Tag Archives: catholic

Meet Dr. Lena Frances Edwards—This Pro-Life, African American, Catholic Mother of Six changed the Face of Medicine in America

Dr. Lena Frances Edwards                                              aleteia.org

By Larry Peterson

Lena Frances Edwards was born in Washington, D.C., on September 17, 1900. Her father, Thomas Edwards, was a dentist and an oral surgeon. Her mom, Marie Coakley Edwards, was a homemaker. They were not only African American, but they were also devout Catholics.

Lena’s mom devoted her time to instilling the faith into her four children. Teaching them civic responsibility, developing personal self-worth, and a philosophy she called  “Lift as you Climb’, Marie Edwards left no stone unturned in doing her best to raise well-rounded youngsters. In 1917, Lena graduated at the top of her class at Dunbar High School and was the valedictorian. Mom had taught her well.

Lena then attended Howard University and earned her baccalaureate in three years he moved on to Howard University Medical School and graduated from there in 1924. While in medical school she and a fellow student, Keith Madison, became a couple and upon graduation they married. Between 1925 and 1939 they would have six children.  Following her mom’s example, Lena raised them with their Catholic faith always at the forefront of all they did.

After completing their internships at Freedman’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., Lena and Keith moved to Jersey City, New Jersey, to establish their medical practices. During Lena’s early years of practice, she had to work from home and delivered most of her patient’s babies from the small clinic she had set up there.

It was during this time that she also became a public speaker about women’s health issues and an advocate for natural childbirth. She was also a staunch defender of life from conception and on. She spoke about public health and social issues at local churches and the YWCA. She helped organize the People’s Charitable League which included a day-care center which she provided with ongoing medical visits.

Her career changed when she was granted admitting privileges to Margaret Hague Hospital in Jersey City. Unfortunately, because of her race and her gender, she was prevented from being given a residency in obstetrics and gynecology until 1945. When she finally decided to sit for the National Board Examinations, she had to fight to garner the necessary hospital endorsements. Obstacles to her advancement were always in front of her, and with prayer and grit, she always seemed to knock them down.

In 1954 Dr. Edwrads returned to Washington, D.C. and took a position at Howard University teaching obstetrics. In due time she was offered the job as a department chair, but she rejected the offer because of her strong, religious objections to abortion.

While in Jersey City, she had focused on treating the poor Eastern European immigrants. Now, in the nation’s capital,  she turned her attention to working with the poor black. She became part of the Urban League, the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, the Social Work Advisory Committee, and the Catholic International Council. She also served on boards for unwed mothers and local maternal welfare organizations.

In 1960. Lena moved to Hereford, Texas to help in starting Our Lady of Guadalupe Maternity Clinic for poor Mexican migrant women. She served there until 1965 when a heart attack cut her career short. She went back to Washington and resumed work at the Office of Economic Opportunity and Project Head Start. She retired in 1970, her heart too weak to continue working.

During her life, Dr. Lena Edwards was foremost a devout and ardent Catholic woman. In 1947, she became a member of the Third Order of Saint Francis. Her son, Thomas, joined the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and was ordained a priest in 1962. He was the first African American priest to be ordained in the Society of the Atonement.

In 1964 Dr. Lena Frances Edwards was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the governments highest peacetime honor, honoring her lifetime of work and service for those in need.  She continued to lobby against abortion and programs that she felt demeaned and hindered the progress of the poor.

Dr. Edwards, always fortified by her Catholic faith, overcame many obstacles considering the prejudice and discrimination that was so prevalent during the first half of the twentieth century. She was truly a remarkable woman and a shining example to all people, no matter what their ancestry. She passed away in Lakewood, New Jersey, on December 3, 1986.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

 

An unexpected Evangelization Moment—Distributing Ashes on Ash Wednesday in Walmart

Celebrating Lent                                                                    allevents.in.jpg

By Larry Peterson

The USCCB states that evangelizing means bringing the Good News of Jesus into every human situation. So how can we everyday Catholics always be prepared to evangelize?

Our behavior and our actions and the words we use are tools for evangelizing. They show that we are Christian. Saying grace before meals while in a restaurant with family or friends or simply having an “I Love Jesus” bumper sticker on your car gives a powerful message. You get the idea.

Many times things happen that are “in our face,” and we have only a moment or so to decide what to do; should we stay and help or keep on walking?  It is very easy to “ignore,” a situation, but that is not what the Good Samaritan did, is it?  What follows is an example of one of those unexpected moments.

I am an  EMHC, and on Ash Wednesday, on my way home after distributing ashes and Holy Communion, I decided to make an unplanned stop at Walmart. I did not have to go there; there was nothing specific I needed, but there was the store and the next thing I knew, the car was parked.  As I walked toward the entrance I decided I needed “double A batteries.” I did not need them but I guess I had to validate my being there.

Walking into the store, the express lanes were ahead and to the right.  Ahead and to my left was McDonald’s. Outside McDonald’s was a bench and sitting in it was an elderly lady I knew from church. We have been friends for a long time and her name is Rachel. I walk over to her to say “hi”, and she looks at my forehead and says, “Oh, Larry, it’s you. We forgot today was Ash Wednesday. We didn’t get ashes.” Let the unplanned evangelizing begin.

Rachel weighs about 70 pounds soaking wet and she is in her late eighties. Her husband, Jim, has Parkinson’s disease and is about the same age. They were both widowed and have been married for about fifteen years. I was still in my shirt and tie and wearing my EMHC cross. Next thing you know I am sitting next to Rachel praying with her and placing ashes on her forehead. When I finish I ask her, “Where is Jim?”

Jim was on the line in McDonald’s. The entrance was about fifty feet from where we were sitting. As I got up to find Jim,  I noticed there were about a half-dozen people standing there watching us. It dawned on me that there were some people wondering why I was smearing dirt on an old lady’s forehead. I simply looked at them all and said, “Hi folks, today is Ash Wednesday. You can Google it.”

I turned and headed into the restaurant. There is Jim, standing there about eighth in line with about ten more people behind him. The place is packed and the poor guy is standing there with his left forearm and hand trembling unmercifully. I walk up to him and he is stunned to see me. I say as quietly as I can, “Jim, I just gave Rachel ashes. Would you like to have them too?”

As I stood praying softly with Jim, our audience began to grow. By the time I placed ashes on his forehead more people were coming over to see what was going on. I did hear some people mention, “Ash Wednesday.”

That was my impromptu queue. I turned and faced the gathering crowd and raised my hands in the air. “Hey everyone, today is Ash Wednesday. I am Catholic as are my friends here who I just happened to bump into. They were unable to get to Mass today so they are receiving ashes which remind us to “remember that we are dust and into dust we shall return.”

I actually gave several more people ashes but then I had none left. I know a lot of people, religious and non-religious alike, watched the unscripted distribution of the ashes. It was an evangelization moment for sure and it all happened in less than fifteen minutes. I also know it had to be my guardian angel who helped me pull that steering wheel to the right leading me into Walmart.

A sidebar to all of this; I never got the batteries.

copyright© Larry Peterson 2019

This Blessed Mother statue was carved by an Angel; Our Lady of Liesse aka Our Lady of Joy

Our Lady of Liesse aka Our Lady of Joy                  amercianeeds fatima.com

By Larry Peterson

During the time of the Crusades, it happened that one day three of the Knights of St. John were caught in an ambush and captured by the Saracens. The three prisoners were brothers and happened to be from the highly regarded family of Eppes in northern France. They were all loyal and true to the faith, a trait that would be immediately tested.

The men were taken to Cairo and brought before the Sultan. The Sultan thought he could convert them to Islam by offering them lavish gifts, but that proved to be an effort in futility. The Sultan angered at their obstinance,  threw them into prison. The three men were then subjected to all kinds of torture and hardships, including starvation. It did not matter; they refused to waiver.

Exasperated at his failure to convert the men to Islam, the Sultan tried another approach. He sent his beautiful daughter, Princess Ismeria, to try and win them over.

Princess Ismeria knew the cruel death that awaited the three Knights if they did not give in to her father. However, when she would try to coax them with promises of riches and high positions they would quote scripture to her. She began to weaken, and then they told her of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They told her that the Virgin Mary’s image was enough to capture every heart, convincing it to love her.”

Princess Ismeria, curious about this beautiful image, asked the brothers to create an image of this Divine Mother so she could see what she looked like. She gave them wood, brushes, paints and all the necessary tools to make such an image. Then she went away.

The brothers, having no idea how to make a statue,  fell into a deep sleep. As they slept an angel, sent by the Virgin Mary, came and carved a statue of the Madonna with a face that was filled with kindness and love. Soon after finishing, a brilliant light awoke the three young men.. When they saw the figure, they immediately knelt before it and began to pray.

Early the next morning, Princess Ismeria arrived and saw the statue. She was astonished and fell at the foot of the icon. She began pleading with the Virgin Mary to make her Christian through Baptism. That night, as the princess slept, the Blessed Mother appeared to her in a dream and told her that the three knights would escape from Egypt and take her to France with them

When Ismeria awoke she rushed to the tower and found the big doors opened. She led the knights out of the fortress giving them their freedom. They made their way to the banks of the Nile, and a boatman was waiting to it take them across. When they reached the other side the man vanished. He had been an angel sent by Our Lady.

As evening approached, the four travelers sought out some shelter to rest for the night. Exhausted from their long day’s journey, they quickly fell asleep. When they awoke, they discovered that they were in another place. Confused, they asked a traveler where they were. He told them they were in Picardy, which was near  Eppes. They all knelt in prayer realizing that another miracle had occurred bringing them to safety.

They had carried the statue from Cairo and began walking toward their villa in Eppes. As they neared the villa, the statue became so heavy they could not move it. They were in the town of Liesse, and they immediately knew that this was the place Our Lady wanted her statue to stay.

The three brother Knights of St. John were greeted with great jubilation by their relatives and friends. They were all fascinated by Princess Ismeria who renounced her former life. The Bishop of Leon baptized her and gave her the name of Mary. Her prayers had been answered. The people built a church to receive the Statue of Our Lady of Liesse.

As time went by the church took on the name of the statue and then the entire region. Eventually, the Basilica of Notre Dame de Liesse also became known as Our Lady of Liesse and Our Lady of Joy. Pilgrims come from all over the world to see the statue and there is an annual pilgrimage to the Basilica on Whit Monday (the day after Pentecost). The Feast day is December 2.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

A Priest and his Bishop defend the Faith in Kansas

By Larry Peterson

Once again folks who reject the teachings of the Catholic Church are claiming ‘victimhood.” That is because the Church will NOT accommodate their blatant rejection of Catholic teaching.  St. Ann Catholic School in Prairie Village, Kansas refused to accept a child into their kindergarten class. The reason was that the child’s parents are two lesbians who are “legally married” under state law.

The pastor of the Church, Father Craig Maxim, stood by Catholic doctrine. Here is an excerpt from CCC 2357: —“Basing itself on sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that  ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life—-under no circumstances can they be approved.”  (Click here for entire link)

The Archbishop of Kansas City, Joseph Nauman,  gave his priest his full support. Kudos to both of them because, first and foremost, they are the spiritual guides to the lay Catholics within their authority. They did the right thing. They stood tall in the face of the “social justice” mantra and the secular onslaught that has grabbed hold of so many in our culture. “Social Justice” is a fallacy because all it means is that it is OK to do what is pleasing to you. That is also called secularism, and that has even fooled many Catholics into embracing it.

Using the guise of compassion and tolerance and Christ’s love, they reject church teaching in favor of what makes them feel good.  According to WDAF-TV in Kansas City and FOX4kc.com within a short time more than one thousand signatures were on a petition demanding the church rescind their ruling and allow the child to attend St. Ann’s.

One parent, Joe Skates, who admits he does NOT like organized religion but sends his kids to another Catholic school nearby, was quoted as saying, “The hypocrisy is so insane. I just don’t really get it. They need to change. They need to modernize.”  But it is Mr. Skates and those who agree with him who are the hypocrites. The church is defending its principles. That is NOT hypocrisy.

The petition that has been submitted reads as follows, “Respectfully, we believe that the decision to deny a child of God access to such a wonderful community and education, based on the notion that his or her parent’s [sic] union is not in accordance with the Church teaching in Sacramental marriage, lacks the compassion and mercy of Christ’s message.”

Why do Mr. Skates and so many others “not get it?” This is church teaching. These are part of the rules. They do NOT have to send their children to Catholic school and then demand the Church reject its teachings to accommodate their wants and desires. It does not work that way and it is time for this “political correctness” nonsense to be shut down.

The microcosm of society is the family. The Catholic church has always defended and honored family.  Once again we can reference the Catechism at CCC 2202. “A man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children, form a family. This institution is before any recognition by public authority. It should be considered the normal reference point by which the different forms of family relationships are to be evaluated.”

The child’s lesbian parents want their child educated in a Catholic school and to receive teaching that goes against the very core of what they believe. The school will teach that marriage is ONLY supposed to be between a man and a woman. The child will learn that God created man and woman and that children can only be a result of the bond between them.

What should the child think when her “parents” are two women? Why would they want the child to go there? Why would they want the child to come home to a family that is being taught as improper? There are many other alternatives, and they are free to enroll their child in any other school. This makes no sense whatsoever.

As far as Father Maxim and Archbishop Nauman are concerned, They displayed courage and conviction in defending the faith and I, for one, am proud of them.

 

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

The Lily of Quito; St. Mariana de Jesus de Paredes; This orphaned girl grew up to be the “Heroine of the Nation.”

St. Mariana de Jesus   de Paredes                                     Aleteia.org

By Larry Peterson

On October 31, 1618, a baby girl was born in the city of Quito, which was located in the New Kingdom of Grenada. Today this area is known as Ecuador. The child’s father was an upstanding and respected Spanish nobleman from Toledo by the name of Don Girolamo Flores de Paredes. Her mother’s name was Dona Mariana Cranobles de Xaramilo and she was descended from the most highly respected of Spanish families. Girolamo and Mariana named their daughter,  Mariana. She was the youngest of eight children.

Mariana was orphaned at the age of seven, and her upbringing was taken over by her older sister, Jeronima, who had already married. Mariana had an obvious sense of piety and humility that seemed part of her persona and her sister and her brother-in-law, Cosme de Caso,  decided they would allow her to live in seclusion in their house. Mariana did not live in total isolation because there was a Jesuit church nearby and she spent as much time there as she could praying before the Blessed Sacrament.

Mariana instinctively began to develop a deep sense of piety and self-mortification, denying herself food, drink, and sleep. Her brother-in-law had the Jesuit priest, Juan Camacho, guide her in her development. Like St. Rose of Lima (who she is compared to) she did not enter a convent but rather, stayed in her home devoting herself to prayer and penance and practicing self-mortification and fasting.

It is reported that Mariana’s fasting was so intense and strict that she ate only an ounce of food every eight to ten days. This is impossible for a person to survive on, but similar to St. Catherine of Siena and Saint Rose of Lima, .Mariana’s life was miraculously sustained by the Holy Eucharist. Many witnesses swore testimony to the fact that Mariana did receive Holy Communion each morning. She was determined to follow the mandate of Jesus: Who wants to follow me should deny herself.”

Mariana’s spirituality and the gifts attached to it included her being able to predict the future, see future events as if they were passing before her, look into the very hearts of people, cure disease by making the sign of the cross on someones or sprinkling them with holy water. It was documented that she even restored a dead person to life. The reputation of the holy woman called Mariana spread far and wide.

In 1645 there was a great earthquake in Quito. Many people died as a terrible epidemic of disease swept through the city. A Jesuit priest gave a homily in church and prayed aloud, “My God, I offer you my life so that the earthquakes are over.”

But Mariana quickly came forward and exclaimed, “No Lord, the life of this priest is necessary to save many souls, but I am not necessary….I offer you my life to stop these earthquakes.”

The very next day Mariana began to feel very sick. Shortly after, on May 26, 1645, Mariana died. She was 27 years old. There were no more earthquakes, and no one else died from disease. It is reported that on the day she died her sanctity became visible to all who were there. A pure white lily sprouted from her blood, blossomed, and bloomed for all to see. Because of this she became known as the Lily of Quito. In 1946 the Republic of Ecuador declared her a national heroine giving her the title, Heroine of the Nation.

St. Mariana de Jesus de Paredes, was beatified by Pope Pius IX on November 20, 1853 and canonized by Pope Pius XII on June 4, 1950. She is the patroness of those with bodily ills, people rejected by religious orders, and those who lose their parents, especially while children.

St. Mariana de Jesus de Paredes, please pray for us.

©copyright Larry Peterson 2019

St. Telesphorus —The Pope who began the practice of Lenten Fasting

Pope St. Telesphorus the 9th Pope                                     public domain

By Larry Peterson

The eighth pope in the line of succession that began with St. Peter was Pope Telesphorus. He was a pope from 126 AD until 137 AD. He was followed by Pope Hyginus, who reigned from 136 AD to 142 AD. Both of these sainted popes have feast days in January and both established traditions that are still in use to this day.

The exact birth date of Telesphorus is unknown, but he was born in Calabria, Italy and was of Greek descent. It is said that he had been a religious hermit before being chosen as the Bishop of Rome.

Pope Telesphorus is responsible for beginning the custom of  fasting for six weeks before Easter. He also was the pope who introduced the Gloria in Excelsis Deo into the Mass. The message Pope Telesphorus wanted to give to everyone was that the words, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace to men of good will,” meant that anyone who does not believe that Jesus Christ is the  true God, is not a man of good will, and has himself to blame for his unbelief.

Lastly, Pope Telesphorus is the pope that initiated the practice allowing priests to say three Masses on Christmas. The first Mass is held at Midnight because that is the hour Christ was born.

It is said that Pope Telesephorus was put to death during the last year of Emperor Hadrian’s reign, in the year 137 AD. It is also said that he “bore witness gloriously” and he is the only second-century pope whose martyrdom has been reliably confirmed..

In Roman Martyrology, his feast day is celebrated on January 5th. (The Greek Church celebrates it on February 22).  Pope St. Telesphorus, please pray for us.

©copyright Larry Peterson 2019

He watched the Little Heart beating—-beating, beating, beating—and then it just stopped. The suddenly still heart caused the conversion of the “Champion of Abortion.”

 

Baby—legal to kill in America            stock photo

By Larry Peterson

INFANTICIDE is a noun: It means: 1) the act of killing an infant. 2) the practice of killing newborn infants. 3) a person who kills an infant.    That is what Infanticide means; simple as that.

In January 2019, New York State has passed its own RHA (Reproductive Health Act). Amidst “hoots & hollers” and the Freedom Tower being lit up in pink, the bill was signed into law by the devout Catholic governor of N.Y. Today, to the delight of many, infanticide is legal in N.Y.

Many people in our supposedly civilized society, have moved into a different universe. They have embraced the legal execution of the most vulnerable of us all…children (babies are children). We can now legally kill them from conception to fully born and breathing on their own. No matter the size, kill them if you wish…no problem

As the parents of a daughter who was stillborn on September 6, 1978, we were fully cognizant of the LIFE that was lost to us and her siblings. My wife (who passed away from cancer in 2003) almost died that day in a valiant attempt to get to a Catholic hospital so the baby might be baptized. That is a story for another time but we both understood the insanity of treating tiny people in-utero as nothing more than “products of conception” or “blobs of tissue”. They are no such thing. They are people, just like us–only a lot smaller.

Our almost two-pound daughter was named Theresa Mary, and she was buried with my parents. She was a real person who lived and died. And her mother, who never saw her or held her was willing to die for her, unseen and unheard. This is what respecting God-given life is all about. It is the ultimate act of love and unselfishness. Secularism does not understand this. It never will.

Many people accept the undeniable truth that life is a precious gift from God.  This belief is also backed by science. Life is life, no matter how big and no matter how small. No life belongs to another and the fact that a child needs a mother’s womb to grow changes nothing. That child is unique and special with its own DNA and character and personality. That little person has as much right to live as do any of us, no matter what age.

We live with the infamous Supreme Court ruling of Roe vs. Wade passed in 1973. Since then over 61 million tiny lives have been snuffed out under the guise of “reproductive rights.” No one has ever taken away a woman’s right to reproduce. The fact that seven men voted for a law that allows a woman to destroy her own child does not make it right. Far from it, it has allowed for an ongoing abomination.

What is so astonishing is that so many folks do not see anything wrong with participating in a holocaust that has claimed more than sixty million lives. Most of these people seem to be no different than anyone else. They work, pay their bills, mow their lawns, and celebrate Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. Yes, and they go to church and pray too. I do NOT understand. Whatever have we wrought?

Having laid out those thoughts, I now go back to an article from Life Site News from November of 2008.  It is about the former “champion of abortion”, Stojan Adasevic. This man performed 48,000 abortions, sometimes 35 a day, throughout 26 years. Then, miraculously, he became the most important and influential pro-life leader in Serbia.

What happened to him is well worth paying attention to.  ‘Stojan’s conversion came about from an experience he had in performing what would be his final abortion.  These are the words of Stojan after that procedure:

“As I pull out the mess, thinking it will be bone fragments I lay it on the cloth. I look, and I see a human heart, contracting and expanding and beating, beating, beating.  I thought I would go mad. I can see the heartbeat is slowing, ever more slowly, and more slowly still until it finally stops completely.  Nobody could have seen what I had seen with my very own eyes, and be more convinced than I was I had killed a human being.

After that, Stojan had an ongoing dream where children were playing and laughing but ran away when they saw him. They were filled with fear. There was a man in the dream. He was dressed in black and white and when Stojan asked him who he was, he told him he was Thomas Aquinas. You can read the entire story by opening this link

Suffice it to say that Stojan Adasevic has told his story throughout Europe. He has returned to the Orthodox faith and has become a student of St. Thomas Aquinas.

It is now February 2019. Illinois is not to be outdone by New York. They are going to propose their own RHA. Their proposed law says that women “who become pregnant [have] a fundamental right…to have an abortion,” and “provides that a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the law of this state.”  This bill would reportedly void existing statute(s)  protecting the life of a child born alive during a late-term abortion. Infanticide will be “all the rage” in the great state of Illinois.

Last but not least, Senate Democrats on Monday (February 25, 2019) blocked a Republican bill that would have threatened prison for doctors who don’t try saving the life of infants born alive during abortions. These “upstanding”, “reputable” American legislators who have taken an oath to protect the Constitution, willingly have agreed that doctors can allow born-alive children to die.

In the war being waged by Satan, the master of lies and deception, his influence is so great and the deception so pronounced it takes many years of flowing graces from God before the light begins to enter the darkness. We must continue to pray as hard as we can until this scourge against human life is stopped. The most powerful weapon in our arsenal to combat this genocide is prayer.

“Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity.”

Mother Teresa

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019