About soulofacarmelite

This blog is dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima who I owe more than I will ever be able to repay.Im in formation to be a third order (lay) carmelite as I have always loved carmelite spirituality and desired a way to apply it to my daily life in the world.Im very passionate about my faith specifically Our Lady,the saints and ways to grow in sanctity and holiness so those are the posts you will see on this blog.I also occasionally post on the end times apparitions and prophesies and I try to only post those which are approved although there are a few that are not which I will specify in the posts.I consider myself a traditional catholic and attend almost exclusively the traditional Latin mass and am passionate about the restoration of our traditional catholic faith.My journey to the Latin Mass has taught me how much of the beauty,tradition and reverence of our faith and the supernatural was lost so I'll be posting from that angle.Happy Reading and please feel free to comment or send me a message to say hello.Also feel free to message me about posts you would be interested to see in the future.

St.Thomas More 


Thomas More was born in London on February 7, 1478. His father, Sir John More, was a lawyer and judge who rose to prominence during the reign of Edward IV. His connections and wealth would help his son, Thomas, rise in station as a young man. Thomas’ mother was Agnes Graunger, the first wife of John More. John would have four wives during his life, but they each died, leaving John as a widower. Thomas had two brothers and three sisters, but three of his siblings died within a year of their birth. Such tragedies were common in England during this time.

It is likely that Thomas was positively influenced from a young age by his mother and siblings. He also attended St. Anthony’s School, which was said to be one of the best schools in London at that time. In 1490, he became a household page to John Morton, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chancellor of England. Archbishop Morton was a Renaissance man and inspired Thomas to pursue his own education.

Thomas More entered Oxford in 1492, where he would learn Latin, Greek and prepare for his future studies. In 1494, he left Oxford to become a lawyer and he trained in London until 1502 when he was finally approved to begin practice.

Almost as soon as More became a lawyer, he found himself contemplating another path in life. For two years, between 1503 and 1504, More lived next to a Carthusian monastery and he found himself called to follow their lifestyle of simple piety. He often joined their spiritual exercises.

By 1504, More had decided to remain in the secular world, and stood for election to Parliament. But he did not forget the pious monks who inspired his practice of the faith.

Thomas More married his first wife, Jane Colt in 1505. They would have four children together before her death in 1511. Their marriage was reportedly happy and Thomas often tutored her in music and literature.

After Jane’s death in 1511, Thomas quickly remarried to Alice Harpur Middleton, who was a wealthy widow. Alice was not particularly attractive, and her temperament was less docile than Jane’s. The wedding took place less than a month after Jane’s passing and was poorly received by his friends.

It was rumored that Thomas married her because he wanted a stepmother for his four children, and she was a woman of wealth and means. It is believed the pair knew each other for some time prior to their marriage. They would have no children together. Thomas accepted Alice’s daughter from her previous marriage as his own.

Thomas was considered a doting father, and he often wrote letters to his children when he was away on work. He also insisted that his daughters receive the same education as his son. His daughters were well known for their academic accomplishments.

In 1504, More was elected to Parliament to represent the region of Great Yarmouth, and in 1510 rose to represent London. During his service to the people of London, he earned a reputation as being honest and effective. He became a Privy Counselor in 1514.

More also honed his skills as a theologian and a writer. Among his most famous works is “Utopia,” about a fictional, idealistic island society. The work is widely regarded as part satire, part social commentary, part suggestion. Utopia is considered one of the greatest works of the late Renaissance and was widely read during the Enlightenment period. It remains well by scholars read today.

From 1517 on, Henry VIII took a liking to Thomas More, and gave him posts of ever increasing responsibility. In 1521, he was knighted and made Under-Treasurer of the Exchequer.

The King’s trust in More grew with time and More was soon made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, which gave him authority over the northern portion of England on behalf of Henry.

More became Lord Chancellor in 1529.

More was immediately effective, working with speed and precision that is admired today. He was likely one of Henry VIII’s most effective servants, and was fiercely loyal to the king.

During his tenure as Lord Chancellor, More prosecuted those accused of heresy and worked tirelessly to defend the Catholic faith in England. This was an arduous, but achievable task as long as he enjoyed Henry’s favor. However, in 1530, as Henry worked to obtain an annulment from his wife, Catherine, Moore refused to sign a letter to the Pope, requesting an annulment. This was More’s first time crossing Henry.

The relationship between More and Henry became strained again when seeking to isolate More, Henry purged many of the clergy who supported the Pope. It became clear to all that Henry was prepared to break away from the Church in Rome, something More knew he could not condone.

In 1532, More found himself unable to work for Henry VIII, whom he felt had lost his way as a Catholic. Faced with the prospect of being compelled to actively support Henry’s schism with the Church, More offered his resignation, citing failing health. Henry accepted it, although he was unhappy with what he viewed as flagging loyalty.

In 1533, More refused to attend the coronation of Anne Boylen, who was now the Queen of England. More instead wrote a letter of congratulations. The letter, as opposed to his direct presence offended Henry greatly. The king viewed More’s absence as an insult to his new queen and an undermining of his authority as head of the church and state.

Henry then had charges trumped up against More, but More’s own integrity protected him. In the first instance, he was accused of accepting bribes, but there was simply no evidence that could be obtained or manufactured. He was then accused of conspiracy against the king, because he allegedly consulted with a nun who prophesied against Henry and his wife, Anne. However, More was able to produce a letter in which he specifically instructed the nun, Elizabeth Barton, not to interfere with politics.

On April 13, 1534, More was ordered to take an oath, acknowledging the legitimicies of Anne’s position as queen, of Henry’s self-granted annulment from Catherine, and the superior position of the King as head of the church. More accepted Henry’s marriage to Anne, but refused to acknowledge Henry as head of the church, or his annulment from Catherine. This led to his arrest and imprisonment. He was locked away in the Tower of London.

He faced trial on July 1 and was convicted by a court that included Anne Boylen’s own father, brother and uncle, hardly an impartial jury. Still, More had one thing going for him. He could not break the law of which he was accused if he remained silent. However, he had no defense against treachery, and several dubious witnesses were able to contrive a story that he had spoken words that had the same effect as treason.

Despite a brilliant defense of himself and persuasive testimony, grounded in truth and fact, More was convicted in fifteen minutes. The court sentenced him to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, which was the traditional punishment for treason.

Henry was pleased with the outcome, although likely upset that one of his favorite advisers refused, even upon pain of death, to sanction his annulment and break from Rome. Henry was a Machiavellian king and while he may have regretted the loss of More, he was more intent upon retaining his authority.

Thomas More was born in London on February 7, 1478. His father, Sir John More, was a lawyer and judge who rose to prominence during the reign of Edward IV. His connections and wealth would help his son, Thomas, rise in station as a young man. Thomas’ mother was Agnes Graunger, the first wife of John More. John would have four wives during his life, but they each died, leaving John as a widower. Thomas had two brothers and three sisters, but three of his siblings died within a year of their birth. Such tragedies were common in England during this time.

It is likely that Thomas was positively influenced from a young age by his mother and siblings. He also attended St. Anthony’s School, which was said to be one of the best schools in London at that time. In 1490, he became a household page to John Morton, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chancellor of England. Archbishop Morton was a Renaissance man and inspired Thomas to pursue his own education.

Thomas More entered Oxford in 1492, where he would learn Latin, Greek and prepare for his future studies. In 1494, he left Oxford to become a lawyer and he trained in London until 1502 when he was finally approved to begin practice.

Almost as soon as More became a lawyer, he found himself contemplating another path in life. For two years, between 1503 and 1504, More lived next to a Carthusian monastery and he found himself called to follow their lifestyle of simple piety. He often joined their spiritual exercises.

By 1504, More had decided to remain in the secular world, and stood for election to Parliament. But he did not forget the pious monks who inspired his practice of the faith.

Thomas More married his first wife, Jane Colt in 1505. They would have four children together before her death in 1511. Their marriage was reportedly happy and Thomas often tutored her in music and literature.

After Jane’s death in 1511, Thomas quickly remarried to Alice Harpur Middleton, who was a wealthy widow. Alice was not particularly attractive, and her temperament was less docile than Jane’s. The wedding took place less than a month after Jane’s passing and was poorly received by his friends.

It was rumored that Thomas married her because he wanted a stepmother for his four children, and she was a woman of wealth and means. It is believed the pair knew each other for some time prior to their marriage. They would have no children together. Thomas accepted Alice’s daughter from her previous marriage as his own.

Thomas was considered a doting father, and he often wrote letters to his children when he was away on work. He also insisted that his daughters receive the same education as his son. His daughters were well known for their academic accomplishments.

In 1504, More was elected to Parliament to represent the region of Great Yarmouth, and in 1510 rose to represent London. During his service to the people of London, he earned a reputation as being honest and effective. He became a Privy Counselor in 1514.

More also honed his skills as a theologian and a writer. Among his most famous works is “Utopia,” about a fictional, idealistic island society. The work is widely regarded as part satire, part social commentary, part suggestion. Utopia is considered one of the greatest works of the late Renaissance and was widely read during the Enlightenment period. It remains well by scholars read today.

From 1517 on, Henry VIII took a liking to Thomas More, and gave him posts of ever increasing responsibility. In 1521, he was knighted and made Under-Treasurer of the Exchequer.

The King’s trust in More grew with time and More was soon made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, which gave him authority over the northern portion of England on behalf of Henry.

More became Lord Chancellor in 1529.

More was immediately effective, working with speed and precision that is admired today. He was likely one of Henry VIII’s most effective servants, and was fiercely loyal to the king.

During his tenure as Lord Chancellor, More prosecuted those accused of heresy and worked tirelessly to defend the Catholic faith in England. This was an arduous, but achievable task as long as he enjoyed Henry’s favor. However, in 1530, as Henry worked to obtain an annulment from his wife, Catherine, Moore refused to sign a letter to the Pope, requesting an annulment. This was More’s first time crossing Henry.

The relationship between More and Henry became strained again when seeking to isolate More, Henry purged many of the clergy who supported the Pope. It became clear to all that Henry was prepared to break away from the Church in Rome, something More knew he could not condone.

In 1532, More found himself unable to work for Henry VIII, whom he felt had lost his way as a Catholic. Faced with the prospect of being compelled to actively support Henry’s schism with the Church, More offered his resignation, citing failing health. Henry accepted it, although he was unhappy with what he viewed as flagging loyalty.

In 1533, More refused to attend the coronation of Anne Boylen, who was now the Queen of England. More instead wrote a letter of congratulations. The letter, as opposed to his direct presence offended Henry greatly. The king viewed More’s absence as an insult to his new queen and an undermining of his authority as head of the church and state.

Henry then had charges trumped up against More, but More’s own integrity protected him. In the first instance, he was accused of accepting bribes, but there was simply no evidence that could be obtained or manufactured. He was then accused of conspiracy against the king, because he allegedly consulted with a nun who prophesied against Henry and his wife, Anne. However, More was able to produce a letter in which he specifically instructed the nun, Elizabeth Barton, not to interfere with politics.

On April 13, 1534, More was ordered to take an oath, acknowledging the legitimicies of Anne’s position as queen, of Henry’s self-granted annulment from Catherine, and the superior position of the King as head of the church. More accepted Henry’s marriage to Anne, but refused to acknowledge Henry as head of the church, or his annulment from Catherine. This led to his arrest and imprisonment. He was locked away in the Tower of London.

He faced trial on July 1 and was convicted by a court that included Anne Boylen’s own father, brother and uncle, hardly an impartial jury. Still, More had one thing going for him. He could not break the law of which he was accused if he remained silent. However, he had no defense against treachery, and several dubious witnesses were able to contrive a story that he had spoken words that had the same effect as treason.

Despite a brilliant defense of himself and persuasive testimony, grounded in truth and fact, More was convicted in fifteen minutes. The court sentenced him to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, which was the traditional punishment for treason.

Henry was pleased with the outcome, although likely upset that one of his favorite advisers refused, even upon pain of death, to sanction his annulment and break from Rome. Henry was a Machiavellian king and while he may have regretted the loss of More, he was more intent upon retaining his authority.

As a final act of mercy, Henry commuted More’s punishment to mere decapitation.

More ascended the scaffold on July 6, 1535, joking to his executioners to help him up the scaffold, but that he would see himself down. He then made a final statement, proclaiming that he was “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”

Following his death, it was revealed that More wore a hair shirt, a garment destined to be itchy, and worn to as a sign of atonement and repentance. It became obvious to all that he was a man of deep piety, asceticism, voluntary self discipline, and penitence.

More’s decapitated body was buried in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London, in an unmarked grave. His head was put on display, but his daughter Margaret possibly bribed someone to take it down. The skull may be in the vault of a church in Canterbury.

Thomas More has been widely remembered as a man of tremendous integrity, and he has since been described as a martyr and canonized a saint.

Pope Leo XIII beatified More in 1886, and he was canonized by Pope Pius XI on May 19, 1935.

His feast day is June 22.

He is the patron saint of adopted children lawyers, civil servants, politicians, and difficult marriages.

St.John Fisher 


St. John Fisher was born in Beverly, Yorkshire, in 1459, and educated at Cambridge, from which he received his Master of Arts degree in 1491. He occupied the vicarage of Northallerton, 1491-1494; then he became proctor of Cambridge University. In 1497, he was appointed confessor to Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, and became closely associated in her endowments to Cambridge; he created scholarships, introduced Greek and Hebrew into the curriculum, and brought in the world-famous Erasmus as professor of Divinity and Greek. In 1504, he became Bishop of Rochester and Chancellor of Cambridge, in which capacity he also tutored Prince Henry who was to become Henry VIII. St. John was dedicated to the welfare of his diocese and his university. From 1527, this humble servant of God actively opposed the King’s divorce proceedings against Catherine, his wife in the sight of God, and steadfastly resisted the encroachment of Henry on the Church. Unlike the other Bishops of the realm, St. John refused to take the oath of succession which acknowledged the issue of Henry and Anne as the legitimate heir to the throne, and he was imprisoned in the tower in April 1534. The next year he was made a Cardinal by Paul III and Henry retaliated by having him beheaded within a month. A half hour before his execution, this dedicated scholar and churchman opened his New Testament for the last time and his eyes fell on the following words from St. John’s Gospel: “Eternal life is this: to know You, the only true God, and Him Whom You have sent, Jesus Christ. I have given You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave me to do. Do You now, Father, give me glory at Your side”. Closing the book, he observed: “There is enough learning in that to last me the rest of my life.” His feast day is June 22.

Morning Meditation

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🌞 Morning Meditation 🌝

God the Night Watchman

After a succession of hot, sultry days in the summer, we sense there must be a storm before the come back again.

Similarly,in these days of confusion,there is an intuition of impending catastrophe,a feeling that some immense prenatural disturbance must bring the evil of the world to ruins before we can be set free again.

As DeGoncourt told Berthelot,who had boasted of the future destructiveness of war through physics:”When that day comes,God as a night watchman will come down from Heaven,rattling his keys,saying,Gentlemen!It is closing time!”

~Venerable Fulton J.Sheen~

Justice is a joy to the innocent;but Truth torments the guilty.
~Proverbs 21;15~

Morning Meditation 

🌞Morning Meditation🌝

Bad?Who says so?

What makes a thing bad?Well,here is a pencil.This is a good pencil because it does what it was made to do.It writes.Is it a good can opener?It certainly is not!

Suppose I use the pencil as a can opener.What happens?First of all,I do not open the can.Second,I destroy the pencil.

Now if I decide to do certain things with my body which I ought not to do,I do not attain the purpose for which I was created.For example,becoming an alcoholic does not make me happy.I destroy myself just as I destroyed the pencil in using it to open a can.

When I disobey God,I do not make myself very happy on the inside,and I certainly destroy any peace of soul I ought to have ~ Venerable Fulton J.Sheen~

God Bless those who obey Him;trust him for their happiness~Proverbs 16:20~

St.Aloysius Gonzaga~Patron of Purity

Hey, Dad!It's your day! (1)

St. Aloysius was born in Castiglione, Italy. The first words St. Aloysius spoke were the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. He was destined for the military by his father (who was in service to Philip II), but by the age of 9 Aloysius had decided on a religious life, and made a vow of perpetual virginity. To safeguard himself from possible temptation, he would keep his eyes persistently downcast in the presence of women. St. Charles Borromeo gave him his first Holy Communion. A kidney disease prevented St. Aloysius from a full social life for a while, so he spent his time in prayer and reading the lives of the saints. Although he was appointed a page in Spain, St. Aloysius kept up his many devotions and austerities, and was quite resolved to become a Jesuit. His family eventually moved back to Italy, where he taught catechism to the poor. When he was 18, he joined the Jesuits, after finally breaking down his father, who had refused his entrance into the order. He served in a hospital during the plague of 1587 in Milan, and died from it at the age of 23, after receiving the last rites from St. Robert Bellarmine. The last word he spoke was the Holy Name of Jesus.

Quotes of St.Aloysius Gonzaga

 

  • There is no more evident sign that anyone is a saint and of the number of the elect, than to see him leading a good life and at the same time a prey to desolation, suffering, and trials.
  • He who wishes to love God does not truly love Him if he has not an ardent and constant desire to suffer for His sake.
  • O Holy Mary! My Mother; into thy blessed trust and special custody, and into the bosom of thy mercy, I this day, and every day, and in the hour of my death, commend my soul and body. To thee I commit all my anxieties and sorrows, my life and the end of my life, that by they most holy intercession, and by thy merits, all my actions may be directed and governed by thy will and that of thy Son.
  • May the comfort and grace of the Holy Spirit be yours for ever, most honored lady. Your letter found me lingering still in this region of the dead, but now I must rouse myself to make my way on to heaven at last, and to praise God for ever in the land of the living; indeed I had hoped that before this time my journey there would have been over. If charity, as Saint Paul says, means “to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who are glad,” then, dearest mother, you shall rejoice exceedingly that God in his grace and his love for you is showing me the path to true happiness, and assuring me that I shall never lose him.
  • Take care above all things, most honored lady, not to insult God’s boundless loving kindness; you would certainly do this if you mourned as dead one living face to face with God, one whose prayers can bring you in your troubles more powerful aid than they ever could on earth. And our parting will not be for long; we shall see each other again in heaven; we shall be united with our Savior; there we shall praise him with heart and soul, sing of his mercies for ever, and enjoy eternal happiness. From a letter to his mother

Just a quick reminder- (1)

 

 

 

Mary Saves a Wife From the Devil 


There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier. Little did she know that her soldier-husband had made a deal with the devil, that he would sell his wife for a certain sum of money.

One crisp, autumn morning the couple went out for their customary walk. Oddly, this time the young man insisted on heading towards the forest. It was at the forest where he intended to deliver his young bride over to the devil.

On their way to the forest, the couple passed in front of a Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The wife, overtaken with a desire to enter the church begged her husband to allow her to pray a Hail Mary in that church.

As the young lady entered the church, Holy Mary came forth from it, taking the form of the wife and accompanied the man into the forest.

When they at last approached the devil at the forest, he said to the man, “Traitor! Why have you brought me instead of your wife, my enemy, the mother of God?”

“And you,” said Mary, addressing the devil, “how have you dared to think of injuring my servant? Go, flee to hell.”

And then, turning to the man, Mary said to him, “Amend your life, and I will aid you.”

She then disappeared and that wretched man repented, amended his life and became a husband worthy of his simple country wife.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

An Examination of the Soul’s Condition~St.Francis de Sales

 

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1. What is the aspect of your heart with respect to mortal sin? Are you firmly resolved never to commit it, let come what may? And have you kept that resolution from the time you first made it? Therein lies the foundation of the spiritual life.

2. What is your position with respect to the Commandments of God? Are they acceptable, light and easy to you? He who has a good digestion and healthy appetite likes good food, and turns away from that which is bad.

3. How do you stand as regards venial sins? No one can help committing some such occasionally; but are there none to which you have any special tendency, or worse still, any actual liking and clinging?

4. With respect to spiritual exercises—do you like and value them? or do they weary and vex you? To which do you feel most or least disposed, hearing or reading God’s Word, meditating upon it, calling upon God, Confession, preparing for Communion and communicating, controlling your inclinations, etc.? What of all these is most repugnant to you? And if you find that your heart is not disposed to any of these things, examine into the cause, find out whence the disinclination comes.

5. With respect to God Himself—does your heart delight in thinking of God, does it crave after the sweetness thereof? “I remembered Thine everlasting judgments, O Lord, and received comfort,” says David. Do you feel a certain readiness to love Him, and a definite inclination to enjoy His Love? Do you take pleasure in dwelling upon the Immensity, the Goodness, the Tenderness of God? When you are immersed in the occupations and vanities of this world, does the thought of God come across you as a welcome thing? do you accept it gladly, and yield yourself up to it, and your heart turn with a sort of yearning to Him? There are souls that do so.

6. If a wife has been long separated from her husband, so soon as she sees him returning, and hears his voice, however cumbered she may be with business, or forcibly hindered by the pressure of circumstances, her heart knows no restraint, but turns at once from all else to think upon him she loves. So it is with souls which really love God, however engrossed they may be; when the thought of Him is brought before them, they forget all else for joy at feeling. His Dear Presence nigh, and this is a very good sign.

7. With respect to Jesus Christ as God and Man—how does your heart draw to Him? Honey bees seek their delight in their honey, but wasps hover over stinking carrion. Even so pious souls draw all their joy from Jesus Christ, and love Him with an exceeding sweet Love, but those who are careless find their pleasure in worldly vanities.

8. With respect to Our Lady, the Saints, and your Guardian Angel—do you love them well? Do you rejoice in the sense of their guardianship? Do you take pleasure in their lives, their pictures, their memories?

9. As to your tongue—how do you speak of God? Do you take pleasure in speaking His Praise, and singing His Glory in psalms and hymns?

10. As to actions—have you God’s visible glory at heart, and do you delight in doing whatever you can to honour Him? Those who love God will love to adorn and beautify His House. Are you conscious of having ever given up anything you liked, or of renouncing anything for God’s Sake? for it is a good sign when we deprive ourselves of something we care for on behalf of those we love. What have you ever given up for the Love of God?

St.Lutgarde and the Powerful Prayer of the Heavenly Court 


Many were the secrets, shown by God, during her ecstasies to the holy and enlightened virgin, Lutgarde.He wished her to be, as it were, a channel, a trench, along which the stream of the divine graces might flow into the hearts of men. But Lutgarde, in her humility, held herself far too unworthy to be thus used as an instrument.Over and over did God show to her the dangerous state of the sinful world, and the punishments with which He ceaselessly visits sin, seeking to lead men to mend their ways in time, and thus turn the divine anger into mercy and compassion.
In truth, the saint was given the selfsame mission as was entrusted to Bridget, that holy widow, to the most enlightened Tauler, to the Blessed Father Amandus Suso, and to many others, by whose months God likewise told the sinful world of impending chastisements and calamities.
Painful indeed to the saintly Mother were such visions of miseries to come, and in every possible way she strove with all her faculties to avert the divine anger, and to prevent the threatened punishments from falling on the heads of men with so great promptitude and violence.
And thus it fell out that on a day when St. Lutgarde was speaking with a sister in religion on heavenly and spiritual matters, and searching for fresh means to appease the wrath of God, they were both overcome with so intense a longing for the salvation and rescue of sinners, that for very pity their hearts did faint away, and they were consumed with hot and fiery love for God and their fellowmen.
Even as they spoke together quickly and eagerly, they were both overpowered by ecstasy, and in that state lay as dead during four whole days. But while their bodies lay thus, they themselves were led in spirit into the clear light of eternal joy, and they saw the whole heavenly host, and the Most Holy, Undivided Trinity, and heard four Voices sound forth unto the world, three of which issued from the Mouth of the Three Divine Persons, but the fourth from the mouth of the Blessed Virgin.Of the Fourfold Voice in praise of the Prayer of the Heavenly Court (which St. Lutgarde heard in ecstasy)During the four long unbroken days when the holy servant of God and her spiritual sister lay on the ground as though dead, they heard first of all, a Voice from the Divine Mouth of the Heavenly Father, and these were the words spoken: “I will send a Prayer into Christendom, a Prayer which shall be uttered in My honour, and of which I Myself will be the Reward.”
From God the Son, our Redeemer and all our Blessedness, came likewise a Voice, and these were the words spoken: “I will specially guard the bodies and souls of all who seek to honour Me by this Prayer, and will shield them from every transgression and all shameful sins, and fill them to overflowing with My grace and comfort. With the streams of grace that flow from My innocent and bitter passion and death, and which avail for the forgiveness of every kind of sin, I will wash them clean from all their past misdeeds and adorn and enrich their souls with the beauty of goodness.”Similarly, fiery words came from the Divine Mouth of the Holy Spirit, and the words were these: “I will kindle the fire of My Divine love in all who say this Prayer which I now send into the world, and in all for whom it is said.”
Last of all Lutgarde and the Sister saw a clear light shine out from the Queen of Heaven, the glorious Mother of God, and her lips opened, and they heard these words: “All those who use this Devotion and teach others to use it, will I plunge, by means of my intercession, into the unfathomable ocean of mercy of my most dear Son.”

Moreover, as to David long ago (Psalm 83), to both was given a slight foretaste of the sweet joy of Heaven, with an intimation that the high degree of happiness prepared for all who should use this new Prayer surpassed the utmost comprehension of angels and of men.
The two devoted Sisters saw how the Heavenly Court was so exquisitely adorned and ordered with such beauty and regularity that their hearts were not able to grasp it nor their lips to express it.
They saw how the Most Holy Trinity lit up the whole of Heaven with an unutterably clear light; and how the noble Queen Mary, as Mother of the Eternal Wisdom, shone with a radiance incomparably more beautiful than does the hottest mid-day sun.And this all high and holy Court resounds with the most entrancing music, and with the songs of the dear Angels.
There the holy patriarchs and prophets, who had foretold the coming of the Redeemer and longed after it with so great a longing, lifted up their voices in right merry gladness.
There the holy Apostles sit as Judges, because they forsook all on earth to follow Christ, their Lord and Master; and beside them sit the Evangelists, who did so faithfully transmit to us the teaching, life, and miracles of Christ, leaving behind them a record for all future generations of men.There the glorious martyrs reign in triumph – they who yielded up their bodies to a thousand kinds of pain and martyrdom for love of Christ, and by the shedding of their blood deserved to win a heavenly crown.

There stand all glad and joyous the holy priests and confessors who witnessed to the Name of God openly and boldly; and by their side are all the holy virgins, who led down here a life austere and upright, chaste and mortified, silent and hidden.And all these together encircle the vast hall of Heaven like a garland of beautiful red roses and glorious white lilies, filling it with the sweetest perfume, all the while they sing to the Most High God their ceaseless hymn of praise.
Last of all, St. Lutgarde and the Sister saw a great company that no man could number, who by the earnest pursuit of good works had laid hold of salvation, and through the conquest of self, the world, and Satan, had deserved to enter the Heavenly Court, and to enjoy its endless happiness in the company of the blessed.
Now it was revealed to our Saints that in one particular quarter of the Holy City reigned the greatest joy of all the Heavenly Court. Here existed, as it were, a very overflow of happiness, for here the all-sweet odor of Divine love and of every conceivable goodness and virtue, was united to the most soul-entrancing music of the great Song of Praise.
The least little gleam from this spot surpasses all the gleam of a hundred thousand earthly suns. So far indeed does it surpass them, that it was quite useless to try to describe it.St. Lutgarde earnestly besought God that He would show her the Way of Prayer that pleased Him best of all, a very beautiful prayer was infused into her, which comprised in itself the whole of the life and sufferings of Christ. And forthwith her memory retained it so accurately that she repeated it every day with the greatest devotion. The Blessed Virgin told St. Lutgarde that she herself had begged the grace of this Prayer for her. 

The Prayer, as recorded by Father Musaus, runs thus:

O, all-holy and all-merciful Redeemer, Source of all graces, and our most kind Jesus! Out of incomprehensible love for us poor children of Eve, has Thou left Thy seat on the right hand of Thy heavenly Father, and willed to clothe Thyself with our helplessness and poverty.

Nay, the more surely to win us to love Thee in return, Thou hast made Thyself helpless and poor beyond us all. No possible trouble, no possible toil, has Thou spared Thyself in order to save us from the wicked enemy, and make us the children of Thy Father in Heaven.

Bitterly do I grieve that up till now, I, a valueless and wretched worm of earth, have so little understood the excess of Thy Love, and have given Thee such poor thanks for all the hardships, pains and martyrdom Thou has borne for me. 

And therefore do I now offer up to Thee this my unworthy prayer, in honour of Thy most holy life and sufferings and death, and of every year and day and hour Thou didst spend on earth for the salvation of lost and sinful men.

And I offer Thee too, from the inmost depths of my heart, all the myriad acts of praise and love and gratitude of the nine Choirs of holy Angels, and indeed of all creatures from the first moment of their creation until now, and all the acts made by the Most Blessed Virgin Mary with the greatest possible love and devotion since her Immaculate Conception to this very day, together with those she will not cease to make through all the instants of Eternity. 

And I offer Thee these acts that I may thank Thee perfectly for All Thou has done for me:

1. For Thy choice from all Eternity of the Most Blessed Virgin MARY to be the Mother of GOD;

2. For her Immaculate Conception, and her preservation from every spot of original sin, in which all other mortals are conceived and born;

3. For the most pure nativity of Thy Immaculate Mother, which shed a light over the whole world and caused joy in Heaven;

4. For Thine own wonderful Conception by the power of the Holy Ghost in the virgin womb of Thy chosen Mother which was announced by the Archangel Gabriel;

5. For the first journey Thou didst take, hidden in the most pure womb of Thy Holy Mother, a journey over the hills to Thy cousin Elizabeth and her child John – John who, even as Thou didst, then lay hidden;

6. For Thy Holy Nativity, when Thou didst come into the world in the greatest poverty and wast born in a stable amid senseless beasts, without even a pillow on which to lay Thy Sacred Head, or clothes wherewith to warm and protect Thy tender limbs;

7. For the great honour Thou didst vouchsafe to receive from the Adoration of the Three Wise Men and from their costly symbolic gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh;

8. For Thy first blood-shedding at the Circumcision, which Thou didst suffer for our sakes and out of humble obedience to the Law of Moses;

9. For Thy most holy Presentation in the Temple at Jerusalem by Thy Blessed Mother, in accordance with the Law of Moses;

10. For the bitter persecution which began even with Thy tenderest years, and which drove Thee into the godless land of Egypt and kept Thee there for a long space of time;

11. For Thy most dear Mother’s search for Thee, and her joyful finding of Thee amid the doctors in the Temple, after she had sought Thee for three days with bitter grief and pain;

12. For the submission Thou didst show to Mary and Joseph at Nazareth rendering them all manner of humble filial services;

13. For all Thy teaching and preaching, for Thy hard and dangerous journeys, and especially for all the fatigue and toil Thou didst undergo for our salvation;

14. For Thy most holy fast of forty days, and Thy constant, fervent prayers in the desert;

15. For Thy great and glorious miracles, worked to convince the stubborn Jews;

16. For Thine agonized prayer and bloody sweat in the garden of Gethsemane, when shuddering and sorrowful unto death, Thou wert perfectly resigned to Thy Father’s Will;

17. For the false kiss with which the faithless Judas betrayed Thee and delivered Thee into the hands of wicked men;

18. For the painful bands and cruel cords of Thine infamous captors, and for their grievous dragging and pulling of Thee over stones and through water and briars;

19. For the many false accusations devised and brought against Thy most holy Person before Annas and Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod;

20. For the most painful treatment meted out to Thee when Thou wast ignominiously drawn from one unjust Judge to another;

21. For the hard and worse than blasphemous blow Thou didst receive on Thy most Holy Face from a servant of the High Priest;

22. For the copious and most painful blood-shedding when every part of Thy most holy Body was torn by the rods and scourges of the executioners;

23. For Thy nakedness, and the bitter shame Thou didst experience when most of Thy garments were torn from Thee and Thou wert thus bound to the pillar before all the crowd;

24. For the jeering, scoffing, and mock genuflections by which godless Jews ridiculed Thee to Thy holy Face;

25. For the sharp pressure on Thy sacred Head of the crown of thorns, which caused Thy Precious Blood to flow down over Thy Face;

26. For Thy piteous appearance before Pilate, who by his exclamation BEHOLD THE MAN tried to move the people to compassion;

27. For the sentence pronounced on Thee by Pilate, for the manner in which Thou wast led forth to die, and for the heavy weight of the Cross;

28. For Thy dolorous meeting with Thy sorrow-stricken Mother and the other holy women who had followed Thee on the Path to Calvary and shed tears of pity over Thee;

29. For the painful removal of most of Thy clothing to the renewal of Thy wounds, and for the merciless nailing to the wood of the Cross, as also for all the priceless words spoken on the Cross, and the final surrender of Thy Spirit;

30. For Thy glorious Resurrection on the third day after Thy sufferings, when Thou didst appear to Thy Mother, Thy Disciples and Apostles, and after that to many others;

31. For Thy wonderful Ascension into Heaven and glorious return to Thy Heavenly Father, when Thine earthly pilgrimage was ended and Thou hadst triumphed victoriously over the world and Satan;

32. For the wonderful fiery Descent of the Holy Ghost on Thy disciples and Apostles and Thy most beloved Mother on the holy Day of Pentecost;

33. For the lordly triumph Thou didst celebrate when Thou didst assume Thy beloved Mother, body and soul, into heaven;

34. For Thy festival of joy, in which were associated Father and Holy Ghost, at the exaltation of Thy most glorious Mother over all the Choirs of Angels, and at her Coronation as the Queen of Heaven;

For all these, and more especially for every beat of Thy Heart and every act of love, for all Thy thoughts and desires, for all the silent and the uttered prayers which Thou didst offer while on earth, and still dost offer in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar – for all these I tender Thee a thousand thanks, and ask Thee most humbly that Thou wouldst grant to me and to all who have commended themselves to my prayers, or for who I ought to pray, perfect contrition for our sins and a firm determination never again to offend Thy Divine Majesty, together with the grace of final perseverance. Grant that I and all men may enjoy Thy grace here, and after this toilsome life is over may be received into the company of Thine elect, and be united with them to the Source of Eternal Joy – which is none but Thou Thyself, O dearest Lord. And may we be permitted to gaze at last on Thy most holy Face, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest, God, for ever and ever. Amen.


St. Lutgarde used to exhort those whom she instructed as to the aforesaid God-revealed Prayer, to say a thousand Paters and as many Ave Marias, and Glorias, in honour of each of the thirty-four mysteries, and this too she doubtless had from God. But because the Prayer thus said might easily degenerate into an empty, mechanical repetition, the Saint advised that with every thousand Paters, Aves and Glorias, a short meditation be made on one of the thirty-four mysteries into which she had divided the whole of the life and sufferings of our Lord: and she wished these mysteries to be contemplated in the selfsame order in which she had arranged them. (While your lips pronounce the words of the prayers, let your mind picture the Mystery.)
This contemplation of the mysteries of Jesus was repeatedly enjoined on the Saint in her intercourse with Heaven as being the very soul of the Prayer of the Heavenly Court. “If a man would take the direct path to my treasure-room,” said the Lord to her once, “let him exercise himself in meditating on My life and My love, and give up his own will. If a man would but consider what I have done for him and all I have given him, never again would he so rouse My anger.”
The Blessed Virgin revealed to our Saint that what she desired before all else in this Devotion was that men should contemplate therein the mysteries of her Son. And with these words did she begin her discourse: “Daughter, put on thy clothes, and fasten on thy collar—that is, the passion of my Son.”“Do thou fasten it on for me,” begged Lutgarde.“That will I do,” replied the Mother of God, “and I will tell thee of the sufferings wherewith my Son was clothed:” And forthwith Mary began to relate to the Saint all the mysteries of the life and passion of her Son in the very same order which Lutgarde, remembering her words, afterwards adopted, and at the end of each she added: “Contemplate this mystery, O my daughter, and keep it ever before thine eyes.” The Saint was also shown a soul who by meditating on the mysteries of Jesus Christ had been fired with a little spark of the Divine love, and had thereby attained to eternal happiness.
It followed as a matter of course that Lutgarde should before all things demand an inner, spiritual activity, before the Prayer revealed to her in honour of the mysteries of Christ could find favour with God. This spiritual activity on the part of those who said it, was to find its outlet in considerations and loving contemplations. And in this way the outward form and construction of the Prayer could by no means be called superfluous or insignificant. Again and again had the Saint heard various oral prayers offered aloud and in common by members of the Society of the Heavenly Court, such as the Te Deum, Pange Lingua, Glory be to the Father, with many another; she could not possibly, therefore, have attributed a purely subordinate importance to the oral prayers or outward form of the Devotion revealed to her.
Moreover, the Saint permitted an alteration to those who used the Devotion more frequently. Instead of the continued repetition of each thousand Our Fathers, they might either assist at a Holy Mass, or give an alms, or follow the Way of the Cross, or say the Psalter, or make a Novena; and in this wise, thirty-four Masses, gifts of alms, days of fasting, Ways of the Cross, Psalters, Novenas, and so forth, made with heartfelt devotion, would serve to merit the favors attached to the Prayer of the Heavenly Court.
Some wonders narrated by St. Lutgarde and others of the Prayer of the Heavenly Court
Once the holy Mother Lutgarde saw our.dear Lord Jesus Christ in a vision after the following manner: He hung on a Cross, and fresh Blood was streaming from all His Sacred Wounds. And men were turning towards this stream of the Precious Blood, in such fashion that some received That Which flowed from the Heart, and others again That Which flowed from the Feet of the Saviour. By means of this picture God taught the Saint that through the Prayer of the Heavenly Court many men should be saved and brought to eternal blessedness.

But a number of men despised these rivers of grace and turned away from them, and these the holy Mother saw hurled with ignominy into a deep abyss.A nun of the Order founded by St. Francis, presumably attached to the Convent of Wittichen, had grave doubts of the Prayer of the Heavenly Court and of its efficacy, and she besought God to enlighten her on the matter and to remove the temptation. And in truth her doubts were soon resolved by a secret and Divine communication, which she did indeed keep hidden, but which had the result that she afterwards took every opportunity of seeking out persons who would follow in common with her the Devotion of the Heavenly Court. She even made an occasion of speaking of this Prayer, so rich in graces, to the Abbess of a neighboring Convent, who, however, gave but little credence to her words. “In good sooth” (so ran her answer), “we have a number of more beautiful and more spiritual prayers in our Convent, and, my daughters can make use of these at choice; nor have we any time to devote to so long and troublesome a Prayer.”
But during the ensuing night, the Holy Mother of God appeared to the Abbess, reproved her for those words, and herself instructed her as to the great power of this Prayer.
The result was that not only did the Abbess and all her daughters make use of the Prayer from that day forth, but they did all that in them lay to induce others to do the same.
The Prayer of the Heavenly Court has extraordinary power and efficacy
Quite remarkable are the words in which our Lord revealed to His servant Lutgarde the merit and power of the Devotion of the Heavenly Court, and the exceeding great pleasure which He Himself took in it.
“Whosoever,” said He to her, “shall piously and devoutly recite this Prayer, to him will I in My great mercy give thirty-four human souls; that is to say, for his sake I will rescue from everlasting death, thirty-four human souls who had otherwise died in sin.
“For his sake too, I will release thirty-four souls from Purgatory. But as for the man himself who had made this Prayer, his reward shall be multiplied as the grass of the field, whose blades no one can number.
“And even should such a man have always acted in times past against My Will, yet as soon as ever he begins this Prayer with grief and contrition for his sins, and a firm purpose of amendment, I will forgive all his iniquities; nor will I ever remember his misdeeds in Eternity, but will utterly remit and forget them.
“And if such a man, during the course of this Prayer, should be called to depart from this transitory life, then will I come with My Angels to accompany him on his last journey, and to the sound of celestial music will conduct his soul to the threshold of Eternity, where I Myself dwell, and where he shall rejoice for ever in the company of My Mother, the constant Advocate of Sinners, and of all My Saints.”
THE PRAYER OF THE HEAVENLY COURT IS REVEALED TO OTHERS ALSO
It fell out that certain pious persons had banded themselves together for the serving of God with zeal. They cherished a heartfelt devotion to the Crucified Jesus, strove to follow His footsteps, and were indeed not only filled with care for their own salvation, but also with deep concern for the souls of their fellowmen. On this account, they sought by all manner of good deeds, and by humble and persevering prayer, to appease the anger of God aroused by the sins of the world, and to restore to all poor sinners the grace which they had lost.
Untiringly, they begged the Queen of Heaven to show them a means by which her beloved Son might be appeased, and the punishments so well deserved averted from men. And presently the Mother of Mercy heard their fervent, loving request, and obtained from her Son that one of that pious company should seem for a time to all appearance dead, though in reality she was rapt in ecstasy.
When she was come once more to herself, she sought out her companions and told them as follows: “Great is the wrath of God against all misdeeds and transgressions of men, and right severely does He intend to punish the world. God has shown me the pains and torments reserved for those who without confession or repentence sin on until their life’s end and die impenitent. And so great are these pains and torments that it were little wonder if they caused the hard rock itself to split in pieces and to sweat blood.
“But it was also given to me to see the joy of those who depart from this life in true penitence. So great is their joy that no Angel nor man can possibly understand it. And I have likewise seen how the Mother of Mercy never ceases to intercede with her Son for all mankind, and how once again her prayer is even now about to be granted.
“For last of all God spoke to me: ‘Thou shalt go back into thy body out of which I have called thee, and this shalt thou tell to men: That in My praise, in honour of My all-holy life and sufferings and death, and in grateful remembrance of all the insults, shame and scorn I bore from sinners—in honour of all this, they are to say thirty-four thousand Our Fathers, and as many Hail Marys, and Glory be to the Fathers. They may, however, instead of each thousand Our Fathers, etc., say or cause to be said a Holy Mass, or give an alms according to their means, or fast for a day with contrite devotion’.”
HOW THE HOLY EXERCISE ALREADY SO OFTEN REVEALED IS ANNOUNCED TO YET ANOTHER RELIGIOUS
From the time that God thus revealed the Devotion to one of the holiest of its members, the Prayer of the Heavenly Court was generally adopted by the aforesaid devout Society. Now there chanced to be in its number a certain nun of eighteen years standing, who served the Lord in all fervour. After she had for a long time known the Prayer of the Heavenly Court, and had used it with the greatest devotion, she also (as St. Lutgarde before Her) was favored with a revelation from God and was commanded to teach and explain the Prayer to others.
Accordingly, she addressed herself to a good friend and faithful, and besought him, since she herself was now very aged and severed from the world by her vows, to take upon himself the furtherance and propagation of the Prayer of the Heavenly Court. He promised her to do so, yet forgot, as it seems, to fulfill his undertaking, or was indeed little reminded to trouble himself about the new Devotion, which seemed to him overly difficult.
But one day, when he was assisting at an early Mass, all his strength suddenly left him, so that those around deemed him dead. In this state he remained until the hour of Vespers; but meanwhile, being of a truth in ecstasy and all astounded, the Prayer of the Heavenly Court was shown to him by God after this manner. It seemed to him that he saw an Altar, sparkling as it were with beautiful dark red gems, and at the Altar stood a Priest. A great company of people, some of whom were clad like Kings and Potentates and victorious Knights, others like Bishops, but very many like ordinary lay persons drew near to the Priest, who, standing at the Altar, gave his blessing to each division, and each, as it advanced, was greater than the preceding one.
The “good friend and faithful” of the holy nun was astonished beyond measure at this unexpected sight; but, at the bidding of God, his Guardian Angel thus explained the vision to him: “The Altar thou didst see is the Most Sacred Heart of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Which is ceaselessly filled with deepest longing and unquenchable thirst for the salvation of souls. From out this Most Pure Heart sprang the prayer which men call the Prayer of the Heavenly Court.
“The Priest Who stands at the Altar represents the Eternal and Divine Being Who blesses mankind. And they who draw near to the Altar signify those who use the Prayer. Among those are some who have gone through the Prayer once, others who have gone through it twice, others again who have gone through it many times. Therefore did these last bear themselves as Kings and Princes and the Mighty of the earth; those who have prayed it once as victorious Knights; while those who wear the guise of ordinary lay people, signify all who did indeed begin the Prayer of the Heavenly Court, but never reached the end.
“Those clad as Bishops are such as have applied themselves to spread the Devotion of the Heavenly Court, and to instruct others therein.”
Now, when the person to whom this befell came out of this ecstasy towards the hour of Vespers, he related all that he had seen and heard, adding: “The Prayer which the Lord God deigns to reward in such diverse ways is called in God the Father, ‘A Flowery Paradise’; In God the Son, ‘A Crown of Chivalry’; and in God the Holy Ghost, ‘A Benign and Ever-Open Place of Refuge and Consolation’.”
And henceforth this same man, once so full of ill-will and vexation concerning the Prayer of the Heavenly Court, busied himself in explaining to all, as far as lay in his power, the right manner in which to say it, and the glorious profit to be drawn from its use.

How by means of this Prayer a women frees her mother from Purgatory

Among many others to whom God disclosed the Prayer of the Heavenly Court, a certain woman who had under- taken it on behalf of her own mother, did most particularly experience its holy and wonderful power.For after she had finished the Prayer, she saw in spirit her dead mother in the midst of a great company of people, walking in a fair and spacious meadow wherein grew all manner of beautiful and fragrant flowers. And when she accosted her mother, she got this answer: “Speak to her who walks last of all in the company.” The daughter therefore, let all the happy crowd pass by, until she perceived at the rear of the procession a marvelously beautiful Queen, who shone with greater brilliance than the sun.
“O most wonderful and beautiful Queen!” cried the woman, with deepest humility, “let it not anger thee, I meekly pray, if I beg thee to tell me what people these may be whose footsteps cause no hurt at all to flowers or grass.”And the Queen of Heaven made answer: “These are they who have been saved by the Prayer of the Heavenly Court, and I conduct them myself into the Land of Eternal Life where their joy shall never end.”
“And, along with this vast company, I will come to the deathbed of every soul who has said this Prayer, or for whom another has said it. All such souls will I protect from evil spirits in their last hour, and will lead them to my dearest Son in the Land of Eternal Bliss, and He Himself will be their Everlasting Reward.”

To this, the Reverend Father Musaus adds: “O, if only men would prize as they deserve to be prized the merits of this Prayer and the joys which flow from it! Then, indeed, would they hold it in right high honour, nor would they so easily let slide many a time an opportunity of using it.”
The main purpose of this devotion then is to make Christ live in the lives of men. By contemplating the 34 Mysteries over and over again, the Life of Christ becomes a Reality, the main focus-point and a pattern for our lives. 

For subject matter on the 34 Mysteries, use the Sacred Scriptures, especially the Gospels, “Way of Divine Love,” “Divine Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary,” “The Path to Glory,” etc.
THE HEAVENLY COURT
In giving this prayer to St. Lutgarde in 1246 Jesus said, “Whosoever shall piously and devoutly recite this Prayer, to him will I in My great mercy give 34 human souls; rescue from everlasting death 34 human souls who would other- wise die in sin . . . For his sake too, I will release 34 souls from Purgatory. As for the man himself who had made this prayer, his reward shall be multiplied as the grass of the field whose blades no one can number.”Dividing His life and suffering into 34 Mysteries Our Lord requested that we say 1000 Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glory be’s for each Mystery and for the most spiritual merit picture in our mind the Mystery as we say the prayers. No time limit was set but our intention must be to complete it in our lifetime.

Saint Lutgardis~First Stigmatist in Church History  


Lutgardis was born at Tongeren in 1182. She was admitted into the Benedictine monastery of St. Catherine near Sint-Truiden at the age of twelve, not because of a vocation but because her dowry had been lost in a failed business venture. She was attractive, fond of nice clothes and liked to enjoy herself. For Lutgarde, as for so many other women of her time, the cloister represented a socially acceptable alternative to the disgrace of unmarried life in the world.She lived in the convent for several years without having much interest in religious life. She could come and go as she pleased, and received visitors of both sexes.
According to her Vita, it was in the parlour, a welcome break in the monotony of monastic observance, that she was visited with a vision of Jesus showing her his wounds, and at age twenty she made her solemn profession as a Benedictine nun.Some of the sisters predicted that her change in behavior would not last. Instead, she became even more devout. Over the next dozen years, she had many visions of Jesus, Mary and St. John the Evangelist.Robert Bellarmine relates a story that Pope Innocent III, when recently deceased, appeared to Lutgardis in her monastery to thank her for the prayers and sacrifices she had offered for him during his reign as Roman Pontiff.

Accounts of her life state that she experienced ecstasies, levitated, and dripped blood from her forehead and hair when entranced. She refused the honor of serving as abbess. However, in 1205, she was chosen to be prioress of her community.

In 1208, at Aywières (Awirs), near Liège, she joined the Cistercians, a stricter order, on the advice of her friend Christina the Astonishing. The nuns of Aywières spoke French, not Lutgarde’s native Flemish. Despite her efforts, she found the French tongue impossible to master. Living, working, and praying in the midst of her sisters she experienced a loneliness and solitude that she had never known before.Nonetheless, she contributed powerful images to the developing Christocentric mysticism.

The prolific multiplication of Cistercian monasteries of women in the Low Countries obliged the White Nuns to turn to the newly founded friars, disciples of Francis and Dominic, rather than to their brother monks, for spiritual and sacramental assistance. Lutgarde was a friend and mother to the early Dominicans and Franciscans, supporting their preaching by her prayer and fasting, offering them hospitality, ever eager for news of their missions and spiritual conquests. Her first biographer relates that the friars named her mater praedicatorum, the mother of preachers.

Lutgardis was one of the great precursors of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The first recorded mystic revelation of Christ’s heart is that of St Lutgardis.According to Thomas Merton, Lutgardis “…entered upon the mystical life with a vision of the pierced Heart of the Saviour, and had concluded her mystical espousals with the Incarnate Word by an exchange of hearts with Him.”When, in a visitation, Christ came to Lutgarde, offering her whatever gift of grace she should desire, she asked for a better grasp of Latin, that she might better understand the Word of God and lift her voice in choral praise. Christ granted her request and, after a few days, Lutgarde’s mind was flooded with the riches of psalms, antiphons, readings and responsories. However,a painful emptiness persisted. With disarming candour she returned to Christ, asking to return His gift, and wondering if she might, just possibly, exchange it for another. “And for what would you exchange it?” Christ asked. “Lord, said Lutgarde, I would exchange it for your Heart.” Christ then reached into Lutgarde and, removing her heart, replaced it with His own, at the same time hiding her heart within His breast.

During this time she is known to have shown gifts of healing and prophecy, and was an adept at teaching the Gospels.She was blind for the last eleven years of her life, and died of natural causes at Aywières. According to tradition, she experienced a vision in which Christ informed her of her death. She died on June 16, 1246, the day after the Feast of the Holy Trinity, St Lutgardis is considered one of the leading mystics of the 13th century.

Spiritual  Motherhood~The Nun and the Bishop 

Each of us owes gratitude for our lives and our vocations to the prayers and sacrifices of others.One of the leading gures of the German episcopacy of the 19th century,and among the founders of Catholic sociology, Bishop Ketteler owed his gratitude to a simple nun, the least and poorest lay sister of her convent.

in 1869, a German diocesan bishop was sitting  together with his guest, Bishop Ket-teler from Mainz. During the course of their conversation, the diocesan bishop brought up his guest’s extremely blessed apostolate.Bishop Ketteler explained to his host, “I owe thanks for everything that I have accom-plished with God’s help, to the prayer and sacrifice of someone I do not even know. I can only say that I know somebody has offered his or her whole life to our loving God for me,and I have this sacrafice to thank that I even became a priest.”

He continued, “Originally, I wasn’t plan-ning on becoming a priest. I had already finished my law degree and thought only about finding an important place in the world to begin acquiring honour, prestige and wealth.An extraordinary experience held me back and directed my life down a different path.

“One evening I was alone in my room, con-sidering my future plans of fame and fortune,when something happened which I cannot ex-plain. Was I awake or asleep? Did I really see it or was it just a dream? One thing I do know, it brought about a change in my life. I saw Jesus very clearly and distinctly standing over me in a radiant cloud, showing me his Sacred Heart.A nun was kneeling before him, her hands raised up in prayer. From his mouth, I heard the words, ‘She prays unremittingly for you!’“I distinctly saw the appearance of the sister, and her traits made such an impression on me that she has remained in my memory to this day. She seemed to be quite an ordi-nary lay sister. Her clothing was very poor and rough. Her hands were red and calloused from hard work. Whatever it was, a dream or not, it was extraordinary. It shook me to the depths of my being so that from that moment on, I decided to consecrate myself to God in the service of the priesthood.


“I withdrew to a monastery for a retreat,and I talked about everything with my confes-sor. Then, at the age of 30, I began studying theology. You know the rest of the story. So, if you think that I have done something admi-rable, now you know who really deserves the credit—a religious sister who prayed for me,maybe without even knowing who I was. I am convinced, I was prayed for and I will contin-ue to be prayed for in secret and that without these prayers, I could never have reached the goal that God has destined for me.”

“Do you have any idea of the wherea-bouts or the identity of who has prayed for you?” asked the diocesan bishop.

No, I can only ask God each day that, while she is still on earth, he bless and repay her a thousand-fold for what she has done for me.”
The next day, Bishop Ketteler visited a convent of sisters in a nearby city and cele-brated Holy Mass in their chapel. He was dis-tributing Holy Communion to the last row of sisters when one of them suddenly caught his eye. His face grew pale, and he stood there,motionless. Finally regaining his composure,he gave Holy Communion to the sister who was kneeling in recollection unaware of his hesitation. He then concluded the liturgy.

The bishop who had invited him the pre-vious day came and joined him at the convent for breakfast. When they had finished, Bishop Ketteler asked the Mother Superior to present to him all the sisters in the house. Before long she had gathered all the sisters together, and both bishops went to meet them. Bishop Ket-teler greeted them, but it was apparent that he did not find the one he was looking for.

He quietly asked the Mother Superior,

“Are all the sisters really here?”

She looked over the group of sisters and then said, “Your Excellency, I called them all,but, in fact, one of them is not here.”

“Why didn’t she come?”

“She works in the barn,” answered the superior, “and in such a commendable way that, in her enthusiasm, she sometimes for-gets other things.”

“I would like to see that sister,” requested the Bishop.


A little while later, the sister who had been summoned stepped into the room. Again bishop Ketteler turned pale, and after a few words to all the sisters, he asked if he could be alone with the sister who had just come in.

“Do you know me?” he asked her.

“I have never seen Your Excellency before.”

“Have you ever prayed for me or offered up a good deed for me?” he wanted to know.“I do not recall that I have ever heard of Your Excellency.”

The Bishop was silent for a few moments and then he asked, “Do you have a particular devotion that you like?”

“The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Je-sus,” was the response.

“You have, it seems, the most difficult task in the convent,” he continued.

“Oh no, Your Excellency” the sister coun-tered, “but I cannot lie, it is unpleasant for me.”

“And what do you do when you have such temptations against your work?”

“For things that cost me greatly, I grew ac-customed to facing them with joy and enthusi-asm out of love for God, and then I offer them up for one soul on earth. To whom God chooses to be gracious as a result, I have left completely up to him and I do not need to know who he chooses..I also offer up my time of Eucharistic adoration every evening from 8 to 9 for this intention.”

“Where did you get the idea to offer up all your merits for someone totally unknown to you?”

“I learned it while I was still out in the world,” she replied. “At school our teacher,the parish priest, taught us how we can pray and offer our merits for our relatives. Besides that, he said that we should pray much for those who are in danger of being lost. Sinceonly God knows who really needs prayer, it is best to put your merits at the disposition of the sacred Heart of Jesus trusting in his wisdom and omnipotence. That is what I have done,”she concluded, “and I always believed that God would find the right soul.”

“How old are you?” Ketteler asked.

“Thirty-three, Your Excellency,” she answered.

The Bishop paused a moment. Then he asked her, “When were you born?” The sister stated her day of birth. The Bishop gasped; her birth-day was the day of his conversion! Back then he saw her exactly as she was before him now. “And have you any idea whether your prayers and sacrifices have been successful?” he asked her further.

“No, Your Excellency.”

“Don’t you want to know?”

“Our dear God knows when something good happens, and that is enough,” was the simple answer.

The Bishop was shaken. “So continue this work in the name of the Lord,” he said. The sister knelt down immediately at his feet and asked for his blessing. The Bishop solemnly raised his hands and said with great emotion, “With the power entrusted to me as a bishop, I bless your soul, I bless your hands and their work, I bless your prayers sacrifices, your self-renunciation and your obedience. I bless especial-ly your final hour and ask God to assist you with all his consolation.”“Amen,” the sister answered calmly, then stood up and left.


The Bishop, profoundly moved, stepped over to the window inorder to compose himself. Some time later, he said good-bye to the  mother  Superior and returned to the apartment of his bishop friend. He confided to him, “Now I found the one I have to thank for my vocation.It is the lowest and poorest lay sister of that convent. I cannot thank God enough for his mercy because this sister has prayed for me for almost 20 years. On the day she first saw the light of the world, God worked my conversion accepting in advance her future prayers and works.

“What a lesson and a reminder for me! Should I become tempted to vanity by a certain amount of success or by my good works, then I can affirm in truth: You have the prayer and sacrifice  of a poor maid in a convent stall to thank. And when a small and lowly task appears of lit-tle value to me, then I will also remember the fact: what this maid does in humble obedience to God, making a sacrifice  by overcoming herself,is so valuable before the Lord Our God that her merits have given rise to a bishop for the Church.”