Feast of St. Jude Thaddeus, October 28

October 26, 2014

St.JudeWhen all else fails, when we are in the most difficult of situations, we turn to Saint Jude, “Helper of the Helpless” and Saint of the Impossible.  

Saint Jude Thaddeus, First Century AD Patron of: Impossible Causes, Desperation.

One of the original 12 apostles, Jude is depicted with the flame of knowledge received from the Holy Spirit at the Pentecost burning above his head. Brother of James the Lesser and cousin of Jesus, Jude was one of Christ’s earliest followers. He earned his title of Patron Saint of Impossible Causes because of a letter he wrote in 60AD to persecuted Christian converts in the East, exhorting them to stay strong in the face of all difficulties.
The name Jude means giver of joy and the name Thaddeus means great hearted one and this saint was said to live up to his name, attracting immense crowds by preaching in an entertaining way, outwitting magicians and local priests. Abgar, the King of Edessa was quite impressed with Jude and appealed to Jesus cure his leprosy. He sent an artist to draw Christ’s image. The artist was so shaken by the glow in Christ’s eyes, he could not draw. Christ wiped his face with a cloth and the image of his face was transferred to it. Jude brought the cloth back to Abgar and the king rubbed the cloth over his body, curing himself of leprosy. Many depictions and statues of Saint Jude include this cloth with Christ’s image on it. Jude was martyred along with Saint Simon in the city of Samir by being beaten with a club. This club, as well as the palms of martyrdom are also part of his iconography.

The cult of Saint Jude all but died out after the Middle Ages because people confused him with Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Christ. Despite being cited as a great influence by the mystics Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and Saint Bridget of Sweden, Jude was rarely invoked by the faithful for anything. It is said that because of this, he became the saint to call on in the most impossible of situations. So anxious was he to be of help, he would turn heaven and earth to rectify a desperate situation. By the nineteenth century, it became customary to thank the saint for help with answered prayers by taking an ad in the newspaper. This helped to resurrect his popularity and these small “Thank you Saint Jude” ads can be found in many weekly and daily periodicals in present day.

Prayer

Glorious apostle, Saint Jude Thaddeus, I salute you through the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through his heart I praise and thank God for all the graces he has bestowed upon you. I implore you, through his love, to look upon me with compassion. Do not despise my poor prayer. Do not let my trust be confounded! God has granted to you the privilege of aiding mankind in the most desperate cases. Oh, come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God! All my life I will be your grateful client until I can thank you in heaven.

(Mention your request here).

Saint Jude, pray for us, and for all who invoke your aid.

Feast of St. Gerard Majella, 1726-1755, October 16

October 14, 2014

 “Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?”

St. Gerardus Majella*

Patron of: Infertility, Expectant Mothers, Infertility, Lay Brothers, Mothers, Pregnancy.

A quiet and humble lay brother in the newly found Redemptorist order, St. Gerard Majella did not display his great mystical gifts until the last three years of his life. Before his early death at the age of twenty-nine, he was known as “The Wonderworker of the Eighteenth Century”, for his ability to read consciences, predict the future, be in two places at once, heal the dying and infuse his surroundings with serenity. He is most invoked by women who want to conceive a child and though there are many different novenas to him, The Prayer for Motherhood is particularly popular throughout the world.
Born in a town south of Naples to a tailor and his wife, Gerard was a sickly child, contemplative by nature. At the age of twelve, his father died, plunging his family into poverty. Gerard was apprenticed to a tailor in order to support his mother and three sisters. He suffered brutally at the hands of this abusive man and eventually got a job as a servant for the local bishop. His hopes of entering the Capuchin order were dashed due to his poor health. Upon returning home, his devout nature and his kindness, especially to children, was noticed by St. Alphonsus Liguori, the founder of the Redemptorist order. He invited Gerard to join as a lay brother and work in the slums among the poor. It was while he was serving on this mission that Gerard faced the greatest challenge of his life. A young woman accused him of fathering her unborn child. When Gerard refused to comment on these charges or defend himself, the Redemptorists had no choice but to deprive him of the privilege of working with them. Months later when the woman admitted that she had lied, a bewildered Alphonse Liguori asked Gerard why he had remained silent. He answered that he had complete faith in God and that silence was the only answer to unjust accusations.
Raised as the only male in a household of women, St. Gerard was particularly sensitive to the problems women had in conceiving and giving birth. While visiting family friends, he dropped his handkerchief while leaving. The young woman of the family ran to give it to him and he refused to take it saying, “Keep it. One day it will be of service to you.” Though puzzled, she did as he said. Years later, while dying in childbirth she remembered his words and had the handkerchief brought to her and placed on her womb. All deadly complications stopped and she gave birth to a healthy baby. The handkerchief of St. Gerard’s was passed from mother to mother until his canonization in 1904. The remaining shred is still used to bless relics for those seeking to conceive a child or have a safe delivery.

Prayer:

O good St Gerard, powerful intercessor before God and wonder worker of our day, confidently I call upon you and seek your aid. On Earth you always fulfilled God’s designs, help me now to do the holy will of God. Implore the Master of Life, from whom all paternity proceeds, to render me fruitful in offspring, that I may raise up children to God in this life, and in the world to come, heirs to the Kingdom of His Glory. Amen.

St. Francis of Assisi, feast day October 4

October 3, 2014

St.Francis“Lord make me an instrument of they peace, where there is hatred let me sow love.”
St. Francis of Assisi 1182 – 1226
Patron of: Ecologists

Love for God and everything in creation so consumed St. Francis of Assisi, that he was able to commune with the natural world on a divine level. Taming wolves, quieting flocks of birds and infusing peace and contentment to the humanity he interacted with, we call on Francis of Assisi to bring us into the harmonious rhythms of the universe, where all of nature and mankind are at one with the divine force of creation.

An unlikely mystic, Francis was born Giovanni Bernadone in the town of Assisi. His father, a proud member of the upper classes was a wealthy cloth merchant married to a woman from Provence. Because he frequently conversed in French with his mother, Giovanni was soon known as “Francesco” or “the Frenchman” by his friends and neighbors. Confident that his son would follow in his footsteps, the elder Bernadone indulged and catered to Francesco’s every whim and the youth enjoyed a pleasure filled existence in the company of others in his social caste. On a lark he set off with friends to take part in a war with Perugia. Much to his shock, he was taken prisoner and it took his family a year to ransom him back. Upon his return, he was bedridden and seriously ill. But in recovering his health, Francesco seems to have lost his identity. He suffered a great spiritual crisis as all interest in his old life and his father’s business waned and disappeared. While wandering the countryside he stopped into the deserted church of San Damiano and heard the crucifix say to him, “Francis, go and repair my house, which you see is falling down.” Happy to have some direction in his life, he took the request literally and began rebuilding the structure with his bare hands. Ultimately, his father disowned him and when Francis, renouncing his inheritance threw his clothing in the street, he donned the simple brown garment given him by the Bishop of Assisi.

Begging for supplies, Francis continued his work on San Damiano. Eventually he was joined by other disenchanted young men looking for a higher meaning in life. By simply following the exact tenets of Christ, this little band of friars, never owning anything, bartering labor for food and shelter began a movement of religious seekers that revolutionized the Church by the simple and loving way they spread the gospel. Instead of writing in church Latin he used colloquial Italian and in an effort to explain the story of Christ’s birth, he created a living tableau of animals and people – the first Christmas crèche.

A great poet and mystic, Francis was the first saint to receive the stigmata while in a meditative rapture. Filled with humility and though he founded one of the world’s greatest religious orders, Francis of Assisi was never ordained a priest. Upon his death he requested to be buried in the cemetery for criminals, but the people of Assisi so loved him that they took his body and interred it under the altar of their great cathedral.

Just as popular with nonCatholics as Catholics, Francis has inspired great artists, composers and writers. Assisi, Italy remains a great pilgrimage site for those wishing to pay him tribute.

Novena

O Beloved Saint Francis, gentle and poor, your obedience to God, and your simple, deep love for all God’s creatures led you to the heights of heavenly perfection and turned many hearts to follow God’s will. Now in our day, in our ministry to the many who come here searching for peace and intercede for us we come before the Lord with our special requests…

(Mention your special intentions here.)

O Blessed Saint of God, from your throne among the hosts of heaven, present our petitions before our faithful Lord. May your prayers on our behalf be heard and may God grant us the grace to lead good and faithful lives. Amen

Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.

Feast of St. Theresa of Lisieux

October 1, 2014

STTHofLSaint Therese of Lisieux, 1873-1897
Patron of: France, Russia, Vietnam, AIDS patients, Children, Florists, Foreign Missions, Love, Pilots, Tuberculosis Patients

Love, roses and children are keywords for Saint Therese of Lisieux. A young Carmelite novice, Therese lived a cloistered existence in a convent only miles away from where she was raised. She died in obscurity at the age of 24, never realizing her dream of working in the foreign missions, yet she is considered to be one of the greatest saints of modern times and a Doctor of the Church.

Therese Martin was the youngest of five daughters born to a very religious couple. At the age of four she lost her mother to breast cancer and the family moved from Normandy, France to the city of Lisieux to be among other relatives. Therese was spoiled by her older sisters and when the eldest joined the convent, she vowed to not only follow her, but to become a saint. She was admitted to the Carmelite cloister at the unusually young age of fifteen. Her sentimental fantasy of convent life was replaced by the reality of menial chores and constant prayer. She came face-to-face with her own doubts and weaknesses when she became ill with tuberculosis and her dream of doing missionary work in Hanoi was shattered Along with her diminished health, Therese had to accept the fact that she would never have the opportunity to travel the world and do great things. Feeling small and ineffectual, Therese went through a period of spiritual dryness where she doubted that her prayers were even heard.

By embracing her powerlessness, she was able to transform her life and develop her “Little Way”. A personal philosophy devoted to performing small, loving acts scattered throughout her day like so many flowers. Gradually, Therese realized that there were no actions that could be considered insignificant, no matter how small. If they were performed with love, they would have great force.

In 1896, while she was bedridden, Therese was ordered to write her autobiography. This self examination is part of the Carmelite spiritual regime. After her death, the book called “The Story of A Soul” was published in a small printing. It soon became spectacularly successful, as ordinary men and women were able to easily identify with its author’s struggle to accept living a hidden, mundane life. It has been translated in at least 50 languages and Saint Therese has a very active and enthusiastic following all over the world.

The international influence of her book realized Therese’s dream to be a foreign missionary. Her Little Way is greatly influenced by the simplicity of children, so the concerns of children are one of her patronages. On her deathbed she vowed that “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. After my death I will let fall a shower of roses.”

A sign that your novena to Saint Therese is being answered is the sight and smell of roses.

Novena to Saint Therese of the Child Jesus

O little Therese of the Child Jesus, Please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love. O little flower of Jesus, ask God today to grant favors I now place with confidence in your hands.

(Mention your request here).

Saint Therese, help me to always believe as you did, in God’s great love for me, So that I might imitate your “Little Way” each day.

Amen.

Feast of the Archangels with the Sisters of Purity

September 29, 2014
Photo: The Feast of the Archangels is a day of special joy here at the Convent of the Sisters of Purity. The archangels’ voices call out to us, filling our hearts with a drive to achieve.  It is on this day that we complete our wonderful candy, a sweet made from zucca lunga squash. Long, skinny, hard shelled, boiled in water, this squash is dull and lifeless, but when simmered in sugar until firm and crystallized —a long process— it is truly a glorious treat, decorating cassata and cannoli, eaten out of hand, and sold to those few who make their way up this rocky hill. God bless Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Strong, healing, contemplative. And lord, thank you for these odd, unruly squash, that bring so much joy into our lives.

The Feast of the Archangels is a day of special joy here at the Convent of the Sisters of Purity.

The archangels’ voices call out to us,
filling our hearts with a drive to achieve.

It is on this day that we complete our wonderful candy,
a sweet made from zucca lunga squash.
Long, skinny, hard shelled,
boiled in water, this squash is dull and lifeless,
but when simmered in sugar until firm and crystallized
—a long process—
it is truly a glorious treat,
decorating cassata and cannoli, eaten out of hand, and sold to those few who make their way up this rocky hill.

God bless Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.
Strong, healing, contemplative.

And lord, thank you for these odd, unruly squash, that bring so much joy into our lives.

(Please visit and like this charming and mystical order of nuns on their Facebook Page: Readings from the Sacro Bosco   https://www.facebook.com/ilsacrobosco  ).
For novenas to each of the three archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, check out our Novena App or use the search engine at the upper right hand corner of this page.

Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, September 27

September 26, 2014

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Vincent de Paul 1581-1660
Patron of: Abandoned Children, Charity, Orphans, Nurses, Slaves, Convicts, Prisoners.

“Go to the poor; you will find God.”

Born into a peasant family in Gascony, France, Vincent de Paul was an exceptional student. Assigned by his order to attend to the spiritual needs of French royals, Vincent’s life as a priest would present him with vast contrasts. While on a journey he was unexpectedly taken prisoner by Turkish pirates and sold into slavery. When he converted one of his slave owners, he was released, and on his return to France, founded numerous charitable organizations dedicated to the needs of prisoners, orphans, and the poor. These organizations were the first of their kind and still thrive today. Because he improved the lives of so many of them, he is especially called on to protect children who have been abandoned by their families.

Vincent de Paul was ordained a priest at the age of nineteen. Staying in Toulouse, he made a voyage to Marseille to claim an inheritance. Upon his return by sea, he was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Tunis. After being enslaved by three different owners, he returned to France in 1607 upon his last owner’s conversion. As a parish priest in Paris, he came in contact with some of the wealthiest and most influential families in France. In 17th century Europe, the poor, the orphaned and the abandoned were all considered of the same invisible class as convicts. Seeing the face of God in these forgotten people, he used his numerous connections with the upper classes to help tend to their needs. Vincent de Paul introduced a much needed concept of Christian compassion to society by forming the Daughters of Charity. This organization gave pious wealthy women a way of serving the poor. Financial donations poured in, and Vincent started “Servants of the Poor” and “Ladies of the Poor”, each charity devoted to either the sick, the orphaned, or the imprisoned.

Within a few years Vincent’s charities were started in other countries, Italy, Poland, Ireland, Scotland, the Hebrides, and Madagascar each had a mission. He never forgot or gave up on the lot of prisoners, and sent missionaries to ransom and spiritually tend those in Tunis and Algeria. He also dedicated much time and money to alleviating the suffering of convicts in France. Living during a time of religious wars,

Vincent encouraged peace between Protestants and Catholics. Offering refuge to exiled Catholics from England and Ireland, he also ordered his missionaries in the French countryside to respect and help out any needy Protestants. Though he was frequently welcomed by the King and Queen of France, his first devotion was to the poor and he used his royal audiences to obtain state funds for his many missions and hospitals. Vincent de Paul worked tirelessly until his death and it is said that he did more than any other person to relieve the burden of the poor in the seventeenth century.

Novena

God you were patient with St. Vincent de Paul as you moved him from self-centeredness to be centered on you. Help me through his intercession to grant me this petition and to know that you will grant what I desire in your own time (your intention here) . I thank you God for everything and I will imitate St. Vincent de Paul in growing in holiness through prayer, participation in the sacraments and service to my neighbor especially the poor.
Amen.

Feast of Padre Pio, September 23

September 23, 2014

PadrePio

Padre Pio 1887-1968
Patron of: Forgiveness, Healing, Miracles, Reconciliation.
Denounced by Vatican officials as a fraud, and his mystical gifts frequently viewed with suspicion by his immediate superiors, Pio of Pietracelina was sequestered away in the remote monastery of San Giovanni Rotondo where it was expected that he would labor as a monk in obscurity. His adeptness in both physical and spiritual healing and his ability to read hearts and minds while in confession made him wildly popular among the common people of that impoverished region of Italy. Today, the town of San Giovanni Rotondo is the second most visited place by religious pilgrims who venture there to pay homage to one of the most popular saints of the twentieth century, Padre Pio. Made a saint in 2002, Padre Pio has no official patronage. Because of his devotion to the powers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and his own suffering due to the mistrust of his superiors, he is frequently invoked to bring the grace of forgiveness to a situation.

Born Francesco Forlione in Pietracelina, a town north of Naples, he was named for his patron saint, Francis of Assisi. Coming from a religious family, he said he had spiritual visions of Christ and the Virgin Mary from a very young age. He never mentioned them to anyone as he assumed all people had such gifts. He was ordained as a Capuchin friar in 1910 taking the name Pio (meaning “Pious”) but was sent home due to a diagnosis of tuberculosis. While convalescing he offered himself as a conduit of suffering in exchange for the salvation of others. Eventually, in 1916 he was conscripted into the army where he contracted such a high fever that he was sent home to die. Upon his miraculous recovery from this illness, the Capuchin order sent him to the very remote monastery of Our Lady of Grace in San Giovanni Rotondo in Puglia, a province of Southern Italy. On September 20, 1918, while praying in the stillness of the church, Pio went into a trancelike state where he saw Christ standing before him bleeding from the wounds of the crucifixion. Pio’s heart almost burst in sympathy before coming out of the state in intense pain. Upon regaining consciousness he found himself to be afflicted with the same wounds of the crucifixion. It was this condition which only ended at his death in 1968, which would bring him under intense scrutiny by church officials for the rest of his life.

Pio’s talents for deciphering what people meant to tell him during confession but were too embarrassed or ashamed to bring up, became immediate apparent to the local townspeople and he developed a great following among them. They credited him with an incredible capacity of healing, mending physical ills, familial squabbles, and curing spiritual desolation. When Vatican Officials severely limited his official duties, the one mass he was allowed to say at 5 AM, had thousands lining up the night before so that they may be with him. Without ever leaving the monastery, he was known as “the living saint” as he sighted in hospitals and at sickbeds hundreds of miles away. The onset of World War Two spread his cult on an international level as soldiers from Australia, other parts of Europe, and the United States witnessed his miraculous abilities. By the late 1940’s he was receiving hundreds of international prayer requests per day. He eventually founded a hospital for the hopelessly ill, the internationally acclaimed House for the Relief of Suffering, which treats tens of thousands of people each year and survives solely on charitable donations.

The animosity that many Vatican officials had against Padre Pio was dissolved in 2002 when Pope John Paul II declared him a saint. This pope knew Pio’s powers firsthand as he had visited him fifty years before as a young seminarian in the hopes of obtaining a cure for a friend. Not only did his friend’s cancer go into remission, but Pio’s strange prediction of this obscure Polish priest’s rise to pope also came true.

Novena

(It is important to note that Padre Pio himself recited the Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for the intentions of those who requested his prayers every day.)

Dear God, Thou hast generously blessed Thy servant, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, with the gifts of the Spirit. Thou hast marked his body with the five wounds of Christ Crucified, as a powerful witness to the saving Passion and Death of Thy Son. Endowed with the gift of discernment, St. Pio labored endlessly in the confessional for the salvation of souls. With reverence and intense devotion in the celebration of Mass, he invited countless men and women to a greater union with Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
Through the intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, I confidently beseech Thee to grant me the grace of (mention your intentions here). Amen.

Recite three Glorias.

(Excerpted from the App: “Novena: Praying with the Saints” by Barbara Calamari and Sandra DiPasqua).

St. Michael the Archangel, Feast date September 29

September 19, 2014

St.Michael
St. Michael the Archangel
Patron of: Policemen, Firemen, Grocers, Health, Knights, Mariners, Soldiers, Health, Holy Death, Physical Protection, Court Cases, Justice, Defense, Strength, Lawsuits.
Ever vigilant against evil, Michael the Archangel is most invoked for protection and justice. His novena is said by those in need of protection as well as those who are in need of justice.

According to the Book of Revelations, Michael was the angel who rose to God’s defense when Lucifer, God’s favorite and most beautiful angel decided that he was God’s equal. Leading a band of renegade angels he made an attempt to take over the throne of heaven. One outraged angel shouted, “Who is like God?” (mi-cha-el) and struck down Lucifer and his group, casting them into hell for their vanity. This angel took the name Michael as a reminder of his loyalty. A popular figure to the ancient Jews, early, Christians and Muslims, he is closely tied to the history of mankind and serves as its guardian.

Michael’s role in the world is firmly mandated: 1) He is to fight against Lucifer, no matter where he might be. 2) He is to rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of evil, especially at the time of death. 3) He is the champion of God and the protector of the Church. 4) He brings souls to justice, weighing the souls of the dead and deciding on who gets into heaven and who gets into hell.

Since Michael was the one who threw Lucifer into hell, Lucifer and the denizens of hell have no power over him. Catholics believe that Michael and the Virgin Mary are the only beings besides Jesus who can go into hell and release souls who are suffering there. Because of their actions in the great battle of heaven, it is Lucifer’s fate to reside in the lowest netherworld and it is Michael’s to dwell nearest to heaven. His shrines are the most ancient and natural in Christendom and tend to be on high, inaccessible cliffs that only a celestial being could reach. The Gargano caves in Apulia, Italy are said to be the first earthly dwelling place for the archangel. They have been an immensely popular pilgrimage site since the year 490 AD.

Saint Michael the Archangel is considered the most powerful of all angels. Christians in the East see him as a great healer, crediting him with the creation of many healing springs. In the sixth century, as Rome was being devastated by a plague, Pope Gregory I saw the archangel hovering over the tomb of the Emperor Hadrian, brandishing his sword. He interpreted this to mean that Rome was under the archangel’s protection and the plague would soon cease. A church was built over the tomb still bearing the title Castel San Angelo in honor of Michael.

Immensely popular throughout the world, Michael is always shown brandishing a sword while standing on the neck of the devil (sometimes interpreted as a giant serpent). In many images he holds the scales that will weigh the souls of the dead, because of this he is the patron saint of greengrocers who use these scales.

Prayer:

Saint Michael the Archangel, loyal champion of God and his people, I turn to you with confidence and seek your powerful intercession. For the love of God, who made you so glorious in grace and power, and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the Angels, be pleased to hear my prayer. You know the value of my soul in the eyes of God. May no stain of evil ever disfigure its beauty. Help me to conquer the evil spirit who tempts me. I desire to imitate your loyalty to God and Holy Mother Church and your great love for God and men. And since you are God’s messenger for the care of his people, I entrust to you this special request (your request here).

Saint Michael, since you are, by the will of the Creator, the powerful intercessor of Christians, I have great confidence in your prayers. I earnestly trust that if it is God’s holy will, my petition will be granted.

Pray for me, Saint Michael, and also for those I love. Protect us in all dangers of body and soul. Help us in our daily needs. Through your powerful intercession, may we live a holy life, die a happy death, and reach heaven, where we may praise and love God with you forever. Amen.

(Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, one Glory Be).

Mother of Sorrows

September 10, 2014

Sorrows_Small_Image

Mother of Sorrows
Patron of: Grief

When we are overwhelmed with grief, we turn to Mary, Mother of Jesus for help in our suffering. Throughout her life she endured much pain and sorrow and is fully able to empathize with anyone’s personal anguish. She endured the shame of being pregnant and unmarried, being poor, homelessness and having her only son unjustly imprisoned and executed. Most astonishing, Mary knew what was to befall her son yet had to see these events from God’s point of view and have faith that this was all for the good of mankind.

By meditating on the Seven Sorrows of Mary, a devotion from the Middle Ages, which uses scenes from the life of the Virgin Mother as a meditation on accepting the sorrowful part of life with grace.

The Seven Sorrows of Mary are:

1) The Prophecy of Simeon. As a young child, when his parents presented him in the temple, Jesus was met by the holy man Simeon who predicted everything that would happen to him in his address to Mary: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted – and you yourself a sword will pierce so that thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35).

2) The Flight into Egypt. In Bethlehem, after the birth of Christ, Joseph had a vision of an angel warning him of the impending slaughter of any male child under the age of two by King Herod in order to prevent the coming Messiah. The Holy Family had to travel a secretive route to Egypt and remain in that country until Herod died. Mary not only worried for the welfare of her own son but mourn for the murdered children left behind.

3) The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple. While on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the 12 year old Jesus vanished from his family. His heartsick parents finally found him three days later, arguing with elders in the temple.

4) The Meeting of Jesus with His Cross. Mary watched helplessly as her son was ridiculed and mocked as he stumbled, carrying the cross he was to be executed on.

5) The Crucifixion. As he was nailed to the cross, most of his disciples ran away. Mary never wavered as she stood at the foot of the cross, witnessing her son’s agony and death.

6) Jesus Taken Down from the Cross. Mary held her dead son’s wound covered body. This, her greatest sorrow is known as the “Pieta”.

7) The Burial of Jesus. As the stone was rolled, closing up his tomb, Mary had to say her final goodbye to her earthly son. Her faith had to be sincerely tested as there was no hint of the resurrection to come.
Prayer

Most holy and afflicted Virgin, Queen of Martyrs, you stood beneath the cross, witnessing the agony of your dying son. Look with a mother’s tenderness and pity on me, who kneel before you. I venerate your sorrows and I place my requests with filial confidence in the sanctuary of your wounded heart. Present them, I beseech you, on my behalf to Jesus Christ, through the merits of his own most sacred passion and death, together with your sufferings at the foot of the cross. Through the united efficacy of both, obtain the granting of my petition. To whom shall I have recourse in my wants and miseries if not to you, Mother of Mercy? You have drunk so deeply of the chalice of your son, you can compassionate our sorrows. Holy Mary, your soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of your divine son. Intercede for me and obtain from Jesus (mention your request) if it be for his honor and glory and for my good. Amen.

Feast of St. Raymond Nonnatus, August 31

September 2, 2014

St.Raymond copySt. Raymond Nonnatus 1204-1240
Newborns, Midwives, Obstetricians, Expectant Mothers, Women In Labor, Falsely Accused, Secrets, Fever.

‘Non natus’ is Latin for “never born” and Saint Raymond was given his surname because his mother had died in labor two days before he was delivered by cesarean section. The fact that he did not die in his mother’s womb was considered an extraordinary event in the early thirteenth century, when a good number of mothers and infants were lost during childbirth. Because of the extraordinary circumstances of his birth, he always felt an affinity for the precarious state of women in labor and their infants. For this reason, midwives, obstetricians and expectant mothers call on him for help in the safe delivery of healthy newborns.

Hailing from Catalonia in Spain, Raymond’s family were from a noble class. His father attempted to train him to take over the family farms but because of his great devotion to the Virgin Mary, he chose instead to join the Mercedarians, a religious order dedicated to ransoming Christian slaves from the Moors, who occupied much of Spain. The Mercedarians also spiritually administered to Christian slaves in Moorish regions. As the Spanish territory was recaptured, and the Moors driven into North Africa, Raymond Nonnatus followed Christian slaves into Algeria. It was said he spent his entire inheritance ransoming slaves and when he ran out of money he substituted himself for another man’s freedom. He was soon imprisoned for his religious proselytizing and when he succeeded in converting several of his jailers, the Moors bored holes in his lips and sealed his mouth shut with an iron padlock to keep him from preaching. Though he was sentenced to death, the Mercedarians managed to ransom him home to Spain. As he was en route to Rome to receive the hat of a cardinal, he was struck down by a fever and died in Cardona, 60 miles from Barcelona. It was said that angels fed and administered communion to Raymond on his deathbed and he is frequently depicted in the company of angels.

Because of the padlock put on his lips, Raymond Nonnatus is invoked against gossip and the temptation to gossip. He is also invoked for help in keeping secrets as well as by priests for protection of keeping the sacred silence of the confessional. On the feast of Saint Raymond Nonnatus, it is customary for those who are victims of slander and gossip to put locks on the saint’s altar to silence their persecutors. In many images Saint Raymond Nonnatus carries the palm of martyrs signifying life defeating death, his palm has three crowns, for chastity, eloquence, and martyrdom.

 

Glorious St. Raymond, filled with compassion for those who invoke thee and with love for those who suffer heavily leaden with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at thy feet and humbly beg of thee to take the present affair which I recommend to thee under thy special protection. ( your request here.)

Vouchsafe to recommend it to the Blessed Virgin Mary and lay it before the Throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Cease not to intercede for me until my request is granted. Above all obtain for me the grace of one day beholding my God face to Face, and with thee and Mary and the saints praising and blessing to all eternity. Amen.

Good St. Raymond, pray for us and obtain our request. Good St. Raymond, pray for us and obtain our request. Good St. Raymond, pray for us and obtain our request.
Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.


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