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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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THIS HOME IS AN EXAMPLE OF MARRIED LIFE AND OF VIRGINITY

THIS HOME IS AN EXAMPLE OF MARRIED LIFE AND OF VIRGINITY

ST ANNE, THE MOTHER OF OUR LADY

The home of Anne is set before us, giving an example at once of married life and of virginity, the first in the person of the mother, the second in that of the daughter; of whom the one has just been freed from sterility, and the other, a little later on, is to bring forth Christ in a supernatural birth, adapted by a divine artifice to the circumstances of our nature. Therefore, filled with the divine Spirit, her soul happy and joyous, deservedly does Anne cry aloud: “Rejoice with me, for from my sterile womb I have borne the bud of promise, and, as I had desired, I feed at my breast the fruit of blessing. I have put off the mourning-garment of sterility, and put on the joyful raiment of fruitfulness. Let that other Anne [Hannah], the rival of Phenenna, rejoice with me this day, and let her celebrate with me this new and unexpected miracle, which has been wrought in me, as it was in her.

LET ALL THE BARREN AND CHILDLESS SING IN HARMONY TOGETHER

Let Sara rejoice, she who rejoiced in conception in her old age, and foreshadowed my conception from sterility. Let all the barren and childless sing in harmony together at my visitation made to me from heaven in a wonderful manner.” Likewise, let all mothers endowed with this fruitfulness say: “Blessed be he who granted what they wished to those who prayed to him, and who gave fruit to the sterile, and granted her to bear that most happy bud, the Virgin who was the Mother of God according to the flesh, whose womb was a heaven, in which he dwelt whom no place can contain. And let us also offer praise becoming to these very things, that she who was called sterile now stands forth as the mother of a virgin mother. Let us say to her in the words of Scripture: “How blessed is the house of David, from which you have sprung, and the womb in which God fashioned the ark of sanctification,” that is, her from whom he himself was conceived without seed.

TRULY BLESSED ARE YOU, AND THRICE BLESSED

Truly blessed are you, and thrice blessed, you who have borne an infant given you by the blessing of God, that is to say, Mary, whose very name is likewise to be honoured in the highest degree; from whom came forth Christ, the flower of life; a Virgin whose origin was glorious, and whose child-bearing was above all the world. We also congratulate you, most blessed woman, for truly you have brought forth by the divine bounty the hope of all of us, that is, the child of promise. Blessed indeed are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. For the tongues of the godly magnify your offspring, and every joyful word is spoken concerning your child. It is truly fitting indeed, and most fitting it is, to praise her, who received a revelation by the divine goodness, and brought forth for us so great a fruit, from whom came forth the sweet Jesus.

– St John Damascene (Discourse II on the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary), from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2019 in Words of Wisdom

 

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THE BLUE SCAPULAR OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

THE BLUE SCAPULAR OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

This scapular was revealed by Our Divine Lord and the Blessed Virgin to the Ven. Ursula Benincasa, of the Order of Theatines, at Naples,

  1. to honour the Immaculate Conception
  2. to obtain the conversion of sinners.

Those invested in this scapular can gain all the Indulgences granted to any Religious Order, or to any person or place. By reciting six Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Glorias, in honour of the Most Holy Trinity, and our Immaculate Lady, may be gained all the Indulgences of Rome, of the Portiuncula, of Jerusalem, and of St James of Compostella.

– From: St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2019 in Devotions

 

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THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

An awed silence fell over the throng that had gathered in St Peter’s for this history-making ceremony. The tall stately Pope Pius IX had just celebrated Mass at the great main altar. Now he was stepping forward to read his proclamation. Tears of joy glistened in his eyes. In a voice loud and clear but ringing with emotion, he read: “We declare, affirm and define that the doctrine which states that the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved and exempted from all stain of original sin from the first instant of her conception in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of all mankind, is a doctrine revealed of God and which, for this reason, all Christians are bound to believe firmly and with confidence…”

As he reached the end, his voice broke and tears ran unchecked down his cheeks.

Forty-thousand voices sang the hymn Te Deum Laudamus. The dome of Michelangelo resounded with the triumphant notes. The bells of Rome’s churches rang joyously. That night, Rome was ablaze with light.

This happened on December 8, 1854.

A DOCTRINE REVEALED OF GOD

For centuries, millions of Catholics had believed that the Mother of God had been conceived without the stain of original sin; anything else would have been unthinkable. But the Holy Ghost had reserved the solemn definition for modern times. Our Lady had told Venerable Dominic of Jesus and Mary, a Carmelite who had lived at the time of St Louis Marie de Montfort, that the promulgation was “saved for the latter days of the Church.” This was part of the divine plan, foretold by St Louis Marie, to make our Lady more known, more loved and more honoured in our time than she had ever been before. The Blessed Mother herself had paved the way for the proclamation in 1830 when, to Catherine Laboure, she had called herself “Mary conceived without sin.”

MARY CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN

The doctrine was an especially appropriate one for the nineteenth century. The great heresy of the day – which has persisted into our own time – was man’s elevating himself to equality with God. The Immaculate Conception reminds us that only Mary, of all human creatures, was conceived without the stain of original sin. All the rest of us came into the world with this mark on our souls. As a result of this sin, we are weak and inclined towards evil. Only God’s help will keep us on the road to salvation. We are absolutely dependent on God.

As the Blessed Virgin was intensifying her campaign, so was the devil. This very city of Rome, which was outdoing itself to honour the great Mother of God, had, just six years before, been the scene of the wildest disorders. They had been directed principally at Pope Pius IX, Christ’s vicar on earth.

WE ARE ABSOLUTELY DEPENDENT ON GOD

In those days the Pope, besides being the head of the Universal Church, was a king. He ruled a country known as the Papal States, and Rome was its capital. In the city there were many “liberals” who opposed the rule of the Pontiff on the pretence that they were in favour of a democracy. Actually, they hated the Church, and they knew no better way of fighting it than by attacking its visible head.

Riot followed riot. The revolutionaries managed to get control of the civic guard, so the Pope was powerless to stop the riots. Events reached a climax in November, 1848. On the 15th, a group of conspirators stabbed to death the Pope’s Prime Minister, Count Pellegrino Rossi. The mob celebrated the murder by carrying the bloody knife triumphantly through the streets. It was even carried to the home of the widow who was alone with her daughter.

Later that night, the mob marched to the Papal Palace. Shots were fired, and some found their mark. Several people were wounded. Monsignor Palace, the Pope’s secretary, was shot dead.

On November 24, 1848, the Pope was forced to flee from Rome. The city was left in the hands of the “liberals,” the men who were “to usher in a new era for mankind, the glorious era of a redemption far different from that announced by Christ.”

ONLY GOD’S HELP WILL KEEP US ON THE ROAD TO SALVATION

It was different all right – horribly different. Under the “Roman Republic,” freedom of the press and freedom of speech were rigidly suppressed. Taxes were increased. All bank deposits, all gold, silver and jewellery were confiscated, as was all the property belonging to the Church. People were thrown into jail without trial. The Minister of Finance requisitioned all hospitals, orphan asylums and other charitable institutions. The inmates were turned into the streets.

In 1830, our Lady had struck in the heart of the enemy territory – Paris. Now, eighteen years later, the devil had struck at the city which was the capital of Christ’s Church – Rome. As things are usually judged in this world, the devil seemed to have the better of it.

MARY HAD APPEARED TO A HUMBLE LITTLE POSTULANT

Mary had appeared in the quiet of the night to a humble little postulant in a convent chapel. So far as anyone could tell at the time, she had had no effect at all on the city or the world. The enemies of religion, on the other hand, were in complete control of Rome. The Holy Eucharist was defiled in public ceremonies. But this control did not last long.

Louis Napoleon, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, had become head of the French government. He decided to help Pius IX, who was in exile at Gaeta. A French army marched against Rome, and the “republic” fell on June 30, 1849. The Pope returned to the city on April 12, 1850.

His return did not mean the end of his troubles. He was kept in power only by Louis Napoleon, who was ready to sacrifice him the moment he could gain thereby. Rome was still filled with “liberals” who were ready to repeat their revolution of 1848. King Victor Emmanuel of Piedmont and his crafty premier, Cavour, were campaigning for a united Italy with Rome as its capital. Most people were sure that eventually they would be successful. In addition to the troubles in Rome, there was scarcely a country in the world where the rights of the Church were not being infringed upon. Switzerland, Russia and Prussia were especially violent in their persecutions.

With the Church beset on all sides, there were many who freely predicted that its days were numbered. It was not possible, these people said, for any institution to withstand so many attacks coming from so many quarters at the same time.

THE GATES OF HELL WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST CHRIST’S CHURCH 

From a strictly material viewpoint, these people were right. But they forgot Christ’s promise that He would remain with His Church always and that the gates of hell should not prevail against her. They forgot – or did not know – that “Mary must be terrible to the devil and his crew, as an angel ranged in battle, principally in these latter times.

In the midst of all her troubles, the Church had one of her most glorious moments, when Pius IX proclaimed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Less than four years after the proclamation, Pope Pius IX was to learn with joy that our Lady had appeared at Lourdes and had put what seemed to be the seal of approval on his action by saying, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

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

 

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2019 in Words of Wisdom

 

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ROSARY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

ROSARY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

BEADS OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Composed by St John Berchmans, S.J. and recited by him daily to obtain, through the intercession of Our Lady, the grace never to commit any sin against the virtue of purity.

Method of saying. – “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

First Set of Beads. – “Blessed be the Holy and Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” The Our Father once, Hail Mary four times. Gloria once.

Second Set. – Same prayers. Third Set. – Same prayers.

 
 

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LO! MARY IS EXEMPT FROM STAIN OF SIN

Lo! Mary is exempt from stain of sin,

Proclaims the Pontiff high;

And earth applauding celebrates with joy

Her triumph, far and high.

 

Unto a lowly timid maid she shows

Her form in beauty fair.

And the Immaculate Conception truth

Her sacred lips declare.

 

O honoured cave, by Mary’s smile adorned!

O hallowed rock, whence spring

The living waters of a gushing stream,

The gifts of life to bring.

 

And thither from the far most bounds of earth

The pilgrims wend their way,

And suppliant around the Virgin’s shrine

Her powerful help they pray.

 

The sufferers’ cry the Mother fondly hears,

And grants the longed-for grace;

And health restored, the pilgrim throng returns

Unto its native place.

 

O Virgin! have compassion on our needs,

Refresh us labouring on;

Obtain for us the joys of heavenly life,

When sorrow is all gone.

 

All praise and honour to the Father be,

And to his only Son,

And to the Spirit, power of both, for aye,

In Godhead ever One. Amen.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2016 in Prayers to Our Lady

 

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O STAINLESS MOTHER OF THE LORD (HYMN)

O stainless Mother of the Lord,

While we thy glory chant,

A gracious ear to us accord

And heavenly favour grant.

 

A sad inheritance we own –

In guilt our lives begin:

Exempt from Adam’s fall alone,

Thou never knewest sin.

 

Prone on the earth beneath thy heel

The serpent’s head remained;

Thou only dost to heaven reveal;

An origin unstained.

 

Do thou whose glory takes away

The shame of Mother Eve,

Accept the tribute that we pay

And all our wants relieve.

 

From Satan’s every dart and snare

Our weakened soul defend,

That so thy glory we may share

In joys that never end.

 

All honour, laud, and glory be,

O Jesu, Virgin-born, to thee;

All glory, as is ever meet,

To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2016 in Prayers to Our Lady

 

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