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ST BERNARDINE OF SIENA

ST BERNARDINE OF SIENA

ST BERNARDINE OF SIENA, CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: MAY 20

Bernardine Albizecchi was born of a noble Sienese family. When he was very young and not many years in school, he began to give up hours of play and perform exercises of prayer, especially to the Blessed Virgin. His love and mercy towards the poor were outstanding, and for their service he joined the hospital of Blessed Mary of the Ladder, in Siena.

HE EXCELLED IN HUMILITY, PATIENCE, AND THE OTHER VIRTUES

He pondered what religious institute he would enter, and God so disposed that he prefer the Franciscans. With them, he excelled in humility, patience, and the other virtues of a religious. He started preaching under obedience even though he knew his weak, hoarse voice made him unfit for the task.

HE WAS MIRACULOUSLY FREED OF THE IMPEDIMENT 

After seeking God’s help, he was miraculously freed of this impediment. He travelled through the cities and towns, and in the name of Jesus which was ever on his lips and in his heart, he put an end to civil disorders everywhere, and restored fallen piety and morals largely by his word and example. He wrote devout and learned books. Full of merit, renowned for miracles, he died a happy death at the age of sixty-six [in 1444] in the city of Aquila in the Abruzzi.

PRAYER:

O Lord Jesus, who bestowed on blessed Bernardine, your Confessor, an unusual love for your holy Name, we beseech you, by his merits and intercession, graciously pour upon us the spirit of your love. Who live…

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

 

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ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI, CONFESSOR

ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI, CONFESSOR

ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI, CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 4

Francis was born at Assisi in Umbria. Following the example of his father, at a young age, he became a merchant. But, he was stricken with a serious illness and, when he had recovered, began to devote himself to works of charity. When his father looked upon this as undignified, Francis renounced all his possessions that he might henceforth have greater reason to say: “Our Father, who art in heaven.”

“OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN”

When, however, he had heard the admonition from the Gospel regarding apostolic poverty, divesting himself of his shoes and retaining only one tunic, he gathered together twelve companions and founded the Order of Friars Minor.

After Pope Innocent III, divinely admonished, confirmed this order, it was spread marvellously through the work of Francis. Afterwards, he retired into the solitude of Mount Alverno and there, on the day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, from a Seraph displaying between his wings the figure of the Crucified, he received the sacred stigmata, the marks of the nails and spear appearing in his hands, feet and side.

HE RECEIVED THE SACRED STIGMATA 

Two years later, becoming gravely ill, in the church of St Mary of the Angels where he had received the spirit of grace from God, after exhorting his brethren to poverty, patience and preservation of the faith of the Church, he most devoutly breathed forth his soul on the fourth of the Nones of October [1226].

PRAYER:

O God, who by the good works of blessed Francis enriched your Church by establishing a new religious family, grant us to imitate him by emulation of him, by looking upon the things of earth as naught, and ever to rejoice in sharing your heavenly gifts. Through our Lord…

 

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“SERVE THE LORD JOYFULLY, LOVINGLY FULFIL THE DUTIES ENTRUSTED TO YOU” – BLESSED FRANCESCA RUBATTO

“[On 6th August…] the Church also celebrates the life of Blessed Francesca Rubatto. She was born in 1844 at Carmagnola, Turin, Italy. Blessed Francesca lost her father at the age of four and in her teens she received an offer of marriage from a wealthy man. However, Blessed Francesca turned the offer of marriage down and decided to make a vow of virginity instead. Her mother died when Blessed Francesca was 19 years old. Blessed Francesca decided to visit the various parishes in the city of Turin, teaching catechism to the children, visiting the sick in hospital and helped to care for the poor and neglected.

Caring for the poor and neglected

Blessed Francesca went to Loano, a seaside resort, to pray about what her next step in life should be. One morning, after Mass, she heard an injured labourer moaning and she discovered that a stone had fallen from a building that was being repaired and that it had hit him on the head. Blessed Francesca cleaned his head wound and gave him some money to live on so that he could take a few days off work to recover his health.

They took it as a sign from God

The building being repaired was to house a community of religious women and when they heard of this incident they took it as a sign from Gos that Blessed Francesca should join them and guide them in the spiritual life. This she did and enthusiastically she embraced their Franciscan life of poverty. After exhibiting great organisational skills Blessed Francesca was chosen to be the superior of the community and this led to the sisters expanding their good work to other cities in Italy, and then to Uruguay and Argentina.

The crown of martyrdom

In 1892 a request came to Blessed Francesca to start a mission in the Brazilian Rainforest. More experienced religious communities had turned this request down, but Blessed Francesca went to Brazil with some of her sisters and she lived in the Rainforest for six months. Once the mission was started Blessed Francesca travelled back to Italy. Sadly, in 1901 the news came to Blessed Francesca that the whole community in the Rainforest had been slaughtered, martyred for their Catholic Faith. Undiscouraged by this tragedy, the work of the sisters continued in South Argentina and Italy, with Blessed Francesca crossing the Atlantic Ocean seven times. Blessed Francesca died suddenly of cancer at Montevideo, Uruguay, on 6th August 1904 at the age of 59. Blessed Francesca was beatified in 1993 by Pope Saint John Paul II.

You are not capable of anything without God’s help

Blessed Francesca advised her sisters, ‘Serve the Lord joyfully, lovingly fulfil the duties entrusted to you, work tirelessly because you know how precious your work is in the sight of the Lord. And having worked hard for the glory of God whom you love so deeply, call yourself a useless servant of the Lord and be convinced of being one, because you know that you are not capable of anything without his divine help.’ This is good advised for us too; that we should serve the Lord joyfully and not to be proud and think we can do things on our own, but understand that we need to rely on God’s help.”

– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris/2015

 

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ST PASCHAL BAYLON – NOT CAPABLE OF A SINGLE LITTLE WHITE LIE

[On 17th May] one of the saints celebrated by the Church is St Pascal Baylon [Paschal Baylon]. St Pascal was born in 1540 at the border of Castile and Aragon. As a youth he tended his family’s sheep on the mountain. He had to grow accustomed to the loneliness of a shepherd’s life and taught himself to read so that he could pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, a popular prayer book at the time. St Pascal always tried to do the right thing, so whenever his sheep caused any damage to a neighbour’s property he would admit the damage and pay for it out of his meagre resources.

“I have never noticed the least fault in him”

At the age of twenty-one, St Pascal joined the reformed Franciscans of St Peter of Alcantara at Loreto. As a lay brother, St Pascal served for many years in the religious house as the doorkeeper and porter. He tried his best always to do this work with cheerfulness and saw it as his way of serving Jesus in the people who called at the door. Someone wrote that, ‘In no single case do I remember to have noted even the least fault in him, (Pascal), though I lived with him and travelled with him on long journeys.’

“Saint of the Blessed Sacrament”

St Pascal is often remembered as the ‘Saint of the Blessed Sacrament’. Typically, he spent many hours of the day as his work allowed praying and worshipping before the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel. St Pascal died in 1592 at the age of fifty-two and was canonised a Saint in 1890.

“It would be a lie”

There is a lovely story about St Pascal and how he never wanted to do the wrong thing. A group of women came to the door and asked that the superior come to speak with them. St Pascal went to his superior who told him to go back and tell the women that he was out of the house. ‘I can’t tell them that,’ St Pascal replied, ‘because it would be a lie.’ The superior insisted that he tell them that he was not at home. ‘Forgive me, but I refuse to lie to them,’ St Pascal said. He went back to the women and told them instead that the superior was at home, but that the superior wasn’t able to speak to them.”

– From: “Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris”, spring 2015

 

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FRANCISCAN SISTERS OF THE IMMACULATE – MAYBE JESUS IS INVITING YOU AS WELL?

Maybe Jesus is inviting you as well:
“Come and follow me”.
Maybe from some time
Jesus is already knocking at you door…
Don’t make him wait: Open to him… and you will find
happiness in heaven and on earth!

Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate

A new institute born underneath Our Lady’s gaze, planted in the garden of the Church, to sustain the Holy Father and for the salvation of all souls.
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In the easiest, surest and most beautiful way: through the Immaculate!

Life of Prayer

Prayer occupies the first place in the life of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate

• Marian Prayer • Seraphic Prayer • Eucharistic Prayer Prayer is the soul of our apostolate…
The Houses of Contemplation where the Sisters live in continuous silence and prayer, are the hidden strength of the active sisters

Life of Fraternity
* Prefect joy…
* Charity in action… and
* foolish love for the Immaculate!!!

Missions and Apostolate

A life devoted to the Immaculate so as to lead all souls to the Sacred Heart of Jesus!

Contact: http://www.franciscansoftheimmaculate.com (external link) http://www.immacolata.ws (external link)

 
 

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RECOGNISING JESUS CHRIST AS MASTER BY ACCEPTING FULLY ALL THE CONSEQUENCES – ABOUT BLESSED SALVATORE LILLI

[A short biography of Fr Salvatore Lilli, Italian priest, 1853-1895, martyred by Muslims for holding on to the Faith of Our Lord Jesus Christ and not converting to Islam]

WORDS BY BLESSED JOHN PAUL II AT THE BEATIFICATION:

It is significant that the beatification of Father Salvatore Lilli, a Franciscan missionary of the Custody of the Holy Land and pastor of Mujuk-Deresi, should take place today, the vigil of the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi…The history of Blessed Salvatore is simple, but rich in deeds that attest to his great love for God and his brothers and sisters. It culminates with his martyrdom that crowns a life of fidelity to the Franciscan and missionary vocation.

Concerning his seven companions in martyrdom we know their names, their families and their backgrounds: they were humble peasants and fervent Christians, coming from a stock that throughout the centuries had preserved whole their fidelity to God and the Church, despite difficult and at times tragic moments.

Among that humble people the young missionary immersed himself with total dedication, achieving in a short time what could seem unthinkable to others. He established three new villages to reunite separated families with a view of better protecting and instructing them. He provided for the acquisition of a vast expanse of land to give work and food to whoever was deprived and tenaciously fostered the instruction of youth. Above all, he set a more intense pace to the religious life of his parishioners, who felt drawn by his example, his piety and his generosity; his favourites were the sick, the poor, and children.

A wise adviser and diligent promoter of social works, he was open to everyone: Catholics, Orthodox, Muslims, and to everyone he offered his service with a smile. For this he was particularly loved by his faithful, esteemed and respected by the others. Then during the cholera epidemic his apostolate glowed with heroic charity; he was at once a priest and a doctor. Heedless of the disease, he went from house to house helping the sick both morally and materially. On this occasion he wrote to his sister, a Trinitarian religious, “I felt such a courage that going among the cholera victims to assist them, administer medicine to them, etc., seemed ordinary things to me”. And he indicated the clear reason for this: the priest full of faith in God does not fear dangers and “runs to relieve the unfortunate brother who so many times finds himself abandoned by even his most dear ones” (letter to his sister, Sister Maria Pia, a Trinitarian, 4 December 1890).

When the warning signs of the storm that was coming menacingly near arose with violence, his confreres urged Father Salvatore to repair to safer places. The inhabitants of the area themselves, concerned for the life of their Father, insisted that he save himself. Father Lilli’s answer was calm and decided: “I can not abandon my little sheep; I prefer to die with them if necessary”…; and he stayed at his missionary post. On November 1895 soldiers came into the parish house and the commanding officers immediately gave an alternative: deny Christ or die. Clear and firm was the answer of the priest who for this reason suffered the first outbreak of violence…

Three days later the religious and seven of his parishioners were led away by the troops; they marched for two hours; they were made to stop near a stream, and the colonel offered for the last time the choice between denial and death: “Apart from Christ I do not recognise anyone”, said Father. No less noble was the response of the other martyrs: “Kill us, but we will not deny our religion”,…First to be killed was Blessed Salvatore, pierced by the soldiers’ bayonets; immediately afterwards, the other seven suffered the same fate. This Franciscan missionary and his seven faithful speak with incisive eloquence to the world of today: they are for all of us a salutary reminder of the substance of Christianity. When the circumstances of life make us face fundamental choices between earthly values and eternal values, the eight Blessed Martyrs teach us how to live the Gospel, even in the most difficult situations. Recognising Jesus Christ as Master and Redeemer implies accepting fully all the consequences that arise in life from this act of faith. The martyrs, raised today to the honours of the altar, are honoured by imitating their example of strength and love of Christ. Their witness and the grace that helped them are for us a reason for courage and hope; they assure us that it is possible, in the face of the most arduous difficulties, to follow the law of God and overcome obstacles that are met in living it and putting it into practice.
– ‘Example of Courage and Humility for Today’s World’, L’Osservatore romano, October 18, 1982

 
 

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