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,