Wednesday 8th July 2015

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Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Pechersky

July 7, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the northeastern section of Greece, a peninsula drops down from the mainland, upon which are located 20 monasteries. This mountainous region also claims Mount Athos, an area known as the site of monasteries since the early years of the Church. Homer mentions it in the Iliad (book 14, 229). This same piece of land was on the invasion route of Xerxes I in 486 B.C. Furthermore, some accounts relate a legend that St. John and the Blessed Virgin Mary landed there. Mary found it so beautiful that she asked God for the land, to which He responded, “Let this be your inheritance and your garden, a paradise and a haven of salvation for those seeking to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Josemaria Escriva

June 30, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 2 With the outbreak of civil war in Spain and the attack on the Catholic Church, many priests and religious were martyred. The existing government changed the constitution to legalize persecution of the Church by closing Catholic schools, ceasing reparation payments, and suppressing religious discussion. Among other things, this helped lead to the secularization of society and to the rise of chaos in Spain. On April 20, 1931, José Escriva wrote in his journal that Madrid had experienced 24 hours of violence: “Madrid is one huge madhouse.” On May 10 fresh attacks on the Church broke out. Escriva rushed to the chapel to rescue the Blessed Sacrament. He removed our Lord from the tabernacle, wrapped the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Josemaria Escriva

June 23, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 1 God, in His loving Providence and perfect timing, gives the Church holy men and women to guide the Mystical Body of Christ. During the chaos of the Protestant revolt, he provided St. Ignatius and St. Teresa of Avila. At the beginning of the 20th century, as the lay faithful were being called to participate in a more prayerful and active way in the work of the Catholic Church, God sent a young Spanish man to found an order dedicated to enriching the lives and the work of the laity: St. Josemaria Escriva. On January 9, 1902, in Barbastro — a city located in northeastern Spain — Josemaria Escriva was born to José Escriva and Dolores…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Romuald

June 16, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN The importance of parents in the life of each and every child cannot be denied. In fact, St. Francis Xavier, one of the first Jesuits, said, “Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” Raising a child in holiness, teaching him the truths of the Catholic faith, and forming a proper conscience are primary duties of parents. St. Romuald, at the age of 20, exhibited such an upbringing. Both of Romuald’s parents came from nobility. He was born around 950 to Sergius degli Onesti and his wife Traversara Traversari in Ravenna, northwestern Italy. As the son of a nobleman, and as with many other saints, he was a wild and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Albert Chmielowski

June 9, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the year 1845 in the country of Poland, two baby boys were born who would become world famous far beyond their lifetimes. One was Henryk Sienkiewicz, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1905. He is one of the authors recommended in the Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, for his novel Quo Vadis. The other man, an artist and servant of the poor, Albert Adam Chmielowski, became a Third Order Franciscan, who was later canonized by his fellow countryman Pope St. John Paul II. Both Henryk and Adam died in 1916. Although Adam was born and died in Krakow, he traveled all over Poland and Europe. He was born to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Gaspar Bertoni

June 2, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN The suppression of the Jesuits, which lasted from 1750 until 1773, resulted in the Jesuits losing many of their universities, schools, and vast missions around the world. They were either destroyed or taken from them. Even though the suppression was lifted in 1773, Napoleon’s armies later instituted similar restrictions on Catholics throughout Europe. For 20 years, a small village in northern Italy suffered under the French invasion and the chaos it brought. Gaspar Bertoni came to be a source of great comfort and wisdom for the suffering people of Italy. In 1777, two honorable notaries lived in Verona, Italy, a city in northeast Italy about 60 miles west of Venice. One of these families had a son…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . St. Ephrem

May 26, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN For centuries — no, for millennia — the Mideast has been the center of tragedy and unrest. Particularly significant in this historical conflict sits the city of Nisibis, now named Nusaybin. Nusaybin is an ancient city which sits on the border between Syria and Turkey. In ancient times this fertile land, located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, became the objective of many rulers. Nusaybin’s strategic importance as the crossroads of oil exports makes it desirable now more than ever. Today, the Sunni Muslims seek to rid the Nusaybin area of its “imperialist borders” imposed after World War I. This sad onslaught includes the murder of many Christians. In 2006 a mass grave, believed to be from…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Charles Lwanga And Companions

May 19, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church in Africa has experienced unprecedented growth in the past century. In 1900, shortly after the martyrdom of Charles Lwanga and companions, there were two million Catholics in Africa. When Pope Benedict XVI visited Africa in 2009, the Catholic population was 158 million. Once again the Church has witnessed that the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church. Around 1860 Charles Lwanga was born to a Musaze father and a Merne mother in the Kingdom of Buganda in southern Uganda. At the time, few Westerners had bothered with the landlocked country in central Africa bordering Lake Victoria. Likewise, the Ugandans have been historically hostile to foreigners. It wasn’t long before the French and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Philip Neri

May 5, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Throughout the history of the Church when great persecutions and heresies have been promoted, there were also great saints who underwent persecution in their attempts to protect the Deposit of Faith. Such was the case in the early 16th century, when the Catholic Church was suffering her greatest crisis to date with the Protestant Revolt. During this time, the Church engaged in the Catholic Counterreformation. This counterreformation was aided by a humble man, St. Philip Neri, born of poor parents in the year 1515 in Florence, Italy, on July 22, the Feast of St. Mary Magdalen. When he was a child, many noticed his patience, charity, and cheerfulness. The only incident of being less than virtuous occurred…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Pope St. Pius V

April 28, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Can anyone imagine a more challenging time in the history of the Church than the 16th century — besides this century? The Protestant Revolt north of Rome decimating the numbers of faithful Christians; to the west, England persecuting all Catholics; to the southeast, the Turks of the Ottoman Empire conquering at will place after place, setting their sights on all of Christendom — even together these were not enough to destroy the Catholic Church. For God sent to the faithful many great saints to renew and reform the Church. There are those who criticize Pope St. Pius V for his passionate fight against error, but the man was holy, humble, and instrumental in leading the Church through…Continue Reading