Saturday, November 1, 2014

Bl. John Duns Scotus (1265-1308) Friar Minor

BL. JOHN DUNS SCOTUS (1265-1308)
Friar Minor

Born in Scotland of an Irish family that had settled there, John Duns received his early education in Dumfries.Joining the Franciscans, he was ordained on St Patrick’s Day, 1291 in Northampton (England). He continued his studies in Paris and Oxford, lectured in Cambridge in 1301 and taught at the Sorbonne, Paris the following year where he became known as Scotus because of his country of origin. The fame of his genius and learning spread rapidly. 

In 1306 in Paris, he championed Mary’s Immaculate Conception, refuting all objections against this prerogative, though it was not until 1854 that the dogma was solemnly defined. The Church’s approval of his Christocentric teaching (the primacy of Christ) was given by the institution of the feast of Christ the King in 1925. In 1307 Scotus moved to a teaching post in Cologne and soon afterwards he died there. Known as the Subtle and Marian Doctor, his immemorial cult was confirmed in 1993 by John Paul II.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Monks of Moyross

Please check out Catholic Irish Fraternity Blog for more news in the Church in Ireland.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Blessed Bonaventure of Potenza (1711)

Bonaventure was born of poor but virtuous parents in Potenza in the kingdom of Naples. A pious priest gave the boy instructions in Latin. At the age of 15, Bonaventure received the Franciscan habit among the Conventuals. After his profession, he resumed his studies with great ardor, but his zeal for perfection was less ardent.

His superiors sent him to Amalfi, where he lived eight years under the guidance of an eminent director of souls. This spiritual director trained his pupil above all in humility, self abnegation, and obedience, and Bonaventure achieved a high degree of perfection in these virtues.

One day Bonaventure told his master that the key to the sacristy was lost. "Well," said his master with a smile, "then you will have to look for it in the well; get a rod and fish it out." Promptly Bonaventure went to the well and with rod and line fished for the key. It was not long before he actually drew it out. God rewarded him in a miraculous manner for his blind obedience.

As a priest he labored with remarkable success. His words, conduct, prayer, and mortification combined to produce blessed results. His simple sermons made a deep impression on all hearts. At times a single word of his was enough to move the most hardened sinner to contrition.

At various times he was appointed guardian of a convent, but his humble pleas were always successful in changing the mind of his superiors. Obedience at length compelled him to accept the position of novice master. In this office he sought to inculcate in his pupils above all the practice of humility and obedience.
An epidemic broke out among the townsfolk, and Bonaventure at once sacrificed himself. Fearless of contracting the disease, he hastened from end to end of the town, rendering every possible service to the stricken, even the lowliest, and administering the sacraments to them. He cured many miraculously; he multiplied their insufficient provisions by his blessing, and he foretold future events.

After Bonaventure had been a shining model of virtue among his brethren for 45 years, he felt that his last hour was at hand. While the community gathered about his bed during the administration of the last sacraments, the dying man in touching words begged pardon of his superior and the community for his many faults and infractions of the rule, as he called them.

Deeply moved, the superior handed him the crucifix, and amid abundant tears the servant of God kissed the feet of the Savior, and then died peacefully on October 26, 1711. Pope Pius VI beatified him in 1775.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blessed John of Parma

Blessed John of Parma (1209-1289) was born at Parma. He studied and taught philosophy and known to be a devoted man to the Lord. Sensing the Lord's call to serve Him more intensely, John entered the newly founded Friars Minor, the group that followed Saint Francis of Assisi. Completing his theological studies John was ordained priest and taught theology at Bologna, Naples and eventually in Rome. Father John was sent to the Council of Lyons in 1245.

In 1247, Father John was elected the 7th minister general of the Franciscans, an election presided over by Pope Innocent IV, who thought very highly of Father John. John set in motion several initiatives to keep the friars focussed on the mission of Francis and his spirit looking keenly on poverty and humility as hallmarks of the Franciscan way of living the Gospel.

Father John was sent as a papal legate to Constantinople in an attempt healed the schism between Catholics and the Greek Orthodox. He had limited success.
Our peripatetic friar died on March 19, 1289 and his feast is kept on March 20. Father John was beatified in 1777.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

St Mary Francis of the Five Wounds 1715-1791

Anna Maria Rosa, as Mary Frances was christened, was born in Naples in 1715 of a family that belonged to the middle class of society. Her mother, a devout and gentle woman, who had much to contend with from her hot-tempered husband, was quite worried before the birth of this child. But St. John Joseph of the Cross, who lived in Naples at that time, calmed her and recommended special care of the child, as it was destined to attain to great holiness.

She was scarcely 4 years old when she began to spend hours in prayer, and sometimes arose at night for this purpose. Such was her desire to know the truths of the Catholic Faith, that an angel appeared to her and instructed her regularly. She had not yet attained her 7th year when she desired to receive holy Communion. Her pastor marveled at her knowledge of the Faith, as well as her ardent desire for the Bread of Angels, and felt that he could not deny her the privilege. In fact, it was not long before he permitted her to receive daily.
Meanwhile, although physically of a very delicate constitution, the little saint was making herself useful to her parents by assisting them in their work. Her father, a weaver of gold lace, was anxious to have his children help as early as possible. He found that Mary Frances was not only the most willing but also the most skilled in the work.

Mary Frances was 16 years old when a rich young man asked her father for her hand. Rejoicing at the favorable prospect, her father at once gave his consent.
But when he told Mary Frances about it, he was amazed to hear her, who had never contradicted him, declare her firm intention of espousing only her heavenly Bridegroom, and asking his permission to become a Tertiary. He became so enraged that he seized a rope and whipped the delicate girl un mercifully, until her mother intervened. He then locked her in a room, where she received only bread and water, and no one was permitted to speak to her.

Mary Frances considered herself fortunate to be able to offer her divine bridegroom this early proof of her fidelity; she regarded the trial as a pre-nuptial celebration. The earnest representations of a priest made her father, who after all was a believing Christian, realize that he had done wrong; and he consented that his daughter take the Tertiary habit and serve God as a consecrated virgin at home, as was customary in those days.

Filled with holy joy, Mary Frances now received the habit and with it the surname "of the Five Wounds." This name was prophetic of her subsequent life. At home she had much to endure. Her father never got over it that he lost a wealthy son-in-law. When God favored her with unusual graces -- she was sometimes granted ecstasies at prayer and suffered our Lord's agony with Him -- her own brothers and sisters insulted her as an imposter. Even her confessor felt obliged to deal harshly with her. For a long time she could find consolation nowhere but in the wounds of Christ.

Her confessor perceived at last that it was God who was doing these things in Mary Frances. Since her mother had died meanwhile, he saw to it that she found a home with a fellow Tertiary. There one day, as she herself lay ill, she learned that her father was near death; and she asked almighty God to let her suffer her father's death agony and his purgatory. Both requests were granted her.

Although she suffered continuously, our Lord also gave Mary Frances great graces and consolations. She received the marks of the wounds of Christ and was granted the gift of prophesy and of miracles. When Pius VI was crowned pope in 1775, she beheld him in a vision wearing a crown of thorns. Pope Pius closed his life 24 years later as a prisoner of the French Revolution at Valence.

Mary Frances also prophesied the tragic events of the French Revolution; and God heard her prayer, asking that she be taken from this world before they would happen. She died on October 6, 1791, kissing the feet of her crucifix. God glorified her by many miracles. She was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI, and canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1867.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa OFM.Cap.. ....Preacher to the Papal Household.

Raniero Cantalamessa is a Franciscan Capuchin Catholic Priest. Born in Ascoli Piceno, Italy, 22 July 1934, ordained priest in 1958. Divinity Doctor and Doctor in classical literature. Former Ordinary Professor of History of Ancient Christianity and Director of the Department of religious sciences at the Catholic University of Milan. Member of the International Theological Commission (1975-1981).

In 1979 he resigned his teaching position to become a full time preacher of the Gospel. In 1980 he was appointed by Pope John Paul II Preacher to the Papal Household in which capacity he still serves, preaching a weekly sermon in Advent and Lent in the presence of the Pope, the cardinals, bishops an prelates of the Roman Curia and the general superiors of religious orders. He is frequently invited to speak at international and ecumenical conferences and rallies. He is has been member of Catholic delegation for the Dialogue with the Pentecostal Churches for the last ten years. He runs a weekly program on the first channel of the Italian state television (RAI) on the Gospel of the following Sunday.

Every Friday in Advent and Lent the Preacher to the Papal Household, also known as the Apostolic Preacher, gives a meditation in the presence of the Pope, the Cardinals, Bishops and Prelates and General Superiors of religious Orders. The title and office of Apostolic Preacher date back to the time of Paul IV (1555-1559).

Until that time the General Procurators of the four mendicant Orders (the Order of Preachers, or Dominicans, Friars Minor or Franciscans, Hermits of St Augustine and Carmelites) took it in turns to preach on the Sundays of Advent and Lent. Since the time of Paul IV a single Apostolic Preacher was appointed from different religious Orders. In 1743 Pope Benedict XIV, by the Brief Inclytum Fratrum Minorum, reserved the office exclusively to the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor.

At the present time the sermons are given in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel. The Apostolic Preacher resides at the Capuchin General Curia.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska - Founder of the Felician Sisters.

Sophia Camille Truszkowska born prematurely on May 16, 1825 was the eldest of seven children born to Joseph and Josephine Truszkowski in Kalisz, Poland. With the care and love of her family, she grew to be a lively, inquisitive youngster, observant of all people and events around her.
As Sophia grew in age and knowledge she desired to devote herself to a cause to help others. Sophia had frail health and spent some time in Switzerland to nurse a serious lung condition. It was during this time spent in the silence of the majesty of God’s creation that she developed a spirit of contemplative prayer. She nurtured a call to a life of consecration to God and planned to enter religious life in the Visitation Order. Her parents withheld permission.
As time passed her father’s health failed and Sophia accompanied him to Germany for treatment. While in Cologne, she came to a gradual awareness in her prayer that her mission was to go beyond the solitude of a cloistered life. She became more alert to the social injustices invading Poland and realized the need for religious instruction and active charity among the people.
When she returned home her relationship with God became deeper and more grounded. She sought spiritual direction and enrolled in the Society of St. Vincent De Paul, actively seeking to improve the lives of others, supporting her daily activity with time in prayer seeking spiritual strength.

For five years she walked among the poor and ministered to their physical and spiritual needs and in 1854 she leased a two room garret where she was able to shelter the children and widowed homeless she had gathered. She set up a program of education to meet their needs. Volunteers of young women soon flooded the garret room. Sophia’s charity assumed the character of a home and educational center for girls. It became known as the Institute of Miss Truszkowska.

As her presence became more needed at the Institute, her family accepted her physical separation from them. She moved to the Institute and became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis on May 27, 1855 beginning her novitiate in the Third Order as Sister Angela. “Praise Him as much as you can” became her motto for her way of life.

Her soul grew and expanded in God’s love and service under the direction of the Capuchin friars. Father Honorat Kozminski, a young Capuchin priest was appointed director of the Third Order and in this capacity directed the soul of Sister Angela for the next ten years.

Her cousin, Clothilde Ciechanowska joined with her in this venture from the beginning. On November 21, 1855, they pronounced a promise to commit their lives to Jesus. In this simple ceremony the first Felician community came into existence. This date has remained the official founding date of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Felix of Cantalice (Felician Sisters).

As the community grew with members from its volunteer corps it evolved into a congregation, modeling its contemplative-active life on Saint Felix, the first canonized saint of the Capuchin Order. Shortly thereafter Bishop Szymanski, one of the Capuchin priests approached Mother about affiliation with the Capuchin community entitling the sisters to wear the Franciscan habit as a sign of their religious consecration.

The Investiture ceremony of ten novices took place on Good Friday, April 10, 1857. The novices received a white veil over a linen head covering, a gray scapular and habit, a coarse hemp rope cincture, a wooden crucifix suspended on a tape around the neck, and the Franciscan crown of wooden beads commemorating the seven joys of Mary. On July 9, 1857, four novices closed this phase of Felician formation when they pronounced a formula of promises composed by the Foundress herself. By the beginning of 1858 there were 30 Sisters in the congregation with 25 aspirants waiting to begin their postulancy.

Benefactors came forward to help the new community find land and buildings to shelter the works of the institute. In time day care centers were opened in the rural areas of Poland. Retreat work was also conducted in the Motherhouse.
From the very beginning of the congregation Mother Angela discerned that there were sisters with a vocation to the contemplative life and so two choirs were formed: Choir I for the contemplative, cloistered branch and Choir II for active Sisters. Mother Angela was chosen for Choir I and gave spiritual direction to both groups from the cloister.
Due to political strife and insurrections, the community was disbanded and sent into exile in December, 1864. Areas of Poland, including Warsaw, were under Russian rule and religious communities in active ministry were not permitted to exist nor were they allowed religious garb. Several Sisters banded together to practice religious life in secret. They were able to remain in communication with Mother Angela from the cloister where she was permitted to remain with the contemplative group. In 1873 the contemplative Sisters assumed a new title, the Capuchin Sisters of St. Felix and became independent of the Felician congregation.

In September, 1865 the Sisters were allowed to regroup in southeastern Poland and a novitiate and central house were formed in Cracow, Poland. Mother Angela rejoined the active Sisters in Cracow at this period of the fledgling community’s history. It was a time of great rejoicing and is remembered to this day each year in the community with a novena of “Magnificat” before September 8th the feast of Mary’s Nativity in thanksgiving to God for this grace.
The community grew and flourished, expanding all over Poland. The Sisters were sent to the villages to instruct people in Christian Doctrine, reading, math and basic hygienic practices. Residences were established for young women who came to work in the cities. The Sisters became nurses to help care for the wounded in the wars and to give much needed medical care to the poor and elderly.
Mother Angela petitioned Rome to give papal approval to the congregation and before her death she received the Decree of Praise which gave protection to the community and authorized it to continue its works with the blessing of the Church.

Eventually, Reverend Joseph Dombrowski wrote to Mother Angela, requesting that the Sisters come to America to work with the Polish immigrants in Polonia, Wisconsin. On November 21, 1874 five Sisters arrived in Polonia to begin their American mission.
The Congregation attracted many young women to its ranks and the first convents were founded in areas where Polish immigrants were settling down. The first American province came into being in Detroit, Michigan and other provinces were formed from this seedling. The Sisters went from Detroit, Michigan to Chicago, Illinois to Buffalo, New York to Lodi, New Jersey to Coraopolis, Pennsylvania to Enfield, Connecticut to Mississauga, Ontario, Canada to Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
This small seed planted by Mother Angela in Poland took root in three provinces in Poland: Warsaw, Cracow and Przemysl; in eight provinces in North America and in Curitiba, Brazil in South America. Today there is a Generalate in Rome, Italy and foundations in Kenya, Africa, the Amazon region in South America, Mexico, and areas of the Ukraine and Russia.

Throughout her life Mother Angela suffered physical distress especially with her hearing. She became deaf at an early age and eventually resigned from active leadership because of this infirmity. For the last thirty years of her life, Mother Angela also suffered a spiritual trial of the dark night of the soul. This purging of her spirit only gave her greater beauty and grace and allowed her to give wisdom and strength to her community.
On October 10, 1899, Mother Mary Angela Truszkowska quietly surrendered her soul to the Creator who so lovingly guided and nourished her throughout her life. She was surrounded by her loving spiritual daughters.

On April 18, 1993, Mother Mary Angela Truszkowska became Blessed Mary Angela when she was beatified by John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square. Her feast is celebrated on October 10.