Thursday, January 23, 2014

January 23 - St. Josef Freinademetz

Happy memorial of St. Josef Freinademetz. He was an Italian-German priest who effectively became Chinese because of his love for the people to whom he ministered in China. Like St. Paul, he became all things to all people.

Friday, January 17, 2014

January 17 - Bl. Joseph Vaz

Happy memorial of Bl. Joseph Vaz. He was amazing! A priest from India, he worked in secret in Calvinist-held territory on Sri Lanka, where Catholicism was outlawed. He was so successful all over the island, he is called the apostle of Sri Lanka.

Here are some other links to stories on Bl. Joseph. Everyone should know more about this incredible man.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

January 16 - Bl. Giuseppe Antonio Tovini

A happy memorial of Bl. Giuseppe Antonio Tovini. He was simply extraordinary in the truest sense of the word, the absolute perfect example of a Christian layman.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

January 15 - St. Paul of Thebes

Many people say St. Anthony the Abbot was the first of the Desert Fathers. He wasn't. That distinction belongs to St. Paul of Thebes, who is featured in St. Who? 39 Holy Unknowns. He was a rich youth who fled the world and Roman persecution and found the perfect place to live in the desert. He lived to 100 years old. Today is his memorial. Happy Feast Day!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January 14 - Bl. Petrus Donders

A happy memorial of Bl. Petrus Donders, a Dutch St. Damian of Molokai. He served in Surinam, South America, ministering to black slaves, native Indians, and a leper colony. Quite a guy.

Friday, January 10, 2014

January 10 - Bl. Maria Dolores Rodriguez-Sopena Ortega

A happy memorial of Bl. Maria Dolores Rodriguez-Sopena Ortega. She was a reluctant debutant who became a foundress. It was ingenious how she involved the laity in her work.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

January 9 - St. Adrian (Hadrian) of Canterbury

A blessed memorial of St. Adrian of Canterbury. He was a Berber (i.e., native of N. Africa) & abbot of a monastery near Naples. Pope St. Vitalian made him go to Canterbury, where he became abbot of the monastery there. He is credited for igniting England's fire of learning and reason (faith and reason are not opposed!), a legacy that lasted centuries.

January 8 - Feast of Bl. Eurosia "Mama Rosa" Fabris

A happy feast of Bl. Eurosia Fabris, aka “Mama Rosa.” She's one of the reasons I wrote "39 New Saints You Should Know." Such a great woman and a great example of lay holiness. For more on this special wife & mother, see here and below.

Third Order Franciscan

Beatified November 16, 2005, at the cathedral in Vicenza

Biographical Data
September 27, 1866 - Born at Quinto Vicentino.
September 30, 1866 - Baptized with the name of Eurosia
1870-1932 - Lived the rest of her saintly life as a daughter, wife, and mother at the town of Marola di Torri di Quartesolo, VI
January 8, 1932 - Died. Her last words were, "My God, I love you over everything."
November 6, 2005 - Beatified

In her life as a daughter, spouse and mother, Eurosia Fabris Barban always took care care to know the will of God so she could completely mould her own will to it without hesitation.

In her daily prayer she tried to faithfully and docilely discern the word of God in the wise reading of the events of her life and to respond with a generous disposition.

Therefore her courageous -- even herioc -- choices can only be explained by her unfailing trust in Divine Providence, as when she agreed to raise two girls whose mother had died and marry their father. Or when, in spite of the hard economic times, she succeeded in finding ways to help the poor. Or when she received with a maternal heart a number of children who been orphaned because of World War I into her own family.

Strong in her faith, she witnessed to it with simplicity and joy in every circumstance -- with her family, in her house work, and at her parish. She knew how to transmit it to the girls who attended her dressmaking classes and the children in her catechism classes but above all to her sons, three of whom the Lord chose to be priests.

This was the greatest joy of "Mamma Rosa."

Spiritual Gems of Mamma Rosa

I wish for nothing other than the love of God and to grow more and more in His love. Nothing else is of any importance.

We must render account to God and not to the appearance of our actions or our life. If we look to God, what others say matters nothing.

When we pray, we must forget all the things of this world! We must speak with God and be attentive to what we say to Him, and to what He says to us.

When the Church speaks, it is God who speaks, and we must listen.

The boys we send to the Lord are like a treasure. We have confidence in God that He will never allow us to lack for life's necessities. [Remember that sons back then were often an economic necessity in and of themselves.]

The sons the Lord has given to us, they are His before they are ours. And if He wants them for Himself, we must we be grateful, indeed happy, for this is a great honor.

The Lord supplies us more when we give in charity for the sake of loving Him. If we donate something to the poor, it is as if we offered it to Jesus in person.

It is better to be poor than rich! ... It is not the rich who are content of heart, but those who do the will of God.

Sia fatta la volontà di Dio; Egli ci ama e non ci abbandonerà mai. Ci riposeremo in Paradiso.

This is the will of God (Sia fatta la volontà di Dio); He loves us and He will never abandon us. We will rest in Paradise.

If we have always made His will ours during life, death is just nothing to fear.


Oh Holiest Trinity, You kindly looked upon the commitment of Bl. Eurosia Fabris to faithfully follow Your will in every circumstance of her life, as a daughter, spouse, and mother, supporting her with Your divine grace. Through her intercession, we ask You to bless our families, to protect them from all evil, to help them live a life of Christian virtue, love, and peace. Moreover we ask You, in particular, to grant the grace that we seek with our hearts.

Three Glory Bes... with the invocation "Holy Trinity, one God, hear our prayer."

One Hail Mary, with the invocation "Mother of God, prays for us and our families."

Blessed Eurosia, pray for us.

Prayer to obtain a grace through Bl. Eurosia

Holy Trinity, we thank You for having enriched your Servant Eurosia with many treasures of grace, faith and charity, which rendered her a charming model of domestic virtues, especially for young people, spouses, and mothers. You who have exalted the humble and simple of heart, deign to glorify also here on earth for our example and comfort the simple and humble "Mamma Rosa", granting us the grace we ardently ask of You. Through her intercession bless our family, so that we may become -- as we promise You -- a sweet asylum of virtue, love and peace. Amen.

Three Glory Bes with the invocation "Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy of us!"

Friday, January 3, 2014

Saints News for December 2013

December was a surprisingly busy month with regard to saints news.
Making headlines this month:
  • Potential cause makes digital leap into the 21st century
  • Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago takes historic step
  • New decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
  • Focolare movement seeks to start founder’s beatification cause
  • Paul VI’s cause takes huge step toward beatification
  • Miracle attributed to American venerable approved
  • Bl. John Paul II’s lay friend is closer to beatification
Potential cause makes digital leap into the 21st century
With many beatification and canonization causes, efforts to reach out to devotees or enable devotees to reach them are limited to a postal address in some obscure town in some far away country. At best one might find a website. It is extraordinary to find a Facebook “Like” page or even a Twitter account.
However, the potential cause of Fr. Aloysius Ellacuria, C.M.F. (potential because it has not been introduced yet) has made a unique foray into the realm of social media.
On December 1, 2013, the people behind the miracle working priest’s probable cause held a webinar to discuss the forthcoming book, called The Fatima Protocol: Father Aloysius In His Words.
The webinar was the first in what organizers promise will be a “series addressing growing interest in Father Aloysius, his life and his work. This series is part of a campaign for the promotion of” the cultus of Aloysius.
Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago takes historic step
For the first time ever, the Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago has introduced a beatification cause. After receiving permission from the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, the archdiocese launched a campaign to beatify Archbishop Anthony Pantin, CSSp.
Born in 1929 in Port-of-Spain, he was a bright student as a young man, winning a full academic scholarship to the prestigious St. Mary’s College, where he excelled not only as a scholar but as an athlete, as well.
However, at age 17, he discerned a call to the priesthood, something he had first heard as an altar boy in his local parish church.
He did his minor seminary years in Montreal, Canada, and then completed his theological education in Dublin, Ireland. He received Holy Orders in 1955.
Pope Paul VI made him the eighth archbishop of Port-of-Spain in 1967, receiving his episcopal consecration in 1968, and he held that post for 32 years until his death in 2000. His reign was marked by a tremendous outreach to and care for the poor.
New decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
On Monday, December 9, Pope Francis received Angelo Cardinal Amato, SDB, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and approved the following decrees presented by His Eminence.
A miracle attributed to Ven. Giovannina Franks, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Nurses. This means she will become blessed.
That the Servants of God, Mario Vergara (a professed priest of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) and Isidore Ngei Ko Lat (a lay catechist) were killed in hatred of the faith at Shadaw, Burma, in 1950, and thus qualify as martyrs. This means they will automatically be considered blessed.
The Holy Father also confirmed the heroic virtues of:

  • Servant of God Maria Matteo Maurizio Garrigou, Priest, Founder of the Institute of Our Lady of Compassion
  • Servant of God Clemente (nee Vincent Fuhl), a professed priest of the Order of St. Augustine
  • Servant of God Marcello of the Virgin of Carmel (nee Boldizsár Marton), a professed priest of the Order of Discalced Carmelites
  • Servant of God Roman Bottegal, a professed Trappist priest
  • Servant of God Rosalia Cadron-Jetté (in religion: Mother of the Nativity), founder of the Sisters of Mercy
  • Servant of God Maria Rosa Teresa Gay Tibau, founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Gerona
  • Servant of God Maria Oliva of the Mystical Body (nee Maria Oliva Bonaldo ), foundress of the Institute of the Daughters of the Church
  • Servant of God Orsola Mezzini, professed religious and Superior General of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Mission for the Deaf and Dumb
  • Servant of God Maria Scholar of Divine Providence (nee Maria Orsola Rivata ), professed religious and first Superior General of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master
  • Servant of God Raphael Cordero Molina, layman , born in San Juan de Puerto Rico, d. July 5, 1868
This means that, hereafter, each of these individuals will be known by the title of Venerable.
Then on Wednesday, December 18, the Congregation announced Pope Francis had approved the decree of heroic virtues for the Servant of God Emanuele Herranz Estables, a Spanish diocesan priest and founder of the Religious Handmaids of Our Lady of Sorrows (1880-1968).
Focolare movement seeks to start founder’s beatification cause
Maria Voce, president of the Focolare movement, has petitioned Bishop Raffaello Martinelli of Frascati, Italy, to open of a diocesan inquiry into the life and holiness of the movement’s foundress, Chiara Lubich.
Lubich died in 2008, so the requisite five years period following her death have passed.
Born in 1920, she took private vows in 1943 consecrating herself to God. She formed around herself a group of friends to read the Gospels together. This group ultimately became a religious community that shared everything in common. Their desire was to form a facsimile of a family around a hearth, the word for which in Italian is “focolare.”
According to the Boston Pilot, “The lay movement aims to promote world unity through the living witness of Christian love and holiness in the family and small communities.”
Focolare now “has more than 2 million members and associates in 182 countries.”
“Retired Pope Benedict XVI said Lubich was a ‘woman of fearless faith.’”
“Blessed John Paul II appointed Lubich to serve as an observer at four synods of bishops in the 1980s and 1990s, and she served as a consultant to the Pontifical Council for the Laity.”
Paul VI’s cause takes huge step toward beatification
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Ven. Pope Paul VI, who reigned from 1963 through his death in 1978.
Pope Paul was best remember as the pontiff who closed the Second Vatican Council and who issued the landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae, which affirmed the Church’s 2,000-year-old teaching concerning contraception.
Many have objected to his cause because they say the Church declined on his watch. Regardless of the validity of that assertion, it’s important to remember a beatification or canonization cause seeks to determine whether someone was holy, not whether they were good at their job or supremely gifted in this area or that. And by all accounts, Paul VI was a remarkably holy man.
The miracle in question concerns a woman whom doctors urged to abort her baby because in utero tests showed the child had potentially brain damaging health problems. The mother prayed for the late pontiff’s intercession, and the child was born perfectly healthy. Doctors waited until the child reached adolescence to make sure there were no health problems, which there weren’t.
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints medical commission says there is no earthly explanation for why the child’s health problems utterly disappeared.
The Pope and the Congregation’s theological commission still has to approve the miracle. Once this happens, Paul will be declared blessed in relatively short order.
Miracle attributed to American venerable approved
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints and the Holy Father have approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Sr. Miriam Teresa Demjanovich. She was an American native of Bayonne, NJ, and a sister of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth. The daughter of Slovak immigrants, she went to college, graduated with honors as a literature major and taught before entering her order. She continued to teach even after entering the order, and even wrote spiritual conferences to give later that have been compared to St. Therese’s Story of a Soul for their richness, depth, and beauty. However, she became ill and died at age 26 before she could ever give them.
Her order says she is a candidate for beatification “because of her saintly life, her striving for perfection in her religious life, her spiritual writings, the mystical privileges accorded her by God during life, and the favors received by others after her death through her intercession with God.”
Bl. John Paul II’s lay friend is closer to beatification
On Wednesday, December 18, Pope Francis signed a decree recognizing the heroic virtues of Polish layman and father Jerzy Ciesielski.
Ciesielski, who resembled actor James Cromwell, met the then-future pope when Wojtyła served as spiritual direct for a group of his university students when he was a professor.
According to Italian journalist Giorgio Bernadelli, Jerzy Ciesielski was born in Krakow in 1929, nine years after Wojtyła. This age difference meant that Ciesielski met Wojtyła when the former was studying at the Polytechnic University of Krakow and the latter was till a young chaplain. Ciesielski spent much of his university life attending meetings at the Basilica of St. Florian’s Church and in the Środowisko, the circle of students that met regularly with Fr. Karol. Ciesielski, who had been a scout as a youngster, shared two great passions with Wojtyła: the mountains and canoeing. It was in the Środowisko group that he met his wife Danuta whom he married in 1957. Wojtyła was celebrant at their wedding.  
“Fr. Karol came with us on trips, to concerts, to the theatre and the cinema,” Danuta explained a while back, recalling the atmosphere of that group. “We talked during excursions, around the fire and at organized meetings which took place in our homes. We had long one-to-one conversations with him about relationship problems and married life. To this day I have no idea how he found the time.”
Ciesielski firmly believed lay people were called to become saints. He considered marriage as the sacramental path towards the fulfilment of life as a couple. He also said work was an essential part of a person’s vocation.
He was a firmly committed member of the Focolare movement, and it was his commitment to the movement’s ideals that led him to accept a teaching assignment at the University of Khartoum, in Sudan. This is how he came to be taking a vacation boat ride on the Nile in 1970. The boat overturned and sunk. Jerzy and his youngest children were taking naps in their cabin, and thus sank with the boat.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bl. Marianus Konopinski, martyr

I missed one yesterday. Oops! It was also the memorial of Bl. Marianus Konopinski, who was martyred by the Nazis.

Marianus (aka, Marian) was born in 1907 and was a diocesan priest in the Archdiocese of Poznań, Poland. He served at Holy Archangels Church in Poznan, while he studied social science at the university there. The Nazis invaded Poland starting on September 1, 1939, and that same month, they arrested Fr. Konopinski. After his arrest, the Nazis sent him to different prisons, but ultimately, he ended up in the concentration camp of Dachau in Bavaria in Germany, possibly because it had a special section for imprisoned Catholic clergy.

He died on January 1, 1943, as a result of the pseudo-medical experiments to which he was subjected. His last words to a friend were, "See you in the kingdom of God." Fr. Henryk Kaliszan, a witness to his suffering and death wrote, "Fr. Marian was united with God in prayer. Every day for the first few days, we prayed the Rosary for all different intentions. But after a few days, when the disease was stronger, he could only make pious sighs and [offer] himself as a suffering victim to God."

He was beatified on June 13, 1999, by Bl. Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) in Warsaw as one of the 108 Polish martyrs of Nazism. The group has officially named "The Blessed Anthony Julian Nowowiejski, Henrik Kaczorowski, Anicetus Koplinski and Maria Anna Bier Nacka and their 104 companions." He is No. 36 on the list. His feast day is the day of his death January 1, while the whole group's feast day is 12 June.

Bl. Esther Blondin

Bonjour! And a happy memorial of Bl. Esther (in religion, Marie-Anne) Blondin of Quebec. Despite her being illiterate, she became a teacher and from there founded a religious order, of which she was the first superior. However, because of persecution by her chaplain, she ended up as the congregation's laundress. She accepted this cross with grace and dignity.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

St. Vincent Maria Strambi

Happy feast of St. Vincent Mary Strambi. He was so holy that after the 1799, death of Pope Pius VI, he was nominated for the papacy by his friend Cardinal Antonelli and even received a number of votes. Pius VI's successor Pius VII once said of him, "This holy man overwhelms me.”