Excerpt from Novena: The Power of Prayer—Novena to The Infant of Prague

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The Feast of the Infant of Prague is the same day as The Holy Name of Jesus, January 14.

Appeal to the Infant of Prague in times of desperation, to stop an epidemic or for abundance

Few novenas promise the instantaneous results of those to the Infant of Prague. It necessitates a suspension of all doubt as it is completed in one day over a nine—hour time span. Perhaps the most invoked aspect of Christ in the world, this novena promises that anything is possible for those who believe. Christ is presented as both a kindly child and a king. The Infant of Prague is a statue of the child Jesus dressed in actual clothing. Instead of the modest garments of a poor child, he is wearing the sumptuous gown of royalty. Because the Infant of Prague looks like a little doll, we are welcome to approach him with the open faith of a child. Reflecting the faith of Jesus, the novena requires an intensity of devotion.

Many people have a version of this statue in their homes, as it is said to guarantee abundance. This novena, frequently utilized by those in financial difficulties, can be said during any desperate situation. The Divine Child, a nineteen—inch wax sculpture, was brought to Prague, Czechoslovakia, by a Spanish princess who received it from her mother as a wedding gift. She in turn, bequeathed it to her daughter, Princess Polyxena. On becoming a widow in 1623, Polyxena decided to devote the rest of her life to doing charitable works. The extremely poor order of Carmelite monks of Prague were her favorite beneficiaries. Bringing the statue, she promised, “As long as you will venerate this image, you will not lack anything.” The statue of the Divine Child was installed in the chapel, and the monks became aware of an immediate change in their material and spiritual fortunes. In 1631 the monks had to flee their monastery because of an invasion by Sweden. In the ensuing confusion the statue was left behind, only to be thrown on a trash heap by the invading army. Miraculously, it was found seven years later by a priest named Father Cyril, who had been particularly devoted to the Divine Infant. Though it was made of wax, the only damage sustained by the statue was its missing hands.

Devotions to the Divine Infant, returned to its altar in the chapel as the once again poverty—stricken Carmelites began to rebuild their monastery, were revived with great fervor. While Father Cyril was praying before the statue, he heard the words: “Have pity on me and I will have pity on you. Give me my hands and I will give you peace.” Though money came to the order, it was felt that it should be put to use for more important causes than the repair of a statue. Again Father Cyril heard a voice while in prayer: “Place me near the entrance of the sacristy and you will receive aid.” A passing stranger, seeing the broken statue, offered to have it repaired. When the Divine Infant seemed to be responsible for several cures during an epidemic, the priests moved the statue to the main church so that the public could also benefit from its graces. In 1642 Baroness Benigna von Lopkowitz had a beautiful chapel built for the Divine Infant, where it remains to this day. Many make pilgrimages to Prague to see the original little statue that has inspired so many copies around the world.

Powerful Novena in Times of Distress to the Infant of Prague

Divine Infant of Prague, dearest Jesus, you who so lovingly said, “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you,” have mercy on me now, and through the intercession of our most holy Mother, I humbly ask you to grant me the grace I need. Mention your request Divine Infant of Prague, dearest Jesus, you who so compassionately taught, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes,” have pity on me now. I do believe; help me. Increase my weak faith through the Blessed Mother’s intercession.

I humbly ask you to answer my request. Mention your request Divine Infant of Prague, dearest Jesus, you who once said to the Apostles: “If you have faith like a mustard seed, you will say to the mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” Hear my prayer, I humbly ask.

Through the intercession of Mary most holy, I feel certain that my prayer will be answered. Mention your request.

Because this novena is said for those in great distress or emergency situations, it is completed in one day.

Say this novena nine times in a row at the same time every hour for nine consecutive hours.

Visions of Mary: Our Lady of Fatima

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Our Lady of Fatima is the patroness of Portugal.
Feast day: May 13.

The twentieth century was the first time in history where we ourselves had the ability to destroy not only the entire human race but all other forms of life on this planet. During World War I, the violence of which people had never seen before, Mary came to Fatima with a very serious warning. Expressing the belief that humankind had drifted away from God, she wanted the world to offer up reparations for the disastrous state of the earth. Fatima is the most prophetic of Mary’s apparitions. She correctly foretold the suffering imposed by the Communist states and the carnage of World War II. The third secret of Fatima was deemed too terrifying to release. It was finally revealed by the Vatican on May 13, 2000, in the hopes of what it had predicted had passed. Others strongly disagree with the Vatican’s interpretation and insist it is a portent of the end of the world. Our Lady of Fatima is an angry, pained mother, demanding that her children take action before it is too late.
It is said that Mary usually appears to the simplest and least complicated of people because they do not try to judge or interpret what she says, they merely report it. For this reason, many times her visionaries are children. In 1916, a nine-year-old girl from Fatima, Portugal, named Lucia dos Santos was out tending sheep with her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta. They were happily playing a little game with stones when they saw an immense light come from the sky in their direction. At the center of the light was a translucent angelic form.

“Do not be afraid!” he said. “I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.” Kneeling, he bowed down until his forehead touched the ground. He taught them a prayer that he made them repeat three times. “My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love You! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love You.” Rising, he told them, “Pray thus. The hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the words of your prayers.”
This was not the first time Lucia had seen this angel. When she had previously tended sheep with other companions she had witnessed the light of the angel overhead. When her friends had told their parents what they had seen, they were all accused of fabricating a story out of boredom. Because of this, Jacinta convinced her younger cousins to keep the angelic visit a secret. All three children began praying in the manner taught to them by the angel. Toward the end of summer they received another visit from the angel admonishing them for frittering so much time away in play. He told them he was Guardian Angel of Portugal and that God was offended by the sins of others. He advised the children to pray more and “Above all, accept and bear with submission, all the suffering which the Lord allows in your lives. In this way you will draw down peace upon your country.” Before winter came they received one more visit from this angel telling them that Jesus Christ was outraged by ungrateful and indifferent men. He implored them to keep praying and gave them Communion.
The children continued to work, play, and pray together throughout the winter months. On Sunday. May 13, 1917, they were leading their flocks to a grazing field called the Cova da Iria. They were frightened by flashes of lightning and were shocked to see a beautiful lady who glowed brighter than the sun. When she spoke to them, Lucia was the only one who could hear her, “Fear not, I will not harm you. I am from heaven.”

When Lucia asked her what it was she wanted, the lady answered, “I ask you to come here for six consecutive months, on the thirteenth day at this same hour. I will tell you later who I am and why I have come to you. I shall return here again a seventh time.”

Lucia asked if they could go to heaven with the lady, and she was told that they would all come to heaven with her but that “Francisco must pray many rosaries.” She added, “Let him pray the rosary. In that way he too will be able to see me.” Francisco had only seen Lucia talking to a bright light. He said one decade of the rosary, and he, too, was able to see the lady. Streams of light radiated onto the children from the lady’s hands. As she left them, she told the children, “Say the rosary every day to earn peace for the world and the end of the war.”
Lucia’s family and friends greeted her story about the lady with scorn and mockery. Her cousins had a different experience. Their father believing that they truly had some sort of celestial vision, protected and respected them. On June 13 about fifty people accompanied the children to the Cova da Iria. Lucia called Jacinta out of a group of playing children, the lightning had started to flash even though it was a beautiful day. Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco ran toward the oak tree where they had seen the lady a month before. Though others in the crowd could not see her, some reported hearing a “buzzing noise” or a “tiny little voice.” The lady, enveloped in a mystical light, taught the children a prayer, and made the following promise to the world, “I promise salvation to those who embrace devotion to my Immaculate Heart. Their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by me to adorn His throne. These souls will suffer a great deal but I will never leave them. My Immaculate Heart will be their refuge, the way that will lead them to God.” She again showered the children with light from her hands. People in the crowd heard a “rushing sound” and the three children shouted, “There she goes, there she goes!” as they pointed to the sky in the east. To everyone’s amazement, the branches of the tree, which had been standing straight up a few minutes before, were also pointing to the east.

The third visit, which took place on July 13 was attended by thousands of believers, cynics, and those searching for miracles. Lucia has written that between the past month and this day she was continually tormented by self-doubt. No one in her immediate family seemed to believe her, perhaps this was all a trick of her mind. The large crowd quieted down as they heard a buzzing sound. A cloud moved in over the oak tree. They watched as Lucia, enraptured, appeared to be having a conversation with the cloud. At one point, the girl cried out in horror. After a few minutes, there was the sound of thunder and the cloud lifted. The children waved good-bye to it. When asked what made her cry out, Lucia said, “It was a secret.” In her own memoirs, she wrote that as the lady started to appear all her doubts about whether this was really happening or not left her forever. In this visit, the famous Three Secrets of Fatima were imparted to the children.

The local government looked upon the growing interest in the alleged apparitions in Fatima as a dangerous threat to its sovereignty. The royalists had recently been driven out of government and religion was looked upon as equaling royalism. Many monasteries and parochial schools had been closed down. The prime minister had promised that within twenty years all trace of religion would be gone from Portugal. The fourth apparition of the lady took place on August 13. Almost fifteen thousand people were gathered in the Cova da Iria, but Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco were locked in the town jail. Even without the seers the crowd witnessed the cloud hovering over the oak tree, there were sounds of explosions, and the ground shook A mystical light showered the crowd, reflecting all the colors of the rainbow. While this was happening, each of the children were separately questioned for hours. They refused to give up the secrets they were told by the lady. Though each was told that the other had completely recanted their story of the lady, not one of them would change their personal account. As a last resort the mayor told them that obviously there were no secrets, and he was going to boil them in oil if they did not admit the apparitions were all a lie. Instead of collapsing in hysteria, the three remained silent, and the children were released on August 15.

The lady came to them in the area near their village and told them she wanted them to continue their pilgrimages to the Cova da Iria on the thirteenth of the month. She also told them to pray the rosary every day. “Pray. Pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners. So many souls go to hell because there is no one to pray and make sacrifices for them.” The seriousness with which the children took her words greatly altered their personalities. Neighbors who once mocked them became their biggest defenders.
By the September 13 apparition, there were over thirty thousand people in the Cova da Iria. In the middle of a cloudless sky, many witnessed a luminous globe moving from east to west. According to Lucia, the lady asked the people to pray the rosary to obtain the end of the war. She also promised that she would perform a miracle on her next and last visit so that everyone would believe.

The apparition of October 13 is widely documented and was reported by newspapers all over the world. Even the most anticlerical Portuguese news agencies reported that there were “strange natural phenomenon” that had occurred in front of a crowd of at least fifty thousand people. Despite heavy rains, pilgrims arrived to the little town, most of them on foot. A few minutes before 1:30 in the afternoon it stopped raining. What happened next has been detailed by news reporters (most of whom were extremely skeptical of the children), eyewitnesses in the crowd, professors from the university, government officials, and even those who lived miles away. The sun appeared through the clouds, shone very brightly, and began to tremble and dance, whirling through the sky in a dizzying speed it cast all the colors of the rainbow on the crowd. The crowd began shouting for the Virgin Mary. The strange movements and light from the sun lasted a few minutes before returning to its natural place in the sky. The crowd, who had been soaked to the skin were now completely dry. As for the children, they were unaware of any “dance of the sun,” they had been communing with Mary.

According to Lucia, “When Our Lady disappeared in the immense distance of the sky, next to the sun we saw Saint Joseph holding the Child Jesus and Our Lady dressed in white with a blue mantle. Saint Joseph seemed to be blessing the world, making the sign of the cross. Shortly after this vision had vanished, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady who reminded me of Our Lady of Sorrows. Our Lord was blessing the world as was Saint Joseph. This vision vanished too, and it seemed to me I again saw Our Lady in a form resembling that of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.”

The story of Our Lady of Fatima had worldwide repercussions, and Fatima became a major pilgrimage site. It is visited by 5 million Marian devotees a year. The three seers were hounded by the sick, the desperate, and the curious. Jacinta and Francisco died during the flu epidemic of 1918. Lucia joined a convent in May 1921. She is still alive at this writing.
In 1941, Lucia allowed the first two secrets of Fatima to be released. According to her memoir,

The first part is the vision of hell. Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans fo pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror. We then looked up at Our Lady, who said to us so kindly and sadly, “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted the world.

Lucia was so confused by the content of the third secret, that she placed it in an envelope and sent it to the Vatican with the instructions that it was not to be opened until the year 1960. Pope John XXIII chose not to release it upon reading it, Paul VI also kept it a secret. On May 13, 1981, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, an assassin fired a bullet at Pope John Paul II as he was out greeting the pilgrims in Saint Peter’s Square. He impulsively bent down to hug a little girl wearing an Our Lady of Fatima medal and the bullet only wounded him instead of killing him. He has always credited Our Lady of Fatima with saving his life. It was he who decided to release the third secret on May 13, 2000, to mark the beatification of Francisco and Jacinta. Lucia met with him beforehand and approved of the action.
This is the third secret as released by the Vatican:

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the angel cried out: “Penance, Penance, Penance.” And we saw in an immense light that is God: something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it, a bishop dressed in white, we had the impression it was the Holy Father. Other bishops, priests, men and women religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big cross of rough-hewn trunks of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way. Having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other bishops, priests, men and women religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the cross there were two angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.

Pope John Paul II felt that this last secret was a symbol of the attempt on his life. The Russian Revolution brought into the world a society that outlawed spirituality and religious practices. By the last half of the twentieth century, communism had engulfed many nations under this umbrella. Coming from Poland, Pope John Paul II was a force to be reckoned with. He inspired many in those countries to rebel against the totalitarian system. He felt the prayers Our Lady of Fatima asked for helped to change the course of history and the visions given to the three children.

Feast of Padre Pio, September 23

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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

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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

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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. Monica, August 28

St.Monica copySt. Monica 331 – 387

Feast Day: August 28

Patron of: Wayward Children

“Nothing is far from God.”

Though she was greatly hurt and disappointed by her firstborn son, St. Monica never gave up the idea that he would change his way of living. After 17 years of what seemed like fruitless prayers, her son turned his life around, converted to her faith and became one of the world’s greatest philosophers and Catholic saints, St. Augustine of Hippo. We invoke St. Monica to help us when our own children disappoint us. She serves as a reminder that there are no lost causes in this world and that absolutely anyone can reform and change their life.

Born into a Berber tribe in North Africa, Monica was brought up a Christian. Her parents arranged her in marriage with a prominent pagan Roman citizen of Carthage by the name of Patricius. Monica had a hard time in her early married years as she had to put up with a cantankerous mother-in-law as well as a dissolute husband. There are some accounts which say that she turned to alcohol and was herself an alcoholic who recovered her sobriety through faith and prayer. She had three children who she raised as Christians. The eldest, Augustine, was the most brilliant and his parents had high hopes for his career. Both Patricius and Monica worked hard to get the best education for their son and it was the greatest sorrow of Monica’s life when Augustine turned out to live a lazy, pleasure-filled life. It hurt her even more when he threw out his Christian beliefs to embrace the Manichean heresy – a popular cult believing in the natural good and evil of every soul. In order to keep his blasphemous beliefs from misleading her younger children, Monica forbade Augustine to come back to their home. Inconsolable in her grief, Monica had a vision of a radiant being pointing to Augustine in a beam of light next to her, saying, “Your son is with you.” When she related this vision to Augustine he laughingly said it would all be true if she would only give up her religious piety. “He did not say that I was with you,” she answered him. “He said you were with me.” When Augustine openly took a mistress and further humiliated his mother by having an illegitimate son, Monica turned to her Bishop for help. He advised her to pray and be patient saying, “It is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish.” After the death of his father, Augustine decided to move to Rome to increase his worldly success, Monica vowed to follow him. In his own great treatise “Confessions”, Augustine relates how as his mother spent the night in prayer before their voyage, he tricked her and slipped away on an earlier ship. Devastated, she traveled to Rome anyway. By the time she arrived Augustine, had already left that city for Milan. By the time Monica tracked him down, she was overjoyed to find that Augustine was no longer a Manichean. He had met Ambrose, the bishop of Milan and was studying with him. Eventually, after several more years, Monica lived to see Augustine baptized a Christian. While waiting for a ship at Ostia to take mother and son back to Africa, Monica told her son that she had accomplished everything that she had set out to do in this life and did not need to live any longer. She died in Ostia, never returning to her native land. It is interesting to note that there are many great saints from Africa, especially the earliest ones and they are rarely depicted as anything but European in visage. Explanation: Light from sky: Grace. Through prayer, Monica channeled grace to convert her son. Outstretched arms: pointing to Africa, her homeland. Palm tree: the shore of Ostia Antica, where Monica’s earthly life ended.

Novena Prayer to Saint Monica

Dear Saint Monica, once the sorrowing mother of a wayward son, be pleased to present our petition to the Lord God of heaven and earth. (Your intention here.) Look down upon our anxieties and needs, and intercede for us, as you did so fervently for Augustine, your firstborn. We have full confidence that your prayers will gain favorable hearing in heaven. Mother of a sinner-turned saint; obtain for us patience, perseverance, and total trust in God’s perfect timing. In His appointed hour, in His merciful way, may He respond to your prayer and ours, which we offer through you.

Amen

August Novena’s

Sanctus Alphonsus de Ligorio

St. Alphonsus Liguori

1696 – 1787
Feast Day: August 1

Doctor of the Church

Patron: Arthritis sufferers

Keywords: Confessors, Moral Theologians, Lawyers, Scruples

“Your God is ever beside you, indeed He is even within you.”

Symbols: chin in chest, writing pen, book, bishops’ hat and staff

So crippled with arthritis that he could not lift his head off of his chest, St. Alphonsus Liguori looked on his illness as a grace since it made him use his earthly time in the most productive manner possible. In chronic pain and expecting to die at any moment, he went on to publish over 60 books dealing with theological studies, as well as music and poetry. He is invoked by those suffering with arthritis for a cure as well as those seeking a way to live a productive life while stricken with illness.

Born into a noble but poor family near Naples in 1696, Alphonsus Liguori was the eldest of seven children. Though he was physically small with poor eyesight, he was incredibly intelligent and musically talented. Because of his poor eyesight he could not follow in his father’s military footsteps, but his intellectual brilliance made him the hope of his family, as he received his law degree at the early age of sixteen. He quickly became famous in the Neapolitan courts for never losing a case. A devout Catholic, he credited his success with his daily mass going. After eight years of constant triumph, Alphonsus was stunned to lose an extremely important and public case due to his own oversight regarding a signed document. Humiliated, he looked on this personal disaster as sign from God and fasted and prayed for three days. While doing charitable work in the Hospital for the Incurables, he had a vision commanding him to quit the world and give himself to God. His father was outraged when left the law for the priesthood.

Devoting his work to those on the outskirts of society, he founded the Redemptorist Fathers, an order devoted to doing missionary work among the poor. Though gifted with the ability to argue the most finite facts of law or theology Alphonsus Liguori always preached in the simplest terms, writing many books and pamphlets in the vernacular of the common person. Because of his great popularity as a preacher, his religious order began to attract many young people. Living at a time of great political and religious upheaval and plagued with deteriorating health, Alphonsus Liguori never enjoyed much peace in his life. Instead, he welcomed these obstacles as an opportunity to perfect his soul.

Explanation of symbols:
Banner: declaring him Doctor of the Church because of the incredible range and amount of his writings.
Bishop hat and staff: he was a Bishop and leader of his order.
Crucifix: Total devotion to Christ and His teachings.

Novena to St. Alphonsus Liguori

Glorius Saint Alphonsus, loving fathr of the poor and sick, all your life you devoted yourself with a charity really heroic to lightening their spiritual and bodily miseries. Full of confidence in your tender pity for the sick, since you yourself have patiently borne the cross of illness, I come to you for help in my present need.

(Mention your request).

Loving father of the suffering, Saint Alphonsus, whom I invoke as the Arthritic Saint, since you suffered from the disease in your lifetime, look with compassion upon me in my suffering. Beg God to give me good health. If it is not God’s will to cure me, then give me strength to bear my cross patiently and to offer my sufferings in union with my crucified Savior and His Mother of Sorrows, for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, in reparation for my sins and those of others, for the needs of this troubled world, and for the souls in purgatory.

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

Saint Alphonsus, patron of the sick, pray for me. Amen

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