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Friday, May 31, 2013

St. Padre Pio Quote

"The longer the trial to which God subjects you, the greater the goodness in comforting you during the time of the trial and in the exaltation after the combat.
Keep close to the Catholic Church at all times, for the Church alone can give you true peace, since she alone possesses Jesus, the true Prince of Peace, in the Blessed Sacrament."

- Saint Padre Pio

Thursday, May 30, 2013

For today's feast of St. Camilla Battista, Poor Clare nun

Fr. Joachim preaches on the life of St. Camilla  Battista (Baptista) of Varano, a Poor Clare nun who grew close to God by meditating on the passion of Christ. She was Canonized in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Ave Maria!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Prayer to St. Camilla Battista

Lord Jesus Christ,
You deigned to attract Saint Camilla Battista
To your Sacred Heart
As she meditated upon your inner sufferings,
Raise us with your infinite love from the
Miseries of this life and through her
Intersession grant unto us first and foremost
To merit the salvation that you so dearly purchased
For us through your death and resurrection,
And then deign to grant unto us the
Special favor we now ask of you
(here state the favor your are requesting)
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be
Saint Camilla Battista, pray for us

For today's feast of St. Camilla Battista - Some of her writings

How the three powers of the soul are sanctified

by Saint Camilla Battista da Varano

In the work of sanctification, it is necessary to purify the three powers of the soul: the memory, intellect and will, so that also these may be solely directed towards God. The memory, above all, according to the teaching of the Saint, is purified by the threefold remembrance of the Passion of Christ, of one’s own sins and of the innumerable benefits received from the Goodness of God.

First: the memory is sanctified when it is dedicated wholly to thee things: firstly, to a continual remembrance of the Passion of Christ; secondly, to sorrowing over one’s own sins; thirdly, to a continual remembrance of the benefits received from God.  The remembrance of the Passion of Christ us like an ark of heavenly treasures(Pr 2:4, Jb 28:18), a door which gives access to enter (Cfr Jn 10:9) and enjoy the glorious Jesus, and a perfect mistress of all the spiritual arts: an inexhaustible source of living water (Ct 4:15), a profound well of the secrets of God. Blessed is he who has this, because it is a probable sign of predestination, by means of which we are written in the book of life (Ap 21:27). O sweet remembrance that causes to gush forth the sweet tears of love, with which, by your sweetness, you move the heart to its very depths and bring innumerable ornaments to the soul! He who does not believe this should set about trying it for himself, and he will experience such remembrance exceeds all the works which man can perform in this life with his mind.

He, therefore, who wants to be free from every impurity and have a pledge of the future glory and beatitude, in as much as it may be had in this life, is to seek this sweet remembrance of the Passion of Christ, just like the Apostle Paul, who bore continually the stigmata of the Passion in his body (Gal 6:17). Therefore, do not be amazed if he dared to say: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or the sword?”(Rm 8:35) “There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness” (2 Tm 4:8).

The remembrance of one’s sins is also pleasing to God, provided that it is done in the way indicated by the Prophet: Before you I pondered over all my years in the bitterness of my soul(Is 38:15) remembering one’s own sins with the most bitter sorrow, since this comes from true contrition which restores first innocence to the soul, rendering it acceptable and lovable to God, to such a point that it remains in grace, like a fruitful olive (Ps 51:10).  In these oblations, the soul begins to hear the trumpet of the most ardent charity, thinking on the abyss of the immense goodness which it finds in God.

Since it feels itself to have returned with little effort to the grace of the Lord Whom it has so much offended, it begins to sound the organ of seraphic affections and, bowed down with the eyes of contrition, adores God with true adoration, that of latria, considering itself to be nothing.  In such consideration it melts and, and in the secret of the Heart, sends to Heaven voices from the depths of its loving heart, saying continually: O Spouse of Whom I am unworthy. Father, not deserving of such a miserable soul - who will be able to give me the strength and the power to die for Thee? 

O love, O happy remembrance totally dedicated to the sweetness and amazing goodness of your God and of your bitterness and miseries, just as it was for St. Francis!  I dare to say, that though you are in this mortal body, nonetheless you already possess the reward of immortality, because, whether you are seated or standing, silent or speaking, you always have God as your inseparable companion (Ps 138:1).”

From De vita Contemplativa – Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, Italy [ From Saint Camilla's Treatise on the purity of heart - Contribution and Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana. Saint Camilla Battista da Varano, O.S.C., of Camerino, was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI  and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in October 2010.]


Two angels came to me, dressed in resplendent white garments which I have seen only worn by Jesus. They had wings of gold. One of them took my soul from the right side, the other from the left side, and they elevated it in the air, laying it down near the crucified feet of the Son of God made Man. This state lasted about two months almost continually; I seem to walk, to speak, and do what I wished, deprived however of my soul. It remained there where the two Angels had placed it but they never abandoned it. They (the celestial spirits) declare to me that they were so intimate with God that God is not ever separated from them. They also explained to me that the Seraphim were likewise united to the Cherubim in that none of them could ever go without the other to a soul.
- from The Spiritual Life by St. Camilla Battista

Today is the Feast of St. Camilla Battista. Poor Clare Nun

Sunday October 17 2010, Pope Benedict XVI elevated to sainthood Camilla Battista of Varano, OSC, in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.

Biographical Profile Blessed BATTISTA CAMILLA wasborn in Camerino, Italy, on April 9, 1458, of Prince JuliusCaesar da Varano and Lady Cecchina di Maestro Giacomo. Although she was born out of wedlock, nonethe­less, Camilla was reared in the palace of her father. There she received a suitable instruction in the arts and literature under the tutelage of Giovanna Malatesta, the wife of the Prince.

Around the agesof 8-10, after having heard the exhortation of the preacher Fr. Domenico da Leonessa, she made a vow to meditate every Friday on the Passion of Christ and to shed at least one tear. This simple endeavor, which she embraced with childlike en­thusiasm and faithfulness even if it cost sacrifices, opened before her the unfathomable treasures of grace, enabling her to lead an intense spiritual life. About this resolution she wrote, “That holy word, which I uttered, moved by the Holy Spirit, made such an im­pression on my tender and childlike heart that it never left my mind and heart.” Yearslater, another Franciscan, Fr. Pacifico of Urbino, encouraged Camilla to persevere in her vow.
Then from the agesof 18-21, she went through three yearsof deep spiritual struggles against the allurements of the world. Yet, she would not abandon her suffering Lord; on the contrary, for the sake of his love she began to lead a more austere way of life. Referring to thisperiod of her life, she wrote, in fact, “Blessed is that creature who never gives up under any temptation the good she began!”

During Lent of 1479 on the vigil of the Annunciation in the Church of St. Peter in Muralto, Camilla listened to the preaching of Br. Francesco da Urbino. While doing so, she received the light to understand the inestimable gift of consecrated virginity. So, on the Octave of Easter, after having made a general confession to Fr. Oliviero da Urbino, she obtained the gift of a total inner purification.

Having thus prepared herself to belong to Christ totally and having overcome parental resistance for two years, she managed to enter the monastery of the Poor Clares of Urbino on Nov. 14, 1481, taking upon the religiousname of Sr. Battista—a common name for a woman of the time. She returned to Camerino on the first week of January of 1484 with eight other of her companions; and on Jan. 4, she gave start to a new community of Poor Clares in a monastery which her father had purchased from the Olivetan monks.

 She was endowed with extraordinary gifts—as her autobi­ography attests—such as interior illumination, fiery words, ecstasy, and visions of angels and saints. She was even granted her heart’s deepest desire, namely, to share in the interior pains which our Redeemer endured during his Sacred Passion. By daily meditation on Sacred Scripture and the Liturgy and by living constantly in the presence of God—as attested by her Olivetan Spiritual Director, Antonio of Segovia—Bl. Camilla wasable through the years to commit to writing textsof mystical literature. The quality of its spirituality was so high as to be appreciated by renowned Churchmen and saints, including St. Philip Neri. By the time she turned 35 years of age, she was elected Abbess for the first time, a position she continued to hold for several terms.

The time had come for the Blessed to face trials. The first one was spiritual dryness, which lasted for a period of 5 years from 1488 to 1493. During that time, she experienced the silence of Him who was the only reason for her life. The eco of this spiritual desolation is well documented in the autobiographical letter known as“the Spiritual Life”. The second trial wounded her deeply in the heart, when Pope Alexander VI excommunicated her father for having resisted the limits set on the Lordship of Camerino. He was then imprisoned along with her three brothersby Cesare Borgia, who later had them slain on Oct. 9, 1502. Because of this tragic incident, Camilla had to flee to the city of Fermo, where she sought refuge to no avail. She was able, nonetheless, to seek asylum in the Kingdom of Naples thanks to Isabella Piccolomini Todeschini, the wife of Matthew Acquaviva of Aragona. It wasnot until the death of Pope Alexander VI on Aug. 8, 1503, that she was able to return to Camerino, where her youngest brother, Giovanni Maria, was able to restore the Lordship of the Varano family.
Then, on Jan. 28, 1505, Pope JuliusII, who admired Camilla, sent her to found a new community of Poor Claresin the city of Fermo, where she stayed for two years. She was also able to form the new community of Poor Claresof Saint Severino Marchesduring the years of 1521-22. Her spirit of charity enabled her to serve her sisters in many ways in their spiritual formation; by writing a treatise requested by a religious entitled, “The Purity of the Heart”; by interceding for those on death rows; and by saving the city of Treia from mercenary troops.

According to the witness of one of the sisters, there was place in Camilla’s heart for the whole Church of Christ, for whom she prayed and suffered. She suffered for the sins of many clergymen, and her heart was acutely pained over the news reaching her from Germany,  where an Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, was fighting to sever ties with the Roman Catholic Church.
When she had reached the age of 66, of which 43 were spent in the intimacy of the cloister life, her yearning “to leave the prison of her body in order to be with Christ” was satisfied. She died in silence on May 31, 1524, due to a plague that broke out in the Monastery of Camerino, where her mortal remains can be found to this day. varano

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Favorite Quote of St. Padre Pio

"Trust in Him" - St. Padre Pio Quote

Poor Clares, Monastery of San Damiano

Monastery of Poor Clares, Camerino, Italy

The Way of the Cross in the words of St. Colette of Corbie

 In the words of the Testament of our Mother St. Colette, Poor Clare reformer,
"I beg you to bring about that Jesus is loved."
The Way of the Cross
Jesus is Condemned to Death
My beloved daughters, the truly obedient person ought to
dread losing out on obedience more than some physical
dying, after the example of our blessed Savior Jesus Christ
of whom St Bernard used to say; "Remember; my
Brothers. that Jesus Christ held it a dearer thing to lose His
life in His bitter Passion than to lose obedience to God His Father."(12)
Jesus Carries His Cross
After the renunciation of self in full obedience,
our Savior wills that we carry the Cross every day.
This is our vow of holy poverty,
the demanding cross of desiring nothing under heaven
save Him alone who carried the Cross on His shoulders
and deigned by His love to die on that Cross…
Jesus Fall the First Time
Let happy penance be done before the end of this present life, for this alone,
my dearly loved daughters,
can bring about full reconciliation
with the well-beloved Father
of those for whom our merciful Redeemer
lived in most high obedience,
poverty and virginity,
Himself the only Fountain of all virtues.
Jesus Meets His Mother
Praise, praise all the time, praise without end,
and love the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit;
and the most humble Virgin who bore Jesus Christ,
the holy and exalted soul of our Redeemer and
His precious Body which for us was hung upon the Cross! 
Simon Helps Jesus Carry the Cross
This most blessed entrance into the fertile field of Gospel perfection
is called complete renouncement of the world, the flesh and of one’s own will.
So the blessed Son of the pure Virgin sets it forth that:
“Whoever wishes to come after Me,
let him completely renounce his very self and carry his  cross.” 
Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
Then our Lord said: “And follow Me.”  By this I understand that we ought to follow
Jesus Christ, the Lamb without spot, a Virgin and Son of a virgin. by full purity
of heart and body until death. O worthy and excellent virtue (of chastity)!
It is impossible to understand very well your price and your value and the excellence
of your victory and to write about them.
God alone is your reward in the vision and divine enjoyment of Himself! 
(28, 33)
Jesus Falls the Second Time
Live and die truly poor, my well-beloved daughters,
as did our sweet Savior upon the Cross for us.
And if, nonetheless, few people esteem poverty,
that is for you the occasion to love it the more. 

Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
    Among all the virtues, I commend holy obedience to you first of all,
for in it is found the fullness of charity when one renders obedience
to a creature in all things for love of the Creator.
Oh, may we be able to die with Jesus on the Cross
in this virtue and to obtain life eternal!  Amen! 
    (15, 16)

Jesus Falls the Third Time
We ought faithfully to safeguard what we have promised;
and if we commit some fault through human frailty,
let us hasten to get up each time we fall and to cleanse ourselves
and make reparation by holy penance.  And our sweet Father, during this life,
receives us back without delay in His mercy and His sweet reconciliatio
n.     (51)

Jesus is Stripped of His Garments
 O holy poverty!  the clothing of our Redemption!
precious jewel!  sure sign of salvation!
It is to poverty that the King gives full possession of the kingdom of heaven which lasts forever.
O my dearly loved Sisters -- love, love, love very perfectly this noble and precious
and most excellent virtue,
loved by God and loathed by the world.  (18, 20)

Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
 Take note, my beloved daughters, that you have been called by grace to perfect obedience,
so as to obey in all things all the time so long as there is no sin….
For it does not suffice to obey sometimes and in certain things only,
but until death and in all things
and this after the example of our merciful Redeemer who made Himself
obedient for us right up to His death. 

Jesus Dies on the Cross
 With the angels, praise God!
Exalt Him here below in all things for the inestimable alms of the creation of man…
and for the sovereign gift of the sacred Incarnation of our God who is so good that,
after having created all things for us, became Himself true Man and our most loving Brother
so as to repair everything amiss for us by His glorious Passion and death.
O infinite good!  O measureless bounty!  O ingratitude which forgets so great a good! 
(46, 47)

Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross
 O most blessed enclosure!  O soul hidden from everything created!
There is her only repose!  O precious and safe cloister! –
To be enclosed in a continual remembrance of the precious wounds of Jesus Christ! 
(43, 44)

Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
 Oh! how precious is the sepulcher of Jesus, a sepulcher visited by the devotion of so many!
And, oh!  how precious is your own sepulcher
in which devoted souls enter to attain their salvation.
O most blessed cloister which removed you from vice and occasions of evil,
and which holds you enclosed in security and merit and in noble virtues!
O noble castle, strong and efficacious, of the King of the heavens!
 (36, 38)
O God, Who in this wonderful Sacrament, hast left us a memorial of Thy Passion, grant us, we beseech Thee, so to reverence the sacred Mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, that our souls may be always sensible of the fruit of Thy Redemption. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.


St. Anthony of Padua Quote

Happy Birthday to St. Padre Pio today, May 25th!

Happy Birthday Saint Padre Pio, we love you. Enjoy your Celebration in  Heaven May 25th!

Padre Pio was born May 25, 1887 in Pietrelcina, Italy, a small country town located in southern Italy. His parents were Grazio Mario Forgione (1860-1946) and Maria Guiseppa de Nunzio Forgione (1859-1929). He was baptized the next day, in the nearby Castle Church, with the name of his brother, Francesco, who died in early infancy. Other children in the family were an older brother, Michele; three younger sisters: Felicita, Pellegrina and Grazia; and two children who died as infants. Pietrelcina, Italy
Religion was the center of life for both Pietrelcina and the Forgione family. The town had many celebrations throughout the year in honor of different saints and the bell in the Castle Church was used not for ringing the hour, but for daily devotional time. Friends have described the Forgione family as "the God-is-everything-people" because they attended Daily Mass, prayed the Rosary nightly and fasted three days a week from meat in honor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Although Padre Pio’s grandparents and parents could not read and write, they memorized Sacred Scripture and told the children Bible stories. It was in this lovely family setting that the seeds of Faith were nurtured within Padre Pio.
From his early childhood, it was evident that Padre Pio had a deep piety. When he was five years old, he solemnly consecrated himself to Jesus. He liked to sing hymns, play church and preferred to be by himself where he could read and pray. As an adult, Padre Pio commented that in his younger years he had conversed with Jesus, the Madonna, his guardian angel, and had suffered attacks by the devil.
Padre Pio’s parents first learned of his desire to become a priest in 1897. A young Capuchin friar was canvassing the countryside seeking donations. Padre Pio was drawn to this spiritual man and told his parents, "I want to be a friar… with a beard." His parents traveled to Morcone, a community thirteen miles north of Pietrelcina, to investigate if the friars would be interested in having their son. The Capuchins were interested, but Padre Pio would need more education than his three years of public schooling.
Padre Pio at Age 14 In order to finance the private tutor needed to educate Padre Pio, his father went to America to find work. During this time, he was confirmed (September 27, 1899), studied with tutors and completed the requirements for entrance into the Capuchin order. At age 15, he took the Habit of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin on January 22, 1903. On the day of his investiture, he took the name of Pio in honor of Saint Pius V, the patron saint of Pietrelcina, and was called Fra, for brother, until his priestly ordination.
A year later, on January 22, 1904, Fra Pio knelt before the altar and made his First Profession of the Evangelical Counsels of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. Then, he traveled by oxcart to the seventeenth-century friary of St. Francis of Assisi and began six years of study for the priesthood and continued his development in community life toward the profession of his solemn vows. After three years of temporary profession, Padre Pio took his final vows in 1907.
Then on August 10, 1910, the much-anticipated day finally arrived. The twenty-three year old Fra Pio was ordained a priest by Archbishop Paolo Schinosi at the Cathedral of Benevento. Four days later, he celebrated his first Mass at the parish church of Our Lady of the Angels.
Within a month of his ordination, (September 7, 1910), as Padre Pio was praying in the Piana Romana, Jesus and Mary appeared to him and gave him the wounds of Christ, the Stigmata. For Padre Pio’s doctors, the wounds created much confusion. He asked Jesus to take away "the annoyance," adding, " I do want to suffer, even to die of suffering, but all in secret." The wounds went away and the supernatural life of Padre Pio remained a secret...for a while.
On November 28, 1911, Padre Agostino, who was a contemporary, friend, and confidant, was advised that Padre Pio was ill. He rushed into Padre Pio’s room to care for him. Padre Agostino observed what he thought was a dying man and rushed to the chapel to pray. When he finished praying, he returned to Padre Pio’s room and found his friend alert and full of joy.
This was the beginning of Padre Pio’s documented ecstasies – all of which were "edifying, theologically correct and expressed a deep love for God. "
Due to Padre Pio’s on-going ill health, he was sent home to recuperate and was separated from his religious community from the end of 1911 – 1916. During this time, the Capuchin Constitution required a friar who was sent home because of illness had to maintain his friar life as much as possible. Padre Pio did this. He said Mass and taught school.
On September 4, 1916, Padre Pio was ordered to return to his community life and was assigned to San Giovanni Rotondo, an agricultural community, located in the Gargano Mountains. Our Lady Of Grace Capuchin Friary was approximately a mile from town and was not easy to reach. The Capuchins had a reputation for their holiness and simple life. When Padre Pio became a part of the community at Our Lady of Grace, there were seven friars.
With the outbreak of the war, only three friars stayed at Our Lady of Grace; the others were selected for military service. At the beginning, his responsibilities included teaching at the seminary and being the spiritual director of the students. He spent his free time reading the Bible and handling correspondence. When another friar was called into service, Padre Pio became in charge of the college.

Videos by the Franciscan Friars on Our Lady and Her Spouse, the Holy Spirit

Fr. Elias preaches on Our Lady of Consolation and focuses the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio, USA and he miracles that led to this simple parish church to become a national Marian shrine and a basilica.

May is dedicated to Our Lady, and concluding the octave of Pentecost, we ask Mary, the spiritual Mother of all souls, to send Her Spouse, the Holy Spirit, to work for our sanctification.
Ave Maria! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

For today's Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

Fr. Elias preaches on the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi that was commissioned by the Pope  in recognition of the great devotion St. Francis had for the papacy and for rebuilding the Church that was in such need of repair. He points out that the Basilica is under the direct jurisdiction of the pope who is currently Francis, the first pope to be named after the saint of Assisi. Ave Maria! Mass: Dedication of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi - Feast - Form: OF Readings:  1st: rev 21:1-5 Resp: psa 95:1-7 Gsp: joh 10:22-30

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Today is the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi

The Basilica of St Francis and the Sacro Convento

Pope Gregory IX laid the first stone of the Lower Basilica the day after the canonisation of St Francis, on July 17th 1228. Two years later the saint's body, that had been resting in the church of San Giorgio (the future church of St Claire's) was brought here in secret for fear of looting by tomb raiders and buried in the unfinished church. No date has been recorded concerning the start of works on the Upper Basilica, but it must have been after the abdication from the order of Brother Elia in 1239, who had hitherto directed the works on the Romanesque Lower Basilica.

Both churches were consecrated by Pope Innocent IV in 1253, before work was started on the large cycle of fresco decorations. The square outside the main facade did not exist at the time. A large flight of steps led upwards to the gothic entrance, pierced by a large rose window surrounded by the symbols of the four evangelists. This in turn was sealed off by a central drum. The lateral towers served as supports for the structure, while those near the choir contained stairs.

The benediction loggia on the left side of the facade, above the supporting curtain wall, was added in 1754 when the church was raised to the status of basilica. Another entrance was added in 1487, in front of the gothic entrance that stood above that of the Lower Basilica. This new work was by Francesco da Pietrasanta. The colonnade in the lower square is also from the 15th century, as well as the oratory of San Bernardino opposite the entrance to the Lower Basilica, built for the Third Order and with 17th century alterations in the interior. Given that there was little space for building on the hillside chosen for the entire complex, the massive supporting structure for the convent buildings and the papal apartments built in the 13th century and enlarged by the Franciscan Pope Sixtus IV between 1472 and 1474 had to stretch outwards in the opposite direction.

In the Lower Basilica the visitor arrives first at a transept that was built after the building of the church between 1280 and 1300. The lateral chapels opposite the entrance were added between 1350 and 1400. The ceiling of the single nave that runs the entire length of the Lower Basilica is supported by cross vaulting all the way to a semicircular apse at its farthest extremity, which is preceded by a transept with barrel vaulting in its lateral arms. Between 1300 and 1350 a series of chapels were opened up in the lateral wall of the transept and nave, wrecking the frescoes that once decorated the side wall.

Half way along the nave a stairway leads downwards to the crypt containing the remains of St Francis, discovered only in 1818. The crypt was in fact designed in 1822 by Pasquale Belli, and re-worked in neo-Romanesque style by Ugo Tarchi between 1925 and 1932. On the left hand wall of the entrance transept, next to the chapel of San Sebastiano, there is a gothic fresco of the "Madonna della Salute with the saints Antonio Abate, Francis and Rufino“, by Ceccolo di Giovanni (early 15th century). Opposite stands a gothic funerary monument to the Cerchi family of Florence, from the early 14th century. Another funerary monument, from between 1320 and 1330 stands a little further down the same side. It could be for either Jean de Brienne or Philippe de Courtenay, the Latin Emperor of Constantinople and bearer of the title of King of Jerusalem.

The style is similar to that of another sepulchre in San Domenico, Perugia, and to the sepulchre designed by Arnolfo di Cambio in San Domenico, Orvieto. There follows the chapel of Sant'Antonio Abate, with the sepulchre of the Duke of Spoleto Blasco Fernandez, assassinated along with his son Garcia in 1367. From here an exit leads to the old cemetary of the Lower Friars, with a two-order cloister.

The transept terminates with the chapel of St Catherine of Alexandria, designed by Gattapone in 1367. Cardinal Albornoz commissioned this chapel and was initially buried here. The frescoes of the "Life of St Catherine“ are by Andrea da Bologna (1368). A portrait of the cardinal is on the left wall. Mostly painted in tempera, the cycle of paintings that decorate the nave was completed around 1260 by an unknown artist, later known as the Maestro di San Francesco. It features episodes from the life of St Francis on the left side opposite episodes from the life of Christ on the right. When the lateral chapel were opened, several of these paintings were cut in half. Although the paintings are deteriorated, they are the most important examples of Tuscan wall paintings prior to Cimabue.

The high altar is from 1230, while the canopy above dates from the 14th century. Originally it was surrounded by twelve columns, as a direct analogy with the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, but these were removed in 1870. The paintings in the vaults (1315-20) depict the "Apotheosis of St Francis“ and allegories of Obedience, Poverty and Chastity by the so-called Maestro delle Vele. The cycle of paintings on the right hand side of the transept (The Childhood of Christ, Posthumous Miracles of St Francis) is less unitary and is partly ascribable to the workshop of Giotto (1315-20). It also contains work by Cimabue ("Enthroned Madonna with Angels and St Francis“, 1280), and Simone Martini (1321-26 "Madonna with Child and Two Wise men“ and "St Francis, St Ludwig of Toulouse, St Elisabeth of Thuringia, St Claire and an Unknown Saint“).

The left side of the transept was on the other hand completely decorated by Lorenzo Lorenzetti and his workshop between 1315 and 1330. The cycle represents the "Passion of Christ“. Other works by Lorenzo Lorenzetti are in the chapel of St John the Baptist: "Madonna with Child, St Francis and St John the Baptist “.

Once decorated with frescoes depicting an allegory of the Crucifixion, the walls of the apse are now covered with a "Last Judgment" by Cesare Sermei di Orvieto. The fine gothic wooden choir was completed in 1471 by Apollonio Petrocchi da Ripatransone, with the help of Tommaso di Antonio Fiorentino and Andrea da Montefalco. The first chapel on the right hand side of the nave is dedicated to St Ludwig of Toulouse and St Stephen, with frescoes by Dono Doni (1575) and a stained glass window attributed to Simone Martini. This is followed by a chapel to St Anthony of Padua, frescoed by Cesare Sermei in 1610, and one to Mary Magdalene. This chapel has a series of frescoes by the workshop of Giotto (around 1320), depicting the life of the saint. On the lef side the chapel of San Martino is decorated with exquisite frescoes by Simone Martini (1321-26), depicting the life of St Martin and featuring portraits of St Anthony of Padua, St Francis, St Louis of France, St Ludwig of Toulouse, St Claire, St Elisabeth of Thuringia, St Mary Magdalene and St Catherine of Alexandria. Stairs lead up from either side of the choir to a cloister behind, built in 1476 by request of Pope Sixtus IV. From here one can access either the Upper Basilica or the Museo del Tesoro that houses reliquiaries, valuable manuscripts and vestments, works from the 13th century and two sinopites by Simone Martini and Jacopo Torriti. The adjacent rooms house the Perkins collection of precious 14th and 15th century panels. There is a fragment by Beato Angelico depicting "St Francis" (~1430), as well as a "San Rocco“ by Nicolò Alunno and "St Francis Receiving the Stigmata" by Antoniazzo Romano.

The layout of the Upper Basilica is an exact reflection of the original plan of the Lower Basilica. The single nave terminates in two lateral arms and a polygonal apse. But the airy, light, gothic architecture of the Upper Basilica, which displays French influences even though it is markedly individual in style, is in direct contrast with the heavy, crypt-like construction of its lower counterpart. The ceiling is cross-vaulted, and a gallery runs along the entire perimeter under the windows that are placed half way up the walls.

Coming up the stairs from the Lower Basilica, the visitor enters the Upper Basilica at the transept and choir. With the exception of the upper right hand side section, decorated between 1267 and 1270 by a Gothic and Roman artist, the decorations here are entirely by Cimabue and his workshop (~1280). The grandiose cycle is sadly in a poor state of conservation on account of the lead oxide used to mix the lighter shades and the colours used to paint the flesh, that have all oxidised black. Left hand section: "Crucifixion“, five "Apocalyptic Scenes“ and "St Michael and the Dragon“. Apse: "Story of Mary“; the inlaid wooden choir is by Domenico Indivini (1491-1501). Right hand section: "Episodes from the Life of St Peter“ and "Crucifixion“. Cross vaulting: "Four Evangelists“.

The walls of the nave contain a cycle of 34 episodes from the Old and New Testament painted above the gallery on the left and right hand side respectively, attributed to painters of the Rome School and followers of Cimabue. Only the scenes from the life of Isaac are thought to be an early work by Giotto (1290-95). The vault of the third span of the nave presents four medallions painted by Jacopo Torriti of Christ, Mary, John the Baptist and Francis. The first span is decorated with the "Four Doctors of the Church“: Jerome, Augustine, Gregory and Ambrose, attributed either to a young Giotto or to one of his followers. The walls under the gallery are covered with 28 frescoes of episodes from the life of St Francis (taken from "The Life of St Francis by San Bonaventura). There is considerable doubt as to whether the attribution to Giotto of these frescoes is correct. The clear differences with the cycle of the life of Isaac by the artist indicate that the cycle was probably painted by others, working from an original project by Giotto. The stained glass windows were the first decorative element to be completed in the church. Italy's backwardness in the technique for the production of stained glass at the time resulted in a German workshop being commissioned for the windows of the choir (the oldest), and a French workshop called in to make the windows of the left hand side of the church. Those on the right hand side have been attributed to the workshop of Maestro di San Francesco.

St. Francis Quote

St. Clare, lover of Jesus Crucified

"The love of Jesus Crucified was at the heart of Clare's existence.  This is what gave her life direction, unity, dynamism and splendor."
- Fr. Rene Charles Dhont, OFM

Poor Clare Colettines

Jesus and St. Francis

St. Padre Pio Quote

"Do the penance of remembering with sorrow, your offenses committed against God; the penance of being constantly good, the penance of fighting against your defects." 
- St. Padre

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


The hymn "VENI CREATOR SPIRITUS" with lyrics.

St. Clare of Assisi Quote

St. Francis of Assisi Quote

"And just as He appeared before the holy Apostles in true flesh, so now He has us see Him in the Sacred Bread. Looking at Him with the eyes of their flesh, they saw only His Flesh, but regarding Him with the eyes of the spirit, they believed that He was God. In like manner, as we see bread and wine with our bodily eyes, let us see and believe firmly that it is His Most Holy Body and Blood, True and Living.
For in this way our Lord is ever present among those who believe in him, according to what He said: "Behold, I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world."
(Mt. 28, 20)
- St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Morning Offering Prayer" by Sr. Mary of the Holy Trinity, PCC

MY JESUS, Here is my tongue that You may watch over it; that it may not utter more than pleases You; and that my silence may speak to You. Here are my ears that they may listen only to the voice of duty; and to Your Voice, O Jesus! Here are my eyes that they may not cease to behold You in every face and in every work. Here are my hands and my feet that You may make them agile, that they may be riveted to Your service alone, to the execution of Your desires. Here are my thoughts that Your Light may possess them. Here is my heart that Your Love, O Jesus! may reign and rest in it.

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"Renew this offering every morning, at every Holy Communion. And I, I give you, My little daughter, I give you TODAY." - Jesus to Sr. Mary

Above is the "Morning Offering" composed by Sister Mary of the Trinity, Poor Clare Colettine of Jerusalem, and Our Lord’s response. This prayer is prayed every morning by Poor Clare Colettines.

Sr. Mary of the Holy Trinity - Poor Clare Colettine Nun and Mystic of the 20th Century

Sister Mary of the Holy Trinity (1901-1942)

Sister Mary of the Holy Trinity, a Poor Clare Colettine of Jerusalem, has left us an extraordinary diary of our Lord's words, as they were spoken to her. This remarkable manuscript is revealed in the book "The Spiritual Legacy of Sister Mary of the Holy Trinity" published by Tan books (see end of this post for link to buy this book).

Sister Mary of the Holy Trinity (Louisa Jaques) was born in 1901 in Pretoria, Transvaal to French-Swiss Protestant parents. Her mother died while giving birth to her. Her father, who was a Protestant missionary, took her back to Switzerland with her two elder sisters, and there they were brought up by her Aunt, whom she calls her "little mother". She was raised Protestant in an average christian home.

Her crisis of faith and call to the religious life
On February 13, 1926, at age 25, Louisa had a terrible crisis of faith. Concerning this she writes:

"There is no God-what people say about Him is nothing but a farce-life is not worth living." Such was the conclusion which I had been forced to reach after a long series of unavailing sacrifices and conflicts: "There is no God!" It made me feel utterly crushed, nailed to the bed on which I had just lain down. I was not able to cry or say a word or make a gesture-I felt annihilated. My friend had just turned out the light. There was silence. It was not altogether dark because there was snow outside. Yes, I felt despair. Oh, to die, to die ...
And then, just as I was repeating to myself:

"There is no God," I saw the shadowy form of a woman coming into the room through the casement as through a French-window. She approached quickly and noiselessly. There she stood, near the foot of my bed, without touching it. She had wide sleeves, and her hands were crossed inside them. I could not see her face because she seemed to have a sort of cowl on her head, something I had never seen before. She may simply have had her veil lowered. She was tall and straight-out of breath and panting as if she had been running, and from time to time she turned her head towards the window by which she had entered, as though someone were waiting for her outside. It seemed to me that she wore a plain cord as a belt. She had no cloak. Her robe fell straight. I believe it was dark brown, but I may be mistaken. I saw an outline rather than specific details. "

"...The nun who came near to my bed in that way frightened me very much. I thought it was death in person who had come for me! It was not a ghost or an illusion. It was a human being. I could have touched her. I saw her breathe and turn her head. I was petrified with fear. I was just able to turn my head to the other side and shut my eyes, so that I would no longer be able to see her. She must have stayed part of the night, for later when I awoke after having dozed awhile, it seemed to me that she was still there. I quickly closed my eyes again in order not to see her any more! She said nothing-yet a ray of light had penetrated into my despair: "Before losing all hope in God, there is still one thing I can do: I will go and pray in a convent. I will go when my aunt, my little Mother (she who brought us up), no longer needs me-and when my father dies-there is no use causing him that sorrow."

"The decision was taken, in my mind and in my will. Henceforth, I kept some plain underclothing in the bottom of a trunk, and never touched it: it was set aside for the time when I would enter the convent. That was definitely settled.-But I did not say a word about it to anyone. The next morning all I said to my friend was that during the night I had seen a statue at the foot of my bed-a nun. "

"Was it a vocation? It was the exclusive cause of an irresistible attraction towards the cloister, which was not thought out, but experienced. It changed my life. How many times have I wished that I had not that attraction which cost me so many journeyings and so many sacrifices! It was the will of God. I could have escaped from it, because I did not at all see it as the will of God, which I was seeking in a groping way. But then I would have lost an inner peace deep within myself.-A peace without which I could not live. "

Thus began her difficulty spiritual journey into the Catholic church and later into religious life as a Poor Clare Nun. Eventually, she began being guided by an "Inner Voice", Who was full of love and concern for her, and who led her,little by little, into a greater union with Him. Asked by her spiritual director to faithfully write all the words that our Lord spoke to her, thankfully we now have a most edifying and inspirational treasure of spiritual direction as given to us by our Lord Himself.

Words of our Lord to Sister Mary of the Holy Trinity
"To find Me, to know Me, to receive Me, then to come to Me -that is the only meaning of every life. All activities, all zeal are subordinate to that, and have only the value of means, in the measure in which they lead to Me. I am the Alpha and Omega, your God and your All. How is it then that in so many lives, I am accepted and treated merely as something supplementary?
"People come to Me in distress, beseeching... and I always, always give...Where are those who love Me simply because I am the Savior, because I am your God and your All?..because I am the Alpha and the Omega...?"

"Oh, if you would leave Me to act; I would wonderfully transform each one of your lives. But you oppose Me by your desires, your tastes, your resistance. My omnipotent Love is limited by the limit of your generosity.
At least, do not you resist, My little daughter; be generous to the end ... "

“My enemies are lying, especially that lack of sincerity which paralyzes so many souls, because they will not acknowledge to themselves their most hidden intentions; carelessness and ignorance due to laziness; agitation, disorder; noise: noise of words, noise of selfish desires, the noise that men invent to distract themselves and to forget Me. My friends are: truth; sincerity; silence; order, and that respect which discovers Me in all creatures."

(November 6,1941) "You should believe what I say; why do you doubt? Have I ever deceived you on even one single occasion? Yes, believe Me, in spite of all appearances; then your soul will be free and happy."

"Those who love Me a little, have a little confidence in Me. Those who love Me much, have great confidence in Me. Those who place no limit to their love have a confidence in Me without bounds or limit. I cannot disappoint them. You honor Me more by the confidence you show Me than by all that you could give Me. And notice, I respond at once by putting joy into the heart that honors Me with confidence."

"As I am happy, yes, happy to show you the marks of My Passion -see how your God has loved you! -Will you not also be happy to show Me the marks of your love...? "Oh, if you knew how I long for you! Not to reproach you, but to overwhelm you with joy in showing you the marks of My love... "

"People have a false idea of Me. They take Me for a master who distributes his favors at his caprice and who enforces His will. Do you understand that I enforce nothing? I am powerless before your liberty. It is I who beg for your love. Look at Me gasping for breath upon the Cross; behold My royalty! I have expiated your sins, but I do not even force you to believe it. I show you My Passion -does it speak to you? -and I wait. Behold My Divinity; -an indefatigable patience. Throughout the centuries I await souls. I never refuse them. Ask to know Me better.
Do the same with your life. Make reparation; expiate; love without asking for anything in return; and wait patiently until you too are loved. Never refuse to give love. It is I whom you honor and serve so tenderly; I have such need of it."

“I passed through the world doing good-I brought peace, order, kindness, an easy kindness. I healed the sick; I forgave sins; I gave joy, true joy, tranquil joy. I brought the Beatitudes. I revealed God. It is because men do not know Him that they do not love God. You must reveal God. That is charity.”

"I am sought as so far away, whereas I am so near. You have only to descend into your heart and listen. Do you understand how much I am with you, in you? As soon as you call me, I answer. I am always present. What do you lack?"

"Happy are the families and convents that have sick members! Because by being visited, the sick safeguard the practice of gentleness and patience; they expiate; they bear My likeness, the image of Christ suffering in His Church. To comfort them in the spirit of faith is to perform a work of reparation in the Church -the reparation I expect from those who love Me. A house where there are no sick runs the risk of living more for itself than for Me. I am always more sensitive, more active where there is suffering, because there I am welcomed, I am listened to...”

"Just as storms are necessary in nature, so are they necessary in every living soul. Do not lose your serenity on account of those who are being tried. Pray for them; offer the sufferings of My Passion and some acts of self-denial, some self-imposed sufferings for them."

"I ask only for love. Ah, what are you doing about it?... Give Me your heart -your whole heart. And do you not also wish to give Me your life? I desire it, I have need of it. It is such a great thing to belong to Me! What does anything else matter to you? Be full of joy at belonging to Me. I want you to be altogether Mine!"

"Love, love your Sisters. Love your Superiors much; they have need of it. But in silence...."
"The pettinesses of the cloister are inevitable, but those who love Me take no notice of them. Your real cloister, without boundaries, is My Heart; it is your refuge and your cradle. It is always open; it is always awaiting you. It will give you joy, strength, meekness, love. For I wish you to be joyous and strong, irresistibly loving, and very meek."

"Am I not enough for You? Is it not sufficient for you to know that your Jesus loves you?”

"Oh, how full I am of compassion! and how I desire -I need- the generosity of some to make reparation for others. It is love that makes reparation"

"I love you because you are so, so wretched. Do you not feel how much I love you? I love you because you cannot do without me, and because I long to see you happy; I love you because I have given my life for you."

"Do not be disturbed at repeating to your Father [spiritual director –editor] what I say to you; there is nothing extraordinary in it. I speak to each soul; if there are some who do not hear Me, it is because they do not listen to Me. There must be a profound silence, because My Voice is soft. The soul must be freed from all engrossing thoughts; I must be loved in spirit and in truth -the whole being must be in the truth. Yes, it is I who speak to you; why do you not believe Me? Have I ever deceived you? All that I have told you has come to pass."

"You have too many little things: give them away, simplify your belongings -to just what is necessary. Leave to others what is unnecessary, the care of trifles. As for yourself, love Me! I wish you to be poor, altogether Mine.”

"The Saints attracted many souls to My Church by the radiance of their sanctity. You cannot do that. It does not matter. Give Me everything; I will use what you give Me to attract many souls to My Church."

(Good Shepherd Sunday, 2nd Sunday after Easter, 1940). "Make Me a present, My little fiancee, of all the unnecessary words you do not speak, of every object that is not indispensable, that you can do without, even if allowed, of all weariness, suffering, that others will never guess, and which you will hide, to prove your love to Me, and because I have such need of your gifts!"

(April 27, 1940. Holy Communion). "Kindness .. Indulgence ... Keep your soul free and trans¬parent, above the troubles, cares, and misunderstandings which the cloister produces... Teach, only by example. Silence, silence in the Heart of your God."

(After my Profession, August 29th 1940; “You are Mine- you are altogether Mine ... Do not go away. Stay with Me, in Me who never leave you. I have waited so long for you. This is the only reality: I love you and I take care of you. And that is for now and for eternity.”

"If you give Me nothing, I am not able to do the good which I leave to your initiative. Give Me the tiny seed of your sacrifices, of your efforts; I will make it fruitful. But give Me the seed. Do not lose a moment, not a single occasion of offering to Me all that I send you. My grace does not leave you for an instant: welcome it. I want My heaven to fill your soul, your cell, your convent."

"I am happy because you have come at last. I await many others like yourself in My Church, in My house. To attract them, do all that I tell you."

"The future is Mine, what do you fear?"
'The night, the night of faith when I am alone.'
"I have given you My Mother to enlighten your way. Look at Her, the Morning Star."

Sister Mary of the Holy Trinity died a holy death in the Poor Clare Colettine convent in Jerusalem in 1942, at the age of 41. ~Sister Mary of the Holy Trinity, pray for us!
"Yes, I have made Myself so truly your Brother that I have willed that you should have the same Father as I, and that my Mother should become your Mother. Love does not keep for Itself those whom It loves; It gives them away."

-Jesus to Sister Mary of the Holy Trinity

"The Spiritual Legacy of Sister Mary of the Holy Trinity" published by Tan books, copyright 1981. Edited by her Confessor, Rev. Silvere Van Den Broek, O.F.M. This great book is available at Amazon - here.