Tag: Life

The Beautiful Story Of A Dominican Princess Who Became A Saint. 

The Beautiful Story Of A Dominican Princess Who Became A Saint. 

Once upon a time, In a far away land, there lived a king and his queen in a beautiful land. For a time, peace and prosperity reigned in this land. Then, whispers and rumors came of a storm brewing and moving toward them. A destructive and blood-thirsty people, the Tartars, were coming. The king and queen grew vigilant, but the people could not be roused from their peace and comfort, and dismissed the threat. Then, the storm descended and the Tartars invaded the peaceful land, destroying what the people had built.

The king sent his children and pregnant queen to another noble, who, seeing an opportunity to grab power for himself, sought to exploit the king’s vulnerability by rousing other nobles and the people against him. Eventually, the king was driven to run and, reuniting with his queen and children, fled to make a last stand at a stronghold on an island. Two of his three children died in the course of their escape and, as they watched the Tartars building boats and readying themselves to cross the waters to the island, it appeared the rest of the royal family would soon follow them in death. Desperate, the king and queen knelt down and prayed. “God, should you see fit to deliver us and our people from these violent people, we will consecrate our unborn child to you, in the service of St. Dominic’s Order.”

At the completion of their prayer, another storm began, this one from nature. For three days, their place of refuge was buffeted by the winds and rains. At the end of the third day, as the storm began to break, the priest with them heard their confessions and prepared them for the death all thought to be inevitable. But as they went outside to meet their fate, they were met instead with calm and clear skies. There was no sign of the invaders anywhere. And they never returned to the land. Returning home, the queen gave birth to a little baby girl they named Margaret.

True to their promise, when the little girl was three years old, they took her to a Dominican monastery to be educated with other girls of noble birth. But soon the nuns realized little Margaret was different from the others girls. She spent her time in prayer instead of play. If the other girls invited her to play, she insisted they all go to the chapel first and pray an “Ave”. Watching the nuns, Margaret learned the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary by rote and would recite it to herself during the day. When she heard the nuns made certain sacrifices and acts of mortification for Jesus, she begged permission to do the same.

One day, she asked the meaning of the crucifix, and was told how the Son of God became man and died for us on the cross. She sank down on her little knees, kissed and hugged the crucifix tightly, burst into tears, and said:

“O my Jesus! Me too! To You I give myself, for You I abandon all things”.

The nuns and others observed her understanding and reasoning seemed to be more advanced than other girls her age. When she was four years old, she begged, and was permitted, to receive the Dominican habit. She received it with such gravity and respect, all the nuns were filled with admiration.

Her parents build a convent for her on an island in the Danube River, on the outskirts of Budapest, and she moved there with several sisters when she was ten years old. The community grew quickly and soon numbered seventy sisters. Despite her royal lineage, she longed to be treated as a worthless servant, desiring only to share in Jesus’ life and sufferings. She was never prioress or held any other position of prestige or authority, even in her own monastery, and no job was too difficult or menial for her. In fact, she sought the dirtiest and most repugnant work and took special delight in caring for the especially difficult sisters in the infirmary. In offering her mind to God, she set about memorizing all 150 Psalms and the Conferences by John Cassian in Latin, among many other Scripture passages, prayers, and written works.

One day, the king of Bohemia chanced to meet her on a visit to the monastery and was beguiled by her beauty. Smitten, he asked permission of her father to marry, who responded with the fact that she was dedicated to God. Undaunted, the king of Bohemia asked, if he could obtain a dispensation for her from the pope, would he consent? The match was politically compelling…and just think of all the good Margaret could do for the people of Hungary and Bohemia as queen! Her father agreed that, if he could obtain permission of both the pope and his daughter, he would grant his consent. The pope granted the dispensation, but Margaret adamantly refused. Despite arguments and pressure from her parents, she held her ground: she would not break the promise of her dedication to God, and would rather die than marry. You see, Margaret had already given her heart, mind, body, and soul to another Love.


Margaret continued her penances, long vigils, and tireless works of charity within the cloister. In all things, she offered herself for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, in particular, her own people. The Cross was all she needed to be spurred on to her heroic acts of love and sacrifice. One of the items she cherished most was a crucifix in which was kept a small relic of the True Cross and she was often found praying in front of a crucifix, with tears streaming down her face.


A fellow sister once asked her how to pray well. She responded:



“Sister, offer God your body and your soul, and let your heart be always near Him, with neither death nor tribulation, nor anything here below being able to detach it from Him; thus you will pray well”.



In her desire to be the poorest of the poor, she chose to wear the poorest, roughest, most threadbare habits. If she was given anything new and of better quality, with permission, she immediately sought to give it away to benefit the poor. Her knees were cracked and gnarled from her long prayers and her hands were often chapped and bled from her work. Her face was marked with tears of compassion and sorrow for sins from her prayers, streaking through the dirt and grime she picked up from her tasks. Because of her resulting poor and dirty appearance, some of her own sisters became embarrassed and avoided her. She was not ignorant to this fact. Shortly before her death, she told her sisters:



“You will no longer want to keep away from me then, for my body will be as fragrant after death as it is displeasing to you now”.



Though this treatment from her sisters may have stung her sensitive heart, she was joyful to be treated as Jesus was – scorned and despised. When her sisters encouraged her to spare herself and moderate her sacrifices and penances so that she may live longer, she simply looked at them with her delightful smile and replied:



“Many of the people who look forward to a long life in this valley of tears put off doing good works, since they think that they will have plenty of time before they die. As for me, I prefer to be of the number of those who, being anything but certain of a long life, consider that they have no time to lose if they wish to give God all the glory that they can before they die. Besides, we all know that it is a waste of time to live here in a convent if we are looking for rest and comfort for our mortal body and for the joys of this world. The enclosure is a suitable home only for those who are seeking those things which are eternal”.



Reading accounts of her life, we cannot help but wonder, “How can I possibly relate to this?!” For we read the incredible story of a princess who became a pauper and endured much pain and hardship, whose life was filled with unbelievable graces and miracles. But ultimately, her story is the fairy tale that is not a fairy tale – it is a love story Jesus invites us all to live. The one where we recognize that the end is the beginning: the ultimate purpose of our life on earth is not to live the soft, luxurious life of a princess, to seek riches, power, or pleasure, even if those things could be used to do good. Because, ultimately, whether rich or poor, talented or not, we are all poor servants and the only treasure that will last is that to which we look for in eternity.


St. Margaret of Hungary, O.P., died when she was twenty-eight years old. Before she died, she was given the grace to know the date of her death. While in still perfect health and vigor, she told a sister on January 8, 1270, “I will die in ten days.” After a few days of violent fever, on the 18th of January, she died, having spent 24 of her 28 years in the religious habit.


A few days before Margaret died, a Premonstratensian nun in a neighboring convent, saw in a vision the Blessed Virgin Mary descend to the Dominican convent and place a magnificent crown on the head of Sister Margaret, when she led her to heaven amid the sounds of ravishing music. Another nun of the same order saw a brilliant star go up to heaven at the moment Margaret died. During her life, Margaret worked many miracles, but after her death, they were very numerous – no less than two hundred having been proved: the blind, the lame, the paralyzed, and the sick obtained a cure at her tomb. She is invoked as patron saint against floods and fevers.


St. Margaret of Hungary, pray for us.


P.S. Want to know more about this amazing Dominican saint? There were many miracles that St. Margaret of Hungary performed while alive (and even more attributed to her intercession after she died), but here’s a couple from “Margaret: Princess of Hungary” (written by S.M.C. and published by the Blackfriars), that involve Dominican friars and also reveal a bit of her personality and sense of humor.


One day, a friar came to the monastery to preach to the nuns. The community invited him to stop the night and give them a second sermon the next day. The friar refused; he had work to do and could not spare the time. Leaving the parlor, he went in search of his horse and trap, for King Bela had evidently built a bridge from the mainland to the island. Margaret was very anxious for him to remain; when, however, she saw that he was determined to go, she made no comment but betook herself to prayer.


When the Friar reached his trap, he found that the vehicle was broken and unusable. On making wrathful inquires, he was assured no one had touched it. There was nothing else to be done but to make the best of a bad job, go back to the monastery for the night and give the nuns the sermon they had requested. He also must have had a sense of humor, and he had made a good guess as to the cause of the mishap, for the next morning, when his exhortation was ended, turning to Margaret, he said:


“You have forced me to do what you wanted, Sister; now you must give me back my trap”.


Margaret still said nothing, but betook herself again to prayer and straightway the vehicle was found completely repaired, though no one had been near it since the previous day.


The same thing happened to another friar who refused to stay and preach a second sermon; only in this case, the victim had gone some distance before the break-down of his cart forced his return. On a third occasion when a like request had been refused, Margaret said she would pray for such a downpour of rain as should force his return; and this is what actually happened.


And the last miracle we will share here was worked because her truthfulness was called into question (and also explains why Margaret is invoked in floods). Margaret had been relating to the Provincial and a group of sisters some circumstances connected with a flood of the Danube she had seen. The Provincial refused to believe her; he told her that it was impossible for anything of the sort to have occurred, and that she must have imagined it.


Margaret was angry, for to call her truthfulness into question in this way was to cast a doubt on her honor as a Dominican; and she gloried in belonging to the Order of Truth. She cried out:



“My God, I beg of you to show that I am speaking the truth!”



Immediately the waters of the Danube began to rise, overflowing the river banks. Swiftly rose the river, and soon the community were driven from the shore where they had been standing back to the monastery. Still the water continued to rise until the whole ground floor of the building was submerged, and the nuns were obliged to retire to the upper part of the house.


The Provincial, somewhat perturbed, climbed the enclosure wall, and from this vantage point watched the flood waters continue to rise. Then the nuns gathered around Margaret, begging her to undo the mischief she had done. This she was quite willing to do now that the veracity of her statement had been proved. So she prayed again, and the waters immediately began to subside. The flood had begun just after Vespers (sunset), and by Matins (midnight) the river was again flowing smoothly between its banks; and more wonderful still, it had carried its mud back with it, leaving no trace whatsoever of the flood.

The Nun Who Had Visions Of The Passion Of Christ, Heaven And The Holy Family 

The Nun Who Had Visions Of The Passion Of Christ, Heaven And The Holy Family 

The Venerable MarieMartha Chambon was a lay Roman Catholic Nun of the Visitation Order, known for promoting The Rosary Of The Holy Wounds. She was gifted with the ability to see how nuns praying the Rosary brought many graces to their families back home.

It was the Good Friday of 1850, when Francoise Chambon reported her first vision of Jesus. She was with her godmother at Good Friday services when the vision occurred. She reported that she saw Jesus, on the cross, covered in blood and His body having many wounds. She was nine years old. 


Later on during that year, upon receiving her first Holy Communion, she again saw Jesus, who told her, “My child, so it will be every time you go to Holy Communion.”


Francoise Chambon was born in Davoy, France, on March 6, 1841. Her parents were poor farmers, and life was not easy. Francoise, for the most part, kept her visions to herself. She bided her time and when she was 20 years old, she entered the Monastery of the Visitation Order in nearby Chambery. This was when she was given the name MarieMartha.  


Marie-Martha was favored with many supernatural visions during her life. One of these was actually of heaven. While on a retreat in 1870, during a recreation break the Sisters would pray the Rosary. Marie-Martha gave them a message from Our Lady


“The Sisters who endeavor to be present and attend the Rosary give me much delight; those who say it with much fervor will one day be in my entourage.”


Marie-Martha then witnessed the graces and many blessings that Jesus poured out on the families of these sisters because of their prayers in honor of His Mother.


There were times when Marie-Martha was allowed to see the Holy Family. After a long vision, she told Mother Superior


“My Mother, I return from Paradise! I cannot say that which I saw! I can only say that I prostrated myself in front of the Holy Family and I said to Saint Joseph: My good Father, I thank you that while you were on the earth, you took care of my sweet Mother Mary.”


She said that St. Joseph was very happy and told her to say this short prayer often, Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, I give you my heart and my soul.”


Marie-Martha began to have visions of Jesus when He would ask her to contemplate the Holy Wounds. Jesus would teach her specific prayers and meditations. Her Mother Superior began to chronicle Marie’s life, and this was published in 1923 and sold worldwide. The following year the Vatican granted an indulgence to those who said the following prayer, which was based on her reported visions: “Eternal Father I offer the wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to heal those of our souls.”


Jesus wanted her to unite her sufferings with His in the Rosary of the Holy Wounds. This would be done as an act of reparation for the sins of the world and the souls in purgatory. He told Marie-Marthe that the Holy Wounds were a true treasure for the souls in Purgatory.


Marie-Martha foresaw the death of Pope Pius IX whose soul appeared to her. He thanked her for her prayers, which helped open the doors of paradise to him. She had a clear vision of her 25-year-old sister’s death. Her younger brother passed away in 1878, and he appeared to his big sister to tell her he was in Paradise.


On March 21, 1907,  Marie-Martha Chambon passed away. She was 66 years old. Her cause for beatification began in 1937.


Venerable Servant of God, Marie-Martha Chambon, please pray for us.

The Saint Who Rode Into Battle Armed With Only The Crucifix

The Saint Who Rode Into Battle Armed With Only The Crucifix

St Lawrence of Brindisi put all the strength of his heart, soul and mind into both his interior life and outward activities.

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, O.F.M. Cap. (22 July 1559 – 22 July 1619), born Giulio Cesare Russo, was a Roman Catholic priest and a theologian as well as a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.


Brief Biography 

Giulio Cesare Russo was born in Brindisi, Kingdom of Naples, to a family of Venetian merchants. After the early death of his parents, he was raised by his uncle and educated at Saint Mark’s College in Venice. Cesare joined the Capuchins in Verona as Brother Lawrence. He received further instruction from the University of Padua. An accomplished linguist, in addition to his native Italian, Lawrence could read and speak Latin, Hebrew, Greek, German, Bohemian, Spanish, and French fluently. Brother Lawrence was ordained a priest at the age of 23.

At the age of thirty-one, Father Lawrence was elected superior of the Capuchin Franciscan province of Tuscany. He was appointed definitor general to Rome for the Capuchins in 1596; Pope Clement VIII assigned him the task of preaching to the Jews in the city. He was sufficiently proficient in Hebrew that the rabbis assumed he had been a convert from Judaism. Beginning in 1599, Lawrence established Capuchin monasteries in modern Germany and Austria, furthering the Counter-Reformation and bringing many Protestants back to the Catholic faith.

In 1602, he was elected vicar general of the Capuchin friars, at that time the highest office in the Order. He was elected again in 1605, but refused the office. He entered the service of the Holy See, becoming papal nuncio to Bavaria. After serving as nuncio to Spain, he retired to a monastery in 1618. He was recalled as a special envoy to the King of Spain regarding the actions of the Viceroy of Naples in 1619, and after finishing his mission, died on his birthday in Lisbon.

He was entombed at the Poor Clares’ Convento de la Anunciada (Convent of the Annunciation) in Villafranca del Bierzo, Spain.


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In 1959 John XXIII bestowed the title of Doctor Apostolicus on the Franciscan friar St. Lawrence of Brindisi (d 1619). He was a gifted linguist and theologian who produced many works on a wide variety of topics. He was a diplomat, apologist, scholar and general of his Capuchin order. The Capuchins collected his works into 15 volumes, 11 of which are sermons. In both the traditional and post-conciliar calendars the Apostolic Doctor is honoured at the altar on July 21.

With conviction he defended the Catholic Faith in places where Protestant errors had taken hold and with his knowledge of Hebrew and Scripture he evangelised among Jews in Italy. With conviction in 1601 he literally led troops into battle facing great odds against Islamic invaders. Thirty years after the Christian victory at Lepanto, Sultan Mehmed III, having slain his 19 brothers to secure power, swore that he would turn the altar of St Peters Basilica into a horse trough. While Elizabeth I sent envoys with gifts to Mehmed, Clement VIII asked Lawrence to help organise Catholic princes into a crusade to save Europe.

Speaking of conviction, at Székesfehérvár (Stuhlweissenburg) in Hungary, Lawrence, armed only with a crucifix, rode to battle and victory with 18,000 men against 80,000 invaders.

St. Lawrence was intensely active in the world and his accomplishments are staggering. 

However, as Benedict XVI explained in a 2011 audience series about Doctors of the Church, “At the school of the saints, every priest … may only avoid the danger of activism – acting, that is, without remembering the profound motives of his ministry – if he attends to his own inner life.” Lawrence of Brindisi was grounded in prayer and in the celebration of Holy Mass, which in his devotion could last for hours.

The devout conviction of St. Lawrence is exemplary. He put all the strength of his heart, soul and mind into both his interior life and outward activities, and the two dimensions were unified in love of God and neighbour, even when in great physical peril. Each of us has God-given vocations, with interior and outward dimensions. To fulfil them we must rely on both grace and elbow grease, putting our whole selves forward in conviction. As Lawrence taught, “The Holy Spirit sweetens the yoke of the divine law and lightens its weight, so that we may observe God’s commandments with the greatest of ease and even with pleasure.”

Maria Domenica Lazzeri: The Italian Mystic Who Fed On Only The Holy Eucharist 

Maria Domenica Lazzeri: The Italian Mystic Who Fed On Only The Holy Eucharist 

 

Maria Domenica Lazzeri (1815–1848) also known as la Meneghina was an Italian mystic. Affectionately called by the local people “Blessed Meneghina”, was born March 16, 1815, in Capriana, Italy. The cause for her beatification was started in 1943.


Sometimes God ignores the laws of his own creation, for his glory and our faith …

Maria Domenica Lazzeri was born in Capriana, Italy, on March 16, 1815. She was the youngest of five children born to Margaret and Bartolo Lazzeri, who was a miller by trade. However, Bartolo died in 1829 from pneumonia. The loss of her dad had a profound effect on his youngest child.

Maria’a childhood had been peaceful and uneventful up until her dad’s passing. People said that it was from that point on that Maria’s health began to deteriorate, and her mystical journey began. Unexplained physical illnesses seized hold of her, and she quickly became weaker. At the same time, her spirituality began to intensify.

During her early teen years, her love and compassion for the sick and suffering were pronounced. She prayed and fasted, and during a time when epidemics were common, Maria would help anyone who was sick and needed her assistance, without regard to her own health.

When Maria was 17 or 18, the entire region was infected with what was called “the grippe.” (When we were kids the flu was called the grippe.) People who survived seemed to recover within a week or two. This was not true for Maria. The young woman was constantly ill for over a year and, in spite of that, she spent countless hours helping take care of local families.

Maria had a love for reading about the lives of the saints. She especially loved to read the works of St. Alphonsus de Liguori, but most of all she would absorb herself in the accounts of the Passion and death of Jesus.

On August 15, 1833, when Maria was 19 years old, she was ordered to bed as the doctors thought the “grippe” had once again attacked her. But this was not the case. Maria would be bedridden from this point on, for the rest of her life. From that day forward, Maria began suffering greatly. She received the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, and could not sleep or eat and drink. The only thing she could partake of was Holy Communion.

Maria Domenica Lazzeri, until her death 14 years later, lived bedridden and immobilized. Her hands, her feet, and her ribs displayed deep wounds. There were wounds surrounding her head similar to thorn-like punctures. Maria suffered through the Passion of Christ every Friday, sweating blood and having blood pour from her hands, feet and side. Her face would be bloodied from the dripping “thorn” wounds and she, in effect,  experienced a near-death experience every time she endured all this for Jesus.

Besides the stigmata, it was recorded that on a day in October of 1935, Maria suddenly vanished from her bed. Maria was completely paralyzed and, just like that, she was gone. They searched everywhere in the house for her but to no avail. She was gone.

Eight and a half days later, Maria suddenly reappeared in her bed lying in the same position she had been when last seen. This was not simply about bi-location, this was also about actual “disappearance.” Her pastor recorded that Maria had been transported by angels over vast spaces filled with mountains and valleys and visited her sister stigmatists, Maria von Morl and Kreszentia Nierklutsch. With God all things are possible.

Maria Domenica Lazzeri, according to physicians’ reports, ate nothing for the last 14 years of her life. Her only ingested sustenance was the Holy Eucharist.

Files were lost or misplaced during World War II that pertained to Maria’s cause for sainthood, putting the process on hold. But much has since been recovered, and in 1995, her cause was again opened. She has been declared a Servant of God and the cause for her “heroic virtue” is being examined.

Servant of God Maria Domenica Lazzeri, please pray for us.

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