The Queenship of Mary 

Here are some beautiful quotes from the encyclical, Ad Caeli Reginam (On the Proclamation of the Queenship of Mary), written by Blessed Pope Pius XII and promulgated on October 11, 1954 
1. “From the earliest ages of the catholic church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother’s solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.”

2. “In this matter We do not wish to propose a new truth to be believed by Christians, since the title and the arguments on which Mary’s queenly dignity is based have already been clearly set forth…From early times Christians have believed, and not without reason, that she of whom was born the Son of the Most High received privileges of grace above all other beings created by God…And when Christians reflected upon the intimate connection that obtains between a mother and a son, they readily acknowledged the supreme royal dignity of the Mother of God.”

3. “The theologians of the Church, deriving their teaching from these [the Early Church Fathers] and almost innumerable other testimonies handed down long ago, have called the most Blessed Virgin the Queen of all creatures, the Queen of the world, and the Ruler of all…The Supreme Shepherds of the Church have considered it their duty to promote by eulogy and exhortation the devotion of the Christian people to the heavenly Mother and Queen.

4. “But the Blessed Virgin Mary should be called Queen, not only because of her Divine Motherhood, but also because God has willed her to have an exceptional role in the work of our eternal salvation. “What more joyful, what sweeter thought can we have” – as Our Predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI wrote – “than that Christ is our King not only by natural right, but also by an acquired right: that which He won by the redemption?…”

5. “Now, in the accomplishing of this work of redemption, the Blessed Virgin Mary was most closely associated with Christ; and so it is fitting to sing in the sacred liturgy: ‘Near the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ there stood, sorrowful, the Blessed Mary, Queen of Heaven and Queen of the World.’ Hence, as the devout disciple of St. Anselm (Eadmer, ed.) wrote in the Middle Ages: ‘just as . . . God, by making all through His power, is Father and Lord of all, so the blessed Mary, by repairing all through her merits, is Mother and Queen of all; for God is the Lord of all things, because by His command He establishes each of them in its own nature, and Mary is the Queen of all things, because she restores each to its original dignity through the grace which she merited.’”

6. “Since we are convinced, after long and serious reflection, that great good will accrue to the Church if this solidly established truth shines forth more clearly to all, like a luminous lamp raised aloft, by Our Apostolic authority We decree and establish the feast of Mary’s Queenship, which is to be celebrated every year in the whole world on the 31st of May [in the traditional calendar]. We likewise ordain that on the same day the consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary be renewed, cherishing the hope that through such consecration a new era may begin, joyous in Christian peace and in the triumph of religion.”

 7“In some countries of the world there are people who are unjustly persecuted for professing their Christian faith and who are deprived of their divine and human rights to freedom; up till now reasonable demands and repeated protests have availed nothing to remove these evils. May the powerful Queen of creation, whose radiant glance banishes storms and tempests and brings back cloudless skies, look upon these her innocent and tormented children with eyes of mercy; may the Virgin, who is able to subdue violence beneath her foot, grant to them that they may soon enjoy the rightful freedom to practice their religion openly, so that, while serving the cause of the Gospel, they may also contribute to the strength and progress of nations by their harmonious cooperation, by the practice of extraordinary virtues which are a glowing example in the midst of bitter trials.”

Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth…Pray for Us

St.Pius X~The Pope of the Holy Eucharist 

     Perhaps nowhere in the history of the Church is there a better example of a man possessed of so many of the saintly virtues—piety, charity, deep humility, pastoral zeal, and simplicity—than in this holy Pope. Let us remember his life and follow his example of faithfulness to the Lord.
     Father Giuseppe Sarto was ordained at the cathedral in Castelfranco on Sep 18, 1858. The young priest’s first assignment was as curate at Tombolo, a parish of 1500 souls in the Trentino district of Italy. Eight years later, he became pastor of Salzano, one of the most favored parishes in the diocese of Treviso. There, he arranged for the instruction of young and old in the fundamentals of Christian Doctrine, because it was his firm conviction that devotion meant little if it’s meaning was not understood.

     Later, he was appointed Canon of the Cathedral, Chancellor of the diocese and spiritual director at the seminary. In spite of these many duties, he remained ever the teacher. He often journeyed from the seminary into the city to teach catechism to the children, and he organized Sunday classes for those children who attended public schools, where religion had been banned. When the diocese of Mantua fell vacant in 1884, Pope Leo XIII named Canon Sarto as bishop of that diocese.

    Those days in Italy there was a general government opposition to religion which was manifested in many ways. This negative atmosphere helped allow dangerous errors of thought to creep into the clergy, and these faults of the shepherds eventually spread to the flock. In general, a pall of religious indifference and secularism spread over the diocese. With his characteristic energy and spiritual strength, Bishop Sarto sought to correct these errors, giving first attention to the seminary. By his own example of zeal and teaching, he won back the clergy to full and faithful service. He then noted a laxity in the faith of the people which he attributed to the neglect of parish priests in the instruction of the catechism. This led to Bishop Sarto establishing the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) in all parishes where he often taught the classes himself.

     God blessed this work, and in 1893, Leo XIII elevated Bishop Sarto to Cardinal and Patriarch of Venice. Social and economic problems were of prime concern to the new cardinal, and any worthy social action organization was assured of his help. When the Workingmen’s Society was founded in Venice, the name of Cardinal Sarto was at the top of the list and he paid regular dues as a member! 

     On July 20, 1903, the world mourned the death of a great Pontiff, Leo XIII. Bishop Sarto was elected by the Cardinals on August 9, 1903, and he accepted and took the name of Pius X. The world was now the parish of the new Pontiff, and in his first encyclical he announced the aim of his reign. It was his desire, in the words of St. Paul, “to restore all things in Christ.” (Eph 1:10). The prime means of accomplishing this restoration was through the clergy, and so he exhorted bishops to reorganize the seminaries: only through a trained and disciplined clergy could a program of return to Christ be realized. 

      The religious instruction of young and old became the second most important means toward the Christian restoration: the evils of the world were traceable to an ignorance of God, he said, and it was necessary for priests to make the eternal truths available to all and in a language that all could understand. Ever an example, he himself gave Sunday instruction to the people in one of the Vatican courtyards. However, no reform of Pius’ was more widely acclaimed than the Decrees on Holy Communion, and Pius X is thus often called “the Pope of the Eucharist.” These decrees allowed the reception of first Holy Communion at an earlier age than had formerly been required, encouraged the frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist by all Catholics, and relaxed the fast for the sick. 

      The Pope likewise vigorously promoted reforms within the liturgy of the Church. In his Motu proprio on the Restoration of Church music, he listed the aims of such music to be sanctity, beauty of form, and universality. Gregorian Chant, the Pope felt, was the music best suited to attain those aims. However, an attempt to make all Church music Gregorian was exaggerated, and modern compositions were always welcomed as long as they fulfilled the prescribed norms. Pius also reformed the Breviary, and was founder of the Biblical Institute for the advancement of scholarship in the study of the Scriptures. He initiated and closely supervised the construction of the Code of Canon Law.

     The crowning achievement of the Pontiff was his encyclical “On the Doctrines of the Modernists.” In this work, which was a death blow to the philosophy of Modernism, which pretended to “modernize” the Church and to make it keep pace with the changing times, but in reality its end would have been the destruction of the foundation of faith. The Pope gave a systematic exposition of the errors involved, their causes, and provisions for combating these errors by definite preventive measures.

      Sadly, a little more than a month after the outbreak of the First World War, the Pope died on Aug 20, 1914. The inscription on his tomb in the crypt of the basilica of St. Peter’s gives the most eloquent testimony to a life spent in the service of God:

    “Born poor and humble of heart, 

      Undaunted champion of the Catholic faith, 

       Zealous to restore all things in Christ, 

        Crowned a holy life with a holy death.”

 

St.Bernard on gossiping 


Look at that clever calumniator! He begins by fetching a deep sigh, he affects to be humble, and puts on a modest look, and with a voice choking with sobs tries to gloss over the slander which is on the tip of his tongue. One would fancy that he expressly assumed a calm and easy demeanor; for when he speaks against his brother, it is in a tender and compassionate tone. I am really hurt, says he, to find that our brother has fallen into such a sin; you all know how much I love him, and how often I have tried to correct him. It is not today that I have noticed his failing; for I should always be on my guard to speak of others, but others have spoken of it too. It would be in vain to disguise the fact; it is only too true, and with tears in my eyes I tell it to you. This poor unfortunate brother has talent, but it must be confessed that he is very guilty, and however great may be our friendship for him, it is impossible to excuse him.

~Saint Bernard of Clairvaux from a sermon~

St.John Eudes 

John Eudes was born at Ri, Normandy, France, on November 14, 1601, the son of a farmer. He went to the Jesuit college at Caen when he was 14, and despite his parents’ wish that he marry, joined the Congregation of the Oratory of France in 1623. He studied at Paris and at Aubervilliers, was ordained in 1625, and worked as a volunteer, caring for the victims of the plagues that struck Normandy in 1625 and 1631, and spent the next decade giving Missions, building a reputation as an outstanding preacher and confessor and for his opposition to Jansenism. He became interested in helping fallen women, and in 1641, with Madeleine Lamy, founded a refuge for them in Caen under the direction of the Visitandines. He resigned from the Oratorians in 1643 and founded the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (the Eudists) at Caen, composed of secular priests not bound by vows but dedicated to upgrading the clergy by establishing effective seminaries and to preaching missions. His foundation was opposed by the Oratorians and the Jansenists, and he was unable to obtain Papal approval for it, but in 1650, the Bishop of Coutances invited him to establish a seminary in that diocese. The same year the sisters at his refuge in Caen left the Visitandines and were recognized by the Bishop of Bayeux as a new congregation under the name of Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge.
John founded seminaries at Lisieux in 1653 and Rouen in 1659 and was unsuccessful in another attempt to secure Papal approval of his congregation, but in 1666 the Refuge sisters received Pope Alexander III’s approval as an institute to reclaim and care for penitent wayward women. John continued giving missions and established new seminaries at Evreux in 1666 and Rennes in 1670. He shared with St. Mary Margaret Alacoque the honor of initiating devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (he composed the Mass for the Sacred Heart in 1668) and the Holy Heart of Mary, popularizing the devotions with his “The Devotion to the Adorable Heart of Jesus” (1670) and “The Admirable Heart of the Most Holy Mother of God”, which he finished a month before his death at Caen on August 19th. He was canonized in 1925. His feast day is August 19th.

St.Clare of Montefalco 


Like so many other towns in Umbria, Montefalco is a small city set on a hill. It overlooks the valley of Spoleto, and some distance to the north Assisi is visible. Here Clare Damiani was born about 1268; and as a little girl of six she was placed in the convent of Saint Illuminata, where her sister Jane was superior.

From the beginning little Clare observed the rule of the Third Order of St Francis and added severe penances, keeping strict silence, taking only bread and water, and sleeping on the ground. About eight years later, Clare and the other sisters moved to a new convent, that of Santa Croce, which had been built for them on a nearby hill. During these years all of them followed the rule of the Third Order; but in 1290 the bishop of Spoleto substituted the rule of St Augustine.

After the death of her sister in 1298, Clare, who distinguished herself by her spirit of prayer and penance and was then about thirty years old, was chosen superior. Not only did she carry out her duties as a religious and a superior in an exemplary manner, but she exerted an extraordinary influence also on the outside world. She confuted heretics, converted sinners, reconciled families which were at odds with one another, made peace between neighboring warring towns, drove out devils, foretold future events, healed the sick, and raised the dead. During the latter part of her life, she also received the gifts of ecstasy and supernatural knowledge.

It is related that our Lord, carrying His Cross, appeared to Saint Clare of Montefalco and said: “I have been searching for a long time, daughter, to find a firm and solid place on which to plant My Cross, and I have not found one more suitable than your heart. You must receive it and allow it to take root.”

Clare herself once told a sister in her convent: “If you seek the Cross of Christ, take my heart. There you will find the suffering Lord.”

When Saint Clare of Montefalco’s heart was opened after her death, the Cross and other instruments of the Passion were found within, formed solidly in fibrous tissue. As an example, the crucifix was found to be about the size of a person’s thumb. The corpus is white and clearly formed as if sculpted, except for the tiny wound of the lance, which is bright red. A white tissue covers the loins of the corpus. For this reason she is also called Saint Clare of the Cross.

There were also three pellets found in the gall of St Clare. About the size of hazel nuts, they were found to be symbols of the Holy Trinity for the following reason – any single one of them weighed exactly the same as the other two, and any one of them equalled the weight of two or all three of them together. These pellets can still be seen.

Commending her sisters to her Franciscan brother, Father Francis Damiani, Saint Clare of Montefalco died at the age of forty on August 17, 1308, and was buried in the chapel of Santa Croce Convent. Later a church was built next to it and dedicated to her. Here her body, which has been preserved incorrupt in a most unusual manner, can still be seen; in fact, it seems to be that of a living person who is asleep. The miracle of liquefaction and ebullition of her blood has also taken place. The cult which had been paid to her as Blessed from the time of her death was approved in 1624; and in 1881 Pope Leo XIII canonized her.

~from The Franciscan Book of Saints, edited by Marion Habig, OFM~



Relic of the heart of St.Clare of Montefalco.Her Heart was found in the form of a Crucifix.

St.Jeanne Frances de Chantel 


What a way to start a marriage! Jane no sooner arrived at her new home then she discovered she might lose it. Her husband, Christophe, had not only inherited the title of baron but enormous debts as well.

But Jane had not come to the marriage empty-handed. She brought with her a deep faith instilled by her father who made daily religious discussion fun, allowing the children to talk about anything — even controversial topics. She also brought a good-hearted way that made a friend comment, “Even stupid jokes were funny when she told them.”

These qualities helped the twenty-year-old French woman take charge by personally organizing and supervising every detail of the estate, a method which not only brought the finances under control but won her employees’ hearts as well.

Despite the early financial worries, she and her husband shared “one heart and one soul.” They were devoted to each other and to their four children.

One way Jane shared her blessings was by giving bread and soup personally to the poor who came to her door. Often people who had just received food from her would pretend to leave, go around the house and get back in line for more. When asked why she let these people get away with this, Jane said, “What if God turned me away when I came back to him again and again with the same request?”

Her happiness was shattered when Christophe was killed in a hunting accident. Before he died, her husband forgave the man who shot him, saying to the man, “Don’t commit the sin of hating yourself when you have done nothing wrong.” The heartbroken Jane, however, had to struggle with forgiveness for a long time. At first she tried just greeting him on the street. When she was able to do that, she invited him to her house. Finally she was able to forgive the man so completely that she even became godmother to his child.

These troubles opened her heart to her longing for God and she sought God in prayer and a deepening spiritual life. Her commitment to God impressed Saint Francis de Sales, the bishop who became her director and best friend. Their friendship started before they even met, for them saw each other in dreams, and continued in letters throughout their lives.

With Francis’ support, Jane founded the Visitation order for women who were rejected by other orders because of poor health or age. She even accepted a woman who was 83 years old. When people criticized her, she said, “What do you want me to do? I like sick people myself; I’m on their side.” She believed that people should have a chance to live their calling regardless of their health.

Still a devoted mother, she was constantly concerned about the materialistic ways of one of her daughters. Her daughter finally asked her for spiritual direction as did may others, including an ambassador and her brother, an archbishop. Her advice always reflected her very gentle and loving approach to spirituality:

“Should you fall even fifty times a day, never on any account should that surprise or worry you. Instead, ever so gently set your heart back in the right direction and practice the opposite virtue, all the time speaking words of love and trust to our Lord after you have committed a thousand faults, as much as if you had committed only one. Once we have humbled ourselves for the faults God allows us to become aware of in ourselves, we must forget them and go forward.”

She died in 1641, at sixty-nine years of age.

In Her Footsteps

We have been told the secret of happiness is finding: finding yourself, finding love, finding the right job. Jane believed the secret of happiness was in “losing,” that we should “throw ourselves into God as a little drop of water into the sea, and lose ourselves indeed in the Ocean of the divine goodness.” She advised a man who wrote to her about all the afflictions he suffered “to lose all these things in God. These words produced such an effect in the soul, that he wrote me that he was wholly astonished, and ravished with joy.”

Today, when any thoughts or worries come to mind, send them out into the ocean of God’s love that surrounds you and lose them there. If any feelings come into your heart — grief, fear, even joy or longing, send those out into the ocean of God’s love. Finally, send your whole self, like a drop, into God. There is no past no future, here or there. There is only the infinite ocean of God.

Prayer: Saint Jane, you forgave the man who killed your husband. Help me learn to forgive a particular person in my life who has caused me harm. You know how difficult it is to forgive. Help me to take the steps you took to welcome this person back into my life. Amen

Source:catholiconline.org 

St.Philomena


Little is known about the life of St. Philomena. However, it is believed she was a Greek princess who became a virgin martyr and died at 13-years-old.

Remains of a young lady were discovered in May 1802 at the Catacombs of Priscilla on the Via Salaria Nova with three tiles reading “Peace be to you, Philomena.”

All that is known about St. Philomena’s life comes from a Neapolitan nun’s vision. Sister Maria Luisa di Gesu claims St. Philomena came to her and told her she was the daughter of a Greek king who converted to Christianity. When Philomena was 13-years-old, she took a vow of consecrated virginity.

After her father took his family to Rome to make peace, Emperor Diocletian fell in love with Philomena. When she refused to marry him, she was subjected to torture.

St. Philomena was scourged, drowned with an anchor attached to her, and shot with arrows. Each time she was attacked angels took to her side and healed her through prayer.

Finally, the Emperor had Philomena decapitated. According to the story, her death came on a Friday at three in the afternoon, the same as Jesus.

Two anchors, three arrows, a palm symbol of martyrdom, and a flower were found on the tiles in her tomb, interpreted as symbols of her martyrdom.

The nun’s account states Philomena was born on January 10 and was killed on August 10.

Devotion for Philomena began to spread once her bones were exhumed and miracles began to occur. Canon Francesco De Lucia of Mugnano del Cardinale received relics of St. Philomena and had them placed in the Church of Our Lady of Grace in Mugnano, Italy.


Soon after her relics were enshrined, cancers were cured, wounds were healed and the Miracle of Mugnano, when Venerable Pauline Jaricot was cured of a severe heart issue overnight, were all attributed to St. Philomena.

Other Saints began to venerate Philomena and attributing miracles in their lives to the young martyr, including St. John Marie Vianney and St. Peter Louis Marie Chanel.

Although controversy sometimes surrounds the truth behind St. Philomena’s life and sainthood, many believers all around the world continue to see her as a miraculous saint, canonized in 1837.

St. Philomena is the patron saint of infants, babies, and youth. She is often depicted in her youth with a flower crown, a palm of martyrdom, arrows, or an anchor.

Her feast day is celebrated on August 11.

St.Lawrence


Saint Lawrence was one of seven deacons who were in charge of giving help to the poor and the needy. When a persecution broke out, Pope St. Sixtus was condemned to death. As he was led to execution, Lawrence followed him weeping, “Father, where are you going without your deacon?” he said. “I am not leaving you, my son,” answered the Pope. “in three days you will follow me.” Full of joy, Lawrence gave to the poor the rest of the money he had on hand and even sold expensive vessels to have more to give away.

The Prefect of Rome, a greedy pagan, thought the Church had a great fortune hidden away. So he ordered Lawrence to bring the Church’s treasure to him. The Saint said he would, in three days. Then he went through the city and gathered together all the poor and sick people supported by the Church. When he showed them to the Prefect, he said: “This is the Church’s treasure!”

In great anger, the Prefect condemned Lawrence to a slow, cruel death. The Saint was tied on top of an iron grill over a slow fire that roasted his flesh little by little, but Lawrence was burning with so much love of God that he almost did not feel the flames. In fact, God gave him so much strength and joy that he even joked. “Turn me over,” he said to the judge. “I’m done on this side!” And just before he died, he said, “It’s cooked enough now.” Then he prayed that the city of Rome might be converted to Jesus and that the Catholic Faith might spread all over the world. After that, he went to receive the martyr’s reward. Saint Lawrence’s feast day is August 10th.

Sr.Teresa Benedicta of the Cross~Carmelite Martyr of Auschwitz 


Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)Virgin and Martyr Edith Stein, born in 1891 in Breslau, Poland, was the youngest child of a large Jewish family. She was an outstanding student and was well versed in philosophy with a particular interest in phenomenology. Eventually she became interested in the Catholic Faith, and in 1922, she was baptized at the Cathedral Church in Cologne, Germany. Eleven years later Edith entered the Cologne Carmel. Because of the ramifications of politics in Germany, Edith, whose name in religion was Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, was sent to the Carmel at Echt, Holland. When the Nazis conquered Holland, Teresa was arrested, and, with her sister Rose, was sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Teresa died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1942 at the age of fifty-one. In 1987, she was beatified in the large outdoor soccer stadium in Cologne by Pope John Paul II. Out of the unspeakable human suffering caused by the Nazis in western Europe in the 1930’s and 1940’s, there blossomed the beautiful life of dedication, consecration, prayer, fasting, and penance of Saint Teresa. Even though her life was snuffed out by the satanic evil of genocide, her memory stands as a light undimmed in the midst of evil, darkness, and suffering. She was canonized on October 11, 1998.