ROSE PHILIPPINE DUCHESNE Was born August 29, 1769 in Grenoble, France. She was baptized in the Church of St. Louis and received the name of Philip, the apostle, and Rose of Lima, first saint of the new continent. She was educated at the Convent of the Visitation of Ste. Marie d’en Haut, then, drawn to the contemplative life, she became a novice there when she was 18 years old.
At the time of the Revolution in France, the community was dispersed and Philippine returned to her family home, spending her time nursing prisoners and helping others who suffered. After the Concordat of 1801, she tried with some companions to reconstruct the monastery of Ste. Marie but without success.
In 1804, Philippine learned of a new congregation, the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and offered herself and the monastery to the Foundress, Mother Madeleine Sophie Barat. Mother Barat visited Ste. Marie in 1804 and received Philippine and several companions as novices in the Society.
Even as Philippine’s desire deepened for the contemplative life, so too her call to the missions became more urgent – a call she had heard since her youth. In a letter she wrote to Mother Barat, she confided a spiritual experience she had had during a night of adoration before the Eucharist on Holy Thursday: “I spent the entire night in the new World … carrying the Blessed Sacrament to all parts of the land … I had all my sacrifices to offer: a mother, sisters, family, my mountain! When you say to me ‘now I send you’, I will respond quickly ‘I go”‘. She waited, however, another 12 years.
In 1818 Philippine’s dream was realized. She was sent to respond to the bishop of the Louisiana territory, who was looking for a congregation of educators to help him evangelize the Indian and French children of his diocese. At St. Charles, near St. Louis, Missouri, she founded the first house of the Society outside France. It was in a log cabin – and with it came all the austerities of frontier life: extreme cold, hard work, lack of funds. She also had difficulty learning English. Communication at best was slow; news often did not arrive from her beloved France. She struggled to remain closely united with the Society in France.
Philippine and four other Religious of the Sacred Heart forged ahead. In 1818 she opened the first free school west of the Mississippi. By 1828 she had founded six houses. These schools were for the young women of Missouri and Louisiana. She loved and served them well, but always in her heart she yearned to serve the American Indians. When she was 72 and no longer superior, a school for the Potawatomi was opened at Sugar Creek, Kansas. Though many thought Philippine was too sick to go, the Jesuit head of the mission insisted: “She must come; she may not be able to do much work, but she will assure success to the mission by praying for us. Her very presence will draw down all manner of heavenly favors on the work”.
She was with the Potawatomi but a year; however, her pioneer courage did not weaken, and her long hours of contemplation impelled the Indians to name her, Quah-kah-ka-num-ad,
“Woman-Who-Prays-Always”. But Philippine’s health could not sustain the regime of village life. In July 1842, she returned to St. Charles, although her heart never lost its desire for the missions: “I feel the same longing for the Rocky Mountain missions and any others like them, that I experienced in France when I first begged to come to America…”.
Philippine died at St. Charles, Missouri, November 18, 1852 at the age of 83.
Mary Our Hope
Some say whales swallow their children when they see that they are in danger. This is what Mary does. “When storms rage she protects them in her own bosom until she brings them to the harbor of salvation.”
Blessed be God who has given Mary to us as a secure refuge in all of life’s dangers.
Our Blessed Lady told St. Bridget, “A mother uses every effort to save her son in the midst of his enemies. So, I will do to all sinners who seek my mercy.” In every battle with hell’s powers, we will conquer by having recourse to the Mother of God, saying always, “We fly to your protection.” How many victories this short prayer has won over the powers of hell!
Oh children of Mary, be of good heart. Remember, she accepts as her children all who choose to be her children. Rejoice! Why do you fear to be lost when Mary defends you? “Rejoice, for whatever judgment there is, will be pronounced by your brother (Jesus) and your mother (Mary)”.
“Whoever loves this good mother, should always trust, remembering that Jesus is his brother and Mary is his mother.”
“O safe refuge! Our judgment depends on our Brother and our Mother.”
Mary says “He that is little, let him turn to me.” (Pr 9:4) In danger, children always cry “Mother, Mother.” Mary desires that we be her children and call on her in every danger. She saves all who have recourse to her.
William Elphinstine was a young Scotch nobleman, born into Protestantism. Enlightened by grace and helped by a Scotch Jesuit, he saw his errors and became a Catholic by Mary’s intercession. He left France for Rome. In a vision, he saw his deceased mother who told him that she was lost because she died outside the Catholic Church. He redoubled his devotion to Mary and thought of being a religious. Delicate in health, he went to Naples, where God wanted him to live and die as a religious.
Shortly after arriving he became seriously ill and was accepted into the Jesuits. He received Viaticum and was professed. After this, he thanked Mary for snatching him from heresy and leading him to die in the true Church, surrounded by his religious brothers.
Told to rest a little, he said, “This is no time to rest. I am close to the end.” He saw his guardian angel who told him he would only spend a short time in purgatory and then go to heaven. A devout religious learned by revelation that he was in heaven.
Mary my Mother, I no longer deserve to be your son. It is enough if you accept me as your servant. Yet you must not forbid me to call you “Mother”, because this name consoles me and reminds me to love you. When I think of all my sins, I am consoled that you are my mother. Please allow me to call you “Mother.” Then, after God, you will be my refuge in this valley of tears. I hope to die with my soul in your hands and saying, “Mother, have pity on me.” Amen
~Source:”The Glories of Mary”
St. Elizabeth of Hungary, also known as St. Elizabeth of Thuringia, was born in Hungary on July 7, 1207 to the Hungarian King Andrew II and Gertrude of Merania.
As soon as her life began, she had responsibilities from being a royal pressed upon her. While Elizabeth was very young, her father arranged for her to be married to Ludwig IV of Thuringia, a German nobleman. Because of this plan, Elizabeth was sent away at the age of four for education at the court of the Landgrave of Thuringia.
Elizabeth’s mother, Gertrude, was murdered in 1213, when Elizabeth was just six-years-old. According to history, the murder was carried out by Hungarian noblemen due to the conflict between Germans and the Hungarian nobles. From this point on, Elizabeth’s perspective on life and death dramatically changed and she sought peace with prayer.
Happiness was returned to her young life in 1221 when she was formally married to Ludwig, whom she deeply loved. Together the couple had three beautiful children, two of whom became members of nobility and the third entering the religious life, becoming abbess of a German convent.
Elizabeth continued to live a life full of prayer and a service to the poor. Ludwig, who was now one of the rulers of Thuringia, supported all of Elizabeth’s religious endeavors even though she was a part of the royal court. She began to lead an austerely simple life, practiced penance, and devoted herself to works of charity. She used her royal position to advance her mission for charity.
In 1223, Franciscan friars arrived in Thuringia and taught 16-year-old Elizabeth all about Francis of Assisi’s ideals. She then forth decided to live her life mirroring his.
She wore simple clothing and set aside time every day to take bread to hundreds of poor people in her land. Ludwig and Elizabeth were politically powerful and lived with a remarkable generosity toward the poor.
In 1226, when disease and floods struck Thuringia, Elizabeth took to caring for the victims. It is said she even gave away the royal’s clothing and goods to the afflicted people. Elizabeth had a hospital built and provided for almost a thousand poor people daily.
Elizabeth’s life was full of love and faith. However, tragedy struck when Ludwig passed away from illness in 1227. It is said upon hearing the news, she said, “He is dead. He is dead. It is to me as if the whole world died today.” His remains were entombed at the Abbey of Reinhardsbrunn.
Elizabeth vowed to never remarry and to live a life similar to a nun, despite pressure from relatives.
Her vows included celibacy and an agreement of complete obedience to her confessor and spiritual director, Master Conrad of Marburg. His treatment of Elizabeth was very strict and often harsh. He held her to a standard that many saw as impossible to meet. He provided physical beatings and sent away her children. However, she continued to keep her vow, even offering to cut off her own nose, so she woud be too ugly for any man to want.
In 1228, Elizabeth joined the Third Order of St. Francis. Elizabeth, having received her dowry, founded a hospital in honor of St. Francis, where she personally attended to the ill. She ministered to the sick and provided support to the poor.
Elizabeth’s life was consumed deeply by her devotion to God and her charitable labor. She passed away at the age of 24, on November 17, 1231 in Marburg, Hesse.
One of her greatest known miracles occurred when she was still alive, the miracle of roses. It is said that during one of her many trips delivering bread to the poor in secret, Ludwig met with her and asked her questions to erase everyone’s suspicions that she was stealing treasures from the castle. He asked her to reveal the contents under her cloak, and as she did a vision of white and red roses was seen. To Ludwig, this meant God’s protection was evident. In other versions, it was her brother-in-law who found her. Elizabeth’s story is one of the first of many that associates Christian saints with roses.
Another living miracle involved a leper lying the bed she shared with her husband. Her mother-in-law discovered Elizabeth had placed a leper in the bed, and feeling enraged, she informed Ludwig. Annoyed with the situation, Ludwig removed the bedclothes and instantly the “Almighty God opened the eyes of his soul, and instead of a leper he saw the figure of Christ crucified stretched upon the bed.”
After her death, miraculous healings began to occur at her graveside near her hospital. Examinations were held for those who had been healed from 1232 to 1235. The investigations, along with testimony from Elizabeth’s handmaidens and companions and the immense popularity surrounding her, provided enough reason for her canonization.
Pope Gregory IX canonized her on May 27, 1235.
St. Elizabeth’s feast day is celebrated on November 17 and she is the patron saint of bakers; beggars; brides; charities; death of children; homeless people; hospitals; Sisters of Mercy; widows.
Elizabeth’s body was laid in a gold shrine in the Elisabeth Church in Marburg. Although the shrine can still be seen today, her body is no longer there. One of her own descendents scattered her remains at the time of the Reformation.
St. Elizabeth is often depicted with a basket of bread to show her devotion for the poor and hungry. She is also painted in honor of the “Miracle of Roses” and “Crucifix in the Bed.”
St. Elizabeth has been praised by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as a “model for those in authority.”
Saint Agnes of Assisi was born 1197 at Assisi, Italy. She was a daughter of Count Favorino Scifi and Blessed Hortulana, ant the younger sister of Saint Clare of Assisi, the Abbess of the Poor Ladies. Her saintly mother, Blessed Hortulana, belonged to the noble family of the Fiumi, and her cousin Rufino was one of the celebrated “Three Companions” of St. Francis. Agnes was a beautiful girl. As a little girl she was known by members of her household to be a sensitive child, gentle, prayerful and kind. Clare heard Saint Francis of Assisi preaching in the streets of Assisi about his new mendicant order and was moved by his words. When she was about 13 years old, she refused marriage, stating that she could have no spouse but Jesus Christ.
On March 18, 1212, her eldest sister Clare, inspired by the example of Francis, left her father’s home to become a follower of the saint. Sixteen days after her sister Clare renounced her inheritance and family and founded the Poor Clares, the Franciscan cloistered Order, Agnes joined her at the Benedictine cloister of St. Angelo in Panso, where they received their initial training. The family tried to bring Agnes back by force, dragging her from the monastery, but her body became so heavy that several knights could not budge her. Her uncle Monaldo tried to beat her, but was temporarily paralyzed. The family then left Agnes and Clare in peace.
The name of Agnes was given to her by Saint Francis, when he cut off her hair with his own hand, gave her the habit of Poverty and he choose her to found and govern a community of Poor Clares at Monticelli, near Florence. In 1216, Clare accepted the role of abbess at San Damiano, and defended her order from the attempts of prelates to impose a rule on them that more closely resembled the Rule of St Benedict than Francis’ stricter vows.
Not the least important part of Clare’s work was the help and encouragement she gave to her spiritual father, Francis. It was to her that he turned when in doubt and it was she who urged him to continue his mission in preaching when he thought his vocation lay in becoming a hermit. After receiving the Stigmata, blind, ill and dying, Francis came for the last time to San Damiano. Clare built a little reed hut for him outside the cloister and tended him. It was there that he composed his magnificent “Canticle of the Creatures”, in the spring of 1225.
Agnes died on November 16, 1253 at the monastery of San Damiano of natural causes died at the age of 56 in 1253, shortly after her sister Clare. From this one can deduce that she was born in 1197. She was buried in the Santa Chiara church, Assisi, Italy. God, Who had favoured Agnes with many heavenly manifestations during life, glorified her tomb after death by numerous miracles.
On August 15, 1255, Pope Alexander IV canonized Clare as St Clare of Assisi. In 1263, Pope Urban IV officially changed the name of the Order of Poor Ladies to the Order of Saint Clare.
Miraculous Crucifix of Limpias Spain
When entering the sixteenth-century Church of St. Peter, attention is immediately captured by the beautiful life-size figure of the crucified Savior located above the main altar. Arranged on either side of the crucifix, and somewhat below it, are larger-than-life size figures of the Sorrowful Mother and St. John the Apostle. Believed to have been the work of Pedro de Mena, who died in 1693, the crucifix was given to the church by Don Diego de la Piedra Secadura, who had been born at Limpias in 1716.
The crucifix is a meditation on the sufferings of Our Lord and is thought to portray the Crucified in the final moments of His agony. Measuring six feet tall, the corpus is clothed with a loin cloth that is held in place with a rope. The feet are one atop the other and are pierced with a single nail. The index and middle fingers of both pierced hands are extended as though giving a final blessing. The face of Our Lord is of a particular beauty, with it’s eyes of china looking towards Heaven so that, for the most part, only the whites of the eyes are visible.
The first recorded miracle involving this crucifix took place in 1914, five years before the grand miracles of 1919. The recipient of the favor was Don Antonio Lopez, a monk belonging to the Order of the Pauline Fathers who conducted a college in Limpas. his entire account reads as follows:
One day in the month of August, 1914, I went into the parish church of Limpias, by order of my friend D. Gregorio Bringas, to fix the electric light over the high altar. In order to work more comfortably I put two large cases on the altar, an on them a ladder, the ends of which I leaned against the wall that serves as a background to the figure of the Crucified One.
After I had worked for two hours, in order to rest myself a little I began to clean the figure so that it could be seen more clearly. My head was on a level with the Head of Christ, and at a distance of only a couple of feet from it. It was a lovely day and through the window in the sanctuary a flood of light streamed into the church and lit up the whole altar. As I was gazing at the crucifix with the closest attention, I noticed with astonishment that Our Lord’s eyes were gradually closing, and for five minutes I saw them quite closed.
Overwhelmed with fright at such an unexpected spectacle, I could still hardly quite believe what I saw, and was about to come down from the ladder. Notwithstanding, my bewilderment was so great that my strength suddenly failed me; I lost my balance, fainted, and fell from the ladder onto the edge of the altar itself and down the steps into the sanctuary.
Another Miracle was when Archpriest D. Eduardo Miqueli was celebrating Holy Mass, both missionaries were occupied in the confessional. Fr. Agatangelo, however, delivered the day’s sermon based on the words “My son, give me thy heart.” (pro.23:26). While he was speaking, a girl of about 12 entered the confessional of Fr. Jalon and told him the eyes of Christ on the cross were closed.Thinking that her claim was a product of her imagination, the priest ignored her claim until other children also came to him with the same message.
After the parish priest was called from the sacristy and was told the eyes of the Crucified were opening and closing and that the figure was turning His gaze from side to side, he, too, fell on his knees to pray. But his prayer was soon interrupted by many of the people who declared that the figures was perspiring. Fr. Jalon climbed up and saw that the perspiration covered the figures neck and chest. after touching the neck he looked upon his fingers that were wet with the fluid. As verification of what had taken place, he showed his moistened fingers to the congregation. Fr. Agatangelo later saw the miracle several times when he prayed alone in the church at night.
Another apparition took place on Palm Sunday, April 13, 1919, when two prominent men of Limpas approached the altar. Speaking of hallucination and mass hysteria as they looked upon the crucifix, one of them suddenly pointed upward and feel to his knees, crying for mercy and proclaiming his belief in the miracle. On Easter Sunday April 20, in the presence of a group of nuns know as the Daughter of the Cross who conducted a girls school in Limpas. They saw the eyes and lips of Santo Cristo move. Rev. Baron Von Kleist reports that:
Many said the Savior looked at them; at some in a kindly manner, and at others gravely, and at yet others with a penetrating and stern glance. Many of them saw tears in His eyes; others noticed that drops of blood ram down from the temples pierced by the crown of thorns; some saw froth on His lips and sweat on His body; others again saw how He turned His eyes from side to side, and let His gaze pass over the whole assembly of people; or how; at the Benediction, He made a movement of the eyes as if giving the bless; how at the same time He moved the thorn- crowned head from on side to the other. Others had the impression that a deep, submissive sigh was wrested from His breast, some believed they saw Him whisper-in short, the most varied manifestations were observed on this crucifix.
One of the first to declare his experience to the secular press was the well-known and highly respected D. Adolf Arenaza. His testimony was published May 5, 1919 in the newspaper La Gazeta del Norte, which was published in Bilbao. He reported that he joined a procession going to Limpas in order to visit the crucifix. While looking through his field-glasses he saw the movement of the eyes four times. He further stated that it could not have been and effect of the light nor and hallucination, since people saw the miracles from all parts of the church. He then asked, “Does Our Lord really move His eyes… I am rather of the opinion that He really does move them, for I have seen it myself.”
Several albums are found in the sacristy of the church of the Limpias. these contain well over 8,000 testimonies of people who had seen the wonderful apparitions. Of these 2,500 were sworn on oath.
The first Bishop to be favored with an apparition was Don Manuel Ruiz y Rodriguez of Cuba, who went to Limpas following a visit to Rome. After returning home he composed a detailed pastoral letter to the members of his diocese in which he told of the miraculous crucifix. He disclosed that he had seen the figure close and open the mouth, how it moved it’s head from one side to the other how the face took on an expression of Death. Later he again saw the mouth move. “He shut it very slowly but opened it quickly… the closing of the mouth was slow until one lip touched the other.
Finally a report made by a medical student D. Heriberto de la Villa which was published in the paper Del Pueblo Astur on July 8, 1919. Little by little the breast and face became dark blue, the eyes move to the right then the left, upwards and down, the mouth somewhat open, as if He was having breathing difficulty. I also noticed that above the left eyebrow a wound formed, out of which a drop of blood flowed over His eyebrow, and remained stationary by the eye-lids. I believe it is my duty to swear upon oath what I had seen, and I did so in the sacristy of the church.
I will conclude with a brief report made by a journalist. After watching the movement of the eyes and mouth he stated:I could perceive two movements of the jawbone, as if He were saying two syllables with His lips. I shut my eyes quite tight and asked myself: “What will He have said?” The answer was not long in coming, for in my innermost self I clearly heard the significant and blessed words, “Love Me!”
Perhaps that is why Our Lord performed so many wonders for eyes of believers and unbelievers. At Limpas He demonstrated the agony of His death and the extent of His love for us, not only to evoke sentiments of pity and repentance, but also to ask, no, to plead with us to love Him in return.
~Source:”Miraculous Images of Our Lord”