St.Joan of Arc~Heroine of France 

On January 6, 1412, Joan of Arc was born to pious parents of the French peasant class in the obscure village of Domremy, near the province of Lorraine. At a very early age, she was said to have heard the voices of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret.

At first the messages were personal and general, but when she was 13-years-old, she was in her father’s garden and had visions of Saint Michael, Saint Catherine, and Saint Margaret, each of whom told her to drive the English from French territory. They also asked that she bring the Dauphin to Reims for his coronation.

After their messages were delivered and the saints departed, Joan cried, as “they were so beautiful.”


When she was sixteen-years-old, she asked her relative, Durand Lassois, to take her to Vaucouleurs, where she petitioned Robert de Baudricourt, the garrison commander, for permission to visit the French Royal Court in Chinon.

Despite Baudricourt’s sarcastic response to her request, Joan returned the following January and left with the support of two of Baudricourt’s soldiers: Jean de Metz and Bertrand de Poulengy.

Jean de Metz admitted Joan had confided in him, saying, “I must be at the King’s side … there will be no help if not from me. Although I would rather have remained spinning [wool] at my mother’s side … yet must I go and must I do this thing, for my Lord wills that I do so.”

With Metz and Poulengy at her side, Joan met Baudricourt and predicted a military reversal at the Battle of Rouvray near Orléans, which were confirmed several days later by a messenger’s report. When Baudricourt realized the distance of the battle’s location and the time it would have taken Joan to make the journey, he concluded she had seen the reversal by Divine revelation, which caused him to believe her words.

Once she had Baudricourt’s belief, Joan was granted an escort to Chinon through hostile Burgundian territory. For her safety, she was escorted while dressed as a male soldier, which later led to charges of cross-dressing, but her escorts viewed as a sound precaution.


Two members of her escort confirmed they and the people of Vaucouleurs gave her the clothing and had been the ones to suggest she don the outfit.

When she arrived in the Royal Court, she met in a private conference with Charles VII and won his trust. Yolande of Aragon, Charles’ mother-in-law, planned a finance relief expedition to Orléans and Joan asked to travel with the army while wearing armor, which the Royal government agreed to. They also provided Joan’s armor and she depended on donations for everything she took with her.

With a donated horse, sword, banner, armor, and more, Joan arrived to Orléans and quickly turned the Anglo-French conflict into a religious war.

Charles’ advisors worried Joan’s claims of doing God’s work could be twisted by his enemies, who could easily claim she was a sorceress, which would link his crown to works of the devil. To prevent accusations, the Dauphin ordered background inquiries and a theological exam at Poitiers to verify Joan’s claims.

In April 1429, the commission of inquiry “declared her to be of irreproachable life, a good Christian, possessed of the virtues of humility, honesty and simplicity.” Rather than deciding on whether or not Joan was acting on the basis of divine inspiration, theologians at Poitiers told the Dauphin there was a “favorable presumption” on the divine nature of her mission.


Charles was satisfied with the report but theologians reminded him Joan must be tested. They claimed, “[t]o doubt or abandon her without suspicion of evil would be to repudiate the Holy Spirit and to become unworthy of God’s aid.”

They suggested her test should be a test of her claim to lift the siege of Orléans, as she originally predicted would happen.

In response to the test, Joan arrived at Orléans on April 29, 1429, where Jean d’Orléans, the acting head of the ducal family of Orléans, ensured she was excluded from war councils and kept ignorant of battles.

During the five months prior to Joan’s arrival to Orléans, the French had only attempted one offensive assault, which resulted in their defeat, but after her arrival, things began to change.

Though Joan claimed the army was always commanded by a nobleman and that she never killed anyone in battle since she preferred only to carry her banner, which she preferred “forty times” better than a sword, several noblemen claimed she greatly effected their decisions since they accepted she gave Divinely inspired advice.

On May 4, the Armagnacs captured the fortress of Saint Loup and the next day led to fortress Saint-Jean-le-Blanc, which was deserted. With Joan at the army’s side, English troops approached the army to stop their advance but a cavalry charge was all it took to turn the English away without a fight.

The Armagnacs captured an English fortress build around the Les Augustins monastery and attacked the English stronghold Les Tourelles on May 7. Joan was shot with an arrow between her neck and shoulder as she held her banner outside Les Tourelles, but returned to encourage the final assault to take the fortress. The next day, the English retreated from Orléans and the siege was over.


When Joan was in Chinon and Poitiers, she had declared she would show a sign at Orléans, which many believe was the end of the siege. Following the departure of the Englihs, prominent clergymen began to support her, including the Archbishop of Embrun and the theologian Jean Gerson, each of which wrote supportive treatises.

After the Orléans victory, Joan was able to persuade Charles VII to allow her to march into other battles to reclaim citis, each of which ended in victory. When the military supplies began to dwindle, they reached Troyes, where Brother Richard, a wandering friar, had warned the city about the end of the world and was able to convince them to plant beans, which yields an early harvest. Just as the beans ripened, Joan and the army arrived and was able to restore their supplies.

Following their march to Troyes, Joan and the French military made its way to Paris, where politicians failed to secure Duke Philip of Burgundy’s agreement to a truce. Joan was present at the following battles and suffered a leg wound from a crossbow bolt. Despite one failed mission – taking La-Charité-sur-Loire” – Joan and her family were ennobled by Charles VII in reward of her actions on the battlefield.

A truce with England came following Joan’s ennoblement but was quickly broken. When Joan traveled to Compičgne to help defend against an English and Burgundian siege, she was captured by Burgundian troops and held for a ransom of 10,000 livres tournois. There were several attempts to free her and Joan made many excape attempts, including jumping from her 70-foot (21m) tower, landing on the soft earth of a dry moat, but to no avail. She was eventually sold to the English for 10,000 gold coins and was then tried as a heretic and witch in a trial that violated the legal process of the time.

Clerical notary Nicolas Bailly, who was responsible to collect testimony against Joan, was unable to find any evidence against her. Without evidence, the courts lacked grounds to initiate trial but one was opened anyway. They denied Joan the right to a legal advisor and filled the tribunal with pro-English clergy rather than meeting the medieval Church’s requirement to balance the group with impartial clerics.

When the first public examination opened, Joan pointed out that the partisans were against her and she asked for “ecclesiastics of the French side” to provide balance, but her request was denied.

Jean Lemaitre, the Vice-Inquisitor of Northern France, objected to the trial from the beginning and many eyewitnesses later reported he was forced to cooperate after the English threatened to kill him. Other members of the clergy were threatened when they refused as well, so the trial continued.

The trial record includes statements from Joan that eyewitnesses later claimed astonished the court since she was an illiterate peasant who was able to escape theological traps. The most well-known exchange was when Joan was “[a]sked if she knew she was in God’s grace, she answered: ‘If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me.'”

The question is a trap because the church doctrine was that no one could be certain of being in God’s grace. If she answered yes, she would have been charged with heresy, but if she answered no, she would have been confessing her own guilt. Notary Boisguillaume later testified that “[t]hose who were interrogating her were stupefied.”

Many members of the tribunal later testified important parts of the transcript were altered.

Joan was held in a secular prison guarded by English soldiers, instead of being in an ecclesiastical prison with nuns as her guards per Inquisitorial guidelines. When Joan appealed to the Council of Basel and the Pope to be placed in a proper prison, Bishop Cauchon denied her request, which would have stopped his proceeding.

While imprisoned, Joan wore military clothing so she could tie her clothing together, making it harder to be raped. There was no protection in a dress, and a few days after she started wearing one she told a tribunal member that “a great English lord had entered her prison and tried to take her by force.” Following the attempted rape, Joan returned to wearing male clothing as a precaution and to raise her defenses against molestation.

Jean Massieu testified her dress had been taken by the guards and she had nothing else to wear.

When she returned to male clothing, she was given another count of hersy for cross-dressing, though it was later disputed by the inquisitor presiding over court appeals after the war. He found that cross-dressing should be evaluated based on context, including the use of clothing as protection against rape if it offered protection.

In accordance to the inquisitor’s doctrine, Joan would have been justified in wearing armor on a battlefield, men’s clothing in prison and dressing as a pageboy when traveling through enemy territory.

The Chronique de la Pucelle states it deterred molestation when Joan was camped in the field but she donned a dress when men’s garments were unnecessary.

Clergy who testified at the posthumous appellate trial confirmed that she wore male clothing in prison to deter molestation.


Though the Poitiers record did not survive the test of time, Joan had referred the court to the Poitiers inquiry when questioned about her clothing and circumstances indicate the Poitiers clerics approved the practive. She had also kept her hair short through the military campaigns and during her imprisonment, which Inquisitor Brehal, theologian Jean Gerson and all of Joan’s supporters understood was for practical reasons.

Despite the lack of incriminating evidence, Joan was condemned and sentenced to die in 1431.

Eyewitness accounts of Joan’s execution by burning on May 30, 1431 describe how she was tied to a tall pillar at the Vieux-Marché in Rouen. She asked Fr. Martin Ladvenu and Fr. Isambart de la Pierre to hold a crucifix before her and an English soldier made a small cross she put in the front of her dress. After she died, the English raked the coals to expose her body so no one could spread rumors of her escaping alive, then they burned her body two more times to reduce it to ashes so no one could collect relics. After burning her body to ash, the English threw her remains into the Seine River and the executioner, Geoffroy Thérage, later said he “… greatly feared to be damned.”

In 1452, during an investigation into Joan’s execution, the Church declared a religious play in her honor at Orléans would let attendees gain an indulgence by making a pilgrimage to the event.

A posthumous retrial opened following the end of the war. Pope Callixtus III authorized the proceeding, which has also been called the “nullification trial,” after Inquisitor-General Jean Bréhal and Joan’s mother Isabelle Romée requested it.

The trial was meant to determine if Joan’s condemnation was justly handled, and of course at the end of the investication Joan received a formal appeal in November 1455 and the appellate court declared Joan innocent on July 7 1456.

Joan of Arc was a symbol of the Catholic League during the 16th century and when Félix Dupanloup was made bishop of Orléans in 1849, he pronounced a panegyric on Joan of Arc and led efforts leading to Joan of Arc’s beatification in 1909. On May 16, 1920, Pope Benedict XV canonized her.

Source:catholic.org


Pictured above are pictures from my pilgrimage to France where I was blessed to visit the site where Joan of Arc’s trial took place which was turned into a cathedral,the cross above marks the spot where St.Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.Before being burning at the stake she said:”Hold the cross high so that I may see it through the flames!” and her last words were:”Jesus,Jesus,Jesus”!A plaque leading to the river memorializes the memory of St.Joan of Arc.To prevent zealous Catholics who believed in Joan’s innocence and already thought her to be a saint,Joan’s enemies had her ashes thrown into the river so no relics of her could ever be obtained.

St.Phillip Neri~The Saint of Joy


St. Philip Neri was a Christian missionary and founder of the Congregation of the Oratory, a community of Catholic priests and lay brothers.
He was born in Florence on July 21, 1515 as one of four children to Francesco Neri.
From a very young age, Philip was known for being cheerful and obedient. He was affectionately referred to as “good little Phil.” He received his early teachings from friars at the Dominican monastery in Florence, San Marco.
At 18-years-old, Philip went off to live with a wealthy family member in San Germano. He was sent there to assist in – and possibly inherit – the family business. However, soon after his arrival, Philip experienced a mystical vision, which he eventually spoke of as his Christian conversion. This event was an encounter with the Lord and it dramatically changed his life.
He soon lost interest in owning property or participating in business. He felt a call from the Holy Spirit to radically live for and serve the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church.
So, Philip set out for Rome.
Once in Rome, Philip was the live-in tutor for a fellow Florentine’s sons. Under Philip’s guidance, the two boys improved in all aspects of life and faith, proving Philip’s special talent with human relationships and in bringing out the best in people.
During his first two years in Rome, Philip spent his time in a solitary life. He also dedicated a lot of time to prayer. He ate very small meals of bread, water and a few vegetables, practicing an ascetical life.
In 1535, Philip began studying theology and philosophy at the Sapienza and at St. Augustine’s monastery. Although he was considered a “promising scholar,” after three years of studies, Philip gave up any thought of ordination. He set out to help the poor people of Rome and to re-evangelize the city. Sadly, Rome had lost its first love and its inhabitants were no longer really living as Christians.
He began talking to people on street corners and in public squares; he made acquaintances in places where people commonly gathered.
Philip, compared to Socrates, had a knack for starting up conversations and leading his listeners to consider a new and better way of life, the Christian Way. He easily caught others’ attention with his warm personality and incredible sense of humor. He encouraged groups of people to gather for discussions, studies, prayer and the enjoyment of music. His customary question was always, “Well, brothers, when shall we begin to do good?”

Losing no time in converting good conversation to good actions, Philip would lead his followers to hospitals to wait on the sick or to the Church, to pray to and encounter Jesus Christ.


In short, Philip was an evangelist. He loved to share the Gospel and help people to find or rediscover their faith in Jesus Christ.
His days were dedicated to helping others, but his nights were set aside for solitude spent praying in the church or in the catacombs beside the Appian Way.
In 1544, on the eve of Pentecost, Philip saw what appeared to be a globe of fire. It is said the fire entered his mouth, causing Philip to feel his heart dilate. Philip was filled with such paroxysms of divine love that caused him to scream out, “Enough, enough, Lord, I can bear no more.” Philip then discovered a swelling over his heart, though it caused him no pain.
In 1548, with the help of his confessor, Father Persiano Rossa, Philip founded a confraternity for poor laymen to meet for spiritual exercises and service of the poor, the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity.
Philip’s appealing nature won him over friends from all societal levels, including that of Ignatius of Loyola, Pius V and Charles Borromeo.
At 34-years-old, Philip had already accomplished so much, but his confessor was determined that his work would be more effective as a priest. Finally convinced, Philip was ordained to the diaconate and then to the priesthood on May 23, 1551.
From there, Philip went to live with Father Rossa and other priests at San Girolamo and carried on his mission, but mostly through the confessional.
Before sun up, until sun down, Philip spent hours sitting and listening to people of all ages. Sometimes Philip broke out informal discussions for those who desired to live a better life. He spoke to them about Jesus, the saints and the martyrs.
Influenced by St. Francis Xavier, Philip thought of going to India to join the foreign mission field, but was dissuaded by his peers because Rome still needed Philip’s ministry and influence.
A large room was built above the church of San Girolamo to tend to Philip’s growing number of pilgrims and other priests were called on to assist him. Philip and the priests were soon called the “Oratorians,” because they would ring a bell to call the faithful in their “oratory.”
The foundation of the Congregation of the Priests of the Oratory would be laid a few years later with members who encouraged others to deepen their faith. Philip’s rule for them was simple – share a common table and to perform spiritual exercises. Philip didn’t want his followers to bind themselves to the life with a vow and he did not want them to denounce their property.

Philip’s organization was officially approved by Pope Gregory XIII in 1575.
The Congregation was given an ancient church, but Philip made the quick decision to demolish it because the structure was in ruins and the size was not large enough. He had plans of rebuilding on a larger scale. People from all over, including Charles Borromeo and Pope Gregory, contributed financially toward the rebuilding.
By April 1577, the New Church was completed enough for the Congregation of the Oratory to be transferred there, but Philip stayed at San Girolamo for another seven years.
Philip was constantly in a crowd of people; he allowed his followers free access to him and continued hearing confessions and engaging in ministry and prayer.
In the words of one of his biographers, Philip was “all things to all men…. When he was called upon to be merry, he was so; if there was a demand upon his sympathy, he was equally ready…”
Philip was respected and loved throughout Rome; he became a trusted advisor to popes, kings, cardinals and equally as important to the poor.
He whole-heartedly desired the reform of the Catholic Church and worked toward that with a sense of gentleness and friendship, rather than criticism and harshness.
His efforts to reach out to the lay people of Rome and not simply associate with the clergy made him one of the great figures in the Counter Reformation of the Catholic Church. Sadly, the Catholic Church had fallen into clericalism. He soon earned the title, “Apostle of Rome.”
On the Feast of Corpus Christi, May 25, 1595, Philip was told by his physician that he was not healthy. He had not looked well for ten years. Philip realized his time had come to pass on to the Lord. For the remainder of the day, he listened to confessions and saw his visitors as normal.
Before heading off to bed, Philip stated, “Last of all, we must die.”
Around midnight of May 26, 1595, Philip suffered from a hemorrhage and passed away at 80-years-old. His body lays in the New Church, where the Oratorians still serve.


St. Philip Neri was beatified by Pope Paul V on May 11, 1615 and canonized by Pope Gregory XV on March 12, 1622.
He is the patron saint of Rome, US Special Forces, humor and joy and his feast day is celebrated on May 26.

Quotes of St.Phillip Neri
“If you wish to go to extremes, let it be in sweetness, patience, humility and charity.”

“Bear the cross and do not make the cross bear you.”

“Cast yourself into the arms of God and be very sure that if he wants anything of you, He will fit you for the work and give you strength.”

“God in His infinite goodness sometimes sees fit to test our courage and love by depriving us of the things which it seems to us would be advantageous to our souls; and if He finds us earnest in their pursuit, yet humble, tranquil and resigned to do without them if He wishes us to, He will give us more blessings than we should have had in the possession of what we craved.”

“Let me get through today, and I shall not fear tomorrow.”

“There is no purgatory in this world. Nothing but heaven or hell.”

“Sufferings are a kind of paradise to him who suffers them with patience, while they are a hell to him who has no patience.”

“The greatness of our love for God may be tested by the desire we have of suffering for His sake.”

“Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life. Therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits.”

“If we wish to keep peace with our neighbor, we should never remind anyone of his natural defects.”

“It is an old custom with the servants of God always to have some little prayers ready and to be darting them up to heaven frequently during the day, lifting their minds to God out of the filth of this world. He who adopts this plan will get great fruit with little pains.”

‘To be without pity for other men’s falls, is an evident sign that we shall fall ourselves shortly.’

‘Let us be humble and keep ourselves down.’

‘Let us pray God, if He gives us any virtue or any gift, to keep it hidden even from ourselves, that we may preserve our humility, and not take occasion of pride because of it.’ 

“Watch me, O Lord, this day; for, abandoned to myself, I shall surely betray thee.”

St. Philip Neri, in his exhortations to his penitents, used always to say: “My children, if you desire perseverance, be devout to our Blessed Lady.”

“Let us strive after purity of heart, for the Holy Spirit dwells in candid and simple minds.”
Prayer to St. Philip Neri

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice! (Phil. 4:4)

O holy St. Philip Neri, patron saint of joy, you who trusted Scripture’s promise that the Lord is always at hand and that we need not have anxiety about anything, in your compassion heal our worries and sorrows and lift the burdens from our hearts. We come to you as one whose heart swells with abundant love for God and all creation. Hear us, we pray, especially in this need (make your request here). Keep us safe through your loving intercession, and may the joy of the Holy Spirit which filled your heart, St. Philip, transform our lives and bring us peace. Amen.

 

Prayer to Know and Love Jesus by St. Philip Neri

My Lord Jesus, I want to love You but You cannot trust me. If You do not help me, I will never do any good. I do not know You; I look for You but I do not find You. Come to me, O Lord. If I knew You, I would also know myself. If I have never loved You before, I want to love You truly now. I want to do Your will alone; putting no trust in myself, I hope in You, O Lord. Amen.

St.Mary Magdalene de Pazzi 

 

The second of four children, Caterina was born in Florence on the second of April, 1566, to Camilo de’ Pazzi and Maria Buondelmonti. In the comfortable setting of a noble family, that began to call her Lucrezia, after her paternal grandmother, the young girl grew up peacefully and with a certain sensitivity to the aesthetic side of her social condition. Her heart was open to God, and to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, in great simplicity, which is something we can see in the way she might share her lunch pack with a needy person, out of compassion, or the way she would help the children of the poor by gently offering them the first truths of faith. Her mother’s deep piety, and the visits to her home by the Jesuit Fathers, that her parents invited regularly, helped to stamp on Caterina’s soul that sense of Church, “sensus ecclesiae,” that in later life would appeal so much to her conscience.

At eight years of age, she was sent as a pupil to the nuns at San Giovannino. The nuns, who noticed the contemplative nature of the child, prepared her for First Holy Communion and not many weeks later, Caterina was sufficiently mature to offer her virginity to God. She was ten years old, and now she didn’t need anymore to get the scent of Jesus, by standing near her mother when she had received Holy Communion, now she began to meditate on the humanity of Jesus. As she was learning to read she came across the Athanasian Creed, and she was very taken by it. In the same way she grew to like the meditations of St. Augustine, and the Lord’s passion by Loarte, whiche she read on the advice of Fr. Andrea Rossi who was her spiritual director.

She had not yet reached the age of seventeen when she showed her desire to be consecrated to God in religious life. Having overcome the initial opposition of her family, she entered the monastery in Borgo San Frediano, to join the Carmelite community of Santa Maria degli Angeli who were very happy to have her. They allowed her to begin as a postulant on the 8th of December, 1582. This community, that was well known to and highly regarded by the bishop of Florence, was attractive to the young girl principally because of the possibility of receiving Holy Communon every day.

Two months after entering, on the 30th of January, 1853, Caterina received the Carmelite habit, and with it, the name, Sr. Maria Maddalena. At the end of the novitiate year it was decided that she would put her profession back until there were other novices ready to join her. Maria Maddalena, however, got very sick in the following months, to the point of almost dying. With little hope of recovery – even the best doctors in the city had failed to diagnose what today we would call pneuomonia – the prioress decided to have her make her profession in danger of death, in articulo mortis.

About one hour after her profession, something happened to Maddalena. It was an experience of rapture in God. The sisters tell us that when they went to visit her in the infirmary, they came upon the young eighteen year old patient, transfigured, and looking very beautiful. From that day onwards, it was the 27th of May, 1584, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, the Lord visited her every morning for forty days, and revealed the depth of his love to her. These frequent episodes gave rise to many misgivings in the young girl whose only desire was to live in the hiddenness of her life in Carmel, but it was obvious that this kind of grace had to be recognised and preserved. For that reason, the sisters began very soon to take notes, writing down what Maddalena would say while in ecstasy and what she would say, out of obedience, to the prioress and mistress.


Towards the end of that same year a new period of divine favour began for her. This time, Jesus, the “humanified” Word, held her in intense conversation (reported in I Colloqui) that revealed increasingly, the bridal relationship that Christ had formed with her. It was in one of those ecstasies that Christ brought her into his passion and death. It was Holy Week in 1585: her experiences included the stigmata impresssed on her soul, the crown of thorns, the cruifixion, and every scene from the Gospel was acted out as if it was happening live in that slender tormented body. Then, on the Sunday after Easter, she received from her divine Bridegroom the ring of her mystical marriage.

The manuscript titled, Revelazioni e Intelligenze, gives a faithful account of the communication of God’s grace, that in the days between the vigil of Pentecost and the Sunday of the Blessed Trinity, gave Maddalena an entry into the revelation of the inner dimensions of her Trinitarian life. What was communicated to her was what goes on between the divine persons, and how the human person can fulfil a supernatural vocation by allowing this mystery dwelling within to do its work.

The central element in this understanding, is the saving mission of the Word, Love, made flesh in the most pure womb of the Virgin Mary, and the intuition of “dead love” as the highest expression of the ultimate gift of self.

On the last day of this intense octave of Pentecost, Maddalena began to see with some clarity that the moment had arrived when God, as he had made know to her already on a few occasions, was about to take away from her the enjoyment of his presence. That was the beginning of five very difficulty years of torment and temptation, to the point where she felt like as if she had been thrown into the “lions’ den”, and reduced to “nothing”. In these interior trials, described in the Probazione, Jesus continues to support her, but without lessening the radical purification that striped her bare, made her more simple and extremely receptive to his visits. In the heart of the crucible, however, Maddalena also received lights from God concerning the condition of the Church of her time – so slow to implement the renewal sought by the Council of Trent – and she felt that she was being drawn by the Truth to be involved in a practical way in calling to order prelates, cardinals and even the pope, Sixtus V. The twelve letters that she dictated in ecstasy, in the Summer of 1586 are collected in the volume titled, Rinnovamento della Chiesa, The five years of trial restored to us a Maddalena transformed. The Lord had brought her through a divinising process, around which today she could well be considered a master and guide.

After Pentecost 1590, she returned to the normality of ordinary life, something she had always wanted. Apart from just a few, and important, moments of ecstasy (reported in the second part of the Probazione) her days passed quietly as she went about the jobs she had to do (on account of her spiritual maturity she was put in charge of the young sisters in formation), and all the other forms of humble service that she tended to seek. Then the experience of “naked suffering” took hold of her and this would unite her once and for all to the crucified Bridegroom.

The symptoms of tuberculosis began to appear in 1603. As her strength declined, she suffered the added pain of not being able to feel anything of the Lord’s presence. Just her presence in the community, in the eyes of the sisters, had become a vision of God’s work of art about to be completed. On the 25th of May, 1607, at 3 p.m. in the afternoon, Sr. Maria Maddalena, at the age of forty one gave up her spirit.

source:ocarm.org

Quotes of St.Mary Magdalene de Pazzi 

 

“The last thing I ask of you — and I ask it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ — is that you love him alone, that you trust implicitly in him and that you encourage one another continually to suffer for the love of him.”

“Trials are nothing else but the forge that purifies the soul of all its imperfections.”

 

“You will be consoled according to the greatness of your sorrow and affliction; the greater the suffering, the greater will be the reward.”

 

“I do not desire to die soon, because in Heaven there is no suffering. I desire to live a long time because I yearn to suffer much for the love of my Spouse.”

 

“Prayer ought to be humble, fervent, resigned, persevering, and accompanied with great reverence. One should consider that he stands in the presence of a God, and speaks with a Lord before whom the angels tremble from awe and fear.”

 


 

St.Rita of Cascia~Disciple of the Crucified One 


On May 22, the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Rita of Cascia, who the late John Paul II called “a disciple of the Crucified One” and an “expert in suffering.”Known in Spain as “La Santa de los impossibiles” (the saint of the impossible), St. Rita has become immensely popular throughout the centuries. She is invoked by people in all situations and stations of life, since she had embraced suffering with charity and wrongs with forgiveness in the many trials she experienced in her life: as a wife, widow, a mother surviving the death of her children, and a nun.

Born in 1386 in Roccaparena, Umbria, St. Rita was married at the age of 12 to a violent and ill-tempered husband. He was murdered 18 years later and she forgave his murderers, praying that her twin sons, who had sworn to avenge their father’s death may also forgive. She was granted this grace, and her sons, who died young, died reconciled to God.

The saint heard the call to become a nun in the Augustinian convent at Cascia, but was refused entry at first. She asked the intercession of Sts. Augustine, Mary Magadalene and John the Baptist and was finally allowed to enter the convent where she lived the last 40 years of her life in prayer, mortification and service to the people of Cascia.

For the last 15 years of her life she received a stigmata-like thorn wound in answer to her prayers to be more profoundly conformed to the passion of the Lord Jesus. Rita was bedridden for the last four years of her life, consuming almost nothing except for the Eucharist. She died of tuberculosis at the age of 70 on May 22, 1456.

On the 100th anniversary of her canonization in 2000, Pope John Paul II noted her remarkable qualities as a Christian woman: “Rita interpreted well the ‘feminine genius’ by living it intensely in both physical and spiritual motherhood.”

St. Rita was canonized in 1900 by Pope Leo XIII. She is the patron saint of impossible causes, sterility, abuse victims, loneliness, marriage difficulties, parenthood, widows, the sick, bodily ills and wounds.
Prayer to Saint Rita

O glorious St. Rita, your pleadings before the divine crucifix have been known to grant favors that many would call the impossible. Lovely St. Rita, so humble, so pure, so devoted in your love for thy crucified Jesus, speak on my behalf for my petition which seems so impossible from my humbled position. ( Here mention your request ). Be propitious, O glorious St. Rita, to my petition, showing thy power with God on behalf of thy supplicant. Be lavish to me, as thou has been in so many wonderful cases for the greater glory of God. I promise, dear St. Rita, if my petition is granted, to glorify thee, by making known thy favor, to bless and sing thy praises forever. Relying then upon thy merits and power before the Sacred Heart of Jesus I pray. Amen.


Novena Prayer to St. Rita of Cascia
O Holy Patroness of those in need, St. Rita, whose pleadings before thy Divine Lord are almost irresistible, who for thy lavishness in granting favors hast been called the advocate of the hopeless and even of the impossible; St. Rita so humble, so pure, so mortified, so patient and of such compassionate love for thy Crucified Jesus that thou couldst obtain from him whatsoever thou askest, on account of which all confidently have recourse to thee, expecting, if not always relief, at least comfort; be propitious to our petition, showing thy power with God on behalf of the suppliant; be lavish to us as thou hast been in so many wonderful cases, or the greater glory of God, for the spreading of thine own devotion, and for the consolation of those who trust in thee.

We promise, if our petition is granted, to glorify, thee by making known thy favor, to bless and sing thy praises forever. Relying upon thy merits and power before the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

We pray: (mention your request) By thy perfect union with the Divine Will, 

By the heroic sufferings during thy married life,  

By the consolation thou didst experience at the conversion of thy husband, 

By the sacrifice of thy children rather than see them grievously offend God, 

By thy miraculous entrance into the convent, 

By thy severe penances and thrice daily bloody scourgings, 

By the suffering caused by the wound thou didst receive from the thorn of thy crucified Savior, 

By the divine love which consumed thy heart, 

By that remarkable devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, on which alone thou didst exist for four years, 

By the happiness with which thou didst part from thy trials to join thy Divine Spouse, 

By the perfect example thou gavest to people of every state of life. 

Pray for us, O holy St. Rita, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

(Say the novena each day for nine days. After your prayer is answered, please share your story with others.)


Oration To The Saint of The Impossible

O excellent St. Rita, worker of miracles, from thy sanctuary in Cascia, where in all thy beauty thou sleepest in peace, where thy relics exhale breaths of paradise, turn thy merciful eyes on me who suffer and weep! Thou seest my poor bleeding heart surrounded by thorns Thou seest, O dear Saint, that my eyes have no more tears to shed, so much have I wept! Weary and discouraged as I am, I feel the very prayers dying on my lips. Must I thus despair in this crisis of my life? O come, St. Rita, come to my aid and help me. Art thou not called the Saint of the Impossible, Advocate to those in despair? Then honor thy name, procuring for me from God the favor that I ask. (Here ask the favor you wish to obtain.) Everyone praises thy glories, everyone tells of the most amazing miracles performed through thee, must I alone be disappointed because thou hast not heard me? Ah no! Pray then pray for me to thy sweet Lord Jesus that He be moved to pity by my troubles and that, through thee, O good St. Rita, I may obtain what my heart so fervently desires.

(Pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, three times.)

Those wishing to offer a novena should repeat this prayer for nine days.

Prayer to St. Rita in Special Need

O powerful St. Rita, rightly called Saint of the Impossible, I come to you with confidence in my great need. You know well my trials, for you yourself were many times burdened in this life. Come to my help, speak for me, pray with me, intercede on my behalf before the Father. I know that God has a most generous heart and that he is a most loving Father. Join your prayers to mine and obtain for me the grace I desire (here mention your request). You who were so very pleasing to God on earth and are so much so now in heaven, I promise to use this favor, when granted, to better my life, to proclaim God’s mercy, and to make you more widely known and loved. Amen.

Blessed Antonia Messina 

Antonia was born in Sardinia, the second-born of ten children. She was forced to leave elementary school, only after taking four years of classes, in order to take over the household duties from her mother, Grazia. She often called Antonia “the flower of my life.”

Her mother developed a heart condition that precluded her from continuing to perform her domestic chores. Grazia claimed that Antonia “never once went against me”. Antonia was obedient and hard working. She willingly and diligently performed her duties and took on responsibilities as if she were already an adult. For instance, she cooked, baked, cleaned, washed clothes, cared for the children, carried water into the house, and gathered wood for baking.

When she was ten years old, she joined a youth group called “Catholic Action”. She thought it was a beautiful experience and said that it “helps one to be good”. She was well-liked by her peers and encouraged others to join Catholic Action(even on the day of her death) because they received spiritual benefits from good works and received good catechesis. It is no wonder, she renounced her personal pleasures and sacrificed her wants for that of her family members needs and others.

While coming home from gathering wood in a forest with a friend, Antonia was attacked by a teenage boy from behind. The attacker grabbed her by her shoulders and tried to force her to the ground while her friend screamed and ran for help. Antonia managed to escape twice but was knocked down the third time and severely beaten on the head and face with a rock. Though mortally wounded, Antonia resisted the would-be rapist. At autopsy, the doctors determined that Antonia’s body had not been sinfully violated. The beautiful and virtuous, Antonia, died a martyr of holy purity at age 16 similar to St. Maria Goretti who died at age twelve. Pope John Paul II beatified Antonia Mesina on Sunday, October 4, 1987. Pope John Paul II also beatified two other twentieth century laymen and martyrs, Blessed Marcel Callo and Blessed Pierina, during that same ceremony.

St.Simon Stock 

Although little is known about Simon Stock’s early life, legend has it that the name Stock, meaning “tree trunk,” derives from the fact that, beginning at age twelve, he lived as a hermit in a hollow tree trunk of an oak tree. It is also believed that, as a young man, he went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land where he joined a group of Carmelites with whom he later returned to Europe. Simon Stock founded many Carmelite Communities, especially in University towns such as Cambridge, Oxford, Paris, and Bologna, and he helped to change the Carmelites from a hermit Order to one of mendicant friars. In 1254 he was elected Superior-General of his Order at London. Simon Stock’s lasting fame came from an apparition he had in Cambridge, England, on July 16, 1251, at a time when the Carmelite Order was being oppressed. In it the Virgin Mary appeared to him holding the brown scapular in one hand. Her words were: “Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of thy Order; it is the special sign of my favor, which I have obtained for thee and for thy children of Mount Carmel. He who dies clothed with this habit shall be preserved from eternal fire. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger, and a pledge of special peace and protection.” The scapular (from the Latin, scapula, meaning “shoulder blade”) consists of two pieces of cloth, one worn on the chest, and the other on the back, which were connected by straps or strings passing over the shoulders. In certain Orders, monks and nuns wear scapulars that reach from the shoulders almost to the ground as outer garments. Lay persons usually wear scapulars underneath their clothing; these consist of two pieces of material only a few inches square. There are elaborate rules governing the wearing of the scapular: although it may be worn by any Catholic, even an infant, the investiture must be done by a priest. And the scapular must be worn in the proper manner; if an individual neglects to wear it for a time, the benefits are forfeited. The Catholic Church has approved eighteen different kinds of scapulars of which the best known is the woolen brown scapular, or the Scapular of Mount Carmel, that the Virgin Mary bestowed on Simon Stock. His feast day is May 16

St.Leopold Mandic~Apostle of Confession 


Saint Leopold Bogdan Mandi was born on May 12, 1866 and died on June 30, 1942. He was an ethnic Croat born in Herceg Novi, in Boka Kotorska (modern-day Montenegro), and died in Padua, Italy. Physically malformed and delicate, having a height of only 1.35m, with clumsy walk and stuttering, he developed tremendous spiritual strength. His feast is celebrated May 12.
Although he wanted to be a missionary in Eastern Europe, he spent almost all of his adult life in Italy, and lived in Padua from 1906 until the end of his life. He spent also one year in Italian prison during WWI, since he did not want to renounce his Croatian nationality. He also dreamed unceasingly about reuniting the Catholic and Orthodox churches and going to the Orient. He became known as Apostle of Confession and Apostle of Unity. He made a famous prayer that is the forerunner of today’s Ecumenism.

Bogdan Mandi was the twelfth child of Dragica Carevi and Petar Antun Mandi, owner of an Adriatic fishing fleet; they came from village of Zaku ac (hinterland of city of Omiš, 28 km from Split). The origins of his family are noble; they came from Vrhbosna province in Bosnia.

He suffered from disabilities that would plague his speech and stature. The family eventually lost most of its wealth, and became more sympathetic to those who suffered in similar situations. In November of 1882 while he was 16, Bogdan went to Udine to enter the seminary of the Venetian Capuchins, and accepted the name “Leopold”. Two years later he was put in the Bassano del Grappa friary, where he took the name Leopold. His first profession of vows were made a year later in May and a profession of perpetual vows 4 years latter in 1888.

In the mid-1880s, Croatian Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer began a movement which focused on unity and consecration of the cathedral of akovo and Srijem, a movement in which Leopold took interest in. On September 20, 1890, Leopold was ordained to the presbyterate at Venice at the age of 24.


Pictured above our beautiful saint!Look how tiny he was in statue but a true giant of a saint in Jesus’ eyes

Refusing to renounce his Croatian nationality during World War I, Leopold was forced to go to southern Italy. All this time Leopold held a hope that he would be able to return to his homeland and preach among his people, a feat that would be inhibited by his disabilities. On top of his physical deformities, he also suffered from stomach ailments, poor eyesight, and arthritis. Unsurprisingly, the Capuchin ministers declined these attempts due to his health.

While in Italy, Leopold’s main vocation was confessions, which he did for 34 years. The Capuchin brothers often criticized Leopold for his approach to confession, calling him too lenient and compassionate. Leopold’s compassion showed that he was more understanding and sympathetic to the people that came to him, and would treat them with great sensitivity. 


Pictured above the cell/confessional of St.Leopold which survived a bomb attack which the rest of the monastery was damaged.St.Leopold prophesied all this would happen because the confessional was a monument of the goodness and mercy of God 

He was an outspoken on issues with children, and being pro-life and especially fond of expectant mothers and young children. He did great work in setting up orphanages for children without parents. 



Leopold also had a deep devotion to the Virgin Mary who he referred to as “my holy boss”. He was known to pray the rosary quite often, and celebrated the eucharist daily at the side altar in the Little Office of the Virgin Mary. He would then visit the sick in nursing homes, hospitals and homes all over Padua. He visited the Capuchin infirmary to comfort the sick friars, giving them words of advice and reminding them to have faith.

Leopold suffererd from esophagus cancer, which would ultimately lead to his death at age 76. On July 30, 1942, while preparing for the liturgy, he collapsed on the floor. He was then brought to his cell, where he was given the last rites. Friars that had gathered at his bed sang “Salve Regina,” and when they got to the words, “O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary,” Leopold died.


During the bombing of World War II the church and part of the friary where Leopold lived were demolished, but Leopold’s cell and confessional were left unharmed. Leopold had predicted this before his death, saying, “The church and the friary will be hit by the bombs, but not this little cell. Here God exercised so much mercy for people, it must remain as a monument to God’s goodness.” Paul VI beatified Leopold on May 2, 1976. He was canonized by John Paul II during the Synod of Bishops on October 16, 1983. Leopold is hailed as the “Apostle of Confession”



St.John of Avila~Spiritual Director of St.Teresa of Avila

Born in the Castile region of Spain, John was sent at the age of 14 to the University of Salamanca to study law. He later moved to Alcala, where he studied philosophy and theology before his ordination as a diocesan priest.

After John’s parents died and left him as their sole heir to a considerable fortune, he distributed his money to the poor. In 1527, he traveled to Seville, hoping to become a missionary in Mexico. The archbishop of that city persuaded him to stay and spread the faith in Andalusia. During nine years of work there, he developed a reputation as an engaging preacher, a perceptive spiritual director, and a wise confessor.

Because John was not afraid to denounce vice in high places, he was investigated by the Inquisition but was cleared in 1533. He later worked in Cordoba and then in Granada, where he organized the University of Baeza, the first of several colleges run by diocesan priests who dedicated themselves to teaching and giving spiritual direction to young people.


He was friends with Saints Francis Borgia, Ignatius of Loyola, John of God, John of the Cross, Peter of Alcantara, and Teresa of Avila. John of Avila worked closely with members of the Society of Jesus and helped their growth within Spain and its colonies. John’s mystical writings have been translated into several languages.

He was beatified in 1894, canonized in 1970, and declared a doctor of the Church on October 7, 2012.

Quotes of St.John of Avila 

Novena to Our Lady of Fatima~Starts May 5-13


Most Holy Virgin, who has deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three little shepherds the treasures of graces hidden in the recitation of the Rosary, inspire our hearts with sincere love of this devotion.   

     By meditating on the mysteries of our redemption that are recalled in your Rosary, may we gather the fruits contained therein and obtain the conversion of sinners, the conversion of Russia, the Peace of Christ for the world, and this favor that I so earnestly seek of you in this novena…. 

(here mention your request) 

     I ask this of you, for the greater glory of God, for your own honor and for the good of all people. Amen

Say the Our Father, Hail Mary Glory Be (three times each)