Saturday 10th October 2015

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Catholic Heroes… St. Martha

July 28, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN A popular pilgrimage among the Catholics of southern France takes visitors to the Grotte de la Sainte-Baume, located in the hills of Provence about 20 miles east of the port of Marseilles. To reach this holy site, the driver must cover miles of winding, ascending roads to the foot of the mountain. Then the pilgrim ascends a stairway to the site of the caves where altars and shrines have been built inside to honor the place that legend says is the home of St. Mary Magdalene, Lazarus, and Martha. According to the legend, these siblings came from royalty. Their father, Syro, was a duke from Syria while their mother, Eucharis, also came from a wealthy family. At…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Bridget

July 21, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN One of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s most quoted sayings would fit with this column’s saint, “God hasn’t called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.” What encouraging words for anyone seeking to do God’s will, knowing that the cross, the setbacks, and the obstacles are all part of working for the Kingdom of God. St. Bridget of Sweden experienced all of these in her lifetime. St. Bridget, a descendant of Swedish royalty, was born on June 13, 1303, in the province of Uppland, north of Stockholm on the Baltic Sea. Her father, Birger Persson, came from the Finsta family, which possessed great wealth and influence. Birger acted as governor and judge while being…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Our Lady Of Mount Carmel

July 14, 2015 saints Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN In northern Israel between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea, a mountain range stretches inland. This range, although named Mount Carmel, is really a series of mountains stretching inland. The main site of the Mount, the Stella Maris monastery of the Discalced Carmelites, sits on a limestone bluff overlooking the city of Haifa. The view of the sea, the lands, and mountain range beyond the monastery is stunning. In fact the name Carmel comes from the ancient Hebrew word meaning garden, named after its many beautiful flowers, shrubs, and fragrant herbs. So beautiful was this mount that people compared it to the bride in the Song of Songs (7:5). Although we think of Our Lady…Continue Reading

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