4pm Friday, Feb 28
1pm Sunday, March 2
Vocations find their true meaning in Christ
Three young men share their stories as they are just days away from receiving an irreversible grace of being ordained priests. They speak about how they were influenced by others and how they could not avoid the call from God to be men who serve others.
Click here to see their video.
Keeping the Light Burning
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SAINT ZEDISLAVA BERKIANA (sometimes spelled Zedislava Berka), a lay Dominican, wife and mother who was canonized by Pope John Paul II.
Saint Zedislava was born into a wealthy Bohemian (today Czech Republic) military family in A.D. 1215. Her father was the commander of a fortified castle between Vienna and Prague where Saint Zedislava grew up. During her childhood, Bohemia was a place of warfare, facing the great Mongol hordes that continually attacked Christendom. Growing up in a castle, Saint Zedislava assisted her mother with all the things that women were traditionally responsible for, including caring for indigents who daily presented themselves at the castle gates. Saint Zedislava learned not only the faith, but how to minister to the sick and injured with homespun remedies, always with a prayer, from her mother.
born at Assisi in Umbria, in 1181 or 1182 — the exact year is uncertain
died there, 3 October, 1226.
His father, Pietro Bernardone, was a wealthy Assisian cloth merchant. Of his mother, Pica, little is known, but she is said to have belonged to a noble family of Provence. Francis was one of several children. The legend that he was born in a stable dates from the fifteenth century only, and appears to have originated in the desire of certain writers to make his life resemble that of Christ. At baptism the saint received the name of Giovanni, which his father afterwards altered to Francesco, through fondness it would seem for France, whither business had led him at the time of his son's birth. In any case, since the child was renamed in infancy, the change can hardly have had anything to do with his aptitude for learning French, as some have thought.
Francis received some elementary instruction from the priests of St. George's at Assisi, though he learned more perhaps in the school of the Troubadours, who were just then making for refinement in Italy. However this may be, he was not very studious, and his literary education remained incomplete. Although associated with his father in trade, he showed little liking for a merchant's career, and his parents seemed to have indulged his every whim. Thomas of Celano, his first biographer, speaks in very severe terms of Francis's youth. Certain it is that the saint's early life gave no presage of the golden years that were to come. No one loved pleasure more than Francis; he had a ready wit, sang merrily, delighted in fine clothes and showy display. Handsome, gay, gallant, and courteous, he soon became the prime favourite among the young nobles of Assisi, the foremost in every feat of arms, the leader of the civil revels, the very king of frolic. But even at this time Francis showed an instinctive sympathy with the poor, and though he spent money lavishly, it still flowed in such channels as to attest a princely magnanimity of spirit.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux (January 2, 1873 – September 30, 1897) was the ninth child of saintly parents, Louis and Zélie Martin, both of whom had wished to consecrate their lives to God in the cloister. The vocation denied them was given to their children, five of whom became religious, one to the Visitation Order and four in the Carmelite Convent of Lisieux.
Brought up in an atmosphere of faith where every virtue and aspiration were carefully nurtured and developed, her vocation manifested itself when she was still only a child. Educated by the Benedictines, when she was fifteen she applied for permission to enter the Carmelite Convent, and being refused by the superior, went to Rome with her father, as eager to give her to God as she was to give herself, to seek the consent of the Holy Father, Leo XIII, then celebrating his jubilee. He preferred to leave the decision in the hands of the superior, who finally consented and on 9 April, 1888, at the unusual age of fifteen, Thérèse Martin entered the convent of Lisieux where two of her sisters had preceded her.
The account of the eleven years of her religious life, marked by signal graces and constant growth in holiness, is given by Soeur Thérèse in her autobiography, written in obedience to her superior and published two years after her death. In 1901 it was translated into English, and in 1912 another translation, the first complete edition of the life of the Servant of God, containing the autobiography, "Letters and Spiritual Counsels", was published. Its success was immediate and it has passed into many editions, spreading far and wide the devotion to this "little" saint of simplicity, and abandonment in God's service, of the perfect accomplishment of small duties.
The fame of her sanctity and the many miracles performed through her intercession caused the introduction of her cause of canonization only seventeen years after her death, 10 Jun, 1914. Pope Benedict XV, in order to hasten the process, dispensed with the usual fifty-year delay required between death and beatification. On August 14, 1921, he promulgated the decree on the heroic virtues of Thérèse and gave an address on Thérèse's way of confidence and love, recommending it to the whole Church.
Thérèse was buried on October 4, 1897, in the Carmelite plot in the municipal cemetery at Lisieux, where Louis and Zelie had been buried. Her body was exhumed in 1910; not Incorrupted, but had the pleasant Odour of Sanctity. In March 1923, however, before she was beatified, her body was returned to the Carmel of Lisieux, where it remains.
Thérèse was beatified on April 29, 1923 and canonized on May 17, 1925, by Pope Pius XI, only 28 years after her death. Her feast day was added to the calendar of saints in 1927 for celebration on October 3. In 1969, 42 years later, Pope Paul VI moved it to October 1, the day after her dies natalis (birthday to heaven).
On the 12th of May 2013, the Holy Father, Pope Francis will canonize those who have been known in history as the 800 Martyrs of Otranto (Lecce – Italy).
On the 28th of July 1480, the Turks landed in Puglia and besieged Otranto in an attempt to occupy the Kingdom of Naples. After 14 days of siege and constant bombardment of the city walls, the Turks entered the city on August 12 and instantly killed all those defending the city.
The Dominican Monastery dedicated to Our Lady of Candelora was the first to be occupied by the Turkish troop because of its proximity to the city walls. The brothers took refuge in the city. At the Cathedral, they killed the archbishop, the clergy and many lay faithful who refused to recant their faith. The killings continued the next day at the Hill of Minerva.
Read more at the Dominican Order home page
Apparently in response to the “May Day” celebrations for workers sponsored by Communists, Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955. But the relationship between Joseph and the cause of workers has a much longer history.
In a constantly necessary effort to keep Jesus from being removed from ordinary human life, the Church has from the beginning proudly emphasized that Jesus was a carpenter, obviously trained by Joseph in both the satisfactions and the drudgery of that vocation. Humanity is like God not only in thinking and loving, but also in creating. Whether we make a table or a cathedral, we are called to bear fruit with our hands and mind, ultimately for the building up of the Body of Christ.
[Read more at AmericanCatholic.org]
Caterina Benincasa was born in Siena, Italy, to Giacomo di Benincasa, a cloth dyer who ran his enterprise with the help of his sons, and Lapa Piagenti, possibly the daughter of a local poet. The house where Catherine grew up is still in existence. Born in 1347, she arrived when the black death struck the area; Siena was badly ravaged. Lapa was about forty years old when she prematurely gave birth to twin daughters, Catherine and Giovanna. Lapa had already 22 children, but half of them had died. Giovanna was handed over to a wet-nurse, and presently died, whereas Catherine was nursed by her mother, and developed into a healthy child. She was two years old when Lapa had her 25th child, another daughter named Giovanna. Catherine had her first vision of Christ when she was age five or six, saying that Jesus smiled at her, blessed her, and left her in ecstasy. At age seven she vowed chastity.
Her older sister Bonaventura died in childbirth. Within a year, the younger sister named Giovanna also died. While tormented with sorrow, sixteen-year-old Catherine was now faced with her parents' wish that she marry Bonaventura's widower. Absolutely opposed to this, she started a massive fast, something she had learnt from Bonaventura, whose husband had not been considerate in the least. Bonaventura had changed his attitude by refusing to eat until he showed better manners. This had taught Catherine the power of fasting in close relationships. She claimed to feel "jubilant" when cutting off her long hair.
Catherine would later advise her confessor and biographer, the Blessed Raymond of Capua, O.P., (who went on to become Master General of the Order) to do during times of trouble what she did now as a teenager: "Build a cell inside your mind, from which you can never flee." In this inner cell she made her father into a representation of Christ, her mother Lapa into the Blessed Virgin Mary, and her brothers into the apostles. Serving them humbly became an opportunity for spiritual growth. The greater the suffering, the larger her triumph was. Eventually her father gave up and permitted her to live as she pleased.
St. Francis' poverty often misunderstood
By Carl Bunderson
Berkeley, Calif., Mar 22, 2013 / 07:03 pm (EWTN News/CNA)
Saint Francis of Assisi's concern with poverty was secondary in his life and stemmed from his utter reliance on and love for God, a priest familiar with the saint said.
“The usual image of Francis and poverty is skewed...poverty is important, but it is secondary to something else for Francis, which is absolute dependence on God,” Dominican priest Father Augustine Thompson told EWTN News March 21.
While many associate the 13th century saint with poverty, he wrote little about it and when he did, he was pointing to the humility of the Incarnation and the death of Christ, said the Berkeley, Calif.-based priest.
“The one time he talks about poverty itself – he mentions it very rarely in his own writings – he gives as the perfect example of poverty that the second person of the Blessed Trinity became a human being and took on the lowliness of the human condition, and then offered himself on the cross, and offers his body to us in the Eucharist.”
“The Eucharist and poverty for St. Francis are two parts of the same thing,” said Fr. Thompson, author of the 2012 book “Francis of Assisi: A New Biography.”
While believing in service to the lowest of the poor, St. Francis also “sees the Eucharist as worthy of the utmost respect, as it is itself the greatest act of humility and poverty when God gives himself as food to ordinary people.”
Read more at EWTN
The great outlines and all the important events of his life are known, but biographers differ as to some details and dates. Death prevented Henry Denifle from executing his project of writing a critical life of the saint. Denifle's friend and pupil, Dominic Prümmer, O.P., professor of theology in the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, took up the work and published the "Fontes Vitae S. Thomae Aquinatis, notis historicis et criticis illustrati"; and the first fascicle (Toulouse, 1911) has appeared, giving the life of St. Thomas by Peter Calo (1300) now published for the first time. From Tolomeo of Lucca . . . we learn that at the time of the saint's death there was a doubt about his exact age (Prümmer, op. cit., 45). The end of 1225 is usually assigned as the time of his birth. Father Prümmer, on the authority of Calo, thinks 1227 is the more probable date (op. cit., 28). All agree that he died in 1274.
St. Agnes of Rome (c. 291 – c. 304) is a virgin–martyr, is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin, commemorated by name in the Roman Canon of the Mass. She is the patron saint of chastity, gardeners, girls, engaged couples, rape victims, and virgins.
She is also known as Saint Ines. Her memorial, which commemorates her martyrdom, is 21 January in the General Roman Calendar. Agnes is depicted in art with a lamb, as her name resembles the Latin word for "lamb", agnus. The name "Agnes" is actually derived from the feminine Greek adjective "hagnē" (ἁγνή) meaning "chaste, pure, sacred".
January 23: Book Symposium on "Francis of Assisi: A New Biography" with:
Augustine Thompson, O.P.,
Karen Scott, and
Wednesday, January 23, 4:30 PM
Book Symposium on Francis of Assisi: A New Biography
with Augustine Thompson, O.P. (Author), Graduate Theological Union
Karen Scott, DePaul University
Lawrence Cunningham, University of Notre Dame
Swift Hall, Third Floor Lecture Hall
1025 East 58th Street
Presented by the Lumen Christi Institute