All posts by Larry Peterson

About Larry Peterson

Basically I am a “blue-collar guy”. It is the world I come from, a world of hard working, hard drinking construction workers, cops, long-shoremen, firemen, railroad workers, bus drivers, truckers, sanitation workers, etc. who were, for the most part, family men who loved their God, their families and their country—unconditionally. Consequently, if you would ask me to describe my work as a writer I would call it “blue-collar” meaning that I believe my work is simple fair, easily readable, no-nonsense, minimally superlative, and flows quickly. There is lots of dialogue and my tendency to be omniscient is obvious. I think that is because the characters and I are part of each other and I know what they are thinking.

Offering One’s Own Life to save a Life vs. Rejoicing in Sanctions that Destroy Life; The Paradox that is Humanity is Inexplicable

By Larry Peterson

New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo,  signed into law the Reproductive Health Act, on January 22, 2019, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The intentional signing of this bill on that day and the cheering that followed brought me back to a day 40 years earlier. The date was September 6, 1978. For my young family that was also a day about the life and death of a baby.

It was during the beginning of Loretta’s sixth month of pregnancy. We had been to the doctor the previous morning and, although he did not say anything, you could tell by his demeanor that something was not right. He had said to her, “I want to see you in a week.” He looked at me and, with tightened lips, gave a little shrug. I understood this was not a “thumbs up.”

It was a quiet walk to the car, and when we settled in and began driving, she said to me, “Somethings wrong. He knows it, and I know it.”  She paused and took a breath. A tear fell from her eye. I still said nothing. Then she said, “Let’s say the Rosary right now.” And we did.

During the previous few days, there was very little movement from the baby. The doctor also said that the heartbeat “could be a bit stronger.”  The rest of the day there was no movement. We had gone to bed and fallen asleep. I was on my right side, and Loretta was lying against my back. Suddenly something jabbed me in the back. It was hard enough to wake me. I sat up and said, “The baby just kicked me.”

She said softly, “Yes, I know.”

It was 2 a.m., and all was dark and peaceful but we did not fall back asleep. We just laid quietly, side by side, holding hands and waiting.  A second kick never came.

The next morning, after I had gone to work, Loretta began to hemorrhage. Her mom had been staying with us for a few days and thanked God she was there. She called 911 and then called and left a message for me at work. Then my three kids, ages eight, five, and one, sidled up to their grandma and watched their mom being taken away on a stretcher. The two oldest still remember that morning. Mary, just a baby at the time, does not.

My first stop (I was running a small delivery service) was ten minutes away from the hospital. We lived thirty minutes away, and I was waiting at the emergency room entrance when the ambulance arrived. When they pulled the gurney out, I was stunned at what I saw. My wife had bled so much that her hair was smeared with it. She was in and out of consciousness. I stood by helplessly as they rushed her into the ER.

For those who reject and scoff at the wonder of God’s human creations here is an example of how one woman did not. As I was standing there not knowing what to do or where to go, a priest came in and asked me if I was Larry Peterson.  I just nodded, and he told me that my mother-in-law had called his parish.  As Loretta was being wheeled out of the house, she made her mother promise to have a priest waiting to baptize her child. Her mom kept her promise.

What was also amazing was the fact that there was a hospital ten minutes from our house. The paramedics wanted to go there. Loretta demanded they take her to the Catholic hospital a half hour away. They told her it was way too risky because of the amount of blood she was losing. She would not relent, and they did as she asked. She was determined to have her child baptized. She had knowingly and willingly put her life on the line for her child.

Father Hyland came to me later and told me he had baptized our daughter (we named her Theresa Mary). The doctor said the baby had lived for a moment and died. She was two pounds and too small to survive. What happened over the next three weeks could have driven some folks away from the Church.

When I walked into Loretta’s room the next day the first thing she asked me was, “What did they do with Theresa?”

I had not even thought about that. Loretta had come close to dying from loss of blood and had required several transfusions. I asked her how she was, did she eat, just making small talk while I processed her question. She asked again, “Well, do you know what they did with our daughter?”

“No,” I said, “but I will find out right now.”

I headed down to the administrative offices and told the receptionist why I was there. She was gone a few minutes and came back with a nun by her side. “This is Sister Carol Ann. She is our administrator.

Sister came over to me, shook my hand and said, “Mr. Peterson, our policy is to bury the cremated remains of the stillborn in sacred ground. That is where the remains would be. Now, if there is anything else I can help you with? If not,  I am truly sorry for your loss, but sometimes it is for best.”

She walked away, and I said nothing.  I was thinking instead; Buried in sacred ground?  This happened yesterday. It’s for the best? How can they do that? Huh? I went back to my wife’s room. She was as pale as could be and very weak. I told her what I had been told and we agreed that we would come back the following week when she was feeling better.

We had three, young, demanding, kids at home and her mom was still there. It took longer for her to get back on her feet than was expected. Two weeks passed before she went anywhere. Then we headed for the doctor’s office. He told her she was doing well and finally, she asked the big question; “Okay doctor, where is the sacred ground located that Sister Carol Ann told Larry  contains the remains of the stillborn?”

His mouth literally opened and he momentarily stared at her. Then he said, “I have no idea what you are talking about. You had better go ask her.”

We left and headed to the hospital. We walked into the administrator’s office, and I told the receptionist we wanted to visit the “sacred ground” where the remains of our daughter were. She hurried away from her desk and a few minutes later came back and told us Sister would be right with us. We began our wait.

We waited for almost forty minutes. It was unnerving, to say the least. Finally, the waiting ended as Sister Carol Ann came in. She was followed by two nuns and a priest. Sister introduced us to Father Burke, Sister Bridgitte, and Sister Gabriel. Sister opened a folder and made believe she was reading. Then she looked up at Loretta and said, “Mrs. Peterson, you never had a baby in this hospital.”  Momentary silence erupted in the waiting room.

Loretta just looked at the woman in the veil and habit and said, “I think you have the wrong folder. I DID have a baby here on September 6. She was a girl and her name was Theresa and Father Hyland baptized her and my doctor told me he delivered an intact fetus. I want to see where the sacred ground is you dumped her in.”

Up steps the priest and he introduces himself as Father Burke.  He starts talking about when does “personhood” begin and how even Thomas Aquinas questions when it begins and it isn’t necessarily at conception. Loretta and I had morphed into being the enemy and the administrative staff had joined forces to stop us.

The next thing I knew I was nose to nose with this priest who is trying to cover up an obvious hospital disaster. He was trying to back away from me when someone stepped between us. It was a stranger who had come into the waiting room. He looked at me and said, “It will be okay. Don’t worry. It will be okay.”

His words settled me. He was like a guardian angel because I was going to say things to that priest I would have regretted later. I never got the man’s name nor did I ever see him again. He seemed to come from nowhere and vanish into nowhere just like that.

As we left the room Sister Bridgitte came over to us and said in a very low voice, “There were ‘products of conception’. Call Dr. Ali.” She grabbed Loretta’s hands and squeezed them. Tears were in her eyes. Then she walked away.

I called Dr. Ali and discovered he was the chief pathologist at the hospital. He knew exactly what I was talking about. I cannot quote what he said but he confirmed that we were the parents of a stillborn baby girl. He told us that because she was less than two pounds and it was a teaching hospital they brought her to the lab for research. She had been used as a guinea pig. He apologized profusely and said, “please trust me? I will  do my very best to resolve this for you.”

On October 1, 1978, the Feast Day of  St. Therese, the phone rang, and Loretta answered. It was Dr. Ali. All he said was, “Mrs. Peterson, I found your daughter. What would you like me to do.”

Loretta started crying and handed me the phone. I told him I would make arrangements with the funeral home near the hospital. A few days later, the desecrated remains of  Theresa Mary Peterson left the funeral home in a tiny white casket. The casket was placed on the front seat of a limousine. We followed it to Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, N.Y. She was buried with my parents and her name is on the tombstone. She did exist and will always be remembered.

We had honored the life that never lived out of honor and respect for the life that could have been.

Fast forward back to January 22, 2019. Led by their “devout” Catholic governor, Andrew Cuomo, lawmakers in New York State have passed a bill that allows for the execution of full-term babies. Yes, that is correct, FULL TERM  fully developed, ready for birth, infants.

When the bill was passed, a suffocating wind exploded from the halls of the capitol caused by the cheers and screams of those upstanding “lawmakers” who had voted to legalize infanticide. Indeed, the wind has moved like a tsunami across our land leaving behind a foul and repugnant odor.

There is an inexplicable paradox that engulfs humanity. There are many women and men like Loretta Peterson who are willing to lay down their very lives for their child, even if it is still unborn.  And then there are those people who rejoice in the death and destruction of the most innocent and helpless of all God’s creations.

As the great Pope, St. John Paul II said, “A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope.”

Lest evil prevails, I hope within our nation there are more of us than them.

©copyright Larry Peterson 2019

St. Yvo of Chartres: This little-known Saint is responsible for much of the Code of Canon Law

St. Yvo de Chartres                                                             pt.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

His name was quite unusual; it was Yvo.  He was born in the year 1040 near Chartres, France, which is why he is called Yvo of Chartres. Not much is known about his family background and his adolescent life. The documented history of his life seems to begin when Yvo became a student in Paris and began studying at the Abbey of Bec in Normandy, a Benedictine Monastery.

It was at the  Abbey of Bec that Yvo studied alongside Anselm of Canterbury, a man who would become a saint and a doctor of the church. Anselm and Yvo became good friends, and both men learned from each other. Yvo was still an unknown quantity but that began to change when he was ordained a priest.

His reputation as an outstanding teacher spread and his firm stand against religious abuse of power quickly became noticed. In 1080, at the request of the bishop, Yvo was sent to Beauvais to teach Canon Law at the Abbey of San Quentin. During his years at the Abbey, he established himself as one of the best teachers in France.  Under his guidance, the Abbey of San Quentin came to be recognized as the preeminent school of sound theology.

While here he established himself as a staunch opponent of the practice of simony ( making a profit by selling church goods and services), which at the time,  was being used by many of those within the religious ranks. In the year 1090, Yvo was appointed Bishop of Chartres. This appointment came because of his high standards, sound judgments, and humility.

His episcopal directives and rules were spread over a period of twenty-five years. During this time, his writings became well known and admired. He was always faithful to his duties, respectful of all people, loyal to the papacy and his country. At the same time, he never failed to disapprove of what he considered sinful and/or against church dogma.

Yvo was the ‘go-to guy” on matters about theology, liturgy, and political issues. But what he was most sought out for was his opinions and decisions relating to canonical matters. For example, during the period in the church, there was a situation that was causing a great division among the ruling class and the church hierarchy. It was called “Investiture.”  This differences became so intense that it developed into an actual struggle for supremacy between the monarchy(s) and the church.

Investiture was the practice of allowing the rulers to have the choice of whom to invest as bishops and abbots.  They would choose them and install them into office presenting them with their symbols of that office. When the church leaders objected to this practice there was a huge controversy that developed between the laity and the ecclesiastics. The ruling class believed this was their right. The papacy disagreed. It was Yvo of Chartres who wrote the opinions that were finally accepted by all parties at the Concordat of Worms in 1122. Thus was the end  of the practice of “Investiture.” His work stands to this day.

Yvo of Chartres left behind volumes of writings mostly covering three categories; canonical writings, sermons, and letters. The letters alone number 288. These letters all dealt with canonical and dogmatic questions and were predominantly based on the virtue of Caritas (charity). His canonical works were called the Collections of Ancient Canons and included twenty-five volumes dealing with the topic.

Yvo wrote most of his existing works while he was Bishop of Chartres. He became known as one of the greatest scholars of the medieval era and became a famous religious figure. He died on December 23, 1115, at the age of seventy-five.

Yvo of Chartres was beatified by Pope St. Pius V on December 18, 1570. His exact date of canonization is not known but he considered a canonized saint. He is the Patron Saint of Canonists. His feast day was December 23 (his date of death) but it has been moved to May 23.

St. Yvo of Chartres, please pray for us.

©copyright Larry Peterson 2019

 

Roe v Wade—46 years later hurting Baby Turtles is illegal but, in America, killing Baby People is a “guaranteed right.”

Loggerhead Sea Turtle                                    en.wikipedia commons.org

By Larry Peterson

Sea turtles are protected by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Act of 1977. They are also protected by federal law which prohibits disturbing sea turtles while they are “nesting” (aka; unborn). Also, the Marine Turtle Protection Act  states that “no person may take, possess, disturb, mutilate, destroy, cause to be destroyed, sell, offer for sale, transfer, molest or harass any marine sea turtle or its nests or eggs at any times.”

Yes, we sure love our turtles, especially here in Florida where they nest around the entire peninsula. In fact, we love them so much we have penalties for “disturbing” them.  A first offense could cost a person up to 60 days in jail and a $100–$500 fine. A second charge could put you in the slammer for six months with a punishment of $1000.  After that, the penalties continue to increase with each additional offense. Federal penalties include jail time and fines up to $15,000 for each offense.

Naturally, we do need laws to protect our wildlife and our environment. But what about “Baby People?” Don’t they count? Why is it perfectly “legal” to kill Baby People who have not been born and you can go to jail for harming or disturbing a baby turtle that has not been born? Does that make sense?

The Loggerhead Sea Turtle is one of these protected turtles. It can be found (like Baby People) all over the world. However, its primary habitat is the Florida coast, north to Virginia. It is estimated that these turtles build 67,000 nests a year along the beaches. The female lays her eggs in the sand and buries them. After two months they hatch, crawl to the sea and begin their lives. Those that survive will live close to 60 years.

It is illegal to harm, harass, or kill any sea turtles, their eggs, or hatchlings. It is also illegal to import, sell, or transport turtles or their products. It is perfectly legal to kill Baby People who have not been born. Since Roe vs. Wade was passed in 1973, over 61,000,000 abortions have been performed in the United States. Sixty-one million baby people have been vanquished from existence, many of them burned alive via the Saline Abortion method. That extrapolates out to, on average since 1973,  1,326,086  Baby People a year killed in America.

In 2017 there were 3.86 million births in the United States. That means that approximately one out of every four pregnancies in our country results in a life extinguished. Sea turtles are given every chance to survive with the government going so far as to put people in prison who might interfere with their survival. On the other hand, Baby People are welcomed into legalized and sweetly painted extermination camps and, unmercifully and without fanfare or emotion, eradicated.

Whatever are we doing? We civilized people have allowed a portion of our past to be destroyed. We are allowing our present to be vilified by what can only be called a great lie fabricated as the virtue of “helping” women. We have short-circuited the future of our children and grandchildren. We have  taken away from them the possibility of another Rembrandt, or a Mozart or a Jonas Salk, or a Martin Luther King Jr., or even an Abraham Lincoln living among them.

Most of all, we have taken away the meaning of the beauty and wonder of human life. We have changed it from a wondrous mystery, given to us by God our Creator. Instead, we have turned it into a disposable commodity that can be discarded at will under the guise of “reproductive rights.” Does not “reproductive rights” mean having the freedom to reproduce—not to destroy? Un-reproducing leaves only one result; that result is death.

There is a world-wide abortion counter that ticks off the abortions around the world as they happen. Look for yourself. More than one life a second is being aborted. Genocide of the innocent, living in and out of the womb, is rampant on planet Earth. Whatever have we wrought?

As the great Pope, St. John Paul II said, “A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope.”

©Larry Peterson copyright 2019

St. Dominic of Silos…His intercession is credited with the birth of St. Dominic, the Founder of the Dominicans

St. Dominic of Silos                                            http://www.uCatholic.org

By Larry Peterson

Dominic of Silos was born in the year 1000 to a family of peasants. Their home was on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees Mountains, in Navarre, Spain. At an early age, Dominic was out in the fields working as a shepherd boy helping his father to manage their flocks. It was during these early years that Dominic developed a love of solitude.

When he was of age (probably his teenage years), he joined the monastery of San Millan la Cogolla and became a Benedictine monk. Dominic was ordained a priest and then appointed the Master of Novices. Soon he was named “Prior” (a position as a superior (not Abbott) in the monastery).

As Prior in the monastery Dominic came into conflict with the King of Navarre over lands surrounding the monastery.  The king insisted these lands belonged to him, but Dominic opposed the “land-grab.” The king drove Dominic and the other monks out of the monastery, and they were forced to flee the area. They eventually settled in Castille.

In 1041 Dominic and his small group of followers settled in Silos. When King Ferdinand I of Leon heard of Dominic’s arrival, he placed him and his band under his protection and allowed them to move into the Abbey of St. Sebastian.

The place was in a state of serious decay and needed much work. Dominic was named Abbot by the king and was fully in charge of their new home. As the new abbot, he realized that a complete ‘makeover” was necessary. He set out to not only restore the physical presence of the monastery but also the spiritual lives of the monks. Dominic and the other monks (in the beginning there were six monks) immediately got busy refurbishing the monastery.

Under Dominic’s leadership, the cloisters were rebuilt, and a scriptorium was added. This addition turned the monastery into a place of learning and knowledge. There was a gold and silversmith shop added and this brought in needed funds to help the monks in their charitable works. He preserved the Mozarabic Rite (a variant of the Latin rite), and the monastery became one of the centers of the Mozarabic liturgy. Within the walls of the monastery work also moved forward in the preservation of the Visigoth script of ancient Spain.

Lastly, Dominic was dedicated to ransoming Christians from the Muslims. He solicited donations from the wealthy and Dominic was personally instrumental in freeing more than 300 prisoners. At the time of Dominic’s death on December 20, 1073, the monastery had been turned into a center for scholarship, learning, and liturgical preservation but also a place of rescue and safety. Also, the number of monks active in the monastery had grown from six to forty.

There is a miraculous sidebar to Dominic’s story. Joan of Aza lived about a hundred years after Dominic of Silos. She and her husband Felix had four sons and a daughter. When the two oldest boys were grown, Joan journeyed to the Abbey at Silos, and she prayed to St. Dominic for another son.  Dominican tradition has it that she had a dream in which St. Dominic appeared to her and told her that she would have another son and that he would be a shining light to the church.

When the child was born Joan named him after the saint she had prayed to, St. Dominic of Silos. He grew up and became St. Dominic, who founded the Dominicans. Joan of Aza was beatified and declared Blessed by Pope Leo XII in 1828. Interestingly, from the time of the birth of Joan’s son, Dominic, up until 1931, it was customary for the abbot of Silos to always bring the staff of St. Dominic of Silos to the royal palace when a queen was about to give birth. St. Dominic of Silos is the patron saint of pregnant women.

St. Dominic of Silos is canonized under the pre-congregation system. His feast day is December 20.

©Larry Peterson 2019

 

 

 

 

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal; widowed with four small children she founded the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary (VHM) the first order to accept women of older age and those in poor health

St. Jane Frances de Chantal                             www.catholicculture..org

By Larry Peterson

Jane Frances de Chantal was born into an upper-class family in  Dijon, France, in 1572. Her dad was the president of the Parliament of Burgundy, and the family was well connected. Jane’s mom died when she was only 18 months of age, and her upbringing was taken over by her dad.

Under the watchful and loving care of her dad, Jane developed into a woman of true beauty and grace.  One attribute of Jane’s that stood out from the time she was a child was her desire to help others.

Jane married the Baron de Chantal when she was 21. She and her husband were completely in love with each other, but tragedy struck during their seventh year of marriage. In 1601, the Baron was killed while practicing shooting with friends. The Baroness de Chantal, only 28 years old and the mother of four young children had become an accidental, heart-broken widow.

Because of estate issues, and wanting to protect her children’s rights to the property involved, Jane was forced to move in with her father-in-law in, Mothelon. He was ruled over by a nasty and wicked servant and quickly Jane and her children were the servants of the servant.  Jane took a vow of chastity and prayed to God to send someone to help guide her on her journey forward. A short time later she had a vision of the spiritual director that God was going to send her.

During Lent of 1604, Jane visited her hometown of Dijon. While attending Mass, she thought she recognized the celebrant, and when he stepped up to preach she was sure of it; it was the spiritual guide that God had shown her in her vision. After Mass, she went to meet him and placed herself under his guidance. His name was Bishop Francis de Sales. They became close friends.

Jane informed the future saint that she wanted to become a nun, but Francis asked her to wait for a time. She took a vow to stay unmarried and to obey her director. After a period of three more years, Francis de Sales told Jane of his plan to start an institute of women, and it would be unlike all others. His dream was to create a haven for women that were rejected everywhere else.

Age, health, or deformity, would not be a reason to stop someone from joining. Also, there would be no cloister, and these sisters could partake in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It was a monumental ambition by Francis de Sales. The women that joined this new order would be called the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary or the Visitation Nuns. That was because they were to practice the virtues the Blessed Virgin exemplified at the Visitation; meekness and humility.

With the help of her father and brother (who was married to the sister of Francis de Sales), Jane made solid arrangements for the well-being and future of her children. She then left for Annecy. On Trinity Sunday, June 6, 1610, the Congregation of the Visitation was canonically established at Annecy.

When St. Francis de Sales died in 1622 there were already 13 convents for Visitation Sisters. When Jane Frances de Chantal died in 1641, there were 86. Also, after Francis de sales died his dear friend, Vincent de Paul became Jane’s confessor and remained with her until her death.

Jane Francis de Chantal was beatified on November 21, 1751, by Pope Benedict XIV and canonized on July 16, 1767, by Pope Clement XIII. There were already 164 convents in existence at this time. Today, the Visitation Sisters are spread all over the world from Portugal to Korea to Ireland,  Germany, and England.  In the United States, there are ten monasteries.

Some of the noted Visitation sisters include St. Margaret Mary Alocoque and Servant of God; Leone Martin, St. Terese’s sister. In 2010,  Pope Benedict XVI granted a plenary indulgence to anyone who makes a visit and prays at a Visitation Monastery.

Up until 2001, her feast day was on December 12.  Then it was changed to August 12. She is invoked as the patron of widows, forgotten people, and parents separated from their children.

Saint Jane Francis de Chantal, please pray for us.

©Larry Peterson 2019

 

 

 

Saint Alice: The Patroness of the Blind and Paralyzed entered the Cistercian Order at the age of Seven

Photo Credit: wiki/Alice_of_Schaerbeek#/media/File:Schaerbeek_Eglise_Sainte-Alice_010.jpg

By Larry Peterson

Sometimes we read or hear stories about certain saints that make us simply “wonder” how can this be? For example here are two;

  • Her name was Nellie Organ but she was called Little Nellie of Holy God. This innocent child understood the Real Presence at the age of two. She inspired Pope St. Pius X to lower the reception of First Holy Communion from twelve to seven.
  • Then we have Marthe Robin, the French Stigmatic and Mystic, who defied all logic and human knowledge by surviving on nothing but the reception of the Holy Eucharist for 51 years.

These two people are from our own time. Marthe Robin died in 1981 after over 100, 000 people had visited her. Little Nellie was validated by a pope in 1907, a pope who became a saint, Pius X. Everything is witnessed and documented yet many refuse to believe. Why is that? It is all about the great gift of Faith.

Here is another for the Christmas season. Her feast day was on December 16, but it was moved to June 15. She was only a seven-year-old child when she entered the Cistercian Order. Her name was simply, Alice.

Alice was born in 1204 in a place called Schaerbeek, near Brussels, which is now in Belgium.  Surnames were often the names of places a person came from, i.e., Jesus of Nazareth and Paul of Tarsus. Alice was known as Alice of  Schaerbeek.

Alice seemed to be a healthy child but became increasingly frail and weak. At the age of seven, she was sent to the Cistercian La Cambre Abbey in the hopes of her regaining some of her strength.

She was a beautiful girl and had a brilliant mind. Most importantly, she had a great love of God and wanted to do everything she could to please him. Soon after arriving at the monastery she became a laysister (her exact age at this time is unknown; she was probably a teenager), and she would remain there for the rest of her life.

When Alice was about twenty years old, she developed leprosy (medical name is Hansen’s Disease) and was isolated in a small hut. Her illness caused her chronic, ongoing, and intense suffering.  A girl of great faith, she told Jesus that she accepted her sufferings readily and wanted to use them to help the souls in Purgatory.

It was not long after the onset of her disease that she became paralyzed. She was suddenly unable to walk but her challenges kept mounting; soon after the paralysis set in she lost her sight and became blind.

Alice amazed everyone with her demeanor and attitude. That was because she received such joy and consolation from receiving the Holy Eucharist. She was not allowed to sip from the chalice because of fear of contaminating others, but that was not a problem. It was reported that Jesus appeared to her and told her that He was present in either the bread or the wine and that she should not worry because He was with her.

Sister Alice died in 1250, at the age of 46. She had lived blind, paralyzed, and in intense pain for more than twenty-five years. During that time she remained joyful because Jesus was with her and came to her in the Holy Eucharist. Her powerful faith is an example for us all.

On July 1, 1702, Pope Clement XI granted the monks of the congregation permission to honor the Cultus of Alice. In 1907 Pope Pius X confirmed her status as a canonized saint.

St. Alice is the patroness of the blind and the paralyzed.

Saint Alice’s theology of suffering was that of St Paul: “Death is at work in us, but life in you”  (2 Cor 4:12)

St. Alice, please pray for us.

©Larry Peterson 2019

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Augustine John Ukken and Antonietta Giugliano. They both now bear the title of Venerable, the second step on the journey to Sainthood.

Journey to Sainthood                                                 vatican.org

By Larry Peterson

On Friday, December 22, 2018, Pope Francis, based on the recommendations from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, validated nine men and three women as people of “Heroic Virtue.”  These people are now worthy of the title of Venerable. Among them are Augustine John Ukken, from India, and Antonietta Giugliano, from New York. Their lives and journeys are profiled here.

Venerable Augustine John Ukken:

Augustine John Ukken was born on December 19, 1880, in Parappur, located in the state of Kerala in India. Augustine was the second son born to Punnapar and Chalaki Ukken. Sadly, both of his parents died when he was only six years old. The boy was taken in by the parish priest who provided him with a home and an education.

In 1895, based on the recommendations of his priest and mentor (name unknown) the Bishop, Adolphus  Mediycott had Augustine enrolled in the Monir Seminary in Trichur. Upon completing his studies there he moved Kandy, in Sri Lanka, to begin his study for the priesthood. He was ordained a priest by the Bishop Clement Pagany on December 21, 1907.

Father was assigned to St. Thomas College in Thrissur, where he taught French and Latin from 1908 to 1909. In 1910 he became the Rector of the Minor Seminary and remained at that post also serving as Secretary to Archbishop John Manachery from 1913 until 1917. At that point, he was assigned to assist at different parishes doing the work of a parish priest. In 1921 he was named as the Manager of St. Thomas College and remained in that post until 1925.

From 1925 and on, Father Augustine spent time in different parishes getting deeply involved with the poor and starving people and children. Inspired by St. Vincent de Paul, he prayed for guidance so he might help them. On November 21, 1944, he founded the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity.

The mission of the new order was the “caring of the sick, tending those who are in deathbed, uplifting the poor and giving catechetical formation.”  The new order was approved by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Thrissur, George Alapatt.

Father Augustine John Ukken passed away on October 13, 1956. He was 75. He was declared a Servant of God on August 24, 2008, and on December 22, 2018, declared Venerable.

Venerable Augustine John Ukken, please pray for us.

 

Venerable Antonietta Giugliano:

Among those recommended to Pope Francis by Cardinal Becciu as having “Heroic Virtue”  was Antonietta Giugliano. Antonietta was born in New York in 1909 and move to Italy (probably as a child but there is no definite date). Trained under Venerable Sosio Del Prete, a Franciscan priest,  Antonietta began the Institute of the Little Servants of Christ the King in Naples.

She had wanted to start a group that would offer a Christian response to humanitarian emergencies in the area and in 1935 she started  The Little Servants of Christ the King. The purpose was to assist the elderly, educate the children, and acquire needed items for the poor, such as clothing and food and medical supplies.

Antonietta gave most of what she and her family had to the needy. A woman who possessed a deep humility, she spent the rest of her life fighting severe pain and illness, yet never wavering in her mission to help those in need.

Antonietta passed away in Naples in 1960. She was 51. She left behind as her legacy the order she had founded plus a reputation as a woman of great holiness. The cause for her elevation to sainthood began in 2006. She has completed the second step in the four-part process of Canonization and is now Venerable Antonietta Giugliano.

Venerable Antonietta Giugliano, please pray for us.

 ©Larry Peterson 2019