mobile-vocationsWe are always happy to promote the The Little Sisters of the Poor and the work they do with elderly poor. If you are a young single woman, between the ages of 17 and 35, and want to be introduced to this beautiful life of service to the poor, the Little Sisters in Mobile, Alabama, are having a discernment retreat weekend from November 14 -16th, 2014 at their Sacred Heart Residence.

The weekend will consist of Mass, talks, service opportunities, Eucharistic Adoration, Reconciliation, vocation stories from the Little Sisters, and a one-on-on opportunity for those who want to accompany a Little Sister in her daily duties. It will begin at 5pm on Friday and conclude by 2pm on Sunday.

I had the privilege of attending one of these discernment weekends and it was a memorable experience. Besides getting a glimpse of the sisters’ selfless service to their residents, I also got to meet one of the Little Sisters’ prayer warriors. This was an invalid Little Sister, not that old, who suffered from a debilitating disease that left her confined to a room, hooked to machines. I never saw such serenity and love radiating from a more beautiful face. She grasped my hand, and I felt that I had held the hand of a saint.

The Little Sisters in Mobile have a 92-bed facility that is full to the rafters. They hope to expand soon to accommodate more residents who do not have adequate financial means to live independently. Often, there is no family to care for them or even visit. Because the Little Sisters actually live at the Home, they share their entire lives with the residents, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.  This is what makes their homes unique. It is truly a place of family.

Registration is free for the weekend but registration in advance is appreciated. If you have any questions, please call Sr. Carolyn at (251)591-3700.

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Passionist Q & A

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Liturgical Year, Women's Communities | No comments yet.

 

The "under 30 gang" in Whitesville

The “under 30 gang” in Whitesville

Who is Paul Francis Daneo, Italian mystic and saint, better known as?

St. Paul of the Cross (1694-1775) whose Feast Day is today, October 20th.

 What does their insignia – Jesu XPI Passio – mean??

Written in Greek and Latin, these words mean: “The Passion of Jesus Christ.”

Who are the Passionsist saints?

St. Maria Goretti, St. Innocent Canoura, St. Gabriel Possenti, St. Gemma Galgani, St. Vincent Strambi, Blessed Lorenzi Salvi, Blessed Dominic Barberi, and most recently St. Charles Houben. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Princess Diana’s great-great-great-uncle, Fr. Ignatius (George) Spencer, Passionist priest, is being proposed for sainthood. He is also the great-uncle of Winston Churchill.

How were the Passionists founded?

The sorrowful Mother appeared to St. Paul of the Cross in the eighteenth century dressed in the Passionist habit, asking him to found an institute to remember the sufferings and death of her Son.

What refrain do they hold close in their hearts?

“May the Passion of Christ be always in our hearts.”

 Where can I learn more about the Passionists nuns?

Visit our three Affiliates’ websites! Located in: Ellisville, MOWhitesville, KYErlanger, KY

Thanks to the Passionist Fathers too for some of the ideas for the Q&A!

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Visitation Musings

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Cloistered life, Saints | No comments yet.
Tyringham Visitation

Tyringham Visitation

Today, the Feast Day of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, is a good to day to highlight the Visitation Nuns in the US. Three are Affiliates of the IRL: Tyringham, MA; Toledo, OH; and Snellville, GA.

Visitation communities are usually of interest to women of an older age, widows, etc. who feel a call to religious life, perhaps newly realized or a call always there that is now being pursued. The communities in Snellville and Toledo do consider belated vocations. As the Snellville nuns told us, “The founder set no age limit for admission.”

St. Margaret Mary was educated in a Poor Clare school but when she visited the Visitation convent in Paray-le-Monial, France, she heard these words in her heart: “This is where I want you.” The Order was founded by St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Frances de Chantal in 1610. The emblem of the Visitation nuns is a heart pierced by two arrows, surrounded by the Crown of Thorns. It was a foreshadowing of revelations to come, 60+ years later, to St. Margaret Mary who received the revelations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In these revelations, Jesus made known that He was not despot to be feared but a God of love who invites us to come to Him as a child to a Father.

miToday is also the anniversary of the Militia Immaculatae, founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe on this day in 1917. The MI’s mission is “To Lead Every Individual With Mary to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.” The day after his ordination in 1918, Maximilian celebrated his first Mass in Rome at an altar at the Basilica of S. Andrea delle Fratte where the Blessed Virgin Mary had appeared to the Jewish Alphonse Ratisbonne who was instantly converted. May the Immaculate Heart of Mary lead us too to a love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

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St. Teresa of Avila

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Women's Communities | No comments yet.

This picture is too wonderful not post on the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila. It shows two Carmelites Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sister Mary Scholastica and Sister Inez, with a very young aspirant.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux wanted to enter at age 14 but this may be pushing it a little too far!

ocd la

Thérèse’s sisters Pauline, Marie and Céline all became Carmelite nuns. Thérèse wrote that she too was destined to great things, like St. Joan of Arc, whose exploits “filled her with delight.” However, instead of calling her to combat in the world, she heard “in the depths of my soul a voice that was gentler and stronger still: the voice of the Spouse of virgins was calling me to other exploits and more glorious conquests, and in the solitude of Carmel I understood my mission was not to crown a mortal king but to make the King of Heaven loved, to conquer for Him the kingdom of hearts.”

God bless all of the Carmelites in the world today. May their prayers and good works bring under the standard of Christ many souls.

 

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381Next month we celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week (November 2-8), a time for all to pray for a culture of vocations for the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life. In other words, to pray for an environment in homes, schools, workplaces and souls where young men and women can hear God’s call to them.

“A culture of vocations is one that provides the necessary support for others to hear and respond to God’s call in their lives,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, North Carolina, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. “With God’s grace, we help build that culture through fervent prayer, the witness of our lives and the encouragement we extend to those discerning a vocation to priesthood or consecrated life.”

It is especially important to pray for vocations from the Hispanic community which are 54% of the Catholics in the U.S. yet only 15% of the men in the seminary and many of these are foreign-born.

More information and resources for National Vocation Awareness Week, including a prayer card, suggested prayers of the faithful and bulletin-ready quotes are available online at the USCCB website.

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The Passionists of England

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Men's communities, News | No comments yet.
Fr. Ignatius

Fr. Ignatius

In the news recently, was an item stating that while Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, was in Malta, he attended his first official Catholic Mass. It was noted that one of his distant forebears, Fr. Ignatius of St. Paul (1799-1864), born Hon. George Spencer, is potentially on the road to canonization.

Fr. Ignatius is the great-great-great-uncle of his mother, Princess Diana (nee Spencer), may she rest in peace. An Anglican vicar before he became a Catholic and a Passionist, he spent his life working for the conversion of England back to the Catholic faith. Because of his tireless efforts for this cause, he is known as the Apostle of Prayer for England.

Instrumental in his life was Bl. Dominic Barberi, CP, the priest who brought the Passionists to England in 1841. Fr. Ignatius first met Bl. Dominic while studying in Rome and received the Passionsist habit from him in 1847. Bl. Dominic was also the one who received Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman into the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Newman had said: “If they (Catholics) want to convert England, let them go barefooted into our manufacturing towns—let them preach to the people like St. Francis Xavier—let them be pelted and trampled on, and I will own they can do what we cannot.”

Bl. Dominic, CP

Bl. Dominic, CP

Well, Father Barberi came barefoot; he was pelted with rocks and showered with obscenities. But he persevered. Cardinal Newman’s conversion in 1845 was a crowning achievement. Bl. Dominic had a heart attack while on a train in 1845 and the passengers, fearing he had cholera, had him removed and he died later that day. Strangely enough, Fr. Ignatius also died after leaving a train. He had a heart attack and collapsed into a roadside ditch in 1864. The two bodies now reside in a new shrine in Lancashire which also includes the remains of Elizabeth Prout, Mother Mary Joseph of Jesus, the Foundress of the Sisters of the Cross and Passion.

Cardinal Newman called Fr. Barberi a zealous missioner and preacher. “When his form came within sight, I was moved to the depths in the strangest way. The gaiety and affability of his manner in the midst of all his sanctity was in itself a sermon. No wonder then that I became his convert and his penitent. He was Bl. Dominic of the Mother of God, C.P., great lover of England.”

 

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sdem2ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II

TO THE SERVANTS OF MARY MINISTERS TO THE SICK

on the occasion of their 150th anniversary in 2001

The particular nature of your primary task, free care of the sick in their own homes, takes on new meaning in our times where the reality of illness or death is often concealed in daily life. With this service you eloquently proclaim that illness is neither an unbearable burden for human beings nor does it deprive patients of their full dignity as persons.

 On the contrary, it can become an enriching experience for the sick and for their whole family. In this way, by holding out a hand to the sick, your mission also helps to keep families together and discreetly supports cohesion in the home, where no one should feel he is a burden.

 I ask the Virgin Mary, Health of the Sick, to accompany you in your efforts and to visit homes with you, in order to show them Jesus, the true Saviour and Redeemer of every human being through His sacrifice on the Cross and His glorious Resurrection.

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The Suffering Albanian Church

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in News | No comments yet.
Fr. Ernest and Pope Francis

Fr. Ernest and Pope Francis

In late September, Pope Francis made a one-day visit to Albania, a country that in 1967 boldly proclaimed itself to be the world’s first atheistic state.

One of the most moving moments for Pope Francis, one that moved him to tears, were the testimonies of a priest and a sister who were able to persevere in the Faith when the practice of any kind of religion often resulted in torture and death.

Fr. Ernest Troshani told the Holy Father how he had studied with the Franciscans for ten years, continuing even after his superiors had been shot and killed. In 1965, he was ordained and celebrated his first Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday. He was arrested, tortured and told he would be hanged. When a spy was placed in his room to get him to peak against the Party, Fr. Troshani responded that Christ had taught us “to love our enemies and to forgive them and that we should strive to seek the good of the people.” When these words of his reached the ears of the dictator, he was freed.

He was given 28 years of forced labor where he was able to use his priestly faculties. “The Lord has helped me to serve so many peoples and to reconcile many, driving out hatred and the devil from the hearts of men.”

Sr. Maria

Sr. Maria

Sr. Maria Kaleta, now 85 years old, was in the Franciscan Stigmatine convent for seven years before she was forced to return home by the Communists. During this dark time, she was given permission to keep the Blessed Sacrament at home so she could bring it to the sick and dying. Her uncle, a priest and martyr, is now being considered for sainthood.

“When I think of it,” she said, “I wonder how we were able to endure such terrible sufferings, but I know the Lord gave us strength, patience and hope.”

Pope Francis said that he was shocked, when preparing for this visit, to learn how much the people of Albania had suffered.

“And we may ask them: ‘But how were you able to survive so much tribulation?’ And they will say this passage that we have heard in the Second Letter to the Corinthians: God is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. It was He who consoled us!, with this simplicity.”

“Woe to us if we look for consolation elsewhere! Woe to the priests, the religious, the nuns, the novices, the consecrated when they look for consolation far from the Lord! I do not want to ‘hit you over the head’ (it.bastonarvi), eh? I do not want to become the executioner here, but know this well, eh? If you look for consolation somewhere else, you will not be happy!”

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Our Lady of Victories

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Liturgical Year | No comments yet.

our lady of the rosaryToday, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, was traditionally known as Our Lady of Victory. It came about because on this day in 1571, the Moslem Turks were attacking cities in the Mediterranean and were on the doorstep of Christian Italy. The Dominican Pope, Pius V, asked for help and got it from several quarters. An armada of ships under the command of Don Juan of Austria successfully repelled the Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Lepanto while the Rosary Confraternity of Rome prayed for Our Lady’s intercession.

In thanksgiving, the Holy Father designated October 7 as our Lady of Victory. It was renamed Our Lady of the Rosary in 1573 by Pope Gregory XIII and extended throughout the Universal Church by Pope Clement XI in 1716. Pope Pius X moved the floating date back to October 7th in 1913.

There is a beautiful Church in Paris named Notre Dame des Victoires. When St. Therese of Lisieux was very ill as a young girl, her worried Father had Masses said at the Church for her recovery. When she visited Paris in 1887, only one sight filled her with delight, as she said in Story of a Soul, Our Lady of Victories! “Ah, what I felt kneeling at her feet cannot be expressed,” she wrote, “The graces she granted me so moved me that my happiness found expression only in tears, just as on the day of my first Communion.”

Notre Dame des Victoires

Notre Dame des Victoires

Fr. des Genettes established a Archconfraternity there that prayed for the conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne per the request of his brother, Fr. Theodore Ratisbonne. Fr. Theodore announced at Notre Dame des Victoires in  1842 that his brother, an atheist Jew, had become a “fully believing Catholic.” The story is perhaps the best-known conversion story attributed to the Miraculous Medal. It was also in Notre Dame des Victoires that Fr. Hermann Cohen, a Jewish convert, started the Nocturnal Adoration Society.

In these troubled times when we are besieged from the left and the the right, from without and within, let us invoke our Lady of Victories, through the prayers of the Rosary, that Truth prevails and moral order is reestablished in this One Nation, Under God.

Our Lady of Victory,

war and strife are ever present today

and indeed they are yokes that we pass on from generation to generation.

May we remember that true peace comes only from your Son.

May we be channels of His peace. Amen.

 

 

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Fr. Benedict Joseph Groeschel (1933-2014)

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in News | No comments yet.

fr groweschelOn Friday, October 3, on the eve of the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, the world lost a Franciscan giant when Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, passed away at the home of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Totowa, in NJ. Father was a man who touched an incredible number of people throughout his 81 years of life. Not just because he was a popular EWTN host, but also because he was a man of the poor, a man of the suffering, a man who loved religious, a man of the wounded, a man who understood the daily challenges of living and a sometime comedian who made everyone laugh with his Jersey accent and anecdotes.

I had the privilege of being his driver and general factotum during one Marian Conference weekend and was happily surprised to find out that the man whom I saw on TV was the man as he was in real life. Father was Father. He greeted me and my friend Anne every morning by saying, “Hello Annes.” And we laughed.

Father was a great friend of the IRL because he loved religious life and knew of its value to the Church. He came to meeting after meeting because he wanted to encourage everyone on the road to renewal. In 1995, he said that religious life often comes back first with contemplatives and those who deal with the desperately poor. He cited Mother Teresa as an example, and certainly his own community is living witness of this truism.

He was not afraid to be innovative but the way to be innovative he said was with devout young people. He didn’t like any music composed after the 16th century but in his own community Father Stan Fortuna reached kids through holy rap music. “I don’t belong to YOUTH 2000—I belong to YOUTH 1960,” he said. Yet, he cautioned religious to be wary of going back to “the oppressiveness of the old religious life.” He was all for authentic religious life that had a breath of fresh air coming into it from the Holy Spirit.

Father spoke to IRL friends and religious at meetings in 1995, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2008, and 2010. From his hospital bed, recovering from grievous wounds suffered after he was hit by a car, he recorded a speech upon his reception of the 2004 Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award that was played at the National Meeting banquet.

He was also a good friend of Father John Hardon, SJ, who lived at Fr. Groeschel’s Capuchin friary in the 1960’s. Fr. Groeschel was a witness for Father Hardon’s cause for canonization. He said: “As a friar, I say that I every day pray to my good friend Father Hardon.”

After his accident, he said, “When things are going badly or when the darkness of it all settles in on me, I turn to the Rosary…it is a great blessing and a great school of spirituality.” Blessed Mother, a great son of the Church has returned home. May the angels and the Franciscan saints welcome him to Paradise.

For a wonderful review on his life, click here to see a video commemorating his 50th anniversary as a priest.

 

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