Tag Archives: catholic

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

This Saint became one of the most honored Jesuits in History; His name is Edmund Campion

St. Edmund Campion                                      http://www.mirifica.netBy Larry Peterson

By Larry Peterson

Edmund Campion was born in England in 1540. His father was a bookseller, and Edmund’s love of books was instilled in him as a child. He had a brilliant mind and, at the age of thirteen, he was chosen to deliver a speech when Queen Mary visited London.

Soon after he became a student at St. John’s College in Oxford. He graduated with his B. A. degree in 1560 and at that time took his Oath of Supremacy to the Crown. In 1564 he received his Master’s Degree and was also ordained as an Anglican deacon. No one could see what was in his heart, but Edmund had serious misgivings about his professed Protestantism

In 1566, Queen Elizabeth visited the university and met Edmund. She instantly was drawn to the young man, and she saw to it that he was taken under the wing of two powerful men; William Cecil, and the Earl of Leicester, who was rumored to be the Queen’s future husband. Edmund had shared his concerns about Anglicanism to a few “friends,” and soon rumors of his “radical” opinions began to spread.

Edmund, fully aware of his fate if betrayed, left Oxford and went to Ireland. James Stanyhurst, the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, knew Edmund and hired him as a tutor for his son, Richard.  But the Protestant party in Dublin had become aware of his presence and were searching for him. He was given another assignment on the east coast of Ireland. For the next three months, using the name of “Mr. Patrick,”  he avoided his pursuers who were determined to find him.

Edmund had become convinced that Anglicanism was wrong and returned to Catholicism. This was about the same time that Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth. Elizabeth retaliated and initiated vicious persecution of Catholics in England. Edmund heard of the dreadful tortures and executions and in 1571 fled to Douai,  France.

Edmund was accepted into the Jesuits in 1573 and began his novitiate in Austria, away from any English provinces. He began teaching at the University of Prague and was ordained to the priesthood there in 1578.

He remained in his teaching position for another two years at which time he received a unique assignment. He and Father Robert Persons were assigned to be the first Jesuits to go to the newly established mission territory of England. Their mission was to minister to the faithful English Catholics who were strictly forbidden to practice their religion. The year was 1580.

Father Campion and Father Persons entered England posing as merchants. They both had been given different locales to minister to and went their separate ways. Father Campion immediately began preaching, and his presence quickly became known to the authorities as well as the many Catholics languishing in the filthy prisons.

The authorities began spreading the word that Campion’s mission was political and that he was committing treason. Father Campion responded by writing what came to be known as Campion’s Brag. This work spelled out his love of Catholicism and gave his critique of Anglicanism. It was printed and 400 copies were found in the pews during the commencement exercises at St. Mary’s in Oxford. This caused such an uproar that the largest and most intensive manhunt in English history was begun.

On July 14, 1581, Campion was preaching in Berkshire at the house of Francis Yale. He was tracked down by a spy named George Eliot and taken into custody. With his arms tied behind his back and a sign on his hat reading, “Seditious Jesuit” he was paraded through the street of London to the “Tower.” His clandestine days of administering the sacraments, hearing confessions and preaching had come to an end. His legacy was just beginning.

Edmund Campion was offered great wealth and position if he would renounce his Catholic faith. Knowing the pain and torture he would endure for refusing to do so, he stood steadfast in defense of Catholicism. The torture began and lasted for over four months, but Campion never wavered. On December 1, 1581, he was taken to Tyburn and was hanged, drawn and quartered for the crime of being Catholic.

He was canonized a saint on October 25, 1970, by Pope St. Paul VI. Saint Edmund Campion is included among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

Saint Edmund Campion, please pray for us

©Larry Peterson 2018

An Example of the Dark Side of Secularism—attacking the Knights of Columbus

Knights of Columbus Color Guard                                                                    kofcknights.org

By Larry Peterson

I am not going to use any names here. There is no point. Everyone knows who is who.

The Epiphany of the Lord for 2019 will be celebrated on January 6. The entrance antiphon  will read, “Arise Jerusalem, and look to the East and see your children gathered from the rising to the setting of the sun.”  Baruch 5:5

How fitting as we hear how the three wise men from the East, followed the brilliantly shining Star using it as their guide to lead them to the Savior of the world. They were seeking out Goodness and Love, and all they wished to do was worship the One who brought it.

Flash forward 2000+ years and we head into the year 2019.  Two political “rising stars” from the West (who also happen to be United States Senators; one from California and one from Hawaii)  have decided to attack a man who has been named for consideration for a seat on the United States District Court in Nebraska. They are pounding the print and media with their message saying this man is not qualified to be a judge because his views are “extreme.” They know this because he is a member of the Knights of Columbus. Herod would be proud.

The Senator from Hawaii has decided that the Catholic views on abortion and same-sex marriage held by the Knights of Columbus are “extreme.” The Senator from California depicted the Knights as “an all-male society” and asked the judicial nominee if he was aware that the Knights of Columbus “opposed a woman’s right to choose” and were against “marriage equality.” In the new democratic party approving of abortion and same ex-marriage seems to be the litmus test as to whether or not you are “good or bad.”

Those two senators are not the only two trashing the judicial candidate for being Catholic and a member of the Knights of Columbus. Most of those who call themselves “Democrat” is too. These people seem to think that the desire to honor and protect life and traditional marriage (you know, between a man and a woman) makes you an ‘extremist”.

Why even the incoming Speaker of the House, a “devout” Catholic, proudly teaches that abortion is a woman’s “sacred right.”  This flies into the very core of Catholic teaching and is an abomination created for political gain. What has happened to truth, honor,  and integrity?

Here is the thing; I am a member of the Knights of Columbus and have been a member since 1964. I also have another 1.9 million men around the world whom I call “Brother.” You see, we Knights are all Brothers and proud of it.

We proudly proclaim our core principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism without shame or hesitation.   We respect and defend life all over the world. We (the Knights of Columbus) donated over $185 million and  K of C Service hours valued at $1.9 billion in 2017.

Our charitable activities include the Christian Refugee Relief Fund, Disaster Relief, the Ultrasound Initiative, Coats for Kids, Special Olympics, the Global Wheelchair Mission, and Habitat for Humanity. Plus so much more at the local levels by so many K of C Councils spread from coast to coast and around the world.

So you see, when these very important people decide they do not like our principles and beliefs and think they are picking on only one person (Re: Brett Kavanaugh) they are not. They are trashing millions of people and 1.9 million of them are members of the Knights of Columbus.

One final thought, the senator from California, suggested that the Knights of Columbus is  “an all-male society. She might do a bit more research because she obviously has never heard of the Columbiettes. They are the womens’ branch of the Knights of Columbus and this year they celebrate their 80th anniversary.  Yes, we Knights work hand in hand with our Columbiette Sisters and together, we do great things for others.

From Venerable Fulton J Sheen:   There is no word more “dangerous” than liberalism, because to oppose it is the new “unforgivable sin.”

 

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat; The Preemie Who Grew Up to Change the World

By Larry Peterson

It was December 12, 1779 and Madame Fouffe Barat was seven months pregnant with her third child. She had been sleeping comfortably when screams and the smell of smoke awoke her. She sat up and saw the flames outside her window. They were coming from her neighbor’s house.  The sudden trauma of what was happening caused the frightened woman to begin early labor. Consequently, her daughter, Madeline Sophie Barat, was born two months premature. The fire did not touch the Barat home.

Baby Madeline was so tiny and frail they were sure she would die, so they had her baptized as soon as the church opened that morning. They asked a woman on her way to Mass, Louise-Sophie Cedor, and Madeline’s older brother, Louis, age 11, to stand in as godparents. And so it was that baby Madeline did not die that morning. Rather, she began a life that would ultimately bring thousands upon thousands to Jesus Christ.

Madeline’s family had been in in the Burgundy area for generations. Her dad was a wine-cooper (someone who made wooden barrels for wine), and the family was well provided for. He was a respected craftsman practicing a trade that was highly regarded with much history behind it.

Madeline’s brother, Louis, had a brilliant mind and by the age of nine had decided to become a priest. His parents believed in their boy and hired a tutor to help him study at home. When he was 16, he was able to begin his studies for the priesthood. However, he was too young to be ordained so he returned home to bide his time until he was 21 and could return to the seminary.

Madeline was still a young child, and Louis decided to educate her. His lessons for his little sister included Latin, Greek, history, science, and math. Madeline was receiving an education that most young girls of that time could only have dreamed about. However, the onset of the French Revolution in 1789, changed everything. When the Pope condemned the new French Constitution, Louis rejected his loyalty oath to the “state.” He was arrested in and spent three years in prison. Only through the intervention of a close friend was he able to get out of jail and evade the guillotine.

Louis, now an ordained priest, moved to Paris and took Madeline with him. By the time Madeline was 18 years old she had received an education from her brilliant brother that far surpassed anything she might have obtained anywhere else. Since she and Louis had to live in a “safe house,” she also learned to work with her hands. She became an excellent embroideress and seamstress to help support them. But God’s ever watchful eye had been on Madeline since her birth. Bigger things would need her attention.

Madeline had originally planned to join the Carmelites. But the trauma of the French Revolution led her in a different direction. She decided she wanted to make known the “love of God as made known in the Heart of Christ.” She also wanted to direct her attention to all young women, rich and poor alike.

Highly educated, determined yet filled with great humility, Madeline Sophie Barat founded the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The women joining her new order would be trained to teach young women the faith as taught by Holy Mother Church. The year was 1800 and Madeline was only 20 years old. She became Mother Madeline and by the age of 23 was elevated to the position of Superior General of the order, a position she would hold for the next 65 years.

Mother Madeline’s natural leadership skills and her affinity for all people would be the catalyst for the rapid growth of the order and success of the schools.  Mother Madeline and her fledgling order of nuns began growing and spreading rapidly. Madeline’s quest was for the restoration of Christian life in France, and she believed it could be accomplished through the education of young women.

The Society of the Sacred Heart had opened their first school in Amiens in northern France in 1801. There followed a school for the poor of the town, and further growth happened much quicker than ever expected. Before long the order was doing work within all of Europe. As the order and the schools it ran expanded, Mother Madeline grew also. She was transformed by all the different women joining her Society and her natural way with folks became pronounced. She even inspired those having only brief encounters with her.

In 1826 Mother Madeline received papal approval of her order. The order grew to 105 houses in many countries. St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, (who had joined the order in 1804) and four of her followers brought the Society to the United States in 1818. Today there are several thousand members spread out through 41 countries around the world. Their mission remains the same; “to reveal the love of God to the world through the Sacred Heart of His Son.”

Mother Madeline Sofie Barat died in Paris, France on May 25, 1865. She was 85 years old. St. Madeline was quoted as saying, “Be humble, be simple, bring joy to others.” St. Madeline practiced what she preached.

Madeline Sofie Barat was beatified by Pope St. Pius X in 1908 and canonized a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1925.

St. Madeline Barat, please pray for us.

©LaryPeterson 2018