Archive for the ‘Situations’ Category

SAINTS ANN AND JOACHIM, PATRON SAINTS OF GRANDPARENTS

July 14, 2017

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First Century B.C.
Feast Day: July 26

Patron of : Grandparents

Keywords: child rearing, childless people, fathers, family crisis, infertility, mothers, pregnancy

Quote: “O blessed couple, all the world is indebted to you, for it is by your means that it can offer to its Creator the most excellent gift possible, her who is worthy to be Mother of His only Son.” – St. John Damascene

Symbols: two white doves, meeting at the golden gate, teaching the Virgin Mary

Grandparents are the foundation of a family and we invoke Saints Joachim and Ann for strength in every sort of family crisis. As parents of the Virgin Mary and the grandparents of Jesus Christ, they offer a vast array of earthly experiences relatable to every human being. Infertility, late parenthood, an unmarried pregnant daughter, a grandson who was imprisoned and executed, are all parts of their life together which they accepted with grace and dignity.

Joachim and Ann are important as moral examples rather than truthful historical figures. According to legend, Joachim and Ann were married twenty years and still had not conceived a child. Living in Nazareth they were upstanding citizens, always tithing one third of their income to the temple. After many years, their barrenness was considered a form of divine judgment and eventually their contribution to the temple was refused and they were ostracized by their community. In shame, Joachim went off to live with his shepherds. There he was visited by an angel who told him, that Ann was pregnant with a child named Mary who was to be dedicated to the Lord. He was to return home and find his wife, who would be waiting at the golden gate, the entrance to the city. Doing as he was told, his joyful reunion with Ann at the golden gate has become a famous image in art history.

Mary was raised according to the instructions of the angel, she was consecrated to the Lord at infancy and sent off to live in the temple, away from the world, at the age of three. Accepting this great sacrifice of giving up what is most cherished to God, Joachim and Ann acted out an almost impossible act of faith. Though Saint Ann was younger and lived much longer than her husband, she and Joachim are inseparable in sharing the important patronage of grandparents.

Explanation:
A rare image of Joachim as an older father, and his wife, Ann, instructing the Virgin Mary. They are divinely inspired by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

 

Novena to Saints Joachim and Ann

Saints Joachim and Ann, grandparents of Jesus and parents of Mary, we seek your intercession. We beg you to direct all our actions to the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls. Strengthen us when we are tempted, console us during our trials, help us when we are in need, be with us in life and in death.

O divine savior, we thank you for having chosen saint Joachim and Ann to be the parents of our Blessed Mother Mary and so to be your beloved grandparents. We place ourselves under their patronage this day. We recommend to them our families, our children, and our grandchildren. Keep them from all spiritual and physical harm. Grant that they may ever grow in greater love of God and others.

Saints Joachim and Ann, we have many great needs. We beg you to interce

de for us before the throne of your divine grandson. All of us here have our special intentions, our own special needs, and we pray that through your intercession our prayers may be granted. Amen.

(Mention your request here)

Excerpted from the Novena App

More on Joachim and Ann in The Novena Book

More on Saint Ann in “Saints: Ancient and Modern”

Saint Joan of Arc

May 30, 2017

joan

Feast Day: May 30

Patron of: France, Orleans, Rouen, captives, opposition of Church authorities, radio workers, rape victims, shepherds, wireless telegraph workers, women in the military

Invoked for: strength in the face of opposition

Invoked against: fires in woodpiles

Symbols: armor, standard, sword

Saint Joan of Arc (or Jeanne d’Arc ) is both a secular heroine and a Roman Catholic saint. Known as La Pucelle, or “The Maid” to her countrymen, she is credited with being the galvanizing force that returned French rule to France.

Joan of Arc was from a comfortable peasant family of five children. Already known in the village as a pious child, the adolescent Joan was at work in a garden when she heard a disembodied voice in a blaze of light. The voice gave her a simple task: Pray often and attend church. After a time this voice revealed itself to be Michael the Archangel. The angel told her that she would soon be visited by Saint Margaret of Antioch and Saint Catherine of Alexandria, two ancient martyrs whose statues were ensconced in her village church. In her later testimony, Joan said the martyr’s voices began visiting her frequently, and she was eventually allowed to gaze upon them as well. Fearing disapproval from her father, Joan never told anyone about these visits. She also vowed to retain her virginity for as long as God wanted it.

After two years the three saints revealed Joan’s true task: She was to save her country by first taking Charles, the exiled heir to the throne, into Rheims to be crowned king, and then by driving the English out of France completely. She had no idea how an ignorant peasant girl was to accomplish this. But by the time she was sixteen, the voices grew more insistent and ordered Joan to travel to the next town to see the commander of Charles’s forces, Robert de Baudricourt, and tell him that she was appointed to lead the future king to his coronation.

Chaperoned by an uncle, she did as the voices instructed. The commander laughed and said, “Your father should give you a good whipping.” He also ignored Joan’s prediction that Orleans, the last remaining city in French hands on the Loire, would fall to the English if he did not listen to her. She returned home in defeat, the voices hounding her to complete her mission. She told them, “I am a mere girl who knows not even how to ride a horse.” They answered, “It is God who commands it.” She secretly returned to Baudricourt, who was unnerved by the fulfillment of her prediction. Orleans was ready to fall. Desperate for any help at all, and troubled by the girl’s otherworldly confidence, he recommended that the future king, known as the Dauphin, grant her an audience. Because the eleven-day journey to Chinon was through enemy territory, Joan was disguised in man’s clothing.

Tales of Joan’s seemingly supernatural abilities preceded her. As a test, Charles dressed a member of his entourage in royal robes while he stood among the throng of his courtiers. All were stunned when the girl walked in and immediately advanced toward the real Charles, saying, “Most illustrious Lord Dauphin, I have come and am sent in the name of God to bring aid to yourself and to the kingdom.” Privately, she related to him a secret prayer he had made the previous All Saints’ Day asking God to restore his kingdom if he was the true heir to the throne, and if not, to punish only him for his impudence and let his supporters live in peace. Unnerved, but not ready to accept this proof of her calling, Charles arranged for Joan to be interviewed by a group of theologians in Poitiers. They questioned her for three weeks before they granted their enthusiastic approval, amazed at how such an uneducated person could hold her own against learned scholars. They recommended that Charles recognize the girl’s divine gift and grant her
titular command of the army.

A small suit of armor was made for Joan, and she designed a banner for herself with the words Jesus Maria. Her voices told her to carry an ancient sword that would be found buried in the altar of the church of Saint Catherine-de-Fierbois. When it was easily found, Joan’s reputation as a messenger from God began to spread in the general population. Allegedly this sword was used by Charles Martel in the seventh century in his defense of France against the invading Saracens. Men enlisted who would normally not be inclined to join the army. Joan insisted that all soldiers go to confession and receive communion. She banished the prostitutes who routinely followed troops. There are many written accounts of men who served with Joan of Arc who declared that despite her physical beauty, they never “had the will to sin while in her company.”      

After unsuccessfully calling on the English to leave French soil, the military campaign to lift the siege of Orleans began on April 30. Charles’s commanders considered Joan a mere mascot and thus refused to take her strategic advice. After four days of witnessing their floundering efforts, Joan charged into
battle waving her banner. The vision of this fearless young girl on a mission from God turned the tide of the battle for the French army. By May 8 the English were forced to retreat and the siege of Orleans was lifted. Just as her voices had predicted, Joan endured a wound during the fighting. They also warned that she had very little time and had much to accomplish within the next year.

At her insistence, all English positions were cleared on the way to Reims. During these battles through one town and another, Joan took the lead, inspiring many common citizens to follow the troops. The English were routed completely, suffering a loss of 2,200 men, while the French army lost only three. With Joan organizing troop and artillery placement, the French army easily accomplished a feat that had seemed impossible to them–they drove the English out of Reims so that Charles VII could be crowned there, as all French kings had been before him. Joan held her banner as she stood next to Charles during his coronation on July 16, 1429.  Part of her mission was complete.

Though she was in a great hurry to accomplish the rest, Charles VII became cautious and followed his adviser’s recommendation to marginalize the seer. Against Joan’s wishes, he signed a truce with the Burgundians, which gave the British time to regroup. He refused to support his army in an assault on Paris, a fight in which Joan was wounded and forcibly removed from the battlefield. By the spring of 1430, Joan’s voices told her that she would be captured before the Feast of John the Baptist. This occurred in Burgundy on May 24. At that time, it was common practice to ransom off important captives. Charles VII could have offered to pay her ransom but instead ignored her plight. The inner circle of his court was discomfited by Joan’s strangeness. They convinced Charles that she had fallen out of favor with God. She was sold to the English, who imprisoned her in Rouen.

Since there were no rational explanations for her overwhelming successes, the English vowed revenge on Joan, considering her a witch with satanic powers. In order to destroy her reputation as a religious visionary sent by God, they wanted Joan tried in an Ecclesiastical court for witchcraft and heresy. Once this was proven, they could then charge that Charles VII was made king by diabolical means and reassert their claims on the French throne. Pierre Cauchon, the bishop of Beauvais, willingly adopted this plot in order to realize his own political ambitions.

Joan was illegally held in a secular prison guarded by men who repeatedly threatened her with rape. Since it was believed that a true witch was the lover of the devil, when her virginity was proven, she could not be charged with witchcraft. She was interrogated from February 21 to March 17, 1431, by a relentless panel of forty-seven judges, a majority of whom came from the pro-English University of Paris. After an attempted escape, Joan was imprisoned in a cage, chained by the neck, hands, and feet, and she was forbidden to partake of any of the sacraments. Despite their avid attempts to browbeat her and put words in her mouth, she calmly deflected the panel. These trial transcripts exist today, and are a remarkable testament to the brilliance of her simple answers. Many times, she instructed the judges to look up testimony she had previously given–exact to the day and hour. On March 1 she further infuriated the court by stating that “Within seven years’ space the English would have to forfeit a bigger prize than Orleans.” (Within six years and eight months the English would abandon French soil entirely.)

By May, the judges had written up their verdict: Forty-two of them agreeing that if Joan did not retract her statements, she would be handed over to the civil powers to be burned at the stake. Filled with fear, Joan signed a two-line retraction. A document detailing her acts as works of the devil was substituted in the official record. Because she had done as the judges ordered, they could not execute her and the British were furious. It is not known if Joan was so afraid of the threat of rape by her guards or if the dress she had been wearing during her trial was taken away and her male costume the only thing left to her, but when she appeared before the court on May 29 dressed as a man, she was declared a relapsed heretic. Her masculine attire served as proof of her crime, and she was burned at the stake in the town square the next day. On the morning of her execution she was visited by the judges. She solemnly warned Cauchon that he would be charged by God for the responsibility of her death. She insisted her voices came from God and had not deceived her. Her last word, as she was consumed by flames was “Jesus.” In order to discourage the collection of relics, her ashes were thrown into the Seine.

A reversal of her sentence was granted by the pope in 1456, twenty-five years after her death, citing of the unfairness of her judges and the fact that the court illegally denied her right to appeal to the Holy See. Joan of Arc remains one of the most illustrious historical figures in the world. Poets, painters, writers, and filmmakers have ensured her role in popular culture. While the image of her as a beautiful girl warrior is a romantic one, in fact she is the only person in written history, male or female, to command a nation’s army at the age of seventeen. Mocked as a pious lunatic by many intellectuals during the Enlightenment, her reputation as a French patriot was resuscitated when she became powerful propaganda figure during both world wars. She was finally declared a saint in 1920.

In art, Joan of Arc wears her suit of armor and carries her “Jesus Mary” banner. Because of her voices, she is the patron of radio and telegraph workers. She is patron of women in the military and shepherds because these were her occupations. She dressed in men’s clothing to avoid the threat of rape so she is the patron of rape victims. Most important, she is the patron of the nation she saved, France.

Novena to Saint Joan of Arc

Glorious Saint Joan of Arc, filled with compassion for those who
invoke you, with love for those who suffer,
heavily laden with the weight of my troubles,
I kneel at your feet and humbly beg you to take my present need
under your special protection [state intention here].
Vouchsafe to recommend it to the Blessed Virgin Mary,
and lay it before the throne of Jesus.
Cease not to intercede for me until my request is granted.
Above all, obtain for me the grace to one day meet God face to face
and with you and Mary and all the angels and saints praise Him
through all eternity.

O most powerful Saint Joan, do not let me lose my soul,
but obtain for me the grace of winning my way to heaven,
forever and ever.

Amen.

excerpted from the book, “Saints:Ancient and Modern”

Saint Rita of Cascia: Impossible Causes, May 22

May 18, 2017

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1386-1457

Patron of: Impossible Causes

Quote: “…In patience and fortitude you are a model of all the states in life.”

Keywords: Impossible, Desperation, bad marriages, spousal abuse, widows, bodily ills, loneliness, smallpox, sterility

Symbols: roses, thorns, bees, wounded head

An abused wife, a mother who’s children died, a widow of a murdered husband, and finally, a nun, Saint Rita experienced many lives in her time on earth. Knowing the powerlessness and despair of those in bad marriages she is invoked for help in desperate times. In her own lifetime she was famous for the power of her prayers to change any situation and it was said that she could accomplish the impossible. Canonized almost 500 years after her birth, she is the first declared female saint of the 20th Century.

Margarita Lotti was born to an older farming couple in Roccaporena, Italy. She was called Rita because of a vision of an angel her mother had who named the baby while declaring, “You will give birth to a daughter marked with the seal of sanctity, gifted with every virtue, a helper to the helpless and an advocate of the afflicted.” As proof of this prophecy, bees, a sign of divine presence, always hovered over her crib as she slept, never harming or waking her.

Though she had always wanted to be a nun, Rita’s parents feared for her future security as there was a schism in the church and many religious orders were closing their doors. Instead, she had to accept a marriage they contracted for her with a man named Paolo Mancini. Though he was a good provider, he soon proved to be an abusive, promiscuous husband. Settling his personal disputes with violence, Mancini created a tense family environment for Rita and the two sons she had with him. Never wavering in her devotion to God, Rita prayed that her husband would change his ways. After 18 years of marriage, Paolo had a vision of himself as others saw him and begged for his wife’s forgiveness. A lifetime of enemies caught up with Paolo and he was murdered, his mutilated body dumped on his family’s doorstep. Rita begged her two teenaged sons not to pursue a vendetta against his killers, but they refused. She prayed to God to prevent her sons from murdering anyone. Both of them came down with serious illnesses and died before they could act on their vendetta.

Alone in the world, Rita petitioned to join the Augustinian convent. Because several of the nuns there had family members who were involved in Paolo’s murder, the convent refused her, not wanting tensions to carry over from the outside world. Rita prayed and entreated Paolo’s family to forgive his killers. Much to everyone’s surprise, they acquiesced and Rita was admitted to the convent on her third try. While there she spent her days nursing the older nuns and concentrating on Christ’s suffering. When she begged to feel what Christ felt on the cross, a thorn from the crown of thorns on a crucifix struck her on the head and became embedded there. It left a deep wound that never healed. Because this wound became infected and foul smelling Rita was shunned by the other nuns and remained in her cell praying and meditating. The January before she died, a cousin asked her if there was anything she needed and she asked for a rose from her childhood garden. The cousin was shocked to see that there was indeed two roses growing in that garden in the middle of January. Upon her death, her cell was filled with the smell of roses. Rita is always depicted with the thorn in her head, in her Augustinian habit, meditating on the crucified Christ.

Thorns: she took on the suffering of Christ
Wound in the head: Divine light, grace and spiritual power.
Roses: love. Also proof of Rita’s miraculous powers as her roses grew in the winter.

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Novena to Saint Rita

O holy protectress of those who art in greatest need, O you who shine as a star of hope in the midst of darkness, blessed Saint Rita, bright mirror of God’s grace, in patience and fortitude you are a model of all states in life. I unite my will with the will of God through the merits of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and in particular through his patient wearing of the crown of thorns, which with tender devotion you daily contemplated. Through the merits of the holy Virgin Mary and your own graces and virtues, I ask you to obtain my earnest petition, provided it be for the greater glory of God and my own sanctification. Guide and purify my intention, O holy protectress and advocate, so that I may obtain the pardon of all my sins and the grace to persevere daily, as you did in walking with courage, generosity, and fidelity down the path of life.
(Mention your request).
Saint Rita, advocate for the impossible, pray for us.

Saint Rita, advocate of the helpless, pray for us.

(Recite Our Father, Hail Mary and the Glory Be three times each).

novena app

Read extensively about Saint Rita in ‘Saints: Ancient and Modern’

More on Saint Rita in ‘Novena: The Power of Prayer’

 

January Novena App, Occupations: St. Thomas Aquinas, Patron of Students

January 20, 2017

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1225-1274

Doctor of the Church

Feast Day: January 28

Patron of: Students

Quote: “There must be must be a first mover existing above all – and this we call God.”

Keywords: students, education, universities, schools, Catholic schools, thunderstorms, lightning, sudden death, booksellers, theologians, pencil makers, chastity, learning

Historians regard St. Thomas Aquinas as one of the greatest philosophers of the Middle Ages. Yet on his deathbed, this intensely popular teacher and lecturer, who had lived in the cosmopolitan environments of Paris, Cologne and Naples, was said to give the innocent final confession of a child. Known in his lifetime as “The Angelic Doctor”, Thomas lived through his higher mind, taking intense pleasure in intellectual pursuits. Because he was an excellent teacher, able to clarify the most complicated points of learning, Thomas Aquinas is invoked by students whenever they are presented with a challenging test, a demanding course of studies or difficulty in passing an entrance exam.

Thomas was born in his noble family’s castle just outside of Naples, the youngest of four brothers and two sisters. As a child, one of his sisters was killed by lightning while sleeping in the same room as Thomas. He was forever fearful of thunderstorms, he is invoked by those with the same fears for protection against lightning strikes and sudden death. At the age of five Thomas was sent to study to the legendary Monastery of Monte Cassino. Considered the seat of Western Civilization through the dark ages, all manners of the arts and sciences were taught there. By the time Thomas left at the age of thirteen to attend the University of Naples, he was already tutoring his elders in their studies. While a student in Naples he horrified his noble family by joining the new order of mendicant Friars known as the Dominicans. Instead of begging in the streets with the Dominicans, his parents wanted to see Thomas using his great intellectual gifts to earn a higher ecclesiastical office. His brothers kidnapped him and locked him up in another family home, tempting him with every worldly thing they could think of. When they presented him with a prostitute, Thomas chased her out with a burning brand from the fireplace.

After two years of confinement, his family relented and freed him The Dominicans sent Thomas to Cologne, Germany to study with Albert the Great, the most famous teacher of his times. Because of his quiet, kindly manner and his large size, his fellow students labeled him “the dumb ox”. Thomas quietly surpassed every student he ever had and Albert insisted he go to the University of Paris where he was made a teacher and received a doctor’s chair. His writings attracted both the Pope and the King of France who consulted him on matters of state. In 1272, the Dominicans sent him to Naples to run their school there. It was during the following year that experienced an ecstasy that caused him to suddenly stopped writing his greatest work , Summa Theologica, a tome that consisted of over two million words and he had spent the last seven years on. Compared to his vision, he declared, “all that I have written seems like so much straw.”

Symbol: sun on his chest, while he was ill, another priest saw a great star come through the window and rest briefly on Thomas’ head before leaving. Lily for purity, wings for the angelic doctor title, dove of the holy spirit for his inspired writings and philosophical ideas.

Novena to St. Thomas Aquinas

Saint Thomas Aquinas, patron of students and schools, I thank God for the gifts of light and knowledge God bestowed on you, which you used to build up the church in love. I thank God, too, for the wealth and richness of theological teaching you left in your writings. Not only were you a great teacher, you lived a life of virtue and you made holiness the desire of your heart. If I cannot imitate you in the brilliance of your academic pursuits, I can follow you in the humility and charity that marked your life. As Saint Paul said, charity is the greatest gift, and is open to all. Pray for me that I may grow in holiness hand charity. Pray also for Catholic schools and for all students. In particular, please obtain the favor I ask during this novena. (Mention your request). Amen.

Novena App

January Novena App, Situations: Financial Distress The Infant of Prague

January 6, 2017

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Feast Day: January 14
Patron of: Financial Distress
Keywords: abundance, children, desperation, emergencies, epidemics, family life, financial distress, trust
Quote: “The more you honor me the more I shall bless you.”
Symbols: raised right hand, globe, crown

Surrendering oneself to this doll-like image of Christ as a child requires one to cast off the world of adult preoccupations to live in a state of faith and pure belief. Honoring the Infant of Prague is a tradition that is kept in many homes throughout the world as some believe that it guarantees financial stability and abundance. There are several novenas to the Infant of Prague, one reflecting the intensity of an emergency situation, is to be done in one day’s time, the prayer said once every hour for nine hours in a row.
Devotion to Christ as a young child dressed as a king has its roots in the Carmelite order of Spain. According to tradition, in 1555, Saint Teresa of Avila gave a statue of the Christ child, dressed in actual royal robes to a noblewoman who was marrying into an aristocratic family in Bohemia. Taking it with her to what is now the city of Prague, her daughter, the Princess Polysena inherited it. In 1623, Princess Polysenia was widowed and chose to devote the rest of her life to charitable causes. When she saw the need that the poverty stricken Carmelite order had, she donated the statue to them, saying, “I give you my dearest possession. As long as you venerate this image, you will not lack anything.” The monks credited this image with the immediate upturn of their fortunes. When they were forced out of their monastery due to a war in 1631, they left the statue behind and the invading army threw it in a rubbish heap. Within seven years the Carmelites were back in their monastery in Prague, desperately attempting to rebuild it. One monk, Father Cyril, who had a particularly strong devotion to the Divine Infant found the little wax statue among the rubble. The only damage done to the statue was its crushed hands.
It was decided that the scarce funds the community had should go to more practical things than the repair of a statue. As the monks struggled to rebuild their former home and church, Father Cyril heard the words: “Have pity on me and I will have pity on you. Give me my hands and I shall give you peace.” After the statue was repaired, the monks again displayed it in the main church. As the city of Prague suffered an epidemic, parishioners began invoking the little statue for aid. The quick answer to their prayers brought many in the surrounding region to seek help. Gradually, the devotion spread to many other countries. Today, the church in Prague built to hold the statue, Our Lady of Victory, is a site of pilgrimage with visitors from all over the world paying their respects to the Divine Infant.

Invoked against: Financial Distress
Explanation of imagery:
Crown: Jesus is King of the World
Raised right hand: blessing
Imperial Orb: The entire world is in his hand.

 

Nine Day Novena to the Infant of Prague

O Infant Jesus, I run to You, begging You through Your Holy Mother to save me in this need (you may name it here), for I truly and firmly believe that Your Divinity can defend me. Full of trust I hope in You to obtain Your holy grace. I love You with all my heart, I am painfully sorry for my sins and on my knees I beg You, o Little Jesus, to free me from them. My resolution is to improve and never more to offend You. Therefore, I offer myself to You, ready to suffer everything for You and to serve You faithfully. I will love my neighbour as myself from my heart for the love of You. O Little Jesus, I adore You, o Mighty Child, I implore You, save me in this need (you can mention it here), that I may enjoy You eternally, with Mary and Joseph see You and with all the angels adore You.
Amen

Nine Hour Devotion to the Infant of Prague

O Jesus, Who has said, ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you, through the intercession of Mary, Your Most Holy Mother, I knock,I seek, I ask that my prayer be granted.
(Make your request)
O Jesus, Who has said, all that you ask of the Father in My Name, He will grant you through the intercession of Mary. Your Most Holy Mother. I humbly and urgently ask Your Father in Your Name that my prayer be granted.
(Make your request)
O Jesus, Who has said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away but My word shall not pass”,
through the intercession of Mary, Your Most Holy Mother, I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.
(Make your request)

Novena App

 

 

November Novena App, Occupations: Saint Catherine of Alexandria, patron of Philosophers

November 20, 2016

290 – 305

Image result for catherine of alexandria wheel

Feast Day: November 25

Patron of: Philosophers

Keywords: librarians, mechanics, millers, nurses, philosophers, potters, scholars, students, wheels, unmarried women

Symbols: crown, sword, martyrs palms, wheel

Quote: “If you are ruled by the mind you are king, if by the body you are a slave.”

Brilliant and beautiful, Catherine of Alexandria was a force to be reckoned with. While still in her teens she had mastered philosophy, several languages and medicine. Because of her clarity of mind, she had great poise and self-confidence. One of the Fourteen Heavenly Helpers, the people of the Middle Ages believed she was one of the most powerful of early saints and invoked her for everything. Definite in her beliefs, we call on her for help in our studies or before we begin a major project, as she will clearly guide us.

The daughter of a governor, Catherine lived in a sumptuous palace among beautiful objects and scientific wonders. It is said she told her mother that she refused to marry anyone who was not as brilliant or beautiful as herself. Her mother readily agreed, not realizing that Catherine had discovered Christianity in her philosophical studies and had vowed herself to Christ. While working in her palace she heard the screams of a group of Christians who were being tortured . for refusing to give up their faith. Catherine went straight to the Emperor Maxentius and demanded he stop this persecution. Charmed by Catherine’s beauty, he invited her to debate the leading philosophers in the region to see if she could be persuaded to abandon Christianity by reasonable arguments. Instead of these fifty great scholars winning over the young girl with their scholarly knowledge, Catherine converted them to Christianity. Enraged, the Emperor had all fifty of these great men burned in the public square.

The Emperor then tried to charm Catherine with promises of great riches if she would become his concubine. Reminding him of her promise to Christ, she refused and was instantly imprisoned. While Maxentius was away on a trip, his wife visited Catherine in prison aand Catherine converted her to Christianity along with her prison guards and the Captain of the Emperor’s Legion. Upon his return to Alexandria, Maxentius was outraged at what he regarded to be the betrayal of his wife and legion. He ordered Catherine to be killed by being rolled on a spiked wheel. Catherine was fastened to the giant wheel and just as it was about to be rolled, her straps broke and she was released as the wheel shattered into hundreds of pieces killing many in the crowd. Catherine was then beheaded by sword. According to legend, angels then transported her body to the top of Mount Sinai, where a monastery and church devoted to Saint Catherine still exists.

St. Catherine is always depicted with a wheel and she is the patron of any occupation that requires a wheel. During the Middle Ages St. Catherine was viewed as an exemplary example for unmarried women. Therefore, in France and England St. Catherines’s Day is celebrated by unmarried women asking for husbands.

Invoked: to find a husband

Explanation:
Spiked Wheel: her instrument of torture which broke
Sword: used to behead her
Palms: symbol of martyrdom

Novena to St. Catherine of Alexandria

Almighty and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of Saint Catherine of Alexandria in whose honor I make this novena, and following her example imitate, like her, the life of Thy divine Son.

Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saying, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mention your request here.) Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul.

Saint Catherine of Alexandria, pray for us!

Amen.

Novena App

Novena App for November: Mother Cabrini, patron of immigrants

November 11, 2016

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St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

1850-1917
Patron: Immigrants
Feast Day: November 13

“We must pray without tiring, for the salvation of mankind does not depend on material success; nor on sciences that cloud the intellect. Neither does it depend on arms and human industries, but on Jesus alone.”

Keywords: immigrants, the poor, orphanages, orphans, displaced persons, the homeless, hospital administration, business, obedience, meditation

Symbols: Sacred Heart of Jesus, Immigrants

The first American citizen to be named a saint, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini never desired to travel to, much less spend her life in her adopted country of the United States of America. Born Maria Francesca Cabrini in northern Italy, she intended to use her schoolteacher’s degree to work as a missionary in China. Suffering through a smallpox epidemic which killed her parents, she was turned down by two convents she attempted to join. When she was finally accepted by one, she was sent to a small town to run an orphanage which was eventually closed. Enthralled by the works of Saint Francis Xavier, the Jesuit Missionary, she took his name and founded an order of nuns, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Many were shocked to see how quickly her new order was approved by the Pope. Instead of granting her wish to continue her namesake’s work in China, Pope Leo XIII told her, “Your China will be the United States.”

At that time 50,000 Italian immigrants lived crammed in a filthy ghetto in New York City. There was no one there to help or intercede for them. Arriving with six other nuns, Mother Cabrini was told to go home by the archbishop of New York. Instead, she moved her nuns into the Italian slums and immediately opened an orphanage. Through her personal tenacity as well as her willingness to live among the poor, Mother Cabrini set an impressive example for those trying to enact social reforms. Gifted with an innate business sense, and due to the great success her order had in caring for the destitute and displaced, Mother Cabrini was able to raise money from all levels of society. Within a few short years the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart had opened orphanages, schools, hospitals and nurse’s homes throughout the United States, Central America, Argentina, Brazil, France, Spain, England and Italy. She became a United States citizen in 1909.

Though she was a tireless worker and an excellent administrator, Mother Cabrini felt the most important part of her day was the time she spent in mediation. Devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, she felt great strength was to be found in humility, obedience and a quiet atmosphere. In her own case, by following the Pope’s orders at the expense of her personal dreams, she found more success in her mission than she could ever imagine was possible. At the time of her death, she had sixty seven foundations and over thirteen hundred missionaries carrying out her work.

Mother Cabrini is usually depicted in the habit of her order, surrounded by immigrants and school children.

Explanation:
Jesus with the Sacred Heart glowing: Mother Cabrini was especially devoted to meditating on the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Immigrants: It was her mission to care for the tens of thousands of newly arrived immigrants in the United States.

Novena to Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

O loving Savior, infinitely generous, seeking only our interest, from your Sacred Heart, came these words of pleading love: “Come to me all you that labor and are burdened and I will refresh you.” Relying on this promise of your infinite charity, we come to you and in the lowliness of our hearts earnestly beg you to grant us the favor we ask in this novena, (mention your request here) through the intercession of your faithful servant, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. Amen.

Novena App

Novena App October, Situations: peace filled atmosphere, Saint Therese of Lisieux

September 30, 2016

(also known as Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face)

1873-1897

Doctor of the Church

Patron of: France, Russia, Vietnam, AIDS patients, Children, Florists, Foreign Missions, Love, Pilots, Tuberculosis Patients

Invoked for: a peaceful atmosphere

Attributes: Crucifix, Showering Roses

 

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.

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

Excerpted from the Novena App

 

Novena App September: Situations: Forgiveness Padre Pio

September 18, 2016

Image result for santo pio

1887-1968
Feast Day: September 23

Patron of: Forgiveness

Keywords: healing, miracles

Quote: “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”

Symbols: crucifix, stigmata

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 to Padre Pio

(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 Novena App

September Novena App:Situations: Grief The Mother of Sorrows

September 7, 2016

Feast Day: September 15

Patron of: Grief

Quote: “…And you yourself shall be pierced with a sword – so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare.” Luke 2:34-35

Keywords: grief, solace, mourning

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.

Symbols: Knives pricking Mary’s heart. Symbols of the crucifixion: crown of thorns, nails.

Novena to the Mother of Sorrows

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.

Excerpted from the Novena App