Anima Christi

St. Ignatius of Loyloa

SOUL of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds, hide me.
Separated from Thee let me never be.
From the malignant enemy, defend me.
At the hour of death, call me,
To come to Thee, bid me,
That I may praise Thee in the company
Of Thy Saints, for all eternity.


The Mother of Mercy Calls Us!

This month’s issue of Religious Life magazine is devoted in good part to the only approved Marian apparition site in the United States – the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wisconsin. Our Lady appeared to Adele Brise in 1859 and told her to teach the children their catechism and about the sacramental life of the Church. “Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation.”

in 2009, Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay opened a two-year inquiry into the apparitions. He found that they exhibited a supernatural character and were worthy of belief. The other important act was the entrusting of the Fathers of Mercy as guardians of the shrine. They have seen the number of pilgrims increase from 25,000 a year in 2010 to about 200,000 a year in 2011!

The shrine offers daily mass, confession, spiritual direction, anointing of the sick, meeting rooms for groups, a new cafe (it is pretty remote), and other devotions. It is unlike other apparition shrines in that the countryside looks much as it did 150 years ago. There are no shops, restaurants or secular establishments to speak of anywhere nearby with the exception of a few farms. Hence, it is a beautiful place for quiet reflection.

Fr. Peter Stryker, C.P.M., the Rector of the Shrine, in commenting on the value of their Fathers’ work at the shrine quoted from a 1955 book on the shrine’s history in which it said:

There must be a grave reason and great need for Mary to come so often in our generation. There are great dangers threatening us…these are hurling humanity down the precipice of ruin and destruction….Mary would remind us of the value of suffering, the necessity of sacrifice, and the mercy of our Savior.

Fr. Stryker says that we all have the responsibility to open the door of faith to our family, friends and neighbors. This Year of Faith and the Holy Father’s words at World Youth Day have the same message: Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.

And as someone who has been to the shrine, I am happy to be reminded of what a pilgrimage is all about.  Regardless of what we may experience there, a pilgrimage is still, in the words of Father Stryker, “an outward sign of our desire to be on a safe path regarding our ultimate pilgrimage: our journey toward heaven as our true and eternal home!”





Go and Make Disciples

Jesus did not say: “if you would like to, if you have the time,” but: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Sharing the experience of faith, bearing witness to the faith, proclaiming the Gospel: this is a command that the Lord entrusts to the whole Church, and that includes you; but it is a command that is born not from a desire for domination or power but from the force of love, from the fact that Jesus first came into our midst and gave us, not a part of Himself, but the whole of Himself, He gave His life in order to save us and to show us the love and mercy of God.

 Krakow 2016



A Century Plus of Zoe

In 2011, we published an article in Religious Life called “A Century of Zoe” which was the vocation story of Mother Teresa Margaret, foundress of the Carmelite Monastery in Traverse City, Michigan. Baptized with the name Zoe, she said that she never liked the name, thinking it not Catholic enough, until she read that Father John Hardon said that Zoe means sanctifying grace in Greek.

Well, on May 26, 2013, Zoe went to meet, face to face, her heavenly spouse. She had been a cloistered nun for 83 years! She died at the age 101 and had entered the Grand Rapids Carmel when she was 18 years old.

Zoe Julia Armstrong was born in Ohio in 1911. When she first wrote to her first Carmel and received the answer back that they were full and to try elsewhere, she wrote back and said, is anybody going to die soon? She was full of spunk. When she entered the Grand Rapids Carmel, she was so excited that she grasped “old Mother Bernadita” in her arms and spun her around! Zoe had a rough go at first but said, “No I’m not going to go. I’m going to become what they want me to be, to prove my love to Him!”

In all challenges, Mother said we have to remember, “God wouldn’t ask this of me if He didn’t intend to help me with it.”

According to her sisters, Mother transitioned from vigorous activity to old age with remarkable gracefulness.  Until her brief final illness, she participated in all the activities of her religious community.

Requiesce in pace.



Like Father, Like Son

When Father Patrick Allen was ordained by Most Rev. Robert Guglielmone of Charleston on July 7th, his young son Henry wanted to share that moment with his father. What a beautiful picture!

Fr. Allen attended a Presbyterian Seminary but then became attracted to Anglo-Catholicism. He was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in 2001. His pilgrimage of faith ultimately led him and 19 other “pilgrims” into the Catholic Church. They are part of the Corpus Christi Catholic Community, part of the “Anglican Ordinariate,” which meets in St. Mary of the Annunciation in downtown Charleston, SC.

For a complete list of communities, parishes and religious communities belonging to the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, as it is officially called, please visit their website.

“All things that are good and pure and true in the Anglican church have a home in the Catholic Church,” Allen says. Welcome home, fellow pilgrims.

For the complete story, see the article in The Post and Courier.


A Quick Novena for Conversions

One of the missions of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Wichita (IHM) is to pray for the conversion of sinners. You can help! Using Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s “quick novena” as a model, the sisters are enlisting the help of the laity in this endeavor to pray for sinners and to ask for Our Lady’s help as they build their new novitiate. As of May 13, 2013, they had prayed 71,080 Memoraraes on their way to their goal of 5,000,000!

The IHM sisters have a special devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. When their religious institute was founded in Spain in 1848 by Fr. Joaquin Masmitija, he placed it under her protection. It was in Fatima that the Blessed Mother told Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta to “pray much and make sacrifices on behalf of sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifices for them.” When they made such a sacrifice, she told them to pray: “O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Their mission and the beloved name of Mary held by the sisters encourages them to partake of this work for the sake of the world. Anyone can pray the quick novena which is 9 Memoraraes said in petition and 1 said in thanksgiving for a total of 10. You can pray all at once or scatter them throughout the day. If you do this daily for 14 weeks, you will have said 980 Memorares! Add 2 more days and you will have said a thousand. You can help the sisters reach 5 million prayed for the conversion of the world!

The sisters sent us a postcard that can be used as a daily tally which is to be mailed back to them after 1000 Memoraraes are said. They will then present them to Our Lady of Fatima at her shrine on their property each year on May 13th and October 13th—the anniversary of her first and last apparition at Fatima in 1917.

For more information, please visit their website.


Twenty-Five years of Faithful Service

On July 18, 2013, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) celebrated its 25th anniversary. Founded in 1988 by former members of the Society of St. Pius X, it has enjoyed spectacular growth, with 240 priests and 140 seminarians worldwide.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre formed the Society of St. Pius X in response to the liturgical abuses that developed after Vatican II. But when he consecrated four bishops against the wishes of Pope John Paul II, Fr. Josef Bisig and 11 other priests along with many seminarians left the organization on order to be obedient to the Holy Father. Founding an order that retains the traditional Latin liturgy was done with humility and fealty to the Church.

With the support of the then-Cardinal Ratzinger, Bishop Joseph Stimpfle of Augsburg, Germany gave the Fraternity a home in Wigratzbad, a Marian shrine in Bavaria, that is now the Fraternity’s European seminary. Fr. Bissig was the first Superior General, a position he held until 2000.The FSSP’s mission is twofold: “formation and sanctification of priests in the cadre of the traditional liturgy of the Roman rite, and secondly, the pastoral deployment of the priests in the service of the Church.”

The fraternity’s missionary work is worldwide with more than 50 locations in North America alone. To find a parish near you, click here! Their US seminary is in Denton, Nebraska where their Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe was consecrated in 2010.

For more information, see the National Catholic Register’s article.

The Red Cross of Charity

The members of the Order of St. Camillus Servants of the Sick, in addition to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience profess a fourth vow: “To serve the sick, even with danger to one’s own life.” This vow is no shallow or meaningless promise. The Order’s numbers were often decimated by epidemics or by caring for the injured on battlefields.

St. Camillus’ life is an example to all mothers to never give up hope on their children. Camillus was a rowdy, reckless boy given to gambling. After a stint in the military and a leg injury requiring numerous hospitalizations, Camillus took up work in a Capuchin monastery where he experienced a profound conversion. During a stay at St. James Hospital in Rome, he gathered some like-minded men around him to tend the sick.

Pope John Paul II, speaking to the Camillian family  on 450th anniversary of the birth of St Camillus de Lellis (May 25, 1550) said, that St. Camillus offered “insights and advice most of which would be adopted by the science of nursing in our day. He maintained that it was important to consider all the dimensions of the sick person with attention and respect, from the physical to the emotional, from the social to the spiritual. In a well-known passage of his Rule he invites us to ask the Lord for the grace ‘of motherly affection for our neighbor,’ so that ‘body and soul can be served with true love. Indeed, with God’s grace we want to serve the sick with the affection that a loving mother is wont to show her sick only child.'”

The Camillians wear a red cross over their cassocks, predating the Red Cross by hundreds of years!


The Cross and the Guillotine

In this month of July devoted in particular to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, it is fitting that the Church honors today the Martyrs of Compiegne in France. In 1794, sixteen members of the Discalced Carmelite community offered themselves as a holocaust, poured out their blood, to end the bloodshed of the French Revolution, in particular the Reign of Terror.

Their Superior, Blessed Teresa of St. Augustine, said, “Having meditated much on this subject, I have thought of making an act of consecration by which the community would offer itself as a sacrifice to appease the anger of God, so that the Divine peace of His dear Son would be brought into the world, returned to the Church and State.”

Fr. Richard Veras said that these were not melodramatic women. “This was a Christian community who prayerfully and painstakingly discerned and verified a vocation to martyrdom.”

On July 16, 1794, on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the 16 women (13 nuns, 2 externs and 3 lay sisters) were brought before a court in Paris, accused of treason, sedition, etc. for holding fast to the ancient Faith of France. Sentenced to death, they were led one by one to the guillotine. As each sister was helped up the steps by Bl. Teresa of St. Augustine, they kissed a small statue of Mary hidden in the palm of her hand (still preserved by the Carmelites). The Reign of Terror lasted only 10 more days after this sacrifice. As Warren Carroll, founder of Christendom College, so beautifully put it in his book on the subject: “The Cross had vanquished the guillotine.”

O blessed Martyrs of Compiegne,

you were offered the choice of life versus death, and you chose life eternal!

We too are asked to make sacrifices big and small for the sake of the Kingdom.

Help us to courageously stand with Christ no  matter what the cost.



“With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord, God of hosts.”

Today, on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we reflect on this title of Our Lady as the patroness of the Carmelite order, under which she appeared to St. Simon Stock and presented to him the brown scapular. The Carmelites, who began as a community of hermits on Mount Carmel, Israel, in the 1200s and who point back to Elijah (hermit and prophet) as the first to be fired with the zeal of Mount Carmel, have spread throughout the world and continue to live the charism of seeking a direct and intimate experience of God.

But this kind of intimate union is purely a gift from God, which raises the question, how do we go about seeking it? How do we attain it? The answer is that we simply ready ourselves for it, so that if God seeks to give it, we are there with open hands. St. Teresa of Avila explained our hearts as a garden, which we weed and seek to water, so that if God wishes, He may come into it and take His delight. Carmelites characteristically have a deep-seated desire to be touched by God in this way, and so they accept many purgations and challenges of growing in virtue, that their hearts might become a beautiful and inviting dwelling place for the God Who placed this desire within them.

This union with God is the end goal of all of our lives, although most of us will experience it only in heaven. But St. Teresa tells us that many of us are called to experience it to varying degrees here on earth too. Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us, that we might also desire interior intimacy with God and be willing to do what it takes to be receptive to it!