Search This Blog

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Venerable Jane Mary of the Cross, Poor Clare nun

(I couldn't find any likeness of Ven. Jane Mary of the Cross.)

In the seventeenth century there lived at Roveredo in Tyrol the estimable abbess of the Poor Clare monastery, Jane Mary of the Cross, who was born in 1603. Even before her entrance into religion, she had surrendered herself to her Divine Savior in such perfect charity that He espoused Himself to her with the bridal ring, as He had done on another occasion to St Catharine of Siena. In fasting and mortification, Jane led so austere a life in the convent that for several years the amount of food she ate week by week was so meager that it could readily be held in the hollow of one hand. Holy Communion, which she received daily, seemed to be the only nourishment not only of her soul but of her body. During her administration the community flourished in every possible way; she established another house in Borgo in the diocese of Trent.

Jane was known far and wide for the divine inspirations with which God favored her, and persons of every state in life came to ask her advice in serious matters. Even Emperor Leopold I came to the abbess of Roveredo with his wife, in order to seek counsel in matters of conscience.

When Jane Mary had any spare time, it was spent in profound meditation, generally on the bitter Passion and Death of Christ. Just how intimately she was united with her suffering Savior during these periods, Our Lord wished to indicate in a visible manner by allowing a crown of thorns to grow out of her head. He caused her also to share with Him the disgrace heaped upon Him. She was slandered and persecuted, was subjected to the most embarrassing investigations, and along with all this, had to endure the most painful maladies. But she bore everything with heroic patience and the desire to suffer still more.
A few days before her death, Our Lord favored her with the stigmata. The marks were visible after her death, and were still red and bleeding in her hands and feet. The wound in her side was so deep that her heart could be seen through it.

Worn out in body, but aglow in spirit with the desire for God, Jane Mary of the Cross died on March 25, 1675, at the age of seventy-two. As her body lay in state, her countenance appeared in the freshness of youth like that of a growing young girl. Shortly after her death the process of her beatification was begun, but as yet it has not been concluded.

*from The Franciscan Book of Saints, Marion Habig, OFM

Beautiful recordings of the voices of the Poor Clare Colettines of Roswell, NM

This community is the Monastery of Poor Clare Colettines in Roswell, NM where Mother Mary Francis, PCC was Abbess for a long time.

To hear the hymns, click on this link:  Poor Clare Recordings - Roswell NM

(PCCs of Roswell outside their mausoleum for a sister's passing.)

Life and Words of Bl. Marie Celine of the Presentation, PCC

"As for me, I place myself entirely
in the Divine Heart of Jesus.

True happiness
is not to be found in this world,
but one may have it
by belonging entirely to Jesus.

As we are going to God, it is better to give
ourselves entirely to Him."

- Bl. Marie Celine

Marie-Celine, known before her entrance into religious life, as Germaine Castang, was born in a little village in the region of the Dordogne, in the south west of France, in 1878. She was the fifth child in the family, which was to number twelve children in all.

Germaine was a lively, somewhat precocious child, dearly loved by all her family. Her parents were known in the entire district for their faith, piety and extraordinary charity towards anyone in need. Germaine’s mother was firm in correcting her children’s failings. She was regarded as a saint by many who knew her.

The family lived in a large house near the village church. The parents worked hard to support their family. Germaine loved to visit the church, inheriting her parents’ faith and love of God.

Suffering came to Germaine at the early age of four years. Coming home from school with some little companions, one child suggested that they go paddling in an icy-cold stream. Germaine was eager to join in the adventure. However she was clearly unwell afterwards and a serious leg ailment developed. Madame Castang was distraught to see her little daughter in such pain, scarcely able to walk, and as always she turned to prayer, begging for a cure. Her prayer was not answered in the way she ardently desired, but the Lord gave Germaine abundant grace to cope with her disability. Germaine, too, turned to prayer and, inspired by her mother’s words, bore her ailment admirably. Her mother spoke to her of Jesus Crucified, of the patience of the Saints and of Heaven which would heal all.Germaine found increasing comfort in the nearby Church, close to the Tabernacle. Her love of Jesus was growing daily. Even as a child, people noticed how attentive she was at prayer. She eagerly awaited the day when she would, for the first time, receive Jesus in Holy Communion.

About this time Germaine’s father began to experience financial problems and, as a result, he became irritable, angry and difficult. At times he was harsh towards his gentle wife and the whole family suffered from the changed atmosphere in the home. Some of the family criticized their father, but Germaine was never heard to do so. She suffered in silence, endeavouring to help her mother in every way she could, taking care of the smaller children and helping with the household duties.

In 1887 the family circumstances were so difficult that they were obliged to look for help. Those who had given so much in charity were now forced to receive it. One day disaster struck. Monsieur Castang’s creditors would wait no longer. His lands, his home and all his goods were sold to meet his debts.

Early one morning the heart-broken family left their home and walked a few miles to a field which they still owned. Their father had built a rough shelter there. It was scarcely fit for animals, yet here the family which now numbered nine, were obliged to live, for three long years. They lived in extreme poverty, their father often away in search of work.

Germaine’s leg condition deteriorated in the dreadful living conditions, yet she constantly thought of the others and did all she could to raise their spirits and ease their suffering. On one occasion, conquering her pride and enduring atrocious pain in her leg , she took a wheelbarrow and went begging for food at the surrounding farmhouses, desperate to provide something for her starving brothers and sisters.

One day, overcome by sorrow and realising her powerlessness to save her family from their dire poverty, Germaine turned to God in most ardent prayer: she offered her life in sacrifice for them. It seems the offering was accepted. Shortly afterwards, their father returned from Bordeaux with the wonderful news that he had found a job and had rented a little house. At last they could live a normal life once more.

The family reached the city towards the spring of 1890. Germaine’s burning desire was to return to school so that she could resume preparations for her First Holy Communion. She was now preparing for death and longed to receive Jesus before she might die.

In 1891 an operation on her leg was very successful and Germaine was able to walk fairly easily. Sorrow, however visited the family yet again. Three of her younger brothers died within the next few months, and the eldest brother returned from military service in very poor health.

At about this time Germaine was received as a boarder in a place run by Sisters in Bordeaux. She was very sorry to be leaving home but glad that here at last she could prepare for the great grace of her First Holy Communion.

This long-awaited day dawned on June 16th 1892, the feast of Corpus Christi. Germaine had always experienced the attraction of Jesus in the Host. Jesus had been her refuge and comfort in so many trials. He was her love. Witnesses said: “On this day she shed many tears of joy and emotion”.

A little while after this sacred occasion, Germaine received the Sacrament of Confirmation in Bordeaux Cathedral, the Bishop giving her the name Clare, a providential sign of the future.

The great grace for which Germaine asked on the day of her First Holy Communion was that she might become a nun. She lived only for God; to enter the House of God and there completely consecrated to Him, to be consumed in His service and love, to spend long hours in prayer before the Tabernacle: that was her ideal of life. Her thoughts turned first to the Poor Clares.

Before she entered, Germaine endured the sudden death of her mother, then of Louis, her eldest brother. Germaine nursed him during his last days. Finally after waiting three more years, the doors of the Poor Clare enclosure opened for her on June 12th 1896. She was eighteen years of age. She subsequently received the Poor Clare habit and the name Sr. Marie-Celine of the Presentation.

Within a short time, Sr. Marie-Celine was diagnosed with a very serious illness. She was granted permission to make her vows and was professed on her death-bed, at the age of nineteen. The Lord called her Home to Heaven on May 30th 1897.

Final vows on her deathbed

The relentless advance of the tuberculosis did not, stop her from fully immersing herself in the austere lifestyle of the contemplative nuns. Her love for God, the Church and her Sisters increased and she accepted with humility the supernatural manifestations of God's love.

When the Superior became aware of the deterioration of her health and called the doctor, it was too late. Sr. Marie-Céline was permitted to make her final vows on her deathbed; she died of tuberculosis of the bone on 30 May 1897 when she was only 19 years old.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Sr. Marie-Céline's burial place at the Convent of the Poor Clares of Talence became a pilgrimage destination; since June 2006, her mortal remains rest in the Parish Church of Nojals-et-Clottes, where she worshipped as a child.

The aura of holiness which had surrounded Sr. Marie-Céline in her lifetime soon led to the introduction of her cause of Beatification. Pope Pius XII decreed her heroic virtues on 22 January 1957 and in December 2006, Pope Benedict authorized the promulgation of a decree concerning a miracle attributed to her intercession.

This young nun who wrote: "I am determined to be a violet of humility, a rose of charity, and a lily of purity for Jesus", lives on as a model for all those who are ill or suffer from physical handicaps, poverty and' marginalization.
After her death, she appeared to many via fragrances, which earned her the nickname: "Saint of the Perfumes".


(This novena is to be prayed on nine consecutive Tuesdays.)

“O gentle St Anthony, beloved of the Child Jesus who delighted to be held in your arms, grant your powerful aid.” (to be said before each Tuesday’s prayer)
Our Father…, Hail Mary…, Glory Be… to be said after each Tuesday’s prayer.

DAY 1:
O blessed St Anthony, I pray that, with Mary Queen of the Angels, you ask Almighty God my request: (mention your request).

DAY 2:
O blessed St Anthony, you were given the gift of divine knowledge and of seeing the future like the patriarchs and prophets. I pray that with them you plead to Almighty God to grant my request: (mention your request).

DAY 3:
O blessed St Anthony, in life you preached the Gospel and spread the faith like the apostles and disciples. I implore you to pray with them that God listen to my prayer: (mention your request).

DAY 4:
O blessed St Anthony, you were ready to suffer persecution like the martyrs and saints. I humbly beseech you to appeal to God to grant my request: (mention your request).

DAY 5:
O blessed St Anthony, you were given the grace of converting many people to Christ like the holy bishops and priests. Speak for me to God so that my prayer may be heard: (mention your request).

DAY 6:
O blessed St Anthony, you were given the grace to spend your life in good works, praying, fasting and denying yourself like many monks and hermits. May all your prayers to God obtain for me what I ask: (mention your request).

DAY 7:
O blessed St Anthony, you led a pure life and overcame temptation like all virgins and holy innocents. I ask you and them to plead to God to grant my request: (mention your request).

DAY 8:
O blessed St Anthony, you were so virtuous and served God well on earth like the holy widows and saintly husbands and wives. May you pray to God that my prayer will be heard: (mention your request).

DAY 9:
O blessed St Anthony, loved by God and blessed with His grace, along with St Joseph, speak to God for me so that my prayer may be granted if it is for His greater honour and glory: (mention your request).