Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

July 14, 2018

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
Lily of the Mohawks
Mystic of the New World
Fruit of the Martyrskateri

The Lord takes us into the wilderness of a new, uncharted, untouched world, to share with us the beauty of His creation and the power of His works through the first beatified native person born in this country. In our book, Martyrs, They Died for Christ, we wrote about a new breed of Evangelists who came upon the horizon, whose images cast a broad shadow on a new world. These were brave, totally committed men of France, the Jesuit Blackrobes, who came to our continent in the early Seventeenth Century with only one goal – to bring Jesus to the pagans who inhabited the land.
The move by these French priests was spearheaded by an observation made by Samuel Champlain as he traveled the breadth of the St. Lawrence River, which then broadened out to Lake Ontario. He noticed as he sailed past all the Indian villages, there were so many children of God who knew nothing about Our Lord Jesus, our Savior. He wrote, in his journal, how sad it was that most of these people would live their entire lives never having heard the name of Jesus and would die without the grace of having known Him or being a part of His Church through Baptism.
When this word came back to the Church of France, an avalanche of fervor swept across the country. But it was the newly-formed army of Ignatius Loyola, the Company of Jesus, the Jesuits,1 who took it as a call to spiritual arms. The French contingency of that order accepted the challenge put to them. They embraced St. Paul’s plea to the Christians of another time, the early days of the Church, as a call to arms. They used his words as their battle cry.
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on Him in whom they have not believed?
And how can they believe in Him whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone to preach?
And how can people preach unless they are sent?”2
They came over to New France, as Canada was called at that time. They came with hearts burning to spread the word of God to the Indians and to die as Martyrs for Evangelization to the New World. By the thousands they came. They set up missions, worked in the wilderness, learned the language and customs of the Indians and gently, very gently taught them about Jesus. Their progress ranged from slow to full stop. But they persevered! They had many obstacles to overcome, many of which were caused by their own people. Before the Blackrobes ever got to Canada and upper New York State, they were preceded by trappers and fur traders who cared little or nothing for the people who lived on the lands, the natives of our country. They represented nothing but a way to satisfy their greed.
These were followed by the Military, whose only purpose was to obtain and maintain control and keep the Indians in their grip. Neither group would have won any popularity contests among the Indians. What they did manage to accomplish was to create an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust for any white men. The Blackrobes became victims because of the iniquities their countrymen and others3 had inflicted upon the natives of America.
Add to that the Indians’ own culture, which was so completely different from the French settlers. Both the French and the Indians focused on the things which separated them, rather than try to find a common denominator- those qualities which could unite them. The Iroquois, who were the strongest of the Indian tribes, hated the Hurons, who traded with the French; therefore, the Iroquois hated the French. They were friendly with the Dutch and the British who were at odds and sometimes at war with the French. That could account for a great deal of the hostility between the Iroquois and the French.
But the real victims had to be the Blackrobes, the Jesuit Evangelists. They were blamed for everything. If the Iroquois attacked the Hurons, it was the fault of the Blackrobes. If the Hurons suffered drought, it was the fault of the Blackrobes. If the crops failed, it was because of the black magic of the Blackrobes. If illness were to take its toll on the Indian population, because of strains of bacteria, brought into the continent by the French, Dutch and British, it became strangely enough the fault of the Blackrobes. To this day, there are those in Canada who blame the Jesuits for the rampant disease to which the Indian population was subjected, and because of which they died in great numbers.
But what was the justification to blame the Jesuits? They were no more responsible for spreading the viruses than any other foreigner who emigrated to the country. However, they were the most vulnerable. They were the easiest to attack and the least able to defend themselves. There came a time in 1649, after the torturous execution of John de Brebuf, Gabriel Lalemant, and others in Huronia, when the wholesale slaughter of the Blackrobes became too much for the Superiors in Quebec to accept, and so they closed down the missions, burned to the ground Saint Marie of the Hurons, the settlement which they had built as a headquarters for the missionaries, and left to go back to Quebec. The mission venture to Huronia was a failure. The wilderness reclaimed the lands in which the Blackrobes had labored and died, their blood left as fertilizer for the growth of the new missions, the fruit of the Martyrs.
In Ossernenon, which is modern-day Auriesville, New York, the first of the North American Martyrs René Goupil was martyred in 1642, tomahawked for making the Sign of the Cross on a young Indian’s forehead. At that same place, St. Isaac Jogues and St. Jean Lalande, a lay Donné,4 were martyred also. The Missionaries left and the cause seemed lost. But on that soil, in that place, the Lord was to plant the seeds of Evangelization into the blood-soaked earth, which would grow into what would be the first Native American Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the Lily of the Mohawks, the Mystic of the Wilderness. And she has now been canonized, finally brought into the Communion of Saints, she is the first Native American, first fruit of the North American Martyrs.

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Saint Benedict leaves Rome for Solitude

July 11, 2018

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Rome of his day had become nothing but a barbaric cesspool, filled with pagan tribes, who had invaded her shores, spreading heresy and immoral behavior the likes of which was leading to a widespread depraved and decadent culture infecting all, but especially the intelligentsia, as usual the students.
As goes the world, sadly, often follows the Church. Poor Mother Church was reeling from the attacks within and without – with schisms threatening to tear down all that the Early Church Fathers had built. Immoral and amoral behavior soon became the accepted norm of the day with Christians accepting and adopting the culture of the hordes of heathens who had stormed their land. With permissiveness, war and rampant widespread plundering are sure to follow. There was not a ruler or king who was not either a pagan, or an atheist, or a heretic.
Benedict moves on
Holiness begets holiness, as well as sin begets sin. As sheep willingly follow a goat to slaughter, so it was with this scourge which covered society. It was such a deadly epidemic no one was exempt from its poisonous infection. The wholesale evil and totally immoral behavior of the parents soon cascaded down to the youth, who willing followed and consequently mimicked their example. By the grace of God, the young Benedict was repulsed by all the evil and scandalous behavior he could see permeating not only Rome, but the schools. Not prideful, and totally devoid of the brash opinion of youth, and society as well, that they can handle anything, Benedict made the decision to leave Rome. The only one he told was his nurse, who accompanied him.

The path was clear for him. Having completed all that higher education of his day could offer, he left behind his books; and rejecting all the trappings of the world, his parents’ wealth and comforts of home and estate, departed for a life centered in God. It is fairly certain Benedict left Rome at age twenty, as he was mature enough to discern the decadency and immorality of his friends and class mates.
First small step to a holy life
Benedict and his nurse made their way to Affile, a small town deep into the mountains, about thirty miles from Rome. There he would start a new life, with possibly others who desired a life centered in God. This was not to be. Try as he may, he soon realized he could not achieve here the closeness with God he so dearly desired. Leaving the temptations of Rome had not been enough. If he was to know God, he would have to lead a solitary life – away from the world.
The First Miracle
The anonymity he so desperately sought was not to be his in this small village, especially once he miraculously mended an earthenware vessel, which his nurse had borrowed and broken. He pleaded with her to not share the miraculous happenings. Did she comply? No! She went about the village broadcasting the miracle that had come about. The locals even put up a sign on the church, detailing the miracle and the young man who had brought it about. Enough said, that was to be the end of any possible inner peace and quiet meditative reflection he could hope for. The only way was to leave Affile and any friends he had made there, sympatico as they might have been. He found he could no longer have the comfort of having his pious nurse with him. He made the decision to make it alone, with only God as his Comfort and Shield.
New home – new beginnings – life as a hermit, at last.

Click tihis link to view short video – https://youtu.be/1GvVe9N144k
Now completely alone, Benedict scaled hills upon hills until he arrived at the shaggy, rocky rough-hewn mountains of Subiaco. (Till today, the mountains are steep and more than a little challenging to ascend.) At last, a hermitage where he could find some peace and solitude! But how? As God would have it, Benedict came upon a monk named Romanus. He poured his heart out to the monk, sharing his deep desire to live a hermit’s life. Although the monk lived in a monastery quite a distance away, he, without hesitating, dressed Benedict in sheepskins and escorted the youth to a cave in the mountains. Benedict desired to be alone. Well, here in this cave, removed from all civilization, he would know the quiet and solitary life, for which he so hungered. His cave, with its flat, sharp, jagged rock as a roof, made access to him from on top of the cave impossible. And should one attempt to approach the cave from below, the sharp climb to the cave was made hazardous by unscalable cliffs, thick brush, and a forest dense with trees obscuring it further.
Alone and solitary, prayer his loving companion, living this very austere life, his only human contact with anyone was the monk Romanus, who brought him a little sustenance each day. Benedict would recover it from a rope lowered down the steep slope by Romanus; upon which the monk placed a small ration of bread. Benedict was completely content. He had read about Anthony the Abbot and other Desert Fathers, and although he was still a young man, he desired this life more than anything on earth. His desert life went on for three years.

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Saint Rita of Cascia and Tragedy of her marriage

May 22, 2018

Saint Rita of Cascia and Tragedy of her marriage
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The Mexican Martyrs – Magallanes

May 21, 2018

The Mexican Martyrs we have 6 episodes about the Mexican Martyrs of the 20th Century

Beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1992. We visit Totatiche in the state of Jalisco, where St. Magallanes built a seminary.

Personal testimony from an eyewitness who was a friend of Fr. Magallanes and Fr. Caloca in the seminary at Totatiche.

See where they worked, teaching the people and carrying on their ministry of priests under constant threat of exposure and capture by the troops of Plutarco Calles, Mason and dictatorial president of Mexico.

We visit the place where they suffered martyrdom.

canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 21, 2000
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Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Preview

May 19, 2018

Paris was helped by Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
https://www.journeysoffaith.com/product-page/our-lady-of-the-miraculous-medal-dvd

 


The Nazareth home of Jesus is in Italy?

May 11, 2018

Did you know that the home Jesus lived in Nazareth is now in Loreto Italy?
The Holy House of Loreto

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St. Francis of Assisi went to the Holy Land, in 1220, to convert the Saracens or die trying. During his time there, he went to Nazareth and spent time at the Holy House, where the Annunciation took place, where the Holy Family lived from the time they returned from Egypt until Jesus began His public Ministry. Francis spent much time, praying there. We believe the Holy Family spoke to him in the little House; because when he came back to Italy, he went out on the road, preaching the Good News of the Kingdom.
One of the first places he went to was a little town of no accord, north of Assisi, off the Adriatic Sea, about thirty miles inland from Ancona. The town was called Loreto. Francis told his brothers to begin preaching there. They looked around and protested, saying the town was too small and the area too remote. Francis prophesied “Someday this place will be known as the holiest place on earth.”
Seventy four years later, the Holy House of Nazareth arrived in Loreto. Had Mother Mary spoken to St. Francis about this move when he was in Nazareth, before the Crusaders had lost the battle, and had been expelled from the Holy Land? He knew something! Was this one of the many things our Holy Family shared with this, one of their favorite sons?
Our Lord Jesus loves His Mother Mary. He watches out for Her, and protects everything on earth that had anything to do with Her time here. And so it was, in the year 1291, when the Saracens (Moslems) decided to vent their venom and hate against Christ, and all things Christian. The Crusades were over. The Christians had been defeated and run out of the Holy Land. By destroying every holy place in Palestine, the Moslems thought they could eliminate every sign or vestige of Jesus’ existence in history.
St. Helena, Emperor Constantine’s mother, had made churches of all the holy places in Jesus’ life. It was as if the Saracens believed, if they took away these outward signs of Jesus, they could wipe away that Love that beats in each and every person’s heart, that longing to be more, to love and be loved more. We wonder, were the Saracens the ones who really wanted to destroy man’s hope, or could it be it was the fallen angels who know all too well the needs and desires of the human heart?
Satan was having a field day. He could see the last remnants of Christianity destroyed in this Holy Land.
The Saracens descended on Bethlehem. They went to the church built over the spot where Christ was born. They would level it! But when they approached the building, they believed to be where He was born, they saw a mosaic outside depicting three Arab kings (the three wise men). This could not be the place of Jesus’ birth, they thought. This is a mosque, dedicated to Arab kings of the past. So they left this place, and continued looking for the birthplace of Jesus. Our Lord had used the Angels to form a shield around the church, which blocked the minds and senses of the Saracens. He would not allow this place, where His Mother had given birth to Him, to be desecrated.
At about the same time, hordes of Saracens rode, for all they were worth, their horses covered with foam of white lather as they strained to go beyond their limit, towards Nazareth. They would destroy the house of Mary. Never again would Christians celebrate the Annunciation, there. Never again would they be reminded of the Jewish Virgin’s yes that helped to redeem the world. It was well known that Jesus’ Apostles and disciples began celebrating Mass in the Holy House of Nazareth soon after Jesus’ death. It was a Shrine from the earliest days of Christianity. This was an important place for the Saracens to destroy. This is where it had all begun.
We believe the Lord uses His Angels to do the extraordinary. He has great power, and He has given the Angels some of His power that they might glorify His Name, and help us in our walk toward Him. While we agree that God formed nature, and adheres to the rules He has set up for nature, we also believe God can do anything He wants, whenever He wants. We contend it’s wrong for humans to put God into a box, placing earthly limitations on what He can and cannot do.
If God, in His majesty, wants to set aside the laws of Nature, and give Angels bodies with wings, and superhuman strength to pick up large objects, like houses, and transport them at the speed of light anywhere He chooses, we say Yes, Lord, praise You Lord, thank You Lord. Jesus tells us, “I assure you, if you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you would be able to say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible for you.” (Mt17:20)
Do I believe God can move mountains, and with faith I can? Yes, because He told me so. Do I believe God, through His Angels, lifted up the Holy House and moved it out of Nazareth to protect it from the hatred of His enemies? Yes, because I have seen it. Do I believe God can move men’s hearts? Now, I shout yes from the mountain tops because through prayer, I have experienced it.
We believe there has always been a legion of Angels protecting the house of the Annunciation. Here, Gabriel appeared to Mary, and the Holy Family lived until Jesus began His public ministry. We believe Gabriel never left this place. But now, when danger seemed so imminent, we can visualize an army of Angels racing down from Heaven, their wings glistening in the sun, Michael joining Gabriel, his red cape whirling around him. The sky was filled with Angels, from one end of the horizon to the other. The earth shook with the vibrations of their wings. They swooped down and formed a barricade around the house. The Angels were here, and they meant business!
Our Lord had good reason to call forth His Angels. The Basilica, built over the Holy House, had been destroyed twice before by the Arabs, once as long ago as 1090 A.D. For some unknown reason, they had never disturbed the crypt (lower church), where the Holy House and the grotto were located. The Crusaders rebuilt the Basilica shortly after they arrived in Nazareth. Acts of sacrilege by the Moslems, were a major reason the Crusades began in the first place; for it was right after the atrocity to the Basilica of the Annunciation that the Holy War began.
The second time, the Basilica was destroyed, was in 1263. Again, the crypt was not disturbed, praise God. But then, the Crusaders were not able to rebuild the Basilica, and the Holy House was left unprotected. When it was evident the Crusaders had lost the Holy Land in 1291, our Lord Jesus decided that since He could not depend on man to protect this holy place, He would send the Angels. They would surely defend this Shrine to His Blessed Mother and their Queen. The Lord gave the Angels a mandate!
“Move the Holy House; take it to a safer place, far from the hatred of My enemies in this land of My birth. Lift it; lift it high into the air, where they can’t get at it. Don’t let them see it.”
We can be sure Michael and Gabriel were in charge, supervising the movement of this most holy place, where the Holy Spirit had formed the Savior of the world in the womb of Mary. In unison, the Angels raised the house from its foundation, and carried it high into the sky, resting it upon clouds which hid it from the earth. When the Saracens arrived, with hatred in their hearts, craving to pillage and burn, they were astonished. There was nothing there! Only the grotto remained. They left it alone; it had no meaning to them.
The Angels carried the Holy House, high above the mountains and deserts of the Holy Land, across the expansive Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas to Illyria.

 

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Saint Teresa of Avila

May 4, 2018

Teresa’s family claimed they were of pure blood, that is, no mixture of Moorish or Jewish blood (reflecting the prejudice of the time instilled by the hundreds of years of Moor domination); but there are those authors who say that Teresa’s grandfather was a converso. He was brought before the Inquisition, forced to accuse himself of judaizing1 and, as punishment, had to process in the streets, seven Fridays in a row, wearing the humiliating sanbenito3. Reconciling with the Inquisition, out of expediency, Teresa’s grandfather moved, with his family, to Avila.
In 1514, the year before Teresa was born, Pope Leo X granted an indulgence to those donating money toward the building of a new Basilica in Rome, St. Peter’s. Although the indulgence called for the usual conditions of penance and contrition, it became highly controversial.
The year Teresa was born, 1515, Martin Luther was to attack the very Foundations of the Catholic Church using the selling of indulgences as a tool. As a result of this act, not only would the Catholic world never be the same, but the very essence of Christianity would change for all time. Opening the door to more conflicts to this very day, this one act of disobedience was to lead to the scandal of over 3000 splinters of the Cross of Jesus. What with disobedience building on disobedience, and dissension building on dissension, the unity Jesus commanded, “as I am one with the Father,” has instead become Christian against Christian, brother against brother. And how our Beloved Lord weeps.
Again, we come to Christ and how He defends His Church. We would be foolish to believe it was merely a coincidence that Teresa was born the very year Martin Luther came out with his dogma of salvation through grace alone. Whereas Luther, troubled by the conflict between the flesh and the Spirit, addressed his dilemma by embracing the good things of the world, Teresa was to live a radical life of obedience, often under the worst of conditions, choosing the Lord of all, rather than the all. Teresa, always calling herself a sinner, was to do penance throughout her life in reparation for what she considered this evil brought about by Luther.
Teresa was born on March 28, 1515, in Avila, in the Castillian region of Spain. She came from a large family, with three children by her father’s first marriage and nine by his second to Teresa’s mother whom he had married after the death of his first wife. St. Teresa spoke of her family in the following way, “I had parents who were virtuous and feared God….I never saw my parents favor anything but virtue.”

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