Feast of the Inner Life of Mary

In its principal object this feast is identical with the feast of the “Inner Life of Mary”, celebrated by the Sulpicians on 19 October. It commemorates the joys and sorrows of the Mother of God, her virtues and perfections, her love for God and her Divine Son and her compassionate love for mankind. In a subordinate manner, its object is also the physical Heart of Mary, which, being part of her sinless and virginal body, is the symbol and sensible object representing the sentiments and virtues of Mary. The feast originated with Blessed John Eudes as the patronal feast of his congregations of priests and nuns, and was, since 1644, kept at the seminary of Caen on 20 October. The office, which is very beautiful, was composed by Blessed John Eudes in 1641 but its text was not definitely fixed before 1672. In 1647 the date of the feast was changed to 8 February, the feast being solemnized publicly for the first time, with the permission of Bishop Ragny, at the cathedral of Autun on 8 February, 1648, In 1668 Cardinal Vendôme approved the office, and the feast was adopted the same year by the French Franciscans, the Benedictine Nuns of the Perpetual Adoration, and later by a number of dioceses and religious communities, contrary to decrees of the Congregation of Rites prohibiting the feast of the Heart of Mary. The bishops of the Church in France claimed at this period the right to institute new feasts, and to compose offices and new breviaries without consulting the Roman authorities. In 1672 Blessed John Eudes could state that the feast had spread over nearly all France. It was mostly kept on 8 February, but at the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec (since 1690) on 3 July, and at Saint-Maclou, Rouen, on the Sunday after 22 August (Office pr. 1765; triple of the first class).

The Nuns of Notre Dame de Corbeil (8 February 1787) were the first to obtain papal sanction for the feast from Pius VI (kept on 22 August as a double of the first class with octave). The same pope later approved it for the Carmelites of Saint-Denys (8 Feb.), and for the Nuns of Fontevrault (Sunday after 2 July). On 22 March, 1799, it was granted to the city of Palermo (third Sunday after Pentecost); on 13 Aug., 1805, to the Clerics Regular of the Mother of God; in 1806 to Siena; in 1807 to the Discalced Carmelites; on 2 Sept., 1807, to the Capuchins and Hermits of Saint Augustine for the Sunday after the Octave of the Assumption; on 19 Sept., 1807, to Tuscany. The city of Rome adopted the feast in 1879. In the Society of Jesus it is observed on the Sunday within the Octave of the Assumption. The feast has not yet been extended to the entire Church. It is kept as the patronal feast of the Republic of Ecuador, of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost, of the Society of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and of the Missionary Society of the Heart of Mary on the Sunday after 22 August. The feast is celebrated at Cosenza (Calabria) on 7 February (earthquake, 1783), by the English Benedictines on the first Sunday of May; in the ecclesiastical province of Lemberg on the last Saturday in May; at Bologna, Pescia, Volterra etc., on the second Sunday in July; at Salerno on the last Sunday after Pentecost, etc. The office of Blessed John Eudes, universally used in France for over a hundred years, was finally approved for the Eudists (8 Feb.) in 1861. The office contained in the Appendix of the Roman Breviary was granted on 21 July, 1857; the dioceses of Palermo, Salerno, Catanzaro, etc., use that composed by Père Gallifet in 1726.

The feast of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, refuge of sinners, is celebrated on the Sunday before Septuagesima at Paris, Chartres, Reims, Limoges, Vannes, Nantes, at Lucca in Toscana, in the ecclesiastical province of Saint Louis, Missouri, etc

~Catholic Encyclopedia

Eucharistic Miracle of Ludberg Croatia

During Mass at Ludbreg in 1411, a priest doubted whether the Body and Blood of Christ were really present in the Eucharistic species. Immediately after being consecrated, the wine turned into Blood. Today the precious relic of the miraculous Blood still draws thousands of the faithful, and every year at the beginning of September the so-called “Sveta Nedilja – Holy Sunday” is celebrated for an entire week in honor of the Eucharistic miracle that occurred in 1411.

In 1411 at Ludbreg, in the chapel of the Count Batthyany’s castle, a priest was celebrating Mass. During the consecration of the wine, the priest doubted the truth of transubstantiation, and the wine in the chalice turned into Blood.

Not knowing what to do, the priest embedded this relic in the wall behind the main altar. The workman who did the job was sworn to silence. The priest also kept it secret and revealed it only at the time of his death. After the priest’s revelation, news quickly spread and people started coming on pilgrimage to Ludbreg.

The Holy See later had the relic of the miracle brought to Rome, where it remained for several years. The people of Ludbreg and the surrounding area, however, continued to make pilgrimages to the castle chapel.

In the early 1500s, during the pontificate of Pope Julius II, a commission was convened in Ludbreg to investigate the facts connected with the Eucharistic miracle. Many people testified that they had received marvelous cures while praying in the relic’s presence. On April 14, 1513, Pope Leo X published a Bull permitting veneration of the holy relic which he himself had carried in procession several times through the streets of Rome. The relic was later returned to Croatia.

In the 18th century, northern Croatia was ravaged by the plague. The people turned to God to call upon His help, and the Croatian Parliament did the same. During the session held on December 15, 1739 in the city of Varazdin, they vowed to build a chapel at Ludbreg in honor of the miracle if the plague ended. The plague was averted, but the promised vow was only fulfilled in 1994, when democracy was restored in Croatia.

In 2005 in the votive chapel, the artist Marijan Jakubin painted a large fresco of the Last Supper in which Croatian saints and blesseds were drawn in place of the Apostles.St. John was replaced with Blessed Ivan Merz, who was included among the 18 most important Eucharistic saints in the Church’s history during the Synod of Bishops held in Rome in 2005.

St.Peter of Alcantara

Saint Peter of Alcantara was born in Alcantara, Spain in 1499. His father was the Governor of the province and his mother came from a noble family. He was privately tutored and attended the University of Salamanca. After he returned home from university, he joined the Franciscans.

Peter was accepted as a Franciscan Friar of the Stricter Observance in the Friary at Manxaretes Extramadura in 1515.

At the young age of 22, he was sent to found a community of the Stricter Observance at Badajoz.

He was ordained as a priest in 1524 and in 1525 he became Guardian of the friary of St. Mary of the Angels at Robredillo, Old Castile.

He later entered the Order of the reform of the Discarded Friars. By 1538, he was elected the Superior of St. Gabriel province. As the superior, he drew up new constitutions for the order of Stricter Observance, however these were met with resistance. Eventually he resigned from this post.

Peter then began a new life, one of less formal responsibility but one of greater spiritual responsibility. He took up his spiritual cross and preached with great success to the poor. Peter preferred preaching to this group more than any other and he frequently drew inspiration from the Old Testament books. His sermons often concentrated on the topic of on compassion.

When Peter was not preaching, he would spend long periods of time in solitude. From 1553 to early 1555, he spent this time alone in meditation and prayer. Following these two years of solitude, Peter made a pilgrimage to Rome, barefoot the entire way. While in Rome he obtained permission from Pope Julius III to establish friaries, departing on his new mission just before the Holy Father’s death.

Along his way home, Peter established several friaries. These friaries were compelled to follow a strict constitution, mush like the ones he endeavored to impose in St. Gabriel province.

This time, his new constitution contained reforms that proved fruitful and were later adopted across Spain.

Peter was known for frequently experiencing ecstasy, a state where he was entirely consumed with the warmth and light of the Holy Spirit. These euphoric moments were common during his prayer and meditation. Some claim to have witness him levitate.

When he was close to death, Peter took to his knees and prayed. When he was offered water he refused it saying, “Even my Lord Jesus Christ thirsted on the Cross.” Peter died in prayer on October 18, 1562.

Following his death, Peter was beautified by Pope Gregory XV on April 18, 1622. He was subsequently canonized by Pope Clement IX on April 28, 1669.

St. Peter of Alcantara is the patron saint of the Nocturnal Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

The Location of Purgatory and the Suffering Endured by the Souls in Purgatory

It has pleased God to show in spirit the gloomy abodes of Purgatory to some privileged souls, who were to reveal the sorrowful mysteries thereof for the edification of the faithful. Of this number was the illustrious St. Frances,foundress of the Oblates, who died in Rome in 1440. God favoured her with great lights concerning the state of souls in the other life. She saw Hell and its horrible torments; she saw also the interior of Purgatory, and the mysterious order —I had almost said hierarchy of expiations—which reigns in this portion of the Church of Jesus Christ.

In obedience to her superiors, who thought themselves bound to impose this obligation upon her, she made known all that God had manifested to her; and her visions, written at the request of the venerable Canon Matteotti, her spiritual director, have all the authenticity that can be desired in such matters. Now, the servant of God declared that, after having endured with unspeakable horror the vision of Hell, she came out of that abyss, and was conducted by her celestial guide into the regions of Purgatory. There reigned neither horror nor disorder, nor despair nor eternal darkness ; there divine hope diffused its light, and she was told that this place of purification was called also sojourn of hope. She saw there souls which suffered cruelly, but angels visited and assisted them in their sufferings.

Purgatory, she said, is divided into three distinct parts, which are as the three large provinces of that kingdom of suffering. They are situated the one beneath the other, and occupied by souls of different orders. These souls are buried more deeply in proportion as they are more defiled and farther removed from the time of their deliverance.

The lowest region is filled with a fierce fire, but which is not dark like that of Hell ; it is a vast burning sea, throw- ing forth immense flames. Innumerable souls are plunged into its depths : they are those who have rendered themselves guilty of mortal sin, which they have duly confessed, but not sufficiently expiated during life. The servant of God then learned that, for all forgiven mortal sin, there remains to be undergone a suffering of seven years. This term cannot evidently be taken to mean a definite measure, since mortal sins differ in enormity, but as an average penalty. Although the souls are enveloped in the same flames, their sufferings are not the same; they differ accord- ing to the number and nature of their former sins.In this lower Purgatory the saint beheld laics and persons consecrated to God. The laics were those who, after a life of sin, had had the happiness of being sincerely converted; the persons consecrated to God were those who had not lived according to the sanctity of their state.

At that same moment she saw descend the soul of a priest whom she knew, but whose name she does not reveal. She remarked that he had his face covered with a veil which concealed a stain. Although he had led an edifying life, this priest had not always observed strict temperance, and had sought too eagerly the satisfactions of the table.

The saint was then conducted into the intermediate Purgatory, destined for souls which had deserved less rigorous Chastisement.It had three distinct compartments, one resembled an immense dungeon of ice, the cold of which was indescribably intense; the second, on the contrary, was like a huge caldron of boiling oil and pitch,

the third had the appearance of a pond of liquid metal resembling molten gold or silver.The upper Purgatory, which the saint does not describe, is the temporary abode of souls which suffer little, except the pain of loss, and approach the happy moment of their deliverance.

Such, in substance, is the vision of St. Frances relative to Purgatory.

The following is an account of that of St. Magdalen de Pazzi, a Florentine Carmelite, as it is related in her Life by Father Cepare. It gives more of a picture of Purgatory, whilst the preceding vision but traces its outlines.

Some time before her death, which took place in 1607, the servant of God, Magdalen de Pazzi, being one evening with several other Religious in the garden of the convent, was ravished in ecstasy, and saw Purgatory open before her. At the same time, as she made known later, a voice invited her to visit all the prisons of Divine Justice, and to see how truly worthy of compassion are the souls detained there.

At this moment she was heard to say, ” Yes, I will go.’ She consented to undertake this painful journey. In fact, she walked for two hours round the garden, which was very large, pausing from time to time. Each time she inter- rupted her walk, she contemplated attentively the sufferings which were shown to her. She was then seen to wring her hands in compassion, her face became pale, her body bent under the weight of suffering, in presence of the terrible spectacfe with which she was confronted.

She began to cry aloud in lamentation, ” Mercy, my God, mercy ! Descend, O Precious Blood, and deliver these souls from their prison. Poor souls ! you suffer so cruelly, and yet you are content and cheerful. The dungeons of the martyrs in comparison with these were gardens of delight. Nevertheless there are others still deeper. How happy should I esteem myself were I not obliged to go down into them.”

She did descend, however, for she was forced to continue her way. But when she had taken a few steps, she stopped terror stricken, and, sighing deeply, she cried, ” What ! Religious also in this dismal abode ! Good God ! how they are tormented! Ah, Lord ! ” She does not explain the nature

tormented of their sufferings ; but the horror which she manifested in contemplating them caused her to sigh at each step. She passed from thence into less gloomy places. They were the dungeons of simple souls, and of children in whom ignorance and lack of reason extenuated many faults. Their torments appeared to her much more endurable than those of the others. Nothing but ice and fire were there. She noticed that these souls had their angel-guardians with them, who fortified them greatly by their presence ; but she saw also demons whose dreadful forms increased their sufferings.

Advancing a few paces, she saw souls still more unfortu- nate, and she was heard to cry out, ” Oh ! how horrible is this place ; it is full of hideous demons and incredible tor- ments ! Who, O my God, are the victims of these cruel tortures ? Alas ! they are being pierced with sharp swords, theyarebeingcutintopieces.” She was answered that they were the souls whose conduct had been tainted with hypocrisy.

Advancing a little, she saw a great multitude of souls which were bruised, as it were, and crushed under a press and she understood that they were those souls which had been addicted to impatience and disobedience during life. Whilst contemplating them, her looks, her sighs, her whole attitude betokened compassion and terror.

A moment later her agitation increased, and she uttered a dreadful cry. It was the dungeon of lies which now lay open before her. After having attentively considered it, she cried aloud, ” Liars are confined in a place in the vicinity of Hell, and their sufferings are exceedingly great. Molten lead is poured into their mouths ; I see them burn, and at the same time tremble with cold.”

She then went to the prison of those souls which had sinned through weakness, and she was heard to exclaim Alas ! I had thought to find you among those who have

sinned through ignorance, but I am mistaken for you

you burn with an intenser fire.”

Farther on, she perceived souls which had been too much

attached to the goods of this world, and had sinned by avarice.” What blindness,” said she, ” thus eagerly to seek a perishable fortune.Those for whom riches could not sufficiently satiate are here gorged with torments.They are smelted like metal in the furnace”.

From thence she passed into the place where those souls were imprisoned which had formerly been stained with impurity. She saw them in so filthy and pestilential a dungeon that the sight produced nausea. She turned away quickly from that loathsome spectacle. Seeing the ambi- tious and the proud, she said, ” Behold those who wished to shine before men ; now they are condemned to live in this frightful obscurity.”

Then she was shown those souls which had been guilty of ingratitude towards God.. They were a prey to unutteraable torments, and, as it were, drowned in a lake of molten lead, for having by their ingratitude dried up the source of piety.

Finally, in a last dungeon, she was shown souls that had not been given to any particular vice, but which, through lack of proper vigilance over themselves, had committed all kinds of trivial faults. She remarked that these souls had share in the chastisements of all vices, in a moderate degree, because those faults committed only from time to time rendered them less guilty than those committed through habit.

After this last station the saint left the garden, begging God never again to make her witness of so heartrending a spectacle : she felt that she had not strength to endure it. Her ecstasy still continued, and, conversing with Jesus, she said to Him, ” Tell me, Lord, what was your design in discovering to me those terrible prisons, of which I knew so little nd comprehended still less? Ah! I now see; you wished to give me the knowledge of your infinite sanctity, and to make me detest more and more the least stain of sin, which is so abominable in your eyes.”

~Source:”Purgatory Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saints”

St.Ignatius of Antioch

The second Bishop of Antioch, Syria, this disciple of the beloved Disciple John was consecrated Bishop around the year 69 by the Apostle Peter, the first Pope. A holy man who was deeply loved by the Christian faithful, he always made it his special care to defend “orthodoxy” (right teaching) and “orthopraxy” (right practice) among the early Christians. 

In 107, during the reign of the brutal Emperor Trajan, this holy Bishop was wrongfully sentenced to death because he refused to renounce the Christian faith. He was taken under guard to Rome where he was to be brutally devoured by wild beasts in a public spectacle. During his journey, his travels took him through Asia Minor and Greece. He made good use of the time by writing seven letters of encouragement, instruction and inspiration to the Christians in those communities. We still have these letters as a great treasure of the Church today. 

The content of the letters addressed the hierarchy and structure of the Church as well as the content of the orthodox Christian faith. It was Bishop Ignatius who first used the term “catholic” to describe the whole Church. These letters connect us to the early Church and the unbroken, clear teaching of the Apostles which was given to them directly by Jesus Christ. They also reveal the holiness of a man of God who became himself a living letter of Christ. The shedding his blood in the witness of holy martyrdom was the culmination of a life lived conformed to Jesus Christ. Ignatius sought to offer himself, in Christ, for the sake of the Church which he loved. His holy martyrdom occurred in the year 107. 

In his pastoral letters he regularly thanked his brother and sister Christians for their concern for his well being but insisted on following through in his final witness of fidelity: “I know what is to my advantage. At last I am becomŹing his disciple. May nothing entice me till I happily make my way to Jesus Christ! Fire, cross, struggles with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs-let them come to me, provided only I make my way to Jesus Christ. I would rather die and come to Jesus Christ than be king over the entire earth. Him I seek who died for us; him I love who rose again because of us.” 

Bishop Ignatius was not afraid of death. He knew that it had been defeated by the Master. He followed the Lord Jesus into his Passion, knowing that he would rise with Him in his Resurrection. He wrote to the disciples in Rome: “Permit me to imitate my suffering God … I am God’s wheat and I shall be ground by the teeth of beasts, that I may become the pure bread of Christ.” The beauty of this Eucharistic symbolism in these words reflects the deep theology of a mystic. He was dedicated to defending the true teaching handed down by the Apostles so that the brothers and sisters in the early Christian communities, and we who stand on their shoulders, would never be led astray by false teaching. He urged them to always listen to their Bishops because they were the successors of the Apostles. He died a Martyrs death in Rome, devoured by two lions in one of the cruel demonstrations of Roman excess and animosity toward the true faith. Anticipating this event he wrote these inspired words: 

A letter to the Romans by St Ignatius of Antioch 

“I am God’s wheat and shall be ground by the teeth of wild animals. I am writing to all the churches to let it be known that I will gladly die for God if only you do not stand in my way. I plead with you: show me no untimely kindness. Let me be food for the wild beasts, for they are my way to God. I am God’s wheat and shall be ground by their teeth so that I may become Christ’s pure bread. Pray to Christ for me that the animals will be the means of making me a sacrificial victim for God. No earthly pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way. I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire. 

The time for my birth is close at hand. Forgive me, my brothers. Do not stand in the way of my birth to real life; do not wish me stillborn. My desire is to belong to God. Do not, then, hand me back to the world. Do not try to tempt me with material things. Let me attain pure light. Only on my arrival there can I be fully a human being. Give me the privilege of imitating the passion of my God. If you have him in your heart, you will understand what I wish. You will sympathize with me because you will know what urges me on. 

The prince of this world is determined to lay hold of me and to undermine my will which is intent on God. Let none of you here help him; instead show yourselves on my side, which is also God’s side. Do not talk about Jesus Christ as long as you love this world. Do not harbor envious thoughts. And supposing I should see you, if then I should beg you to intervene on my behalf, do not believe what I say. Believe instead what I am now writing to you. For though I am alive as I write to you – still – my real desire is to die. My love of this life has been crucified, and there is no yearning in me for any earthly thing. Rather within me is the living water which says deep inside me: “Come to the Father.” I no longer take pleasure in perishable food or in the delights of this world. I want only God’s bread, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, formed of the seed of David, and for drink I crave his blood, which is love that cannot perish. 

I am no longer willing to live a merely human life, and you can bring about my wish if you will. Please, then, do me this favour, so that you in turn may meet with equal kindness. Put briefly, this is my request: believe what I am saying to you. Jesus Christ himself will make it clear to you that I am saying the truth. Only truth can come from that mouth by which the Father has truly spoken. Pray for me that I may obtain my desire. I have not written to you as a mere man would, but as one who knows the mind of God. If I am condemned to suffer, I will take it that you wish me well. If my case is postponed, I can only think that you wish me harm.” 

St.Margaret Mary Alacoque

Margaret was born in 1647 AD at Janots, a small town of Burgundy, the fifth of seven children, of Claude and Philiberte Alacoque. Her father was a prosperous notary; the family owned a country house and farmland, and had some aristocratic connections. Margaret’s godmother was a neighbor, the Countess of Corcheval.  As a small child Margaret spent a great deal of time with her, but these visits were brought to a sudden end by the death of the countess. The father died of pneumonia when Margaret was about eight, and this was another severe shock to her. Claude had loved his family dearly, but had been short-sighted and extravagant and his death put them in hard straits. However, Margaret was sent to school with the Urbanist Sisters at Charolles. She loved the peace and order of the convent life, and the nuns were so impressed by her devotion that she was allowed to make her First Communion at the age of nine (normally around the age of 12). A rheumatic affliction kept her bedridden for four years. During that time she was brought home, where some of her father’s relatives had moved in and taken over the direction of the farm and household. She and her mother were treated almost as servants. This painful situation grew more acute after Margaret’s recovery, for the relatives tried to regulate all her comings and goings. Not allowed to attend church as often as she pleased, the young girl was sometimes seen weeping and praying in a corner of the garden. It grieved her deeply that she could not ease things for her mother. Her eldest brother’s coming of age saved the day, for the property now reverted to him, and the family again had undisputed possession of their home.

Philiberte had expressed a hope that Margaret would marry; the girl considered this, but at the age of twenty, inspired by a vision, she put aside all such thoughts and resolved to enter a convent. While awaiting admission, she tried to help and teach certain neglected children of the village. At twenty-two she made her profession at the convent of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial. The nuns of the Order of the Visitation, founded in the early years of the seventeenth century by St. Francis de Sales, were famed for their humility and selflessness. As a novice Margaret excelled in these virtues. When she made her profession, the name of Mary was added and she was called Margaret Mary. She began a course of mortifications and penances which were to continue, with more or less intensity, as long as she lived. We are told that she was assigned to the infirmary and was not very skillful at her tasks.

Some years passed quietly in the convent, and then Margaret Mary began to have experiences which seemed to be of supernatural origin. The first of these occurred on December 27, 1673, when she was kneeling at the grille in the chapel. She felt suffused by the Divine Presence, and heard the Lord inviting her to take the place which St. John had occupied at the Last Supper. The Lord told her that the love of His heart must spread and manifest itself to men, and He would reveal its graces through her. This was the beginning of a series of revelations covering a period of eighteen months. When Margaret Mary went to the Superior, Mother de Saumaise, with an account of these mystical experiences, claiming that she, a humble nun, had been chosen as the transmitter of a new devotion to the Sacred Heart, she was reprimanded for her presumption. Seriously overwrought, Margaret Mary suffered a collapse, and became very ill. The Mother Superior reflected that she might have erred in scorning the nun’s story and vowed that if her life were spared, she would take it as a sign that the visions and messages were truly from God. When Margaret Mary recovered, the Superior invited some theologians who happened to be in the town—they included a Jesuit and a Benedictine—to hear the story. These priests listened and judged the young nun to be a victim of delusions. Their examination had been a sheer torture to Margaret Mary. Later a Jesuit, Father Claude de la Columbiere, talked to her and was completely convinced of the genuineness of the revelations. He was to write of the nun and to inaugurate this devotion in England.

For many years, Margaret Mary suffered from despair, from self-inflicted punishments, and also from the slights and contempt of those around her. In 1681, Father Claude returned to the convent and died there the following year. Margaret Mary was appointed assistant and novice-mistress by a new Mother Superior who was more sympathetic towards her. In 1683, opposition in the community ended after an account of Margaret Mary’s visions was read aloud in the refectory from the writings left by Father Claude, who had taken it upon himself to make known to the world the nun’s remarkable experiences.  Mother Melin was elected Superior and named Margaret Mary her assistant. That she was finally vindicated was to her a matter of indifference. She later became Novice Mistress, saw the convent observe the feast of the Sacred Heart privately beginning in 1686, and two years later, a chapel was built at the Paray-le-Monial to honor the Sacred Heart; soon observation of the feast of the Sacred Heart spread to other Visitation convents. When she was forty-three, while serving a second term as assistant superior, Margaret Mary fell ill. Sinking rapidly, she received the Last Sacraments, saying, “I need nothing but God, and to lose myself in the heart of Jesus.” Margaret Mary died at the Paray-le-Monial on October 17, 1690.   Margaret Mary was canonized a saint in 1920.  She, St. John Eudes, and Blessed Claude La Colombiere are called the “Saints of the Sacred Heart”; the devotion was officially recognized and approved by Pope Clement XIII in 1765, seventy-five years after her death. Her feast day is observed on October 16th.

In seventeenth-century France, the faith of the people had been badly shaken; there had been rebellion against the Church and neglect of its teachings; the rise of Protestantism and the spread of the heresy of Jansenism both had a part in the weakening of the structure built up through the ages. But as every threat brings its response, so now there rose up fresh, strong forces to counter these trends. Three famous religious, who are today venerated as saints, were particularly effective: Saint John Eudes and Blessed Claude de la Columbiere were French Jesuit priests and writers; Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque was a simple nun of the order of the Visitation. Their special work was to popularize the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Although the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was practiced before this time, it now gained a strong new impetus through the work of Father John Eudes and the writings of Father Claude. The Sacred Heart is regarded as “the symbol of that boundless love which moved the Word to take flesh, to institute the Holy Eucharist, to take our sins upon Himself, and, dying on the Cross, to offer Himself as a victim and sacrifice to the eternal Father.”

The devotion to the Sacred Heart first became popular in France, then spread to Poland and other countries, including, at a later period, the United States. The first petition to the Holy See for the institution of the feast was from Queen Mary, consort of James II of England. The month of June is appointed for this devotion, and since 1929 the feast has been one of the highest rank and is celebrated on the Friday after the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.

St.Longinus

St. Longinus is the centurion who pierced the side of Our Lord while He was hanging on the Cross. St. Longinus, who was nearly blind, was healed when some of the blood and water from Jesus fell into his eyes. It was then he exclaimed “Indeed, this was the Son of God!” [Mark 15:39].

St. Longinus then converted, Left the army, took instruction from the apostles and became a monk in Cappadocia. There he was arrested for his faith, his teeth forced out and tongue cut off. However, St. Longinus miraculously continued to speak clearly and managed to destroy several idols in the presence of the governor. The governor, who was made blind by the demons that came from the idols, had his sight restored when St. Longinus was being beheaded, because his blood came in contact with the governors’ eyes.

St. Longinus’ relics are now in the church of St Augustine, in Rome. His Lance is contained in one of the four pillars over the altar in the Basilica of St Peter’s in Rome.