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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"A Right To Be Merry" by Mother M. Francis, Poor Clare Colettine nun

This book, "A Right To Be Merry" is available at Ignatius Press:

For anyone who loves the Poor Clare Colettines, whether you have a vocation to them or not!, loves St. Clare, you must read this book!  It is written by Mother Mary Francis, PCC, formerly the Mother Abbess of the Roswell PCC community (  She passed away a few years ago.

(Mother Mary Francis, PCC 1921-2006)

I love this book!  I have read this book only about 5 times!  I must buy a new one as my original one is falling apart, dog-eared, highlighted and underlined to death!  This book since it was first printed - in the 40's or 50's? forget now, has led to countless vocations to the Poor Clare Colettines.

This is the perfect book to give to young girls who are thinking of a vocation or not - it may MAKE them think of one!  It's also a great read for anyone to understand the Poor Clare Colettines better.  It explains the many "why's" people have of religious life and especially the enclosed monastic life, the vows, and Franciscan/PCC way of life: the bare feet, poverty, rising at midnight, their rule of life, the vows of obedience, poverty, chastity and enclosure, etc.  Often it's funny, serious and just a gem!

Mother Mary Francis has written several other books on poems, God, religious life, etc  She also wrote a sequel to this book about their founding the PCCs in Eindhoven in the Nederlands (, called "Forth and Abroad".  Here is a video on the Eindhoven PCCs:

(Below, Mother Mary Franics, left, with a nun on her Solemn Profession Day.  On Solemn Profession Days, a Poor Clare Colettine nun wears a crown of thorns to be one and show her total surrender, marriage and giving of herself to her Crucified Spouse.)

Great Movies on St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi

These movies are also available at Amazon.  To give support to a great Catholic company, below are the links to Ignatius Press' site for these movies:

"Clare and Francis"

"Saint Francis"

Both movies are very good - fairly accurate - but people who know the lives of these saints will see differences or some inaccuracies.  I.E. in "Saint Franics", they have the two saints about the same age and playing together as children when in reality, St. Francis was 12 years older than St. Clare and they have Clare staying in a Benedictine monastery instead of her founding the Poor Ladies (as they were called then) in the church, San Damiano, that St. Francis rebuilt, etc.  But over all these are good movies.

St. Anthony of Padua, "Hammer of the Heretics"

St. Anthony (also known as Antony) is a Doctor of the Church, a Franciscan priest called the "Hammer of the Heretics", the "Wonder Worker", and the "Living Ark of the Covenant."

He was born Fernando Martin de Bulhom in 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal, t...
he son of a knight of the court of King Alfonso II. His parents sent him to be educated by the clergy at the Cathedral of Lisbon. At the age of 15 he joined the Canons Regular of St. Augustine and at 17, in order to have more seclusion, asked for and obtained leave to transfer to the priory of St. Cross, of the same order, at Coimbra, then the capital of Portugal. There, for a period of eight years, he devoted himself to study and prayer. With the help of a remarkable memory, he acquired a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.

The arrival of the relics of St. Bernard and companions, the first martyrs of the Franciscan Order, led Anthony to join the Franciscan Order at the age of 25. At this time, he changed his name to Antony in honor of St. Antony of Eygpt, which was the name of the chapel where he received the Franciscan habit. He was deeply inspired by the Franciscan martyrs and tried to emulate them. He received a friendly reception at the peaceful little Franciscan convent at Coimbra and in the same year his earnest wish to be sent to the missions in Africa was fulfilled.

But God had decreed otherwise. And so, Antony scarcely set foot on African soil when he gravely ill. Even after he had recovered, he was so weak that he boarded a boat back to Portugal. Unexpectedly, a storm came upon them and drove the ship to the east where it found refuge on coast of Sicily. There Antony was greeted and given shelter by the Franciscans of that island, and shortly thereafter was sent to Assisi, where the general chapter of the Order was held in May, 1221 A. D. Antony remained there nine months as chaplain to the hermits, occupied in the lowliest duties of the kitchen and convent, and to his heart's content he practiced interior as well as exterior mortification.

But the hidden jewel was soon to appear in all its brilliance. For the occasion of a ceremony of ordination some of the hermits along with Antony were sent to the town of Forli. Before the ceremony was to begin, however, it was announced that the priest who was to give the sermon had fallen sick. The local superior, to avoid the embarrassment of the moment, quickly asked the friars in attendance to volunteer. Each excused himself, saying that he was not prepared, until finally, Antony was asked to give it. When he too, excused himself in a most humble manner, his superior ordered him by virtue of the vow of obedience to give the sermon. Antony began to speak in a very quiet and reserved manner; but soon the power of the Holy Spirit seized him, and he spoke with such eloquence that everyone was amazed.

When St. Francis was informed of the event, he gave Anthony the mission to preach throughout Italy. At the request of the brethren, Antony was later commissioned also to teach theology, "but in such a manner," St. Francis distinctly wrote, " that the spirit of prayer be not extinguished either in yourself or in the other brethren." Antony himself placed greater value in the salvation of souls than on learning. For that reason he never ceased to exercise his office as preacher despite his work of teaching.

Antony was called the "Wonder Worker for his many reported miracles. He preached to crowds in the rain, but his audiences remained dry despite the downpour.

The number of those who came to hear him was sometimes so great that no church was large enough to accommodate and so he had to preach in the open air. He was so energetic in defending the truths of the Catholic Faith that many heretics returned to the Church. This occasioned the epitaph given him by Pope Gregory IX "the ark of the covenant."

In all his labors he never forgot the admonition of his spiritual father, St. Francis, that the spirit of prayer must not be extinguished. If he spent the day in teaching and heard the confession of sinners till late in the evening, then many hours of the night were spent in intimate union with God.

Once a man, at whose home Antony was spending the night, came upon the saint and found him holding in his arms the Child Jesus, unspeakably beautiful and surrounded with heavenly light. For this reason St. Anthony is often depicted holding the Child Jesus.

In 1227 A. D., Antony was elected Minister Provincial of the friars living in northern Italy. Due to his taxing labors and his austere penance, he soon felt his strength so spent that he prepared himself for death. After receiving the last sacraments he kept looking upward with a smile. When he was asked what he saw there, he answered: "I see my Lord." He breathed forth his soul on June 13, 1231 A. D., at the age of 36. Soon the children in the streets of the city of Padua were crying: "The saint is dead, Antony is dead."

Antony was canonized in 1232 and named a Doctor of the Church in 1946. At Padua, a magnificent basilica was built in his honor, his holy relics were entombed there in 1263 A. D. From the time of his death up to the present day, countless miracles have occurred through St. Anthony's intercession.

Patron of: Poor, barren and pregnant women, also against shipwrecks, starvation and of American Indians, animals, boatmen, elderly people, fishermen, harvests, lost articles, mail, Portugal, travelers, travel hostesses, and watermen.

Alms given to obtain his intercession are called "St. Antony's Bread."

How he came to be invoked, as he now is, of the finder of lost articles has never been satisfactorily explained. The only story that relates to this is contained in the so-called Chronicles of the Twenty-Four Generals, number 21. A novice ran away from his monastery carrying with him a valuable psalter which Antony had been using. he prayed for its recovery and the novice was frightened by a startling apparition into returning it.

Symbol: book, bread, Infant Jesus, lily

He is occasionally accompanied by a mule which, legend said, fell on its knees when the Blessed Sacrament was upheld by St. Anthony, thus converting its heretical owner to believe in the Real Presence.
A great movie on St. Anthony's life (fairly accurate) is "Saint Anthony" - an Italian movie with English subtitles.  Available at: Amazon:

Monday, August 27, 2012

"The Way of the Cross" - According to the Method of St. Francis of Assisi

One of the prayers Poor Clare Colettines say everyday.
The Way of the Cross
according to the method of Saint Francis of Assisi
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

Preparatory Prayer
O most merciful Jesus, with a contrite heart and penitent spirit, I bow down in profound humility before Thy divine majesty. I adore Thee as my supreme Lord and Master; I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee above all things. I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, my Supreme and Only Good. I resolve to amend my life, and although I am unworthy to obtain mercy, yet the sight of Thy holy cross, on which Thou didst die, inspires me with hope and consolation. I will, therefore, meditate on Thy sufferings, and visit the stations of Thy Passion in company with Thy sorrowful Mother and my guardian angel, with the intention of promoting Thy honor and saving my soul.
I desire to gain all the indulgences granted for this holy exercise for myself and for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. O merciful Redeemer, who has said, "And I, if I be lifted from earth, will draw all things to Myself," draw my heart and my love to Thee, that I may perform this devotion as perfectly as possible, and that I may live and die in union with Thee. Amen.
STATION 1 - Jesus is condemned to Death
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
Jesus, most innocent, who neither did nor could commit a sin, was condemned to death, and moreover, to the most ignominious death of the cross. To remain a friend of Caesar, Pilate delivered Him into the hands of His enemies. A fearful crime -- to condemn Innocence to death, and to offend God in order not to displease men!
O innocent Jesus, having sinned, I am guilty of eternal death, but Thou willingly dost accept the unjust sentence of death, that I might live. For whom, then, shall I henceforth live, if not for Thee, my Lord? Should I desire to please men, I could not be Thy servant. Let me, therefore, rather displease men and all the world, than not please Thee, O Jesus.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...
Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Stabat Mater
At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

STATION 2 - Jesus is made to carry His Cross
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
When our divine Savior beheld the cross, He most willingly stretched out His bleeding arms, lovingly embraced it, and tenderly kissed it, and placing it on His bruised shoulders, He, although almost exhausted, joyfully carried it.
O my Jesus, I cannot be Thy friend and follower, if I refuse to carry the cross. O dearly beloved cross! I embrace thee, I kiss thee, I joyfully accept thee from the hands of my God. Far be it from me to glory in anything, save in the cross of my Lord and Redeemer. By it the world shall be crucified to me and I to the world, that I may be Thine forever.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...
Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Stabat Mater
Through her heart, His sorrow sharing
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword has passed.

STATION 3 - Jesus falls the First Time
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
Our dear Savior, carrying the cross, was so weakened by its heavy weight as to fall exhausted to the ground. Our sins and misdeeds were the heavy burden which oppressed Him: the cross was to Him light and sweet, but our sins were galling and insupportable.
O my Jesus, Thou didst bear my burden and the heavy weight of my sins. Should I, then, not bear in union with Thee, my easy burden of suffering and accept the sweet yoke of Thy commandments? Thy yoke is sweet and Thy burden is light: I therefore willingly accept it. I will take up my cross and follow Thee.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...
Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Stabat Mater
O, how sad and sore distressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole-begotten One!

STATION 4 - Jesus meets His Sorrowful Mother
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
How painful and how sad it must have been for Mary, the sorrowful Mother, to behold her beloved Son, laden with the burden of the cross! What unspeakable pangs her most tender heart experienced! How earnestly did she desire to die in place of Jesus, or at least with Him! Implore this sorrowful Mother that she assist you in the hour of your death.
O Jesus, O Mary, I am the cause of the great and manifold pains which pierce your loving hearts! Oh, that also my heart would feel and experience at least some of your sufferings! O Mother of Sorrows, let me participate in the sufferings which thou and Thy Son endured for me, and let me experience thy sorrow, that afflicted with thee, I may enjoy thy assistance in the hour of my death.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...
Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Stabat Mater
Christ above in torment hangs,
She beneath beholds the pangs,
Of her dying, glorious Son.

STATION 5 - Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry His Cross
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
Simon of Cyrene was compelled to help Jesus carry His cross, and Jesus accepted his assistance. How willingly would He also permit you to carry the cross: He calls, but you hear Him not; He invites you, but you decline. What a reproach, to bear the cross reluctantly!
O Jesus! Whosoever does not take up his cross and follow Thee, is not worthy of Thee. Behold, I join Thee in the Way of Thy Cross; I will be Thy assistant, following Thy bloody footsteps, that I may come to Thee in eternal life. ------ Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...
Jesus Christ, crucified, have mercy on us!
Stabat Mater
Is there one who would not weep
Whelmed in miseries so deep
Christ's dear Mother to Behold?

STATION 6 - Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
Veronica, impelled by devotion and compassion, presents her veil to Jesus to wipe His disfigured face. And Jesus imprints on it His holy countenance: a great recompense for so small a service. What return to you make to your Savior for His great and manifold benefits?
Most merciful Jesus! What return shall I make for all the benefits Thou hast bestowed upon me? Behold I consecrate myself entirely to Thy service. I offer and consecrate to Thee my heart: imprint on it Thy sacred image, never again to be effaced by sin.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...
Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Stabat Mater
Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother's pain untold?

STATION 7 - Jesus falls the Second Time
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
The suffering Jesus, under the weight of His cross, again falls to the ground; but the cruel executioners do not permit Him to rest a moment. Pushing and striking Him, they urge Him onward. It is the frequent repetition of our sins which oppress Jesus. Witnessing this, how can I continue to sin?
O Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! Offer me Thy helping hand, and aid me, that I may not fall again into my former sins. From this very moment, I will earnestly strive to reform: nevermore will I sin! Thou, O sole support of the weak, by Thy grace, without which I can do nothing, strengthen me to carry out faithfully this my resolution.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...
Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Stabat Mater
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
She beheld her tender child,
All with bloody scourges rent.

STATION 8 - The women of Jerusalem weep over Jesus
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
These devoted women, moved by compassion, weep over the suffering Savior. But He turns to them, saying: "Weep not for Me, Who am innocent, but weep for yourselves and for your children." Weep thou also, for there is nothing more pleasing to Our Lord and nothing more profitable for thyself, than tears shed from contrition for thy sins.
O Jesus, Who shall give to my eyes a torrent of tears, that day and night I may weep for my sins? I beseech Thee, through Thy bitter and bloody tears, to move my heart by Thy divine grace, so that from my eyes tears may flow abundantly, and that I may weep all my days over Thy sufferings, and still more over their cause, my sins.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...
Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Stabat Mater
For the sins of His own nation
Saw Him hang in desolation
Till His Spirit forth He sent.

STATION 9 - Jesus falls the Third Time
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
Jesus, arriving exhausted at the foot of Calvary, falls for the third time to the ground. His love for us, however, is not diminished, not extinguished. What a fearfully oppressive burden our sins must be to cause Jesus to fall so often! Had He, however, not taken them upon Himself, they would have plunged us into the abyss of Hell.
Most merciful Jesus, I return Thee infinite tanks for not permitting me to continue in sin and to fall, as I have so often deserved, into the depths of Hell. Enkindle in me an earnest desire of amendment; let me never again relapse, but vouchsafe me the grace to persevere in penance to the end of my life.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...
Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Stabat Mater
O thou Mother! fount of love,
Touch my spirit from above.
Make my heart with thine accord:

STATION 10 - Jesus is stripped of His Garments
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
When Our Savior had arrived on Calvary, He was cruelly despoiled of His garments. How painful this must have been because they adhered to His wounded and torn body, and with them parts of His bloody skin were removed! All the wounds of Jesus were renewed. Jesus was despoiled of His garments that He might die possessed of nothing; how happy will I also die after laying aside my former self with all evil desires and sinful inclinations!
Induce me, O Jesus, to lay aside my former self and to be renewed according to Thy will and desire. I will not spare myself, however painful this should be for me: despoiled of things temporal, of my own will, I desire to die, in order to live for Thee forever.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be... Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Stabat Mater
Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.

STATION 11 - Jesus is nailed to the Cross
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
Jesus, being stripped of His garments, was violently thrown upon the cross and His hands and feet nailed thereto. In such excruciating pains He remained silent, because it pleased His heavenly Father. He suffered patiently, because He suffered for me. How do I act in sufferings and in troubles? How fretful and impatient, how full of complaints I am!
O Jesus, gracious Lamb of God, I renounce forever my impatience. Crucify, O Lord, my flesh and its concupiscences; scourge, scathe, and punish me in this world, do but spare me in the next. I commit my destiny to Thee, resigning myself to Thy holy will: may it be done in all things!
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...
Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Stabat Mater
Holy Mother, pierce me through!
In my heart, each wound renew
Of my Savior crucified.

STATION 12 - Jesus is raised upon the Cross and Dies
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
Behold Jesus crucified! Behold His wounds, received for love of you! His whole appearance betokens love: His head is bent to kiss you; His arms are extended to embrace you; His Heart is open to receive you. O superabundance of love, Jesus, the Son of God, dies upon the cross, that man may live and be delivered from everlasting death!
O most amiable Jesus! Who will grant me that I may die for Thee! I will at least endeavor to die to the world. How must I regard the world and its vanities, when I behold Thee hanging on the cross, covered with wounds? O Jesus, receive me into Thy wounded Heart: I belong entirely to Thee; for Thee alone do I desire to live and to die.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...
Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Stabat Mater
Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

STATION 13 - Jesus is taken from the Cross and given to His Mother
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
Jesus did not descend from the cross but remained on it until He died. And when taken down from it, He in death as in life, rested on the bosom of His divine Mother. Persevere in your resolutions of reform and do not part from the cross; he who persevereth to the end shall be saved. Consider, moreover, how pure the heart should be that receives the body and blood of Christ in the Adorable Sacrament of the Altar.
O Lord Jesus, Thy lifeless body, mangled and lacerated, found a worthy resting-place on the bosom of Thy virgin Mother. Have I not often compelled Thee to dwell in my heart, full of sin and impurity as it was? Create in me a new heart, that I may worthily receive Thy most sacred body in Holy Communion, and that Thou mayest remain in me and I in Thee for all eternity.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...
Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Stabat Mater
Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.

STATION 14 - Jesus is laid in the Sepulcher
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
The body of Jesus is interred in a stranger's sepulchre. He who in this world had not whereupon to rest His head, would not even have a grave of His own, because He was not from this world. You, who are so attached to the world, henceforth despise it, that you may not perish with it.
O Jesus, Thou hast set me apart from the world; what, then, shall I seek therein? Thou hast created me for Heaven; what, then, have I to do with the world? Depart from me, deceitful world, with thy vanities! Henceforth i will follow the Way of the Cross traced out for me by my Redeemer, and journey onward to my heavenly home, there to dwell forever and ever.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be... Jesus Christ, crucified, have mercy on us!
Stabat Mater
By the cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.

Concluding Prayer

Almighty and eternal God, merciful Father, who hast given to the human race Thy beloved Son as an example of humility, obedience, and patience, to precede us on the way of life, bearing the cross: Graciously grant us that we, inflamed by His infinite love, may take up the sweet yoke of His Gospel together with the mortification of the cross, following Him as His true disciples, so that we shall one day gloriously rise with Him and joyfully hear the final sentence: "Come, ye blessed of My Father, and possess the kingdom which was prepared for you from the beginning," where Thou reignest with the Son and the Holy Spirit, and where we hope to reign with Thee, world without end. Amen.

Spiritual Advice from St. Padre Pio

"Place all your trust in the heart of the most gentle Jesus."

"Never forget the Guardian Angel who is always with you, never leaving you for whatever wrong you might do."

"Pray, hope and don't worry.  Worry is useless.  God is merciful and will hear your prayers."

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Memoria today of St. Louis IX, King, Patron of 3rd Order of St. Francis

In Louis IX of France were united the qualities of a just and upright sovereign, a fearless warrior, and a saint. This crusading king was a living embodiment of the Christianity of the time: he lived for the welfare of his subjects and the glory of God. His father was Louis VIII, of the Capet line, and his mother was the redoubtable Queen Blanche, daughter of King Alfonso of Castile and Eleanor of England. Louis, the oldest son,* was born at Poissy on the Seine, a little below Paris, on April 25,1214, and there was christened. Much of his virtue is attributed to his mother's care, for the Queen devoted herself to her children's education. Louis had tutors who made him a master of Latin, taught him to speak easily in public and write with dignity and grace. He was instructed in the arts of war and government and all other kingly accomplishments. But Blanche's primary concern was to implant in him a deep regard and awe for everything related to religion. She used often to say to him as he was growing up, "I love you my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child; but I would rather see you dead at my feet than that you should commit a mortal sin."

Louis never forgot his upbringing. His friend and biographer, the Sieur de Joinville,[1] who accompanied him on his first crusade to the Holy Land, relates that the King once asked him, "What is God?" Joinville replied, "Sire, it is that which is so good that there can be nothing better." "Well," said the King, "now tell me, would You rather be a leper or commit a mortal sin?" The spectacle of the wretched lepers who wandered along the highways of medieval Europe might well have prompted a sensitive conscience to ask such a question. "I would rather commit thirty mortal sins," answered Joinville, in all candor, "than be a leper." Louis expostulated with him earnestly for making such a reply. "When a man dies," he said, "he is healed of leprosy in his body; but when a man who has committed a mortal sin dies he cannot know of a certainty that he has in his lifetime repented in such sort that God has forgiven him; wherefore he must stand in great fear lest that leprosy of sin last as long as God is in Paradise."
After a reign of only three years, Louis VIII died, and Queen Blanche was declared regent for her eleven-year-old son. To forestall an uprising of restless nobles, she hastened the ceremony of Louis' coronation, which took place at Rheims on the first Sunday of Advent, 1226. The boy was tall, and mature for his age, yet he trembled as he took the solemn oath; he asked of God courage, light, and strength to use his authority well, to uphold the divine honor, defend the Church, and serve the good of his people. The ambitious barons, who were not present at the coronation, were soon making extravagant demands for more privileges and lands, thinking to take advantage of the King's youth. But they reckoned without the Queen; by making clever alliances, she succeeded in overcoming them on the battlefield, so that when Louis assumed control some years later, his position was strong.

In May, 1234, Louis, then twenty, married Margaret, the oldest daughter of Raymond Beranger, Count of Provence. They had eleven children, five sons and six daughters. This line continued in power in France for five hundred years. In 1793, as the guillotine fell on Louis XVI, it will be recalled that the Abbe Edgeworth murmured: "Son of St. Louis, ascend to Heaven!"

After taking the government of the realm into his hands, one of the young King's first acts was to build the famous monastery of Royaumont, with funds left for the purpose by his father. Louis gave encouragement to the religious orders, installing the Carthusians in the palace of Vauvert in Paris, and assisting his mother in founding the convent of Maubuisson. Ambitious to make France foremost among Christian nations, Louis was overjoyed at the opportunity to buy the Crown of Thorns and other holy relics from the Eastern Emperor at Constantinople. He sent two Dominican friars to bring these sacred objects to France, and, attended by an impressive train, he met them at Sens on their return. To house the relics, he built on the island in the Seine named for him, the shrine of Sainte-Chapelle, one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture in existence. Since the French Revolution it stands empty of its treasure.

Louis loved sermons, heard two Masses daily, and was surrounded, even while traveling, with priests chanting the hours. Though he was happy in the company of priests and other men of wisdom and experience, he did not hesitate to oppose churchmen when they proved unworthy. The usual tourneys and festivities at the creation of new knights were magnificently celebrated, but Louis forbade at his court any diversion dangerous to morals. He allowed no obscenity or profanity. "I was a good twenty-two years in the King's company," writes Joinville, "and never once did I hear him swear, either by God, or His Mother, or His saints. I did not even hear him name the Devil, except if he met the word when reading aloud, or when discussing what had been read." A Dominican who knew Louis well declared that he had never heard him speak ill of anyone. When urged to put to death the rebel son of Hugh de la Marche, he would not do so, saying, "A son cannot refuse to obey his father's orders."

In 1230 the King forbade all forms of usury, in accordance with the teachings of the Christian religion. Where the profits of the Jewish and Lombard money-lenders had been exorbitant, and the original borrowers could not be found, Louis exacted from the usurers a contribution towards the crusade which Pope Gregory was then trying to launch. He issued an edict that any man guilty of blasphemy should be branded. Even the clergy objected to the harshness of this penalty, and later, on the advice of Pope Clement IV, it was reduced to a fine, or flogging, or imprisonment, depending on circumstances. Louis protected vassals and tenants from cruel lords. When a Flemish count hanged three children for hunting rabbits in his woods, he had the man imprisoned, and tried, not by his peers, as was the custom, but by ordinary civil judges, who condemned him to death. Louis spared the count's life, but fined him heavily and ordered the money spent on religious and charitable works. He forbade private wars between his feudal vassals. In his dealings with other great princes, he was careful not to be drawn into their quarrels. If, when putting down a rebellion, he heard of damage inflicted on innocent people, by his or the enemy's forces, he invariably had the matter examined and full restitution paid. Barons, prelates, and foreign princes often chose him to arbitrate their disputes. A rising of the nobles in the southwest occurred in 1242, but the King's armies quickly put it down, although Henry III of England had come to their aid.

After recovering from a violent fever in 1244, Louis announced his long-cherished intention of undertaking a crusade to the East. Although his advisers urged him to abandon the idea, he was not to be moved from his decision. Elaborate preparations for the journey and settling certain disturbances in the kingdom caused him to postpone his departure for three and a half years. All benefices in Christendom were ordered taxed a twentieth of their income for three years for the relief of the Holy Land. Blanche was to be regent during the King's absence. On June 12, 1248, Louis left Paris, accompanied by his wife and three brothers. Their immediate objective was Egypt, whose Sultan, Melek Selah, had been overrunning Palestine. Damietta, at the mouth of one of the branches of the Nile, was easily taken. Louis and the Queen, accompanied by his brothers, the nobles, and prelates, made a solemn entry into the city, singing <Te Deum>. The King issued orders that all acts of violence committed by his soldiers should be punished and restitution made to the persons injured. He forbade the killing of any infidel taken prisoner, and gave directions that all who might desire to embrace the Christian faith should be given instruction, and, if they wished it, baptized. Yet as long as the army was quartered around Damietta, many of his soldiers fell into debauchery and lawlessness. The rising of the Nile and the summer heat made it impossible for them to advance and follow up their success. After six months they moved forward to attack the Saracens on the opposite side of the river, in Mansourah. The ranks of the crusaders were thinned more by disease than by combat. In April, 1250, Louis himself, weakened by dysentery, was taken prisoner, and his army was routed.

During his captivity. the King recited the Divine Office every day with two chaplains and had the prayers of the Mass read to him. He met insults with an air of majesty which awed his guards. In the course of negotiations for his liberation, the Sultan was murdered by his emirs. The King and his fellow prisoners were released, though the sick and wounded crusaders left in Damietta were slain. With the remnant of his army Louis then sailed to the Syrian coast and remained in that region until 1254, fortifying the cities of Acre, Jaffa, Caesarea, and Tyre, which as yet remained in Christian hands. He visited the Holy Places that were in the possession of Christians, encouraging their garrisons, and doing what he could to strengthen their defenses. Not until news was brought him of the death of his mother did he feel that he must return to France. He had now been away almost six years, and even after his return, he continued to wear the cross on his shoulder to show his intention of going back to succor the Eastern Christians. Their position worsened, and within a few years Nazareth, Caesarea, Jaffa, and Antioch had been captured.

The foundations for the famous college of theology which was later known as the Sorbonne were laid in Paris about the year 1257 Its head, Master Robert de Sorbon, a learned canon and doctor, was the King's friend and sometimes his confessor. Louis helped to endow the college and obtained for it the approval of Pope Clement IV. It was perhaps the most famous theological school of Europe. The King himself founded in Paris the hospital of Quinze-vingt, so named because it had beds for three hundred patients. He also received indigent persons daily and saw that they were fed; in Lent and Advent he cared for all who came, often waiting on them in person. He had, as we have said, a passion for justice, and changed the "King's court" of his ancestors into a popular court, where, seated in his palace or under a spreading oak in the forest of Vincennes, he listened to any of his subjects who came with grievances and gave what seemed to them wise and impartial judgments. The feudal method of settling disputes by combat he tried to replace by peaceful arbitration or the judicial process of trial, with the presentation of testimony. In later times, whenever the French complained of oppression, their cry was for justice to be meted out impartially, as it had been in the reign of St. Louis.

In I258 Louis concluded the Peace of Paris with his old enemy Henry III of England. Though Louis had been victorious in most of the battles, he now voluntarily surrendered to England the provinces of Limousin, Quercy, and Perigord, while Henry renounced all claim to recover Normandy, Anjou, Maine, Touraine, and Poitou. The French nobility were outraged by their King's concessions, but Louis explained that he hoped thus to cement a lasting friendship between the two nations. Unfortunately, peace did not ensue; the Hundred Years' War was still to come. A similar compromise was made with the King of-Aragon, by which France secured Provence and most of Languedoc, and gave up claims to Roussillon and Barcelona.

One day, after standing godfather to a Jewish convert who had been baptized at St. Denis, Louis remarked to an ambassador from the emir of Tunis that to see the emir baptized he would himself joyfully spend the rest of his life in Saracen chains. The King was determined to go on another crusade, and in 1267 he announced his intention. His people objected, fearing they would lose their excellent and revered ruler, who, though only fifty-two years old, was worn with toil, illness, and austerities. The Pope supported the crusade, and granted Louis one-tenth of all Church revenues to help meet the expense. A toll-tax was also levied on the French people. Louis appointed the abbot of St. Denis and Simon de Clermont as regents. His three eldest sons, Philip, John, and Peter, accompanied him. The worthy Joinville disapproved the enterprise and stayed at home.

Louis sailed with his forces from Aigues-Mortes, at the mouth of the Rhone, on July 1, 1270, heading for Tunis, where, he had been told, the emir was ready to be converted and join the expedition to win back the Holy Places. The crusade was a dismal failure. On landing at Carthage, Louis learned to his dismay that the information about the emir was false. He decided to wait there for reinforcements from the King of Sicily. Dysentery and other diseases broke out among the crusaders, and Louis' second son, who had been born at Damietta during the earlier crusade, died. That same day the King and his eldest son, Philip, sickened, and it was soon apparent that Louis would not recover. He was speechless all the next morning, but at three in the afternoon he said, "Into Thy hands I commend my spirit," and quickly breathed his last. His bones and heart were taken back to France and kept enshrined in the abbey-church of St. Denis, until they were scattered at the time of the Revolution. Louis was strong, idealistic, austere, just; his charities and foundations were notable, and he went on two crusades. Little wonder that a quarter of a century after his death the process of canonization was started and quickly completed the man who was "every inch a king" became a saint of the Church in 1297, twenty-seven years after his death.

Last Instructions to his Eldest Son

Then he [Louis] called my Lord Philip, his son, and commanded him, as if by testament, to observe all the teachings he had left him, which are hereinafter set down in French, and were, so it is said, written with the king's own saintly hand:
"Fair son, the first thing I would teach thee is to set thine heart to love God; for unless he love God none can be saved. Keep thyself from doing aught that is displeasing to God, that is to say, from mortal sin. Contrariwise thou shouldst suffer every manner of torment rather than commit a mortal sin.

"If God send thee adversity, receive it in patience and give thanks to our Saviour and bethink thee that thou hast deserved it, and that He will make it turn to thine advantage. If He send thee prosperity, then thank Him humbly, so that thou becomest not worse from pride or any other cause, when thou oughtest to be better. For we should not fight against God with his own gifts.

"Confess thyself often and choose for thy confessor a right worthy man who knows how to teach thee what to do, and what not to do; and bear thyself in such sort that thy confessor and thy friends shall dare to reprove thee for thy misdoings. Listen to the services of Holy Church devoutly, and without chattering; and pray to God with thy heart and with thy lips, and especially at Mass when the consecration takes place. Let thy heart be tender and full of pity toward those who are poor, miserable, and afflicted, and comfort and help them to the utmost of thy power.

"Maintain the good customs of thy realm and abolish the bad. Be not covetous against thy people and do not burden them with taxes and imposts save when thou art in great need.

"If thou hast any great burden weighing upon thy heart, tell it to thy confessor or to some right worthy man who is not full of vain words. Thou shalt be able to bear it more easily.

"See that thou hast in thy company men, whether religious or lay, who are right worthy and loyal and not full of covetousness, and confer with them oft; and fly and eschew the company of the wicked. Hearken willingly to the Word of God and keep it in thine heart, and seek diligently after prayers and indulgences. Love all that is good and profitable and hate all that is evil, wheresoever it may be.

"Let none be so bold as to say before thee any word that would draw or move to sin, or so bold as to speak evil behind another's back for pleasure's sake; nor do thou suffer any word in disparagement of God and of His saints to be spoken in thy presence. Give often thanks to God for all the good things he has bestowed on thee, so that thou be accounted worthy to receive more.

"In order to do justice and right to thy subjects, be upright and firm, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left, but always to what is just; and do thou maintain the cause of the poor until such a time as the truth is made clear. And if anyone has an action against thee, make full inquiry until thou knowest the truth; for thus shall thy counsellors judge the more boldly according to the truth, whether for thee or against.

"If thou holdest aught that belongeth to another, whether by thine own act or the act of thy predecessors, and the matter be certain, make restitution without delay. If the matter be doubtful, cause inquiry to be made by wise men diligently and promptly.

"Give heed that thy servants and thy subjects live under thee in peace and uprightness. Especially maintain the good cities and commons of thy realm in the same estate and with the same franchises as they enjoyed under thy predecessors; and if there be aught to amend, amend and set it right, and keep them in thy favor and love. For because of the power and wealth of the great cities, thine own subjects, and especially thy peers and thy barons and foreigners also will fear to undertake aught against thee.

"Love and honor all persons belonging to Holy Church, and see that no one take away or diminish the gifts and alms paid to them by thy predecessors. It is related of King Philip, my grandfather, that one of his counsellors once told him that those of Holy Church did him much harm and damage in that they deprived him of his rights, and diminished his jurisdiction, and that it was a great marvel that he suffered it; and the good king replied that he believed this might well be so, but he had regard to the benefits and courtesies that God had bestowed on him, and so thought it better to abandon some of his rights than to have any contention with the people of Holy Church.

"To thy father and mother thou shalt give honor and reverence, and thou shalt obey their commandments. Bestow the benefices of Holy Church on persons who are righteous and of a clean life, and do it on the advice of men of worth and uprightness.

"Beware of undertaking a war against any Christian prince without great deliberation; and if it has to be undertaken, see that thou do no hurt to Holy Church and to those that have done thee no injury. If wars and dissensions arise among thy subjects, see that thou appease them as soon as thou art able. "Use diligence to have good provosts and bailiffs, and inquire often of them and of those of thy household how they conduct themselves, and if there be found in them any vice of inordinate covetousness or falsehood or trickery. Labor to free thy land from all vile iniquity, and especially strike down with all thy power evil swearing and heresy. See to it that the expense of thy household be reasonable.
"Finally, my very dear son, cause Masses to be sung for my soul, and prayers to be said throughout thy realm; and give to me a special share and full part in all the good thou doest. Fair, dear son, I give thee all the blessings that a good father can give to his son. And may the blessed Trinity and all the saints keep and defend thee from all evils; and God give thee grace to do His will always, so that He be honored in thee, and that thou and I may both, after this mortal life is ended, be with Him together and praise Him everlastingly. Amen."

(Joinville, <Chronicle of the Crusade of St. Lewis>, contained in <Memoirs of the Crusades>, Everyman Edition.)

* Editor's note: Louis IX was the oldest living son of Louis VIII. His older brother, Philippe, had died at an early age.

1 The best contemporary account of Louis is contained in the <Memoirs of Sieur de Joinville>.
Saint Louis, Confessor, King of France. Celebration of Feast Day is August 25.

Taken from "Lives of Saints", Published by John J. Crawley & Co., Inc.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Servant of God, Sr. Consolata Betrone Mystic and Victim Soul

Servant of God, Sr. Consolata Betrone (1903-1946) -Mystic and Victim Soul, Poor Clare Capuchin nun

“There is a beautiful supplication, a quick prayer that our Lord gave to Sister Maria [Consolata] Betrone. It says- ‘Jesus and Mary, I love You. Save souls.’ It is very simple, but oh it carries a lot of weight.” -Mother M Angelica of EWTN

Birth and early life

Sister Consolata Betrone was born in Saluzzo, Italy on April 6, 1903, and was named Pierina Betrone. She was the daughter of Pietro Betrone and Giuseppina Nirino, who were the owners of a bakery in Saluzzo, who later became managers of a restaurant in Airasco (Turin). Pierina was the second of six daughters born of her father's second marriage.

Nothing in the early life and background could foretell that this young girl would become one of Jesus’ beloved victim souls. She seemed to live a normal childhood up until the age of 13 when one remarkable day our Lord cast His loving gaze upon her. It so happened that while she was hurrying to do her errands in the village when, unexpectedly, an intense prayer suddenly came forth from her heart: "My God, I love you!" and a unusual spiritual fervor overcame her. It was the beginning of her extraordinary experiences with the Lord.

On December 8 1916, which was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pierina dedicated herself to the Virgin. After receiving Holy Communion, she distinctly heard within her the words "Do you want to be Mine?"
Deeply moved by this extraordinary grace, she wept with tears of emotion, and without understanding the extent of the question, she replied “Yes” to Jesus, entrusting herself to Him.

As the weeks and months progressed, Pierina began to feel God calling her to the religious life. During the same time, and continuing for several years, she began a period of spiritual doubts, dryness and temptations, which were surely sent by the Lord to purify her soul. Our Lord first led her out into the spiritual desert in order to prepare her for her mission as victim soul.

Three failed attempts at entering the religious life
It was not until she was age 21 before she was finally able to realise the religious vocation that God was calling her to.
"Nothing attracts me about the Capuchins", she said, after three failed attempts to take the veil in “open” religious orders [ie- not cloistered], It was her confessor, Don Accomasso, who, enlightened by God as all sincere confessors are, advised her to enter the Convent of the Poor Clares (Order of Franciscan Capuchins) in Turin, Italy. This was an on April 17, 1929. After the normal period of preparation and discernment she gratefully received the Veil on February 28, 1930, taking the name of Sister Maria Consolata,

The new name, “Consolata”, chosen by young Pierina is indicative of the spiritual path and life that Jesus was calling her to, for the word “Consolata” means consoler, and it was she who soon became the consoler of the Heart of Jesus. On this very day of the Ceremony of taking the Veil, she received an inner locution from Jesus that indicated to her what His will was for her. Jesus said-
"I do not call you for more than this: an act of continual love." And for more than 16 years of enclosed Capuchin life this “act of continual love” would be the foundation on which she concentrated all her spiritual efforts.
On April 8 1934, she took her perpetual vows, working in the convent as a humble cook, doorkeeper and cobbler. She was transferred on July 22 1939 to the new foundation of Moriondo, Moncalieri Turin, where she was also a nurse and secretary. Her exterior life was one lived out in daily sacrifices, penances and self denial, hidden to the world, in fulfilment of the tasks assigned her by her superiors. Although her exterior life was similar to her fellow religious sisters, in her interior life she was receiving exceptional and extraordinary graces from God, which unfolded unnoticed in the intimacy of her spirit. She became the confidante of Jesus and His Sacred Heart.

The confidante of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
On November 9, 1934 Sister Consolata writes:
"Jesus reveals to me the intimate sufferings of His Heart caused by the faithlessness of souls consecrated to Him". After this, she began to have a burning desire to make reparation for the sins of the world, and to lead sinners to Jesus. And thus began the intense spiritual relationship, and intimacy between Jesus and Consolata: together in love, together in pain, together to deliver a countless number of souls to the Father, who seeks them in His infinite love, mercy and compassion. After all it was the Lord Himself who told her:
"Do not think of me as a harsh God, because I am foremost the God of love!".

Jesus, Mary, I love You! Save souls!
It was then that our Lord also inspired Sister Consolata with this important universal prayer, "Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!"
Remembering what Jesus had told her on the day that she took the Veil-
"I do not call you for more than this: act of continual love”, Sister Consolata began to thus repeat this one prayer, over and over again, during all her waking hours, in every form of work as she went about her daily duties. For it was Christ himself, who instructed her in the practice of what He called the “unceasing act of love” expressed in the words- "Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!"
Concerning this prayer, our Lord said,
"Tell me, what more beautiful prayer do you want to offer me? ---'Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!'--- Love and souls! What more beautiful prayer could you desire?’"

Her littleness and humility

Though Sister Consolata was blessed with these extraordinary interior enlightenment's by God, she remained very humble and still felt small, and she saw herself as the “even smaller one” which Saint Therese of Lisieux had referred to in her diary. This feeling of littleness that Consolata felt within her soul was confirmed by our Lord in the following words:
"I have found that still weaker soul who has abandoned herself with complete faith to My infinite mercy: it is you, Consolata, and through you I will perform marvels which will far exceed your fondest desires."
And later Jesus tells her: -‘You are to love. You are too small to climb to the summit: I will carry you on My shoulders'
Here are some of the revelations given to her by Jesus:

‘Write this down Consolata, for I demand it of you under obedience, that for one act of love from you, I would create heaven.’

‘The soul that is dearest to Me is the one who loves me the most.’

‘Transform everything that is disagreeable to you into little roses, and gather them with love, and then offer them to Me with love”

‘See Consolata, the enemy will make every effort to shake your blind faith in me. But you must never forget that I am and love to be always kind and merciful. Understand my heart Consolata; understand my love, and never permit the enemy to gain entrance into your soul, even for an instant, with a thought of a lack of confidence in Me. Believe Me, I am solely and always kind; I am solely an always like a parent to you! So, imitate the children who at every little scratch of the finger, run at once to mother to have it bandaged. You should always do the same and remember that I will always cancel out and repair your imperfections and faults, just as a mother will always bandage the child's finger, whether it is really hurt or only seems so in his imagination. And if the child were to really hurt his arm, or his head, how tenderly and affectionately would he be cared for and bandaged by the mother! Well, I do this very same thing with regard to your soul when you fall, even though I may do so in silence. Do You understand Consolata? Therefore, never, never, never have even a shadow of doubt; a lack of confidence wounds My heart to the quick, and makes Me suffer.

“Love Me and you will be happy, and the more you love Me the happier you will be. Even when you will find yourself in utter darkness, love will produce light; love will produce strength, and love will produce joy.”

“I prefer an act of love, and a Communion of love to any other gift. I thirst for love”

"I delight to work in a soul. You see, I love to do everything Myself; and from this soul I ask only that she love Me."

"You see, even in good thoughts which creep in, there is always a bit of self-love, of complacency; and it is easy to see how they will spoil the act of love. But if you will complete trust in Me, that I am attending to everything and will continue to do so, and if you will not permit even one other thought to enter, then your act of love will possess a virginal purity."

"You see, Consolata, sanctity means self-forgetfulness in everything, in thoughts, desires, words....Allow Me to do it all! I will do everything; but you should, at every moment, give Me what I ask for with much love!"

"Consolata, place no limits on your confidence in Me, then I will place no limits on My graces for you!"

"Trust always in Jesus! If you only knew how much pleasure that gives Me! Grant Me this solace to trust in Me even in the shadow of death."

‘When suffering is accepted with love, it is no longer suffering, but is changed into joy.”

"If you are in Me and we are one then you will bring forth much fruit and will become strong, for you will disappear like a drop of water in the ocean; My silence will pass into you, and My humility, My purity, My charity, My gentleness, My patience, My thirst for suffering, and My zeal for souls whom I wish to save at all costs!"

"You must think only of loving Me! I will think of everything else, even to the smallest details!"

“ ‘Jesus, Mary, I love You. Save souls’ encompasses everything, the souls in Purgatory and the souls in the Militant Church; the innocent soul and the guilty soul; the dying, the atheist, etc… Do not lose time; remember that every act of love is a soul. Of all the gifts, the best gift you can offer me is a day full of love. I desire an uninterrupted Jesus, Mary I love You, save souls! from when you get up in the morning till when you go to bed at night.”

Her holy death
In June 1939 she wrote "It is my fate to die in little pieces". In November 1944 she noted:
"For many days my soul has halted on this divine phrase - 'sacrificial victim for the Sacrificial Victim'". It is in this way that, for the peace of the world [for World War II was raging], for the dying and for the conversion of souls she many times repeated the offer of herself as the sacrifice of expiation for the sins of humanity

In the winter of 1944 her corpse-like color betrayed her. In obedience to her Suprior she subjected herself to a visit from the doctor. The doctor's reply was : "This sister is not ill, she is destroyed". On September 24 1945 Sister Consolata asked for half a day of rest and she laid down. The Mother Abbess took her temperature --39° C (102.2 F)! ‘How long has she been carrying on like this?’ it was asked. On October 25, 1945 and X-ray was taken revealing damage to her lungs; thus she was officially diagnosed with tuberculosis. On November 4, 1945 she left for the sanatorium. She remained there until July 3 1946, when an ambulance returned her, in the last stages of consumption, to the Convent of Moriondo. Now, "everything was finished", except to begin a new and eternal life forever united with God in Heaven. Sister Consolata died at dawn on July 18, 1946 in the Convent of the Sacred Heart of Moriondo Moncalieri Turin, Italy.
~Servant of God Sr. Consolata Betrone, pray for us!
Her afterlife

“The life of the Saints is a example of life for others"----It was with these words that on on February 8, 1995, Archbishop Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini in started the canonical process for five causes of beatification, one of these being the Capuchin Poor Clare nun, Sister Maria Consolata Betrone, in Turin Italy, in the Sanctuary of Our Lady Help of Christians.

For more information about the heroic and holy life of the Servant of God, Sister Consolata Betrone, there is an excellent book entitled “Jesus Appeals to the World” written by Sister Consolata’s spiritual Director, Father Lorenzo Sales, IMC, available here:

In fact, special merit lies with Father Lorenzo Sales (1889-1972), who was Sr. Consolata’s confessor and spiritual director from September 1935, for all his help with wisdom, discernment and guidance for the Work of God in the life of Sister Consolata.

"Words of Love" by Father Bartholomew Gottemoller O.S.C.O. is another excellent book containing many of the revelations of our Lord as given to Sr. Consolata. It is availible through Tan Books here:

For more info online, see the page on Sr. Consolata at the Monestary of the Sacred Heart website, located here:

(the above taken from

Monday, August 20, 2012

Little Child Jesus asleep on His Cross

This is a heartbreaking picture in away, besides being sweet.  To know that His grown up self would suffer for us is unfathomable.  To imagine that horrific and cruel death that this little, sweet and innocent baby would undergo for us is humbling and heartbreaking.  I love you little Lord Jesus!  Have mercy on me, a sinner.  It makes me wonder what he is dreaming of?  Sweet baby dreams or what He would have to suffer and sacrifice for so many who would still deny Him and turn away from Him and pick evil over love and everlasting life.

St. Clare's 2nd Letter to Bl. Agnes of Prague

This excerpt from St. Clare's second letter to Bl. Agnes of Prague is one I love and speaks to me of the Poor Clare Colettine vocation.  I feel St. Clare exhorts me to keep to my path and not let anything make me deviate on my barefoot Journey to Christ Crucified as a Poor Clare Colettine.

"What you hold, may you always hold.
What you do, may you always do and never abandon.
But with swift pace, light step, and unswerving feet,
so that even your steps stir up no dust,
go forward securely, joyfully, and swiftly,
on the path of prudent happiness,
believing nothing, agreeing with nothing which would
dissuade you from this resolution or
which would place a stumbling block
for you on the way, so that you may offer
your vows to the Most High
in the pursuit of that perfection to which
the Spirit of the Lord has called you." 

--- St. Clare of Assisi to Bl. Agnes of Prague

A Salutation to the Blessed Virgin Mary by St. Francis of Assisi

A Salutation to the Blessed Virgin Mary
by St. Francis of Assisi

Hail Lady, Holy Queen, Holy Mary Theotokos,1 who art the Virgin made church and the One elect by the Most Holy Father of Heaven, whom He consecrated with His Most Holy beloved Son and with the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete; Thou in whom was and is all fullness of grace and every good.

Hail His Palace;
Hail His Tabernacle;
Hail His Home.
Hail His Vestment;
Hail His Handmaid;
Hail His Mother

And hail all you holy virtues, which through the grace and illumination of the Holy Spirit are infused into the hearts of the faithful, so that from those unfaithful you make them faithful to God. Amen.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, short bio

Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

By Fr. Yulito Ignacio

Padre Pio was born in 1887 in the small town village of Pietrelcina, Italy. At the age of five, the Sacred Heart of Jesus appeared to him in their parish church in Pietrelcina and later still as a child, his power of healing spread around when he was able to heal a young boy at the brink of death. Even as a boy, he already had visions of Jesus and Mary and experienced attacks of the devil. He joined the Capuchin friars at the age of sixteen and was ordained a priest seven years later.

For fifty years, Padre Pio had the stigmata (the wounds of Christ) like St. Francis of Assisi but unlike St. Francis who was a deacon, St. Pio became the first and only priest with the stigmata in the history of the Church.
Padre Pio He narrated how it happened one early morning on a Friday. The Lord Jesus appeared to him in a vision and showed him a multitude of priests. The Lord seemed very sad and told Padre Pio: “Do you think my suffering ended after hanging on the cross for three hours? No, I am suffering until the end of time for the ones I love and I am suffering until the end of time for the ones whom I have anointed.”
Jesus pointed to a multitude of priests and said: “Butchers.” He asked Padre Pio to share in His agony and passion and to make reparation for sins, especially the lack of response of priests. He was given a visible stigmata, a sharing in Christ’s passion and suffering. Saint Pio suffered for 50 long years with this stigmata, his pierced hands nailed with the Cross of Jesus as he bore the wounds of Christ’s Passion.

The Holy Mass of Saint Pio was his life, his Calvary, his crucifixion, his paradise. His Mass lasted for three hours. The moment of Consecration was the climax of his passion; it was the crucifixion with Jesus. As he pronounced the words of the consecration, one noticed on his pale and exhausted face, the signs of indescribable internal suffering, the holy martyrdom of Jesus on the cross. One day, he said to Cleonice, his spiritual daughter: “During the celebration of the Mass, I am hanging on the cross together with Jesus, and I suffer all that Jesus suffered in Calvary, as much as is possible for a human nature.”
For forty years at the monastery of San Giovanni Rotondo, he was a much sought-after spiritual adviser, confessor and intercessor whose life was devoted to the Eucharist and prayers. Yet with such fame, he would often say: “I only want to be a poor friar who prays.”


His Devotion to Our Lady

Thousands visited the holy friar when he was still alive to be cured of their bodily and spiritual ills. Even more visit his tomb today. It is said that after Our Lady’s Grotto in Lourdes, the tomb of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo is the second most frequently-visited pilgrimage site in the world. Padre Pio himself was a great devotee of Our Lady.

One day, it was the feast day of Our Lady in his own town at Pieltrelcina. Saint Pio was already old that time and could not leave San Giovanni Rotondo to travel to Pieltrelcina. He asked the young Capuchin friar taking care of him to leave him and instead go to Pietrelcina to attend the fiesta celebration there.
The young Capuchin friar said, “No, I will not go. I will stay here and take care of you.” But Padre Pio strongly admonished him, “Go to Our Lady in Pietrelcina; if you only knew how much the Blessed Mother means to me.”
The holy priest would say, “As the Son of God made man and called Jesus came to us through Mary, so it is through Mary that we go to Jesus: Ad Jesum per Mariam.” For him, the more consecrated the soul is to Mary, the more consecrated it is to Jesus Christ.

A Great Love for the Eucharist

Padre Pio was, above all, a Man of the Eucharist. He would say, “My heart feels drawn by a higher force each morning I am united with Him in the Blessed Sacrament. I have such a hunger and thirst before I receive Him.”
Enraptured by the splendor of the consecrated Host, he would kneel in ecstasy before the Blessed Sacrament. He wrote in a letter to Padre Agostino in 1912: “I often ask myself if any people exist who do not feel their breast burning with divine fire, especially when they are close to Him in the Blessed Sacrament.” (Padre Pio, Letters 1,357).

He would spend countless hours before Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, from Whom came his powers of healing, bi-location, conversion and prophesy.

A Spiritual Guide

Padre Pio was known as a confessor and spiritual guide. Cardinals, bishops, priests, the royalty, state leaders, and the laity, would go to him from all parts of the world for confession and spiritual guidance.

The late Pope John Paul II himself said during the beatification of this great saint at San Giovanni Rotondo: “I myself was a recipient of Padre Pio’s vision and prophesy.” Padre Pio met the young Fr. Karol Wojtyla who came to him in San Giovanni Rotondo for confession. The future pope was then a newly-ordained priest studying in Rome. It was said that when a fellow Capuchin friar approached Padre Pio and told him there was a young priest from Poland, Fr. Karol Wojtyla, who wanted to see him, Padre Pio remarked: “How can I refuse the future Supreme Pontiff of the Church?”
Later, he told Fr. Karol Wojtyla: “We better pray hard together that you become a very good and holy HOLY FATHER of the Church.” And that was what became of Fr. Karol thirty years after his encounter with this saintly stigmatist.

A Man of Prayer, Hope and Faith

Saint Pio would challenge priests today to choose God above all and to live a life worthy of their calling and vocation as the ones chosen by Christ to live a life of holiness.
Pope Paul VI, during an audience with the Capuchins in 1971, said:
…The miracle that happened to Padre Pio will happen to you. Look at how famous he was; he gathered people from around the world to himself. But why? Because he was a philosopher? Because he was learned? No, because he said Mass humbly; he would hear confessions from morning to night, and he was… a representative of our Lord marked with the imprint of His wounds. He was a man of prayer and suffering.
Prayer was his daily food. What was prayer for this great saint? To him, prayer is an encounter with Christ and through Him, an encounter with the Heavenly Father, with God. In 1913, he wrote to Padre Benedetto, his spiritual director:
I no sooner begin to pray than my soul is enveloped in a peace and tranquility that words cannot describe… I suddenly feel the touch of our Lord in a most penetrating and sweet manner in the depths of my soul… I am obliged to shed tears of sorrow and love…
And in one of his letters:
In prayer, my soul seems to be completely lost in God… I am utterly in love with God and it seems to me that I must die… Times flies and there is never sufficient time for prayer… (Letters 1, 471)
Padre Pio, surrounded by his spiritual children, would advise them:
One seeks God in books, one finds Him in prayer. If today one no longer believes, a lack of prayer must be blamed. God is not found in books, but in prayer: the more we pray, the more our faith grows and we find God… You, children, do not neglect prayer; pray often during the day. Do a bit of meditation. You will find and see God.
The good friar would teach his spiritual children to pray, hope and not be worried of anything. “When one is seized by doubts, by distrust, by the anguish of suffering, then, more than ever, one must have recourse to the Lord in prayer, and find help and encouragement in it.”
He would exhort all to seek the peace and joy of prayer. “Prayer is the best weapon we have: it is the key which opens the heart of God.”
In the school of this great saint, we learn the way in which to pray, to hope and not to worry but instead to trust God at all times.

We pray to Saint Padre Pio today. He was the living image of Jesus Crucified. He is the modern Saint in our 20th century, a model of prayer, hope and faith, a servant-priest-victim like Christ Crucified. Let us allow him to continue to say to us: “PRAY, HOPE AND DO NOT WORRY!”

"The Franciscan Magnificat" by St. Francis of Assisi

The Franciscan Magnificat

With Mary my soul proclaims the love of the Lord,
my Franciscan spirit exults in God, my Savior.
For He has looked with favor on His lowly servant, Francis.
Behold, all generations will call him blessed.
The Almighty has raised up a family of Franciscans
- Blessed be His Name! -
Who spread peace, love and joy to all in every generation.
Through Francis He has lavished His love on the poor;
And showed us how to love God in His creatures;
He has scattered the wicked in their ways;
He has confused the worldly in their pride;
He has given us a world-wide mission.
To fill the hungry heart with our preaching.
And with Lady Poverty to confound the rich.
Through us He has lifted up the humble;
For He has remembered His promise of peace and joy,
The promise He made to our Father Francis,
and to his followers forever. Amen.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Poor Clare nuns of St. Louis, MO

These Poor Clare nuns are not Colettines but they are a wonderful community:

The article below is from this article:

Prayers, sweat and joy are part of the Poor Clare life

As the rythmic chanting of afternoon prayers begin, the Poor Clare Nuns have a serene calmness about them, despite praying in a chapel without air conditioning.

On this 100-plus degree day, the sisters — sweat dripping underneath their thick, brown habits — don’t bat an eyelash at the heat as they offer their prayers of the Liturgy of the Hours, which they do as a community seven times a day.

Mother Mary Elizabeth, abbess, said that the summer always brings an extra element of suffering, but that penance is just a part of what the Poor Clare Nuns take on as part of their charism.

Next month, the cloistered, contemplative community of 12 will hold a novena to close a year of celebrations marking the 800th anniversary of the order. The community is located at 200 Marycrest Drive, off Telegraph Road, in south St. Louis County. (See related box.)

In 1212, foundress St. Clare left her home in Italy to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi. She was clothed in a poor habit as a sign of her consecration to God. Several others joined her at the Church of San Damiano, just outside of Assisi, and began what was called the Poor Ladies. After St. Clare’s death in 1253, the community became known as the Poor Clares or Nuns of the Order of St. Clare.

The Poor Clare Nuns’ mission is to live the Gospel in total poverty, through a life of prayer and penance. They do so through daily prayer, readings, communing with God and silent meditation. Living in community is another critical aspect of the sisters’ charism. They share responsibilities for the upkeep of the monastery. The order in St. Louis have a specialty of making altar breads for use in the Holy Mass.

Sister Mary Leo, former abbess, said that while the sisters are physically separated from the world by means of their cloister, they do so “for the world.” That means they offer themselves in prayer for the intentions of the whole world. To live out that charism, the sisters take vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and enclosure. Mother Mary Elizabeth noted that while all cloistered communities live in enclosure, most other communities do not have a specific vow of enclosure.

Pope John Paul II called St. Clare the passionate lover of the poor crucified Christ, said Sister Mary Catherine. That translates into that “we’re embracing whatever happens with Him for the world,” she explained.



Tuesday, August 14, 2012