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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Poor Clare Colettines are brides of the Lord - His "barefoot beggars"

"The wounded hands of Jesus,
outstretched, to me entreat,
who, running, fall before him
to kiss his wounded feet.
So, barefoot, as a beggar,
may I thy bride, Lord, be.
I lay my hand in thine, Lord,
for I belong to thee."

- Sr. Miriam Judith of the Holy Trinity
PCC Ty Mam Duw, Wales 

Carcere Crucifix: A Responsory - Mother Mary Francis, PCC

Crucifix in San Damiano

Carcere Crucifix:
​ A Responsory

Thou way unwalked:
​ my hurt Beloved!

Thou truth debated:
​ my hurt Beloved!

Thou life unlived:
​ my hurt Beloved!

Thee will I walk,
​ unshod and smitten.

Thee will I tell,
​ and who will listen?

Thou will I live
​ in high ambition

To ease Thy hurt, Beloved.

Autobiography - by Mother Mary Francis, PCC

Mother Mary Francis, PCC

A heart devoid of poetry is not a Poor Clare heart, I believe Mother Mary Francis said at one point, and for that matter it would probably not be a contemplative heart either! 


Part I:

While swallows dipped through my heart,
I tilted handfuls of sunlight over my hems:
Braid of fantastic gold. I told the doves
Poised on my shoulder: to be loved is to be lovely!

I sat and awaited Him,
Songs chasing down my veins;
Sat and awaited my death,
My skirts like waterfalls around me,
Morning in my hair
And all my bracelets waking
Into flowers,

Until He came. The low knock,
Oh, the moment! I did not sing, I was song.
The song was: Lover, Lover, it is I!
But the latch was not lifted. The footsteps
Drifted back like a sigh.

Part II:

A raven sits on my heart,
Listens to winds cry at the marrow of me.
My fingers stroke the unreality
Of air on which my lonely vigil feeds.

I kneel and await Him,
Tears rutting all my songs,
Kneel and await my death,
And rue my skirts which climbing torn,
Night lapping at my ankles.

My bracelets pawned to buy me faith,
Deliberate destiny burns beneath
My eyelids. Listen, raven, listen!
All that I cannot understand, I know!

And this is the moment; fingers on the latch
Of me, He asks who dwells here. Hoarsely comes
The final whisper: Lover, it is Thou!

Latch lifts. Footfalls, footfalls,
He enters in.

Dialogue - by Mother Mary Francis, PCC

I am glad I thought of philosophers,
God said.
Their strenuous efforts swear in public confession
How my thoughts are not the thoughts of men.

Engineers to pan all stuff of earth
Are good
For witness of my ways' meandering
With casual mirth the sweat of all invention

Artists to keep my archives in good
Poets to epic major enterprises
Of mine, spread out my glory everlasting.

The whole arrangement I have made,
God said,
Has worth. I like that race of theologians
Turning my diamond, face by face, on men.

Only I wish someone would chance
To marvel at a candle through a window,
Slosh bare-ankled in the dew, and laugh

Because my ballerina gnats annoy
Some larger, graver creatures
No one saw, I fear, (God said)
The mint blade in the gravel.

I know men are so busy telling
The story of me (even if unknowing).
I shall not regret the captains, thinkers,
Doers, talkers, workers,
Even makers. I only wish
(God said)
There could be someone now to notice things
I do just for your pleasure.

And I said:
Lord, take me!

 - Mother Mary Francis, PCC

A Short Walk around the World at Evening - by Mother Mary Francis, PCC

The Lord is robed in majesty and glory,
His bride's resplendent in her poverty.

Forward, each step in step
(And His feet wounded),
In measured love unmeasured
Mark the miles
Where trees reach to embrace the feminine clouds
And scrivening birds write down that lyric-ed love
In flourishes across wide tablet skies.

The Lord is robed in majesty and glory,
His bride's resplendent in her poverty.

And farther, past the summer, gloaming, onward,
Out and over the curve of the continents,
Clearing with song through a path through oceans, gaining
Speed on evening walk till steps are dance
And flowers lift their heads in bright amaze

The Lord is robed in majesty and glory,
His bride's resplendent in her poverty.

That was a pair to circle
(His hands wounded)
The dwindled cosmos and to count its members
One by one in careful love and tending,
With each face known, with each cry heard and heeded.

The Lord is robed in majesty and glory,
His bride's resplendent in her poverty.

Oh, small the world! Oh, dear to hold
On a short walk around the world in the evening.

St.Padre Pio - "Comportment at Holy Mass and Afterwards"

 Comportment at Holy Mass and Afterwards

A Letter from St. Padre Pio to Annita Rodote
Pietrelcina, July 25, 1915

From Volume III of Padre Pio's Letters, "Correspondence with his Spiritual Daughters (1915-1923)"

1st edition (English version), Fr. Alessio Parente, O.F.M. Cap., Editor; Edizioni Padre Pio da Pietrelcina,
Our Lady of Grace Capuchin Friary, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, 1994, Translated by Geraldine Nolan, pp. 88-92.
Fr. Francesco D. Colacelli, representing the above Friary and publisher, has generously given written permission
". . . to Frank M. Rega to use on his website the citation indicated above."   

Beloved daughter of Jesus, 

May Jesus and our Mother always smile on your soul, obtaining for it, from Her most holy Son, all the heavenly charisms!

I am writing to you for two reasons:  to answer some more questions from your last letter, and to wish you a very happy names-day in the most sweet Jesus, full of all the most special heavenly graces.  Oh!  If Jesus granted my prayers for you or, better still, if only my prayers were worthy of being granted by Jesus!  However, I increase them a hundredfold for your consolation and salvation, begging Jesus to grant them, not for me but through the heart of his paternal goodness and infinite mercy.  

In order to avoid irreverence and imperfections in the house of God, in church - which the divine Master calls the house of prayer - I exhort you in the Lord to practice the following. 

Enter the church in silence and with great respect, considering yourself unworthy to appear before the Lord's Majesty.  Amongst other pious considerations, remember that our soul is the temple of God and, as such, we must keep it pure and spotless before God and his angels. Let us blush for having given access to the devil and his snares many times (with his enticements to the world, his pomp, his calling to the flesh) by not being able to keep our hearts pure and our bodies chaste; for having allowed our enemies to insinuate themselves into our hearts, thus desecrating the temple of God which we became through holy Baptism. 

Then take holy water and make the sign of the cross carefully and slowly. 

As soon as you are before God in the Blessed Sacrament, devoutly genuflect.  Once you have found your place, kneel down and render the tribute of your presence and devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  Confide all your needs to him along with those of others.  Speak to him with filial abandonment, give free rein to your heart and give him complete freedom to work in you as he thinks best. 

When assisting at Holy Mass and the sacred functions, be very composed when standing up, kneeling down, and sitting, and carry out every religious act with the greatest devotion.  Be modest in your glances; don't turn your head here and there to see who enters and leaves.  Don't laugh, out of reverence for this holy place and also out of respect for those who are near you.  Try not to speak to anybody, except when charity or strict necessity requests this. 

If you pray with others, say the words of the prayer distinctly, observe the pauses well and never hurry. 

In short, behave in such a way that all present are edified by it and, through you, are urged to glorify and love the heavenly Father. 

 On leaving the church, you should be recollected and calm.   Firstly take your leave of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament; ask his forgiveness for the shortcomings committed in his divine presence and do not leave him without asking for and having received his paternal blessing. 

Once you are outside the church, be as every follower of the Nazarene should be.  Above all, be extremely modest in everything, as this is the virtue which, more than any other, reveals the affections of the heart.  Nothing represents an object more faithfully or clearly than a mirror.  In the same way, nothing more widely represents the good or bad qualities of a soul than the greater or lesser regulation of the exterior, as when one appears more or less modest.  You must be modest in speech, modest in laughter, modest in your bearing, modest in walking.

All this must be practiced, not out of vanity in order to display one's self, nor out of hypocrisy in order to appear to be good to the eyes of others, but rather, for the internal virtue of modesty, which regulates the external workings of the body. 

Therefore, be humble of heart, circumspect in words, prudent in your resolutions.  Always be sparing in your speech, assiduous in good reading, attentive in your work, modest in your conversation.  Don't be disgusting to anybody but be benevolent towards all and respectful towards your elders.   May any sinister glance be far from you, may no daring word escape your lips, may you never carry out any immodest or somewhat free action; never a rather free action or a petulant tone of voice. 

In short let your whole exterior be a vivid image of the composure of your soul.

Always keep the modesty of the divine Master before your eyes, as an example; this Master who, according to the words of the Apostle to the Corinthians, placing the modesty of Jesus Christ on an equal footing with meekness, which was his one particular virtue and almost his characteristic:  "Now I Paul myself beseech you, by the mildness and modesty of Christ" [Douay-Rheims, 2 Cor. 10:1], and according to such a perfect model reform all your external operations, which should be faithful reflections revealing the affections of your interior. 

Never forget this divine model, Annita.  Try to see a certain lovable majesty in his presence, a certain pleasant authority in his manner of speaking, a certain pleasant dignity in walking, in contemplating, speaking, conversing; a certain sweet serenity of face.  Imagine that extremely composed and sweet expression with which he drew the crowds, making them leave cities and castles, leading them to the mountains, the forests, to the solitude and deserted beaches of the sea, totally forgetting food, drink and their domestic duties. 

Thus let us try to imitate, as far as we possibly can, such modest and dignified actions.  And let us do our utmost to be, as far as possible, similar to him on this earth, in order that we might be more perfect and more similar to him for the whole of eternity in the heavenly Jerusalem. 

 I end here as I am unable to continue, recommending that you never forget me before Jesus, especially during these days of extreme affliction for me.  I expect the same charity from the excellent Francesca to whom you will have the kindness to give, in my name, assurances of my extreme interest in seeing her grow always more in divine love.  I hope she will do me the charity of making a novena of Communions for my intentions. 

Don't worry if you are unable to answer my letter for the moment.    I know everything so don't worry. I take my leave of you in the holy kiss of the Lord.  I am always your servant. 

Fra Pio, Capuchin
(above from 

 Padre Pio - Rare Footage 
This was filmed at Our Lady of Grace Capuchin Friary which is located in the Gargano Mountains at San Giovanni Rotondo. At times there is an atmosphere of playfulness redolent of the Fioretti of St Francis. At the end, they are obviously teasing him about the camera and he hits the cameraman with his cincture. We see him in the refectory and in the Church, and there are scenes of his brothers dealing with the massive postbag which he generated. Starting at 4'23" there is some footage of Padre Pio as celebrant at Tridentine Latin Mass.

The Last Mass of St Pio of Pietrelcina 

The Final Mass of St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) celebrated in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie on September 22, 1968, the day before his death.

Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione on May 25, 1887 in Pietrelcino, Italy. Raised in a pious Catholic family, Francesco entered the friary in 1903 and one year later received the Capuchin habit, taking the name Pio. He was ordained a priest and transferred to several sites until 1916, when he arrived in San Giovanni Rotondo, where he remained for the last 52 years of his life.

Padre Pio is admired for his fervant love of Christ and the Virgin Mary and is known as the great mystic of modern times.

He experienced a wide variety of supernatural abilities and miraculous events including: the reading of souls; prophecy; bilocation (being in two places at once); the odor of sanctity; discernment of spirits; living on very little sleep; miraculous healings; personal visits from Jesus and Mary; and daily communication with his guardian angel.

Padre Pio's most famous spiritual gift is the stigmata, which he received in 1918 while praying before a crucifix. He is said to have bled from the five wounds of Christ for the rest of his life, which caused him great suffering and embarrassment.

Because of Padre Pio's great holiness and gifts, the devil is said to have waged war on the friar throughout his life, which included physical attacks resulting in cuts, bruises and other visible marks.

Padre Pio was devoted to all those who sought his help, but he was especially devoted to the souls in purgatory. He once said, "More souls of the dead from purgatory, than of the living, climb this mountain to attend my Masses and seek my prayers."

In 1940, Padre Pio began plans to open a hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo, to be named the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza or Home for the Relief of Suffering. The hospital opened in 1956, and is considered one of the most efficient hospitals in Europe.

In 1956, construction began on a new church of Santa Maria delle Grazie to accommodate the many pilgrims who came to visit Padre Pio. Designed by Giuseppe Gentile Boiano, the church was consecrated by the Bishop of Foggia in 1959. This church remains the central focus of the sanctuary today.

In 1962, Bishop Karol Wojtyła, later Pope John Paul II, wrote to Padre Pio to ask him to pray to God for Dr. Wanda Poltawska, a friend in Poland who was suffering from cancer. Later, Dr. Poltawska's cancer was found to have regressed; medical professionals were unable to offer an explanation for the regression. It is also rumored that during this time that Padre Pio had predicted Wojtyła would become Pope.

Today is the Feast of St. Bernadine of Siena

St. Bernardine of Siena, Confessor († 1444, Feast – May 20)

** St. Bernardine of Siena **
In that season of the Liturgical Year when we were kneeling in love and prayer around the crib of the Infant Jesus, one day was devoted to the celebration of the glory and sweetness of His Name. Holy Church was full of joy when She pronounced the dear Name chosen from all eternity by Her Heavenly Spouse; and mankind found consolation in the thought that the great God Who might so justly have bid us call Him the Just and the Avenger, willed us henceforth to call Him the Savior. The devout St. Bernardine of Siena, whose feast we keep today, stood then before us, holding in his hands this ever blessed Name, surrounded with rays. He urged the whole earth to venerate with love and confidence the Sacred Name which expresses the whole economy of our salvation. The Church, ever attentive to what is for the good of Her children, adopted the beautiful device. She encouraged them to receive it from the Saint, as a shield that would protect them against the darts of the evil spirit, and as an additional means of reminding ourselves of the exceeding charity wherewith God has loved this world of ours. And finally, when the loveliness of the Holy Name of Jesus had won all Christian hearts, She instituted in its honor one of the most beautiful feasts of Christmastide.

St. Bernardine, the worthy son of St. Francis of Assisi, returns to us on this 20th day of May, and the sweet flower of the Holy Name is, of course, in his hand. But if it is not the endearing Name, respectfully and lovingly whispered by the Virgin-Mother over the crib; it is the Name whose sound has gone through the whole creation, it is the trophy of the grandest of victories, it is the fulfillment of all that was prophesied. The Name of Jesus was a promise to mankind of a Savior; Jesus has saved mankind, by dying and rising again; he is now Jesus in the full sense of the word. Go where you will, and you hear this Name – the Name that has united men into the one great family of the Church.
The chief priests of the Synagogue strove to stifle the Name of Jesus, for it was even then winning men's hearts. They forbade the Apostles to teach in this Name; and it was on this occasion that St. Peter uttered the words which embody the whole energy of the Church: We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5: 28-29). The Synagogue might as well have tried to stay the course of the sun. So too, when the mighty power of the Roman Empire set itself against the triumphant progress of this Name, and would annul the decree that every knee should bow at its sound, its attempt was a complete failure, and at the end of three centuries the Name of Jesus was heard and loved in every city and hamlet of the Empire.

Armed with this sacred motto, St. Bernardine traversed the towns of Italy, which at that period (the 15th century) were at enmity with each other, and not unfrequently torn with domestic strifes. The Name of Jesus, which he carried in his hand, became as a rainbow of reconciliation; and wheresoever he set it up, there every knee bowed down, every vindictive heart was appeased, and sinners hastened to the sacrament of pardon. The three letters I H S (a contraction of the Greek spelling) which represent this Name, became familiar to the faithful; they were everywhere to be seen carved, or engraven, or painted; and the Catholic world thus gained a new form whereby to express its adoration and love of its Savior.
St. Bernardine was a preacher of inspired eloquence. He was also a distinguished master in the science of sacred things, as is proved by the writings he has left us. One such regards the apparition of Jesus to His Blessed Mother after the Resurrection:

"From the fact of there being no mention made in the Gospel of the visit wherewith Christ consoled His Mother after His Resurrection, we are not to conclude that this most merciful Jesus, the source of all grace and consolation, Who was so anxious to gladden His disciples by His presence, forgot His Mother, Who He knew had drunk so deeply of the bitterness of His Passion. But it has pleased Divine Providence that the Gospel should be silent on this subject; and this for three reasons.

"In the first place, because of the firmness of Mary's faith. The confidence which the Virgin-Mother had of Her Son's rising again had never faltered, not even by the slightest doubt. This we can readily believe, if we reflect on the special grace wherewith She was filled, She the Mother of the Man-God, the Queen of the Angels, and the Mistress of the world. To a truly enlightened mind, the silence of Scripture on this subject says more than any affirmation could have done. We have learned to know something of Mary by the visit She received from the Angel, when the Holy Ghost overshadowed Her. We met Her again at the foot of the Cross, where She, the Mother of Sorrows, stood nigh Her dying Son. If then the Apostle could say: As ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation (2 Cor. 1: 7), what share must not the Virgin-Mother have had in the joys of the Resurrection? We should hold it as a certain truth that Her most sweet Jesus, after His Resurrection, consoled Her first of all. The Holy Roman Church would seem to express this, by celebrating at St. Mary Major's the Station of Easter Sunday. Moreover, if from the silence of the Evangelists you would conclude that our Risen Lord did not appear to Her first, you must go farther, and say that He did not appear to Her at all, inasmuch as these same Evangelists, when relating the several apparitions, do not mention a single one as made to Her. Now, such a conclusion as this would savor of impiety.

"In the second place, the silence of the Gospel is explained by the incredulity of men. The object of the Holy Ghost, when dictating the Gospels, was to describe such apparitions as would remove all doubt from carnal-minded men with regard to the Resurrection of Christ. The fact of Mary's being His Mother would have weakened Her testimony, at least in their own eyes. For this reason She was not brought forward as a witness, though most assuredly there never was or ever will be any creature (the Humanity of Her Son alone excepted) whose assertion better deserved the confidence of every truly pious soul. But the text of the Gospel was not to adduce any testimonies, save such as might be offered to the whole world. As to Jesus' apparition to His Mother, the Holy Ghost has left it to be believed by those that are enlightened by His light.

"In the third place, this silence is explained by the sublime nature of the apparition itself. The Gospel says nothing regarding the Mother of Christ after the Resurrection; and the reason is, that Her interviews with Her Son were so sublime and ineffable that no words could have described them. There are two sorts of visions: one is merely corporal, and feeble in proportion; the other is mainly in the soul, and is granted only to such as have been transformed. Say, if you will, that St. Mary Magdalen was the first to have the merely corporal vision, provided that you admit that the Blessed Virgin saw, previously to Magdalen, and in a far sublimer way, Her Risen Jesus, that She recognised Him, and enjoyed His sweet embraces in Her soul, more even than in Her body."

Let us now read the Life of the Saint, as given in the Lessons of today's Divine Office:

Bernardine Albizeschi, whose parents were of a noble family of Siena, gave evident marks of sanctity from his earliest years. He was well brought up by his pious parents. When studying the first rudiments of grammar, he despised the favorite pasttimes of children, and applied himself to works of piety, especially fasting, prayer, and devotion to the Blessed Virgin. His charity to the poor was extraordinary. In order the better to practice these virtues, he later on entered the Confraternity which gave to the Church so many saintly men, and was attached to the hospital of Our Lady of Scala, in Siena. It was there that, whilst leading a most mortified life himself, he took care of the sick with incredible charity during the time when a terrible pestilence was raging in the city. Amongst his other virtues, he was preeminent for chastity, although he had many dangers to encounter, owing to the beauty of his person. Such was the respect he inspired that no one, however lost to shame, ever dared to say an improper word in his presence.

After a serious illness of four months, which he bore with the greatest patience, he began to think of entering the Religious life. As a preparation for such a step, he hired, in the farthest outskirts of the city, a little hut, in which he hid himself, leading a most austere life, and assiduously beseeching God to make known to him the path he was to follow. A divine inspiration led him to prefer to all other Orders that of St. Francis. Accordingly he entered, and soon began to excel in humility, patience, and the other virtues of a Religious man. The Guardian of the Convent perceived this, and knowing already that St. Bernardine was well versed in the sacred sciences, he imposed upon him the duty of preaching. The Saint most humbly accepted the office, though he was aware that the weakness and hoarseness of his voice made him unfit for it; but he sought God's help, and was miraculously freed from these impediments.
Italy was at that time overrun with vice and crime; and in consequence of deadly factions, all laws, both divine and human, were disregarded. It was then that St. Bernardine went through the towns and villages, preaching the Name of Jesus, which was ever on his lips and heart. Such was the effect of his words and example, that piety and morals were in great measure restored. Several important cities, that had witnessed this zeal, petitioned the Pope to allow them to have St. Bernardine for their Bishop; but the Saint's humility was not to be overcome, and he rejected every offer. At length, after going through countless labors in God's service, after many and great miracles, after writing several pious and learned books, he died a happy death, at the age of 66, in a town of the Abruzzi, called Aquila. New miracles were daily being wrought through his intercession, and, at length, in the sixth year after his death, he was canonized by Pope Nicholas V.

May 20 - Homily: St Bernardine Mary's Preacher

St. Bernardine of Siena was a great reformer of the Franciscan Order, a  preacher who occasioned many conversions. He spread devotion to the Mother of God and to the Name of Jesus, IHS
Ave Maria! 

St. Maximilian Kolbe, lover of Our Lady, the Immaculata

Tomorrow is the feast of St. Bernardine of Siena, May 20th

St. Bernadine of Siena

Bernardine was born in Carrara, Italy, in 1380. Even as a boy he nursed the sick during a time of pestilence in Siena. During a severe illness he decided upon entering a monastery and becoming a Franciscan. His superiors assigned him the task of preaching, and he submitted humbly despite a throat affliction. God heard his petition, and the ailment was miraculously cured.
A powerful and eloquent preacher (Pius II called him "a second Paul") and a zealous apostle, Bernardine traveled the length and breadth of Italy, inculcating love and reverence toward the holy Name of Jesus. He exerted a powerful influence upon his contemporaries, inaugurating a genuine reformation within the Church. Seldom has a saint had so many and so distinguished followers (including St. John Capistran). Upon entering a city, Bernardine had a standard carried before him upon which was the holy Name of Jesus (IHS) encircled with twelve golden rays and surmounted by a cross.

When he preached, this symbol was placed alongside the pulpit; or he would hold in his hand a tablet bearing the divine monogram in letters large enough to be visible to the entire audience. It was also his zealous appeals that induced many priests to put the Name of Jesus on the altars and walls of their churches, or to have little cards with the inscription distributed among the people. At his instigation the public buildings in many cities of Italy were adorned with the monogram suitably enlarged, as can still be seen in Siena. At the Council of Florence St. Bernardine labored strenuously to end the schism (1439).
— Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

Poor Clare Colettines are...