The Eucharistic Miracle of Braine,France

THE MIRACLE OF BRAINE, FRANCE 1153

At the time of the Eucharistic miracle of Braine, a great many non-Catholics lived in that city, which is located in the archdiocese of Soissons.

Agnes of Braine, a countess who lived in a castle of the city, tried to convert many of these non-Catholics and singled out a beautiful Jewish girl on whom to concentrate her efforts. The girl steadfastly refused to believe in the Holy Eucharist and remained skeptical despite the zeal of the countess. Apparently determined to win the girl to the Faith, the countess went so far as to use force to remove her to the castle, where she was eventually engaged as a chambermaid and a lady-in-waiting.

In 1153 the Archbishop of Soissons, Anculphe de Pierrefonds, arranged for a solemn High Mass and a procession around the city of Braine in observance of the feast of the Holy Spirit. Attending the ceremonies were all the people of Braine, including the non-Catholics, who attended out of respect for the Archbishop and out of curiosity about the elaborate activities that were planned. During the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated by the Archbishop, at the time of the Elevation, the people saw, instead of the Host, a small child. Descriptions are not available, nor is it known how long the vision lasted, but it was apparently so magnificent and impressive that the non-Catholics, now filled with the Holy Spirit, demandèrent le baptême—demanded Baptism. It is speculated that among those who asked for Baptism was the young Jewish girl whom the countess had attempted to convert.

Following the miracle Countess Agnes of Braine founded a monastery, where the miraculous Host was kept for centuries. It is known that 80 years after the miracle, in 1233, Cardinal Jacque de Vitry visited and worshiped the miraculous Host. In 1718, more than 550 years after the miracle, Dom Martene saw the Host, which was still entire and which was described as being the size of a large coin. However, 15 years after this visit an historian of Valois by the name of Carlier discovered that the Host, in the normal fashion, had been reduced to a little dust. The Host had been kept in a tabernacle, together with the chalice that had been used during the Mass of the miracle. The ivory box in which the Host had been kept was regarded as a treasure.

When the monks abandoned the abbey during the French Revolution (which began in 1789), they entrusted the ivory box to the safekeeping of Lambert, the Chief of Police. It was returned to the church of Braine in 1839, where it was kept in the sacristy for a long time. Not only had the Host and chalice been faithfully kept, but also the vestments used during the Mass of the miracle. The chasuble, the outer large vestment the priest wears at Mass, was of fine silk richly embroidered with liturgical symbols, including the face of an angel on the front panel, and an Agnus Dei on the back. Around the neck of the vestment was a band of gold, which was embellished with fine pearls and a few precious stones. Because of the beauty and value of the vestment and the fact that it had been worn during the historic Mass, it was held in high regard by the people. As a result of a difference of opinion between the monks and Heduin, a member of the National Guard, an inventory of the abbey was made between April 21–24, 1790, just one year after the start of the French Revolution. It was discovered that the precious chasuble of the miracle was not in its place. Heduin took advantage of the situation to complain to the city authorities, who initiated an investigation. It was learned that during the preceding year the prior of the monastery had actually sold the chasuble to a merchant of Lyon to satisfy the needs of the abbey and the church. The merchant refused to negotiate a return of the vestment, but did offer to donate the pearls that had been removed from it. One report has it that all the articles used in the Mass of the miracle were preserved in the church, including the tools employed in the making of the hosts. This seems to be confirmed by the inventory made during the French Revolution, which specifically lists all the articles that were utilized during the Mass of the miracle. This inventory list is still preserved in the archives of the Departement de l’Aisne at Laon; however, the articles themselves have since been dispersed or destroyed. The present cure of Braine confirms that the Eucharistic miracle did occur and that processions were held in its honor for many years, but the annual observances are no longer held.

Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem

The first miracleAn unhappy woman lived in Santarem between the years of 1225 and 1247, because she was convinced that her husband was unfaithful. She tried all the possible means to bring back her husband with out any results. Desperate before her situation, she turned to sorcery visiting the soccer of the town. She promised her that her husband would again love her like before, but with the condition that she would pay her with a consecrated Host. This frightened very much the women, she knew this to be a sacrilege, but finally yielded to it. After receiving communion in her parish church of Saint Stephen, she did not consume the host but left the church immediately took the host out of her mouth and placed it in her head scarf.

On her way to the sorceress house, the Holy Host started to bleed. The woman did not realized this was happening until the people passing by informed her, thinking that she was bleeding. The woman’s heart started to panic. She went home and placed the Host covered in the scarf at the bottom of a chest made of wood where she kept personal items in her room. She remained there with fear all day until night time.

When her husband arrived late that evening, they went to sleep, with the possibility that she herself did not rest much. The guilt of her sin tormented her, and also the idea that perhaps the Host continued to bleed.

In the darkness of the room, a great miracle occurred. From the chest brilliant rays of light shined through, allowing the couple to awakened. They saw a spectacular vision of angles adoring the Holy Host bleeding.

The woman contained herself and confessed the great sin to her husband. Both repented and spent the rest of the night kneeling in adoration and reparation before the miraculous Host.

The next morning they informed the parish priest. He went to the house and heard the story from the woman. The priest returned the Host to the Church of St. Stephen in a solemn procession, accompanied by many priest and lay people. The host continued to bleed for three days. Finally it was decided to place the holy host (still bleeding) in a reliquary made of beeswax. The holy host remained their until a second miracle occurred.

Second Miracle

The priest enclosed the holy host in the beeswax reliquary and placed it in the tabernacle. This is were the second miracle occurred. When the priest opened the tabernacle door, the beeswax reliquary disintegrated in small pieces. In its place was a recipient made of glass that contained the blood of the host together with the beeswax. We can contemplate it together with the main reliquary that dates from 1782. Since the XVIII century this reliquary remains in the Eucharistic throne on the mayor altar. Today it is known as the Sanctuary of the Holy Miracle.

The miracles continue

Through the centuries, the Host has bleed repeatedly and several images have been seen in the host, images of our Lord Jesus. Among the many witnesses, is Saint Francis Xavier, the missionary apostle of India who saw the sanctuary of the miracle before departing to the missions. It is known that an archbishop of Lisboa broke the glass reliquary trying to detain the bleed flow.

Blessed Sacrament Processions

Since the occurrence of the miracle until today, every year, on the second Sunday of April, the Eucharistic Miracle is taken in procession from the house where the couple lived and the miracle occurred, the Via delle Stucie to the Church of the Miracle. The house has been a chapel since 1684.

The Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem is considered the most important after the Miracle of Lanciano

Studies and canonical investigations have been made during the years, being the most important the one in 1340 and 1612, which proved without doubt the authenticity and antiquity of the Eucharistic Miracle.

Only once did the Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem leave the city, when Napoleon troops invaded Portugal in 1810. Threatened by the French and fearing the profanation, the Eucharist was taken to Lisboa, the Church of Pacao. The people of Santarem protested has time passed and the Eucharistic Miracle was not returned to them. The Eucharistic Miracle was returned in secret, to prevent resistance from the

capitalians, who where not informed of the Eucharistic Miracle returning to Santarem on Dec. 2, 1811.

The sanctuary was restored by Rev. Antonio Francisco Marques, bishop of Santarem solemnly opening the doors on Dec. 7th, 1996. Today it has a small museum in the main altar. The Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem is exposed for pilgrims who request it, able to be contemplated closely. The Holy Blood has been liquified, 750 years after the miracle occurred. The old, original group (Real Brotherhood of the Sacred Miracle) in charge of safekeeping the Holy Miracle still exists today.

Popes that have granted Plenary Indulgence to the Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem:

Pope Pio IV: (1559-1565) granted Indulgence to pilgrims who visit the Church.

Pope St. Pio V and Pope Pio VI: granted privileges to pilgrims that visit the Church.

Pope Gregory XIV (1590-1591): granted Plenary Indulgence to all the members of the

Real Brotherhood of the Sacred Miracle on the day they entered the brotherhood and the day of their death.

Saints that are in some way united to Santarem and the Eucharistic Miracle

Saint Irene : Santarem in Portuguese means “Saint Irene”, patron of the city. She is a martyr of the year 653. In the Church of St. Irene we can find the Miraculous Crucifix of Monteiraz. Chuch documents relates that the Body of our Lord became alive (like the Miracle of Limpias), Jesus arm came down from the crucifix and embraced a small shepherd girl of the time of the Eucharistic Miracle. The crucifix belonged to a community of the 12 benedictine monks (Abby of 12 apostles) is from the XII century, it is still venerated today.

Saint Stephen: martyr and patron of the Church of the Holy Miracle.

Saint Leonor Alfonso : daughter of the King D. Alfonso, who became a religious of the order Poor Clares and is buried in the Monastery of Santarem.

Saint Francis Xavier: visited most of the sanctuaries of Portugal. He also visited the Church of the Holy Miracle before being sent to missions in India by the King of Portugal. St. Francis Xavier’s image is venerated in the Church of the miracle.

Saint Isabel of Portugal: most of Portugal’s Kings of that time visited the Eucharistic Miracle . The most famous visit was from two visits that Queen Saint Isabel(Isabel of Aragon), in 1295 and 1322.

Her first visit was during her trip to Coimbra coinciding with the feast of St. Irene. The second visit was to request before the Holy Miracle peace between her husband, King Dionisio and her son, the future Alfonso VI, who were in discord.

She requested the Holy Host be taken in procession in the streets. She herself accompanied the procession, deposing of her royal vestments, her crown and jewels. She covered herself with ashes, walked barefoot, with a rope around her neck. This act of penance from the Queen was very pleasing to the Lord, granting her the grace of peace and reconciliation between her husband and son.

The Exorcism of Nicola Aubrey 

It is indeed a remarkable fact that, as the devil made use of Luther, an apostate monk, to abolish the Mass and deny the Real Presence; in like manner, God made use of His arch-enemy, the devil, to prove the Real Presence. He repeatedly forced him publicly to profess his firm belief in it, to confound the heretics for their disbelief, and acknowledge himself vanquished by Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. For this purpose, God allowed a certain Mme. Nicola Aubrey, an innocent person, to become possessed by Beelzebub and twenty-nine other evil spirits. The possession took place on the eighth of November, 1565, and lasted until the eighth of February, 1566.Her parents took her to Father de Motta, a pious priest of Vervins, in order that he might expel the demon by exorcisms of the Church. Father de Motta tried several times to expel the evil spirit by applying the sacred relics of the holy cross, but he could not succeed; Satan would not depart. At last, inspired by the Holy Ghost, he resolved to expel the devil by means of the sacrament of Our Lord’s Body and Blood. Whilst Nicola was lying in a state of unnatural lethargy, Father de Motta placed the Blessed Sacrament upon her lips, and instantly the infernal spell was broken; Nicola was restored to consciousness, and received Holy Communion with every mark of devotion. As soon as Nicola had received the sacred Body of Our Lord, her face became bright and beautiful as the face of an angel, and all who saw her were filled with joy and wonder, and they blessed God from their inmost hearts. With the permission of God, Satan returned and again took possession of Nicola.

As the strange circumstances of Nicola’s possession became known everywhere, several Calvinist preachers came with their followers, to “expose this popish cheat,” as they said. On their entrance, the devil saluted them mockingly, called them by name, and told them that they had come in obedience to him. One of the preachers took his Protestant prayer book, and began to read it with a very solemn face. The devil laughed at him, and putting on a most comical look, he said: “Ho! Ho! My good friend; do you intend to expel me with your prayers and hymns? Do you think that they will cause me any pain? Don’t you know that they are mine? I helped to compose them!”

“I will expel thee in the name of God,” said the preacher, solemnly.

“You!” said the devil mockingly. “You will not expel me either in the name of God, or in the name of the devil. Did you ever hear of one devil driving out another?”

“I am not a devil,” said the preacher, angrily, “I am a servant of Christ.”

“A servant of Christ, indeed!” said Satan, with a sneer. “What! I tell you, you are worse than I am. I believe, and you do not want to believe. Do you suppose that you can expel me from the body of this miserable wretch? Ha! Go first and expel all the devils that are in your own heart!”

The preacher took his leave, somewhat discomfited. On going away, he said, turning up the whites of his eyes, “O Lord, I pray thee, assist this poor creature!”

“And I pray Lucifer,” cried the evil spirit, “that he may never leave you, but may always keep you firmly in his power, as he does now. Go about your business, now. You are all mine, and I am your master.”

On the arrival of the priest, several of the Protestants went away – they had seen and heard more than they wanted. Others, however, remained; and great was their terror when they saw how the devil writhed and howled in agony, as soon as the Blessed Sacrament was brought near him. At last the evil spirit departed, leaving Nicola in a state of unnatural trance. While she was in this state, several of the preachers tried to open her eyes, but they found it impossible to do so. The priest then placed the Blessed Sacrament on Nicola’s lips, and instantly she was restored to consciousness. Rev. Father de Motta then turned to the astonished preachers, and said: “Go now, ye preachers of the new Gospel; go and relate everywhere what you have seen and heard. Do not deny any longer that Our Lord Jesus Christ is really and truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. Go now, and let not human respect hinder you from confessing the truth.”

During the exorcisms of the following days, the devil was forced to confess that he was not to be expelled at Vervins, and that he had with him twenty-nine devils, among whom were three powerful demons: Cerberus, Astaroth, and Legio. On the third of January, 1566, the bishop arrived at Vervins, and began the exorcism in the church, in the presence of an immense multitude. The True Mass

“I command thee, in the name and by power of the real presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, to depart instantly,” said the bishop to Satan in a solemn voice.

Satan was, at last, expelled the second time by means of the Blessed Sacrament. On leaving, he paralyzed the left arm and right foot of Nicola, and also made her left arm longer than her right; and no power on earth could cure this strange infirmity, until some weeks after, when the devil was at last completely and irrevocably expelled. Nicola was now taken to the celebrated pilgrimage of Our Lady at Liesse, especially since the devil seemed to fear that place so much. Next day Father de Motta began the exorcism in the church of Our Lady at Liesse, in the presence of an immense multitude. He took the Blessed Sacrament in his hand, and, showing it to the demon, he said: “I command thee, in the name of the living God, the great Emmanuel Whom thou seest here present, and in Whom thou believest.”


“Ah, yes!” shrieked the demon, “I believe in Him.” And the devil howled again as he made this confession, for it was wrung from him by the power of Almighty God.

“I command thee, then, in His Name,” said the priest, “to quit this body instantly.”

At these words, and especially at the sight of the Blessed Sacrament, the devil suffered the most frightful torture. At one moment the body of Nicola was rolled up like a ball; then again she became fearfully swollen. At one time her face was unnaturally lengthened, then excessively widened, and sometimes it was as red as scarlet. Her eyes, at times, protruded horribly, and then again sunk deeply into her skull. Her tongue hung down to her chin; it was sometimes black, sometimes red, and sometimes spotted like a toad. The priest still continued to urge and torture Satan. “Accursed spirit!” he cried, “I command thee, in the Name and by the real presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ here in the Blessed Sacrament, to depart instantly from the body of this poor creature.

“Ah, yes!” cried Satan, howling wildly, “twenty-six of my companions shall leave this instant, for they are forced to do so.”

The people in the church now began to pray with great fervor. Suddenly Nicola’s limbs began to crack, as if every bone in her body were breaking; a pestilential vapor came forth from her mouth, and twenty-six devils departed from her, never more to return. Nicola then fell into an unnatural swoon, from which she was aroused only by the Blessed Sacrament. On recovering her senses, and receiving holy communion, Nicola’s face shone like the face of an angel. The priest still continued to urge the demon, and used every means to expel him.

“I will not leave, unless commanded by the bishop of Leon,” answered the demon, angrily.

Nicola was now taken to Pierrepont, where one of the demons, name Legio, was expelled by means of the Blessed Sacrament. Next morning Nicola was brought to the church. Scarcely had she quitted the house, when the devil again took possession of her. The bishop who was requested to exorcise Nicola, prepared himself for this terrible task by prayer and fasting, and other works of penance. On arrival of Nicola in the Church, the exorcism began. “How many are you in this body?” asked the bishop.

“There are three of us,” answered the evil spirit.

“What are your names?”

“Beelzebub, Cerberus, and Astaroth.”

“What has become of the others?” asked the bishop.

“They have been expelled,” answered Satan.

“Who expelled them?”

“Ha!” cried the devil, gnashing his teeth, “it was He whom you hold in your hand, there on the paten.” The devil meant our dear Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

The bishop then held the Blessed Sacrament near the face of Nicola. The demon writhed and howled in agony. “Ah, yes! I will go, I will go!” he shrieked, “but I shall return.”

Suddenly Nicola became stiff and motionless as marble. The bishop then touched her lips with the Blessed Sacrament, and in an instant she was fully restored to consciousness. She received holy communion, and her countenance now shone with a wondrous, supernatural beauty. Next day Nicola was brought again to the Church, and the exorcism began as usual. The bishop took the Blessed Sacrament in his hand, held it near the face of Nicola, and said:

“I command thee in the name of the living God, and by the real presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ here in the sacrament of the altar, to depart instantly from the body of this creature of God, and never more to return.”

“No! No!” shrieked the devil, “I will not go. My hour is not yet come.”

“I command thee to depart. Go forth, impure, accursed spirit! Go forth!” and the bishop held the Blessed Sacrament close to Nicola’s face.

“Stop! stop!”, shrieked Satan; “let me go! I will depart – but I shall return.” And instantly Nicola fell into the most frightful convulsions. A black smoke was seen issuing from her mouth, and she fell again into a swoon.

During her stay in Leon, Nicola was carefully examined by Catholic and Protestant physicians. Her left arm, which had been paralyzed by the devil, was found entirely without feeling. The doctors cut into the arm with a sharp knife; they burnt it with fire; they drove pins and needles under the nails of the fingers; but Nicola felt not pain; her arm was utterly insensible. Once, while Nicola was lying in a state of unnatural lethargy, the doctors gave her some bread soaked in wine (it was what the Protestants call their communion, or Lord’s Supper); they rubbed her limbs briskly; they threw water in her face; they pierced her tongue until the blood flowed; they tried every possible means to arouse her, but in vain! Nicola remained cold and motionless as marble. At last, the priest touched the lips of Nicola with the Blessed Sacrament, and instantly she was restored to consciousness, and began to praise God.

The miracle was so clear, so palpable, that one of the doctors, who was a bigoted Calvinist, immediately renounced his errors, and became a Catholic. Several times, also, the Protestants touched Nicola’s face with a host which was not consecrated, and which, consequently, was only bread, but Satan was not the least tormented by this. He only ridiculed their efforts.

On the twenty-seventh of January, the bishop, after having walked in solemn procession with the clergy and the faithful, began the exorcism in church, in the presence of a vast multitude of Protestants and Catholics. The bishop now held the Blessed Sacrament close to the face of Nicola. Suddenly a wild, unearthly yell rings through the air — a black, heavy smoke issues from the mouth of Nicola. The demon Astaroth is expelled forever. During the exorcism which took place on the first of February, the bishop said:

“O accursed spirit! Since neither prayer, nor the holy gospels, neither the exorcisms of the Church, nor the holy relics, can compel thee to depart, I will now show thee thy Lord and Master, and by His power I command thee.”

During the exorcism, which took place after Mass, the bishop held the Blessed Sacrament in his hand, and said: “O accursed spirit, arch-enemy of the ever-blessed God! I command thee, by the precious blood of Jesus Christ here present, to depart from this poor woman! Depart accursed, into the everlasting flames of hell!”

At these words, and especially at the sight of the Blessed Sacrament, the demon was so fearfully tormented, and the appearance of Nicola was so hideous and revolting, that the people turned away their eyes in horror. At last a heavy sigh was heard, and a cloud of black smoke issued from the mouth of Nicola. Cerberus was expelled. Again Nicola fell into a death-like swoon, and again she was brought to consciousness only by means of the Blessed Sacrament. During the exorcism which took place on the seventh day of February, the bishop said to Satan:

“Tell me. Why hast thou taken possession of this honest and virtuous Catholic woman?”

“I have done so by permission of God. I have taken possession of her on account of the sins of the people. I have done it to show my Calvinists that there are devils who can take possession of man whenever God permits it. I know they do not want to believe this, but I will show them that I am the devil. I have taken possession of this creature in order to convert them, or to harden them in their sins; and, by the Sacred Blood, I will perform my task.”

This answer filled all who heard it with horror. “Yes,” answered the bishop, solemnly, “God desires to unite all men in the only holy faith. As there is but one God, so there can be but one true religion. A religion like that which the Protestants have invented, is but a hollow mockery. It must fall. The religion established by Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only true one; it alone shall last forever. It is destined to unite all men within its sacred embrace, so that there shall be but one sheepfold and one shepherd. This divine Shepherd is Our Lord Jesus Christ, the invisible head of the holy Roman Catholic Church, whose visible head is our holy Father the Pope, successor of St. Peter.”

The devil was silent – he was put to shame before the entire multitude. He was expelled once more by means of the Blessed Sacrament. In the afternoon of the same day the devil began to cry: “Ah! Ha! You think that you can expel me in this way. You have not the proper attendance of a bishop. Where are the dean and the archdean? Where are the royal judges? Where is the chief magistrate, who was frightened out of his wits that night, in the prison? Where is the procurator of the king? Where are his attorneys and counselors? Where is the clerk of the court?” (The devil mentioned each of these by name.) “I will not depart until all are assembled. Were I to depart now, what proof could you give to the king of all that has happened? Do you think that people will believe you so easily? No! No! There are many who would make objections. The testimony of these common country-people here will have but little weight. It is a torment to me that I must tell you what you have to do. I am forced to do it. Ha! Cursed be the hour in which I first took possession of this vile wretch.

“I find little pleasure in thy prating,” answered the bishop. “There are witnesses enough here. Those whom you have mentioned are not necessary. Depart! then; give glory to God. Depart – go to the flames of hell!”

“Yes, I shall depart, but not today. I know full well that I must depart. My sentence is passed; I am compelled to leave.”

“I care not for thy jabbering,” said the bishop, “I shall expel thee by the power of God: by the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Yes, I must yield to you,” shrieked the demon wildly. “It tortures me that I must give you this honor.”

The bishop now took the Blessed Sacrament in his hand, and held it close to the face of the possessed woman. At last, Satan was compelled to flee once more. The next morning, after the procession was ended, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered up as usual. During the consecration, the possessed woman was twice raised over six feet into the air, and then fell back heavily upon the platform. As the bishop, just before the Pater Noster, took the Sacred Host once more in his hand, and raised it with the chalice, the possessed woman was again whisked into the air, carrying with her the keepers, fifteen in number, at least six feet above the platform; and, after a while, she fell heavily back on the ground.

At this sight, all present were filled with amazement and terror. A German Protestant named Voske fell on his knees; he burst into tears; he was converted. “Ah!” cried he, “I now believe firmly that the devil really possesses this poor creature. I believe that it is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ which expels him. I believe firmly. I will no longer remain a Protestant.” After Mass, the exorcism began as usual.

“Now, at last,” said the bishop, “thou must depart. Away with thee, evil spirit!”

“Yes,” said Satan, “it is true that I must depart, but not yet. I will not go before the hour is come in which I first took possession of this wretched creature.”

At last the bishop took the Sacred Host in his hand, and said: “In the name of the adorable Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – in the name of the sacred body of Jesus Christ here present – I command thee, wicked spirit, to depart.”


“Yes, yes, it is true!” shrieked the demon wildly; “It is true. It is the body of God. I must confess it, for I am forced to do so. Ha! It tortures me that I must confess this, but I must. I speak the truth only when I am forced to do it. The truth is not from me. It comes from my Lord and Master. I have entered this body by the permission of God.”

The bishop now held the Blessed Sacrament close to the face of the possessed woman. The demon writhed in fearful agony. He tried in every way to escape from the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. At length a black smoke was seen issuing from the mouth of Nicola. She fell into a swoon, and was restored to consciousness only by means of the Blessed Sacrament. The eighth of February, the day appointed by God on which Satan was to leave Nicola forever, arrived at last. After the solemn procession, the bishop began the last exorcism.

“I shall not ask thee any longer,” said the bishop to Satan, “when thou intendest to leave, I will expel thee instantly by the power of the living God, and by the precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, His beloved Son, here present in the Sacrament of the Altar.”

“Ha, yes!” shrieked the demon. “I confess that the Son of God is here really and truly present. He is my Lord and Master. It tortures me to confess it, but I am forced to do so.” Then he repeated several times, with a wild, unearthly howl: “Yes, it is true. I must confess it. I am forced to leave, by the power of God’s body here present. I must – I must depart. It torments me that I must go so soon, and that I must confess this truth. But this truth is not from me; it comes from my Lord and Master, who has sent me hither, and who commands and compels me to confess the truth publicly.”

The bishop then took the Blessed Sacrament in his hand, and, holding it on high, he said, with a solemn voice: “O thou wicked, unclean spirit, Beelzebub! Thou arch-enemy of the eternal God! Behold, here present, the precious Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Lord and Master! I adjure thee, in the name and by the power of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, true God and true man, who is here present; I command thee to depart instantly and forever from this creature of God. Depart to the deepest depth of hell, there to be tormented forever. Go forth, unclean spirit, go forth – behold here thy Lord and Master!”

At these solemn words, and at the sight of our sacramental Lord, the poor possessed woman writhed fearfully. Her limbs cracked as if every bone in her body were breaking. The fifteen strong men who held her, could scarcely keep her back. They staggered from side to side; they were covered with perspiration. Satan tried to escape from the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The mouth of Nicola was wide open, her tongue hung down below her chin, her face was shockingly swollen and distorted. Her color changed from yellow to green, and became even gray and blue, so that she no longer looked like a human being; it was rather the face of a hideous, incarnate demon. All present trembled with terror, especially when they heard the wild cry of the demon, which sounded like the loud roar of a wild bull. They fell on their knees, and with tears in their eyes, began to cry out: “Jesus, have mercy!”

The bishop continued to urge Satan. At last the evil spirit departed, and Nicola fell back senseless into the arms of her keepers. She still, however, remained shockingly distorted. In this state she was shown to the judges, and to all the people present; she was rolled up like a ball. The bishop now fell on his knees, in order to give her the Blessed Sacrament as usual. But see! Suddenly the demon returns, wild with rage, endeavors to seize the hand of the bishop, and even tries to grasp the Blessed Sacrament itself. The bishop starts back; Nicola is carried into the air and the bishop rises from his knees, trembling with terror and pale as death.

The good bishop takes courage again; he pursues the demon, holding the Blessed Sacrament in his hand, till at length the demon, overcome by the power of Our Lord’s sacred body, goes forth amidst smoke, and lightning, and thunder. Thus was the demon at length expelled forever, on Friday afternoon, at three o’clock, the same day and hour on which Our Lord triumphed over hell by His ever-blessed death.

Nicola was now completely cured; she could move her left arm with the greatest ease. She fell on her knees and thanked God, as well as the good bishop, for all he had done for her. The people wept for joy, and sang hymns of praise and thanksgiving in honor of our dear Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. On all sides were heard the exclamations: “Oh, what a great miracle! Oh, thank God that I witnessed it! Who is there now that can doubt of the real presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar!” Many a Protestant also said: “I believe now in the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament; I have seen with my eyes! I will remain a Calvinist no longer. Accursed be those who have hitherto kept me in error! Oh, now I can understand what a good thing is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!”

A solemn Te Deum was intoned; the organ pealed forth and the bells rung forth a merry chime. The whole city was filled with joy.

This great triumph of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament over Satan occurred in the presence of more than 150,000 people, in the presence of the ecclesiastical and civil authorities of the city, of Protestants and Catholics alike. I have published a lengthy account of this extraordinary affair in a little volume entitled “Triumph of the Blessed Sacrament.”

 
The above was taken from Chapter 5 of the book The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Fr. Michael Muller, C.Ss.R. (Imprimatur: Archbishop McClosky, New York – 1884); published by TAN Books.

Eucharistic Miracle of Moncado Spain 


 For a long time the parish priest of Moncada in Spain had celebrated Mass without any scruples of conscience, when suddenly he became the prey of a violent doubt as to whether he had been rightly ordained. In his distress, to allay his doubts he determined to put his case before his bishop. He immediately set out on foot and journeyed to Valencia, the seat of the diocese. In this place it pleased Almighty God to deliver him from his trouble, and to give him light and peace by means of a very remarkable miracle.
The priest had been appointed to say Christmas Mass. He had reached the awful moment of Consecration, and with trembling hands took the host and pronounced the words of transubstantiation with a quivering voice. As he raised the Sacred Host aloft, and knelt again in trembling adoration, the cry of a little five-year-old child rang out from the congregation: “O Mama, what a lovely child! See there, Mama! He is up on the altar.” A little lad nearby, apparently forgetful of everything else, stood upon the chair and clapped his hands with joy. The boy’s mother was embarrassed and bade him hush, for no one else had seen the vision of beauty; only the innocent child saw it when the Sacred Host was raised on high. Again and again he entreated his mother to look. “Such a beautiful child, Mama,” he whispered, “just like the little baby over there in the crib.”

The mother and child awaited to hear a second Mass which was said by the same priest at dawn, and again at the Elevation the little boy exclaimed, “Oh, there he is again, Mama, don’t you see? The priest is holding him up in his hands and now he has laid him on the altar!” The mother bade the child be silent; she could not see anything, the great grace being granted only to her little son.

The priest completed the Christmas offering by saying the third Mass. At the Elevation the boy was all excitement, and the same scene was enacted as before. The happy mother told others of this strange occurrence and through them it reached the ears of the priest himself who, it may be believed, was greatly comforted thereby. However, his scruples were not entirely removed. He doubted whether the child might not have been deceived, and therefore he requested that the little boy be cross-examined by him. But the answers of the child were so accurate that he found no reason to doubt the reality of the manifestation. Full of joy and filled with gratitude towards God, he invited the little boy and his mother to be present as often as possible at his Mass, and on each occasion the miracle was renewed. As doubts still lingered in his mind, he resolved to receive a final convincing proof. Taking three particles with him to the altar, he placed two upon the corporal and consecrated them, leaving the third one unconsecrated but within reach. After Holy Mass was ended he called the little boy to the altar, and asked him if he saw the divine Infant in either of the particles, and, if so, in which. “Oh yes, Father,” said the boy, “there He is! See, He is stretching out His hands.” The little fellow seemed quite ravished with delight. On pointing to the other host the priest asked: “And what about it? Is the Divine Infant also in that other host?” The child answered, “No.” “But are you sure?” queried the priest. “Oh yes, Father, there is nothing there.” At the last manifestation the peace of the good priest returned to him. Unrest and scruple vanished from his mind forever, and for the remainder of his life he served God with greater love and piety.

PRAYER: O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.

Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem

The miracle of the Eucharist in Santarem, Portugal (1225) -An ongoing miracle

Around the year 1225 there was a woman living in Santarem, who was very unhappy with her marriage. She was convinced that her husband did not love her, and was unfaithful. She initially tried numerous things to win back the affection of her husband, but to no avail. As a desperate last attempt, she went to a sorceress. The sorceress promised the wife that her husband would return to his loving ways, if the wife would bring her a Consecrated Host.


This of course greatly frightened the woman, because she knew it was sacrilege, but nevertheless she finally gave in. She went to Mass at the Church of St. Steven, and received Communion, but did not consume the Host. Instead, she left the Church immediately, and took the Host out of her mouth, putting It into her veil. She then went to the sorceress.

Along the way, the Host began to bleed inside the veil. The wife was not aware of it until passersby brought it to her attention, thinking she herself was bleeding. Panic struck the woman and instead of going to the sorceress’ house, she rushed home. She then put the bloody veil containing the Host into the bottom of a trunk, not knowing what else to do. When her husband came home, she said nothing.


Later in the night they were awakened by mysterious bright rays of light coming from the trunk, penetrating the wood and illuminating the entire room. The wife then confessed her sin to her husband and both of them knelt in adoration for the remaining hours until dawn, when the parish priest was summoned.

News of the mysterious event spread quickly and attracted countless people who wanted to contemplate the miracle. Because of the furor, an episcopal Church investigation was promptly organized.


The bloody Host was taken in procession to the Church of St. Stephen, where it was encased in wax (to contain the blood and the Host) and secured in the tabernacle. Some time later when the tabernacle was opened, another miracle was discovered. The wax that had encased the Host was found broken into pieces, and the Host was found miraculously enclosed in a crystal pyx, along with the precious Blood. This was later placed in a gold and silver pear-shaped monstrance with a “sunburst” of 33 rays, in which it is still contained today.

After the investigation and approval by the Church authorities, the Church of St. Stephen was renamed “The Church of the Holy Miracle.” The little house where the miracle occurred was on Via delle Stuoie in Santarem.

From the time of the miracle until now, every year, on the Second Sunday of April, the incident is re-enacted by local actors. The actual Eucharistic Miracle is processed from the house, which was converted into a Chapel in 1684, to the Church. Miraculously, after 750 years, the precious blood still remains in liquid form, defying the natural laws of science. The Host is somewhat irregularly shaped, resembling real flesh with delicate veins running from top to bottom, where a quantity of blood is collected in the crystal.

The Institution of the Holy Eucharist from the visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich 

MEDITATION VIII
Institution of the Holy Eucharist


   By command of our Lord, the major-domo had again laid out the table, which he had raised a little; then, having placed it once more in the middle of the room, he stood one urn filled with wine, and another with water underneath it. Peter and John went into the part of the room near the hearth, to get the chalice which they had brought from Seraphia’s house, and which was still wrapped up in its covering. They carried it between them as if they had been carrying a tabernacle, and placed it on the table before Jesus. An oval plate stood there, with three fine white azymous loaves, placed on a piece of linen, by the side of the half loaf which Jesus had set aside during the Paschal meal, also a jar containing wine and water, and three boxes, one filled with thick oil, a second with liquid oil, and the third empty.
 

   In earlier times, it had been the practice for all at table to eat of the same loaf and drink of the same cup at the end of the meal, thereby to express their friendship and brotherly love, and to welcome and bid farewell to each other. I think Scripture must contain something upon this subject.
   On the day of the Last Supper, Jesus raised this custom (which had hither to been no more than a symbolical and figurative rite) to the dignity of the holiest of sacraments. One of the charges brought before Caiphas, on occasion of the treason of Judas, was, that Jesus had introduced a novelty into the Paschal ceremonies, but Nicodemus proved from Scripture that it was an ancient practice.
   Jesus was seated between Peter and John, the doors were closed, and everything was done in the most mysterious and imposing manner. When the chalice was taken out of its covering, Jesus prayed, and spoke to his Apostles with the utmost solemnity. I saw him giving them an explanation of the Supper, and of the entire ceremony, and I was forcibly reminded of a priest teaching others to say Mass.


   He then drew a species of shelf with grooves from the board on which the jars stood, and taking a piece of white linen with which the chalice was covered, spread it over the board and shelf. I then saw him lift a round plate, which he placed on this same shelf, off the top of the chalice. He next took the azymous loaves from beneath the linen with which they were covered, and placed them before him on the board; then he took out of the chalice a smaller vase, and arranged the six little glasses on each side of it. Then he blessed the bread and also the oil, to the best of my belief, after which he lifted up the paten with the loaves upon it, in his two hands, raised his eyes, prayed offered, and replaced the paten on the table, covering it up again. He then took the chalice, had some wine poured into it by Peter, and some water, which he first blessed, by John, adding to it a little more water, which he poured into a small spoon, and after this he blessed the chalice, raised it up with a prayer, made the oblation, and replaced it on the table.
 

   John and Peter poured some water on his hands, which he held over the plate on which the azymous loaves had been placed; then he took a little of the water which had been poured on his hands, in the spoon that he had taken out of the lower part of the chalice, and poured it on theirs. After this, the vase was passed round the table, and all the Apostles washed their hands in it. I do not remember whether this was the precise order in which these ceremonies were performed; all I know is, that they reminded me in a striking manner of the holy sacrifice of the Mass.


   Meanwhile, our Divine Lord became more and more tender and loving in his demeanour; he told his Apostles that he was about to give them all that he had, namely, his entire self, and he looked as though perfectly transformed by love. I saw him becoming transparent, until he resembled a luminous shadow. He broke the bread into several pieces, which he laid together on the paten, and then took a corner of the first piece and dropped it into the chalice. At the moment when he was doing this, I seemed to see the Blessed Virgin receiving the Holy Sacrament in a spiritual manner, although she was not present in the supper-room. I do not know how it was done, but I thought I saw her enter without touching the ground, and come before our Lord to receive the Holy Eucharist; after which I saw her no more. Jesus had told her in the morning, at Bethania, that he would keep the Pasch with her spiritually, and he had named the hour at which she was to betake herself to prayer, in order to receive it in spirit.
   Again he prayed and taught; his words came forth from his lips like fire and light, and entered into each of the Apostles, with the exception of Judas. He took the paten with the pieces of bread (I do not know whether he had placed it on the chalice) and said: ‘Take and eat; this is my Body which is given for you.’ He stretched forth his right hand as if to bless, and, whilst he did so, a brilliant light came from him, his words were luminous, the bread entered the mouths of the Apostles as a brilliant substance, and light seemed to penetrate and surround them all, Judas alone remaining dark. Jesus presented the bread first to Peter, next to John* and then he made a sign to Judas to approach. Judas was thus the third who received the Adorable Sacrament, but the words of our Lord appeared to turn aside from the mouth of the traitor, and come back to their Divine Author. So perturbed was I in spirit at this sight, that my feelings cannot be described. Jesus said to him: ‘That which thou dost, do quick1y.’ He then administered the Blessed Sacrament to the other Apostles, who approached two and two.
 

   Jesus raised the chalice by its two handles to a level with his face, and pronounced the words of consecration. Whilst doing so, he appeared wholly transfigured, as it were transparent, and as though entirely passing into what he was going to give his Apostles. He made Peter and John drink from the chalice which he held in his hand, and then placed it again on the table. John poured the Divine Blood from the chalice into the smaller glasses, and Peter presented them to the Apostles, two of whom drank together out of the same cup. I think, but am not quite certain, that Judas also partook of the chalice; he did not return to his place, but immediately left the supper-room, and the other Apostles thought that Jesus had given him some commission to do. He left without praying or making any thanksgiving, and hence you may perceive how sinful it is to neglect returning thanks either after receiving our daily food, or after partaking of the Life-Giving Bread of Angels. During the entire meal, I had seen a frightful little figure, with one foot like a dried bone, remaining close to Judas, but when he had reached the door, I beheld three devils pressing round him; one entered into his mouth, the second urged him on, and the third preceded him. It was night, and they seemed to be lighting him, whilst he hurried onward like a madman.
* She was not certain that the Blessed Sacrament was administered in the order given above, for on another occasion she had seen John the last to receive.
 

   Our Lord poured a few drops of the Precious Blood remaining in the chalice into the little vase of which I have already spoken, and then placed his fingers over the chalice, while Peter and John poured water and wine upon them. This done, he caused them to drink again from the chalice, and what remained of its contents was poured into the smaller glasses, and distributed to the other Apostles. Then Jesus wiped the chalice, put into it the little vase containing the remainder of the Divine Blood, and placed over it the paten with the fragments of the consecrated bread, after which he again put on the cover, wrapped up the chalice, and stood it in the midst of the six small cups. I saw the Apostles receive in communion these remains of the Adorable Sacrament, after the Resurrection.


   I do not remember seeing our Lord himself eat and drink of the consecrated elements, neither did I see Melchisedech, when offering the bread and wine, taste of them himself. It was made known to me why priests partake of them, although Jesus did not.
   Here Sister Emmerich looked suddenly up, and appeared to be listening. Some explanation was given her on this subject, but the following words were all that she could repeat to us: ‘If the office of distributing it had been given to angels, they would not have partaken, but if priests did not partake, the Blessed Eucharist would be lost—it is through their participation that it is preserved.’


   There was an indescribable solemnity and order in all the actions of Jesus during the institution of the Holy Eucharist, and his every movement was most majestic. I saw the Apostles noting things down in the little rolls of parchment which they carried on their persons. Several times during the ceremonies I remarked that they bowed to each other, in the same way that our priests do.
 


MEDITATION IX
Private Instructions and Consecrations



   Jesus gave his Apostles some private instructions; he told them how they were to preserve the Blessed Sacrament in memory of him, even to the end of the world; he taught them the necessary forms for making use of and communicating it, and in what manner they were, by degrees, to teach and publish this mystery; finally he told them when they were to receive what remained of the consecrated Elements, when to give some to the Blessed Virgin, and how to consecrate, themselves, after he should have sent them the Divine Comforter. He then spoke concerning the priesthood, the sacred unction, and the preparation of the Chrism and Holy Oils.* He had there three boxes, two of which contained a mixture of oil and balm. He taught them how to make this mixture, what parts of the body were to be anointed with them, and upon what occasions. I remember, among other things, that he mentioned a case in which the Holy Eucharist could not be administered; perhaps what he said had reference to Extreme Unction, for my recollections on this point are not very clear. He spoke of different kinds of anointing, and in particular of that of kings, and he said that even wicked kings who were anointed, derived from it especial powers. He put ointment and oil in the empty box, and mixed them together, but I cannot say for certain whether it was at this moment, or at the time of the consecration of the bread, that he blessed the oil.
*It was not without surprise that the editor, some years after these things had been related by Sister Emmerich, read, in the Latin edition of the Roman Catechism (Mayence, Muller), in reference to the Sacrament of Confirmation, that, according to the tradition of the holy Pope Fabian, Jesus taught his Apostles in what manner they were to prepare the Holy Chrism, after the institution of the Blessed Sacrament. The Pope says expressly, in the 54th paragraph of his Second Epistle to the Bishops of the East: ‘ Our predecessors received from the Apostles and delivered to us that our Saviour Jesus Christ, after having made the Last Supper with his Apostles and washed their feet, taught them how to prepare the Holy Chrism. ‘
 

   I then saw Jesus anoint Peter and John, on whose hands he had already poured the water which had flowed on his own, and to whom he had given to drink out of the chalice. Then he laid his hands on their shoulders and heads, while they, on their part, joined their hands and crossed their thumbs, bowing down profoundly before him—I am not sure whether they did not even kneel. He anointed the thumb and fore-finger of each of their hands, and marked across on their heads with Chrism. He said also that this would remain with them unto the end of the world.
   James the Less, Andrew, James the Greater, and Bartholomew, were also consecrated. I saw likewise that on Peter’s bosom he crossed a sort of stole worn round the neck, whilst on the others he simply placed it crosswise, from the right shoulder to the left side. I do not know whether this was done at the time of the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, or only for the anointing.
   I understood that Jesus communicated to them by this unction something essential and supernatural, beyond my power to describe. He told them that when they should have received the Holy Spirit they were to consecrate the bread and wine, and anoint the other Apostles. It was made known to me then that, on the day of Pentecost, Peter and John imposed their hands upon the other Apostles, and a week later upon several of the disciples. After the Resurrection, John gave the Adorable Sacrament for the first time to the Blessed Virgin. This event was solemnised as a festival among the Apostles. It is a festival no longer kept in the Church on earth, but I see it celebrated in the Church triumphant. For the first few days after Pentecost I saw only Peter and John consecrate the Blessed Eucharist, but after that the others also consecrated.
   Our Lord next proceeded to bless fire in a brass vessel and care was taken that it should not go out, but it was kept near the spot where the Blessed Sacrament had been deposited, in one division of the ancient Paschal hearth, and fire was always taken from it when needed for spiritual purposes.
 

   All that Jesus did upon this occasion was done in private, and taught equally in private. The Church has retained all that was essential of these secret instructions, and, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, developed and adapted them to all her requirements.
   Whether Peter and John were both consecrated bishops, or Peter alone as bishop and John as priest, or to what dignity the other four Apostles were raised, I cannot pretend to say. But the different ways in which our Lord arranged the Apostles’ stoles appear to indicate different degrees of consecration.
   When these holy ceremonies were concluded, the chalice (near which the blessed Chrism also stood) was recovered, and the Adorable Sacrament carried by Peter and John into the back part of the room, which was divided off by a curtain, and from thenceforth became the Sanctuary. The spot where the Blessed Sacrament was deposited was not very far above the Paschal stove. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took care of the Sanctuary and of the supper-room during the absence of the Apostles.
   Jesus again instructed his Apostles for a considerable length of time, and also prayed several times. He frequently appeared to be conversing with his Heavenly Father, and to be over flowing with enthusiasm and love. The Apostles also were full of joy and zeal, and asked him various questions which he forthwith answered. The scriptures must contain much of this last discourse and conversation. He told Peter and John different things to be made known later to the other Apostles, who in their turn were to communicate them to the disciples and holy women, according to the capacity of each for such knowledge. He had a private conversation with John, whom he told that his life would be longer than the lives of the others. He spoke to him also concerning seven Churches, some crowns and angels, and instructed him in the meaning of certain mysterious figures, which signified, to the best of my belief, different epochs. The other Apostles were slightly jealous of this confidential communication being made to John.
 
   Jesus spoke also of the traitor. ‘Now he is doing this or that,’ he said, and I, in fact, saw Judas doing exactly as he said of him. As Peter was vehemently protesting that he would always remain faithful, our Lord said to him: ‘Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not: and thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren.’
   Again, our Lord said, that whither he was going they could not follow him, when Peter exclaimed: ‘Lord, I am ready to go with thee both into prison and to death.’ And Jesus replied: ‘ Amen, amen, I say to thee, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.’
   Jesus, while making known to his Apostles that trying times were at hand for them, said: ‘When I sent you without purse, or scrip, or shoes, did you want anything? ‘ They answered: ‘Nothing.’ ‘But now,’ he continued, ‘ he that hath a purse let him take it, and likewise a scrip, and he that hath not, let him sell his coat and buy a sword. For I say to you, that this that is written must yet be fulfilled in me: AND WITH THE WICKED WAS HE RECKONED. For the things concerning me have an end.’ The Apostles only understood his words in a carnal sense, and Peter showed him two swords, which were short and thick, like cleavers. Jesus said: ‘ It is enough: let us go hence.’ Then they sang the thanksgiving hymn, put the table on one side, and went into the vestibule.
   There, Jesus found his Mother, Mary of Cleophas, and Magdalen, who earnestly besought him not to go to Mount Olivet, for a report had spread that his enemies were seeking to lay hands on him. But Jesus comforted them in few words, and hastened onward—it being then about nine o’clock. They went down the road by which Peter and John had come to the supper-room, and directed their steps towards Mount Olivet.   
 
    I have always seen the Pasch and the institution of the Blessed Sacrament take place in the order related above. But my feelings were each time so strongly excited and my emotion so great, that I could not give much attention to all the details, but now I have seen them more distinctly. No words can describe how painful and exhausting is such a sight as that of beholding the hidden recesses of hearts, the love and constancy of our Saviour, and to know at the same time all that is going to befall him. How would it be possible to observe all that is merely external! the heart is overflowing with admiration, gratitude, and love—the blindness of men seems perfectly incomprehensible—and the soul is overwhelmed with sorrow at the thought of the ingratitude of the whole world, and of her own sins!
   The eating of the Paschal Lamb was performed by Jesus rapidly, and in entire conformity with all the legal ordinances. The Pharisees were in the habit of adding some minute and superstitious ceremonies.

Exhortations for Women on Hearing and Dressing for Mass Daily ~St.Leonard of Port Maurice 

Beautiful advice from one of the most zealous missionaries,St.Leonard of Port Maurice.Excerpts were taken from the book “The Hidden Treasure of the Holy Mass”published in 1861.
ON HEARING MASS DAILY: LADIES DRESS


A lady who enters church decked out with various ornaments is apt to attract attention, and perhaps, though God forbid it, to withdraw hearts from the worship of God. It is needless to adduce examples to encourage ladies to hear holy Mass every day. Truly they are but too well inclined to frequent churches, and the thing in point is to make them understand with what modesty and reverence they ought to demean themselves in the house of God, and more particularly when the holy sacrifice is being celebrated; since, however much many ladies edify me, appearing as they do before the altars in simple dress, without variety of color, without anything elaborate or curious, I am as much scandalized, on the other hand, by those vain trifling creatures who, arrayed in the fashion of the hour, and with an air caught as it were from the theatre, almost seem as if they would be the goddesses of some temple. The Blessed Ivetta, herself a noble Flemish lady, had once a wonderful vision in church. Such a one as I have mentioned was not far distant from her during holy Mass, magnificently dressed, and the Saint was enlightened to see the disposition of her heart, and the vain, worldly, and even impure thoughts which came and went freely through her mind without any check. And all the while she perceived that there were evil spirits close to this self-complacent woman of fashion, who would at times seem to touch her lace or her ribbons as objects of which they had a care. The lady approached the altar-rails for holy Communion; the priest descended the steps, the adorable Sacrament in his hand, when, lo, the Saviour separated Himself from the sacred particle, and ascending heavenward, disappeared, refusing to enter the mouth of one so wretched as to carry her vanity into His very presence and there complacently to dwell on thoughts of sin. The Saint was made clearly to understand that the evil spirits who were near her found in her luxury and vanity of dress something congenial to their minds and easy instruments for her ruin, and that the Saviour refused to be given to her because of her sinful dispositions. Quoniam in malevolam animam non introibit sapientia, nec habitabit in corpore subdito peccatis, “For wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins” (Wis. i. 4). 

But you will say to me that you are not of the number of those so corrupt and lost; and I believe you—–with all frankness I believe you: but yet all that finery, those perfumes, that search after effect; that studious calculation of means to heighten every good feature of face, figure, or complexion; that pride of splendor and outlay; how shall these things be sternly enough denounced? Do you not, so far as you can, degrade the house of God; do you not rob Christ of honor, by casting more or less of distraction by your demeanor and your finery? Ah, enter into your own hearts, and resolve to imitate St. Elizabeth of Hungary—–a Saint, a queen, who would go with all royal pomp to holy Mass, but on entering church would take the crown from her head, the jewels from her fingers, and, despoiled of all ornament, would remain covered with a veil, so modest in deportment that she was never seen to direct a glance in any direction but the altar. This so pleased Almighty God that He chose to make His satisfaction apparent to all; for once, during Mass, the Saint was so glorified with Divine splendor that the eyes which looked on her were dazzled, and she seemed to all as it were an angel of paradise. Make use of this noble example, and be assured you will thus become pleasing to God and to man, and your share in the divine sacrifice will be of the highest profit to you in this life and in the next. 

On Women in the World and Daily Mass


Great, indeed, is the benefit to be derived from holy Mass, but very often it is not befitting for all women to go to church on week days. You who nurse a child, or are obliged by motives, whether of virtue or of charity, to assist the sick, or you who have a perverse husband, who forbids you to leave the house, must not be troubled about it, or, what would be worse, disobey; for though holy Mass is indeed a thing most holy and, of the utmost benefit, yet, for all this, obedience and the denial of your own will are better in your case. Nay, for your consolation be it known to you that by such obedience you acquire double grace and merit, since the goodness of God in such a case will not only reward your obedience, but will look on you as having attended Mass, graciously accepting your good intention. By disobedience, on the contrary, you would lose the one and the other merit, showing yourself to have more pleasure in your own will than in that of God, Who expressly declares in the page of Holy Writ that Melior est obedientia quam victimae (1 Kings xv. 22). God is more pleased with obedience than with Masses and sacrifices not of precept. But what if you should go to Mass in such circumstances, only to meet acquaintances with whom to chat, or in such a spirit as to indulge in voluntary distractions, and thus cause you to return home empty-handed as to all benefit? So it was with a country woman who lived in a village at some little distance from church. (Heur, in Mag. Spec. Exem. d. 10 Ex. 28.) In order to win some great favor or another which she desired of Almighty God, she determined and engaged to herself that she would hear a great number of Masses in the course of the year. And so, whenever she heard the bell of invitation to the holy sacrifice ring from any neighboring country church, she would immediately interrupt her occupations and make hastily off, even through rain or snow, without taking at all into account the inclemency of the weather. When again at home she would, in order to keep count of the Masses so as to complete the number precisely, slip a bean into a box through a small slit like that in money-boxes or those used for voting, so that it seemed a perfectly secure repository. When the year had flown, confident of having fulfilled her vow, of having presented a great offering of homage to God, and of having acquired no little merit, she went to open the little case, where, of all the beans she had deposited, she found one only. Confounded and amazed beyond measure, she quite took it to heart, and turning to God, she said with tears: “O Lord, how is it that so many Masses at which I have assisted, I only find the record of one? Nor have I ever failed to be present, even at the very greatest inconvenience, never fearing adverse weather, but hurrying through rain or hail, and in spite of whatever seemed to oppose me.” Then Almighty God inspired her to go and consult a wise and pious priest, who asked her in what spirit she had pursued her devotion, her demeanor on the way to, and the affections with which she had assisted at the sacrifice. To all which she had to acknowledge that on the way to church she had always been thinking about her affairs, or chatting in a light and jocular style; and that, while assisting at the Divine mysteries, she had passed much of the time in whispering with some friend or neighbor, or had occupied her mind with domestic cares. “Behold the cause,” exclaimed the priest, “of so many Masses being lost. Chatting, idle curiosity, and voluntary distractions have taken away all your merit. Either the devil has taken your tokens as a record against you, or your angel has carried them off, that you might see how good works are lost if not done in the right way and the right spirit. But be sure you return thanks to God that one at least seems to have been well heard and has remained profitable to you.” Now make a serious reflection, and say to yourself: Who knows how many out of all the Masses heard during my life, may have been accepted by God and agreeable to Him? What says conscience? If it seems that but few have been profitable to you in the sight of God, apply the remedy in a true and thorough spirit of amendment for the future. But if, which God forbid, you have been one of those unfortunates who levy recruits for hell, dragging souls down to it even in church, listen to the following frightful incident, and tremble. It is handed down in a book called “Dormisicuro,” as a well-founded story, that a woman, for a long time suffering deep poverty, wandered about in a sort of despair through solitary places, and that there, in some way or other, an evil spirit intimated to her that if she had conducted herself in church as some did, entertaining those near with idle whisperings and useless and impertinent talk, he would have befriended her and made her better off. The miserable woman accepted the bargain thus suggested, applied herself to the miserable and devilish work, and succeeded marvellously; for whoever happened to be placed beside her found it impossible to attend devoutly to Mass or other Divine functions, so constant were her observations or questions, and so many the little methods of interruption which she applied. But no long time passed before she felt the avenging hand of God. One morning there occurred a violent tempest, and a thunderbolt fell among the crowd, which slew her alone, reducing her to ashes. Learn, then, at another’s cost, and avoid those who with idle talk, and with so much irreverence in church, make themselves truly the servants of Satan; spurn them if you do not yourselves wish to incur the wrath of God.