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Mary and the Saints Posts

Pope Francis canonizes two founders of religious orders

Posted by: Katie Loftus   🕔 Sunday 12, June 2016 Categories: Mary and the Saints
Vision 2016 Loftus 1 Pope Francis announced the canonization of Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad and Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski
Pope Francis announced the canonization of Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad and Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski.

Pope Francis announced the canonization of Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad, a Swedish-born Lutheran convert who established the Bridgettine order, and Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski, who founded the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. Making the announcement in St. Peter's Square, the pope explained that members of the faithful should use these newly canonized saints as examples for living a life rooted in Christ, even during times of struggle. 

Saint Mary Elizabeth (1870-1957) worked as a nurse in New York, which led her to reflect on her spiritual life. Guided by a Jesuit, she studied Catholic doctrine and was baptized. In 1904 she moved to Rome and with special permission from Pope Saint Pius X, she took the religious habit of Saint Bridget in the residence where the saint had lived, which was then occupied by Carmelites. Led by the Holy Spirit, she refounded the order of Saint Bridget in 1911. She has been honored by Israel for her efforts to save Jews from the Holocaust during World War II.

Saint Stanislaus (1631-1701) was born in Poland to poor and devout Catholic parents. In 1670, he founded the Institute of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. The three goals of this institute were: 1) to promote devotion to the Immaculate Conception of Mary, 2) to offer prayers and sacrifices for the dead, especially those who were not prepared to die, and 3) to minister to the poor and the marginalized. Stanislaus dedicated himself with apostolic zeal to these charitable purposes until the end of his life.

Film on Mother Teresa highlights religious communities

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso   🕔 Thursday 09, June 2016 Categories: Mission & Evangelization,Consecrated Life,Vocation and Discernment,Mary and the Saints
Mother Teresa film The Letters
Mother Teresa began her religious life as a cloistered nun before hearing "a call within a call" to serve as a missionary on the streets of Calcutta, India, where she later established a new religious order.

The Letters, a film about the life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997), portrays an intimate struggle with hope and despair by one of the most famous religious humanitarians of the 20th century. The story follows Mother Teresa's life as told through her revealing letters to her spiritual director Father Celeste van Exem. The reviews of the film were mixed, but the movie interestingly delves into many aspects of religious life and different types of religious communities.  

The film begins with Mother Teresa's first congregation, Loreto Sisters of Dublin, who served in Darjeeling, India, as cloistered teachers of girls. After 15 years of service teaching geography and history, Mother Teresa experienced "a call within a call." She desired to work with the poor, sick, and dying on the streets of Calcutta.

The movie highlights the challenges she faced to establish a new religious community, the Missionaries of Charity, that was fully recognized by the Vatican. Despite her desire to give dignity to those most vulnerable, Mother Teresa experienced deep spiritual darkness at times, which is well-depicted.

The Letters is available on DVD and Netflix. Mother Teresa's canonization ceremony will be Sept. 4, 2016.

A dictionary for discerners is a great reference resource to help understand parts of the film.

Rome's Trevi Fountain lit red in honor of Christian martyrs

Posted by: Katie Loftus   🕔 Monday 02, May 2016 Categories: Catholic culture,Mary and the Saints
Vision 2016 Loftus 1 On April 29 in Rome, the Trevi Fountain was part of a graphic display of the persecution many Christians face around the world today
On April 29 the Trevi Fountain in Rome was part of a graphic display commemorating the persecution many Christians face in the world today.

This week, the Trevi Fountain in Rome was lit up in red in memory of the blood shed by Christian martyrs throughout the world. The Catholic News Service reports that the event was sponsored by Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity that seeks to "draw attention to the dramatic issue of anti-Christian persecution" around the globe. 

The event included guest speakers, who shared stories of men and women who have died for their faith. Images of these martyrs were projected onto the fountain, including those of four Missionaries of Charity who were murdered in Yemen in March.

Through this visual representation of the plight of modern Christian martyrs, the church hopes to increase awareness of a growing worldwide problem. 

Biography of American priest martyred in Guatemala released

Posted by: Jennifer Tomshack   🕔 Thursday 17, December 2015 Categories: Mission & Evangelization,Church History,Mary and the Saints,Clergy
The cause for beatification of Father Stanley Rother, who was shot to death in Guatemala in 1981, is being considered by the Vatican. 

“The shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger,” wrote American priest Father Stanley Rother in 1980 in his last Christmas letter to Catholics in his native Oklahoma. He remained true to his word and was martyred the following year in Guatemala.

The first biography of the late priest, The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run: Fr. Stanley Rother, Martyr from Oklahoma, by Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda, was released in November. The cause for beatification of Father Rother is now being considered by the Vatican.

Five years after his ordination, in 1968, Father Rother arrived in Guatemala and served as a parish priest to Tz’utujil Mayan Indians in the farming community of Santiago Atitlan. He learned their languages, cared for their needs, and prepared them for the sacraments. Even after the violence of the Guatemalan civil war reached their village and kidnappings and killings became routine, Father Rother continued his work of building a farmers’ co-op, a school, a hospital, and a Catholic radio station.

When his name was put on a death list, he returned to Oklahoma in 1981 for three months, but decided not to abandon his people in Guatemala. The 46-year-old priest was shot to death shortly upon his return. He was among 10 priests killed in the country that year.

Scaperlanda is an award-winning author and journalist, published in both the Catholic and secular press. The Oklahoma-based writer blogs at DaybyDaywithMaria.blogspot.com.

The book is available on Amazon and Our Sunday Visitor.

Chicago churches named Year of Mercy pilgrimage sites

Posted by: Jennifer Tomshack   🕔 Friday 04, December 2015 Categories: Prayer and Spirituality,Mary and the Saints
Saint Ita Catholic Church
Chicago's Saint Ita Catholic Church houses an enshrined relic of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, O.L.M., who is venerated as the Apostle of Divine Mercy. The church is a designated pilgrimage site for the upcoming Year of Mercy.

Parishes around the world are getting ready to celebrate the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, declared by Pope Francis, to begin Dec. 8, 2015, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. In Chicago, Archbishop Blase J. Cupich has designated 32 parishes and shrines in the city as Jubilee pilgrimage sites. By walking through the Holy Doors of these sites, the faithful may gain a plenary indulgence offered by Pope Francis.

One of those pilgrimage sites is Saint Ita Catholic Church, which houses an enshrined relic of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, O.L.M. (1905-1938), a Polish nun, mystic, and visionary, who is venerated as the Apostle of Divine Mercy, a devotion to the merciful love of God for all.

Bishop Francis J. Kane will bless the doors of Saint Ita Catholic Church, located at 5500 N. Broadway, on Dec. 13 at the 10:30 a.m. Mass. Starting in January, on the last Sunday of every month for the duration of the Year of Mercy, the church will offer Confession from 2-3 p.m., followed by recitation/chant of Divine Mercy from 3-3:30 p.m.

The Year of Mercy ends on Nov. 20, 2016, the Feast of Christ the King.

A list of the Jubilee pilgrimage sites can be found at www.jubileemercy.org. Information about obtaining a plenary indulgence can be found on the website of the Office for Divine Worship at www.odw.org.

Anjara, Jordan: a haven for pilgrims, poor, and religious co-existence

Posted by: Jennifer Tomshack   🕔 Thursday 05, November 2015 Categories: Ecumenism,Mission & Evangelization,Mary and the Saints,Consecrated Life
Father Hugo Fabian
Argentinian priest Father Hugo Fabian is pastor of the Church of Our Lady of the Mount, a place of miracle, pilgrimage, and Christian-Muslim community. Photo credit: Jeffrey Bruno.

Jesus, his mother, and his disciples once passed through the ancient town of Anjara, located in Jordan in the hills east of the Jordan River Valley, and rested there in a cave, where now stands the Church of Our Lady of the Mount, a site of Christian pilgrimage and an example of community between Christians and Muslims in the area.

The pastor, Father Hugo Fabian, 46, is Argentinian but has lived in the Middle East for 18 years, including in Egypt and Syria. He is fluent in Arabic and has studied Islam. A priest of the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word (IVE), he has worked in Anjara for the past decade.

“Thank God we are able to help many families in Anjara because so many of them need help,” Father Fabian said.

Anjara, population 20,000, is a particularly poor town, even for the poor country of Jordan. The parish’s weekly collection is about $50. The church and its school and mission are largely supported by Arab Christians in the United States and by donations from pilgrims who visit the shrine. And the parish has much to support.

There are about 220 students at the school, about half are Christian and half are Muslim. As part of the comprehensive curriculum, classes in Islam are taught to the Muslim students and catechism is taught to the Christian students. All are taught religious tolerance.

Of the king of Jordan, Abdullah II, Father Fabian said, “Thank God we have this open-minded man,” who promotes religious acceptance of the minority Christian population in this predominantly Muslim country.

The parish also runs a mission that takes in children of all ages and religions, who are in need of refuge for a variety of reasons including poverty and problems at home, providing them with food, clothing, shelter, and education. The mission regularly has about 30 kids in its care. Additionally, the church ministers to prisoners and prostitutes. And it wants to do more, including housing and other support for Syrian refugees.

In this place that is a sign that love and unity is possible among all people, a miracle occurred. On May 6, 2010, the statue of Our Lady of the Mount wept tears of human blood. Many believe the tears showed her sorrowful solidarity with the poor of Anjara. "The Virgin Mary cries with us and for us,” Father Fabian said.

There are 250 families in the parish, served by three priests and seven sisters, who belong to the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word, founded in Argentina in 1984. The order has missionaries all over the world and began working in Jordan in 2004.

Pope Francis commends 'next-door saints'

Posted by: Katie Loftus   🕔 Monday 02, November 2015 Categories: Catholic culture,Mary and the Saints
Vision 2015 Loftus 1 Pope Francis addresses the crowd in St. Peter's Square on All Saints Day
Pope Francis addresses the crowd in St. Peter's Square on All Saints' Day. 

In his message on All Saints' Day, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of "next-door saints" who are not officially canonized by the church but are an example to all.

Speaking to a crowd in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, he said, “We experience in a particularly vivid way the reality of the communion of saints, our extended family, made up of all members of the Church, both those who are still pilgrims on earth, and those—immensely more—who have already departed for heaven.” He said canonized saints as well as "next-door saints" who live ordinary lives are models for the faithful. He said that the latter are saints nonetheless and that they encourage all to find God in all aspects of life.

The pope said, “We, too, have met many of these saints. Perhaps we had one in our family or among our friends and acquaintances. We must be grateful to them, and above all we must be grateful to God who has given them to us, and who put them into our lives as living and contagious examples of a way of living and of dying in fidelity to the Lord Jesus and his Gospel.”

Read more at Breitbart.com.

Relics of youngest Catholic saint inspire faithful to be merciful

Posted by: Katie Loftus   🕔 Sunday 25, October 2015 Categories: Mary and the Saints
Vision 2015 Loftus 1 Many gathered in St. John Cantius Church to see the relics of St. Maria Goretti
Many gathered at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago to see the relics of Saint Maria Goretti.

In October, the remains of the youngest Catholic saint, Saint Maria Goretti, were brought to St. John Cantius Church in Chicago, where crowds of the faithful waited in long lines to venerate her.

Saint Maria Goretti was just 11 years old when she was stabbed to death while resisting a sexual assault in 1902. The Italian girl is said to have forgiven her killer and appeared to him in an apparition while he was in prison, which inspired his conversion. Her words, “I forgive Alessandro Serenelli … and I want him with me in heaven forever” were on display in the church. The relics were enclosed in a glass casket and members of law enforcement acted as pallbearers.

As the Holy Year of Mercy is set to begin, this tour of the saint's relics reminds many of the message to be celebrated by the church next year.

Many, such as Katie Higgins, were moved by the experience. She explained how “something comes over you and your heart is just at peace and you just steady out. You just know something touched you. … It was like a greeting, like getting a hug.”

Read more here.

Possible miracle could make Blessed Mother Teresa a saint

Posted by: Katie Loftus   🕔 Sunday 13, September 2015 Categories: Catholic culture,Mary and the Saints
Vision 2015 Loftus 1 The cure of a Brazilian man could be the miracle to canonize Blessed Mother Teresa
The healing of a Brazilian man could be the miracle that leads to the canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa.

The Vatican is investigating a possible miracle that could lead to the canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, according to the Catholic News Agency. It is a case of a Brazilian man who was cured of brain abscesses after his family prayed for the intercession of Mother Teresa.  

Pope Francis has expressed a desire to canonize Mother Teresa during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which will begin on Dec. 8. The pope “wants to beatify and canonize men and women that were a sign of mercy for the world in this Jubilee [Year], and Mother Teresa is a model,” said Father Caetano Rizzi, who works for the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

A priest who ministered to the man's family said, “Mother Teresa turned into their comfort and strength during that long time. So when his complete recovery was verified and the doctors could not explain it, I understood that there was the hand of the Blessed.”

Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity and ministered to the poor in India for most of her life. She won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in 1979. She died in 1997 and was beatified in 2003. A second miracle credited to her intercession is required before she can be recognised as a saint.

Polish co-founder of the Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus to be beatified

Posted by: Katie Loftus   🕔 Tuesday 28, July 2015 Categories: Mary and the Saints
Sr. Klara Ludwika Szczęsna will be beatified
A beatification ceremony for Sister Klara Ludwika Szczęsna, co-founder of the Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, will be held in Kraków in September.

According to Radio Poland, Sister Klara Ludwika Szczęsna, the co-founder of the Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, will be beatified on in Kraków on Sept. 27. The Mass will be celebrated at the John Paul II Sanctuary by the pope’s envoy, Cardinal Angelo Amato, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.  

Sister Szczęsna was born in 1863. At the age of 17, she left her home and worked as a seamstress. In 1885 she joined the Servants of Jesus and ran a shelter for women in Kraków. With Polish bishop Saint Józef Sebastian Pelczar, she later established a new religious congregation, the Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, with the motto “All for the heart of Jesus.”

The congregation focuses on helping young women and the sick. Currently, the congregation has 500 nuns, 350 of whom work in Poland.

Pope Benedict XVI previously stated that she had lived a life of heroic virtue, and last month Pope Francis recognized a miracle attributed to her intercession. 

Consolata missionary sister beatified

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso   🕔 Wednesday 27, May 2015 Categories: Mission & Evangelization,Mary and the Saints
Beatification ceremony of Consolata Missionary Sister Irene “Nyaatha” Stefani.
Beatification ceremony of Consolata Missionary Sister Irene “Nyaatha” Stefani in Kenya.
Italian-born Sister Irene Stefani of the Consolata Missionary Sisters was the first person to undergo a key step toward sainthood in the African country of Kenya. Stefani and the Consolata Missionary Sisters helped the wounded in Kenya and Tanzania during World War I. Stefani died of the plague in 1930 at the age of 39.

According to Vatican news reports, 100,000 people from all over the world gathered in Kenya to witness the beatification ceremony of Blessed Irene, nicknamed "Nyaatha,'' which means "mother of mercy'' in the local Kikuyu language. President Uhuru Kenyatta was among many dignitaries who attended the event, as well as Stefani's relatives from Italy.

Beatification is the first step toward possible sainthood, and it comes after official verification that a miracle happened after prayers were offered to the candidate. In the case of Stefani, a 1989 miracle in Mozambique was attributed to her.

Read the full story here.

Beatification campaign for Titanic priest opens

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso   🕔 Thursday 16, April 2015 Categories: Mary and the Saints
Fr Thomas Byles
In 1912, Father Thomas Byles forewent two opportunities
to board a lifeboat when the Titanic hit an iceberg.

Father Thomas Byles, of St. Helen's Church in Essex, England, boarded the Titanic to cross the Atlantic to attend his younger brother's wedding in New York. Sadly, he was one of the 1,500 who died with the "unsinkable ship." According to Catholic News Agency, Byles "forewent two opportunities to board a lifeboat, according to passengers aboard the sinking ocean liner, in order to hear confessions and offer consolation and prayers with those who were trapped aboard." 

More than a century later, Father Graham Smith—a current priest at Father Byles’ former parish—is the promoter for opening the cause of beatification of Byles. “We hope people around the world will pray to him if they are in need, and if a miracle occurs, then beatification and then canonization can go forward,” Father Smith said.

“Father Byles could have been saved, but he would not leave while one [passenger] was left, and the sailor's entreaties were not heeded,” Helen Mary Mocklare, a third-class passenger, recounted. “After I got in the boat, which was the last one to leave, and we were slowly going further away from the ship, I could hear distinctly the voice of the priest and the responses to his prayers.”

The canonization process first requires that the person in question be found to have lived the Christian virtues to a heroic degree. A miracle attributed to the intercession of the individual must then be approved for the title of “Blessed” to be bestowed.

Starstruck nuns swarm Pope Francis in Naples

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso   🕔 Monday 23, March 2015 Categories: Mary and the Saints,Consecrated Life,Vocation and Discernment
Pope Francis overwhelmed by the joyful swarm of nuns in Naples
Pope Francis was happily overwhelmed by his enthusiastic reception in Naples.

Pope Francis recently met with priests, religious leaders, and seminarians at the cathedral in Naples, Italy, and The Telegraph reports, "once Pope Francis' presence was announced, the starstuck sisters broke into applause and waved excitedly... and then a half dozen of them scurried up close surrounding the pontiff in their long black religious habits. One carried a large wrapped present."

Over a microphone, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe urged restraint and made lighthearted commentary. “Sisters... Later... Well, would you look at that? And these are the cloistered ones. Just imagine the non-cloistered ones,” he said, provoking laughter from the crowd in the cathedral.

Pope Francis said the sisters' great enthusiasm was a reminder to religious leaders to "live their convocation with joy and enthusiasm."

First joint canonization of married couple

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso   🕔 Thursday 05, March 2015 Categories: Mary and the Saints,Consecrated Life
Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux.
Historic joint canonization of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, parents
of Saint Therese of Lisieux, is expected to take place in October.
Pope Francis is expected to canonize Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of Saint Therese of Lisieux, French Discalced Carmelite nun. Their canonization will be the first joint canonization of a married couple and will coincide with the upcoming world Synod of Bishops on the Family in October.

According to Zenit, Salesian Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, made the announcement at a recent meeting organized by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana to discuss the topic “Of What Use Are Saints?”

“Saints are not only priests and nuns, but also lay people,” Cardinal Amato said, referring to this exemplary French married couple.

The couple were married in 1858 and had nine children, with all five of their surviving daughters Marie, Pauline, Leonie, Celine, and Therese entering into religious life. The daily life of the Martins included Mass at 5:30 am, Angelus and Vespers, rest on Sundays, fasting during Lent and Advent— and also jokes and games, as Louis liked to fish and play billiards. They invited poor people to dine in their home and they visited the elderly. They also taught their daughters to treat the underprivileged as equals.

Pope Benedict XVI beatified both parents in 2008. 

Learn more about the Carmelites (O.Carm) - Congregation of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm (O.Carm).

Armenian Monk newest Doctor of the Church

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso   🕔 Thursday 26, February 2015 Categories: Mary and the Saints,Scripture
Saint Gregory of Narek, Doctor of the Church
Armeninan monk, Saint Gregory of Narek, is the newest Doctor of the Church.

Pope Francis confirmed this week the proposal put forward by the Plenary Session of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints to "confer the title of Doctor of the University Church" for Saint Gregory Narek, Vatican news reports.

Saint Gregory, a 10th-century Armenian poet and monk, is revered as "one of the greatest figures of medieval Armenian religious thought and literature."

His Book of Lamentations is considered to be Saint Gregory's masterpiece, the central theme being a man's separation from God and his quest to reunite with Him. His first writings, commissioned by an Armenian prince, were a commentary on the Song of Songs. At the age of 25, Gregory became a priest and lived most of his life at the monastery of Narek, taught at the monastic school, and dedicated himself to God. October is the month Saint Gregory of Narek is remembered by the Armenian church.

Discover more on monastic life and explore discerning religious life at a monastery: "How to know where God is leading you".

Pope to canonize Californian Franciscan missionary

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso   🕔 Thursday 22, January 2015 Categories: Mission & Evangelization,Mary and the Saints
Bl. Junipero Serra will be canonized in September 2015
 Blessed Junipero Serra, O.F.M., founded nine of the 21 Spanish missions in California.

Pope Francis announced at a press conference that Blessed Junipero Serra, O.F.M., founder of California's first missions, would be canonized.

"Blessed Serra's canonization will be the latest in a systematic action from Pope Francis to give a boost to evangelization efforts throughout the world," Catholic News Agency reports.

This announcement was given the day after Pope Francis celebrated Sri Lanka's first saint, Joseph Vaz, a missionary who evangelized through difficult terrain.

Saint Joseph Vaz and Serra are "people who did a lot of evangelization and who are in keeping with the spirituality and theology of Evangelii Gaudium. That's the reason I chose them," Pope Francis said.

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles reflected on Francis' announcement in the Angelus: "Blessed Junípero is one of my spiritual heroes and a giant figure in the evangelization of the New World. He is one of California’s founders and he is associated with the origins of Los Angeles and its original name, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles de Porciúncula, “The Town of Our Lady of the Angels of Porciuncula.

"I believe Padre Serra’s canonization will help the Church’s new evangelization. It will remind us that our state and our country and all the Americas are built on Christian foundations.

So we thank God today for this special moment of grace. We rejoice with the universal Church, with the Franciscan religious order that Father Serra belonged to, and with the Catholic faithful in the two parishes and high schools that we have named for our new saint, Blessed Junípero Serra."

Learn more on the Franciscan order and the many provinces here.

Documents of Saint Francis of Assisi displayed in U.S.

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso   🕔 Wednesday 12, November 2014 Categories: Church History,Mary and the Saints
Medieval manuscripts from the Sacred Convent of St. Francis in Assisi
Medieval manuscripts from the Sacred Convent of St. Francis in Assisi.
For the first time in 700 years, 13 restored medieval manuscripts rom the Sacred Convent of St. Francis in Assisi will leave Italy and be displayed in the United States.

Rev. Pierangelo Massetti, responsible for the restoration laboratory at the Praglia Abbey, near Padua, said, “Saint Francis wrote this poem. And this text may be the foundation of the Italian language, the first text ever known in vernacular.”

According to the New York Times, the documents will be at the United Nations headquarters in New York City Nov. 17-28 and then open to the public in Brooklyn Borough Hall until mid-January in an exhibition, "Friar Francis: Traces, Words and Images."

According to news reports, "historians agree that he most likely dictated his writings, but certainly his hand touched the papal bulls that in the 1220s registered the pope’s messages to the order."

Ken Hackett, U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, said at a news conference in Rome last week: "This exhibition’s arrival in New York will give Americans the chance to know the history and the spirituality of St. Francis, and the chance to be inspired.”

New Jersey nun to be beatified

Posted by: Katie Loftus   🕔 Monday 22, September 2014 Categories: Mary and the Saints,Clergy

Sr. Miriam TeresaThanks to today’s reality TV, New Jersey is not always associated with holiness, but one of its own is on the way to sainthood. 

Sr. Miriam Teresa Demjanovich will be beatified in Newark next month, putting her one step closer to canonization.

Her beatification is set to take place in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J. Cardinal Angelo Amato, who heads the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, will say the mass.

Demjanovich was born in 1901 in Bayonne, N.J. After earning a degree in literature from the College of St. Elizabeth in New Jersey, she entered the Sisters of Charity in 1925. She died just two years later, but she left behind 26 letters on prayer and spiritual life, written while preparing to take her vows, which were later published as a book that became popular in the 1930’s.

She is being beatified after a miracle was attributed to her intercession. A third-grade boy suffered from macular degeneration and lost his vision. His school, run by the Sisters of Charity, prayed for Demjanovich to help the student. The boy regained his sight without treatment after the school’s prayers.

The cure was deemed a miracle by the Vatican. Demjanovich needs another miracle attributed to her in order to be canonized. If that happens, she would be only the second American-born person, after Saint Katherine of Drexel, to be named a saint.

Catherine of Siena—Live and on stage!

Posted by: Joel Schorn   🕔 Tuesday 14, April 2009 Categories: Mary and the Saints


Nancy Murray, O.P. as Catherine of Siena, O.P.

Nancy Murray is a sister in many ways, first to her community of Dominican sisters, to all those she has served over the years—and finally to her brother, actor Bill Murray, with whom she shares a vocation of acting.

Sister Murray brings to life another Dominican, the great 14th-century saint and doctor of the church Catherine of Siena. Dressed in a Dominican habit and using only a few props and a put-on Italian accent, Murray takes her one-woman show,  Catherine of Siena: A Woman for Our Times, to audiences of all ages in parishes, schools, youth groups, even refugees in Darfur.

In preparation for her performances she sometimes reads back issues of parish bulletins to see what the community has been up to in providing help to others, then incorporates those stories into the play so that “they recognize themselves,” she told reporter Jeannette Cooperman in a National Catholic Reporter article.

After a life of intense personal prayer closeted in a room in her parents’ home, Catherine moved out into public life, caring for the sick and dying and visiting prisoners condemned to death. Murray has taught, worked with the poor, cared for those dying of cancer and AIDS, and visited prisoners.

Eventually Catherine went even farther out into the world, traveling and playing a major role in trying to reunite the papal schism in the 1300s which saw two men claiming to be pope. Catherine pressured Pope Gregory XI to leave Avignon in France and return to Rome to get the church’s house back in order. In a letter to Gregory she said, “When are you going to get back here? We need you to come back to Rome and be a voice of unity. The church is like a flock that is being torn apart by wolves.” Witnessing the corruption of the Avignon court, she said “it stinks” and compared the bishops Gregory had appointed to “weeds planted in the garden of a church.”

Murray commented on Catherine’s activism by saying, “Our Catholic Church, for example, has not had a stellar record. So when you look at somebody from the 14th century confronting it—a woman, who was 27 at the time—you can imagine how countercultural she was.” A former file clerk at Rotary International, Murray joined the Dominicans Sisters of Adrian, Michigan over some resistance from her mother, who had once witnessed a profession of religious vows and remembered the “drama of the young woman, throwing her crown of flowers to her parents and saying, ‘I renounce the world and all its treasures,’ ” Cooperman wrote. “It left a terrible impression on her,” Murray said.

But then her father, a former seminarian, signed the papers allowing her to enter the Dominicans, saying, “They have rules of silence; she won’t last long.”

After Murray’s dad died suddenly, she was sure her mother would summon her home. But her novice director advised her to ask her brothers and sisters, so she did. “You stay where you are,” they said, “and pray for us.”

Picnic with Mary

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso   🕔 Friday 20, September 2013 Categories: Consecrated Life,Prayer and Spirituality,Mary and the Saints
Picnic with Mary
PARTICIPANTS at the Picnic
with Mary, hosted by the
Sisters of Bon Secours.
The Sisters of Bon Secours in Marriottsville, Maryland, hosted a picnic last Saturday as an opportunity to honor the Virgin Mary as well as a time to faith-share and break bread together with the sisters.

Bon Secours Sister Pat says on her blog, “Well, Mary inspired us to do the simplest of things – to break bread together and to share what was closest to her heart 2000 years ago (and today) and that is to simply to say “YES” to God. So, the idea of having a picnic in her honor and inviting young adults to come and share how God is acting in their lives was born.” Not to worr: The sisters will continue this tradition by hosting another opportunity in the spring as a hike and picnic to nearby waterfalls in Marriottsville.

The sisters asked those who attended to reflect on: “where God seems to be in our lives.” Not a bad question to ask ourselves today as well.

#picnicwithmary #whereisgodinourlives #sayyes

Discover more about The Sisters of Bon Secours in Marriottsville, Maryland and read more of Sister Pat’s blog about the picnic with Mary.

Worldwide fast and vigil of prayer for peace

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso   🕔 Thursday 05, September 2013 Categories: Mary and the Saints,Prayer and Spirituality
Pope Francis
POPE FRANCIS is appealing for peace
in Syria and the Middle East

Here is an update from Vatican Radio regarding the vigil for peace in Syria:

"Pope Francis renewed his appeal for peace in Syria and throughout the world on Wednesday, once again inviting Christians of every denomination, believers of every religious tradition and all people of good will to take part in the worldwide fast and vigil of prayer and penance for peace, which he has called for September 7th, the vigil of the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, whom we venerate as Queen of Peace. First announced at the Sunday Angelus at the start of the week, many local churches have already organized their own initiatives to mark the day. The Holy Father especially urged the faithful of Rome and pilgrims to the city to participate in the prayer vigil to be held in St. Peter's Square starting at 7 p.m. Rome time and continuing until midnight. The Holy Father concluded, 'May a powerful cry for peace go up from every land!' "

From the pope's message: This coming Saturday we will live together a special day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world. I renew the invitation to the whole Church to live this day intensely, and even now I express gratitude to the other Christian brethren, to the brethren of other religions and to the men and women of good will who desire to join in this initiative, in places and ways of their own. I especially urge the Roman faithful and pilgrims to participate in the prayer vigil here in St. Peter's Square at 19.00, in order to ask the Lord for the great gift of peace. May a powerful cry for peace go up from every land!

#peace #popefrancis #queenofpeace

The Mary contest: Let the games begin

Posted by: Siobhan O'Neill Meluso   🕔 Wednesday 30, January 2013 Categories: Consecrated Life,Clergy,Mary and the Saints
TheMaryContestfilmposter
A short film inspires Mary to become a nun. 

 

Have you ever been asked to consider religious life? Was there a period of time in your life where you thought about becoming a sister, nun, brother, or priest? Writer and director Teresa McGee recounts this period of time in her own life as the inspiration for a short film, The Mary Contest.

An 11-year-old, Mary Kelly, struggles to fit in and finds comfort in Sister Adelia, who invites her to join The Legion of Mary prayer group. It is in the prayer group where the contest to find the most names for the Virgin Mary ensues.

How many names can you think of for the Virgin Mary off the top of your head? What about Marian religious communities? With help from the VISION search tab, here's my "short" list of communities with Mary--or some form of Mary--in their name:

 

Religious of Jesus and Mary (RJM)

Let me know what communities I've missed!
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