Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Saint Juan Diego

"Thousands of people gathered in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe July 31, 2002, for the canonization of Juan Diego, to whom the Blessed Mother appeared in the 16th century. Pope John Paul II celebrated the ceremony at which the poor Indian peasant became the Church’s first saint indigenous to the Americas.
The Holy Father called the new saint “a simple, humble Indian” who accepted Christianity without giving up his identity as an Indian. “In praising the Indian Juan Diego, I want to express to all of you the closeness of the church and the pope, embracing you with love and encouraging you to overcome with hope the difficult times you are going through,” John Paul said. Among the thousands present for the event were members of Mexico’s 64 indigenous groups.

First called Cuauhtlatohuac (“The eagle who speaks”), Juan Diego’s name is forever linked with Our Lady of Guadalupe because it was to him that she first appeared at Tepeyac hill on December 9, 1531. The most famous part of his story is told in connection with the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12). After the roses gathered in his tilma were transformed into the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, however, little more is said about Juan Diego.

In time he lived near the shrine constructed at Tepeyac, revered as a holy, unselfish and compassionate catechist who taught by word and especially by example.

During his 1990 pastoral visit to Mexico, Pope John Paul II confirmed the long-standing liturgical cult in honor of Juan Diego, beatifying him. Twelve years later he was proclaimed a saint." (From Saint A Day)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Girl cured of terminal cancer opens way for Blessed Jose Olallo Valdes

Havana, Dec 1, 2008 / 02:34 pm (CNA).- The website of the Catholic bishops of Cuba announced just hours before the beatification of Brother Jose Olallo Valdes that Daniela Cabrera Ramos was cured of terminal cancer at the age of three and that her healing paved the way for the Cuban priest’s beatification.

Reporter Osvaldo Gallardo Gonzalez interviewed the girl who is today 12. According to the website, she was cured of a fatal type of cancer after her family prayed to Father Olallo for his intercession.

“I remember my veins got pricked a lot. My mom told me that I was very sick with massive cancer in my abdomen and the doctors said I would not survive,” the girl said.

Daniela, who lives with her family on a street dedicated to the Cuban priest, said Father Olallo “dedicated his life to the care of the sick, whom he considered to be his favorites. He was a great nurse.”

“He bought food with his savings and went from door to door leaving food for the sick,” she added, saying her healing happened thanks “to Jesus Christ through the intercession of one of his servants, Father Olallo.”

“Now that I am older I give thanks to God for having chosen me for a miracle, because in my hospital there were many other kids just as sick as me and who died,” she said.

Daniela was present on Saturday at the beatification Mass and said she would be bringing a special petition. “I will pray to him for a good kidney transplant for my dad and for his healing, that God will place his hands on all the sick children and heal them like he healed me, and that peace and love will reign on the earth,” she said.
(from the Catholic News Agency)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

St. Francis Xavier Cabrini

Frances Xavier Cabrini was the first United States citizen to be canonized. Her deep trust in the loving care of her God gave her the strength to be a valiant woman doing the work of Christ. 0A

Refused admission to the religious order which had educated her to be a teacher, she began charitable work at the House of Providence Orphanage in Cadogno, Italy. In September 1877, she made her vows there and took the religious habit.
When the bishop closed the orphanage in 1880, he named Frances prioress of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Seven young women from the orphanage joined with her.

Since her early childhood in Italy, Frances had wanted to be a missionary in China but, at the urging of Pope Leo XIII, Frances went west instead of east. She traveled with six sisters to New York City to work with the thousands of Italian immigrants living there.

She found disappointment and difficulties with every step. When she arrived in New York City, the house intended to be her first orphanage in the United States was not available. The archbishop advised her to return to Italy. But Frances, truly a valiant woman, departed from the archbishop’s residence all the more determined to establish that orphanage. And she succeeded.
In 35 years Frances Xavier Cabrini founded 67 institutions dedicated to caring for the poor, the abandoned, the uneducated and the sick. Seeing great need among Italian immigrants who were losing their faith, she organized schools and adult education classes.

As a child, she was always frightened of water, unable to overcome her fear of drowning. Yet, despite this fear, she traveled across the Atlantic Ocean more than thirty times. She died of malaria in her own Columbus Hospital in Chicago.

(From Saint of the Day)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Speaking of the Saints...

An article from this week's National Catholic Register BY JOSEPH PRONECHEN:

"All Saints Day, a solemn feast of the Church, is practically as old as the saints themselves. Its roots reach to the fourth century, when the Church began celebrating a common day for all martyrs. In the eighth and ninth centuries, Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV set the celebration for Nov. 1 and extended it to commemorate not just the martyred, but also all persons, known and unknown, whose sanctity in this life assured them a place in heaven for all eternity.

Members of the “Church Militant” — that would be us — can thus be assured that the “Church Triumphant” is praying for our salvation with the power of the full beatific vision before them.

Maybe even more important, their feast reminds us of the Church’s unmistakable nudge to our consciences: If those everyday folks could do it, so can we. “‘All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity,’ the Catechism reminds us (No. 2013). “All are called to holiness …”

“When we think of saints, we tend to think of the greatest ones — martyrs, mystics, founders of religious orders,” says author Thomas Craughwell. “Few of us are going to do what they did. But heaven is crowded with saints we do not know, ordinary people who became saints.” Craughwell’s books include Saints Behaving Badly: The Cutthroats, Crooks, Trollops, Con Men, and Devil-Worshippers Who Became Saints (Doubleday, 2006) and This Saint’s for You!: 300 Heavenly Allies Who Will Change Your Life (Quirk Books, 2007); he’s also online at TomCraughwell.com. He points to the heroic holiness of unknowns such as St. Zita, a 13th-century housekeeper — and to the often-overlooked humanity of the most celebrated.

St. Joseph, for example, is one of the most important figures in salvation history. Yet, Craughwell points out, “He’s not a martyr or a mystic. He doesn’t say a single word in the Gospels, and he performs no miracles. He’s a family man, a working man — but he’s completely faithful in obeying the will of God.”

Easier said than done? Sure. But absolutely doable, as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta daily reminded us by her words and her actions. Catholic writer and speaker Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, who knew Mother Teresa as a friend, says she often quotes a slice of simple wisdom that the saintly nun frequently repeated: “Holiness is not the luxury of a few. It is everyone’s duty: yours and mine.”

Cooper O’Boyle, author of two new books on Catholic mothering and homemaking (both published by the Register’s sister company Circle Press; see CirclePress.org and DonnaCooperOboyle.com), stresses that she strives to live Blessed Teresa’s message not only in her work, but also in her vocation as a wife and mother..." (Continued here)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blessed Luis Martin and Blessed Zelie Guerin

Paris, Oct 21, 2008 / 09:42 am (CNA).- "The prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, has called the parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, now Blesseds Luis Martin and Zelie Guerin, “two witnesses of conjugal love” who raised their children firmly in the Christian faith, thus becoming an example for Christian spouses.

Before the more than 15,000 people gathered for the Beatification Mass at the Basilica of St. Therese in Lisieux, France, Cardinal Saraiva said the parents of the patroness of the missions “walked together towards God in search of the will of the Lord,” and in order to always be sure of fulfilling his will they always looked to the Church, “expert in humanity, seeking to be conformed in all aspects of their lives to the teachings of the Church.”

Referring to the 19 years of marriage they shared, Cardinal Saraiva underscored how the parents of St. Therese “lived out their marital promises in absolute fidelity, conscious of the indissolubility of their bond, in search of the fecundity of their love, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health,” all of which was a gift for their daughters.

'Among these we particularly admire Therese, a masterpiece of the grace of God and a masterpiece of the love of her parents for their children,” the cardinal said.

After explaining how Louis accepted with faith and hope the death of Zelie, who died from cancer, and how he faced his own death in the same way, Cardinal Saraiva said both “are an example of missionaries. For this reason, the Pope desired they be proclaimed blessed on this day that is so special for the universal Church: he desired to unite Louis and Zelie to their disciple, Therese, their daughter, who became patroness of the missions and Doctor of the Church.'”

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

St. Teresa of Avila, 1515 - 1582

"Teresa lived in an age of exploration as well as political, social and religious upheaval. It was the 16th century, a time of turmoil and reform. Her life began with the culmination of the Protestant Reformation, and ended shortly after the Council of Trent.
The gift of God to Teresa in and through which she became holy and left her mark on the Church and the world is threefold: She was a woman; she was a contemplative; she was an active reformer.

As a woman, Teresa stood on her own two feet, even in the man's world of her time. She was "her own woman," entering the Carmelites despite strong opposition from her father. She is a person wrapped not so much in silence as in mystery. Beautiful, talented, outgoing, adaptable, affectionate, courageous, enthusiastic, she was totally human. Like Jesus, she was a mystery of paradoxes: wise, yet practical; intelligent, yet much in tune with her experience; a mystic, yet an energetic reformer. A holy woman, a womanly woman.

Teresa was a woman "for God," a woman of prayer, discipline and compassion. Her heart belonged to God. Her own conversion was no overnight affair; it was an arduous lifelong struggle, involving ongoing purification and suffering. She was misunderstood, misjudged, opposed in her efforts at reform. Yet she struggled on, courageous and faithful; she struggled with her own mediocrity, her illness, her opposition. And in the midst of all this she clung to God in life and in prayer. Her writings on prayer and contemplation are drawn from her experience: powerful, practical and graceful. A woman of prayer; a woman for God.

Teresa was a woman "for others." Though a contemplative, she spent much of her time and energy seeking to reform herself and the Carmelites, to lead them back to the full observance of the primitive Rule. She founded over a half-dozen new monasteries. She traveled, wrote, fought—always to renew, to reform. In her self, in her prayer, in her life, in her efforts to reform, in all the people she touched, she was a woman for others, a woman who inspired and gave life.

In 1970 the Church gave her the title she had long held in the popular mind: Doctor of the Church. She and St. Catherine of Siena were the first women so honored." (From Saint A Day)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Feast of the Guardian Angels!

Perhaps no aspect of Catholic piety is as comforting to parents as the belief that an angel protects their little ones from dangers real and imagined. Yet guardian angels are not just for children. Their role is to represent individuals before God, to watch over them always, to aid their prayer and to present their souls to God at death.
The concept of an angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture but not directly drawn from it. Jesus' words in Matthew 18:10 best support the belief: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father."

Devotion to the angels began to develop with the birth of the monastic tradition. St. Benedict gave it impetus and Bernard of Clairvaux, the great 12th-century reformer, was such an eloquent spokesman for the guardian angels that angelic devotion assumed its current form in his day.

A feast in honor of the guardian angels was first observed in the 16th century. In 1615, Pope Paul V added it to the Roman calendar.

(from Saint A Day)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

St Therese of the Child Jesus

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face is one of the Church’s most popular saints. Thérèse was born in 1873 to Louis Martin, a watchmaker, and Zelie Guerin, a lace-maker. She was one of nine children, four of whom died very young. Thérèse suffered greatly in her early life due to the death of her mother, and she endured years of very difficult mental anguish. Thérèse’s faith was strong, and she became a Carmelite nun at the early age of fifteen, after requesting the special permission of her bishop and the pope. She lived in the Carmelite convent of Lisieux, France, joining two of her sisters there. Her other two sisters also became nuns.

Her nine years there seemed uneventful and ordinary, yet were very heroic. Thérèse realized that sanctity could be achieved in and through the simple routines and daily work of life. Instead of ambitiously seeking to do great things, she contented herself with following her “little way” – simple trust in and love for God, and the attempt to glorify Him in everything she did, no matter how insignificant. She considered herself the “little flower,” more ordinary than a rose, unseen by the world, yet beautiful and cherished by God nonetheless.

She once said, “I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul.” Thérèse suffered from poor health all her life, but, in spite of her frailty, she spent many hours of hard work in the convent laundry and refectory.

During her last year of life, she contracted tuberculosis and suffered greatly before dying at the very young age of twenty-four. (The day of her death she murmured, “I would not suffer less.”) Her Autobiography, written in obedience to her superiors, was later published under the title The Story of a Soul. As she died, she clutched a crucifix, and repeated, “Oh, how I love Him!”

She was canonized a saint, and in 1997 was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II.

(from Catholic Exchange)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

St. Padre Pio

St. Padre Pio da Pietrelcina


"In one of the largest such ceremonies in history, Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio of Pietrelcina on June 16, 2002. It was the 45th canonization ceremony in Pope John Paul's pontificate. More than 300,000 people braved blistering heat as they filled St. Peter's Square and nearby streets. They heard the Holy Father praise the new saint for his prayer and charity. "This is the most concrete synthesis of Padre Pio's teaching," said the pope. He also stressed Padre Pio's witness to the power of suffering. If accepted with love, the Holy Father stressed, such suffering can lead to "a privileged path of sanctity."
Many people have turned to the Italian Capuchin Franciscan to intercede with God on their behalf; among them was the future Pope John Paul II. In 1962, when he was still an archbishop in Poland, he wrote to Padre Pio and asked him to pray for a Polish woman with throat cancer. Within two weeks, she had been cured of her life-threatening disease.

Born Francesco Forgione, Padre Pio grew up in a family of farmers in southern Italy. Twice (1898-1903 and 1910-17) his father worked in Jamaica, New York, to provide the family income.

At the age of 15, Francesco joined the Capuchins and took the name of Pio. He was ordained in 1910 and was drafted during World War I. After he was discovered to have tuberculosis, he was discharged. In 1917 he was assigned to the friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, 75 miles from the city of Bari on the Adriatic.

On September 20, 1918, as he was making his thanksgiving after Mass, Padre Pio had a vision of Jesus. When the vision ended, he had the stigmata in his hands, feet and side.

Life became more complicated after that. Medical doctors, Church authorities and curiosity seekers came to see Padre Pio. In 1924 and again in 1931, the authenticity of the stigmata was questioned; Padre Pio was not permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or to hear confessions. He did not complain of these decisions, which were soon reversed. However, he wrote no letters after 1924. His only other writing, a pamphlet on the agony of Jesus, was done before 1924.

Padre Pio rarely left the friary after he received the stigmata, but busloads of people soon began coming to see him. Each morning after a 5 a.m. Mass in a crowded church, he heard confessions until noon. He took a mid-morning break to bless the sick and all who came to see him. Every afternoon he also heard confessions. In time his confessional ministry would take 10 hours a day; penitents had to take a number so that the situation could be handled. Many of them have said that Padre Pio knew details of their lives that they had never mentioned... (Continued here)"

Saturday, September 13, 2008

St. John Chrysostom

I have this saint in my saints' book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book.

"The ambiguity and intrigue surrounding John, the great preacher (his name means "golden-mouthed") from Antioch, are characteristic of the life of any great man in a capital city. Brought to Constantinople after a dozen years of priestly service in Syria, John found himself the reluctant victim of an imperial ruse to make him bishop in the greatest city of the empire. Ascetic, unimposing but dignified, and troubled by stomach ailments from his desert days as a monk, John began his episcopate under the cloud of imperial politics.
If his body was weak, his tongue was powerful. The content of his sermons, his exegesis of Scripture, were never without a point. Sometimes the point stung the high and mighty. Some sermons lasted up to two hours.

His life-style at the imperial court was not appreciated by some courtiers. He offered a modest table to episcopal sycophants hanging around for imperial and ecclesiastical favors. John deplored the court protocol that accorded him precedence before the highest state officials. He would not be a kept man.

His zeal led him to decisive action. Bishops who bribed their way into their office were deposed. Many of his sermons called for concrete steps to share wealth with the poor. The rich did not appreciate hearing from John that private property existed because of Adam's fall from grace any more than married men liked to hear that they were bound to marital fidelity just as much as their wives. When it came to justice and charity, John acknowledged no double standards.

Aloof, energetic, outspoken, especially when he became excited in the pulpit, John was a sure target for criticism and personal trouble. He was accused of gorging himself secretly on rich wines and fine foods. His faithfulness as spiritual director to the rich widow, Olympia, provoked much gossip attempting to prove him a hypocrite where wealth and chastity were concerned. His action taken against unworthy bishops in Asia Minor was viewed by other ecclesiastics as a greedy, uncanonical extension of his authority.

Two prominent personages who personally undertook to discredit John were Theophilus, Archbishop of Alexandria, and Empress Eudoxia. Theophilus feared the growth in importance of the Bishop of Constantinople and took occasion to charge John with fostering heresy. Theophilus and other angered bishops were supported by Eudoxia. The empress resented his sermons contrasting gospel values with the excesses of imperial court life. Whether intended or not, sermons mentioning the lurid Jezebel and impious Herodias were associated with the empress, who finally did manage to have John exiled. He died in exile in 407."

(From Saint of the Day)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta's feast day!

"Jesus is pleased to come to us
As the truth to be told
And the life to be lived,
As the light to be lighted
And love to be loved
As the joy to be given
And the peace to be spread"
--Blessed Teresa of Calcutta


Here are two previous radio segments where I speak about Mother TeresaMy book, Prayerfully Expecting and how I met Mother Teresa,

And Addressing the comments in the media about Mother Teresa's supposed "crisis of faith,"

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor day with St. Joseph the worker

A Prayer for Workers

O glorious Joseph! Who concealed your incomparable and regal dignity of custodian of Jesus and of the Virgin Mary under the humble appearance of a craftsman and provided for them with your work, protect with loving power your sons, especially entrusted to you.

You know their anxieties and sufferings, because you yourself experienced them at the side of Jesus and of His Mother. Do not allow them, oppressed by so many worries, to forget the purpose for which they were created by God. Do not allow the seeds of distrust to take hold of their immortal souls. Remind all the workers that in the fields, in factories, in mines, and in scientific laboratories, they are not working, rejoicing, or suffering alone, but at their side is Jesus, with Mary, His Mother and ours, to sustain them, to dry the sweat of their brow, giving value to their toil. Teach them to turn work into a very high instrument of sanctification as you did. Amen.

[composed by Blessed Pope John XXIII (1958-63)]

Thursday, August 28, 2008

St. Augustine

"A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience.
There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love.

Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism.

In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9)." From "Saint A Day."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

St. Monica

Being a mother, one of my favorite saints is St. Monica. I admire her for her unceasing prayer for her wayward son and her husband. St. Monica's prayers, by God's grace changed hearts. Her tears were redemptive and her prayers powerful. Every faithful mother's prayer is powerful. We need to believe that the words that were spoken to St. Monica by her Bishop when she pleaded through tears for help from him for her wayward son, Augustine are words that are meant for every faithful Christian mother. We must believe, trust, and never give up on hope!

From my new book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book:

Dear St. Monica, your devotion as a mother and wife and your commitment to your family, especially in your prayer for them, sets a powerful and timely example for us all. Please pray to the Blessed Trinity for me, my family, and all I hold dear so that we will be open to the graces that Our Lord in His great mercy wants to shed upon us. Help mothers and wives everywhere to know that Our Lord never turns His ear away from a mother's faithful prayers for her family. St. Monica, pray for us and for all who invoke your aid. If it is in God's holy will, please grant me (here mention your request). Amen.

From Fr. James's blog:

"Saint Monica (331-387) was the mother of one of the most celebrated converts in the history of the Catholic Church. Augustine was spiritually lost for many years and his mother shed many tears. St. Ambrose was approached one day by Monica after Mass with tears in her eyes begging the the famous bishop of Milan that he pray for the conversion of her son. "God will never deny the tears of a mother", were his consoling words to the troubled mother of the wayward son. Eventually Augustine did leave behind his life of sin and was baptized. Moreover, he became a priest and then a bishop. He is known was one of the most famous theologians of the Catholic Church.

I have been a Catholic priest for almost 21 years. Almost every family that I have known as a priest has worries and concerns about wayward children that have lost the Faith or are living immoral lives. Like Ambrose, I have seen many tears shed by many mothers and even many fathers. Parents must look to the example of St. Monica and never give up on their wayward children. Let us remember our best weapons for the conversion of sinners: prayer and penance. I am sure that Monica's struggle with Augustine gave her plenty of opportunities to become the great saint that she became."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

St Rose of Lima

Yesterday was the feast of St. Rose of Lima

From the writings of St. Rose of Lima:

"Our Lord and Savior lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: 'Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven.'

When I heard these words, a strong force came upon me and seemed to place me in the middle of a street, so that I might say in a loud voice to people of every age, sex and status: "Hear, O people; hear, O nations. I am warning you about the commandment of Christ by using words that came from his own lips: We cannot obtain grace unless we suffer afflictions. We must heap trouble upon trouble to attain a deep participation in the divine nature, the glory of the sons of God and perfect happiness lf soul."

That same force strongly urged me to proclaim the beauty of divine grace. It pressed me so that my breath came slow and forced me to sweat and pant. I felt as if my soul could no longer be kept in the prison of the body, but that it had burst its chains and was free and alone and was going very swiftly through the whole world saying: 'If only mortals would learn how great it is to possess divine grace, how beautiful, how noble, how precious. How many riches it hides within itself, how many joys and delights! Without doubt they would devote all their care and concern to winning for themselves pains and afflictions. All men throughout the world would seek trouble, infirmities and torments, instead of good fortune, in order to attain the unfathomable treasure of grace. This is the reward and the final gain of patience. No one would complain about his cross or about troubles that may happen to him, if he would come to know the scales on which they are weighed when they are distributed to men.'"

HT to Fr. James

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Queenship of Mary

"Pius XII established this feast in 1954. But Mary’s queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary “mother of my Lord.” As in all the mysteries of Mary’s life, Mary is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus’ kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the mother of the king has great influence in court.
In the fourth century St. Ephrem called Mary “Lady” and “Queen” and Church Fathers and Doctors continued to use the title. Hymns of the eleventh to thirteenth centuries address Mary as queen: “Hail, Holy Queen,” “Hail, Queen of Heaven,” “Queen of Heaven.” The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary’s litany celebrate her queenship.

The feast is a logical follow-up to the Assumption and is now celebrated on the octave day of that feast. In his encyclical To the Queen of Heaven, Pius XII points out that Mary deserves the title because she is Mother of God, because she is closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus’ redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection and because of her intercessory power" (from "Saint a Day").

Monday, August 4, 2008

Review: Catholic Saints Prayer Book

This is from "Building the Ark"

"As much as I loved Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle's first book, I wondered if the second book could be as inspiring and engaging. Well, I am happy to report that this gifted mother and writer did not disappoint!

Again, the size and succinctness of the Catholic Saints Prayer Book is a big plus in this busy mom's life. In the midst of my day, if I'm looking for a quick biography of one of the many well-loved and well-known saints, I can easily find it in her book.

It's a little like having an address book for the soul. At a moment's notice, a quick glance down the table of contents is all you need to find the page number of the saint you want to *call*. (Oh, if only there really were phone numbers! ) Then, with her beautiful written prose, a prayer for calling on each saint for intercession.

And being a wee bit biased on all things Irish, I was thrilled to find both the male patron of Ireland--St. Patrick and his not-as-well-known female counterpart St. Brigid. This is a wonderful book to keep in a classroom or family prayer area, in your pocketbook for easy access or to loan out to a friend. Just a warning, though, if you decide to lend it out; buy a second one as a back-up because it may be a while before your friend is ready to give it and all its beauty back!

Thanks again, Donna-Marie! It's always a pleasure!"


Thank you very much, Jane for your very kind words. I'm glad that you are enjoying this book!

God bless and hugs,


Friday, August 1, 2008

Miracle in Chili attributed to Nicola D'Onofrio?

Santiago, Aug 1, 2008 / 10:23 am (CNA).- Maria Mercedes Correa Maldonado, a 23 year-old Chilean woman who in explicably “woke up” from cerebral palsy when she was 18, is now pregnant, in what could be the second miracle attributed to Italian seminarian Nicola D’Onofrio (1943-1964), whose cause of beatification is open in the Diocese of Rome.

Maria Mercedes suffered from grave cerebral palsy but on a March afternoon on 2003, after her mother had incessantly prayed to the Italian seminarian for his intercession, she woke up in her hospital bed in Puataendo, sat up and said, “I’m hungry.”

Inexplicable from a medical point of view, the case drew the attention of the Sons of St. Camillus, who are following D’Onofrio’s beatification process in Rome, which began in 2000.

Now, five years after her miraculous recovery, Maria Mercedes says she is experiencing a new miracle from D’Onofrio, as she has become pregnant despite doctors’ diagnoses that it would be impossible. “All the specialists who examined her came to the conclusion that she could never have any children. But now she is pregnant. It is a new miracle,” her mother said... (Continued here).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

St. Martha

"Martha was born of noble and wealthy parents, but she is still more illustrious for the hospitality she gave to Christ our Lord. After His Ascension into heaven, she was seized by the Jews, together with her brother and sister, Marcella her handmaid, and Maximin, one of the seventy two disciples of our Lord, who had baptized the whole family, and many other Christians. They were put on board a ship without sails or oars, and left helpless on the open sea, exposed to certain shipwreck. But God guided the ship, and they all arrived safely at Marseilles.
This miracle, together with their preaching, brought the people of Marseilles, of Aix, and of the neighborhood to believe in Christ. Lazarus was made Bishop of Marseilles and Maximin of Aix. Magdalen, who was accustomed to devote herself to prayer and to sit at our Lord's feet, in order to enjoy the better part which she had chosen, that is, contemplation of the joys of heaven, retired into a deserted cave on a very high mountain. There she lived for thirty years, separated from all human intercourse; and every day she was carried to heaven by the angels to hear their songs of praise.

But Martha, after having won the love and admiration of the people of Marseilles by the sanctity of her life and her wonderful charity, withdrew in the company of several virtuous women to a spot remote from men, where she lived for a long time, greatly renowned for her piety and prudence. She foretold her death long before it occurred; and at length, famous for miracles, she passed to our Lord on the fourth of the Kalends of August. Her body which lies at Tarascon is held in great veneration."

Excerpted from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.

"He Knows My Name" blogspot
expresses this about St. Martha:

"She is mentioned three times in the Bible, but most people focus on only one - when Jesus was visiting and she wanted His help in getting her sister Mary off the floor to help do the dishes. Our gracious Lord reminded her that it was a good thing to sit awhile and listen, after all they may not get that opportunity again. It doesn't tell us how she responded to that, but if you read further about her I think you'll agree that she would have taken that to heart and learnt from it. In fact, she seemed a very focused woman. She did not appear to be an emotional personality like her sister, but rather seeing things in black and white. She saw there was work to do and set about doing it believing it to be necessary at that time, though Christ teaches her otherwise. Also, she wasn't complaining about working, just that Mary also had chores to do.

Further on, Lazarus has died. Mary is a mess. When Jesus arrives, days after they had sent word to Him, Martha rebukes Him. "Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died." She doesn't hold back, BUT, can you see what else she is saying? She BELIEVES, without a doubt,that Christ has the power to heal her brother. No faltering faith for Martha. She is convinced (remember, I said she sees everything in black and white?).
Now, if that faith statement doesn't grab you the next one must!
She continues, without taking a breath, "BUT EVEN NOW, I KNOW THAT WHATEVER YOU ASK OF GOD, GOD WILL GIVE YOU." What a woman of faith in her Lord!!
She continues on declaring Him to be "...the Christ, the Son of God..."!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

St. Bridget of Sweden

Bridget was born in Sweden in 1303. From the time she was a child, she was greatly devoted to the passion of Jesus. When she was only ten, she seemed to see Jesus on the cross and hear him say, "Look at me, my daughter." "Who has treated you like this?" cried little Bridget. "They who despise me and refuse my love for them," answered Jesus. From then on, Bridget tried to stop people from offending Jesus. When she was fourteen, she married eighteen-year-old Ulf. Like Bridget, Ulf had set his heart on serving God. They had eight children, of whom one was St. Catherine of Sweden. Bridget and Ulf served the Swedish court. Bridget was the queen's personal maid. Bridget tried to help King Magnus and Queen Blanche lead better lives. For the most part, they did not listen to her. All her life, Bridget had marvelous visions and received special messages from God. In obedience to them, she visited many rulers and important people in the Church. She explained humbly what God expected of them. After her husband died, Bridget put away her rich clothes. She lived as a poor nun. Later, she started the order of the Most Holy Savior, also known as Bridgettines. She still kept up her own busy life, traveling about doing good everywhere. And through all this activity, Jesus continued to reveal many secrets to her. These she received without the least bit of pride. Shortly before she died, the saint went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. At the shrines there, she had visions of what Jesus had said and done in that place. All St. Bridget's revelations on the sufferings of Jesus were published after her death. St. Bridget died in Rome on July 23, 1373. She was proclaimed a saint by Pope Boniface IX in 1391. May Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world, grant us the grace to share in his passion through a deeper spirit of repentance. (From Saint of the Day)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Review from Hawaii on my book "Catholic Saints Prayer Book"

Our family's home is filled with Catholic books, especially books on the saints. Would there be new book on the saints that would stand out? Could there really be a Catholic saints book that would be different than the ones already sitting on our book shelves?

Well, when fellow Catholic blogger and online friend Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle gave me an opportunity to read and review her book, I was briefly hesitant to accept because I believed that it would just be another ordinary saints book.

However, after reading Donna's little book recently published by Our Sunday Visitor I can honestly say that this book truly stands out.

First of all, you can see it was a work of love on Donna's part. Here is a woman who is very spiritual and who has been blessed in her life to personally know a Catholic saint, Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Then there is the fact that the book in itself is beautiful to behold. It reminded me of the old fashioned books with the lovely designs and elegant fonts. It was not a cheap paperback but a quality hardcover book.

The book itself is tiny in size yet packed full of interesting tidbits of favorite Catholic saints. Some of my favorite saints which I found covered in the book include:

- St. Augustine
- St. Faustina
- St. Francis
- St. John Chrysostom
- St. Maximilian Kolbe
- St. Padre Pio
- St. Rita of Cascia
- St. Thomas More

Actually, it was very enjoyable reading about all the saints that were selected by Donna. I believe I learned something new on just about all the saints that I had not known before. For example, I did not know that St. Augustine started living with a woman at the age of fifteen! I also did not know that the sisters of St. Bernadette's convent treated her so harshly!!

Each saint's page contains the feast day of that particular saint, a quote from either the saint, the Catechism of the Catholic Church or from scripture, a short list of all their patronages, (what they were patron saints of)a compact yet precise outline of the saint's biography and to make each entry special, Donna included a prayer for each particular saint. The little book also contains graphics that are not usually seen. For instance, St. Ignatius of Loyola's death mask.

The first time I opened the book to read it was when my family and I were at the airport waiting for my niece and nephew to arrive. I took out the little book to read and was soon absorbed in it. Before I knew it, my husband was looking over my shoulder to read along with me and then soon our son was doing the same thing. In order to be fair we took turns reading the lovely little saints book. My husband commented that that I should always carry the book in my purse. He said it was a treasure. I thought that was an excellent suggestion and so that is what I have been doing since receiving the book.

I really hope that if you are looking for a book on the saints that will captivate your family's interest and also be a prayer book for yourself, that you will consider buying this beautiful little book.

Mahalo Donna for the opportunity to read your new book.


Thank you very much, Esther! Your words are very kind and your review is thorough. Someday I'd love to visit with you in Hawaii!

God bless and hugs,


PS Esther has a very beautiful Catholic blog from Hawaii. Go take a look at her Hawaiian Catholic blog, "A Catholic Mom in Hawaii" here!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Review of my Catholic Saints Prayer Book

This review comes from Mary Catherine Williams from Kansas:

We are fortunate to have the saints' life stories to encourage us and help us get through each day. This little book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book, carries a big message that the saints were people just like us. I have purchased 20 copies of Catholic Saints Prayer Book. I work at a Catholic hospital and have given them to co-workers and patients. The small size makes it possible for me to carry it with me in my jacket pocket. Sometimes, before I leave a patient's room, I show the book to them, open it, pick a saint randomly and read to them about the saint. I gave the book to a friend who had just had a baby. She used the book to help name her baby girl! This book is faith filled and will certainly inspire those who read it.

Mary Catherine, in my mind is already a saint! She gives out holy cards to patients in the ER at the hospital where she works. She prays with them and for them. She also gives out many of my books to people she knows or whom she meets. I have no doubt that God has placed Mary Catherine at that hospital to bring others hope and prayer. I sincerely hope that I haven't embarrased her in any way with what I have just said- it's just the plain truth!

Thank you, Mary Catherine for your beautiful review!

God bless and hugs,


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Review of Catholic Saints Prayer Book

Mary Rose at True Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter just posted a beautiful review about my saints' book. I think you'll find it interesting how she came to love the saints. Perhaps some of you can relate. Her review is here:

I've had the pleasure of meeting Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle online and have been touched by her dedication to encouraging women and celebrating overall her Catholic faith. She is a humble lady, simply wanting to share her love for God with everyone she meets. I can't fathom how she finds time to write since she has five wonderful kids and a husband. Talk about busy!

She sent me her book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book. It is a beautiful small volume, perfect for giving to a teacher or even your college-bound sons and daughters. (Giving college kids anything about saints is an excellent idea.)

The hardbound book is beautifully designed, with a lovely painting on the cover and illustrations inside. The pages are a soft gloss, with a calming green decorative border on the edges of each page. Donna-Marie managed to concisely capture the birth and death dates for each saint, their Feast Day, the saint's patronage, information about their life, and a prayer to that particular saint. Here is one of my favorites:

Prayer to St. Joseph

Dear St. Joseph, you were an ordinary man, a humble carpenter. But you were a prayerful, holy soul, the foster father of Jesus, a model for us all. Please guide me in my own journey through life, and help me be aware of God's specific call to me. Help me to see that in my own life God is calling me to greater things for His glory. Please pray to the Blessed Trinity for me to be granted the graces that I need most. I pray that I can be faithful to my state of life, totally trusting in God's divine providence for me. St. Joseph, pray for all who invoke your aid. If it is in God's holy will, please grant me (here mention your request). Amen.

Isn't that wonderful? I just love this little book of the saints.

I have to admit, appreciating the saints has taken some time. I have witnessed years of anti-Catholic perspectives. One of the biggest gripes Protestants and non-denominational believers have with Catholics is their presumed "praying to the saints." For years, I would declare, "There is no mediator between God and man but Jesus Christ." Of course, no one else could have redeemed us but Jesus Christ. No other sacrifice would do but a perfect one and Jesus Christ was the only one qualified to do it. He was, is, and shall be forever perfect, loving His heavenly Father with perfection, doing His will with complete surrender. No one can or should ever take the place of Jesus Christ.

However, I think my non-Catholic brothers and sisters misunderstand what is going on when Catholics venerate the saints. When prayers are offered up (I am partial to the very brief, "Pray for me, St. Joseph!") I am not worshipping St. Joseph, but asking St. Joseph to count me in his prayers and supplications before the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1,2 says:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (RSV)

You know, I've read those verses many, many times. I just thought the witnesses watched. But who could watch a race and not cheer? St. Paul was telling the Jewish believers that they had support. These verses took on fresh meaning as I realized those who have gone before us are now in heaven, praying for the Church to be perfected. Doesn't that make sense?

Aren't we asking the saints to put in a few prayers on our behalf that we would be made worthy of the promises of Christ? Of course. I still worship Jesus Christ for who He is and petition our Heavenly Father for all things. Scripture also tells us that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Rom. 8:26, 27 RSV)

Ever since I've started to embrace the saints more, I have felt a new confidence enter my faith. I feel as though I do have a huge group of saints who are pulling for me. They know how difficult the journey can be and they are praying that we can overcome our trials and tribulations.

Donna-Marie's Catholic Saint Prayer Book is the perfect way to encourage others that they also have a group of saints who are "pulling for them" to persevere. It's a great gift for either yourself or someone you love. Enjoy it and be blessed! Click on the title to order.

(The above photos are from Mary Rose's blog)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Blessed Kateri Tekawitha

Kateri was born in 1656 near the town of Auriesville, New York, the daughter of a Mohawk warrior. She was baptized by Jesuit missionary Fr. Jacques de Lambertville on Easter of 1676 at the age of twenty. She devoted her life to prayer, penitential practices, and the care of the sick and aged in Caughnawaga near Montreal (where her relics are now enshrined). She incurred the hostility of her tribe because of her faith. She was devoted to the Eucharist, and to Jesus Crucified, and was called the "Lily of the Mohawks." She died in 1680 and was beatified June 22, 1980 — the first native American to be declared "Blessed." — Magnificat, July 2003

According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Bonaventure. His feast in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on July 15. (From Catholic Culture)

More from Catholic Culture:

Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha
[Pronounce: Gah-deh-lee Deh-gah-quee-tah]
The blood of martyrs is the seed of saints. Nine years after the Jesuits Isaac Jogues and John de Brebeuf were tortured to death by Huron and Iroquois Native American nations, a baby girl was born near the place of their martyrdom, Auriesville, New York. She was to be the first person born in North America to be beatified. Her mother was a Christian Algonquin, taken captive by the Iroquois and given as wife to the chief of the Mohawk clan, the boldest and fiercest of the Five Nations. When she was four, Kateri lost her parents and little brother in a smallpox epidemic that left her disfigured and half blind. She was adopted by an uncle, who succeeded her father as chief. He hated the coming of the Blackrobes (missionaries), but could do nothing to them because a peace treaty with the French required their presence in villages with Christian captives. She was moved by the words of three Blackrobes who lodged with her uncle, but fear of him kept her from seeking instruction. She refused to marry a Mohawk man and at nineteen finally got the courage to take the step of converting. She was baptized with the name Kateri (Catherine) on Easter Sunday... (Continued here)

Pier Giorgio Frassati, a Saint in Waiting

According to News.Com.au:

"THE body of an inspirational Catholic who died in 1925 has arrived in Sydney for World Youth Day.

The body of Pier Giorgio Frassati, who was beatified in 1990 by Pope John Paul II, has been transported from the Turin Cathedral to Sydney following a farewell mass.

Mr Frassati was only 24 when, after a one-week illness, he died of polio.

He became a role model for young Catholics because of his fervent faith and sunny nature and was noted for his charity.

At his funeral the poor turned out in force, beginning a devotion that has spread around the world.

On Wednesday at 12pm (AEST) his body will be transported to St Benedict's Church in Chippendale in inner Sydney where it will remain in the church for veneration until July 10.

The following Thursday his body will be moved to St Mary's Cathedral for a pilgrimage.

The coffin will remain on display in the cathedral until July 22.

The transportation of his remains was organised by Sydney Archbishop George Pell and World Youth Day co-ordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher in conjunction with the Vatican Council for the Causes of Saints.

A possible road to sainthood has been propelled by a vigorous campaign by Mr Frassati's sister, Luciana, who wrote books about him.

It is the first time the body of Mr Frassati has visited Australia."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Vatican moving forward on Fr. Damien and Parents of St. Therese

Vatican City, Jul 3, 2008 / 10:50 am (CNA).- The head of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, met with Pope Benedict today to present him with 14 causes for canonization in their various stages. Among those approved for advancement towards sainthood are Fr. Damien De Veuster, a Belgian missionary to Hawaii, and the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux.

The miracle attributed to Fr. Damien is the cure of Audrey Toguchi, a 79-year-old retired schoolteacher who became ill in 1997 with a cancerous lump on her left thigh.

Upon discovering her cancer, Toguchi went to Fr. Damien’s grave and asked him to intercede for her healing. She then underwent surgery, but her doctor informed her afterwards that he could do nothing more since the cancer had spread to her lungs. Toguchi turned once again to Fr. Damien and the cancer soon began to inexplicably disappear of a four month period. For a full explanation of the miracle please visit: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=12523

The miracle credited to the parents of St. Therese involved the healing of Pietro Schiliro, an Italian newborn who was born in 2002 with partial lungs. The condition was so grave that doctors could do nothing and Pietro’s parents immediately had him baptized.

The Schiliro’s also began a novena to St. Therese’s parents and within a few weeks the Pietro made an unexpected recovery.

The full list of those advancing along the road to sainthood along with the various steps being recognized is listed below... (Continued here).

Italian teen is getting closer to sainthood

This extraordinary teen's last words were, “Ciao. Be happy because I am.”

Rome, Jul 7, 2008 / 05:56 pm (CNA).- The Congregation for the Causes of the Saints issued a decree last week recognizing the heroic virtues of Chiara “Luce” Badano, a young Italian girl who belonged to the Focolare Movement and died in 1990 at the age of 18.

The new “Venerable” Chiara was born in Sassello, Liguria, on October 29, 1971, to the joy of her parents, truck driver Ruggero Badano, and Maria Teresa Caviglia, who waited eleven years to have a child.

“Amidst our great joy, we understood immediately that she was not only our daughter but also a daughter of God,” her mother said according to a biography published by Focolare.

Since childhood, Chiara showed a deep love for God and a strong but docile character. She was joyful, kind and very active.

At the age of nine she joined the Focolare Movement. In 1985 Chiara moved to Savona to continue her education, and according to her biographers, “She had a difficult time despite her great efforts. She was held back one year and this made her suffer greatly.”

Chiara had many friends and loved sports, especially tennis, swimming and hiking. She dreamed of being a flight attendant and enjoyed dancing and singing. However, at the age of 16 she decided to pursue the consecrated life.

She had a close relationship with the foundress of the Focolare, Chiara Lubich, who gave her the name, “Luce.”

Soon afterwards she was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her shoulder. She began intense chemotherapy while she continued her daily life with the same joy and faith.

This joy and faith moved Chiara to give all of her savings to a friend who was going to be a missionary in Africa, even though she was ill.

Despite the efforts by doctors, her illness progressed rapidly and she lost the use of her legs. “If I had to choose between walking or going to heaven I’d choose heaven,” she told her family... (Continued here)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

St Maria Goretti

"Maria Goretti was born on October 16, 1890 in Corinaldo, Italy to Luigi Goretti and Assunta Carlini. The Gorettis were a poor family who worked as sharecroppers in the Pontine marshes. Along with their six children, they lived with Luigi’s partner Signor Serenelli and his teenaged son Allesandro, whose mother had died.

Maria’s father died when she was just nine, so she assumed many of the household responsibilities while her mother worked in the fields. She cared for her siblings and the Serenellis, all in perfect charity. Her cheerful nature was well-known in Pontine, where most children her age would play in the dusty streets. Though unable to read and write, Maria knew and loved Jesus and Mary, and one of the most important events of her life was her First Holy Communion, for which she diligently prepared..." (Continued at Catholic Exchange)

The beautiful holy card is courtesy of Holy Cards for Your Inspiration

Friday, July 4, 2008

St. Elizabeth of Portugal

Elizabeth, a Spanish princess, was born in 1271. She married King Denis of Portugal at the age of twelve. Elizabeth was beautiful and very lovable. She was also devout and went to Mass every day. Elizabeth was a charming wife. Her husband was fond of her at first, but soon he began to cause her great suffering. Though a good ruler, he did not have his wife's love of prayer and virtue. In fact, his sins of impurity were well-known scandals throughout his kingdom. St. Elizabeth tried to be a loving mother to her children, Alphonso and Constance. She was also generous and loving with the people of Portugal. Even though her husband was unfaithful, she prayed that he would have a change of heart. Elizabeth refused to become bitter and resentful. She strengthened her own prayer life and followed the Franciscan spirituality. Gradually, the king was moved by her patience and good example. He began to live better. He apologized to his wife and showed her greater respect. In his last sickness the queen never left his side, except for Mass. King Denis died on January 6, 1325. He had shown deep sorrow for his sins and his death was peaceful. Eiizabeth lived eleven more years. She performed loving acts of charity and penance. She was a wonderful model of kindness toward the poor. This gentle woman was also a peacemaker between members of her own family and between nations. St. Elizabeth of Portugal died on July 4, 1336. She was proclaimed a saint by Pope Urban VIII in 1626. "If you love peace, all will be well."-St. Elizabeth

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Feast of St. Thomas

St. Thomas, the disciple who at first did not believe, has become for the Church one of the first witnesses to her faith. She is fond of appealing to his testimony and frequently puts in our mouths those simple words whereby he expressed the fervour of his regained faith: "My Lord and my God." It is known that St. Thomas preached the Gospel in Asia beyond the frontiers of the Roman Empire, probably in Persia and possibly as far afield as India. St. Thomas' feast was formerly celebrated on December 21.

Before the reform of the General Roman Calendar today was the feast of St. Leo II, one of the last Popes of the early Middle Ages. His short pontificate (682-683) was marked by the confirmation of the sixth ecumenical council at which the Monothelite heresy was condemned. St. Leo II also perfected the melodies of the Gregorian chant for the Psalms and composed some new hymns. (From Catholic Culture)

Review of my "Catholic Saints Prayer Book"

Ebeth from A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars just posted this on her blog:

"The FedEx guy just came by with a wonderful surprise, Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle's book, "Catholic Saints Prayer Book, Moments of Inspiration from your favorite Saints".

Now, at first glance, I thought, "Wow! small enough to fit in my purse!" I am impressed with the durable hardcover, so classy and the saints are in alphabetical order...great! I can find the one I'm looking for quickly and she lists what they are a patron saint for. It's a great little book to carry with you, throw in the car, keep under your pillow or send to a friend.

More about this little morsel later, I am going to be reading it and I'll report back here with more details!

Thanks Donna-Marie! You are the best!"


No, actually Ebeth, YOU ARE the best! Thank you very much!

God bless and hugs,


Sunday, June 29, 2008

From "A Friar's Life:" Sent as Missionaries to the World

This is the homily from our assistant pastor, Fr. Tom for today's Mass. I think it's great.

Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, June 29, 2008

"Today begins a historic chapter in the history of the Church: The Jubilee Year of St Paul. Pope Benedict has declared this a year dedicated to remembering this great saint as we commemorate the 2,000th anniversary of his birth. The pope calls every Catholic to get to know St. Paul better during this year. Why? Because he is simply an extraordinary example of what God can do when we cooperate with His plans.

Paul is a man of great transformation. Through the grace of God, he went from being a murderer of Christians to being a martyr for Christ. Paul was first a devout Jew bent on crushing this Christian movement. At the height of his violent campaign, Jesus appeared to Paul, while he was on his way to Damascus to arrest the Christians there. That encounter completely changed his life, and the course of his history and ours.

He became the great missionary who tirelessly traveled for almost 30 years, starting Christian communities in city after city, preaching and suffering, and writing a major portion of the New Testament. Next to Jesus, Paul is the most prominent person in the New Testament. Of its 27 books, 13 are letters attributed to Paul. More than half of the Acts of the Apostles is devoted to his conversion and his activities spreading the good news about Jesus to the world..." (Continued here)

St. Peter and St. Paul

ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL St. Peter Peter, the first pope, was a fisherman from Galilee. Jesus invited him to follow him, saying: "I will make you a fisher of men." Peter was a simple, hard-working man. He was generous, honest and very attached to Jesus. This great apostle's name was Simon, but Jesus changed it to Peter, which means "rock." "You are Peter," Jesus said, "and on this rock I will build my Church." Peter was the chief or prince of the apostles. When Jesus was arrested, Peter became afraid. It was then that he committed the sin of denying Our Lord three times. Fear for his safety got the best of him. But Peter repented totally. He wept over his denials for the rest of his life. Jesus forgave Peter. After his resurrection he asked Peter three times: "Do you love me?" "Lord," Peter answered, "you know all things. You know that I love you." Jesus truly did know! Peter was so right. Jesus said kindly: "Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep." He was telling Peter to take care of his Church because he would be ascending into heaven. Jesus left Peter as the leader of his followers. Peter eventually went to Rome to live. Rome was the center of the whole Roman Empire. Peter converted many nonbelievers there. When the fierce persecution of Christians began, they begged Peter to leave Rome and save himself. It is said that he actually started out. On the road he met Jesus. Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus answered, "I am coming to be crucified a second time." Then St. Peter turned around and went back. He realized that this vision meant that he was to suffer and die for Jesus. Soon after, he was taken prisoner and condemned to death. Because he was not a Roman citizen, he, like Jesus, could be crucified. This time he did not deny the Lord. This time he was ready to die for him. Peter asked to be crucified with his head downward since he was not worthy to suffer as Jesus had. The Roman soldiers did not find this unusual because slaves were crucified in the same manner. St. Peter was martyred on Vatican Hill. It was around the year 67. Emperor Constantine built a large church over that sacred location in the fourth century. Recent archaeological findings confirm these facts. St. Paul Paul is the great apostle who first persecuted the Christians. Then he was converted. We celebrate Paul's conversion on January 25. At the time of his conversion, Jesus had said: "I will show him how much he must suffer for me." St. Paul loved Jesus very much, so much, in fact, that he became a living copy of our Savior. All his life, during his many missionary trips, St. Paul met troubles and went through dangers of every kind. He was whipped, stoned, shipwrecked, and lost at sea. Many, many times he was hungry, thirsty and cold. Yet he always trusted in God. He never stopped preaching. "The love of Jesus presses me onward," he said. In reward, God gave him great comfort and joy in spite of every suffering. We read about his marvelous adventures for Christ in Luke's Acts of the Apostles, beginning with chapter nine. But St. Luke's story ends when Paul arrives in Rome. He is under house arrest, waiting to be tried by Emperor Nero. A famous early Christian writer, Tertullian, tells us that Paul was freed after his first trial. But then he was put in prison again. This time he was sentenced to death. He died around the year 67, during Nero's terrible persecution of the Christians. Paul called himself the apostle of the Gentiles. He preached the Gospel to the non-Jews. That took him to the whole known world. Because of Paul, we, too, have received the Christian faith. May our hearts be filled with joy as we honor these two great apostles: Peter, our leader in the faith, and Paul, its fearless preacher.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Review of Catholic Saints Prayer Book

By Hugh J.McNichol

The Catholic Church's arsenal of saints is truly a resource that is sadly overlooked by contemporary Catholics. Donna's synopsis of the lives of popular saints is a welcome addition to my spiritual reading library. The heroic lifestyles of the holy men and women that are portrayed in such a clearly spiritual manner by the author are refreshing reminders that all of us as Catholics are called to the ultimate vocation of sainthood. A great book for catechesis and religious education for all levels of faithful Catholics and those interested in learning about the "pillars" of Catholicism. Well done, this book is inspiration to Catholics seeking to identify more closely with the spiritual "heavy-hitters" that have achieved the ultimate title...Saint! Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle has done a great job bringing the great Catholic saints into our unique 21st century perspective.

You can see this review here and there's a place to post a comment.

St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria

"St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, one of the metropolitan sees of the Christian Church in the east, was one of the great defenders of the faith against the heresy of Nestorius who denied the oneness of person in Jesus Christ. At the Council of Ephesus in 431, over which he presided in the Pope's name, and at his instigation, it was defined that Christ, the Son of God, is at the same time God and man, and the Blessed Virgin Mary, His mother, is truly the Mother of God. St. Cyril died in 444. The Church venerates him as one of her great doctors. His commentary on the Gospel of St. John is one of the richest doctrinally of those left us by the Fathers of the Church.

According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the feast of St. Cyril of Alexandria is celebrated on February 9." (from Catholic Culture)

You can read Orientalis Ecclesiae (On St. Cyril, Patriarch Of Alexandria)
by Pope Pius XII here:

To Our Venerable Brethren the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops and other Ordinaries at Peace and in Communion with the Apostolic See

Venerable Brethren, Health and Our Apostolic Benediction

St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, glory of the Eastern Church and celebrated champion of the Virgin Mother of God, has always been held by the Church in the highest esteem, and We welcome the opportunity of recalling his merits in this brief Letter, now that fifteen centuries have passed since he happily exchanged this earthly exile for his heavenly home.

2. Our Predecessor St. Celestine I hailed him as 'good defender of the Catholic faith,'[1] as 'excellent priest,'[2] as 'apostolic man.'[3] The ecumenical Council of Chalcedon not only used his doctrine for the detecting and refuting of the latest errors, but went so far as to compare it with the learning of St. Leo the Great;[4] and in fact the latter praised and commended the writings of this great Doctor because of their perfect agreement with the faith of the holy Fathers.[5] The fifth ecumenical Council, held at Constantinople, treated St. Cyril's authority with similar reverence[6] and many years later, during the controversy about the two wills in Christ, his teaching was rightly and triumphantly vindicated, both in the first Lateran Council[7] and in the sixth ecumenical Council, against the false charge of being tainted with the error of Monothelitism. He was, as Our saintly Predecessor Agatho proclaimed, 'a defender of the truth'[8] and 'a consistent teacher of the orthodox faith.'[9]

3. We therefore think it proper in this Letter to give some account of his spotless life, faith, and virtue; and this for the benefit of all, but especially of those who belong to the Eastern Church and therefore have good reason to be proud of this luminary of Christian wisdom, this valiant hero of the apostolate.

4. Born of distinguished family, he was raised to the See of Alexandria--so tradition tells us--in the year 412. His first conflict was with the Novatians and others who attacked the integrity and purity of the faith, and against these he preached, wrote, and issued decrees, ever alert, ever fearless. Later, when the blasphemous heresy of Nestorius began to spread gradually through the East the watchful Pastor was quick to perceive the growth of these new errors and zealous in protecting his flock against them. Throughout this stormy period, and especially at the Council of Ephesus, he showed himself the invincible champion and learned teacher of the divine maternity of the Virgin Mary, of the hypostatic union in Christ, and of the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff. But the leading part which St. Cyril played in these important events has already been admirably described and explained by Our immediate Predecessor of happy memory Pius XI, in the Encyclical Lux Veritatis[10] with which in the year 1931 he celebrated the fifteenth centenary of that ecumenical Council, and therefore it would be superfluous to enter into the details of it here.

5. For Cyril, however, it was not enough to fight vigorously against heresies as they arose, not enough to guard the integrity of Catholic doctrine with energy and solicitude and throw the fullest possible light upon it; he was also untiring in his labors to recall his erring brethren to the straight path of the truth. For when the Bishops of the Province of Antioch were still refusing to recognize the authority of the holy Council of Ephesus, it was due to his efforts that they were at length, after long vicissitudes, brought to complete agreement. And it was only after he had succeeded with God's help in accomplishing this happy reunion and in guarding and securing it against misconceptions that, being now ripe for the reward of everlasting glory, he was taken up to heaven in the year 444, mourned by all men of good will... (Continued here.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

St. Maximus and Pope Benedict

Vatican City, Jun 25, 2008 / 10:21 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI addressed some 14,000 thousand pilgrims today from beneath a white canopy as the sun blazed down on St. Peter’s Square. The Holy Father, continuing his catechesis on the great figures of the Church, spoke of St. Maximus the Confessor, a monk, theologian and scholar, who was famous for his courageous witness to Christ.

"Maximus understood that our salvation depends on the integrity of Christ, true God and true man," Pope Benedict said. Another aspect of St. Maximus that, the Pope focused on was his “indomitable courage in defending orthodoxy."

Also known as Maximus the theologian, he was born in Palestine in the year 580 and died in exile in the year 662. "From Jerusalem, Maximus moved to Constantinople then, because of the barbarian invasions, he took refuge in Africa where he distinguished himself for his great courage in the defense of orthodoxy. During his time in Carthage, he publicly defended the integrity of Jesus as having both a divine and human nature... (Continued here)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Canticle is out!

The latest issue of Canticle magazine is out and my cover story is, "Women Thirsting for the Living Water: Mulieris Dignitatem and the International Women's Congress in Rome."

Friday, June 13, 2008

St. Anthony of Padua

"St. Anthony was born at Lisbon, Portugal. He became a canon regular and then a Franciscan preaching the Gospel everywhere in Portugal and Italy. Both as a theologian and as a popular preacher he fought vigorously against heresy. His preaching was inspired by the love of God and of souls and had an extraordinary power of conviction; it was filled with the penetrating power of the Bible. Pope Gregory IX, who heard him preach, called him during his lifetime the Arca Testamenti, meaning "the living repository of the Holy Spriptures" and Pope Pius XII, when he proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church, declared that he based all that he said on the texts of the Gospels, and could justly be called the Evangelical Doctor. St. Anthony lived for a time in France, but chiefly in Italy, and died at Padua in 1231 at age 36, with the reputation of great sanctity. From the day of his death innumerable miracles caused the faithful to invoke him as a wonderworker of untiring benevolence." (Catholic Culture)

I have dear St. Anthony in my new saints' book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book. I want to say to St. Anthony:

"Dear St. Anthony, can you please FIND me some more time to be able to keep up with all of my duties and works?!

Additionally, St. Anthony, please help me to FIND Jesus in all of the people that I encounter in any way throughout each day of my life. Thank you for listening to my pleas. I love you! Amen."

Our good and dear Lord gives us the gift of the saints to call upon for help and intercession anytime at all. He doesn't want us to hesitate in asking for their help! So, don't be shy, ask away. They will bring us closer to our Lord!

God bless!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

An approved prayer asking for Pope John Paul II's intercession

O Holy Trinity,
we thank you for having given to the Church
Pope John Paul II,
and for having made him shine with your fatherly tenderness,
the glory of the Cross of Christ and the splendour of the Spirit of love

He, trusting completely in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary, has shown himself
in the likeness of Jesus the Good Shepherd
and has pointed out to us holiness
as the path to reach eternal communion with You.

Grant us, through his intercession,
according to your will, the grace that we implore,
in the hope that he will soon be numbered among your saints.

(Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
6 July 2005, page 9)

L'Osservatore Romano is the newspaper of the Holy See.
The Weekly Edition in English is published for the US by:

The Cathedral Foundation
L'Osservatore Romano English Edition
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Friday, May 30, 2008

Review: "Catholic Saints Prayer Book"

Catholic Saints Prayer Book. Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle. Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 2008. 80 pp.

“[W]e hope not just to make it to heaven one day, but rather to bring countless souls with us because of our life and how we have loved,” says Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle in her new book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book. And there is no better way to do just that than by learning from those that did it best – the saints.

This handy compilation is packed with far more than its compact design would suggest. I was pleased with how much quality information it contained about the lives of over 30 of the Catholic Church’s great saints.

For each saint featured in the book, Donna-Marie provides a glimpse of the wisdom of each of these historic individuals along with a brief synopsis of their life. It even contains an insightfully crafted intercessory prayer for each saint.

If you are looking to learn more about these heroic examples of our faith, this book is for you. It’s to the point, packed with facts, and inspiring at every page turn - making it great for all ages. It’s useful whether reading it all at once, or even just a few pages at a time. It makes a great reference book, too.

The author proclaims, as the Church does, that “we should indeed seek out the saints, who will surely help lead us to God, assisting us all along the way.” This book is a great place to let your seeking begin.

Matt Warner

Owner/Operator of Catholic Outpost



Thank you very much Matt!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

RBTE and EWTN in one week!

Dear Friends,

I will be leaving for Chicago tomorrow (Tuesday) morning to go to the RBTE, Religious Booksellers Trade Exhibit to do a book signing of my newest book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book and then I will be going to Birmingham, Alabama later in the week to tape some episodes on EWTN. I'll let you know when they will be aired as soon as I know.

I most-likely will not be able to post messages for a few days. If it is possible, I will. I would appreciate prayers for safety if you would be so kind. Thank you in advance for the prayers! I will keep you all in mine.

God bless you!


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Crossroad's Magazine Television profile of me

You can now view (from your computer) the profile of me regarding the Vatican congress that I attended recently in Rome for women and about my books by ORTV's Crossroad's Magazine Television show. Just click here to see it Crossroad's Magazine Television show. Then scroll dpwn a little and click on May 10th which is the day the show aired, the Saturday before Mother's day! I hope you enjoy the show. I am in the second segment.

God bless!


Friday, May 23, 2008

Book Review from the Irish Family Press (out of Ireland)

Catholic Saints Prayer Book

By Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle

Review by Gary Brady

When my family and I visit the various heritage centres around Ireland there is invariably some kind of book outlet at the site. This excellent little hardback book by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle looks exactly like the books one finds in such outlets. However, whilst the sort of books one usually discovers in such shops paint St Patrick as some kind of New Age superhero and St Bridget as Ireland’s first Catholic feminist, this book gives an orthodox view of Saints from which we can all learn.

Mrs O’Boyle is the author of three other books and writes for numerous websites and newspapers usually concentrating on the sanctification of the home and the family - including the Irish Family Press. She has received awards from both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

Each chapter is indeed a ‘flash’ account of the lives of each Saint, detailing thirty two Saints in just eighty pages, which also include a prayer to each particular one, their feast day and a famous quote. However, there is enough information to ignite an interest for any reader who may wish to learn more.

The book is a nice mix of the various Saints such as Peregrine, Thomas More, Patrick, Maximilian Kolbe etc and it was nice to see St John Neumann, the first American Bishop to be canonised, included. His love for the Irish people is little mentioned these days, yet the fact that he learned the Irish language himself in order to minister to Irish emigrants says everything.

‘Let us invoke the Saints often, asking for their holy assistance, even praying along with them, striving to imitate their virtues while praying to become saints ourselves. In doing so, we hope not just to make it to heaven one day, but rather to bring countless souls with us because of our life and how we have loved.’

(From the introduction to Catholic Saints Prayer Book)

Available from all good Catholic Bookshops

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pease pray for this family

Updated on THURSDAY

NEW MILFORD -- Sorrow and shock about the violent murder of a Northeastern University student found in her off-campus apartment Tuesday morning swept from her Boston campus to her hometown Wednesday.

Rebecca Payne, a 22-year-old athletic training major and campus leader, was a 2004 New Milford High graduate and yearbook editor.

On hearing the news, NMHS social studies teacher Brock Putnam described her as "a shaft of sunlight penetrating the gloom of the darkest day."

"She was a wonderful, bright, vivacious girl -- an outstanding student," said John Lee, high school vice principal. "This is a real tragedy. Everyone who has heard has been really saddened by the news."

Her parents, Nicholas and Virginia Payne of New MIlford, released a public statement through the Boston police late Wednesday afternoon.

"We would like to remember Rebecca as someone always smiling, never worrying about things not worth worrying about," the couple said of their only child, a senior in the university's Bouvé College of Health and Sciences... (SEE NEWS TIMES STORY HERE)


A volley of gunshots left a 22-year-old college student dead in her Boston apartment early Tuesday.
A black van was seen driving away about the same time.

But as of late Wednesday, Boston police weren't sure, or weren't saying, whether the vehicle one witness saw leaving the quiet residential neighborhood where Rebecca Payne, of New Milford, had lived since August was connected to the death of the Northeastern University senior.

"We can't say whether it's related, but it's a piece of information, and every piece helps," police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said.

Payne, described by one neighbor as "a really sweet young lady," was found dead in her two-bedroom apartment shortly before 7 a.m. Tuesday, hours after several other residents in the 40-unit complex remember hearing gunshots.

None, however, called 911, police said.... (Continued here)

A 22-year-old New Milford woman was found shot dead Tuesday in her Boston apartment.

Rebecca Payne, a Northeastern University student, was discovered lying on the floor in her off-campus apartment shortly before 7 a.m. A building manager called 911 after finding her apartment door slightly ajar and noticing blood inside, a law enforcement source said.

Although police had not released the woman's identity, Nicholas Payne, Rebecca's father, confirmed in an interview with The Boston Globe on Tuesday that the body was his daughter's.

He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Rebecca Payne was shot twice in the legs and once in the chest, according to police.

"A tragedy like this, suddenly and without explanation, that takes the life of one of our brightest young lights brings us unfathomable grief," said Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University, in a statement posted on the university's Web site Wednesday morning... continued here with this news story.



Please dear friends, pray for parents I know who just lost their only child - a beautiful, talented, God-loving twenty two year old daughter. We just heard that she was murdered last night in Boston near where she went to college. She was staying in an off campus dorm temporarily for a week or so to do a part time job and someone got into the dorm and shot her three times. I can't even explain the devastation here. She was my daughter's dear friend.

Thank you for your prayers for her parents and friends and for her soul.

God bless,