Category Archives: Saints

Archbishop Sheen moves closer to beatification

Preliminary approval of miracle

A team of Vatican-appointed medical experts has verified the authenticity of a miracle attributed to the intercession of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, moving the renowned preacher closer to beatification.

Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois, announced on March 6 that the panel of experts had found no medical explanation for the case of a child who was restored to life after being stillborn. Medical personnel had tried for an hour to revive the child, without success, while the parents prayed for the intercession of Archbishop Sheen. The child, born in September 2010, is now a healthy 3-year-old.

“Today is a significant step in the cause for the beatification and canonization of our beloved Fulton Sheen, a priest of Peoria and a son of the heartland who went on to change the world,” said Bishop Jenky, who had formally opened the cause for beatification of Archbishop Sheen in 2002.

The reported miracle will now be examined by a team of theologians, and if they approve it, submitted to the entire Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The final approval of the miracle would fulfill the last requirement for the beatification of Cardinal Sheen, who was proclaimed “Venerable” by Pope Benedict XVI in June 2012.

Born in Illinois in 1895, Fulton Sheen was ordained to the priesthood in the Peoria diocese in 1919. He taught philosophy and theology at the Catholic University of America, before becoming an auxiliary bishop of New York in 1951. His fame soared as a result of work in broadcasting; in the 1950s his weekly show, “Life Is Worth Living,” was the most popular program on American television. Bishop Sheen was appointed Bishop of Rochester, New York, in 1966, and raised to the title of archbishop on his retirement in 1969. He died in New York in 1979.

Nov 28 – St. James of the March

James was born in the March of Ancona. His parents raised him in the fear and love of God, and in due time he was sent to the University of Perugia, where he studied civil and canon law with such remarkable success that he received a doctor’s degree in both subjects. Despite the fact that brilliant positions were already open to him, he soon recognized the vanity of the world and felt a singular attraction for the religious life. At first he thought of joining the contemplative Carthusians, but almighty God, who had destined him to labor for the salvation of thousands of souls in the active life, led him to the Order of St. Francis.

During his novitiate James distinguished himself by the practice of all virtues, so that he became a model of religious perfection. In order to preserve angelic purity, which he had kept unsullied from his youth, he led a most austere life. He never slept more than three hours, and that on the bare floor; the remainder of the night he spent meditating on the sufferings of Christ. He constantly wore a coat of mail having sharp points. and scourged himself daily; Like our holy Father St/ Francis, he observed a 40-day fast 7 times a year. Bread and water were his regular fare, although he sometimes added uncooked beans or vegetables. Some years later, St. Bernardin of Siena prevailed upon him to mitigate these austerities somewhat in order to conserve his strength.

Soon after his ordination, when he was 30 years old, he was sent out as a missionary. He undertook this high calling with untiring zeal. For more than 50 years he traveled through Italy, Dalmatia, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia, Austria, Bohemia, Saxony, Prussia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Russia. During the years 1427 and 1428 he preached in Vienna, Augsburg, Ratisbon, Ulm, Limburg, Brandenburg, and Leipzig. Inspired by his apostolic example, more than 200 of the noblest young men of Germany were impelled to enter the Franciscan Order. The crowds who came to hear him were so great that the churches were no large enough to accommodate them, and it became imperative for him to preach in the public squares.

At Milan he was instrumental in converting 36 women of bad repute by a single sermon on St. Mary Magdalen. It is said that he brought 50,000 heretics into the bosom of the Church, and led 200,000 unbelievers to baptism. In addition, God granted St. James such wisdom, that popes and princes availed themselves of his services, seeking counsel from him. He possessed the gifts or miracles and of prophesy in great measure, yet his humility surpassed all those distinctions. He was offered the archepiscopal dignity of the see of Milan, but he declined with these words, “I have no other desire upon earth than to do penance and to preach penance as a poor Franciscan.”

Worn out by his many labors as well as advanced age, he died at Naples, November 28, 1476, in the 85th year of his life, 60 years of which were consecrated to God in the religious state. He was entombed in the Franciscan church at Naples, where his body can still be seen in a crystal coffin, incorrupt, flexible, and emitting a fragrant perfume. Pope Benedict XIII canonized St. James in 1726.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH
O God, who in order to save souls and to call back sinners from the abyss of vice and the path of virtue, didst make Thy confessor St. James a distinguished preacher of the Gospel, mercifully grant that through his intercession we may repent of all our sins and attain to eternal life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
from THE FRANCISCAN BOOK OF SAINTS

edited by Marion Habig, ofm

Prayer to St. Anthony of Padua

June 13th, is the Feast Day of St. Anthony of Padua of Lisbon
Among our Portuguese brothers and sisters, he is often called the “Big Brother” of the Franciscan Order.

Prayer to St. Anthony for lost items

St. Anthony, perfect imitator of Jesus, who received from God the special power of restoring lost things, grant that I may find (name the lost item) which has been lost.
At least restore to me peace and tranquility of mind, the loss of which has afflicted me even more than my material loss. To this favor, I ask another of you: that I may always remain in possession of the true good that is God. Let me rather lose all things than lose God, my supreme good. Let me never suffer the loss of my greatest treasure, eternal life with God. Amen.

How St. Clare was carried to Mass

    At one time the most devout spouse of Christ, St. Clare, while staying at San Damiano, was so seriously ill, that she was unable to go and say the office in church with the other nuns.
    Now when the Feast of the Nativity of Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ came, the Sisters used to recite matins and devoutly receive Holy Communion at the Mass of the Nativity. While all the others went to matins, St. Clare remained alone in bed, seriously ill and very sad because she could not go with the others to attend the holy ceremony and have the spiritual consolation.
    But Our Lord Jesus Christ wished to give this most faithful spouse of His a consolation, and He miraculously let her attend in spirit both the matins and the Mass as well as the whole celebration of the Feast by the friars in the Church of St. Francis. She was able to clearly hear the organ and the friars’ chanting to the end of the Mass. Moreover, she received Holy Communion and was fully consoled. Then He had her carried back to bed.
    Now when the Sisters had finished the office in San Damiano, they came back to St. Clare and said to her: “Oh, dear Mother, Sister Clare what great consolations we have had in this holy Feast of the Saviors Nativity–if only you could have been with us!”
But she answered: My dear little sisters and daughters, I give thanks and praise to God, my Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, because my soul had the consolation of attending all the ceremonies of this most holy night — but still greater and more solemn and beautiful ones than yours. For by the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ and through the intercession of my most blessed Father St. Francis, I was present in the Church of my Father St, Francis, and with my bodily and spiritual ears I heard all the chanting and the organ, and moreover I received Holy Communion there. So rejoice and praise Our Blessed Jesus Christ with all your hearts for the great grace which He gave me, since while I was lying here sick as I said, I was present at the whole ceremony in the church of St. Francis. Whether it was in the body or outside the body, I don’t know; only God who took me there to attend His ceremony knows.”
    To the glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
                                                                        (From the book: Little Flowers of St. Francis)

Blessed Bernard of Corleone 1605-1667

Jan 12 - Blessed Bernard of Corleone 1605-1667

Jan 12 – Blessed Bernard of Corleone 1605-1667

Jan 12 – Blessed Bernard of Corleone 1605-1667

Bernard was born on the island of Sicily in the year 1605. His father was a shoemaker and taught his son the ways of the trade. But it was difficult for the lively youth to interest himself in this work. Upon the death of his father, he immediately left the shop and, led by the love of adventure, he took up fencing. It was not long before he became quite adept at wielding the sword. His unusual corporal vigor qualified him to challenge any comer to a contest.
From then on he spent the greater part of his time in training and eagerly seized every opportunity to match swords with his hot tempered countrymen.
Although this manner of life led him far away from God, nevertheless many noble characteristics were perceptible in Bernard. In taking up any quarrel he liked to defend old people and other helpless and defenseless persons against violence. He frequently made devout visits to a crucifix that was highly honored by the people, and provided that a lamp be kept burning before it. Moreover, he cherished great devotion towards St. Francis. God and St. Francis soon led him to realize what a disorderly course he was pursuing.
Bernard had been challenged to a sinful duel, in the course of which he wounded his opponent mortally. In order to escape from his avengers, he sought refuge in flight. In this extremity, as so frequently happens, grace knocked at his heart. Bernard heeded the call. He acknowledged his godless and dangerous conduct for what it was, bewailed it bitterly, and resolved upon a complete change of sentiments.
In order to atone for his sins, he begged for admission among the Capuchins as a lay brother, and on December 13, 1632, he was invested with the holy habit. If in the past Bernard had yielded his bodily members to wayward purposes, he now used them as an atoning sacrifice unto salvation. Seven times a day he scourged himself to the blood. His sleep was limited to three hours on a narrow board, with a block of wood under his head. He fasted for the most part on bread and water. If anything delicious was placed before him, he would carry the food to his mouth so as to whet his appetite, and then lay it down without having tasted it. In spite of his austere life, he still undertook the most unpleasant and annoying tasks as being his due.
Almighty God showed how agreeable to Him was the penitential life Bernard was leading; he favored him with extraordinary graces, particularly with ardent devotion at prayer. Bernard cherished special love for our Blessed Lady, and encouraged others to do the same. Often our Lady appeared to him and placed the Divine Child in his arms. Moreover, she gave him knowledge of the day of his death four months in advance. He died at Palermo on January 12, 1667.
Attracted by the fame of his sanctity, there gathered for his burial so many people who raised their voices in praise of the deceased, that it was less a funeral cortege than a triumphal procession. Numerous miracles occurring at his grave promoted the cause of his beatification by Pope Clement XIII in the year 1767.

ON THE NECESSITY OF PENANCE

1. Consider the severe penance that Blessed Bernard practiced after his conversion. He understood what the holy Fathers say and the Catholic Church teaches, that for such as have not preserved their baptismal innocence, there is no other way to salvation but the way of penance. Perhaps we have sinned more grievously than Bernard did. In that event it behooves us to practice more rigorous penance, for according to the measure of our guilt should be the measure of our penance. Or do you perhaps believe that you have no reason to perform any penance? That would indeed be a sad delusion, for St. John writes: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (1 Jn 1:8). This is the first requisite of penance, that we sincerely acknowledge our sinfulness before God and repent of our failures with our whole heart. Do you have at least this kind of contrition?
2. Consider the words of our Lord: “Except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). In what way? By sudden death. Our Lord spoke these words after it had been reported to Him that a number of persons had died a violent death. There is a limit to God’s forbearance. Has Bernard not heeded the call of grace, might he not have perished in his sins? Hence, heed the admonition: “Today, if you hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Heb 3:8). Should you not long ago have followed the call to do penance?

3. Consider that penance requires more than the acknowledgment of our sins and sorrow for the same. The sinner must also produce the fruits of penance. The precursor of Christ admonishes us: “Bring forth, therefore, fruits worthy of penance (Luke 3:8). An offense against God requires satisfaction to be made. If you cannot perform the rigorous penance Blessed Bernard performed, you can surely impose small sacrifices upon sensuality and the weakness of the flesh. The time of Lent admonishes us of these practices. Practice works of charity and piety in the spirit of penance in order to appease the divine justice, and cheerfully accept in the spirit of penance every cross and suffering that God allows to come your way.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

O God, who didst permit Blessed Bernard, Thy confessor, to distinguish himself by heroic charity and admirable penance, grant us, through his intercession, that we may love Thee with our whole heart and bring forth fruits worthy of penance. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.