Tag Archives: commentary

Guilty by Bloodline; Blessed Margaret Pole’s life displays Courage to all Christians no matter the challenge.

Margaret  Pole commons.wikimedia.org

By Larry Peterson

Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, was born on August 14, 1473, in Somerset, England.  She was the last daughter of George Plantagenet (Plantagenet Dynasty), the Duke of Clarence. King Henry VII officiated at her marriage to Sir Richard Pole whose mother-in-law, Edith St. John, was a half-sister of the king’s mother, Margaret Beaufort. The family bloodline was quite complex.

When Henry VIII, took the throne in 1509, he married Catherine of Aragon. Margaret was named as one of her ladies-in-waiting. In 1512, the King saw to it that some of her lands were restored to her. These lands had been confiscated by Henry VII. After this, King Henry VIII, who described Margaret as the “most saintly woman in England”, elevated her to the position of Countess of Salisbury, a title that brought prestige and a bit of power.

In due time she was made the governess to Princess Mary, Henry VIII’s daughter. But in 1521, due to infighting and subterfuge that was continually going on in the King’s court, Margaret and her sons fell into disfavor with the King. She was permitted to remain at court but her sons were no longer welcome there. Then, in 1525, she went sent with Princess Mary to live in Wales.

Margaret’s son, Reginald Pole, was a voice against King Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn. Reginald even wrote to the king expressing his feelings. His mother was horrified. Knowing how vindictive the king could be, she pleaded with Reginald to retract what he had put in writing. He refused. In her heart she knew her boy was right. They had no idea that King Henry VIII confided to the French ambassador that he planned to destroy Reginald’s entire family, including Margaret, the “most saintly woman in England.”

The family purge began in the autumn of 1536 when Margaret’s sons, Geoffrey and Lord Montague, were arrested. A spy who had been placed in Margaret’s household testified before Cromwell that he was witness to secret meetings and clandestine messages being delivered back and forth among the king’s enemies.

Martha Pole, The Countess of Salisbury, was truly a woman of faith. It did not matter. She was questioned from noon into and through the entire night until the next morning. She knew nothing of what they asked, but it did not matter. The seized all her furniture and goods and transported her to jail at Cowdry. Here she remained isolated for the next few years.

An Act of Attainder was passed by the Parliament in early 1539 against Margaret Pole and her entire family. Her two sons had already been executed when the bill was passed. In it, she was accused of treason. The now elderly woman was dragged off to the Tower of London. She had been placed under a sentence o death, and the sentence could be carried out anytime the King felt so compelled to order it. She would remain there for the next two years.

On May 27, 1541, Margaret Pole, the Countess of Salisbury, was informed that she would be put to death that very day. She asked why since no crime had ever been committed. She was ignored. Her body was racked with pain from the harsh, cold, stone cell she had been forced to stay in for the previous few years. But she stood tall and walked to her place of execution.

There were no crowds or witnesses present and no scaffold. It was a chopping block in the corner of the room on the floor. Margaret asked everyone to pray with her. They bowed heads and she forgave everyone, commended her soul to God,  and asked for prayers for the King and Queen.

Margaret was subjected to one final and horrendous indignity. The executioner was a novice and missed his target several times. The poor woman’s shoulder, head, and back were hit by the flailing ax before it hit its mark, ending her life. It is hard to imagine having to endure that.

Many called Margaret Pole a martyr. She was a victim of being part of a family that was hated by a ruthless king. For that, she suffered a brutal death.  Pope Leo XIII agreed and beatified Margaret Pole on December 29, 1886.

Blessed Margaret Pole; please pray for us.

copyright©2019Larry Peterson

Meet the “Apostle of the Abandoned”; St. John Baptist de Rossi

St. John Baptist de Rossi

By Larry Peterson

John Baptist de Rossi was born on February 22, 1698, in Genoa. His mother and father were quite poor in material goods but were rich in virtue and love of their neighbor(s). John was the youngest of four children, and even during his formative years not only exhibited obvious compassion and love for people but also had an above average intelligence. When he was ten years old, his parents allowed him to leave home with close friends of the family to pursue his education

Three years later, John’s father died. His older cousin, Lorenzo de Rossi, allowed John to come to live with him in Rome. Lorenzo was the canon at St. Mary’s in Cosmedin and was able to get his nephew admitted to the Collegium Romanum under the guidance of the Jesuits. John quickly became a model student studying diligently and performing his required duties. At the same time, he was always pious and humble.

The young man also began studying philosophy and theology at the Dominican College of St. Thomas. It was during this time that, while at Mass, John passed out. It was discovered that he had an epileptic seizure. The illness caused him to miss many classes, and sometimes, the fatigue was so pronounced he could barely move. For the rest of his life, dealing with this affliction would be a constant challenge for him.

Even so, while in school, he became a member of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin and led the members in the readings and organized visits to the sick in hospitals, feeding the poor and the homeless, and performing other works of mercy. This was what  John Rossi loved most of all; helping the poor, homeless,  and downtrodden.

John Baptist de Rossi desperately wanted to become a priest, but his epilepsy was a constant enemy trying to stop him. Ordination to the priesthood was rarely granted to someone in John’s condition. Afterall, the life of a priest was incredibly demanding and time-consuming  But he worked so hard and studied so diligently that he was given a dispensation. On March 8, 1721, John Baptist de Rossi, was ordained a priest.

As a priest, he worked in Rome, caring for the homeless who wandered the streets of the city. He tended to the needs of the sick and assisted in helping find a hospice for homeless women. He aided prisoners, helped workers, and literally touched thousands of needy people—the sick, the homeless, prostitutes, transient cattle drivers who came to market in Rome, and other rough sorts.  By day he devoted himself to the sick poor in Rome’s hospitals. By night he ministered to street people at a refuge. He did this for over forty years.

In 1738, Father John became very sick with an unknown illness. He was sent to a place called Civita Castellana, a days journey from Rome. The bishop there insisted that he hear confessions. John had done his best to avoid hearing confessions. He had a deep-seated fear that he might have a seizure and wanted to avoid that happening while in a confessional. The bishop, knowing of his knowledge and morality, insisted. In fact, the bishop gave him permission to hear confession in any church in Rome.

Father John Rossi began hearing confessions every day, mostly from the poor in the hospitals and on the streets. Before long he was preaching in churches, chapels, convents, hospitals, barracks, and prisons. He became known as the Apostle of the Abandoned and was called the second St. Philip Neri.

Sometime in 1763, paralysis began to slowly attack Father John. Finally, all his hard labor while fighting epilepsy caught up to him. He died on May 23, 1764.

Father John was buried at the Church of Trinita de Pellegrini under the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Miracles followed his passing, but because of political upheaval in Europe, beatification was put on hold. Finally, on May 13, 1860, Pope Pius IX, beatified Father John. On December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Leo XIII canonized Father John Baptist de Rossini, a saint

One final note:  Caregivers can look to John Baptist as a model. Before he would speak to a dying person about salvation, he did all he could to relieve their suffering. No service for the sick, no matter how deadly or repulsive their condition was, deterred him from offering assistance and consolation to them.

Saint John Baptist de Rossi, please pray for us.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

Antoninus of Florence (statue) aleteia.org
St. John Baptist de Rossi

St. Antoninus of Florence—This brilliant Theologian also was known as The Father of the Poor

Antoninus of Florence (statue)                                           aleteia.org

By Larry Peterson

Antonio Pierozzi was born on March 1, 1389, in Florence which, at that time, was an independent republic. His father, Nicollo, was a notary which was considered an upstanding position in the community. His mom died when he was five years old, and his dad remarried the very same year. His “new” mom helped raise him, but her influence in his life seems minimal.

Antonio came from a very religious family. He had a sister who became a nun, an aunt who was a nun, and a brother who entered the religious life. His other sister married and became a Third Order Dominican. As for Antonio, from early on he was an extremely pious child and he spent one hour a day in prayer in front of the Crucifix in the garden at the nearby church. Many people noticed his piety and his reputation as being holy began to grow. Also, Antonio was very smart and was quickly recognized as being a brilliant student.

Antonio had heard a sermon by Blessed Giovanni Dominici and was instantly drawn to this man. Dominici was the leading preacher of his day and had received his authority from Blessed Raymond Capua who was the first follower of St. Catherine of Siena. Antonio’s future was now a brightly lit path for him to follow. He asked John Dominici to receive him into the Dominicans.

Antonio was only fifteen years old at the time, and John Dominici thought he was still too young. He even thought he might be too small and too weak to live such a life. So he challenged Antonio. He told him to memorize the Decretum of Gratian, a complex work of Canon Law.

His motive was to overwhelm the young man while not hurting his feelings. He was sure Antonio could never fulfill such a request. He was wrong. One year later Antonino came back to John Dominici and recited the entire work. He even answered hard questions after doing so proving he understood the nuances and meanings as set down. At that time he was received into the Dominican Order.

A new priory had opened in Fiesole, and Antonio received his habit from John Domenici. The first years of Antonio’s life as a Dominican are vague, but it is recorded that he kept growing in sanctity, spent hours in prayer, fasted constantly, and studied as much as possible. Then he moved to Cortone and met Lorenzo di Ripafratta. Lorenzo was a prominent force in the reform of the Dominicans which had, in many areas, turned from the principles the order had been founded upon.

His age mattered not because he was made an administrator and put in charge of communities in Rome, Naples, Cortona, and  Florence. All of these places now fell under the reorganized Dominican Congregation of Tuscany which had been created to get the Order back to its founding principles.

From 1433 to 1446 Antonio served as Vicar of the Congregation. He followed the rule as set in place by Blessed John Dominici and believed that he should care for his novices as Christ cared for His apostles.  He was determined to do his best to instill in them the spirit of the Beatitudes which would sum up the Order’s Rule. He was also very strict on poverty. All that was necessary to the operation of a household would be sold and given to the poor.

It was during this time that Antonio founded an organization called: Buonomini de San Martino. This was something like the St. Vincent de Paul Society except it was designed to help poor people of high social status who were living in shame because they had become poor. This organization became a huge success. Much money was collected and many of the “hidden” poor were helped. The people began calling him Antoninus the “Father of the Poor,” a name that is still used.

Antoninus became Archbishop of Florence. His writings were deeply theological and he was the papal theologian at the Council of Florence.  His writings were a major development in the field of moral theology and stand to this day.

Archbishop Antoninus died on May 2, 1459.  He was canonized a saint by Pope Adrian VI on May 31, 1523. His feast day is May 10.

The last words of St. Antoninus of Florence were: “Servire Deo regnare est”, “to serve God is to reign.”

copyright©LarryPeterson2019

 

 

Saint Paschal of Baylon…Pope Leo XIII proclaimed him the Seraph (Angel) of the Eucharist

 

St.Paschal Baylon (statue)                                                     en.wilkipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

On May 16,1540, a baby boy was born to Martin and Elizabeth Baylon in the Kingdom of Aragon, located in Spain. This day also happened to be the Feast of Pentecost. Since the people in Spain refer to the Feast of Pentecost as the Pasch (Passover) of the Holy Ghost., his parents named their new son, Paschal.

Paschal’s parents were poor tenant farmers and, while only a young boy, Paschal began working in the fields and tending to the sheep. His regimen of work was seemingly never-ending, and he rarely took part in the activities of other kids his age. However, he possessed an obvious spirituality that was noticeable to others, and the other boys would come to him for advice and requests for him to settle their quarrels. Paschal had innate wisdom that was marveled at by all who came to know him.

The boy was unable to go to school, so he carried a notebook with him when he was working. He would ask other kids and even strangers going by to show him different letters and how to use them. He took his tidbits of information to heart and literally taught himself how to read. Soon his favorite books were those about his Lord.

When Paschal was working in the fields, he always fell to his knees when he heard the bells ringing during the Consecration.  He was not only rich in piety and virtue, but he was also quite humble. It was just the way he was and people who knew him could not help but notice.

Paschal had always harbored a deep desire to enter religious life. Now and then he even wondered if that might ever happen. He had been offered spots in several richly endowed monasteries, and some prodded him to enter the priesthood. He had said, “, “I was born poor and am resolved to die in poverty and penance.”

His quest for simplicity came to fruition when, in 1564, he was able to enter the Franciscan Monastery of the Friars Minor at Monteforte. It was located in Orito, Spain and those who were there lived a no-frills, austere existence. It was what Paschal had hoped and prayed.for. The young man professed his vows at the monastery on February 2, 1565.

St. Paschal was frequently found before the tabernacle, at times even prostate with his arms outstretched. The humble brother, who had taught himself to read and had no known education possessed a deep knowledge and insight into the mysteries and teachings of the faith. Learned men marveled at him, and most figured he was guided by the Holy Spirit. He was so knowledgeable that during the height of the Calvinist heresies he was chosen to travel to France to defend the Church’s teaching on the Real Presence.

Once God even demonstrated the high esteem he had for Paschal by using the Blessed  Sacrament. Paschal was out in the field tending his flock. When he heard the bells ringing, signaling the Consecration was taking place, he immediately knelt down. As he did the Blessed Sacrament appeared before him in the monstrance. Incredibly,  it was held aloft by angels hovering above. Others saw this and were in awe. Word spread quickly about the miraculous Brother Paschal and his visions, which became more frequent.

Brother Paschal Baylon passed away on May 17, 1592. The custom of the time was for the deceased to be placed on an open stretcher in the church. This was done, and when the Consecrated Host was elevated at his requiem Mass, Paschal’s body sat up, and bowed to the Sacred Host. It remained like that and repeated the bow as the chalice with the Precious Blood was elevated.  Then Paschal’s body lay back down. Witnesses to this miraculous event also testified that his eyes were open watching the priest during the entire Consecration.

Paschal Baylon was beatified by Pope Paul V in 1618, and he was canonized a saint by Pope Alexander VIII on October 16, 1690. He is the patron of all Eucharistic Congresses and Eucharistic Associations. Paintings of St. Paschal usually are shown with him in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament which was the greatest love in his life.

Saint Paschal Baylon, please pray for us.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

A Cold Front in May? If so, blame the Ice Saints.

Ice Saints                                                               en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

The following three saints are known as the Ice Saints.  Their names are St. Mamertus, St. Pancras, and St. Servatius.

  • Mamertus was the bishop who introduced us to the days of prayer and fasting known as Rogation Days. He died in 475 A.D.
  • Pancras is a much-loved boy saint (especially in Europe) who was beheaded in the year 313 during the persecution of Christians under the emperor, Diocletian. He was only fourteen years of age yet refused to reject his Christianity. He paid the ultimate price.
  • Lastly, there is St. Servatius who was Bishop of Tongeren (now the Netherlands). Early biographies of Servatius suggest he was born in Armenia and was a cousin to John the Baptist. It followed that made him a distant cousin of Jesus (This is not documented). He died in 384 A.D.

These three saints have their feast days on May 11, May 12, and May 13; respectively. So why are they known as the Ice Saints?  The reason is as obvious as it seems; it is because of the weather. What follows may be true but more than likely it is documented folklore with millions of believers.

Most of this has to do with Northern Europe. In that part of the world, the month of April can have quite a few days that are warm and sunny. Then along comes the month of May. Slowly but surely, as the days move on, the temperatures begin to drop. There is an extra onslaught of biting cold, wind, and rain and people have to turn on their heat and start wearing sweaters again.

This ongoing weather anomaly in Europe has a long history and is called “Eisheligen.” This refers to the period in May when, according to the stories told by farmers, the weather is much too unstable to plant crops. Why would mid-May be too early to plant? Because of the danger of frost. Many folks thought this was a bit ridiculous, but most farmers did not. Planting did not start until after “Eisheligen.”

This whole business of the Ice Saints began when students of Galileo examined weather documents and realized that the days from May11 thru May 13 often brought a spell of cold weather. This weather invariably caused frost which would be the last frosts of spring.

In Germany, the legend of the Ice Saints led people to believe that there were special “iron nights” which was prone to frost but they confused them with dates ten days apart from the others. They believed the dates were from May 22 thru May 24.  Their mistake was they failed to take into account the change from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar in 1582. The change caused ten days to be removed. Therefore the dates moved to May 11th  thru the 13th.

So as it happens, Saints Mamertus, Pancras (aka Pancratius) and Servatius, are mostly known as the Ice Saints. Their individuality has been compromised by the legend. There is a proverb in England  that says, “Ne’er cast a clout til May be out.” A “clout” was clothes, and the saying simply meant “don’t take your clothes off until the end of May.

Ironically, scientists have been unable to determine if the legendary weather patterns actually cause frost in May. No matter, even with all the kerfuffle over climate change, when the month of May comes around, most Europeans will still talk about the Ice Saints.

Saints Mamertus, Pancras (Pancratius), and  Servatius were real people and are venerated saints. In fact, there is a Major Shrine dedicated to St. Pancras in Rome and a Major Shrine at the Basilica of St. Servatius, located in the Netherlands.

We humbly ask the Ice Saints to pray for us all.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

From Jehovah’s Witness to Catholic Priest an Interview with Father Daniel Bowen, O. de M.the man who made that Journey

Father Daniel Bowen O. de M. orderofmercy.org

By Larry Peterson

Father Daniel Bowen, O. de M., distinctly remembers how every Sunday when he was growing up his mom would take him and his two brothers to Kingdom Hall. Their mom was a Jehovah’s Witness, and this was their church. It was as far removed from the Catholic church as one could imagine.

Young Daniel believed in God but was filled with doubts. By the time he became a teenager, he had decided he had enough of “church” and told his mom he did not want to go anymore  His father told his wife that Daniel did not have to go if he did not want to. Daniel seized the moment and stopped going.  After all,  he came first—all else came second.

The years passed by and Daniel more or less forgot about God. Once in college, he became more self-absorbed about his own needs and what might make him happy. Then he met a Catholic girl named Lisa.

Lisa told Daniel that if he wanted to date her, he would have to go to Mass with her. He did, and he liked it. Then she introduced him to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. That was it. The young man, as the saying goes, was “hooked.”

Eventually, Daniel and Lisa took different life paths. The Holy Spirit had seized hold of Daniel Bowen and was not about to let go.  On August 15, 2015, the Solemnity of the Assumption, Daniel Bowen was ordained a priest. He now serves as Vocation Director for the Mercedarian Friars U.S.A.

You can find Father Daniel’s inspiring story HERE. It is a beautiful story of a man who took his leap of faith holding hands with the Holy Spirirt—ENJOY

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now let’s ask Father Daniel some questions:

(Interviewer’s questions in Bold:     Father Daniel is (Fr. D) responses in Italics)

When and how did you receive your call to become a priest? Was there a moment in time or an event when you heard the Holy Spirit calling you?

  • D: “People began to ask me the question: Did I ever think about being a priest. I hadn’t, and so I had to ask God about it. It took a few years to figure it out, and then seminary to figure it out the rest of the way. No man knows for sure until he is laying on the ground before a Bishop on the day of his ordination. It is totally a Holy Spirit thing, and prayer is an essential part of it all.”

 Tell me your number one reason for being a priest?

  • D: “To know, love and joyfully serve God, and to love my neighbor as myself. To be a servant to God’s servants. All for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.”

What attracted you to the Mercedarians? (The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy)

  • D: “The Order was founded by the Blessed Virgin Mary, so this Marian aspect was most attractive to me. Also, the 4th vow, the Redemptive Vow, the willingness to lay down one’s life for another in danger of losing their faith – this “all in” aspect always spoke profoundly to my heart.”

 According to the General Rule Of Survey from the Univ. of Chicago, in 2015, among those 18 to 34 years old, 30 % do not have any religion at all. Many do not believe in God. Secularism seems to have infected many the world over. As the Vocation Director for the Mercedarians, your job must present quite the challenge. How is this going for you?

  • D: “I am still working on getting my wings, so to speak. Yes, it can be seen as a challenge, but I prefer to see it as an opportunity. God still calls people to Himself. Christ’s death and resurrection is completely relevant to every generation, even those who feel it does not need to apply to them. First is helping others know that our Lord, the God of love and mercy is real and necessary to live a life of complete fulfillment. To help them realize the Christian faith is about relationship – God’s desires us to be in an intimate relationship with Him. And then to facilitate an encounter with Him. Once men know this, then they can begin to find what the mission and plan that He has for their life. Could God be calling me to be a priest and/or a consecrated religious? And if the answer is yes, then one is best to find out if this is truly His calling, and if so acting on it.”

What advice would you give to a young person who is considering religious life?

  • D: “It is a great gift given by God to some, not all. It is a precious calling to be intimate with God and others in a way that no other lifestyle can match. It is a summons to love fully and without holding back. To proclaim boldly to our world that not only God exists, but He knows and loves us. That I am willing to forsake the goods of this life and world, in order to embrace, here and now, the blessing that God desires for us in heaven. My advice: Go for it!!! Do not be afraid, or put it off, go find out if this is God’s will for your life. If it is you will have the best life. If it is God’s will, then there will be a peace and deep, profound joy that will be under it all.”

 How do you, as a priest, deal with negativity about the Catholic Church in the media, when asked about it by a layperson?

  • D: “Some people were negative towards Jesus in His life here on earth. It is no different today. The Catholic Church is the body of Christ, yes there is a very human element, but there is also a divine element present here, that should not be so easily dismissed. For all her faults, and only the Lord knows why He permits them, the Church is the most charitable and truth-bearing place on the planet. She is the spouse of Christ, and so must be present to continue to bring Christ’s authentic presence, so that all generations may have the opportunity to encounter Him. Staying close to our Lord in prayer is key to keeping one’s head above water, especially when our faults are clearly manifested – keeping our hearts, minds, and souls on the Lord. Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

 What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job?

  • D: “Helping others to believe that the faith is real, and then to fully surrender one’s life to it. Seeing people fall deeply and madly in love with our Lord, and seeing that transformation take place is most rewarding. Experiencing the good work our Lord is able to accomplish through people who desire Him to work in their lives is a beautiful blessing. Challenging is seeing those who fall away from the faith, or keep saying no to God, seeing the resulting destruction this does to that person and to others and knowing how much it hurts our Lord, this is challenging. But following Christ is a summons to love, and it is an invitation that one must be free to choose or reject. Otherwise, it really isn’t love is it?

Go here and listen to Father Daniel  discuss the kind of men  the Mercedarians are looking for

 THANK YOU Father Daniel for taking the time to do this interview. May God bless you as you move forward in your priestly ministry.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

Sister Mary Ephrem—God’s ‘Little White Dove’ and the apparitions of Our Lady of America

Sr. Mary Ephrem Neuzil                                                              public domain

By Larry Peterson

Mildred Marie Neuzil was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on August 2, 1916. A few days later Mildred was baptized in Most Holy Trinity Church on Montrose St. in Brooklyn’s, Williamsburg section. Shortly after that, Mildred’s mom and dad moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Mildred’s dad, a home builder, had heard there was more opportunity in the Cleveland area and off they went.

There was a pronounced spirituality that surrounded Mildred. At the age of 14, she entered the religious congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, in Dayton, Ohio. When she was 17, she made her first vows as a professed religious and was given the name, Sister Mary Ephrem, a name that means “doubly fruitful.”

Sister Mary Ephrem’s duties were a combination of domestic chores and teaching kindergarten. When she was 21 years old, she was sent to work at the Chancery in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was here she would meet a holy man who would, as time went by, become her confessor and her mentor. He would also become an archbishop. His name was Father Paul Leibold. Neither of them had any idea of the special plans God had for each of them.

It was in 1940 when Sister Mary began receiving interior messages and revelations with specific detail and clarity. These messages were coming directly from Jesus and she was being told that her mission was going to be one that would help provide for the sanctification of the family. She began maintaining a diary and documenting all of these things.

One of the quotes taken from her diary was as follows; “Pray, pray, pray, oh My Little White Dove. Pray and sacrifice yourself for the souls of poor sinners. How many are lost because there are no prayers said for them, no sacrifices made for them.”

Jesus even gave Sister Mary a message for Father Leibold. He told her to tell him, “—not to become discouraged at the crosses awaiting him, for I the great High-Priest, go before him carrying the heaviest part of his cross—I seek only the humble and lowly of heart.”

It was after this message that she turned to Father Leibold for guidance. The priest had only been ordained a short time before. The year was 1940. He would be her confessor and her advisor until he died in 1972.

Before 1956, Sister Mary spent time in many different locations. She worked in Rome City, Indiana; Denver, Colorado; North Dakota; back to Cincinnati, and on to Ottawa, Ohio. Here she was visited by St. Michael the Angel of Peace to prepare her for what lie ahead. She was told that Satan would do everything to keep her from doing what Jesus wanted.

The Blessed Mother first appeared to Sister Mary Ephrem on September 25, 1956. She was wearing a blue mantle and a white robe like Our Lady of Lourdes. Our Lady gave Sister Mary a message which was a promise of  “great miracles of the soul” for her children in the United States if they would heed the call for repentance. She also expressed her pleasure in the fact that the American Catholic Church had dedicated a national shrine to her in Washington D.C.

The very next day, on September 26, Our Lady appeared to Sister Mary holding a lily in her right hand. She was dressed all in white without any decorations of any kind. Her veil was white and reached to her waist. Her mantle and robe were also pure white and a gold clasp held her mantle together. She wore a golden crown and her heart was encircled with roses and sending forth flames of fire. Sister Mary wrote that Our Lady said in a beautiful voice, “,I am Our Lady of America, I desire my children honor me by the purity of their lives.”

The Blessed Mother showed Sister Mary a medal she wanted to be struck honoring Our Lady of America. She gave a sketch of it to Bishop Leibold, and he had it made. He placed his Imprimatur on the sketch.

Raymond Cardinal Burke presented this letter to the USCCB in 2007: (see entire letter here)  What can be concluded canonically is that the devotion was both approved by Archbishop Leibold and, what is more, was actively promoted by him. Also, over the years, other Bishops have approved the devotion and have participated in public devotion to the Mother of God, under the title of Our Lady of America. 

 copyright©Larry Peterson 2019