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Tag Archives: Pope Pius XII

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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HAVE YOU, OR ANYONE YOU KNOW, PERSONAL MEMORIES OF ST FRANCES XAVIER CABRINI OR HER SISTERS?

“A SHORT HISTORY

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini was born into a farming family in Lombardy, Italy, in 1850. She was attracted to a missionary life from an early age and founded the Institute of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Codogno in 1880. Her original missionary dream was to go to China but historical circumstances prevented this. Pope Leo XIII directed her to the United States, where millions of Italians were arriving in search of work and with the hope of a better life.

Over the next 30 years she established 67 foundations in Europe, the United States and Central and South America. This included schools, hospitals, orphanages and social centres. She established a school in Honor Oak, South London. She died in Chicago, USA, on December 22nd 1917. She was canonised in 1946 and declared Universal Patroness of Immigrants by Pope Pius XII in 1950. Today she is known as Mother Cabrini, Patron Saint of Migrants. Her feast is 13th November. In 2009 the National Shrine to St Frances Xavier Cabrini was opened in St George’s Cathedral, Southwark.

We are planning a book on the work of Mother Cabrini and her sisters in England and Scotland. If you have memories of the sisters or would like further information please contact:

Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Forest Hill Road, Honor Oak,
London SE23 3LE
Tel: +44 208 699 2735
email: bodonnmsc@aol.com ”
– From a leaflet by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

 

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“YOU CRADLE CATHOLICS DO NOT REALISE WHAT GREAT TREASURES YOU HAVE”

“TODAY WHEN YOU STOOD BEFORE THE ARK OF THE TORAH, I IMAGINED I SAW THE WHITE FIGURE OF JESUS PLACING HIS HAND OVER YOUR HEAD AS THOUGH HE WERE BLESSING YOU.”

“On February 13, 1945, the world’s leading news agencies broke the news that Professor Israel Zolli, chief rabbi of Rome, renowned biblical scholar, had been received into the Catholic Church.

‘…A COMPLETED JEW SINCE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS THE FULFILMENT OF THE PROMISE OF JUDAISM’

Eugenio Zolli was born in 1881, in Brody, in the region of Poland that was then under Austrian rule. For 35 years, before the chief rabbinate in Rome, he had held the same position in Trieste. After his baptism he considered himself not a converted but a completed Jew, since the Catholic Church was the fulfilment of the promise of Judaism. In his words, the Old Testament is God’s coded telegram to mankind, and the one cipher, the one code to reading its contents, is Jesus Christ, who is both true God and true Man.

ACCEPTING THE PRINCIPLES OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH IS THE WAY FORWARD FOR EUROPE

As an eyewitness to the Holocaust, Zolli insisted that it was precisely the annihilation of Christian principles by Fascist ideology that contributed to that catastrophe. After the war he would write: ‘I am convinced that when this war is over the only way of checking the forces of destruction and achieving the reconstruction of Rome will be by accepting the principles of the Catholic faith, that is, the idea of God and universal brotherhood embodied in Christ – not a brotherhood based on race and Uebermensch, for there is ‘neither Jew nor Greek… neither slave nor free… neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Gal 3:28).

Eugenio Zolli’s name was Israel Zoller. Derived from a well-known family of rabbinical scholars, his mother always dreamed that one of her five children would become a rabbi. He studied at a rabbinical school and also read philosophy at university, first in Vienna, then in Florence. In 1920, he was appointed chief rabbi of Trieste. In order to qualify for Italian citizenship in 1933, he was obliged by the fascist authorities to change his surname to Zolli. Soon after, he assumed the chair of the Department of Hebrew Language and Literature at the University of Padua. A few years later, anti-Semitic purges forced him to resign his post.

HELP FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE FROM THE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY IN ROME UNDER POPE PIUS XII

In 1940 he became chief rabbi of Rome. Throughout the dramatic years of the war, he played a crucial role as leader of the Jewish community in Rome, which included both antifascists and those who collaborated with the authorities. With the occupation of Rome by the German forces in early September, 1943, the Jewish community found itself in a critical situation. On September 27, the SS commander of the Roman garrison, Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert Kappler, ordered the Jewish leaders to come up with 50 kilograms of gold in 24 hours. If they failed to deliver, he would begin the deportation of all men of Jewish origin. The community managed to collect 35 kilograms. Another 15 had to be found. Only a few hours remained. In this dramatic situation Rabbi Zolli turned to Pope Pius XII for help. The Holy Father immediately assured him of his assistance. However, as it turned out, the Catholics of Rome had already collected the 15 remaining kilograms of gold and delivered it to the Jewish community. On 29 September 1943, Commander Nogara, a delegate of the special administration of the Holy See, sent the following memorandum to the Secretary of State: ‘Yesterday Prof. Zolli came at 2 p.m. to tell me that they had received the required 15 kilograms of gold from the Catholic community, and that for the time being there was no need for them to resort to our help.’

IN HIDING AT A CATHOLIC FAMILY’S HOME

Even though they received their 50 kilograms of gold, the Nazis arrested over 2000 Jewish men, women and children in the early hours of October 16. The rest of the Jewish community went into hiding. Rabbi Zolli, his wife and daughter managed to find refuge in the home of a Catholic family, and remained there until the liberation of Rome by the Allies. Zolli subsequently resumed his duties as chief rabbi.

THANKING THE HOLY FATHER

In July 1944 he presided over a solemn prayer service in the Roman Synagogue. The event was broadcast by radio, allowing him publicly to thank Pope Pius XII and the President of the United States for the assistance they had rendered the Jews in Rome during the time of the Nazi persecutions. On 25 July 1945, during a private audience with Pius XII, Rabbi Zolli and the president of the Jewish community thanked the Holy Father for his extraordinary personal involvement in the fate of the Jews. They also asked him to convey their thanks to the Catholic population of Rome. At great personal sacrifice and risk to their lives, these people – both lay and religious – had provided assistance to thousands of Jews by accepting them into their cloisters, convents, rectories and private homes.

ZOLLI’S BAPTISM

Rabbi Zolli made his final decision to be received into the Catholic Church in July, 1944. The gift of faith came to him after many years of spiritual growth and sincere seeking after the truth. In August, 1944, Zolli asked the Jesuit professor Paulo Cezza at the Gregorian University to prepare him, quietly and discreetly, for the Sacrament of Baptism.

CHRIST APPEARED TO HIM IN A VISION

But first he had to resign his post as chief rabbi of Rome. Jesus made it clear to him that his time of service at the Synagogue was drawing to a close. In September, 1944, on the feast of Reconciliation, he presided over the solemn prayer service in the Synagogue for the last time. During the service Christ appeared to Zolli in a vision. He was dressed in a white robe and radiated an ineffable sense of peace. In his heart Zolli heard him say, ‘You are here for the last time.’

That evening at home, his wife told him: ‘Today when you stood before the Ark of the Torah, I imagined I saw the white figure of Jesus placing His hand over your head as though He were blessing you.’ Zolli recalls: ‘I was stunned, but still felt at peace. I pretended not to understand her, but she repeated what she had said word for word. Then I heard our daughter Miriam calling me from her room: ‘Daddy!’ I went to her and asked what she wanted. She said, ‘You were talking about Jesus Christ, weren’t you? You know, I had a dream today in which I saw the tall figure of Jesus robed in white; I don’t recall what happened afterwards.’ A few days later I resigned my post in the Jewish community.’

Zolli’s decision came as a great shock to his community. Seeing his determination, the president accepted his resignation with great sorrow. He offered him the post of director of the rabbinical college. Zolli refused to accept it. In his letter of reply, the president expressed great surprise and sorrow. Professor Zolli was the most suitable candidate for the post. Wishing to avoid negative reactions, Zolli did not reveal his main reason for declining the offer. Thus, having freed himself from all extraneous responsibilities, he, along with his wife Emma and daughter Miriam, prepared to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. The event took place on February 13, 1945, in a private chapel adjoining the sacristy of Santa Maria degli Angeli Church in Rome. Only 15 of his most trusted friends attended the celebration. No journalists were invited. Israel Zolli took the name Eugenio (in honour of Pius XII, whose Christian name was Eugenio), and his wife took the name Maria.

DEEPLY MOVED, THE ZOLLIS EXPRESSED THEIR JOY AND GRATITUDE TO POPE PIUS XII

That night a news reporter telephoned him from the United States, asking him if he had been received into the Catholic Church. Zolli could not deny it. The following day, all the main wire services in America and Europe broke the news that the chief rabbi of Rome had become a Catholic.

Zolli lived close to the Synagogue. As soon as the news of his conversion to Catholicism became known, he began receiving threatening and abusive phone calls. The Hebrew monthly appeared with its cover bordered in black. Zolli was immediately forced to move out of his appartment. His wife and daughter found refuge in a cloister, and Professor Zolli took up temporary residence at the Gregorian University. Pius XII invited the Zollis for a private audience at the Vatican. Deeply moved, they expressed their joy and gratitude to the Holy Father. They also expressed their love and forgiveness of their fellow Jews, who could not understand their decision to become Catholics. ‘Now that I am baptised,’ observed Emma, ‘I am unable to hate anyone. I love everyone.’

ZOLLI IS OFFERED MONEY TO RETURN TO JUDAISM

During his stay at the Gregorian University, Zolli received numerous visits from friends and enemies. Influential American Jews dropped in to persuade him to return to the bosom of Judaism, offering him whatever sum of money he wished. With great serenity, he refused every offer. A number of prominent Protestants also came to his door. Recognising him as a scholar with a deep knowledge of the Scriptures, they asked him to prepare a refutation of the doctrine of Papal Primacy on biblical grounds.

Zolli’s response was a book entitled Petrus, in which he used Holy Scripture to prove the case for Peter’s primacy and the succession of Popes. ‘Since protesting is not testifying, I do not intend to trouble anyone by asking the question: Why did they wait 1500 years to protest? For fifteen centuries the Catholic Church was recognised as the true Church of God by the entire Christian world. No one in all honesty can dismiss those 1500 years out of hand and claim that the Catholic Church is not the Church of Christ. I can accept only that Church which was proclaimed to all creatures by my ancestors, who, like me, came out of the Synagogue.’

WHILE VISITING HIS FRIEND, HE STARED WITH WONDER AT THE CRUCIFIX ON THE WALL

Already as a small boy in Austria-Poland, Zolli had many Catholic friends. ‘We, Hebrew children, loved our Christian friends,’ he wrote, ‘and they loved us. We knew nothing about racial differences. We knew our religions differed. That is why when it came to religion class we went to different rooms. Once the lesson was over we were together again…’

While visiting the home of his friend Stas, he would stare with wonder at the crucifix on the wall. It was then that he first began asking questions about the person of Jesus. This prompted him to read the Gospels. With the passage of years, his knowledge of the New Testament grew deeper. In large measure, Zolli attributed his conversion to his shattering discovery that the prophesy of Yahweh’s Suffering Servant contained in the five songs of the prophet Isaiah (42:1-7; 49:1-5; 50:4-9; 52:13; 53:12) was fulfilled in the suffering and crucified Jesus. He came to this conclusion after many years of studying the texts of the Old and New Testament. In this, expert scholary exegesis and his perfect knowledge of Hebrew and Biblical Greek aided him. His scholary studies culminated in the conviction that Yahweh’s Suffering Servant could be no other than Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose from the dead for our justification. ‘In this way,’ he wrote, ‘after many years of study, meditation and living the Judaism of the Old Testament, I eventually found myself in the Christianity of the New Testament. I had to admit in all honesty that I had become a Christian, and that is why I began to prepare myself systematically for the reception of Baptism.’

Zolli saw his transition from Judaism to Catholicism not as a break with the past but as a continuation along the road of salvation. When his co-religionists began accusing him of betrayal, he replied sadly: ‘My conscience is clear. I have renounced nothing. Isn’t the God of Saint Paul also the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Saint Paul converted. Did he forsake the God of Israel in doing so? Did he stop loving Him? It would be absurd to say yes.’

HIS GREAT JOY OVER BEING CATHOLIC

After being baptised, Professor Zolli devoted considerable time every day to prayer and partook earnestly of the Eucharist. He often expressed his great joy over being a Catholic. ‘You cradle Catholics do not realise what great treasures the faith and Christ’s grace represent. People such as I, who have received the grace of faith only after long years of seeking, can appreciate the greatness of this gift and experience the enormous joy of being a Christian.’

After several months, Zolli was able to find living quarters on the outskirts of Rome and resume family life with his wife and daughter. He began teaching Hebrew language and literature at the Biblical Institute. All the while he lived a life of intense prayer. With all the zeal of a new convert, he gave guest lectures at various universities throughout Europe and the United States. His apostolic zeal was naturally directed towards his former co-religionists, whom he sought to bring closer to the truth of Christ. He paid special attention to recent converts, offering them both moral and material support.

A scholar to the end of his days, Zolli increased his apostolic activity through the publication of numerous books and articles in Italy and abroad. Heart problems plagued his final years. His last lecture, on divine justice and mercy in the Scriptures, took place in Vallicelli, in January, 1956. He died on March 2, 1956. On receiving the viaticum on his deathbed, he said: ‘I trust the Lord will forgive my sins. I commit myself entirely to God’s mercy.'”
– Love One Another
Catholic Magazine

 
 

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“A ‘HOT CROSS BUN’ NUN GAVE ME BACK MY DIGNITY”

THE CAUSE OF MOTHER RICCARDA BEAUCHAMP HAMBROUGH, A NUN OF THE BRIDGETTINE ORDER FROM LONDON, ENGLAND, HAS BEEN TAKEN UP BY THE VATICAN.

SECRET ORDERS OF POPE PIUS XII

“A Jewish Italian who survived the Holocaust after he hid in a convent in Rome has paid tribute to a British ‘hot cross bun’ nun who helped to shelter him from the Nazis. Piero Piperno was one of more than 4,200 Jews who in October 1943 were given sanctuary in the religious houses of the city on the secret orders of the Venerable Pope Pius XII.

There, Mother Riccarda Beauchamp Hambrough, who had moved from London to Rome to join a newly revived order of Bridgettine nuns, fed and consoled him and his family and also dissuaded German soldiers from searching her convent for them. In a new book called ‘Courage and Conviction’, Mr Piperno tells Joanna Bogle, a Catholic author and journalist, about his memories of the English nun whose Cause was last year taken up by the Vatican.

‘SHE WAS ENGLISH, VERY MUCH SO…’

He explained how he and his family fled from Sienna to Rome as the Nazis began to round up Italian Jews for deportation to the concentration camps. As a 15-year-old in a group of 13 Jews hidden in the Casa di Santa Brigida, the Bridgettine mother house in Rome, he remembers how Mother Riccarda would bring them food and console them.

‘What I remember most about Mother Riccarda was her smile,’ he said. ‘She was so sweet and kind always, and her smile was beautiful, radiant. She helped always – you instinctively went to her when you were troubled, and she would soothe things. ‘She was also very pretty – you can’t tell that from her photograph, but in real life she was really beautiful.

‘She was English, very much so, but she had fluent Italian. She put everyone at ease. We called her Mamima – ‘little mother’.’ He said that she could sometimes be overshadowed by Blessed Elisabeth Hasselblad, the abbess, ‘who was definitely the lady in charge and who had a big personality’. But he added: ‘Our Mamima, Mother Riccarda, was different – she was quiet, she did things in a quiet, pleasant way. We all loved her very much.’

‘WE MUST NOT FEEL ANY NEED TO PRETEND’

He said when they arrived at the convent in Rome’s historic Piazza Farnese his mother was too scared to tell the abbess that they were Jewish. Attempting to disguise themselves, they attended Mass on Christmas Day but the mother eventually decided to admit their identity. They were then told by the nuns to ‘live our own beliefs, that we must not feel any need to pretend, and that we must live and pray as Jews.’

The nuns ‘gave us back our dignity’, Mr Piperno said, adding, ‘It is impossible to explain what that meant to us. We felt human again.’ One nun, the Rev. Mother Thekla, said that Mother Riccarda ‘above all had a profound respect for these Jewish guests. Mother Riccarda was an extremely discreet woman – she knew when to talk and when not to talk, she was gentle and calm, and she was highly educated,’ she said.

The nuns also hid Vello Salo, an Estonian deserter from the German Army, who after the war was ordained as a Catholic priest. Mrs Bogle’s book has been published by Gracewing just 18 months after a file on Mother Riccarda was sent to the Vatican’s Congregation of Causes for Sainthood to be studied by historians and theologians. The nun’s Cause was opened in July 2010 along with that of Sr Katherine Flanagan. Both nuns belonged to an Order called the Most Holy Saviour of St Bridget, nicknamed “the hot cross bun nuns” because of the crosses covering the tops of their wimples.”
– This article by Simon Caldwell, entitled “Jewish Italian praises nun who saved him from the Nazis”, was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue August 16 2013. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 
 

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BEATIFICATION AND CANONISATION OF MOTHER CABRINI, THE SAINT OF THE EMIGRANTS

“In 1928 demands were heard on both sides of the Atlantic for the opening of the Process of Frances Xavier Cabrini’s beatification. Over and beyond the obvious evidence of her greatness, much evidence was forthcoming of extraordinary graces obtained through her intercession.

Hence the Diocesan Process was opened at Chicago – loyal Chicago! – and commissions were also set up at Codogno and Rome. On its successful termination in 1933, the Apostolic Process was begun. The remains were exhumed and identified, being found in a good state of preservation, and were then translated from West Park to the chapel of the new Cabrini Memorial School at Fort Washington, New York.

In 1937 the Decree of Heroicity of Virtues was promulgated; on August 6, 1938, it was followed by the Decree De tuto, and on November 13 of the same year Frances Xavier Cabrini was beatified by Pope Pius XI.

Appropriately, Cardinal Mundelein sang the Mass, and a great gathering from old and new worlds assembled in the Eternal City to do homage to the new Beata, whose feast was fixed for December 22.

Further miracles having been reported, the Cause of Canonisation was opened forthwith, and proceeded very smoothly and rapidly. On May 4, 1943, the General Congregation met in the presence of Pope Pius XII for the final approval of the miracles proposed, and the last week of June saw the promulgation of the Decree accordingly. Still today, events move quickly in the career of Mother Cabrini.

As the Decree of Beatification states, she laboured much for the glory of God and the welfare of her neighbour; joyfully and constantly she bore with great difficulties of all kinds; she chose a life full of travail from which she allowed herself no rest, working on, eagerly and without respite, until death. In very deed, an undaunted daughter of desires!”
– From: “Frances Xavier Cabrini, by a Benedictine of Stanbrook Abbey”

 

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