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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Living On Purpose – Debut!

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

Check out this new show debuting on Friday, October 3, at 5:00 pm (CST).

Hosted by our Executive Director, Mike Wick, and Rick Sarkesian, IRL Advisory Board Member and founder of Lifework Press.

 

radio maria

 

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The St. Therese of America: Teresa Demjanovich

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in News | One comment

Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich,An American woman will soon be beatified yet I would venture to say that most people have not heard of her. Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, a Sister of Charity who died in 1927 at the age of 26, will be beatified on Saturday, October 4th at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, NJ. It is the first beatification to take place in the U.S.

In another first, Sr. Miriam Teresa is considered a contemplative ala St. Therese of Lisieux. Like the Little Flower, she will not be known by what she accomplished in a measurable, worldly sense but in the shining example of her life. A glimpse of this can be seen in the words she left behind and which were compiled after her death by her brother, Msgr. Charles Demjanovich. The National Catholic Register has a beautiful article on her life and legacy.

Teresa was born in 1901 in Bayonne, N.J., to Slovakian parents and raised in the Ruthenian Catholic (Byzantine) Church. She earned a bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude) in literature from the College of St. Elizabeth in New Jersey, in 1923 and then taught Latin and English. She entered the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth founded by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton but she never professed final vows.

In 1926, her spiritual director asked her to write conferences on religious life for the novitiate, quite something for such a young sister. These 26 conferences were published in a book after her death called Greater Perfection. The book can be purchased from the Sister of Charity’s website.

In fact, Fr. Bradley, who gave the conferences, posted a note on the Motherhouse bulletin board after her death stating that the conference he had been giving the sisters were actually written by Sister Miriam Teresa. Father Bradley was inspired to make this unusual request of so young a sister because  “I believed that she enjoyed extraordinary lights, and I knew that she was living an exemplary life. I thought that, one day, she would be ranked among the saints of God, and I felt it was incumbent upon me to utilize whatever might contribute to an appreciation of her merits after her death.”

She professed vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in articulo mortis (at the point of death) while in the hospital. She died of peritonitis resulting from appendicitis surgery though she was also very weak from other ailments as well.

Union with God, then, is the spiritual height God calls everyone to achieve – any one, not only religious but any one, who chooses, who wills to seek this pearl of great price, who specializes in the traffic of eternal good, who says ‘yes’ constantly to God…The imitation of Christ in the lives of saints is always possible and compatible with every state of life. The saints did but one thing – the will of God. But they did it with all their might. We have only to do the same thing; and according to the degree of intensity with which we labor shall our sanctification progress. (Greater Perfection, pp. 264-266)

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Never Too Late to Live!

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Men's communities | No comments yet.

msToday, on the great celebration of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, I would like to thank a special priest with a great devotion to the Archangel Raphael—Fr. Joe Whalen, MS. Father is a LaSalette Missionary who was ordained to the priesthood in 1989 at the age of 66. Father’s favorite motto is: It’s never too late to live! If you can imagine the odds he overcame to be ordained at that venerable age, you can believe he truly lives by that motto!

Father’s other favorite saying is: “God writes straight with crooked lines.” Father should know. He was once married and an alcoholic but managed through the grace of God to turn his entire life around. It is an amazing story. All glory goes to God, he believes, for the mercy shown to him by our loving Father.

I was fortunate to meet Father on a pilgrimage, and then accompanied him on a trip to LaSalette, Lourdes and Knock. He reminded me and my friend every day and in all circumstances to call on our Guardian angels for help. He has a deep devotion to St. Raphael, the Archangel whose name means “Medicine of God.”

St. Raphael and Tobias

St. Raphael and Tobias

Father had a St. Raphael healing ministry that continues on, even though he has retired. If you go to their website you can ask for St. Raphael oil and a prayer card and testimonials testifying to the wonder of St. Rapahel’s intercession. I can personally attest to the miracles that this Archangel still works in the world today. (Staph infection, out of control).

The main ministry of the LaSalette missionaries, of which Father is one, is to reconcile people to God. God bless Father for pouring out his life and strength for over 25 years to bring people to knowing the loving Savior. May God bless him all the remaining days of his long life. Help us to remember too that “It is never too late to live!”

 

PRAYER TO ST. RAPHAEL THE ARCHANGEL

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.I beg you, assist me in all my needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the “medicine of God” I humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of my soul and the ills that afflict my body. I especially ask of you the favor (here mention your special intention), and the great grace of purity to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

 

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Norbertine SrsCongratulations to Sr. Mary Thomas, O.Praem. and Sr. Mary Andre, O.Praem., both Thomas Aquinas College graduates, on their first profession of vows as cloistered Norbertine Canonesses in Tehachapi, California. How happy they look!

The sisters read the following handwritten profession as their families and fellow sisters looked on:

“I renounce the world and I promise a conversion of my ways and life in community, especially in poverty, consecrated chastity, and obedience, according to the Rule of St. Augustine and the Constitutions of the Canonesses Regular of the Order of Premontre, to you Mother Prioress and to the sisters for three years.”

These sisters were just founded in 1996 by a group of lay women who wanted to become Norbertine canonesses. They have grown like crazy and now number 29!

The five fundamental elements of the Norbertine Order are:

  • Solemn and Reverential Celebration of the Sacred Liturgy in Choir: Besides participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the sisters pray the seven canonical hours of the Divine Office together in their chapel.
  • Devotion to the  Holy Eucharist: St. Norbert was known as the Apostle of the Eucharist.
  • Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary: They recite the rosary daily and promote consecration to the Blessed Mother.
  • Spirit of Penance: Knowing the need for continual conversion and reparation, the sisters abstain from meat and keep midnight Vigils amidst the silence of the cloister.
  • Zeal for Souls: With maternal love, the Canonesses embrace the whole world, desiring to bring Christ to spiritual birth in every heart.

We pray for them and beg the Lord for holy and persevering vocations to religious life!

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Radio Maria

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

madonnaCheck out Radio Maria, a Catholic station committed to calling for conversion through radio programming. Tomorrow, Saturday, at 11:00am, Fr. James Kubicki, SJ, will be speaking with Sr. Beth Ann Dillon, DSMP, about her vocation, ministry and community (who care the for the mentally disabled). Both Father and Sister are on the Board of Directors of the IRL.

Begun in Italy in 1987, since 1991 Radio Maria has spread to the five continents, accomplishing the staggering number of 70 radio stations joined together in the World Family of Radio Maria. There are 18 channels in Africa alone. They are focusing their greatest effort in the African continent where another six projects are ready to start as soon as the resources are available. They do not accept advertising, preferring to rely on Divine Providence alone.

There are stations for English, Italian, German, Spanish and French-speaking people. In the US, the English stations are located in Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Mississippi, Texas, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, as well as streaming online. Italian and Spanish stations are in NY and Chicago (I didn’t know that there were many Italian-speaking people in Chicago).

I was unfamiliar with Radio Maria until today when Fr. Kubicki mentioned that he had a regular hour-long show on the air every week (Saturdays at 11:00 A.M.), where he brings in guests and often speaks with sisters from different congregations.

How do they measure success? Not on audience share but on the number of souls who return to God.

Radio Maria must be an effective instrument of Mary and must try to be a living image of Mary. Our Lady must have a silent presence on the radio, in all broadcasts, even in those which are not specifically religious, including music. Her beauty, light, peace, joy, tenderness, faith, hope and love must be present. Every Radio Maria program must emanate the presence of Mary.

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“The Best Evangelizers are the Poor!”

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Men's communities | No comments yet.

friar mariusFriar Marius-Petru Bîlha, OFM Conv., recently recounted his experience of visiting the parish of St. Maximilian Kolbe in Tegucigalpa, Nicaragua. It is on the outskirts of the capital in a poor and highly dangerous area. The Conventual friars there also serve another 16 chapels which they reach weekly or monthly to administer the sacraments and minister to the people. Or, in this case, have the people minister to them!

Friar Marius-Petru says, “One can’t help noticing the contrast between the joy and happiness of the people and the outward ugliness of a society where violence, corruption and poverty are everyday news. I have often wondered; where does it all come from, this joy, the desire for goodness and the outlook for a hopeful future? It can only come from hearts filled with love of God, hearts which put all hope and trust in Him.”

The friars in the US have a close relationship with their brothers from Honduras. Since 1997, their St. Joseph University Parish in Terre Haute, Indiana, has been sending friars and parishioners to assist in various ways at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish. Many of the missions have offered much needed medical aid to the local community in Tegucigalpa.

The best evangelizers are the poor! “I return from Honduras evangelized by the poor, strengthened to live out my own gift of self with love, joy, simplicity, humility and generosity.”

If you think you might have a vocation to serve Christ in the missions and in the poor, visit the Conventual Franciscans’ website.

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Joy is the Fruit of Not Having

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Men's communities | No comments yet.

osb norcia

“A life spent seeking God is to many the most useless of occupations. But that, of course, is the great reason for the monk’s joy. The more he seeks God, the less he needs to know why he does so. The answer takes away the question. Joy is the fruit not of having, but of no longer needing to have.

 —Fr. Benedict, O.S.B., Monastero di San Benedetto, Norcia, Italy

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Our Lady of Sorrows

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

Today is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. Vatican approval for the celebration of a feast in honor of Our Lady of Sorrows was first granted to the Servites in 1667. Images of Our Lady of Sorrows are numerous, but two are special to me.

golgotha

First, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, there is an image of Our Lady of Sorrows next to the actual rock of Calvary, a gift from the Queen of Portugal. Though it is a statue, Mary’s eyes seem filled with tears and a sword has pierced her breast. It is an image worthy of prolonged mediation.

 

olsalette

The other image is from the apparition of Our Blessed Mother at LaSalette in France. She appeared to two shepherd children as a woman weeping. At the shrine high up in the Alps, a statue commemorates this event. Here, she is weeping because of the people who take the Lord’s name in vain and do not honor the Sabbath. She is still weeping today.

ols2build

You can stay at the LaSalette Shrine in very comfortable accommodations, high above the tree line, at the site where the apparition took place. A miraculous spring still gushes forth. It is open even in the winter as I can personally attest to after making the drive up the icy mountain surrounded by 10 foot snow drifts! As you can see from the picture (above), you are clearly above the cloud line!

Our Lady of Sorrows,

your Son sent you from Heaven to warn us of the consequences of disobedience to the Father.

You call each of us to reform our lives. Help us to do so.

And at the end of our days, may we be united with Jesus forever in Heaven. Amen.

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