Angels, Miracles of the Saints

Angels in the Life of St.Zita

Daughter of poor peasants, Zita was born at Monsagrati, close to Lucca. Because of the great poverty of her family she was sent at only 12 years old, to go to work in the home of the noble family Fatinelli. Because of her great goodness and generosity, she made herself valued by all. She died in that home in 1278.

The poets Fazio of Umberti and Dante memorialized her in their works, linking her name to the city of Lucca, city of which the Saint is patron, in addition to being the patron saint of housekeepers and maids.

Because of her abilities and virtues Zita was given, by her owners, care of the whole family. One morning she went to

Holy Communion in the nearby Church of Saint Frediano and she was so fervent in her thanksgiving that she lost track of time. This was the day she was supposed to bake bread. She ran home worried about recuperating the lost time. She opened the cupboard and found to her astonishment that the flour was already mixed and rising and she had only to cook it in the oven. She searched and questioned anyone who might have done this, but in vain. The Lord then revealed that the Angels had prepared the bread while she was at prayer.

One evening Saint Zita was preparing for the midnight Mass of Christmas. Heavy snow had fallen in Lucca and since Zita had given away all the warm wraps she owned to the poor, her mistress insisted that she wear her fur coat. The Saint before entering the Church of Saint Frediano, saw a poor man seated on the steps who was freezing in the cold. She gave the poor man the fur coat and asked him to return it to her as it was not hers.At the end of the Mass, Zita remained in prayer for a long time. When she left the church it was already past dawn. The poor man was nowhere in sight and he had taken the fur coat with him! Zita did not think much of the reproaches from her owner but felt bad that she had made the poor man wait so long. She made her way home and met with expected blame from her employer. Around dinner-time there was a knock at the door. It was the poor man carrying the fur coat. When he went to take his leave a blinding light filled the room. Everyone was astonished. A joy never felt before pervaded their souls. That poor man was the Guardian Angel of Saint Zita.

An ancient manuscript narrates that one year a famine severely struck the city of Lucca. Grain became very expensive due to profiteering. After Zita had given all the bread in the house to the poor one morning, and not knowing what to do to provide for other poor people that came to her at the house of the Fatinelli’s, she gave them the contents of a large case filled with fava beans her patron was supposed to sell. When the owner ordered her to verify the contents of the case and give it to the buyer, Zita, trusting in Providence, opened it up and saw that the case was once again filled to capacity.

Carmelite saints, December Feast Days

St.Maria Maravillas de Jesus

Maria Maravillas Pidal y Chico de Guzman was born in Madrid on November 4, 1891 to the Marquess and Marchioness of Pidal. Her father, at the time, was the Spanish Ambassador to the Holy See and was well noted for his efforts to help the Church and religious Orders.

She was baptized at the age of eight days old in the parish of St. Sebastian. Maria was attracted to virtue from early childhood and, in her own way, made a vow of chastity at the age of five. She received a privileged education from her maternal grandmother particularly in the study of languages and general culture, and devoted herself to charitable works with the poor and marginalized. Maria was confirmed in 1896 and made her first communion in 1902.

After coming into contact with the works of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, she entered the Carmelite novitiate at El Escorial, Madrid in 1920, and in 1924 together with three sisters founded the Carmel in Cerro de los Angeles (Madrid), where several years earlier a monument to the Sacred Heart had been erected and the Nation consecrated by King Alfonso XIII. Living nearby during the construction of the convent in a provisional house in the district of Getafe, Maria made her solemn profession on May 30th 1924. She became prioress of the community in June of 1926 and on October 31st of the same year, the new Carmel in Cerro de los Angeles was inaugurated. It quickly filled with vocations and Mother Maravillas took this as a sign from the Lord to multiply ‘Our Lady’s houses’ of Carmel. In 1933, a Carmelite Bishop invited her to found another house in Kottayam, India which eventually grew into numerous other foundations throughout India.

The Spanish Civil War erupted in July of 1936 and the sisters at Cerro de los Angeles were arrested and taken to Getafe where they lived for fourteen months in a small apartment under house arrest. The community was allowed to leave Madrid in September 1937 and settled in the ancient, abandoned ‘desert’ of las Batuecas (Salamanca) and there founded another Carmel at the request of Bishop of Coria-Caceres. In 1939 Mother Maravillas returned to Madrid and began the reconstruction of the then destroyed Carmel of Cerro de los Angeles.

Soon to follow were numerous new Carmels throughout Spain. She moved to the Carmel of La Aldehuela (Madrid) in 1961 and while there founded colleges for poor young people of the area. She built a suburb of prefabricated houses, church, community hall, recreation grounds, and bought a house in Madrid for Carmelite nuns needing medical attention. In 1972 Maria obtained approval from the Holy See for the Association of St. Teresa as a means of uniting the monasteries founded by her and others that had attached themselves.

She died in peace in the Carmel of La Aldehucla on December 11, 1974 at the age of 84. As she died she kept repeating “What happiness to die a Carmelite!” A perfume of spice emanated from her body. She was beatified on May 19, 1998 by Pope John Paul II and was canonized by Pope John Paul II in Madrid 2003

Quotes of the Saints

Saint Quote of the Day

“Truly the Heart of Jesus is more grieved by the thousand little imperfections of His friends than by even grave faults of His enemies.But it seems to me that it is only when his own chosen ones make a habit of these infidelities,and do not ask His pardon,that He can say:”These wounds that you see in the midst of my hands:with these was I wounded in the house of them that loved me” (Zach.13:6)

“For those who love Him and who come after each little fault and throw themselves into His arms,begging His forgiveness,the Heart of Jesus thrills with joy.He says to His angels what the father of the prodigal son said to His servants:”Put a ring on his finger and let us rejoice” (Luke 15:22).Oh the goodness and the merciful Heart of Jesus,how little it is known!True it is,that to share in these treasures we must humble ourselves,must acknowledge our nothingness,and this is what many souls are unwilling to do”

~St.Therese of Lisieux

Marian apparitions, Miracles of Our Lady

Our Lady of Loretto

The title “Our Lady of Loreto” is associated with the Holy House of Loreto in Italy, the house of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, miraculously transported by the angels from Palestine to Europe.

The house of the Holy Family in Nazareth has always been the object of Christian veneration. Shortly after 313, St. Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, built a basilica over this holy abode. The Saracens invaded the Holy Land in 1090, plundering and destroying Christian shrines, including Constantine’s basilica. Under the ruble, the Holy House was found intact.

During the twelfth century, another basilica was built to protect the holy dwelling. In 1219 or 1220 St. Francis of Assisi visited the Holy House in Nazareth. So did King St. Louis IX of France, when he was leading a crusade to liberate the Holy Land.

In 1263, when the Muslims overpowered the crusaders, the basilica was again destroyed but, once more, the Holy House was found intact.

When the crusaders where completely driven out of the Holy Land in 1291, the Holy House disappeared.

On May 10, 1291 a parish priest, Fr. Alexander Georgevich in the town of Tersatto, Dalmatia, (present-day Croatia) noticed the sudden appearance of a small building resting on a plot of land. Puzzled, he prayed about it, and in a dream saw the Blessed Virgin Mary, who explained that the structure was the house of the Holy Family, brought there by the power of God.

In 1294, with the Moslem invasion of Albania, the house disappeared again. According to the testimony of shepherds, it was seen on December 10 of that year born aloft by angels over the Adriatic Sea. This time the Holy House came to rest in a wooded area four miles from Recanati, Italy. As the news spread fast, thousands flocked there, and many miracles took place at the site.

Due to contrary circumstances, twice again the house was moved, finally coming to rest in the town of Loreto, Italy, its present location.

As miracles continued to occur in connection with pilgrimages to the house, deputations were sent to Nazareth to determine its origins in 1292, in 1296, and in 1524. All three declared that the measurements of the house corresponded to the visible foundations of the house of Nazareth.

In 1871 at the suggestion of Cardinal Bartolini, Professor Ratti of the University of Rome was given mortar and stones from the house at Loreto, and similar materials from houses in Nazareth. Ignorant of which was which, Prof. Ratti ascertained that the composition of the material from the house of Loreto while not original to Italy was identical to that of the material from Nazareth.

Other striking facts about the house in Loreto are that it has no foundations. The walls rest on a plot that was part field and part road, a sure indication that it was not built there but placed there. The style of the house of Loreto is not Italian but Eastern. And the original door was on the long side of the house, indicating that it was a dwelling and not a church.

Today a great basilica houses the dwelling of the holiest of families. From 1330, practically all the Popes have considered Loreto the greatest shrine of Christendom. Bulls in favor of the shrine were issued by Pope Sixtus IV in 1491 and by Julius II in 1507. While the miracle of the translation of the house is not a matter of faith, Innocent XII, in the seventeenth century, appointed a special Mass for the Feast of the Translation of the Holy House. Numerous saints have visited the house-relic.

As pilgrims enter the small precinct, they read on the threshold, “Hic Verbum caro factum est” – “Here the Word became flesh”. Above the altar inside the holy house is an ancient statue of Our Lady holding the Infant Jesus, known as Our Lady of Loreto.

~Source:americaneedsfatima.org

December Feast Days

St.John Roberts

+Feast Day December 10

Son of John and Anna Roberts; his ancestors were princes in Wales. Raised Protestant, John always felt an affinity for Catholicism. He studied at Saint John’s College, Oxford from 1595 to 1597, but left without a degree. He then studied law at the Inns of Court at age 21. In 1598, while travelling in France, he joined the Church of Rome at Notre Dame in Paris.

Entered the English College at Valladolid, Spain on 18 October 1598. He left the College in 1599 to join the Abbey of Saint Benedict in Valladolid. Benedictine novice at the Abbey of Saint Martin in Compostela, Spain in 1600. Ordained there.

Father John returned to England as a missioner, leaving on 26 December 1602, and entering the country in April 1603. Arrested in May 1603, and exiled. Returned to England in 1604, and worked with plague victims in London; arrested and banished again. Returned to England in 1605. During a search for suspects involved in the Gunpowder Plot, John was found in the home of Mrs Thomas Percy, and was arrested again. Though he had no connection to the Plot, he spent seven months in prison, and was exiled again in July 1606.

While in exile he founded a house in Douai for exiled English Benedictines; this house became the monastery of Saint Gregory. Responsible for the conversion of Blessed Maurus Scott. Returned to England in October 1607, was arrested in December, and sent to Gatehouse prison. He escaped, and spent a year working in London, but was again arrested. His execution was scheduled for May 1609, but the intercession of the French ambassador led to a reduction in sentence; he was exiled yet again.

Returned to England a few months later, he was arrested while celebrating Mass on 2 December 1610. Convicted on 5 December 1610 of the crime of priesthood. Martyred with Blessed Thomas Somers.

December Feast Days

St.Juan Diego

Saint Juan Diego was born in 1474 as Cuauhtlatoatzin, a native to Mexico. He became the first Roman Catholic indigenous saint from the Americas.

Following the early death of his father, Juan Diego was taken to live with his uncle. From the age of three, he was raised in line with the Aztec pagan religion, but always showed signs of having a mystical sense of life.

He was recognized for his religious fervor, his respectful and gracious attitude toward the Virgin Mary and his Bishop Juan de Zumarraga, and his undying love for his ill uncle.

When a group of 12 Franciscan missionaries arrived in Mexico in 1524, he and his wife, Maria Lucia, converted to Catholicism and were among the first to be baptized in the region. Juan Diego was very committed to his new life and would walk long distances to receive religious instruction at the Franciscan mission station at Tlatelolco.

On December 9, 1531, Juan Diego was in a hurry to make it to Mass and celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. However, he was stopped by the beautiful sight of a radiant woman who introduced herself, in his native tongue, as the “ever-perfect holy Mary, who has the honor to be the mother of the true God.”

Mary told Juan Diego she was the mother of all those who lived in his land and asked him to make a request to the local bishop. She wanted them to build a chapel in her honor there on Tepeyac Hill, which was the site of a former pagan temple.

When Juan Diego approached Bishop Juan de Zumarraga telling of what happened, he was presented with doubts and was told to give the Bishop time to reflect on the news.

Later, the same day, Juan Diego encountered the Virgin Mary a second time and told her he failed in granting her request. He tried to explain to her he was not an important person, and therefore not the one for the task, but she instead he was the man she wanted.

Juan Diego returned to the Bishop the next day and repeated his request, but now the Bishop asked for proof or a sign the apparition was real and truly of heaven.

Juan Diego went straight to Tepeyac and, once again, encountered the Virgin Mary. After explaining to her what the Bishop asked, she agreed and told him she’d provide him with proof on the next day, December 11.

However, on the next day, Juan Diego’s uncle became very sick and he was obligated to stay and care for him. Juan Diego set out the next to find a priest for his uncle. He was determined to get there quickly and didn’t want to face the Virgin Mary with shame for missing the previous day’s meeting.

But the Virgin Mary intercepted him and asked what was wrong. He explained his situation and promised to return after he found his uncle a priest.

She looked at him and asked “No estoy yo aqui que soy tu madre?” (Am I not here, I who am your mother?) She promised him his uncle would be cured and asked him to climb to the hill and collect the flowers growing there. He obeyed and found many flowers blooming in December on the rocky land. He filled his tilma (cloak) with flowers and returned to Mary.

The Virgin Mary arranged the flowers within his cloak and told him this would be the sign he is to present to the bishop. Once Juan Diego found the bishop, he opened his cloak and the bishop was presented with a miraculous imprinted image of the Virgin Mary on the flower-filled cloak.

The next day, Juan Diego found his uncle fully healed from his illness. His uncle explained he, too, saw the Virgin Mary. She also instructed him on her desires to have a church built on Tepeyac Hill, but she also told him she wanted to be known with the title of Guadalupe.

News of Juan Diego’s miracle quickly spread, and he became very well-known. However, Juan Diego always remained a humble man.

The bishop first kept Juan Diego’s imprinted cloak in his private chapel, but then placed it on public display in the church built on Tepeyac Hill the next year.

The first miracle surrounding the cloak occurred during the procession to Tepeyac Hill when a participant was shot in the throat by an arrow shot in celebration. After being placed in front of the miraculous image of Mary, the man was healed.

Juan Diego moved into a little hermitage on Tepeyac Hill, and lived a solidarity life of prayer and work. He remained there until his death on December 9, 1548, 17 years after the first apparition.

News of Our Lady’s apparitions caused a wave of nearly 3,000 Indians a day to convert to the Christian faith. Details of Juan Diego’s experience and Mary’s words moved them deeply.

During the revolutions in Mexico, at the beginning of the 20th century, nonbelievers attempted to destroy the Image with an explosion. The altar?s marble steps, the flower-holders, and the basilica windows were all very damaged, but the pane of glass protecting the Image was not even cracked.

Juan Diego’s imprinted cloak has remained perfectly preserved from 1531 to present time. The “Basilica of Guadalupe” on Tepeyac Hill has become one of the world’s most-visited Catholic shrines.

St. Juan Diego was beatified on May 6, 1990 by Pope John Paul II and canonized on July 31, 2002. His feast day is celebrated on December 9 and he is the patron saint of Indigenous people.

~Source : catholiconline .org

Marian apparitions, Miracles of Our Lady

Our Lady of China

In 1900, the Catholic Church was healthy and growing in China. There were 40 bishops, about 800 European missionaries, 600 native Chinese priests and about 700,000 Catholics throughout China.

It was during this time that the Boxer Uprising (1898–1900) started what ushered in a period of animosity against all things European.

It was from this hatred that the Boxer Rebellion was born. In June 1900, the Boxers besieged the Beitang cathedral. Directing the defense during the siege was the French Lazarist Bishop Pierre-Marie-Alphonse Favier, C.M., of Peking. Bishop Favier, who designed the cathedral, kept a journal during the siege and gave vivid accounts of what was endured before and during the siege.

He provides the following account of the Boxer revolt:

The Boxers are a truly diabolical sect; invocations, incantations, obsessions, and even possessions, are common among them. Savants may attribute their extraordinary doings to magnetism or hypnotism or may look upon them as victims of hysteria and fanaticism, but to us they seem to be even more directly instruments of the devil. The hatred of the name Catholic drives them to the greatest excesses.

Established as they are in every village they unite on a day specified to attack any one Catholic settlement, destroying and murdering everything and everyone in it.

Small children were quartered, women were burned in church or run through with a sword, men were stabbed or shot and some were even crucified.

The conduct of the Catholics is admirable; apostasy is proposed to them, but they prefer flight, ruin, even death.Ten thousand Boxers and soldiers from the regular army besieged the cathedral, which was the Lazarists’ usual place of residency. Behind the church’s walls were over 3,000 Chinese Catholics, 30 French sailors led by a 23-year-old Lt. Paul Henry (who died in the siege), 11 Italian soldiers led by a 22-year-old Lt. Olivieri, and numerous French and Chinese priests and sisters. This siege resulted in the deaths of more than 400 people. Over the two-month siege, the Catholics endured continuous bombardment, mine attacks, flaming rockets and starvation. Many of the children died from smallpox.

Among the admirable figures in the siege was Sister Helen de Jaurias, the Superior of the Sisters of Charity in Beitang, of whom it is said that she possessed the virtue and character of their foundress, Saint Louise de Marillac. Her diary, containing the daily events of the siege until her death on August 20, 1900, provides proof of this: despite having to lodge and feed 1,800 women and children, she overcame the burden of old age and fatigue. She went, as she expressed it, “to observe from Heaven the triumph of Holy Church and the conversion of China.”

In 1901, at the Lazarists’ motherhouse in Paris, Bishop Favier would recount events of this dramatic siege:

Every night during those two months, the Chinese [Boxers] directed heavy gunfire at the roofs of the cathedral and the balustrade surrounding it. Why? wondered [Lieutenant] Paul Henry and the missionaries. There was no one there to defend the cathedral. After the liberation, the pagans provided the key to this mystery: “How is it,” they said, “that you did not see anything? Every night, a white Lady walked along the roof, and the balustrade was lined with white soldiers with wings.”

Their miraculous survival was attributed to the appearance of a woman in white, Our Lady of Deliverance. Bishop Favier had a chapel erected in thanksgiving, in the church of Beitang in her honor.She is represented as the Empress of China holding in her arms the Child Jesus, Who is depicted as an imperial prince.

Bishop Favier expressed his absolute confidence in Providence that thus manifested Its protection:

The good God wishes to save the missions of China. The persecution had been so cleverly organized, that it seemed that the Catholic religion in China was going to be extinguished. However nothing of the kind happened. Thanks be to God.Death gives birth to life. Blessed are those who succumb to death, they prepare the way for the final triumph, they are martyrs crowned by God.

~Source:americaneedsfatima.org