Living the Tradition of the Catholic Faith passed down through Apostolic succession from Jesus Himself. Like the website, this is dedicated to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts.
However, this blog is also dedicated to my beloved parents:
To my Father who always said I had a book in me and to my Mother who never let me forget it! ;)
This blog is likely the closest I'll ever get to writing a book! ;)

BattleBeads has been featured in How-to-pray-the-rosary-everyday.com's "Rosary Promoter of the Month". To read the July 2010 interview, please visit here.
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Feast of the Most Holy Rosary - October 7

The purpose of the rosary is to help us meditate on the great mysteries of our salvation. Pius XII called it a compendium of the gospel. The main focus is on Jesus—His birth, life, death and resurrection. The Our Fathers remind us that Jesus' Father is the Initiator of salvation. The Hail Marys remind us to join with Mary in contemplating these mysteries. They also make us aware that Mary was and is intimately joined with her Son in all the mysteries of His earthly and heavenly existence. The Glory Be's remind us that the purpose of all life is the glory of the Trinity.
The rosary appeals to many. It is simple. The constant repetition of words helps create an atmosphere in which to contemplate the mysteries of God. We sense that Jesus and Mary are with us in the joys and sorrows of life. We grow in hope that God will bring us to share in the glory of Jesus and Mary forever.

On October 7, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the yearly feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Known for several centuries by the alternate title of “Our Lady of Victory,” the feast day takes place in honor of a 16th century naval victory which secured Europe against Turkish invasion. Pope St. Pius V attributed the victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was invoked on the day of the battle through a campaign to pray the Rosary throughout Europe.
The feast always occurs one week after the similar Byzantine celebration of the Protection of the Mother of God, which most Eastern Orthodox Christians and Eastern Catholics celebrate on October 1 in memory of a 10th-century military victory which protected Constantinople against invasion after a reported Marian apparition.
Pope Leo XIII was particularly devoted to Our Lady of the Rosary, producing 11 encyclicals on the subject of this feast and its importance in the course of his long pontificate.
In the first of them, 1883's “Supremi Apostolatus Officio,” he echoed the words of the oldest known Marian prayer (known in the Latin tradition as the “Sub Tuum Praesidium”), when he wrote, “It has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary.”
“This devotion, so great and so confident, to the august Queen of Heaven,” Pope Leo continued, “has never shone forth with such brilliancy as when the militant Church of God has seemed to be endangered by the violence of heresy … or by an intolerable moral corruption, or by the attacks of powerful enemies.” Foremost among such “attacks” was the battle of Lepanto, a perilous and decisive moment in European and world history.
Troops of the Turkish Ottoman Empire had invaded and occupied the Byzantine empire by 1453, bringing a large portion of
the increasingly divided Christian world under a version of Islamic law. For the next hundred years, the Turks expanded their empire westward on land, and asserted their naval power in the Mediterranean. In 1565 they attacked Malta, envisioning an eventual invasion of Rome. Though repelled at Malta, the Turks captured Cyprus in the fall of 1570.
The next year, three Catholic powers on the continent – Genoa, Spain, and the Papal States - formed an alliance called the Holy League, to defend their Christian civilization against Turkish invasion. Its fleets sailed to confront the Turks near the west coast of Greece on October 7, 1571.
Crew members on more than 200 ships prayed the Rosary in preparation for the battle - as did Christians throughout Europe, encouraged by the Pope to gather in their churches to invoke the Virgin Mary against the daunting Turkish forces.


Some accounts say that Pope Pius V was granted a miraculous vision of the Holy League's stunning victory. Without a doubt, the Pope understood the significance of the day's events, when he was eventually informed that all but 13 of the nearly 300 Turkish ships had been captured or sunk. He was moved to institute the feast now celebrated universally as Our Lady of the Rosary.
“Turkish victory at Lepanto would have been a catastrophe of the first magnitude for Christendom,” wrote military historian John F. Guilmartin, Jr., “and Europe would have followed a historical trajectory strikingly different from that which obtained.”

A second victory gained that year on the Octave of the Assumption determined Pope Clement XI to command the Feast of the Rosary to be celebrated by the universal Church. Leo XIII added the invocation "Queen of the most Holy Rosary, pray for us," to the Litany of Loretto. The Feast is in reality a great festival of thanksgiving for the signal and countless benefits bestowed on Christendom through the Rosary of our blessed Queen.
In modern times successive popes have urged the faithful to pray the Rosary. It is a form of contemplative prayer, mental and vocal prayer, which brings down God’s blessing on the Church. It is a biblically inspired prayer which is centered on meditation on the salvific mysteries of Christ in union with Mary, who was so closely associated with her Son in his redeeming activity.
 "Oh Mary, conceived without sin, please pray for us who have recourse to thee and protect us in the mantle of your love until our beloved Savior Jesus returns in power and great glory to rule forever and ever. Amen."

Saturday, October 4, 2014

St. Francis of Assisi - Oct 4th

Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a sense of self-importance. Serious illness brought the young Francis to see the emptiness of his frolicking life as leader of Assisi's youth. Prayer—lengthy and difficult—led him to a self-emptying like that of Christ, climaxed by embracing a leper he met on the road. It symbolized his complete obedience to what he had heard in prayer: "Francis! Everything you have loved and desired in the flesh it is your duty to despise and hate, if you wish to know my will. And when you have begun this, all that now seems sweet and lovely to you will become intolerable and bitter, but all that you used to avoid will turn itself to great sweetness and exceeding joy."

From the cross in the neglected field-chapel of San Damiano, Christ told him, "Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down." Francis became the totally poor and humble workman.
He must have suspected a deeper meaning to "build up my house." But he would have been content to be for the rest of his life the poor "nothing" man actually putting brick on brick in abandoned chapels. He gave up all his possessions, piling even his clothes before his earthly father (who was demanding restitution for Francis' "gifts" to the poor) so that he would be totally free to say, "Our Father in heaven." He was, for a time, considered to be a religious fanatic, begging from door to door when he could not get money for his work, evoking sadness or disgust to the hearts of his former friends, ridicule from the unthinking.

But genuineness will tell. A few people began to realize that this man was actually trying to be Christian. He really believed
what Jesus said: "Announce the kingdom! Possess no gold or silver or copper in your purses, no traveling bag, no sandals, no staff" (Luke 9:1-3).

Francis' first rule for his followers was a collection of texts from the Gospels. He had no idea of founding an order, but once it began he protected it and accepted all the legal structures needed to support it. His devotion and loyalty to the Church were absolute and highly exemplary at a time when various movements of reform tended to break the Church's unity.
He was torn between a life devoted entirely to prayer and a life of active preaching of the Good News. He decided in favor of the latter, but always returned to solitude when he could. He wanted to be a missionary in Syria or in Africa, but was prevented by shipwreck and illness in both cases. He did try to convert the sultan of Egypt during the Fifth Crusade.
During the last years of his relatively short life (he died at 44), he was half blind and seriously ill. Two years before his death, he received the stigmata, the real and painful wounds of Christ in his hands, feet and side.

On his deathbed, he said over and over again the last addition to his Canticle of the Sun, "Be praised, O Lord, for our Sister Death." He sang Psalm 141, and at the end asked his superior to have his clothes removed when the last hour came and for permission to expire lying naked on the earth, in imitation of his Lord.
Francis of Assisi was poor only that he might be Christ-like. He recognized creation as another manifestation of the beauty of God. In 1979, he was named patron of ecology. He did great penance (apologizing to "Brother Body" later in life) that he might be totally disciplined for the will of God. His poverty had a sister, humility, by which he meant total dependence on the good God. But all this was, as it were, preliminary to the heart of his spirituality: living the gospel life, summed up in the charity of Jesus and perfectly expressed in the Eucharist.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael ~ Archangels

“You should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature.  Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits.  They can only be called angels when they deliver some message.  Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels.

MasterOfPratovecchioTheThreeArchangelsWGA14476“And so it was that not merely an angel but the archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary.  It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages.
“Some angels are given proper names to denote the service they are empowered to perform.  In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily by known.  But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they come among us.  Thus, Michael means ‘Who is like God?’; Gabriel is ‘The Strength of God’; and Raphael is ‘God’s Remedy.’
375px-Rottmayr-EngelsturzStMichaelCrop“Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power.  So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying: I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High.  He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment.  Then, he will fight with the archangel Michael, as we are told by John: A battle was fought with Michael the archangel.

 “Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power.  So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying: I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High.  He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment.  Then, he will fight with the archangel Michael, as we are told by John: A battle was fought with Michael the archangel.



GabrieleArchangel 
“So too Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary.  He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers.  Thus God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle.



KarelDujardinTobiasAndTheAngel



“Raphael means, as I have said, God’s remedy, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness.  Thus since he is to heal, he is rightly called God’s remedy.”

Friday, August 15, 2014

THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY


The Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary on August 15 has been a part of Christian faith-tradition from the earliest centuries. This feast emphasizes the universal dimensions of Mary’s role in God’s plan of salvation. We do not celebrate her exaltation in the sense of a removal from us, but as the fulfillment of what we all are called to be.
In 1950, Pope Pius XII defined Mary's Assumption into heaven as a dogma of Roman Catholicism: "the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven." The proclamation of this dogma was made in the encyclical: Munificentissimus Deus. After entering heaven, Mary has remained active in the life of the Church.

This feast of Mary celebrates a special privilege of Mary, our Mother. The Assumption means that she entered into the glory of heaven not only with her soul, but also with her body. The Son of God took His Body from Mary's pure womb. It was fitting, then, that her body should be glorified as soon as her life here on earth was ended.
Now Mary is in heaven. She is queen of heaven and earth. She is the Mother of Jesus' Church and queen of apostles. Every time Mary asks Jesus to give us graces, He listens to her request.

After the resurrection from the dead, we, too, can go to heaven with our bodies. If we use our bodies now to do good, those bodies will share in our heavenly reward.
After the resurrection, our bodies will be perfect. They will not be subject to illness anymore. They will not need any more food and drink to keep alive. They will be able to go every place without time or effort. They will be beautiful and splendid!


DAILY ROSARIES PLEASE!!!!

PLEASE! Pray for the martyrs in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, India, the Ukraine and all Muslim and Communist countries! 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

Adoration of the Holy Trinity
On the day of Pentecost the Holy Apostles received, as we have seen, the grace of the Holy Ghost. In accordance with the injunction of their Divine Master, they will soon start on their mission of teaching all nations, and baptizing them in the Name of the Holy Trinity. It was but right, then, that the solemnity which is intended to honor the mystery of One God in Three Divine Persons should immediately follow that of Pentecost, with which it has a mysterious connection. And yet, it was not until after many centuries that it was inserted in the cycle of the Liturgical Year, whose completion is the work of successive ages.
Every homage paid to God by the Church’s Liturgy has the Holy Trinity as its object. Time, as well as eternity, belongs to the Trinity. The Trinity is the scope of all religion. Every day, every hour, belongs to It. The feasts instituted in memory of the mysteries of our Redemption center in It. The feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints are but so many means for leading us to the praise of God, Who is One in essence, and Three in Persons. The Preface for most Sunday Masses, in a very special way, gives us, each week, a most explicit expression of adoration and worship of this mystery, which is the foundation of all others, and the source of all grace.
This explains to us how it is that the Church was so long in instituting a special feast in honor of the Holy Trinity. The ordinary motive for the institution of feasts did not exist in this instance. A feast is the memorial of some fact which took place at a certain time, and of which it is well to perpetuate the memory and influence. How could this be applied to the mystery of the Trinity? From all eternity, before any created thing existed, God lives and reigns, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. If a feast in honor of that mystery were to be instituted, it could only be by fixing some one day in the year, whereon the faithful would assemble for offering a more than usually solemn tribute of worship to the mystery of Unity and Trinity in the one same Divine Nature.
The idea of such a feast was first conceived by some of those pious and recollected souls, who are favored from on high with a sort of presentiment of the things which the Holy Ghost will achieve, at a future period, in the Church. So far back as the eighth century, the learned monk Alcuin had the happy thought of composing a Mass in honor of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. It would seem that he was prompted to this by the apostle of Northern Germany, Saint Boniface. That this composition is a beautiful one, no one will doubt who knows, from Alcuin’s writings, how full its author was of the spirit of the sacred liturgy; but, after all, it was only a votive Mass, a mere help to private devotion, which no one ever thought would lead to the institution of a feast. This Mass, however, became a great favorite, and was gradually circulated through the several Churches; for instance, it was approved of for Germany by the Council of Seligenstadt, held in 1022.
In the previous century, however, a feast properly so-called of the Holy Trinity had been introduced into one of the Churches of Belgium—the very same that was to have the honor, later on, of procuring to the Church’s calendar, one of the richest of its solemnities. Stephen, Bishop of Liege, solemnly instituted the Feast of the Holy Trinity for his Church, in 920, and had an entire Office composed in honor of the mystery. Riquier, Stephen’s successor in the See of Liege, kept up what his predecessor had begun.
The feast was gradually adopted. The Benedictine Order took it up from the very first. We find, for instance, in the early part of the 11th century, that Berno, the Abbot of Reichenau, was doing all he could to propagate it. At Cluny, also, the feast was established at the commencement of the same century, as we learn from the Ordinarium of that celebrated monastery, drawn up in 1091, in which we find mention of Holy Trinity Day as having been instituted long before.
Consecration of St. Thomas a Becket 
In England it was the glorious Martyr, St. Thomas a Becket, who established the Feast of the Holy Trinity. He introduced it into his archdiocese of Canterbury in the year 1162, in memory of his having been consecrated Bishop on the First Sunday after Pentecost. Some Churches celebrated this feast, not on the First, but on the Last Sunday after Pentecost; some on both the First and Last Sundays.
It was evident, from all this, that the Apostolic See would finally give its sanction to a practice, whose universal adoption was being prompted by Christian instinct. Pope John XXII, who sat in the Chair of St. Peter as early as the year 1334, completed the work by a decree, wherein the Church of Rome accepted the Feast of the Holy Trinity, and extended its observance to all Churches.
As to the motive which induced the Church, led as She is in all things by the Holy Ghost, to fix one special day in the year for the offering of a solemn homage to the Blessed Trinity, whereas all our adorations, all our acts of thanksgiving, all our petitions, are ever being presented to It: such motive is to be found in the change which was being introduced, at that period, into the liturgical calendar. Up to about the year 1000, the Feasts of the Saints, marked on the general calendar and universally kept, were very few. From that time, they began to be more numerous; and it was evident that their number would go on increasing. The time would come, when the Sunday’s Office, which is specially consecrated to the Blessed Trinity, must make way for that of the Saints, as often as one of their Feasts occurred on a Sunday. As a sort of compensation for this celebration of the memory of God’s servants on the very day which was sacred to the Holy Trinity, it was considered right that once, at least, in the course of the year, a Sunday should be set apart for the exclusive and direct expression of the worship which the Church pays to our great God, Who has vouchsafed to reveal Himself to mankind in His ineffable Unity and in His eternal Trinity.
It was God’s good pleasure to make known to us His essence, in order to bring us into closer union with Himself, and to prepare us, in some way, for that Face-to-face vision of Himself which He intends to give us in eternity. But His revelation is gradual: He takes mankind from brightness unto brightness, fitting it for the full knowledge and adoration of Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. During the period preceding the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, God seemed intent on inculcating the idea of His Unity, for polytheism was the infectious error of mankind; and every notion of there being a spiritual and sole cause of all things would have been effaced from the earth, had not the infinite goodness of God watched over its preservation.
Not that the Old Testament Books were altogether silent on the Three Divine Persons, Whose ineffable relations are eternal; only, the mysterious passages, which spoke of them, were not understood by the people at large; whereas, in the Christian Church, a child of seven will answer those who ask him, that in God, the Three Divine Persons have but one and the same Nature, but one and the same Divinity. When the Book of Genesis tells us that God spoke in the plural, and said: "Let Us make man to Our image and likeness" (Gen. 1: 26), the Jew bows down and believes, but he understands not the sacred text; the Christian, on the contrary, who has been enlightened by the complete revelation of God, sees under this expression, the Three Persons acting together in the formation of man. The light of Faith develops the great truth to him, and tells him that, within himself, there is a likeness to the Blessed Three in One. Power, understanding, and will, are three faculties within him, and yet he himself is but one being.

In the Books of Wisdom, Solomon speaks, in sublime language, of Him Who is Eternal Wisdom; he tells us— and he uses every variety of grand expression to tell us—of the Divine Essence of this Wisdom, and of His being a distinct Person in the Godhead; but how few among the people of Israel could see through the veil! Isaias heard the voice of the Seraphim, as they stood around God’s throne; he heard them singing in alternate choirs, and with a joy intense because eternal, this hymn: "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord!" (Is. 6: 3) But who will explain to men this triple Sanctus, of which the echo is heard here below, when we mortals give praise to our Creator? So again, in the Psalms, and the prophetic Books, a flash of light will break suddenly upon us; a brightness of some mysterious Three will dazzle us; but it passes away, and obscurity returns seemingly all the more palpable; we have but the sentiment of the Divine Unity deeply impressed on our inmost soul, and we adore the Incomprehensible, the Sovereign Being.

The world had to wait for the fullness of time to be completed; and then, God would send into this world His only Son, begotten of Him from all eternity. This His most merciful purpose has been carried out, and the Word made Flesh hath dwelt among us (John 1: 14). By seeing His glory, the glory of the only-begotten Son of the Father, we have come to know that, in God, there is Father and Son. The Son, Who had been sent by the Father, ascended into Heaven, with the human Nature which He had united to Himself for all future eternity; and lo, the Father and the Son send into this world the Spirit Who proceeds from Them both. It was a new Gift, and it taught man that the Lord God was in Three Persons. The mystery of the Trinity has become to us, not only a dogma made known to our mind by revelation, but, moreover, a practical truth given to us by the unheard-of munificence of the Three Divine Persons: the Father, Who adopted us; the Son, Whose brethren and joint-heirs we are; and the Holy Ghost, Who governs us, and dwells within us.
Let us, then, begin this day, by giving glory to the one God in three Persons. For this end, Holy Mother Church in Her Office of Prime recites on this solemnity the magnificent Athanasian Creed. It gives us, in a summary of much majesty and precision, the doctrine of the Holy Doctor, St. Athanasius, regarding the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation. 

We give here an excerpt:
Whosoever would be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith.
Which Faith, except everyone doth keep It entire and inviolate, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
Now the Catholic Faith is this: that we worship One God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.
For one is the Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.
But the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all One; the glory equal, the majesty coeternal…
So, the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet They are not three Gods, but One God.
So, the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Ghost is Lord.
And yet They are not three Lords, but One Lord.
For, as we are compelled by the Christian truth to acknowledge each Person, by Himself, to be God and Lord; so we are forbidden, by the Catholic Religion, to say there are three Gods or three Lords.
The Father is made of no one, neither created nor begotten.
The Son is from the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is from the Father and the Son; not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding…
Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation, that he also believe rightly of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Now the right Faith is, that we believe and confess that Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and Man.
He is God, of the Substance of His Father, begotten before the world; and He is Man, of the substance of His Mother, born in the world…
At Whose coming, all men shall rise again with their bodies; and shall give an account of their own works.
And they that have done good, shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
This is the Catholic Faith; which except every man believe faithfully and steadfastly, he cannot be saved.
Adoration, then, and love, be to Thee, O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, O perfect Trinity, Who hast vouchsafed to reveal Thyself to mankind; O eternal and infinite Unity, Who hast delivered our forefathers from the yoke of their false gods! Glory be to Thee, as it was in the beginning, before any creature existed; as it is now, at this very time, while we are living in the hope of that true life, which consists of seeing Thee face to face; and as it shall forever be, in those everlasting ages, when a blissful eternity shall have united us in the bosom of Thine infinite majesty. Amen.


Saint Germaine Cousin Virgin (1579-1601)

Saint Germaine Cousin was born in 1579 in Pibrac, a small village not far from Toulouse, France. From her earliest years she was a frail, sickly child, and throughout her life was afflicted with scrofula, a tubercular condition affecting particularly the glands of the neck. In addition, her right arm and hand were deformed and partially paralyzed. In spite of her many afflictions, the emaciated child possessed a charming, sweet disposition. Germaine endured not only bodily sufferings, but harsh, cruel treatment from her stepmother, who had a deep aversion for the little girl. The child was almost starved to death and obliged to sleep in the barn on a pile of leaves and twigs under the stairway. At break of day, summer and winter, she would drive the sheep into the fields to graze, then watch them until evening. She had to spin during this time, and if the allotted wool was not spun, she was severely punished.

 The village children, not sharing the hostility of the adults toward this forlorn child, loved to listen to her speak about the goodness and love of God while she guarded her flock. The only instruction Germaine ever received was the catechism taught after Sunday Mass in the village church, which she attended with joy. During the long hours of solitude she spent in the fields and in the stable at night, she remained in sweet communion with God, and never complained of her hard life.



Germaine's heart was full of charity for others. Beggars would come to her for sympathy and to share the scraps of bread which she had. When Madame Cousin heard about this she would often beat Germaine while screaming, "I'm not going to feed every tramp that passes by." Then one cold winter day Germaine went into the kitchen to get some scraps for her hungry friends, when suddenly her stepmother walked in. The angry woman thought the girl was carrying some bread in her apron.
She grabbed a stick and chased the girl to an open area, hoping to prove to all that Germaine was a thief. Armand demanded that Germaine open her apron. The frightened girl did and suddenly a wonderful miracle took place. Instead of scraps of bread, a bunch of beautiful, fresh flowers, not from that area, tumbled to the ground! This only increased the admiration and love of the villagers towards Germaine, and stepmother was shown to be a tyrant. Other miracles too were reported, which proved that God showered His blessings on the poor girl. It was reported that the barn where she slept was flooded with light at night and that heavenly singing was heard by those passing by.
Finally after almost twenty years of neglect and abuse, Lawrence Cousin put his foot down and demanded that Germaine's living conditions be changed for the better. He apologized for his neglect and asked the girl to take her place inside the house and live with the family. But Germaine told her father, "Papa, I am perfectly happy living in the barn." In living alone and in suffering, the girl found Jesus and would not exchange Him for the comforts of the world!
Germaine's years of prayers and sacrifices finally began to change the heart of the cruel stepmother. Armand was not given much time to make up for the past years of her wicked treatment towards the poor girl. Germaine's life was now coming to an end; her illnesses had worn her out and she had little strength left.
In the spring of 1601, a priest was traveling to the city of Toulouse. It was night when he reached the town of Pibrac and he
could hardly see his way in the darkness. Suddenly a beautiful brightness lit up the sky and the priest saw a vision of a beautiful procession of virgins in brilliant light, coming down from Heaven into the village of Pibrac. Then he saw a virgin going up to Heaven, who was wearing a brilliant crown, in the company of many angels that were brighter than the stars. That same night, two religious, also having lost their way in the darkness, saw the same vision as well. But neither the priest nor the two religious understood the meaning of the lovely vision.
In the morning, Lawrence could hear the sheep bleating and realized that Germaine had not taken them out as she had done in the past eighteen years. "Germaine," he cried out, but the girl did not answer. Going into the barn, he stopped suddenly; there he found his poor daughter dead, on her bed of straw. Her rosary was entwined around her fingers and her face was shining like an angel. She died as she had lived; without human comfort.
Meanwhile that same morning, the travelling priest and the other two religious hurried to tell the villagers saying: "Last night I saw a virgin going up to Heaven. She was wearing a brilliant crown and was accompanied by a crowd of angels that were brighter than the stars." Up to that time the villagers did not know about anything special that happened in their town, but from the description that the travellers gave, they knew at once that it was Germaine, the holy shepherdess.
Running to the Cousin farm, the villagers found that Germaine had died, but she was beautiful to look upon; God had healed her body. She looked more like an angel than a person! Her faithful friends, the children, had gathered wild carnations and stalks of rye to make a wreath for her head. And the converted Madame Cousin dressed her poor stepdaughter in a beautiful dress, and placed a candle in her hands. Germaine's body was then buried in the village church where she had loved to pray.
But this is not the end of the story. In 1644, forty-three years after Germaine's death, an older woman asked to be buried in the church near the pulpit. Two workmen removed some flagstones and they were surprised to see just below the surface, the body of a young girl. Like madmen they ran through the village telling about their discovery and bringing back a crowd of people with them. Two of the people who had known Germaine during her life, testified that the body of the girl was indeed that of the Germaine Cousin, the shepherdess. The body was then removed and placed in a glass casket. Then it was put in the vestibule of the church for all to see.
Devotion to Germaine grew and many people prayed to her. In 1789, almost 200 years after her death, the French Revolution had begun. The Masons; who are enemies of the Catholic Church, tried to destroy everything that was Catholic. But they were having a hard time destroying the faith of the people in the region of France where the body of Germaine was honoured. To help destroy the Catholic Faith of these people, three soldiers dug a hole and threw the body of Germaine into the hole. Then they covered it with quicklime and dirt, to cause the body of the holy girl to turn to dust.
Those who had performed this sacrilegious deed were suddenly struck with different diseases. The neck of one soldier was deformed so that it turned till his face looked backwards! And another was scarcely able to walk without the aid of crutches. The third soldier carried his punishment with him to his grave, but the other two soldiers repented of their sin and obtained a complete cure through the prayers of Germaine.
In spite of what the Revolutionaries had done, the faithful continued to pray at the new grave of Germaine, the holy shepherdess. After the revolution, her body was removed from the grave and it was found to be as fresh as ever. Thanks to the power of God, the quicklime had not injured Germaine's body in any way!
Many years later, because of all the miracles which Germaine had obtained from God through her prayers, in June, 1867, Blessed Pope Pius IX canonized her as a saint and made June 15th, her special Feast Day.  St. Germaine Pray for Us.  

Saint Germaine Cousin is the patron saint of victims of child abuse, a problem that continues to impact millions of children world-wide each year, and an estimated 800,000 children in the United States. UNICEF estimates that nearly 20% of girls and 10% of boys will be victims of physical or sexual abuse prior to the age of 18. From this startling statistics, it is clear that our world needs the intercession of Saint Germaine now, more than ever!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

St. Dymphna

The Story of St. Dymphna


Dymphna was the only child of a pagan king who is believed to have ruled a section of Ireland in the 7th century. She was the very picture of her attractive young Christian mother.
When the queen died at a very young age, the royal widower's heart remained beyond reach of comfort. His moody silences pushed him on the verge of mental collapse. His courtiers suggested he consider a second marriage. The king agreed on condition that his new bride should look exactly like his former one.
His envoys went far a field in search of the woman he desired. The quest proved fruitless. Then one of them had a brilliant idea: Why shouldn't the king marry his daughter, the living likeness of her mother?
Repelled at first, the king then agreed. He broached the topic to his daughter. Dymphna, appalled, stood firm as a rock. "Definitely not." By the advice of St. Gerebern, her confessor, she eventually fled from home to avoid the danger of her refusal.
A group of four set out across the sea - Father Gerebern, Dymphna, the court jester and his wife. On landing at Antwerp, on the coast of Belgium, they looked around for a residence. In the little village of Gheel, they settled near a shrine dedicated to St. Martin of Tours.
Then spies from her native land arrived in Gheel and paid their inn fees with coins similar to those Dymphna had often handed to the innkeeper. Unaware that the men were spies, he innocently revealed to them where she lived.

The king came at once to Gheel for the final, tragic encounter. Despite his inner fury, he managed to control his anger. Again he coaxed, pleased, made glowing promises of money and prestige. When this approach failed, he tried threats and insults; but these too left Dymphna unmoved. She would rather die than break the vow of virginity she had made with her confessor's approval.
In his fury, the king ordered his men to kill Father Gerebern and Dymphna. They killed the priest but could not harm the young princess.
The king then leaped from his seat and with his own weapon cut off his daughter's head. Dymphna fell at his feet. Thus Dymphna, barely aged fifteen, died. Her name appears in the Roman Martyrology, together with St. Gerebern's on May 15.
In the town of Gheel, in the Flemish-speaking region of Belgium, great honor is paid to St. Dymphna, whose body is preserved in a silver reliquary in the church which bears her name. Gheel has long been known as a place of pilgrimage for persons seeking relief or nervous or emotional distresses. In our century, the name of St. Dymphna as the heavenly intercessor for such benefits is increasingly venerated in America.

The remains of Saint Dymphna were later put into a silver reliquary and placed in the Gheel church named in her honour. The remains of Saint Gerebernus were moved to Xanten, Germany. During the late 15th century the original St. Dymphna's Church in Gheel burned, and necessity obliged the erection of the magnificent "Church of St. Dymphna," which was consecrated in 1532 and now still stands on the site where her body was first buried.

A phenomenon is said to have occurred immediately after the finding of the tombs. A number of people with epilepsy, mental illnesses and persons under evil influences who had visited at the tomb of Dymphna were cured. Ever since that time, she has been invoked on behalf of such people.

 St. Dymphna is the patron saint of the nervous, emotionally disturbed, mentally ill, and those who suffer neurological disorders - and, consequently, of psychologists, psychiatrists, and neurologists. She is also the patron saint of victims of incest.

Good Saint Dymphna, great wonder-worker in every affliction of mind and body, I humbly implore your powerful intercession with Jesus through Mary, the Health of the Sick, in my present need. (Mention it.) Saint Dymphna, martyr of purity, patroness of those who suffer with nervous and mental afflictions, beloved child of Jesus and Mary, pray to Them for me and obtain my request.
(Pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be.)
Saint Dymphna, Virgin and Martyr, pray for us.