Tag Archives: Marytown

Year of Mercy Icon Explained

For the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the IRL is pleased to introduce this special icon entitled “Merciful Like the Father” in honor of this extraordinary year in the life of the Church. Written by Vivian Imbruglia, it draws one into the message that the Holy Father hopes to bring to the world. God is a merciful Father. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who will leave the 99 sheep to go in search of the one lost soul. Mary is our Mother whose mantle embraces all.

We were honored to have Fr. John Grigus, OFM Conv., bless the icon at the filled-to-capacity Mass on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception at Marytown in Libertyville, IL, on December 8th. The icon can be seen in the Eucharistic adoration chapel, where adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place 24 hours a day.

MercyIconMediumIn the center of the icon is Jesus, the Good Shepherd, taking upon his shoulders the lost soul, who has one eye open, illustrating that all it takes is one look at Christ to bring about a transformation. The rays emanating from Jesus are reflective of the Divine Mercy image, the Blood and Water flowing from the Heart of Jesus.

Jesus stands in front of the Holy Door, opened by Pope Francis on December 8th at St. Peter’s in Rome. “Anyone who enters will experience the love of God Who consoles and pardons and instills hope” (Misericordiae Vultus). Marytown is also a designated as a Year of Mercy Holy Door pilgrimage site.

The Blessed Virgin, Our Mother of Mercy, embraces the whole world with her outstretched hands. To her left, the figures are instances in the Gospel when people encountered God’s mercy: the Samaritan Woman, Zacchaeus, Matthew, the Woman who anointed Jesus’ feet, the Prodigal Son, the Repentant Thief, St. Peter, and the Parable of the Lost Coin.

On the right side are saints who made Divine Mercy their special mission in life: Mother Teresa, St. John Paul II, Padre Pio, St. Faustina, St. Maximilian Kolbe (whose National Shrine is at Marytown), St. Therese of Lisieux. The other figures represent the people of God who participate in the saving work of  Christ.

pope-francis-holy-door-640x360“In passing through the holy door, then, may we feel that we ourselves are part of this mystery of love,” said Pope Francis. “Let us set aside all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved. Instead, let us experience the joy of encountering that grace which transforms all things.”

To order holy cards, triptychs, note cards, etc. visit MercyIcon.com or call the IRL office at (847)573-8975. To read about the opening of the Holy Door at St. Peters, visit the National Catholic Register website. To watch the opening of the Holy Door, visit Salt & Light TV.


St. Anthony Comes Around

Last Sunday and Monday, we at the IRL who lodge at the Conventual Franciscan Friary at Marytown, were blessed to be able to view and venerate the relics of St. Anthony of Padua which are on tour from Padua, Italy. Throughout the two days, there were masses, vespers, adoration, and many people who came to be near the earthly remains of this very popular Franciscan priest and Doctor of the Church.

As you can see from the picture, the reliquary is stunning. May this patron saint of lost articles and this so eloquent evangelist for the Faith, intercede for us this day and help us throughout our lives.

Here is a St. Anthony Novena:

Novena to Saint Anthony for Any Need

St. Anthony, you are glorious for your miracles and for the condescension of Jesus Who came as a little child to lie in your arms. Obtain for me from His bounty the grace which I ardently desire. You were so compassionate toward sinners, do not regard my unworthiness. Let the glory of God be magnified by you in connection with the particular request that I earnestly present to you.

[State your request here.]


As a pledge of my gratitude, I promise to live more faithfully in accordance with the teachings of the Church, and to be devoted to the service of the poor whom you loved and still love so greatly. Bless this resolution of mine that I may be faithful to it until death.

St. Anthony, consoler of all the afflicted, pray for me.

St. Anthony, helper of all who invoke you, pray for me.

St. Anthony, whom the Infant Jesus loved and honored so much, pray for me. Amen.



A Powerhouse Saint

The relics of St Anthony of Padua are on the move! Specifically on the move to several locations between Milwaukee and Chicago during June. The tour celebrates the 750th anniversary of the discovery of the relics by St. Bonaventure, then Minister General of the Friars Minor. I was fascinated to read that when St. Anthony’s body was exhumed and examined, it was found to be mostly bones and ashes with one amazing exception: his tongue was perfectly intact! St. Bonaventure exclaimed: “Oh blessed tongue, that ever praised the Lord, and led others to praise Him! Now it is clear how great are your merits before God!”

Why the tongue? Perhaps because St. Anthony was such a powerful and persuasive preacher who brought many into the faith. It was in September in the year 1222, that the young friar was suddenly thrust into the limelight when he was asked at the 11th hour to give a sermon that no one else was prepared to give. His eloquence and knowledge startled those in attendance and his quiet life was no more. In 1931, the seven-hundredth anniversary of his death, in recognition of his profound gifts to the Church, he was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church.

Franciscan scholar Sophronius Clasen,o.f.m., wrote: “Immediately after his death, Anthony became the object of an extraordinary devotion; and miracle followed miracle, as the prayers of the sick and afflicted were answered by sudden cures and other wonders. This set on foot a great wave of enthusiasm, and drew large crowds to his tomb, who began to honor him as a Saint even before the Pope had canonized him.” Today, he is still a miracle-worker and his name is invoked for lost articles and for all the poor and oppressed. Father Mario Conte, a Franciscan and executive editor of the Messenger of St. Anthony magazine in Padua who is traveling with the relics, said the exhibition is attracting large crowds. “Somehow,” he said, “people feel that St. Anthony is a friend, he is almost a member of their family, a brother. ”

We at the IRL are blessed to have the relics at Marytown in Libertyville, IL, from June 9th to the 10th.  On Sunday, the 9th, there will be vespers at 7:00 pm while on Monday, there will be day-long veneration of the relics and three masses will be celebrated. A beautiful gift for a loved one, living or deceased, is to enroll them in the the St. Anthony Holy Mass League, canonically established by the Conventual Franciscan Friars in 1937. Mass is offered daily all members with a special remembrance on Tuesdays, in honor of St. Anthony of Padua. This tour and the people who come seeking his intercession is a powerful reminder of what a powerhouse of a friend we have in heaven.

Maximilian Saint of Auschwitz Drama

For those of you in the Chicagoland area, the IRL and Marytown (home to the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe) are sponsoring Maximilian: Saint of Auschwitz, a drama performed FREE by Leonardo Defilippis of St. Luke Productions on Sunday, September 23, 2012, @ 6:30 PM, at the University of St. Mary of the Lake Auditorium in Mundelein, Illinois.

There is no charge for the performance but you must register in advance by calling Marytown at (847)367-7800 ext 226 or visit the Marytown Gift Shop at 1600 West Park Avenue in Libertyville, IL, 60048.

The Conventual Franciscans of the St. Bonaventure Province, an IRL Affiliate, are the guardians of the shrine to St. Maximilian. Their beautiful chapel has adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, open to the public, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. It is located on the property adjacent to the Mundelein Seminary where the drama will take place. Stop by and pay the Lord a visit!


Franciscan Family Photo

I have a soft spot in my heart for the friars at the St. Francis of Assisi Novitiate in Mishawaka, Indiana, so I am happy to post this photo of the novices and friars and Friar Thomas’ parents who came for a visit.  I am also happy to report that the number of novices in their new “class” will be almost double that of the prior class. The Holy Spirit is working in the hearts of young men!

The Conventual Franciscans of the St. Bonaventure Province are an IRL Affiliate Community. We are fortunate that the IRL’s HQ (modest though it is) is located on the grounds of Marytown, a beautiful perpetual adoration  shrine and retreat house run by the Conventuals in Libertyville, Illinois. It is also the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe.

Come for a quiet holy hour or come for a stay at this most beautiful oasis of serenity and prayer!