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

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

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Hail Mary, full of grace”. For thousands of centuries, millions of times per day the Virgin Mary is greeted by the faithful with the greeting of the Archangel, that we hear resonating anew in today’s Gospel. The sons of the Church learn from the words of the Archangel Gabriel that the fullness of the mystery of God’s grace was realized in Holy Mary. St Paul the Apostle teaches us that the Father made all fullness dwell in His Incarnate Son (c.f. Col 1:12-20), which overflows from Christ’s head and spills out on His Mystical Body that is the Church. Before descending in Body, Christ’s fullness was spread in a unique and unrepeatable way on Mary, predestined from eternity to be the Mother of God.

Significantly in the first reading, the liturgy recalls the figure of Eve, the mother of all the living. The Fathers of the Church saw in Mary, the new Eve that unties the knot bound by the first woman. The knot of disobedience tied by Eve, was untied by the obedience of Mary. As Eve was created in purity and integrity, also the new Eve was miraculously preserved from the contamination of original sin because she had to give humanity the Word, who was incarnated for our ransom.

Saint Irenaeus compares the virginity of the pure earth from which Adam was drawn to the virginity of the immaculate humanity of Mary from which the Second Adam was drawn. ‘And as the protoplast himself, Adam, had his substance from untilled and as yet virgin soil (for God had not yet sent rain, and man had not tilled the ground (Genesis 2:5)) so did He who is the Word, recapitulating Adam in Himself, rightly receive a birth, enabling Him to gather up Adam [into Himself], from Mary, who was as yet a virgin’ (Adversus hereses III, 21:10).

Blessed Pope Pius IX on the 8th of December 1854 proclaimed the Dogma of the faith revealed by God that the Blessed Virgin Mary “in the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin” (Denz.-Schonm, 2083). If the official proclamation of the dogma is relatively recent, the profession of faith by Christians and the liturgy is very ancient in this regard. Furthermore, four years later the same Virgin Mary, appearing in Lourdes to St Bernadette, confirmed the truth of the doctrine by presenting herself with the title ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’.

Mary’s predestination to this singular grace—consistent with the suspension of the universal decree by which every man, from the moment of his conception is contaminated with original sin—leads us to ponder in the deepest depths the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity’s salvific plan. God, One and Triune, had foreseen from the very beginning the future incarnation of the Word culminating in the redemption of human nature that had fallen into sin. He therefore predestined pure Mary, so that He could draw from her uncontaminated humanity, which the Son could adopt in order to re-establish in Himself the original purity of creation and reorientate it to eternal glory.

For this reason, in the second reading of today’s liturgy, St Paul reminds us that God wants to see us holy and immaculate before Him. The purity of our origins seemed to be irredeemably lost. However, in Immaculate Mary, God found the perfect solution to reverse the disaster made from the misuse of our liberty, and returned humanity to the original purity that seemed hopelessly lost.

Mary’s Immaculate Conception is a direct consequence of her Divine Maternity. St Anslem of Aosta wrote: ‘Assuredly, it was fitting that the Virgin be beautified with a purity than which a greater cannot be conceived, except for God’s. For, toward her, God the Father was so disposed to give His only Son who was naturally one and the same common Son of God the Father and of the Virgin.’ (De conceptu virginali et originali peccato, XVIII)

This link between the privilege of Divine Maternity and Mary’s Immaculate Conception results also in her superiority with respect to us. She is a perfect image of the Church in heaven, the new triumphant Jerusalem, that won’t have any marks nor will there be pain and death. This is why today’s preface recites: ‘…she was to be a worthy mother of your Son, your sign of favour to the church at its beginning, and the promise of its perfection as the bride of Christ, radiant in beauty’. Also in heaven Mary is not and will never be only a disciple, but her Son’s most exalted. She is and will always be the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, the Queen of the Angels and Saints. Therefore, the preface of the Mass adds: ‘…You chose her from all creatures to be our advocate with you and our pattern of holiness.’

Mary was Immaculate because she had to be the Mother of God. She, herself has received the original grace of purity and the final state of the blessed life that we also, by collaborating with Divine Grace, hope one day to receive.

Immaculate Mary is full of grace. She is not only Christ’s disciple, who with the help of grace has overcome the chains of sin, but she is totius Trinitatis nobile triclinium, the noble resting place of the Holy Trinity (St Thomas Aquinas, Exposito Salutationis Angelicae, I). The Immaculate, full of grace, will always be Mother and Queen for that elect part of the Church that we hope one day to join, that will one day joyfully sing before the Almighty.