Category: Saints

The Seven In Heaven: Meet The New Saints To Be Canonized In A Few Hours 

The Seven In Heaven: Meet The New Saints To Be Canonized In A Few Hours 

On Sunday 14 October, just a few hours from now, Pope Francis will officially recognize seven new saints of the Catholic Church.

Below are brief biographies on each of their lives, as well as photos of each saint’s banner currently on display at the Vatican.

Blessed Pope Paul VI

Born Giovanni Battista Montini in 1897 and ordained a priest in 1920, he did graduate studies in literature, philosophy, and canon law in Rome before beginning to work for the Vatican Secretariat of State. In 1954, he was named Archbishop of Milan, and in 1958 was made a Cardinal by Pope John XXIII. As a Cardinal, he helped to arrange the Second Vatican Council and chose to continue the council after he became Pope.

Montini was elected as Pope Paul VI in 1963 at age 65, not long after the start of the second Vatican Council. This was a difficult time for the Church and for the world, as the “Sexual Revolution” was in full swing and the struggle for civil rights in the United States in particular was at its peak. Paul VI is perhaps most noted for his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which served as the Church’s official rebuke to artificial contraception, prohibiting its use.

Paul VI died in 1978 and Pope Francis beatified him in 2014. 

 

Blessed Oscar Romero


Born in 1917 in El Salvador, Romero was auxiliary bishop of San Salvador for four years before being elevated to Archbishop in 1977. He was an outspoken defender of the rights of the poor in El Salvador, who were being terrorized by right-wing military death squads mainly because of protests over the extreme economic inequality in the country in the 20th century.

His weekly homilies, broadcast across the country on radio, were a galvanizing force for the country’s poor as well as a reliable source of news. In addition to speaking out against the government’s actions El Salvador, he also criticized the US government for backing the military junta that seized El Salvador in 1979, and even wrote to Jimmy Carter in February 1980 asking him to stop supporting the repressive regime.

In March 1980, Romero was assassinated, likely by a right-wing death squad, while celebrating Mass.

Pope Francis beatified Romero in 2015.


Blessed Vincent Romano

Born in 1751 and ordained a priest in 1775, Romano had studied the writings of St. Alphonsus de Liguori and developed a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. He spent his whole life as a priest in Torre del Greco and was known for his simple ways and his care for orphans. He worked to rebuild his parish, often with his bare hands, after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1794. He died in December 1831 of pneumonia and was beatified by Paul VI in 1963.

Blessed Francesco Spinelli

Born in Milan in 1853, Spinelli entered the seminary and was ordained a priest in 1875. He began his apostolate educating the poor and also served as a seminary professor, spiritual director, and counselor for several women’s religious communities. In 1882, Fr. Spinelli met Caterina Comensoli, with whom he would found the Institute of the Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament. The sisters dedicated themselves to Eucharistic adoration day and night, which inspired their service to the poor and suffering.

He died in 1913. Today his institute has around 250 communities in Italy, Congo, Senegal, Cameroon, Colombia, and Argentina. Their ministries include caring for people with HIV, orphans, drug addicts, and prisoners.

St. John Paul II beatified him in 1992.

Blessed Nunzio Sulprizio

Born in Pescosansonesco, Italy in 1817, Sulprizio lost both of his parents at age six and was brought up by an uncle who exploited him for hard labor. Fatigued and often given dangerous assignments, he developed gangrene and eventually lost his leg. Despite his tremendous suffering, he would reportedly make statements such as: “Jesus suffered a lot for me. Why should I not suffer for Him? I would die in order to convert even one sinner.”

He recovered from the gangrene and dedicated himself to helping other patients before his health deteriorated again. Sulprizio died of bone cancer in 1836, when he was only 19 years old.

Pope Paul VI beatified him in 1963.

Blessed Nazaria Ignacia March Mesa

Born in 1889 in Madrid, Spain, Nazaria was the fourth of 18 children. Growing up, her family was indifferent and sometimes even hostile to her desire to enter religious life, but later she led several family members back to the Church when she entered the Franciscan Third Order. Her family moved to Mexico in 1904, and Nazarie met sisters of the Institute of Sisters of the Abandoned Elders, who inspired her to join their order. In 1915, she chose to take perpetual vows with the order in Mexico City and was assigned to a hospice in Oruro, Bolivia for 12 years.

Beginning in 1920, she felt a call to found a new order dedicated to missionary work. In June 1925, she founded the Pontifical Crusade, later renamed the Congregation of the Missionary Crusaders of the Church, with the mission to catechize children and adults, support the work of priests, conduct missions, and to print and distribute short religious tracts. Many opposed her work, but Nazaria pressed on. Her order cared for soldiers on both sides of the 1932-35 war between Paraguay and Bolivia, and she herself survived persecutions in Spain during the Spanish Civil war. She died in July 1943, and four years later Pope Pius XII finally granted papal approval to the Congregation of the Missionary Crusaders of the Church, which by that time had spread throughout South America and begun work in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Cameroon.

Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1992.


Blessed Maria Katharina Kasper

Born in Dembach, Germany in 1820 as Catherine Kasper, she attended very little school because of poor health. Despite this, she began to help the poor, the abandoned, and the sick at a young age. Her mother taught her household chores, as well as how to spin and weave fabric. After her father died when she was 21, Catherine worked the land as a farm hand for about 10 cents a day. Her helpfulness toward others attracted other women to her, and she felt a call to the religious life, but knew she needed to stay and support her mother, who was in poor health.

After her mother died, Catherine started, with the approval of the bishop of Limburg, Germany, a small house with several friends who also felt the call. In 1851 she and four other women officially took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and formed the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. Catherine, known in the religious community as Mother Mary, served five consecutive terms as superior of the house and continued to work with novices and to open houses for their order all over the world. Today there are 690 sisters in 104 houses in Germany, the Netherlands, the United States, Mexico and India.

She died of a heart attack in February 1898, and Pope Paul VI beatified her in 1978.

All photos, Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Feast Of Bartolo Longo -The Saint Who Was Once A Satanic Priest.

Feast Of Bartolo Longo -The Saint Who Was Once A Satanic Priest.

SINNER. SATANIST. SOCIAL WORKER. SAINT. 

Happy Feast day.

October 5: Feast of Blessed Bartolo Longo: Modern Rosary Saint.

A strange progression taken by Blessed Bartolo Longo. 

On February 11, 1841, a sweet tempered physician’s wife of Latiano, Italy, gave birth to a son whom she named Bartolo

Devoted to Our Lord and His Mother, she taught all her children to pray the Rosary daily and to visit and care for the poor, while Dr. Longo instilled in them a love of music and beauty. Bartolo would later describe himself as “a lively and impertinent imp, sometimes rather a rascal.” The priests who educated him found Bartolo to be highly intelligent, cordial, and accommodating although prone to a fiery temper.

When Bartolo was ten, his mother died. Slowly Bartolo began to drift away from his faith. Eventually he studied law from a private tutor, then attended the University of Naples to complete his education. It wasn’t the same University of Naples where St. Thomas Aquinas taught, but a dangerous place for Bartolo’s young mind. 

Searching for meaning in life, Bartolo became emneshed in the political movements and spiritism so popular with college students at that time in Italy. 

Deeply involved with a satanic sect, Bartolo aspired to the satanic priesthood, so he entered upon a long preparation of studies, fastings, and mortifications. On the night of his ordination by a satanic bishop, the walls of the “church” shook with thunder while blasphemous, disembodied shrieks knifed the air. Bartolo fainted with fright and for a while afterwards was deeply tormented and physically ill.

Despite this depression and nervousness, he exercised his satanic priesthood by preaching, officiating at satanic rites, and publicly ridiculing Catholicism and everyone and everything connected with it.

During these bleak years, the Longo family was besieging heaven for their wayward member. 

One day Bartolo seemed to hear the voice of his dead father begging him to return to God. Troubled, he paid a visit to one of his friends from Latiano, Professor Vincenzo Pepe, who was living and teaching near Naples. Shocked by Bartolo’s appearance, Pepe exclaimed, “Do you want to die in an insane asylum and be damned forever?”

When Bartolo admitted his mental confusion, Pepe took him under his wing. He introduced the troubled young man to many holy people who gave him support and counsel. One of these was a well-educated Dominican priest, Alberto Radente, who gave Bartolo a detailed course in the Catholic faith which included the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. After much study, prayer, and a lengthy confession, Bartolo was again admitted to the sacraments. 

On the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 1871, he was professed into the Third Order of St. Dominic and given the name of Brother Rosary in recognition of his favorite daily prayer.

To complete his break with satanism, the new convert made one final visit to a seance, held up a medal of Our Lady, and cried out that he renounced spiritism because it was “a maze of error and falsehood.” He then went to student parties and cafes, denouncing the “religion” he had formerly embraced and proclaiming his faith in the Catholic Church. This was a brave thing to do as the Catholic Church was, at that time, being suppressed. He considered becoming a priest but was discouraged by both friends and his spiritual director. After making a retreat, he discerned not to marry, but rather to devote himself unreservedly to God and Our Lady. He was later to write:

“I place myself, my God, in your hands; as a son I abandon myself to your fatherly embrace; roll and roll again this mud, it has nothing to say; it is enough that it serve your designs and not resist your will for which I was made. Ask, command, prohibit. What do you wish that I do, or that I not do? Lifted up, knocked down, suffering, dedicated to your works by sacrificing my will to yours, I can only say, as did Mary: ‘Behold I am your servant. 0 Lord, let it be done to me according to your Word.”

Friar Radente told Bartolo that he had to repair the damage he had caused to others, so he joined his pious friends in caring for the poor, sick, and needy. One of this pious group was the wealthy widow Countess Mariana di Fusco. The Countess commissioned Bartolo, who was a lawyer, to collect the rent from poor farmers on a vast tract of land she owned near the ancient city of Pompeii. She needed the money to support her five children. In 1872, Bartolo arrived in marshy Pompeii, accompanied by two armed escorts to protect him from bandits that overran the area. He was shocked and filled with pity at the ignorance, lack of faith, superstition, poverty, and moral corruption of the people. The aging priest in a decaying church rarely saw any parishioners. People and animals slept together in ramshackle, filthy quarters. How could Bartolo help? Bartolo later wrote:

“One day in the fields around Pompeii called Arpaia. . .I recalled my former condition as a priest of Satan. Father Alberto had told me repeatedly never again to think of, or reflect on (this), but I thought that perhaps as the priesthood of Christ is for eternity, so also the priesthood of Satan is for eternity.

So, despite my repentance, I thought: I am still consecrated to Satan, and I am still his slave and property as he awaits me in Hell. As I pondered over my condition, I experienced a deep sense of despair and almost committed suicide. Then I heard an echo in my ear of the voice of Friar Alberto repeating the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

‘One who propagates my Rosary shall be saved.’ These words certainly brought an illumination to my soul. Falling to my knees, I exclaimed: ‘If your words are true that he who propagates your Rosary will be saved, I shall reach salvation because I shall not leave this earth without propagating your Rosary.’ At that moment the little bell of the parish church rang out, inviting the people to pray the Angelus. This incident was like a signature to my firm decision.”

Later he wrote: “What is my vocation? To write about Mary, to have Mary praised, to have Mary loved.”

Bartolo lost no time. He made repeated trips to the Valley of Pompeii to teach the people how to pray the Rosary. Beginning in 1873, he organized a yearly Rosary feast, incorporating music, fireworks, races, and a lottery into it. In 1875, as part of a parish mission, he invited a group of priests to speak about devotion to the Rosary. To conclude the mission, he promised to display a painting of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the painting that he obtained has been the cause of numerous miracles of healing. He constructed a church to hold this image and then, around it, an entire city dedicated to helping orphans and the poor. He also wrote books about the Rosary and composed novenas and a prayer manual. In all of these works, he was assisted by the Countess. 

When evil rumors began to spread about the relationship between the widow and the handsome, intelligent lawyer, Bartolo and the Countess consulted their friend Pope Leo XIII, a great devotee of the Rosary. “Lawyer, you are free; Countess, you are a widow; get married and no one can say anything against you.” So on April 7, 1885, they were married. In this chaste union, for Bartolo had taken a vow of chastity, the couple continued their charitable works until the Countess’s death in 1924.

Bartolo was tireless in his work. He founded a congregation of Dominican nuns to help educate the orphans in his city and also brought in the Christian Brothers for the boys. He urged people to learn the catechism and worked to have defined by Rome the doctrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. After laboring fifty years for his “Lady,” Bartolo was the object of calumny and slander as lies spread about his mishandling of funds. He bore these with resignation and was cleared of all charges. In 1906, Bartolo turned all his property, including his own personal property, over to the Holy See. He then assisted the new head of the administration and continued to work in the city he had built, but only as a humble employee. He remained at his work at the Shrine until he was 85-years-old, ever promoting the Rosary and going to confession twice weekly.

Over the years his prayer had become so intense that one of those who saw him could say: “I often saw him with his arms outstretched and his eyes fixed on heaven or on the image of Our Lady, or even with his eyes half-closed, totally enraptured without being aware of those around or near him.” 

Asked if he saw the Blessed Mother, Bartolo would answer, “Yes, but not as she is in heaven.” During his last hours on October 5, 1926, he prayed the Rosary, surrounded by the orphans whom he so loved. “My only desire is to see Mary, who has saved me and who will save me from the clutches of Satan,” he said with his final breath. On October 26, 1980, Pope John Paul II pronounced Bartolo Longo Blessed, calling him the “Man of Mary.”

The Universe, The Entire Planetary System And The Angels By Blessed Catherine Emmerich (2).

The Universe, The Entire Planetary System And The Angels By Blessed Catherine Emmerich (2).

continued

These nine worlds form three sections, above each of which I see great angel enthroned; the first holds a sceptre; the second, a rod; the third a sword. They wear crowns and long robes, and their breast is dec­orated with ribands. In these spheres dwell the bad spirits who at each man’s birth are associated to him by an inti­mate relation which I clearly understand, which excites my wonder, but which I cannot now explain. They are not lovely and transparent like the Angels. They shine it is true, but by an external, unsteady light, as if by re­flection. They are either slothful, indolent, fanciful, mel­ancholy, or passionate, violent, obstinate, stubborn, or frivolous, etc., – a personification of the different passions.

Among them I have remarked the same colors that I see among men in their sufferings and interior struggles and in the aureolas of the martyrs, whose passions purified by torments have been changed into colors of triumph. These spirits have something sharp, violent, and penetrating   in their countenance. They attach themselves with extraor­dinary tenacity to the human soul as insects to certain odours and plants, rousing in them all kinds of thoughts and desires. They are full of stings, of rays, of seductive charms. They themselves produce no act, no sin, but they withdraw man from the divine influence, lay him open to the world, intoxicate him with self, bind him, attach him to the earth in many ways. If he yields, he plunges into darkness, the devil then draws near and marks him with his seal: now some act, some sin, and his separation from God to effected.

I have clearly seen that mortification and fasting weaken the influence of these spirits and facilitate that of the Angels, whilst Holy Communion is the most effectual means of resisting them. I have seen that certain inclinations and aversions, certain involuntary antipathies, and espe­cially the disgust we have for certain things, such as  in­sects, reptiles, vermin, etc., have a mysterious signification, since these creatures are images of those sins and passions to which, through their connection with these spirits, we are the most exposed. I was told that when one feels dis­gust for such things, he should recall his sins and evil pro­pensities symbolized by them. I have seen such spirits presenting to people in Church all sorts of toys and trinkets, filling their heads with all sorts of thoughts and desires, whilst their Angels are busy recalling them to better things. I cannot relate these multiplied pictures…

To be continued. 

The Universe, The Entire Planetary System And The Angels By Blessed Catherine Emmerich (1).

The Universe, The Entire Planetary System And The Angels By Blessed Catherine Emmerich (1).

 

THE UNIVERSE, THE ENTIRE PLANETARY SYSTEM AND THE ANGELS (Bl. C. Emmerich, 1820).



“I saw a Church on earth and in it many whom I knew. Above were several other Churches, higher and higher, like different stories, filled with the Angelic Choirs; and higher still was the Blessed Virgin surrounded by the high­est order, before the Throne of the Most Holy Trinity.

Here reigned indescribable order and activity; but below in the earthly Church, all was drowsy and negligent to a de­gree. And this was the more remarkable as it was the feast of the Angels who bear up to God with incredible swiftness every word pronounced carelessly and distractedly by the priest in the Holy Mass, and who repair all defects in the service offered to God. At the same time, I saw the Guardian Angels discharging their duties with surpris­ing activity, chasing evil spirits from men, suggest­ing good thoughts, and presenting before them holy imag­inations. They long for God’s commands, and the prayers of their clients render them still more zealous.

I have seen that every man receives at his birth two spirits, one good, the other evil. The good one is heavenly by nature and belongs to the lowest hierarchy; the evil one is not a devil, not yet in torments, though deprived of the vision of God. I always see in a certain circle around the earth nine bodies or spheres like far-off stars. They are inhabited by spirits of different natures, from whom descend beams of light, every ray falling upon some determinate point on the earth with which I have always thought they must have some communication…to be continued.

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