standing on a globe. In her hands she held a smaller globe with a tiny cross at the top. She held it out as if offering it to God. Rays of light streamed down to the larger globe from some of the gems in her fingers.

Lowering her eyes, our Lady said to Catherine: “This ball you see is the world. I am praying for it and for everyone in the world. The rays are graces which I give to those who ask for them. But there are no rays from some of these stones, for many people do not receive graces because they do not ask for them.”

AN OVAL FRAME APPEARED AROUND OUR LADY

The vision changed. An oval frame appeared around our Lady. The small globe disappeared, and our Lady dropped her hands to her sides. She became brighter and lovelier as she did so. Around the oval frame appeared in gold the words: “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”

O MARY CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN, PRAY FOR US WHO HAVE RECOURSE TO THEE

A voice said to Catherine: “Have a medal made according to this picture. All those who wear it when it is blessed will receive many graces, especially if they wear it suspended from their necks.”

Suddenly the entire picture seemed to turn. On the reverse Catherine saw the letter M surmounted by a cross with a crossbar beneath it. Below were two hearts. That of our Lord was encircled by a crown of thorns while that of our Lady was pierced by a sword. Enclosing the entire picture were twelve stars within a golden frame.

In December, the Blessed Virgin appeared for the third time and repeated her request for the medal.

Catherine again transmitted the request to her spiritual adviser, Father Aladel, but the priest did not know what to do. He did not wish to be in the position of disobeying an order from heaven, but he said to Catherine: “I do not have the authority to have such a medal struck. Besides, it is to say ‘O Mary conceived without sin,’ and the Immaculate Conception is not a dogma of the Church.” (In 1830, this doctrine had not yet been promulgated. That was to come twenty-four years later.)

HE CONSULTED THE ARCHBISHOP

Father Aladel investigated Catherine’s story very carefully, and he prayed for divine guidance. Then he consulted the Archbishop of Paris. The medals were struck and distributed in Paris two years after our Lady had made her request. By this time, Catherine had received the habit of the Daughters of Charity, and had taken the name Sister Catherine.

SHE CARRIED HER SECRET TO THE GRAVE

Sister Catherine was so humble that she did not tell anyone that the Blessed Mother had appeared to her. Not more than two or three persons knew to whom our Lady had given her request for the medal. Even the other Sisters in her convent did not know. Sister Catherine carried her secret to the grave.

During the War of the Commune in 1871, many of the events fortold by our Lady in the first apparition came true. Blood ran in the streets. Many priests were killed. Msgr. Duboy, Archbishop of Paris, was brutally murdered. The insurrectionists were strongly influenced by the teachings of Karl Marx…

– From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2019 in Words of Wisdom

 

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ST ANTHONY MARY CLARET, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR

ST ANTHONY MARY CLARET, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR

ST ANTHONY MARY CLARET, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 24

Anthony Mary Claret was born at Vich in Spain, of devout and honourable parents. He started life as a weaver, but afterwards became a priest. He was first engaged in parochial work, but later went to Rome to be sent on the foreign missions by the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. By the will of God, however, he returned to Spain and as a Missionary Apostolic travelled through Catalonia and the Canary Islands.

HE FOUNDED THE CONGREGATION OF THE SONS OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY

Besides being a prolific writer of fine books, he also founded the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Appointed Archbishop of the See of Santiago in Cuba, he proved, by his virtues, to be a zealous pastor. He restored the seminary, improved the education and discipline of the clergy, established social works and founded the Teaching Sisters of Mary Immaculate for the Christian education for girls.

THE TEACHING SISTERS OF MARY IMMACULATE 

Finally summoned to Madrid as the confessor and councillor in important ecclesiastical affairs for the Queen of Spain, he gave an excellent example of austere life adorned with every virtue. In the Vatican Council, he strongly defended the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff.

A STAUNCH PROMOTER OF DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED SACRAMENT 

He was a staunch promoter of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and her Rosary. At length, at Font Froide, in France, he died in exile in the year 1870 [on October 24]. Being renowned for miracles, Pope Pius XI added him to the list of the blessed and Pius XII to that of the saints.

PRAYER:

O God, who glorified blessed Anthony Mary, your Confessor and Bishop, because of his zeal for souls, and through him established in the Church new households of men and women religious, we beseech you to grant that, with his counsels as a guide, and through the merits of his prayers, we may continually apply ourselves to seeking the salvation of souls. Through our Lord…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964 [bold headings added afterwards]

 

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ST LOUIS IX, KING AND CONFESSOR

ST LOUIS IX, KING AND CONFESSOR

ST LOUIS IX, KING AND CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: AUGUST 25

Louis IX, King of France, was reared by his mother Blanche in the high ideals of sanctity. For the sake of recovering Jerusalem, he crossed the sea with a very large army and put the Saracens to flight in his first battle. But, since a great number of his soldiers perished from the plague, he was himself conquered and captured. A treaty was made and he was set at liberty.

HE RANSOMED NUMEROUS CHRISTIAN SLAVES

In the East, he ransomed many Christians who were slaves of the barbarians and also converted many of the infidels to the faith of Christ. After returning to France, he built many monasteries, and hospitals for the poor. He relieved the needy by his beneficence and frequently visited the sick, even waiting on them.

HE WAITED ON THE SICK

He wore plain garb and constantly afflicted his body with a hairshirt and much fasting. When he once more crossed over to wage war against the Saracens and had already pitched his camp in sight of them, he died of pestilence [in 1270] saying this prayer: “I will go into your house, I will worship at your holy temple and I will give glory to your name.

PRAYER:

O God, who transported your blessed Confessor, Louis, from an earthly throne to the glory of the heavenly kingdom, by his merits and intercession we beseech you to make us of the company of the King of kings, Jesus Christ your Son. Who with you…

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

 

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ST BRUNO, CONFESSOR

ST BRUNO, CONFESSOR

ST BRUNO, CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 6

Bruno, founder of the Carthusian Order, was born at Cologne [in 1030]. From boyhood, he was distinguished for his gravity of manner and his desire for solitude. He was sent by his parents to Paris, where he made such progress in the studies of philosophy and theology that he earned degrees of master and doctor in both branches. Not long afterwards, on account of his extraordinary virtues, he was appointed a canon at the church at Rheims.

AFTER THE ORDER OF CARTHUSIANS HAD BEEN FOUNDED… 

After the Order of Carthusians had been founded, when he had led the life of a hermit in it for several years, he was summoned to Rome by Blessed Urban II, who had been his disciple. For a number of years, the Pope made use of his advice and learning in the many difficulties of the time, until the man of God, after having declined appointment as Archbishop of Rheims, received permission to depart. He again sought a solitude where, full of virtue and merits, he fell asleep in the Lord [in 1101].

PRAYER:

May we be aided by the intercession of St Bruno, your Confessor, we beseech you, O Lord; that we, who have grievously offended your Majesty by sin, may, by his merits and prayers, obtain forgiveness for our offences. Through our Lord…

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

 

 

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ST THERESE OF LISIEUX, VIRGIN

ST THERESE OF LISIEUX, VIRGIN

ST THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS, VIRGIN – MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 1

Therese of the Child Jesus was born in Alencon, France, of respectable and pious parents. Her mother died when Therese was five years old. At this time, Therese committed herself wholly to Divine Providence under the vigilant care of a most tender father and elder sisters. Under such teachers, she rejoiced as a giant in her race along the way of perfection.

ALONG THE WAY OF PERFECTION

At the age of nine, she was sent to the Benedictine nuns at Lisieux to be educated. In her tenth year, she was tormented for a long time by a serious and mysterious malady, and was divinely delivered from it through the assistance of Our Lady of Victory. Filled with angelic fervour when receiving her First Holy Communion, she seemed to develop an insatiable hunger for this celestial food.

SHE WAS ADMITTED TO THE ORDER OF DISCALCED CARMELITES

Desiring to enter the Order of the Discalced Carmelites but, not being the proper age, she met with many obstacles in embracing the religious life. She courageously overcame these difficulties and was happily admitted to the Carmel at Lisieux at the age of fifteen. There she burned with extraordinary love for God and her neighbour.

THE “LITTLE WAY”

Following the way of spiritual childhood according to the teaching of the Gospel, she taught it to others, especially to the novices. Consumed with the same love, two years before her death, she offered herself as a victim of love to the merciful God. She passed on to her Spouse on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24 years. Pope Pius XI added her name to the virgins declared blessed and, two years later, at the time of the great Jubilee, 1925, solemnly listed her among the saints. He also appointed and declared her the special patroness of all the missions.

PRAYER:

O Lord, who said: “Unless you become as little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven,” grant us, we beseech you, so to follow the footsteps of blessed Therese, the Virgin, in humility and simplicity of heart that we may obtain everlasting rewards. Who live…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964 (bold headings added)

 

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OUR LADY OF VICTORIES – PARIS, 1836

OUR LADY OF VICTORIES – PARIS, 1836

Catherine Laboure’s pastor in 1830 was Father Charles du Friche des Gennettes. Father des Gennettes’ parish included the area in which the mother house of the Daughters of Charity was located. Father probably did not know Sister Catherine because the community had its own spiritual adviser, Father Aladel. He was very familiar, however, with the story of our Lady’s appearances in the convent chapel and with the Miraculous Medal.

In 1832, Father des Gennettes was transferred to the Church of Our Lady of Victories. This church had been built in 1629 by King Louis XIII in thanksgiving for favours granted him by the Blessed Virgin. The parishioners, for a century and a half, were known for their devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

WITH THE FRENCH REVOLUTION, THE CHURCH FELL UPON EVIL DAYS

With the French Revolution, the church fell upon evil days. All sorts of outrages were performed in it by the revolutionaries. Afterwards, it was used by a schismatic sect, and after that it became a stock exchange. In 1809, it was restored to its original purpose, but there were few parishioners left.

Father des Gennettes found that scarcely anyone came to Mass or received the sacraments. Being a very apostolic man, he tried in every way he could think of to bring the people back to their faith. He met with nothing but indifference. At length, Father became discouraged. Perhaps another priest might be able to do better, he thought. He decided it was his duty to resign as a failure.

“CONSECRATE YOUR PARISH TO THE MOST HOLY AND IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY”

On Sunday, December 3,1836, Father des Gennettes began to say Mass in an almost empty church. He was seized by a frightful distraction, the conviction that he must resign. He could scarcely keep his mind on the Mass. When he reached the Canon, he cried out in distress.

At that moment he heard a calm distinct voice say very solemnly: “Consecrate your parish to the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

After Mass, Father wondered whether he had really heard these words. He convinced himself that it had been his imagination and knelt to say his thanksgiving. Again he heard the words: “Consecrate your parish to the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

HE COULD DOUBT NO LONGER

He could doubt no longer. Taking up a pen, he composed the rules for a confraternity of our Lady. The Bishop approved the rules that same week.

The following Sunday, Father told the ten people at Mass about his project. He said there would be Vespers of our Lady that evening and that he would then give the full details of the Confraternity.

When Father des Gennettes entered the church that evening, he found it full for the first time in years. More than 400 people were there. The parish continued to flourish from then on. People began to come to Our Lady of Victories from other parts of Paris, and then from all France, and soon the fame of the shrine was worldwide. Today, about 90,000 thank offerings for cures line the walls.

TODAY, ABOUT 90,000 THANK OFFERINGS FOR CURES LINE THE WALLS

In 1838, Pope Gregory XVI made the Confraternity the Archconfraternity of the Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary for the Conversion of Sinners. There are affiliated societies throughout the world.

In March 1855, an octave of thanksgiving was held at the shrine for the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. At the end of the octave, the statue of the Immaculate Heart was seen to move. This happened again. Pope Pius IX took this as a sign of approval for his act, and ordered the statue to be crowned, June 1, 1856.

“I WAS FILLED WITH PEACE AND JOY”

St Therese of the Child Jesus visited the shrine on November 4, 1887. “Having arrived in Paris,”  she wrote, “Papa took us to see the sights. For me there was only one – Our Lady of Victories. What I felt in her sanctuary, I cannot say. The graces she granted me resembled those of my First Communion. I was filled with peace and joy. It was there that my Mother, the Virgin Mary, told me distinctly that it was indeed she who cured me. With what fervour did I beg her always to keep me and to bring about my dreams., to enfold me ever beneath the shadow of the cloak of her Virginity. I besought her again to keep all occasions of sin away from me.”

– From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2019 in Devotions, Prayers to Our Lady

 

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ST ANTHONY’S BREAD

ST ANTHONY’S BREAD

The recent growth in devotion to St Anthony of Padua has become so marked as to call forth exclamations of astonishment from even the Catholic Press. This new fervour towards the great wonder worker of the Franciscan Order is one of the most consoling signs of the times, and it seems, moreover, to supply a special need of our day. Nowhere has this increase of devotion been more marked than in France, where it has taken the form of a new charity, known as “St Anthony’s Bread“.

How did it all start?

The origin of this charity, the fame of which is spreading rapidly throughout all the world, is thus described.

One morning in November, in the year 1892, Mlle. Bouffier, a poor shop-keeper of Toulon, found it impossible to open her shop door. The safety lock seemed broken, and she called a locksmith. After trying all the keys on his ring, he gave up in despair, saying there was no resource but to break open the door. While the locksmith went in search of other tools, the shop-keeper prayed fervently to St Anthony, that the door might be opened without violence, promising, if her request should be granted, to distribute a certain number of loaves to the poor in his honour. She then begged the locksmith to make another effort with his keys, and, taking one at random, the door flew open without the slightest difficulty.

A rapidly growing devotion

After this simple evidence of St Anthony’s power, his clients increased so rapidly in Toulon that Mlle. Bouffier, with the assistance of her friends, founded a work of charity called the “Bread of St Anthony”. In the room behind the shop they placed a statue of the Saint with a lamp burning before it, and under the lamp two boxes – one to receive the written requests and promises made to St Anthony, and the other to receive money to buy bread for the poor.

A humble oratory

From the beginning, large crowds flocked to this humble oratory. Soldiers and officers knelt to pray; and naval captains, before setting out for a long cruise, came to commend themselves and their ships. Mothers came to beg health for their children or other favours for grown sons and daughters. Many came to implore the conversion of a soul dear to them, while servants or work-women without employment came to beg the Saint’s protection.

Amazing miracles

In the fullness of time rumours of the wonders wrought through St Anthony’s intercession at Toulon reached Paris, Lyons, Bordeaux, Marseilles, and other large towns, and many chapels in these cities very soon contained the two boxes for the offerings which have now well nigh universal throughout France.

How to do this yourselves

“St Anthony’s Bread” is obtained in a simple way. All a member of any Congregation has to do is to write his or her request on a piece of paper, adding a promise that if by the expiration of a given time such the Saint should secure the fulfilment of request a certain sum of money will be placed in the collection box to buy bread for the poor. These written requests may be either of a spiritual or a temporal character. They may properly include requests for success in any legitimate enterprise, the grace to overcome the proneness to commit a certain sin, the conversion of a relative or friend to the true faith, etc., etc. The request may have reference to the writer only, or to relatives, friends, or even strangers.

Bread and other goods/services for the poor 

When the favour is obtained, the sum of money promised – with an addition of course if desired – is to be deposited in the box. This money is devoted to purchasing and distributing “St Anthony’s Bread”. By this latter is understood as meaning not only food, but also clothing and medical attendance – in fact, everything necessary for the relief of the poor and of the suffering poor in particular.

– St Anthony’s Treasury, Laverty & Sons Ltd., Leeds, 1916

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2017 in Devotions

 

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FROM THE DESERT TO RANSOMING CAPTIVES: ST FELIX OF VALOIS

St Felix of Valois, Memorial: November 20

Felix, once called Hugh, was born in France of the royal family of the Valois. When a youth, he began to think of withdrawing into solitude out of his desire for contemplation.

After being made priest, he retired into a place of solitude, where he lived for some years with St John of Matha.

Counseled by an angel of God

Then, counseled by an angel of God, both set out for Rome, where they obtained from Pope Innocent III, who had likewise been divinely counseled, approbation for a new Order for the ransom of captives.

An Order for the ransom of captives

He gave the Order a white habit marked with a cross of two colours, as it was worn by the angel, and he named the new foundation after the Most Holy Trinity.

Soon, in the diocese of Meaux, a place called Cerfroi, they built the first monastery of the Order. There Felix received an extraordinary favour from the Blessed Virgin Mary, when she appeared in the midst of the choir, wearing the habit marked with the cross of the Order. Full of years and merits, he died in the Lord in the year 1212.

Prayer:

O God, who by heavenly inspiration graciously called forth blessed Felix, your Confessor, from the desert to the work of ransoming captives; grant, we beseech you, that by his intercession, and liberated by your grace from the captivity of our sins, we may be led into our heavenly fatherland. Through our Lord.

– From: Roman Breviary, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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“HAVE COURAGE” – ST JOAN ANTIDE-THOURET

“[On]  24th August, one of the saints remembered by the Church is St Joan Antide-Thouret. She was born in France in 1755 and lived at a time of great change during the French Revolution but this did not stop St Joan from living the life and vocation that she wanted.

A time of great change during the French Revolution

At the age of sixteen, after her mother had died, St Joan looked after her father in the village of Besancon. However, in 1787 she felt called by God to enter the Sisters of Charity at Paris. There two serious illnesses interrupted her religious training and in 1794, due to the turmoil around them, the sisters had to disperse.

Due to the turmoil, the sisters had to disperse

St Joan returned to her hometown and ran a school for the village children. When political conditions improved the local Vicar General invited St Joan to open a bigger school and, after some reluctance due to her feeling inadequate, this was achieved in April 1799. Six months later St Joan added a soup kitchen and a dispensary.

In obedience to her Bishop

Some critics denounced her for not returning to her original community of sisters. She countered this by saying that she had not yet taken religious vows and was now acting in obedience to her Bishop. St Joan also ran a female asylum at Belleveaux, which housed orphans, criminals, the homeless and women with mental illness. She and others laboured there in the asylum under hopeless conditions, and opponents again criticised her for undertaking this work.

Let’s despise the world and its false gods. Let’s despise its honours. In vain would we seek our happiness in them.

However, St Joan pressed on with this work, encouraging others with her example and writings. In one letter to a fellow worker she wrote: ‘How are you? Still holding on firmly to the handles of the plough? Is the ground hard and dry? Is the corn growing well? The weeds not stifling it? If so, dig out the weeds with a hoe, without damaging the corn. Have courage. The good corn of the elect will ripen and will nourish you for eternal life. Prune the vine well. You will drink the good wine in long draughts in paradise. But to merit this happiness, let’s not tire of fighting during this exile. Let’s despise the world and its false gods. Let’s despise its honours. In vain would we seek our happiness in them. It will benefit us greatly to receive nothing from the world but ingratitude and opposition. This will detach us from it and attach us closely to God alone. You face many troubles in serving these poor people entrusted to you. I am sure that you do so from charity and the love of God.’

This will detach us from the world and attach us closely to God alone.

By 1810 St Joan’s community had spread to Switzerland, Savoy and Naples, where St Joan had gone to administer a hospital. In 1819 the Pope approved this order as the Daughters of Charity. St Joan died in Naples in 1826. She is an inspiration to those of us who wish to do the work of God whilst fighting against opposition, misunderstanding, criticism, feeling inadequate and the pettiness of others. St Joan did it and so can we.”

– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris/2015

 

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