July Feast Days

St.Alphonsus Liguori

Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the Redemptorist Congregation.

He was born Alphonsus Marie Antony John Cosmos Damien Michael Gaspard de Liguori on September 27,1696, at Marianella, near Naples, Italy. Raised in a pious home, Alphonsus went on retreats with his father, Don Joseph, who was a naval officer and a captain of the Royal Galleys. Alphonsus was the oldest of seven children, raised by a devout mother of Spanish descent. Educated at the University of Naples, Alphonsus received his doctorate at the age of sixteen.

By age nineteen he was practicing law, but he saw the transitory nature of the secular world, and after a brief time, retreated from the law courts and his fame.

Visiting the local Hospital for Incurables on August 28, 1723, he had a vision and was told to consecrate his life solely to God. In response, Alphonsus dedicated himself to the religious life, even while suffering persecution from his family. He finally agreed to become a priest but to live at home as a member of a group of secular missionaries. He was ordained on December 21, 1726, and he spent six years giving missions throughout Naples.

In April 1729, Alphonsus went to live at the “Chiflese College,” founded in Naples by Father Matthew Ripa, the Apostle of China. There he met Bishop Thomas Falcoia, founder of the Congregation of Pious Workers. This lifelong friendship aided Alphonsus, as did his association with a mystic, Sister Mary Celeste. With their aid, Aiphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer on November 9, 1732. The foundation faced immediate problems, and after just one year, Alphonsus found himself with only one lay brother, his other companions having left to form their own religious group. He started again, recruited new members, and in 1743 became the prior of two new congregations, one for men and one for women. Pope Benedict XIV gave his approval for the men’s congregation in 1749 and for the women’s in 1750. Alphonsus was preaching missions in the rural areas and writing.

He refused to become the bishop of Palermo but in 1762 had to accept the papal command to accept the see of St. Agatha of the Goths near Naples. Here he discovered more than thirty thousand uninstructed men and women and four hundred indifferent priests. For thirteen years Alphonsus fed the poor, instructed families, reorganized the seminary and religious houses, taught theology, and wrote. His austerities were rigorous, and he suffered daily the pain from rheumatism that was beginning to deform his body. He spent several years having to drink from tubes because his head was so bent forward. An attack of rheumatic fever, from May 1768 to June 1769, left him paralyzed.

He was not allowed to resign his see, however, until 1775. In 1780, Alphonsus was tricked into signing a submission for royal approval of his congregation. This submission altered the original rule, and as a result Alphonsus was denied any authority among the Redemptorists. Deposed and excluded from his own congregation, Alphonsus suffered great anguish. But he overcame his depression, and he experienced visions, performed miracles, and gave prophecies. He died peacefully on August 1,1787, at Nocera di Pagani, near Naples as the Angelus was ringing.

He was beatified in 1816 and canonized in 1839. In 1871, Alphonsus was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX. His writings on moral, theological, and ascetic matters had great impact and have survived through the years, especially his Moral Theology and his Glories of Mary. He was buried at the monastery of the Pagani near Naples. Shrines were built there and at St. Agatha of the Goths. He is the patron of confessors, moral theologians, and the lay apostolate. In liturgical art he is depicted as bent over with rheumatism or as a young priest.

We must show charity towards the sick, who are in greater need of help. Let us take them some small gift if they are poor, or, at least, let us go and wait on them and comfort them.

– Saint Alphonsus Liguori

If we should be saved and become saints, we ought always to stand at the gates of the Divine mercy to beg and pray for, as an alms, all that we need. – Saint Alphonsus Liguori

He who does not acquire the love of God will scarcely persevere in the grace of God, for it is very difficult to renounce sin merely through fear of chastisement.

– Saint Alphonsus Liguori

When we hear people talk of riches, honors and amusements of the world, let us remember that all things have an end, and let us then say: “My God, I wish for You alone and nothing more.” – Saint Alphonsus Liguori

He who trusts himself is lost. He who trusts in God can do all things.

– Saint Alphonsus Liguori

He who communicates most frequently will be freest from sin, and will make farthest progress in Divine Love. – Saint Alphonsus Liguori

I love you, Jesus my love, I love you more than myself. I repent with my whole heart for having offended you. Never permit me to separate myself from you again. May I love you always, and then do with me as you will.

– Saint Alphonsus Liguori

July Feast Days

St.Ignatius of Loyola

Born Inigo Lopez de Loyola in 1491, the man known as Ignatius of Loyola entered the world in Loiola, Spain. At the time, the name of the village was spelled “Loyola,” hence the discrepancy. Inigo came of age in Azpeitia, in northern Spain. Loyola is a small village at the southern end of Azpeitia.

Inigio was the youngest of thirteen children. His mother died when he was just seven, and he was then raised by Maria de Garin, who was the wife of a blacksmith. His last name, “Loyola” was taken from the village of his birth.

Despite the misfortune of losing his mother he was still a member of the local aristocracy and was raised accordingly. Inigio was an ambitious young man who had dreams of becoming a great leader. He was influenced by stories such as The Song of Roland and El Cid.

At the age of sixteen, he began a short period of employment working for Juan Velazquez, the treasurer of Castile. By the time he was eighteen, he became a soldier and would fight for Antonio Manrique de Lara, Duke of Nájera and Viceroy of Navarre.

Seeking wider acclaim, he began referring to himself as Ignatius. Ignatius was a variant of Inigio. The young Ignatius also gained a reputation as a duelist. According to one story, he killed a Moor with whom he argued about the divinity of Jesus.

Ignatius fought in several battles under the leadership of the Duke of Najera. He had a talent for emerging unscathed, despite participating in many battles. His talent earned him promotions and soon he commanded his own troops.

In 1521, while defending the town of Pamplona against French attack, Ignatius was struck by a cannonball in the legs. One leg was merely broken, but the other was badly mangled. To save his life and possibly his legs, doctors performed several surgeries. There were no anesthetics during this time, so each surgery was painful. Despite their best efforts, Ignatius’ condition deteriorated. After suffering for a month, his doctors warned him to prepare for death.

On June 29, 1521, on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Ignatius began to improve. As soon as he was healthy enough to bear it, part of one leg was amputated which while painful, sped his recovery.

During this time of bodily improvement, Ignatius began to read whatever books he could find. Most of the books he obtained were about the lives of the saints and Christ. These stories had a profound impact on him, and he became more devout.

One story in particular influenced him, “De Vita Christi” (The life of Christ). The story offers commentary on the life of Christ and suggested a spiritual exercise that required visualizing oneself in the presence of Christ during the episodes of His life. The book would inspire Ignatius’ own spiritual exercises.

As he lay bedridden, Ignatius developed a desire to become a working servant of Christ. He especially wanted to convert non-Christians.

Among his profound realizations, was that some thoughts brought him happiness and others sorrow. When he considered the differences between these thoughts, he recognized that two powerful forces were acting upon him. Evil brought him unpleasant thoughts while God brought him happiness. Ignatius discerned God’s call, and began a new way of life, following God instead of men.

By the spring of 1522, Ignatius had recovered enough to leave bed. On March 25, 1522, he entered the Benedictine monastery, Santa Maria de Montserrat. Before an image of the Black Madonna, he laid down his military garments. He gave his other clothes away to a poor man.

He then walked to a hospital in the town of Manresa. In exchange for a place to live, he performed work around the hospital. He begged for his food. When he was not working or begging, he would go into a cave and practice spiritual exercises.

His time in prayer and contemplation helped him to understand himself better. He also gained a better understanding of God and God’s plan for him.

The ten months he spent between the hospital and the cavern were difficult for Ignatius. He suffered from doubts, anxiety and depression. But he also recognized that these were not from God.

Ignatius began recording his thoughts and experiences in a journal. This journal would be useful later for developing new spiritual exercises for the tens of thousands of people who would follow him. Those exercises remain invaluable today and are still widely practiced by religious and laity alike.

The next year, in 1523, Ignatius made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. His goal was to live there and convert non-believers. However, the Holy Land was a troubled place and Church officials did not want Ignatius to complicate things further. They asked him to return after just a fortnight.

Ignatius realized he needed to obtain a complete education if he wanted to convert people. Returning to Barcelona, Ignatius attended a grammar school, filled with children, to learn Latin and other beginning subjects. He was blessed with a great teacher during this time, Master Jeronimo Ardevol.

After completing his primary education, Ignatius traveled to Alcala, then Salamanca, where he studied at universities. In addition to studying, Ignatius often engaged others in lengthy conversations about spiritual matters.

These conversations attracted the attention of the Inquisition.

In Spain, the Inquisition was responsible for ferreting out religious dissent and combating heresy. The Inquisition was not as it has long been depicted in the media.

The Inquisition accused Ignatius of preaching without any formal education in theology. Without this training, it was likely that Ignatius could introduce heresy by way of conversation and misunderstanding.

Ignatius was questioned three times by the Inquisition, but he was always exonerated.

Ignatius eventually decided he needed more education, so he traveled north, seeking better schools and teachers. He was 38 years old when he entered the College of Saint Barbe of the University of Paris. This education was very structured and formalized. Later, Ignatius would be inspired to copy this model when establishing schools. The ideas of prerequisites and class levels would arise from the Jesuit schools, which here heavily inspired by Ignatius’ experience in Paris.

Ignatius earned a master’s degree at the age of 44. When he subsequently applied for his doctorate, he was passed over because of his age. He also suffered from ailments, which the school was concerned could impact his studies.

While at school in Paris, Ignatius roomed with Peter Faber and Francis Xavier. Faber was French and Xavier was Basque. The men became friends and Ignatius led them in his spiritual exercises. Other men soon joined their exercises and became followers of Ignatius. The group began to refer to themselves as “Friends in the Lord,” an apt description.

The circle of friends, shared Ignatius’ dream of traveling to the Holy Land, but conflict between Venice and the Turks made such a journey impossible. Denied the opportunity to travel there, the group then decided to visit Rome. There, they resolved to present themselves to the Pope and to serve at his pleasure.

Pope Paul III received the group and approved them as an official religious order in 1540. The band attempted to elect Ignatius as their first leader, but he declined, saying he had not lived a worthy life in his youth. He also believed others were more experienced theologically.

The group insisted however, and Ignatius accepted the role as their first leader. They called themselves the Society of Jesus. Some people who did not appreciate their efforts dubbed them “Jesuits” in an attempt to disparage them. While the name stuck, by virtue of their good work the label lost its negative connotation.

Ignatius imposed a strict, almost military rule on his order. This was natural for a man who spent his youth as a soldier. It might be expected that such rigor would dissuade people from joining, but it had the opposite effect. The order grew.

The Society of Jesus soon found its niche in education. Before Ignatius died in 1556, his order established 35 schools and boasted 1,000 members. The order was responsible for much of the work of stopping the spread of the Protestant Reformation. The Society advocated the use of reason to persuade others and combat heresy.

Today, the Society of Jesus is known for its work in educating the youth around the world. Several universities have been founded in the name of Ignatius and in the traditional Jesuit spirit. The Jesuits also perform many other important works around the globe.

Ignatius’ passed away on July 31, 1556, at the age of 64. He was beatified by Pope Paul V on July 27, 1609 and canonized on March 12, 1622. His feast day is July 31. He is the patron saint of the Society of Jesus, soldiers, educators and education.

July Feast Days

St.Leopold Mandic

On 12 May 1866, in Castelnuovo, a small port at the southern tip of Dalmatia, a twelfth child was born to Peter and Caroline Mandic. He was named and baptized Bogdan, ‘the God-given-one’. Although physically frail, from his youth he showed signs of great spiritual strength and integrity. At the age of 16 years, Bogdan left home for Italy where he put himself under the tuition of the Capuchins at Udine as a student in the Seraphic School and an aspirant for the Order. Life was not easy for him there, since he was physically malformed and still delicate in health. Nevertheless, he applied himself to his studies with great enthusiasm. On 20 April 1884, Bogdan entered the Capuchin Order as a novice at Bassano del Grappa and took the religious name of Brother Leopold.

In spite of the austerities of Capuchin life, he persevered with courage and drank deeply of Franciscan Spirituality of which he was to become one of the finest models. After his Profession of Vows in May 1885, he embarked on a course of clerical studies first at Padua and then at Venice. Finally, he was ordained in Venice on 20 September 1890.

Now wishing to fulfill a childhood ambition of becoming a missionary in Eastern Europe, torn apart by much religious strife, he was denied this by his superiors and because of his frailty and general ill health. This was assuredly a testing-time for the new Father Leopold, but God had other work for him to do.

From 1890 to 1906, Father Leopold was stationed at various Friaries in the Venetian Province, including Friaries in his homeland of Dalmatia, where the Italian friars had a mission. In 1906, he was posted to Padua, where, except for one year, which he spent in a prison camp during World War I, because he would not renounce his Croat nationality, he remained for the rest of his life. It was in Padua that he took up the apostolate of Confessor and Spiritual Director… a work which proved to be the means through which God used his servant, Father Leopold, for almost forty years, and for which Leopold Mandic is best known.

On 22 September 1940, Father Leopold celebrated his Golden Jubilee of the Priesthood. After this, however, his health deteriorated rapidly. He died in the Friary at Padua on 30 July 1942. Soon after his death, a strong veneration of his memory began to flourish culminating in his beatification by Pope Paul VI on 2 May 1976, and, his canonization by Pope John Paul II on 16 October 1983.

The life of Saint Leopold Mandic is characterized by the contrast between his physical frailty and his spiritual strength. He was born physically weak, and spent the whole of his life in that condition. He only reached 4ft 5ins in height and his general health became worse as he grew older. He suffered from abdominal pains, and was gradually deformed by chronic arthritis in later life, making his frame stooped and his hands gnarled, giving him much pain. He also suffered from a stammer in his speech.

Spiritually, Leopold Mandic was a giant, full of Christian strength. It was his humility and faith in God’s Goodness and Providence that enabled him to recognize and accept his poor physical condition. This in turn led him to a greater realization of his own lowliness in relation to God’s mighty power – that without God he could do nothing. This strong faith was communicated to others when they came to Father Leopold for spiritual advice. He would say, “Have faith! Everything will be all right. Faith, Faith!” A compassionate man, Father Leopold gave tremendous encouragement to many people, especially those despairing of hope because of an enslavement to sin. He was truly an apostle. For although he did not go to the mission territory, his long service in the Confessional proved to be his own distinct apostolate. For nearly forty years, twelve hours a day, he received, counseled, and absolved thousands of penitents. In this work, he was a herald of God’s love and forgiveness.

His human weakness highlights the gift of spiritual strength which enabled him to carry out this untiring apostolate.

Early in his Capuchin life, Leopold Mandic was asked to surrender his missionary aspirations and personal preference so as to be given the work of Confessor and Spiritual Advisor. He once expressed his feelings about this when he said, “I am like a bird in a cage, but my heart is beyond the seas.” A Lesson Saint Leopold has much to teach us. He is an inspiration for us to be humble and strong in the Christian faith we have received from God. He is, moreover, a living memorial of that truth preached by the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians: “It was… to shame the strong that He chose what is weak by human reckoning.” His ministry of God’s forgiveness in the Confessional can teach us of the real value and importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, whereby we rise from the death of sin to the fullness of life in Christ. Saint Leopold is definitely a man for us and for our time.

July Feast Days

St.Alphonsa

She was born as Annakkutty (little Anna) in Kudamaloor, a village in the princely state of Travancore which was under the British Raj (now present day Kottayam district, Kerala, India) to Joseph and Mary Muttathupadathu. She was baptized on 27 August 1910 at Saint Mary’s Church in Kudamaloor under the patronage of Saint Anna. Anna’s mother died when she was young, so her maternal aunt raised her.

In 1916 Anna started her schooling in Arpookara. She received First Communion on 27 November 1917. In 1918 she was transferred to the school in Muttuchira. In 1923 Anna was badly burned on her feet when she fell into a pit of burning chaff. This accident left her permanently disabled.

When it became possible, Anna joined the Franciscan Clarist Congregation. She arrived at the Poor Clares convent at Bharananganam on Pentecost 1927. She received the postulant’s veil on 2 August 1928 and took the name Alphonsa. In May 1929 she entered the Malayalam High School at Vazhappally. Her foster mother died in 1930.

On 19 May 1930 she received her religious habit at Bharananganam. Three days later she resumed her studies at Changanacherry, while working as a temporary teacher at the school at Vakakkad. On 11 August 1931 she joined the novitiate. Anna took her permanent vows on 12 August 1936. Two days later she returned to Bharananganam from Changanacherry

She taught elementary school, but was often sick and unable to teach.

In December 1936, it is claimed that she was cured from her ailments through the intervention of Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara, but on 14 June 1939 she was struck by a severe attack of pneumonia, which left her weakened. On 18 October 1940, a thief entered her room in the middle of the night. This traumatic event caused her to suffer amnesia and weakened her again.

Her health continued to deteriorate over a period of months. She received extreme unction on 29 September 1941. The next day it is believed that she regained her memory, though not complete health. Her health improved over the next few years, until in July 1945 she developed a stomach problem that caused vomiting.

She died on 28 July 1946, aged 35. She is buried at Bharananganam, Travancore (present day Kerala) in the Diocese of Palai.

Her tomb in Bharananganam has become a pilgrimage site as miracles have been reported by some faithful. The miracle attributed to her intercession and approved by the Vatican for the canonization was the healing of the club foot of an infant in 1999.

Grains of wheat, when ground in the mill, turn in to flour. With this flour we make the wafer of the holy Eucharist. Grapes, when crushed in the wine press, yield their juice. This juice turns into wine. Similarly, suffering so crushes us that we turn into better human beings.

– Saint Alphonsa to novices

She did not want her sufferings to be reduced in the least by human attention and sympathy, nor did she want others of know of her suffering. This is a strange expression of humility, which seeks that others should never think of you.

-Cardinal Gracias

July Feast Days

Blessed Maria of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Maria Grazia Tarallo was born on 23 September 1866 in Barra, Naples, Italy, to Leopoldo Tarallo and Concetta Borriello. She was baptized the following day in the Ave Gratia Plena Parish in Barra. Growing up, she received a solid Christian and human formation in her family.

A child “called” by God while still young, Maria Grazia made a private vow of virginity at age five in front of a statue of the Blessed Mother.

When she was just 7 she made her First Communion, and at the age of 10 she received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Maria Grazia’s life was especially directed toward Christian perfection and total consecration to God.

When she was 22 she wished to enter the convent, but her father opposed her desire as he wanted her to marry. However, the young man who proposed to her died before they could marry, thus leaving her free to enter the convent.

On 1 June 1891 she entered the Monastery of the Sisters Crucified Adorers of the Eucharist, in Barra, founded by the Servant of God Maria Pia Notari who was a witness to the virtuous and holy life of Maria Grazia and to whom she gave the name “Sr Maria of the Passion”.

Sr Maria lived her vocation of love for Christ’s Passion, the Eucharist and Our Lady of Sorrows to the full. She was known to say:  “My name is Sr Maria of the Passion and I must resemble the Master”.

As a nun, she was given different responsibilities, from that of Novice Mistress and as spiritual guide of her Sisters, to that of kitchen and laundry service and porter.

She was always exemplary and edifying in her life of charity and prayer and was admired by everyone in her community.

Sr Maria’s desire to be a victim soul for sinners was summed up by her in this way:  “I want to be holy, loving Jesus in the Eucharist, suffering with Christ Crucified and seeing Christ in my brothers and sisters”.

Sr Maria of the Passion died on 27 July 1912 in Barra, leaving to her Sisters the following testimony:  “I exhort you to holy perseverance according to the Rule, readiness in obedience and especially daily Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Love Jesus in the Eucharist, never leave him alone, do not anger him, do not disappoint him”.

July Feast Days

Blessed Maria Pierina De Micheli

Blessed Maria Pierina De Micheli was a Roman Catholic nun who was born September 11, 1890, in Milan Italy. She is best known for her association with the Holy Face of Jesus and for introducing a medal bearing an image from the Shroud of Turin as part of this devotion.

Blessed Maria Pierina De Micheli was born in Milan on September 11, 1890 to Luigina Radice and Cesare De Micheli of a popular middle-class family, the last of thirteen children, educated in a Christian way, and was Baptized on the day of her birth.

The most important event of her early childhood was the death of the father, who sadly marked all the way to her maturity. On May 3, 1898 at the age of 7, she received Jesus in her First Communion. Recalling that day in 1943 she wrote- “I saw the baby Jesus in the host. Heaven on earth! Today, only by faith, I know he loves me.”Then began a lifetime of heavenly graces and visions, along with many sufferings in union with Jesus. One day while she was praying in St. Peter in Sala’s church (her local parish), Jesus on the Crucifix came alive and spoke to her. On another occasion at the age of twelve, when she was again in her Parish Church during the 3pm Good Friday service, she heard a Voice saying quite distinctly:

“No one gives me a kiss of love on My Face to make amends for the Kiss of Judas.”

In her childlike simplicity, she believed that the voice was heard by everyone and was pained to see that only the wounds were kissed but not the face. In her heart exclaiming, “Have patience, dear Jesus, I will give you a kiss of love”, and when her turn came she lovingly and devoutly imprinted a kiss on His Face. And later as a novice, she was permitted to do night adoration and on the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday, and while she was praying before Jesus upon the Crucifix, she heard Him say: “Kiss Me.”

Sister Maria Pierina immediately obeyed and her lips felt not the contact with the plaster figure but contact with the living flesh of the Face of Jesus.

After a period of inner strength of her soul because of filial affection for her mother, she joined the Institute of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception of Buenos Aires and was admitted as a novice, which had just been established in Milan, and took the name Sister Pierina.As years went by, Jesus often showed Himself to her sometimes sad and other times bleeding, asking her for reparation, thus increasing her desire to suffer and to sacrifice herself for the salvation of souls. During the night adoration of the First Friday in Lent in 1936, Jesus, after letting her share in His spiritual sorrow of the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, with His Face covered with blood and profoundly sad, Jesus told her:

“I wish that my Face, which reflects the intimate sorrow of my soul, and the suffering and love of my Heart, be better honoured. He who contemplates me consoles me.”

On the Tuesday following Passion Sunday, Jesus returned to her and said:

“Each time my Face is contemplated I will pour my love into hearts and through my Holy Face the salvation of many souls will be obtained.”

On the first Tuesday of 1937, while she was at prayer, the Lord Jesus instructed her on the devotion to His Holy Face and, in the end, told her:

“Perhaps some souls fear that the devotion to my Holy Face may diminish that to my Sacred Heart. Tell them that, on the contrary, it will complete and increase it. Contemplating my Face, souls will share my sorrows and will feel the need for love and reparation. Is this not the true devotion to my Heart?”.

The Blessed Virgin Mary appears to Pierina requesting the Scapular-Medal of the Holy Face

These manifestations became more and more frequent and in May 1938, while Pierina was at prayer in the Community Chapel, a beautiful Lady, which she knew to be the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on the altar step in a beam of light, holding a Scapular made of two small pieces of flannel joined by a cord. One of these pieces bore the image of the Holy Face of Jesus with the words “Iliumina Domine Vultum Tuum Super Nos” (May the light of Thy Face, 0 Lord, shine upon us) and the other, a Host surrounded by rays and the words “Mane Nobiscum Domine” (Stay with us, 0 Lord).

Gently the Lady approached and said:

“Listen carefully and refer everything to Father (her priest confessor); This Scapular is an armour of defence, a shield of strength, a pledge of mercy which Jesus wishes to give to the world in these times of lust and hatred against God and His Church. There are very few true apostles. A divine remedy is necessary, and this remedy is the Holy Face of Jesus. All who shall wear a Scapular like this and make, if possible, a visit to the Blessed Sacrament every Tuesday in reparation for the outrages that the Holy Face of my Son Jesus received during His Passion and is still receiving in the Holy Eucharist every day,

– will be strengthened in the Faith, and will be made ready to defend it,

– will overcome all difficulties, internal and external

– and they will have a peaceful death under the loving gaze of my Divine Son”.

She made her first profession on May 23, 1915. In 1919, she was sent to the Motherhouse of the Congregation in Argentina and in 1921, after her solemn profession, she returned to Italy. In her hometown, she served as Mistress of Novices and Superior, until,  during 1939, she had undertook to deal with the new foundation of the house in Rome, on which she was named Superior until her death, and in 1940, she served as Regional Superior mandate also for Italy.

On the 26th July 1945, Mother Pierina joined the One Whom she loved. Hers cannot be said to be death, but a transport of love. As she herself wrote in her diary on the 19th of July 1941: “I feel a deep longing to live always united to Jesus, to love Him intensely because my death can only be a transport of love with my Spouse, Jesus.”

On 23 March 2007 the remains of Mother Pierina, left Centonara of Artò, Madonna del Sasso (Verbania) after the Mass in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, for a short stop in Milan Institute Immaculate Conception. Here was the heartfelt greetings of the sisters, the students, parents, teachers and many faithful devotees of the Holy Face.

In the afternoon of 26 March, the mortal remains of the Venerable Mother arrived in Rome in the Chapel of the Institute Holy Spirit, the Regional House of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception.

Sister Pierina was beatified on Sunday, May 30, 2010 at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome- the first beatification ever held within its walls.

Quotes of Mother Pierina

Invocation-Prayer to the Holy Face of Jesus:

Oh Holy Face of my sweet Jesus, by that tenderness of love and unspeakable grief with which the Blessed Virgin Mary beheld Thee in Thy painful Passion, grant that our souls may share in that great love and great sorrow, and fulfill more perfectly the Holy Will of God. Amen.

-Imprimatur in Curia Arch. Mediolani on Jan. 25, 1941 -Mons. Cavezzali Pro Vic. Gen

—————————————–

More from her Diary: Her words, and some of Jesus replies:

“Do not deny anything to Jesus.”

“I want what God wants.”

‘Jesus I am yours, do what you want of me.”

Jesus said to me: “Only a few souls let me act with full freedom, so I cannot grant many graces.”

“This morning I asked Jesus His Heart to love it of His own love, and Jesus told me: “If you knew how I love you, you would die from joy.”

I said to Jesus: “Do you believe, oh Jesus, that I love you?” And Jesus replied: “Yes, I do. And do you know when I believe it the most? When you think I have abandoned you, because it is then that you most show your loyalty.”

“O, my sweet Jesus, for your Holy Face bathed with tears, may your Eucharistic Reign triumphs in the sanctity of your priests.”

“O, my sweet Jesus, for the divine light emanating from your Holy Face, dispel the darkness of ignorance and mistake and be the light of sanctity for your priests.”

“O my sweet Jesus, for your Divine Face bathed in a sweat of blood in the agony of Gethsemane, enlighten and strengthen the souls consecrated to you.”

_____________________________

“What matters is to love Jesus” -Words of Blessed Maria Pierina De Micheli

July Feast Days

St.Christopher

Saint Christopher is one of the most popular Catholic Christian heroes of the Faith. He is a saint, indeed listed as a martyr. He may have also been named Reprobus. He apparently died under the Roman Emperor Decius, in 251 AD. Most Catholics refer to him as Saint Christopher anyway, and his medals and the popular devotions to him are among the most common in Catholic piety.

Other than his listing as a martyr, there are no primary sources referring to St. Christopher, only stories and traditions which have been passed down.

According to these accounts, St. Christopher was extremely tall, and by some accounts he was even a giant! He was surely a man of significant physical stature. But, more importantly, he was a spiritual giant and a sure model and inspiration for the Christian faithful.

Christopher decided one day that he wanted to serve the greatest king he could. He presented himself before his local ruler and entered service, until he noticed the king cross himself at the mention of the devil, revealing that the king believed the Devil to have more power.

St. Christopher then decided to serve the Devil. During his search, he encountered a band of thieves, whose leader referred to himself as the Devil. But when this leader avoided a Christian cross out of fear, St. Christopher learned there was someone even more powerful than the Devil.

St. Christopher found a hermit who taught him all about Christ, the King of Kings. The hermit suggested that he spend his life in prayer and fasting, a thing which St. Christopher, a large and probably often hungry man found difficult, he objected. The hermit suggested he then find something else that would please Christ. St. Christopher offered to work at a nearby river, and help travelers across. The fording was dangerous and many with less strength people had drowned. The hermit advised St. Christopher this would please Christ.

One day, a child approached St. Christopher by the river and asked to be helped across. St. Christopher obliged. However, as he entered midstream, the river rose and the child’s weight grew and became extremely heavy. It was only by great exertion that St. Christopher safely delivered the child to the other side.

When St. Christopher asked the child why he was so heavy, the child explained that He was the Christ and when St. Christopher carried Him, he also carried the weight of the whole world on his shoulders. The child then vanished.

Other legends state that St. Christopher traveled after this experience and evangelized thousands of people. Arriving in Lycia in Asia Minor, and witnessing to Christians there who were being martyred. At that time, St. Christopher was detained and ordered to offer a sacrifice to the emperor. When he refused, it was decided to attempt to persuade him with money and women. Two women were sent to seduce him, but instead he converted them to Christianity.

After this, it was decided to have him killed, but various attempts to assassinate him failed. Eventually, he was arrested and beheaded.

The name “Christopher” means Christ-bearer, and may allude to the legend of the man carrying the Christ Child across the river. Saint Christopher also did not become popularized in the Church until the 7th century, about three centuries after his supposed death. We know of his popularity because around the 7th century, churches and monasteries began to be named after him. This adds credibility to the supposition that St. Christopher was merely a legendary figure and not a real person.

There is also speculation that St. Christopher could have also been confused with St. Menas, an Egyptian saint. Both Christopher and Menas are referred to as “Christ bearers” and are patrons of travelers.

St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers and of children. His feast day is July 25. Because he is not officially recognized by the Church, he has no date of beatification or canonization. Despite these technicalities, it is widely thought that he was real and that he continues to intercede on behalf of Christians, especially children, today.

~Source:catholiconline.org~