Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Corporal & Spiritual Works of Mercy in the Lives of the Saints - Featuring Those Saints Canonised by Bl. Pope John Paul II



Teresa Verzeri was born in Bergamo (Italy) on July 31, 1801,the first of the seven children of Antonio Verzeri and the countess Elena Pedrocca-Grumelli. Her brother, Girolamo, became Bishop of Brescia. Her mother, doubtful of whether she should give herself to matrimony or embrace the monastic life, had listened to the prophetic word of her aunt, Madre Antonia Grumelli, a Franciscan Poor Clare Nun: "God has destined you for this state to become the mother of holy children."

At a very tender age Teresa learned from her mother, a prominent woman, to know and ardently love God. She was led in her spiritual journey by the Canon Giuseppe Benaglio, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Bergamo, who already accompanied the family.

Teresa completed her initial studies at home. Intelligent, gifted with an open spirit, vigilant, and upright, she was educated to discern, to seek true values and to be faithful to the action of grace. From childhood to maturity Teresa allowed herself to be led by the Spirit of Truth that engaged her in a constant and intense spiritual battle: in the light of faith she discovered and experienced the weight of her own weakness; she unmasked, as far as humanly possible, every idolatrous form of falsehood, pride, and fear, in order to surrender totally to God. Through grace, she travelled a road of detachment, of purity of intention, of simplicity and straightforwardness that brought her to seek "God alone."

Interiorly Teresa lived the special mystic experience of the "absence of God," anticipating something of the religious life of today: the weight of human solitude before a restless sense of the distance of God. Nevertheless, in unshakeable faith, Teresa never lost her confidence and abandonment to the living God, provident and merciful Father, to whom she devoted herself in obedience. Her lonely cry, like that of Jesus, became the entrusting of her whole self through love.

With the intention of pleasing God and doing only his will,her religious vocation matured at home and in the Benedictine Monastery of St. Grata. After a long and tormenting search, she left the Monastery to found the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus together with the Canon Giuseppe Benaglioon February 8, 1831, in Bergamo.

Teresa Verzeri lived during the first half of the 1800s, a time of great transformation in the history of Italy and the society of Bergamo, marked with political changes, revolutions, and persecutions that did not spare the Church, which was also wounded by Janenism and by the crisis of values, resulting from the French Revolution.

At a time when the devotion to the Sacred Heart found resistance, she gave to the first Daughters of the Sacred Heart this testament that characterises the spiritual patrimony of their religious family: "To you and to your Institute Jesus Christ has given the precious gift of his Heart, for from no one else can you learn holiness, he being the inexhaustible source of true holiness" (Libro dei Doveri, vol. III,p. 484).

Teresa saw very clearly the pressing needs of her times. Wherever charity called, she seized the situation, even the most dangerous and serious, with absolute availability, and with her first companions she dedicated herself to diverse apostolic services: "education of middleclass troubled girls; homes for orphans who were at risk, abandoned and even led astray; public schools, christian doctrine, retreats, holiday recreations and assistance to the infirm" (Libro dei Doveri, vol. III, p. 368).

In fulfilling her mission Teresa revealed her special talent as spiritual guide, as apostle and as pedagogue. She expressly professed the preventive system: "cultivate and attentively guard the mind and heart of your little girls while they are still young, to prevent as far as possible, any entrance of evil, it being better to avert a fall with your warnings and admonitions than to have to lift them up again with correction" (cf Pratiche, 1841).

Education is a work of freedom and persuasion, respecting individuality. For this she recommended that the young be allowed "a holy freedom so that they may do willingly and with full agreement that which, oppressed by command, would only be accomplished as a burden and with violence." In addition, she desired that the choice of methods established be adapted "to the temperament, the inclinations, the circumstances of each person... and be according to the capacity of each" (Libro dei Doveri, vol. III, p. 347 and 349).

In 1836 Canon Benaglio died and Teresa, supported by the obedience that guaranteed that the Congregation was willed by God, dedicated herself totally to its approbation, strengthening and expansion. In this she was affronted by many obstacles placed in the way by civil authorities, and also by ecclesiastics who put her virtue to the hard test. Teresa showed herself heroic in abandonment to the will of God that sustained her.

After a life of intense giving, Teresa Verzeri died in Brescia on March 3,1852. She left to the Congregation, already approved by the Church and by the government, a vast documentation - above all in the Constitutions, the Book of Duties and in more than 3,500 letters - from which it is possible to draw all the richness of her spiritual and human experience.

The precious spiritual patrimony transmitted to the Congregation finds its center in the Heart of Jesus from whom the Daughters of the Sacred Heart inherit the spirit of magnanimous charity that compels one to be "all to all " in an intimate relation with the Father and in loving solicitude for one's neighbor.

Teresa expressed it this way: "The Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, like those who draw their charity from the very source of love, that is, from the Heart of Jesus Christ, must burn with the same love of the Divine Heart for their neighbor: purest charity that has no aim save for the glory of God and the good of souls; universal charity that excludes no one but embraces all; generous charity that does not draw back from suffering, is not alarmed by contradiction, but rather, in suffering and opposition, grows in vigor and conquers through patience" (Libro dei Doveri, vol. I, p. 58).

Animated by this spirit, the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus continue the mission of Teresa today in Italy, Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia, in the Central African Republic and in Cameroon, in India, and in Albania.

In the contemplation of the Heart of Christ they receive the mandate to go to every man and woman with a dedication that loves the poor with predilection, is open for every service, is always solicitous to promote the dignity of the person, to be the Heartof Christ there where the need is greatest.The relics of TeresaVerzeri are venerated in the chapel of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Bergamo.

She was Canonised in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

The Power of the Holy Mass..........Diary of St. Faustina

One day Jesus told me that He would cause a chastisement to fall upon the most beautiful city in our country [probably Warsaw]. This chastisement would be that which God had punished Sodom and Gomorrah. I saw the great wrath of God and a shudder pierced my heart. I prayed in silence. After a moment, Jesus said to me, My child, unite yourself closely to Me during the Sacrifice and offer My Blood and My Wounds to My Father in expiation for the sins of that city. repeat this without interruption throughout the entire Holy Mass. Do this for seven days. On the seventh day I saw Jesus in a bright cloud and began to beg Him to look upon the city and upon our whole country. Jesus looked [down] graciously. When I saw the kindness of Jesus, I began to beg His blessing. Immediately Jesus said, For your sake I bless the entire country. And He made a big sign of the cross over our country. Seeing the goodness of God, a great joy filled my soul. (39)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Corporal & Spiritual Works of Mercy in the Lives of the Saints - Featuring Those Saints Canonised by Bl. Pope John Paul II

St.  Claude La Colombière, S.I. (1641-1682) 

CLAUDE LA COLOMBIÈRE, third child of the notary Bertrand La Colombière and Margaret Coindat, was born on 2nd February 1641 at St. Symphorien d'Ozon in the Dauphine, southeastern France. After the family moved to Vienne Claude began his early education there, completing his studies in rhetoric and philosophy in Lyon.

It was during this period that Claude first sensed his vocation to the religious life in the Society of Jesus. We know nothing of the motives which led to this decision. We do know, however, from one of his early notations, that he "had a terrible aversion for the life embraced". This affirmation is not hard to understand by any who are familiar with the life of Claude, for he was very close to his family and friends and much inclined to the arts and literature and an active social life. On the other hand, he was not a person to be led primarily by his sentiments.

At 17 he entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Avignon. In 1660 he moved from the Novitiate to the College, also in Avignon, where he pronounced his first vows and completed his studies in philosophy. Afterwards he was professor of grammar and literature in the same school for another five years.

In 1666 he went to the College of Clermont in Paris for his studies in theology. Already noted for his tact, poise and dedication to the humanities, Claude was assigned by superiors in Paris the additional responsibility of tutoring the children of Louis XIV's Munster of Finance, Jean Baptiste Colbert.

His theological studies concluded and now a priest, Claude returned to Lyon. For a time he was teacher in the College, then full-time preacher and moderator of several Marian congregations.

Claude became noted for solid and serious sermons. They were ably directed at specific audiences and, faithful to their inspiration from the gospel, communicated to his listeners serenity and confidence in God. His published sermons produced and still produce significant spiritual fruits. Given the place and the short duration of his ministry, his sermons are surprisingly fresh in comparison with those of better-known orators.

The year 1674 was a decisive one for Claude, the year of his Third Probation at Maison Saint-Joseph in Lyon. During the customary month of the Exercises the Lord prepared him for the mission for which he had been chosen. His spiritual notes from this period allow one to follow step-by-step the battles and triumphs of the spirit, so extraordinarily attracted to everything human, yet so generous with God.

He took a vow to observe all the constitutions and rules of the Society of Jesus, a vow whose scope was not so much to bind him to a series of minute observances as to reproduce the sharp ideal of an apostle so richly described by St. Ignatius. So magnificent did this ideal seem to Claude that he adopted it as his program of sanctity. That it was indeed an invitation from Christ himself is evidenced by the subsequent feeling of interior liberation Claude experienced, along with the broadened horizons of the apostolate he witnesses to in his spiritual diary.

On 2nd February 1675 he pronounced his solemn profession and was named rector of the College at Paray-le-Monial. Not a few people wondered at this assignment of a talented young Jesuit to such an out-of the-way place as Paray. The explanation seems to be in the superiors' knowledge that there was in Paray an unpretentious religious of the Monastery of the Visitation, Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom the Lord was revealing the treasures of his Heart, but who was overcome by anguish and uncertainty. She was waiting for the Lord to fulfill his promise and send her "my faithful servant and perfect friend" to help her realize the mission for which he had destined her: that of revealing to the world the unfathomable riches of his love.

After Father Colombière's arrival and her first conversations with him, Margaret Mary opened her spirit to him and told him of the many communications she believed she had received from the Lord. He assured her he accepted their authenticity and urged her to put in writing everything in their regard, and did all he could to orient and support her in carrying out the mission received. When, thanks to prayer and discernment, he became convinced that Christ wanted the spread of the devotion to his Heart, it is clear from Claude's spiritual notes that he pledged himself to this cause without reserve. In these notes it is also clear that, even before he became Margaret Mary's confessor, Claude's fidelity to the directives of St. Ignatius in the Exercises had brought him to the contemplation of the Heart of Christ as symbol of his love.

After a year and half in Paray, in 1676 Father La Colombière left for London. He had been appointed preacher to the Duchess of York - a very difficult and delicate assignment because of the conditions prevailing in England at the time. He took up residence in St. James Palace in October.

In addition to sermons in the palace chapel and unremitting spiritual direction both oral and written, Claude dedicated his time to giving thorough instruction to the many who sought reconciliation with the Church they had abandoned. And even if there were great dangers, he had the consolation of seeing many reconciled to it, so that after a year he said: "I could write a book about the mercy of God I've seen Him exercise since I arrived here!"

The intense pace of his work and the poor climate combined to undermine his health, and evidence of a serious pulmonary disease began to appear. Claude, however, made no changes in his work or life style.

Of a sudden, at the end of 1678, he was calumniously accused and arrested in connection with the Titus Oates "papist plot". After two days he was transferred to the severe King's Bench Prison where he remained for three weeks in extremely poor conditions until his expulsion from England by royal decree. This suffering further weakened Claude's health which, with ups and downs, deteriorated rapidly on his return to France.

During the summer of 1681 he returned to Paray, in very poor condition. On 15th February 1682, the first Sunday of Lent, towards evening Claude suffered the severe hemorrhage which ended his life.

On the 16th of June 1929 Pope Pius XI beatified Claude La Colombière, whose charism, according to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, was that of bringing souls to God along the gospel way of love and mercy which Christ revealed to us.

Jesus speaks on the End Times...St. Faustinas Diary

Jesus said " Write down these words, My daughter. Speak to the world about My Mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable Mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it , will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My Mercy; let them profit from the Blood and water which gushed forth for them........ before I come as the just one, I first open wide the gates of My Mercy. He who does not pass through the gates of My Mercy must pass through the gates of justice.

Before I come as the just judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy. Before the day of justice arrives, there will be given to people a sign in the heavens of this sort:

All light in the heavens will be extinguished, and there will be a great darkness over the whole earth. Then the sign of the cross will be seen in the sky, and from the openings where the hands and the feet of the Saviour were nailed will come forth great lights which will light up the earth for a period of time. This will take place shortly before the last day."

On a later occasion Our Lady appeared to St Faustina and said the following words: "I gave the Saviour to the world. As for you, you have to speak to the world about His great mercy and prepare the world for the Second Coming of Him who will come, not as a merciful saviour, but as a just Judge. O how terrible is that day! Determined is the day of justice, the day of divine wrath. The angels tremble before it. Speak to souls about this great mercy while it is still time for mercy. If you keep silent now, you will be answering for a great number of souls on that terrible day."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

TThe Corporal & Spiritual Works of Mercy in the Lives of the Saints - Featuring Those Saints Canonised by Bl. Pope John Paul II

St. Simon De Rojas

Father SIMON DE ROJAS of the Trinitarian Order was born at Valladolid, Castilla, Spain, the 28th of October, 1552. At twelve years of age, he entered the Trinitarian monastery of the city where he was born and there made his religious profession on October 28, 1572; he studied at the University of Salamanca from 1573 to 1579; he was ordained a priest in 1577; he taught philosophy and theology at Toledo from 1581 to 1587; from 1588 until his death he fulfilled with much prudence the office of superior in various monasteries of his province and was sent as apostolic visitor twice to his own province of Castilla, and once to that of Andalusia; on April 14, 1612 he founded the Congregation of the Slaves of the Sweet Name of Mary; in 1619 he was named tutor to the royal princes of Spain; onMay 12, 1621 he was elected Provincial of Castilla; on January 1, 1622 he was chosen confessor of Queen Isabel of Borbon; he died on September 29, 1624.

His canonization during the Marian year, worthily rewards him for his tender devotion to Mary. Lope de Vega compares him to St. Bernard of Clairvaux and to St. Ildefonso of Toledo.
It was his mother, the virtuous Constanza, who instilled and helped grow in the soul of Simon the love of Mary. The veneration that she and her husband Gregorio constantly gave to Mary, makes it easily understandable why the first words that Simon, who had been a slow learner and stuttered, said at the age of fourteen months, were "Ave, Maria". He was only repeating the prayer so frequently recited by his parents.

His greatest joy was to visit Marian shrines, to pray to Mary and with Mary, to imitate her virtues, to sing her praises, to acknowledge her importance in the mystery of God and of the Church. Through profound theological studies, he came to understand even better the mission of Mary in cooperation with the Trinity for the salvation of the human race and the sanctification of the Church. He lived his religious vows in the imitation of Mary. He held that, for everyone to be completely of God, as Mary had been, it was necessary to become her slaves, or better, slaves of God in Mary; for this reason he established the Congregation of the Slaves of Mary for the greater glory of the Trinity, in praise of the Virgin, in the service of the poor. For him, to be a slave of Mary meant belonging totally to her: "Totus tuus" in order to unite oneself more intimately to Christ and in Him through the Spirit, to the Father.

The Congregation founded by him was intended for the laity: persons of every social class could join. The members, who included the King and his children, dedicated themselves to honor Mary by giving maternal help to her favorite children: the poor. This work still continues in Spain. Fr. Simon, who is held to be one of the greatest contemplatives of his time and who in his work, "The Greatness of Prayer" is clearly a great instructor of prayerful souls, wanted the contemplative dimension joined to the active through works of mercy. Faithful to the Trinitarian charism, he promoted the ransom of captives, he helped relieve the many needs of the poor, he consoled the sick, the destitute and the left-out of every kind. He accepted duties at the Court, only on the condition that he be able to continue his work with the poor, whom he helped in a thousand ways, always with a smile on his face and at any hour of the day or night.

The expressions of his love of Mary are manifold. The painters who depicted him, put the greeting "Ave Maria" on his lips, words he uttered so frequently that he was familiarly called: "Father Ave Maria". He had thousands of images of the Most Holy Virgin printed with the inscription: "Ave Maria", which he also sent abroad. He had rosaries made with seventy-two blue beads on a white cord, symbols of the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception, and also a reminder that Mary, according to the belief of the time, lived to the age of 72 years. He sent these rosaries everywhere, even to England. Using his influence at Court, he had the angelic greeting so dear to him, "Ave Maria", engraved in letters of gold on the facade of the royal palace in Madrid. On June 5th, 1622, he petitioned the Holy See for the approval of his liturgical text composed in honor of the Sweet Name of Mary, which later,
Pope Innocent XI extended to the universal Church.

After his death on September 29th, 1624, the honors bestowed on him at his funeral, took on the aspect of an anticipated canonization. For twelve days, the most re-known preachers of Madrid exalted his virtues and his holiness. Impressed with this unanimous veneration, on October 8th, shortly after Fr. Simon's death, the Papal Nuncio ordered the beginning of the process leading to his glorification by the Church. His heroic virtues were recognized by Clement XII, on March 25th, 1735; he was beatified by Clement XIII on March 19, 1766. And on July 3rd, 1988, just before the close of the Marian Year, Pope John Paul 11, enters the name of this great servant of Mary and Father of the poor on the list of the Saints.

Mary Mother of Priests - Divine Mercy Diary

From the Diary of St Faustina: Divine Mercy in my Soul:

In the midst of a great brilliance, I saw the Mother of God clothed in a white gown, girt about with a golden cincture; and there were tiny stars, also of gold, over the whole garment, and chevron-shaped sleeves lined with gold. Her cloak was sky-blue, lightly thrown over the shoulders. A transparent veil was delicately drawn over her head, while her flowing hair was set off beautifully by a golden crown which terminated in little crosses. On Her left arm, She held the Child Jesus. ..She ..said, I am the Mother of God of Priests. At that, She lowered Jesus from Her arm to the ground, raised Her right hand heavenward and said: O God, bless Poland, bless priests. Then she addressed me once again: Tell the priests what you have seen. I resolved that at the first opportunity...I would tell; but I myself can make nothing of this vision. (1585)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Corporal & Spiritual Works of Mercy in the Lives of the Saints - Featuring Those Saints Canonised by Bl. Pope John Paul II

St. Jeanne Delanoue (1666-1736)

Foundress of the Congregation of St Anne de la Providence

JEANNE DELANOUE was born in Saumur, in the valley of the Loire River, on June 18, 1666. She was the youngest in a family of twelve. Her parents owned a business near the sanctuary of Notre-Dame-des-Ardilliers. Although but six years of age when her father died, she helped her mother run the store in order to maintain the family. Her qualities were remarkable: she was skillful, energetic, and indefatigable, even to the point of keeping the store open on Sundays and holy days.

The future was hers. Her "business" was growing and prospering. It was precisely within this context of success that, at the age of 27, shortly after the death of her mother, an elderly woman, a faithful pilgrim to the shrine of NotreDame-des-Ardilliers, invited Jeanne to consecrate herself to the many poor people of her neighbourhood.

Despite the responsibilities she had accrued, in response to this call which she believed to have come from God, Jeanne turned toward the poor. They assumed more of her time each day than did her clients until finally they became her full-time occupation. Within a short time no longer did the poor await her visits to them, but they came to her. In 1700, she warmly welcomed a child into her home, and soon after she took in the sick, the aged, and the destitute.

With so many needing lodging, the only place for the poor were the grottos hollowed out in the tuff. She made them as comfortable as she could, however it was necessary for her to seek help. Within four years, in 1704, some young girls were interested in helping Jeanne and were even willing to wear a religious habit if she wished them to do so. It was thus that the congregation of Sainte-Anne de la Providence was born. Under this name the constitutions were approved in 1709.

Jeanne Delanoue's tenacity, supported by the dedicated women who worked with her, brought about the foundation of Saumur's first home for the poor (in 1715) - a home which King Louis XIV called for in 1672!

Very quickly her charity spread beyond the limits of Saumur and of her diocese. More than that, already there were forty helpers who were under her direction and who had made the decision to follow her example of self-sacrifice, of prayer, and of mortification.

At her death, August 17, 1736, Jeanne Delanoue left a dozen communities, as well as homes for the poor and schools. "The saint is dead", they said in Saumur.

Everyone could admire her zeal and the work she accomplished in the numerous visits she received and made, but only her closest friends knew about her mortification, her life of prayer and of union with God. It is from this that her untiring charity proceeded. She was attracted toward all those who suffer, but especially those who are poor-and God knows they were many during those sad years of want, of cold, of famine and of war.

The Sisters of Jeanne Delanoue, as they simply call themselves today, number about 400 sisters in France, in Madagascar, and in Sumatra, where they began in 1979.

On November 5, 1947 Pope Pius XII beatified Jeanne Delanoue. In October 31, 1982 Bl. Pope John Paul II singles out for the people of God yet another saint, Saint Jeanne Delanoue.

Jesus speaks to St. Faustina on The Merits of Meditating on His Passion

St. Faustina writes in her Diary - Passage 369
Before the eight-day retreat, I went to my spiritual director and asked him for certain mortifications for the time of the retreat. However, I did not receive permission for everything I asked for, but for some things only. I received permission for one hour of meditation on the Passion of the Lord Jesus and for a certain humiliation. But I was a little dissatisfied at not receiving permission for everything I had asked. When we returned home, I dropped into the chapel for a moment, and then I heard this voice in my soul:  "There is more merit to one hour of meditation on My sorrowful Passion than there is to a whole year of flagellation that draws blood; the contemplation of My painful wounds is of great profit to you, and it brings Me great joy. I am surprised that you still have not completely renounced your self-will, but I rejoice exceedingly that this change will be accomplished during the retreat."

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Corporal & Spiritual Works of Mercy in the Lives of the Saints - Featuring Those Saints Canonised by Bl. Pope John Paul II


Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States of America, on November 26, 1858, Katharine Drexel was the second daughter of Francis Anthony Drexel and Hannah Langstroth. Her father was a well known banker and philanthropist. Both parents instilled in their daughters the idea that their wealth was simply loaned to them and was to be shared with others.

When the family took a trip to the Western part of the United States, Katharine, as a young woman, saw the plight and destitution of the native Indian-Americans. This experience aroused her desire to do something specific to help alleviate their condition. This was the beginning of her lifelong personal and financial support of numerous missions and missionaries in the United States. The first school she established was St. Catherine Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico (1887).

Later, when visiting Pope Leo XIII in Rome, and asking him for missionaries to staff some of the Indian missions that she as a lay person was financing, she was surprised to hear the Pope suggest that she become a missionary herself. After consultation with her spiritual director, Bishop James O'Connor, she made the decision to give herself totally to God, along with her inheritance, through service to American Indians and Afro-Americans.

Her wealth was now transformed into a poverty of spirit that became a daily constant in a life supported only by the bare necessities. On February 12, 1891, she professed her first vows as a religious, founding the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament whose dedication would be to share the message of the Gospel and the life of the Eucharist among American Indians and Afro-Americans.

Always a woman of intense prayer, Katharine found in the Eucharist the source of her love for the poor and oppressed and of her concern to reach out to combat the effects of racism. Knowing that many Afro-Americans were far from free, still living in substandard conditions as sharecroppers or underpaid menials, denied education and constitutional rights enjoyed by others, she felt a compassionate urgency to help change racial attitudes in the United States.

The plantation at that time was an entrenched social institutionin which the coloured people continued to be victims of oppression. This was a deep affront to Katharine's sense of justice. The need for quality education loomed before her, and she discussed this need with some who shared her concern about the inequality of education for Afro-Americans in the cities. Restrictions of the law also prevented them in the rural South from obtaining a basic education.
Founding and staffing schools for both Native Americans and Afro-Americans throughout the country became a priority for Katharine and her congregation. During her lifetime, she opened, staffed and directly supported nearly 60 schools and missions, especially in the West and Southwest United States. Her crowning educational focus was the establishment in 1925 of Xavier University of Louisiana, the only predominantly Afro-American Catholic institution of higher learning in the United States. Religious education, social service, visiting in homes, in hospitals and in prisons were also included in the ministries of Katharine and the Sisters.

In her quiet way, Katharine combined prayerful and total dependence on Divine Providence with determined activism. Her joyous incisiveness, attuned to the Holy Spirit, penetrated obstacles and facilitated her advances for social justice. Through the prophetic witness of Katharine Drexel's initiative, the Church in the United States was enabled to become aware of the grave domestic need for an apostolate among Native Americans and Afro-Americans. She did not hesitate to speak out against injustice, taking a public stance when racial discrimination was in evidence.

For the last 18 years of her life she was rendered almost completely immobile because of a serious illness. During these years she gave herself to a life of adoration and contemplation as she had desired from early childhood. She died on March 3, 1955.

Katharine left a four-fold dynamic legacy to her Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, who continue her apostolate today, and indeed to all peoples:

- her love for the Eucharist, her spirit of prayer, and her Eucharistic perspective on the unity of all peoples;

– her undaunted spirit of courageous initiative in addressing social iniquities among minorities — one hundred years before such concern aroused public interest in the United States;

– her belief in the importance of quality education for all, and her efforts to achieve it;

– her total giving of self, of her inheritance and all material goods in selfless service of the victims of injustice.

Katharine Drexel was beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 20, 1980.  She was Canonised by Pope John Paul II on October 1st  in 2000.

Jesus asks for Deeds of Mercy....Diary of St. Faustina

Jesus said to His disciples (Lk 6:36): "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." He taught St. Faustina much the same thing, in connection with the Feast of Mercy (Diary, 742):

Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be acts of mercy. ... I demand from you deeds of mercy which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Corporal & Spiritual Works of Mercy in the Lives of the Saints - Featuring Those Saints Canonised by Bl. Pope John Paul II

Saint Richard Pampuri, O.H. (1897-1930)

ERMINIO FILIPPO PAMPURI, Brother Richard in religion, was the tenth of the eleven children of Innocenzo and Angela (nee Campari) Pampuri. He was born at Trivolzio (Pavia, Italy), on 12 August 1897 and was baptised the following day. When he was three years of age his mother died and he was then taken into the home of his mother's sister, at Torrino, a village near Trivolzio. In 1907 also his father is expired at Milan.

He went to two primary schools at nearby villages and then went to Milan where he attended a junior high school. He completed his high school studies as a boarder at Augustine's College, Pavia, where after graduation, he enrolled in the Medical Faculty of Pavia University.  Between the years 1915 and 1920, he was in the fighting zone of World War I. He served firstly as a sergeant and later went into training as an officer in the Medical Corps.
On 6 July 1921, he graduated top of his class in Medicine and Surgery at the above mentioned university.
After a three years practical experience with this doctor uncle, and for a short time as temporary assistant in the medical practice at Vernate, he was appointed to the practice of Morimondo (Milan). In 1922 he passed his internship with high honours at the Milan Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. In 1923 he was registered at Pavia University as a General Practitioner of Medicine and Surgery.

Very soon his heart and mind began opening up to the Christian ideals of medicine and the apostolate. Even as a young boy he wanted to become a missionary priest, but was dissuaded from this on account of his delicate health.  From his youth he was always a shining example of Christian virtue everywhere he went. Whilst living in the midst of the world, he openly and consistently professed the Gospel message and practised works of charity with generosity and devotion.

He loved prayer and kept himself constantly in close union with God, even when he was kept very busy. He assiduously attended the Eucharistic table and spent long periods in profound adoration before the Tabernacle.He had a tremendous devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and prayed the Rosary often more than once a day.

He was an active and diligent member of Pavia University's Severino Boezio Club for Catholic Action. He also belonged to the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Third Orden of St. Francis.

Since his boyhood he was involved in Catholic Action so when he arrived at Morimondo to practice medicine, he gave valuable assistance to the parish priest and helped him to set up a musical band and a Catholic Action Youth Club of which he was the first president. Both of these under the patronage of St. Pius X. He was also secretary of the Parish Missionary Aid Society.

He organised regular retreats for the Youth Club, farm labourers and local workers, at the Jesuit Fathers' "Villa del Sacro Cuore" at Triuggio, generally paying their expenses. He used to invite his colleagues and friends to come along as well.

As well as being studious and competent in practising his profession, he was generous, charitable and very concerned for his patients. Throughout his practice he visited them both by day and night, never sparing himself no matter wherever they lived, even in places difficult to find. Since most of his patients were poor, he gave them medicines, money, food, clothing, and blankets. His charity extended to the poor rural workers and needy folk in and around Morimondo and even going further afield to other towns and districts.

When eventually he was to leave his practice in six years time, to become a religious, the grief at having lost the "holy doctor" was so greatly felt everywhere, that even the daily press took up the story.
Dr. Pampuri joined the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God so as to follow the way of evangelical holiness more closely and at the same time to be able to carry on his medical profession so as to alleviate the suffering of his neighbour. He joined the St. John of God Brothers at Milan on 22 June 1927. He did his novitiate year at Brescia and when it was over, made his profession of religious vows on 24 October 1928.

He was then appointed Director of the dental clinic attached to the St. John of God Brothers' Hospital at Brescia. This was mostly frequented by working people and the poor. Brother Richard untiringly gave himself fully to serving them with such wonderful charity that he was admired by all.

Throughout his life as a religious, Brother Richard was, as he had always been before he became a St. John of God Brother, a model of virtue and charity: to his Brothers in the Order, the patients, the doctors, the paramedics, the nurses, and all who came into contact with him. Everybody agreed upon his sanctity.

He suffered a fresh outbreak of pleurisy, which he first contracted during his military service, and this degenerated into specific bronco-pneumonia. On 18 April 1930 he was taken from Brescia to Milan, where he died in sanctity on 1 May at the age of 33 years: "leaving behind, the memory of a doctor who knew how to transform his own profession into a mission of charity; and a religious brother who reproduced within himself, the charism of a true son of St. John of God" (Decree of heroic virtue, 12 June 1978).

After his death, his reputation of sanctity which he demonstrated throughout his life, greatly expanded throughout Italy, Europe and the entire world. Many of the faithful received significant graces from God, even miraculous ones, through his intercession.
The two required miracles were accepted and he was beatified by His Holiness John Paul II on 4 October 1981.
Later on, a miraculous healing through the intercession of Blessed Richard Pampuri, took place on 5 January 1982 at Alcadozo (Albacete, Spain). This was approved as a miracle and so, on the feast of All Saints, 1 November 1989, he was solemnly canonized.

 "The brief, but intense life, of Brother Richard Pampuri is a stimulus for the entire People of God, but especially so for youth, doctors and religious brothers and sisters.

He invites the youth of today, to live joyfully and courageously in the Christian faith; to always listen to the Word of God, generously follow the teachings of Christ's message and give themselves to the service of others.He appeals to his colleagues, the doctors, to responsibly carry out their delicate art of healing; vivifying it with Christian, human and professional ideals, because theirs is a real mission of service to others, of fraternal charity and a real promotion of human life.

Brother Richard recommends to religious brothers and sisters, especially those who quietly and humbly go about their consecrated work in hospital wards and other centres, to hold fast to the original charism of their Institute in their lives, loving both God and their neighbour who is in need" (Homily, 4 October 1981).

St. Richard Pampuri's body is conserved and venerated in the Parish Church of Trivolzio (Pavia, Italy). His feastday is celebrated on 1 May.

The Divine Mercy and the End Times

We all know that we are living in a very sinful world where everything is turned upside down.  Jesus told St. Faustina that this devotion will be the sign for the end times, we are now living in those times.  What we will have to face in the future only God knows, but today we have to share Gods Mercy and pray for those who are far from God.  It is up to us to recognise this time for what it is and woe to us if we do not.  But we must always have hope and joy in Christ the Victorious One who has conquered sin and death and remember always that the darker the times get, the brighter the saints will shine in response.

To St. Faustina, Jesus said the following...

You will prepare the world for My final coming. (Diary 429)

Speak to the world about My mercy ... It is a sign for the end times. After it will come the Day of Justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fountain of My mercy. (Diary 848)

Tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near. (Diary 965).

I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of sinners. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation. (Diary 1160)

Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy. (Diary 1588)

He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice. (Diary 1146).

Pope Benedict XVI, in his homily before the conclave that elected him, summed up John Paul’s pontificate by speaking about the late Pope’s emphasis on the Divine Mercy:

“Jesus Christ is divine mercy in person: Encountering Christ means encountering the mercy of God,” said Pope Benedict. “The mercy of Christ is not a cheap grace; it does not presume a trivialization of evil. Christ carries in his body and on his soul all the weight of evil, and all its destructive force. He burns and transforms evil through suffering, in the fire of his suffering love.”