Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ. -- Saint Augustine of Hippo from “The City of God

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux On All Saints Day




Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feast day mean anything to the saints? What do they care about earthly honors when their heavenly Father honors them by fulfilling the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to them? The saints have no need of honor from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.

Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We long to share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the council of apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company of confessors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints. But our dispositions change. The Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do nothing about it. The saints want us to be with them, and we are indifferent. The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them.

Come, brothers, let us at length spur ourselves on. We must rise again with Christ, we must seek the world which is above and set our mind on the things of heaven. Let us long for those who are longing for us, hasten to those who are waiting for us, and ask those who look for our coming to intercede for us. We should not only want to be with the saints, we should also hope to possess their happiness. While we desire to be in their company, we must also earnestly seek to share in their glory. Do not imagine that there is anything harmful in such an ambition as this; there is no danger in setting our hearts on such glory.

When we commemorate the saints we are inflamed with another yearning: that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory. Until then we see him, not as he is, but as he became for our sake. He is our head, crowned, not with glory, but with the thorns of our sins. As members of that head, crowned with thorns, we should be ashamed to live in luxury; his purple robes are a mockery rather than an honor. When Christ comes again, his death shall no longer be proclaimed, and we shall know that we also have died, and that our life is hidden with him. The glorious head of the Church will appear and his glorified members will shine in splendor with him, when he forms this lowly body anew into such glory as belongs to himself, its head.

Therefore, we should aim at attaining this glory with a wholehearted and prudent desire. That we may rightly hope and strive for such blessedness, we must above all seek the prayers of the saints. Thus, what is beyond our own powers to obtain will be granted through their intercession.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pope canonizes 7 new saints, including 2 from North America : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic Culture's Catholic World News:
  • Pope Benedict XVI presided at the canonization of 7 new saints—including St. Kateri Tekakwitha and St. Marianne Cope—at a Mass celebrated for a congregation of 80,000 people in St. Peter’s Square on October 21.
  • Along with St. Kateri, the first Native American saint; and St. Marianne, who worked with lepers at Molokai, the Pope also canonized:
  • St. Jacques Berthiue (1838-1896), a French Jesuit martyr;
  • St. Pedro Calungsod (1654-1672), a Filipino lay catechist and martyr;
  • St. Giovanni Battista Piamarta (1841-1913), an Italian priest;
  • St. Maria del Carmen (1848-1911), born Maria Salles y Baranguera, a Spanish religious; and
  • St. Anna Schaeffer (1882-1925), a German laywoman.
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Pope canonizes 7 new saints, including 2 from North America : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Saint John of Capistrano



Saint John of Capistrano (also known as Giovanni da Capestrano; John Capistran) was born in 1386 at Capistrano, Italy. His father had formerly been a German knight, and died when John was still young. He was the reforming governor of Perugia under King Landislas of Naples. When war broke out between Perugia and Malatesta in 1416, John tried to broker a peace, but instead his opponents ignored the truce, and John became a prisoner of war.

During his captivity, he came to the decision to change vocations. He had married just before the war, but the marriage was never consummated, and with his bride's permission, it was annulled. John joined the Franciscans at Perugia on October 1416. He was a student with Saint James of the Marches, and a disciple of Saint Bernadine of Siena. John was a noted preacher while still a deacon, beginning his work in 1420, and he was an itinerant priest throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia, preaching to tens of thousands. He established communities of Franciscan renewal, and was reported to heal by making the Sign of the Cross over a sick person. He was a prolific writer, writing mainly against the heresies of his day.

After the fall of Constantinople, he preached Crusade against the Muslim Turks. At the age of 70, he was commissioned by Pope Callistus II to lead it, and marched off at the head of 70,000 Christian soldiers. He won the battle of Belgrade in the summer of 1456, and he died in the field a few months later, but his army delivered Europe from the Muslims.

Saint John of Capistrano died of natural causes in 1456 at Villach, Hungary.


Friday, October 19, 2012

CNS STORY: Kateri and Jake: American Indians are joined in sainthood cause

The following excerpts are from Catholic News Service:
  • Jake Finkbonner knows what it's like to have kids tease him because of the way he looks, but one of his heroes also grew up being teased.
  • The 12-year-old boy said Kateri Tekakwitha, who was to become an official saint Oct. 21, was "an inspiration because I remember reading that many of the children in her tribe teased her because of her faith, but she continued to praise God and she made her own rosary."
  • "One of the things she always tried to do was spread her faith, even though her uncle and aunt didn't really approve of it," he said.
  • Kateri was raised by her Mohawk father's family after her parents died in a smallpox epidemic; Kateri survived, but with a scarred face and damaged vision.
  • Jake and his parents -- Donny and Elsa -- his two little sisters, all four of his grandparents and lots of aunts and uncles traveled to Rome for Kateri's canonization.
Read more by clicking below:
CNS STORY: Kateri and Jake: American Indians are joined in sainthood cause

Monday, October 15, 2012

Beatification soon for Pope Paul VI, Vatican journalist reports : News Headlines - Catholic Culture


The following excerpts are from Catholic Culture's Catholic World News:
  • Pope Paul VI could be beatified before the end of 2013, according to the leading Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli.
  • Theologians commissioned by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints have approved the cause of the late Pontiff, Tornielli reports. The entire Congregation will vote on the case at a meeting in December, and with their approval Pope Benedict could declare the “heroic virtue” of Pope Paul VI at a consistory at Christmas time.
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Beatification soon for Pope Paul VI, Vatican journalist reports : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Saint Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church



October 15

Saint Teresa of Avila (also known as Theresa of Avila; The Roving Nun; Teresa of Jesus; Teresa de Avila) was born in 1515 A.D. as Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila y Ahumada at Avila, at Castile, Spain. Teresa was a Spanish noble, the daughter of Don Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda and Doña Beatriz. She grew up reading the lives of the saints, and playing at "hermit" in the garden. 

She was crippled by disease in her youth, which led to her being well educated at home. She was cured of her affliction after prayer to Saint Joseph. Her mother died when Teresa was 12, and she prayed to Our Lady to be her replacement. Her father opposed her entry to religious life, so she left home without telling anyone, and entered a Carmelite house at the age of 17. Seeing her conviction to her call, her father and family consented.

Not long after taking her vows, Teresa became seriously ill, and the inadequate medical help she received aggravated her condition. She never fully recovered her health. She began receiving visions, and was examined by Dominicans and Jesuits, including Saint Francis Borgia, who pronounced the visions holy and true.

Teresa considered her original house too lax in its rule, so she founded a reformed convent of Saint John of Avila. She founded several houses, often receiving fierce resistance from local authorities. Teresa was a mystical writer, and most of her works are preserved until today. Pope Paul VI proclaimed Teresa a Doctor of the Church on September 27, 1970. She has the distinction of being the first woman saint to be declared a Doctor of the Church.

Saint Teresa of Avila died of natural causes on October 4, 1582 at Alba de Tormes in the arms of her secretary and close friend Blessed Anne of Saint Bartholomew. Her body is incorrupt, and her relics preserved at Alba. Her heart shows signs of Transverberation (piercing of the heart), and is displayed, too.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Pope opens synod on new evangelization, declares 2 new doctors of the Church : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic Culture's Catholic World News:
  • Opening the Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Pope Benedict emphasized that “the Church exists to evangelize” and formally proclaimed St. John of Avila (1500-69) and St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) doctors of the Church.
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Pope opens synod on new evangelization, declares 2 new doctors of the Church : News Headlines - Catholic Culture