Devotion to the Holy Face

Devotion to the Holy Face

“This salutary reparation to the Holy Face of Jesus is a divine work, destined to save modern society.” ~ Pope Pius XI

All those who honour my face in a spirit of reparation will by doing so perform the office of the pious Veronica. According to the care they take in making reparation to my Face, disfigured by blasphemers, so will I take care of their souls which have been disfigured by sin. My Face is the seal of the Divinity, which has the virtue of reproducing in souls the image of God.
Those who by words, prayers or writing defend My cause in this work of reparation I will defend before My Father, and will give them My Kingdom.
By offering My Face to My eternal Father, nothing will be refused, and the conversion of many sinners will be obtained.
By My Holy Face, they will work wonders, appease the anger of God and draw down mercy on sinners.
As in a Kingdom they can procure all that is desired with a coin stamped with the Kings effigy, so in the Kingdom of Heaven they will obtain all they desire with the precious coin of my Holy Face.
Those who on earth contemplate the wounds of My Face shall in Heaven behold it radiant with glory.
They will receive in their souls a bright and constant irradiation of My Divinity, that by their likeness to My Face they shall shine with particular splendor in Heaven.
I will defend them, I will preserve them and I assure them of Final Perseverance.

Devotion to the Holy Face was revealed by Jesus to Sr. Marie of St. Peter (1816-1848) a Carmelite nun of Tours in France.

The primary purpose of the devotion is to make reparation for sins against the first three commandments:
1) Denial of God,
2) Blasphemy,
3) and the profanation of Sundays and Holy Days.

The devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus, based on the life and writings of Sr. Marie of St. Peter, was eventually approved by Pope Leo XIII in 1885 who established the devotion as an Arch-confraternity for the whole world. In January 1849 Pope Pius IX had the relic of Veronica’s veil placed for public veneration in Rome. During this time, the Divine Face appeared distinctly, as if living, and was illuminated by a soft light. Reproductions of the veil were later printed, touched to the original and sent abroad for veneration.

The Holy Man of Tours – Leo Dupont

Leo Dupont heard of the reported visions of Jesus and Mary by the Carmelite nun Sister Marie of St Peter from 1844 to 1847. Based on this, Dupont started to burn a vigil lamp continuously before a picture of the Holy Face of Jesus based on the painted image on the Veil of Veronica. Dupont used that image because the existence of a clear image on the Shroud of Turin was not known to anyone at that time for the somewhat faded image of the face on the Shroud can not easily be seen with the naked eye and was only observed in May 1898 via the negative plate of Secondo Pia’s first photograph. In 1851 Dupont formed the “Archconfraternity of the Holy Face” in Tours. He prayed for and promoted the case for a devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus for around 30 years.

The Holy Man of Tours had more miracles than St. Vincent Ferrer, but you never heard of Leo. Here is a link of some of the Miracles of the Holy Face in the Home of Ven. Leo Dupont (1851-81). The miracles accumulated to such a point that Pope Pius IX stated that Leo Dupont was perhaps the greatest miracle worker in Church history!

Blessed Maria Pierina de Micheli & The Holy Face of Jesus Devotion & Medal

At the age of twelve, when she was in her Parish Church during the 3pm Good Friday service, she heard a Voice saying quite distinctly: “No one gives me a kiss of love on My Face to make amends for the Kiss of Judas.”

In her childlike simplicity, she believed that the voice was heard by everyone and was pained to see that only the wounds were kissed but not the face. In her heart exclaiming, “Have patience, dear Jesus, I will give you a kiss of love”, and when her turn came she lovingly and devoutly imprinted a kiss on His Face. Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli obtained permission from her spiritual Director and although she did not have any financial means to get medals of the Holy Face made. She obtained the permission of the photographer Bruner to take copies of the Holy Shroud as reproduced by him, and she received the permission to do so by the Archdiocese of Milan on the August 9, 1940. Since then the devotion and the medal have been spread worldwide with much enthusiasm, accompanied all the while by wonderful graces, conversions and cures as a testament and heavenly sign of God’s institution and approval of both.

This devotion to the Holy face of Jesus so inspired St Therese that she took the full title: ‘Sr. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face’.

On the first Friday of Lent 1936, Mother Maria Pierina de Michelli (beatified 30th May 2010) reported a vision of Jesus. In further visions she was urged to make a medal bearing the Holy Face of Jesus. She was given permission to reproduce the face of the Holy Shroud of Turin and authorisation by the Curia to proceed in 1940 with the medal.

Click the Image to Order a Medal

One side has the image of the Holy Shroud of Turin and the words of Ps 66:2 “illumina Domine Vultum Tuum super nos” (may the light of your Face, O Lord, shine upon us).

On the other side the sacred host. The letters IHS and “Mane nobiscum Domine” (stay with us O Lord) Pope Pius XII approved the devotion and medal in 1958. She also reported Jesus’ desire of a special feast day on the Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday each year (Shrove Tuesday), to be preceded by a 9 day novena of prayer.

The medal became famous for the miracles and spiritual favours associated with its use. In Our Blessed Mother’s own word, the medal is “a weapon for defense, a shield for courage, a token of love & mercy in these troubled days of lust, evil, loss of faith and hatred for God and for His Church.

Whoever wears this scapular (medal) and, if possible, pays a weekly visit to the Blessed Sacrament on Tuesdays in a spirit of reparation to the Holy Face will be granted the gift of a strong Faith and the grace to fly to its defence conquering if need be all interior and exterior difficulties. Moreover, they will meet their death peacefully, under the loving gaze of my divine son.” (from Biography of Blessed Pierina p33).

In 1958, Pope Pius XII declared the feast of the Holy Face of Jesus for all Roman Catholics to be the day before Ash Wednesday (Shrove Tuesday).

A visit to the Blessed Sacrament on a Tuesday in a spirit of reparation to the Holy Face bestows particular graces.

Jesus appeared to Blessed Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli covered with blood and very sadly said to her:
“Do you see how I suffer? Yet, very few understand me. Those who say they love me are very ungrateful! I have given my heart as the sensible object of my great love to men and I give My Face as the sensible object of my sorrow for all the sins of men. I wish that it be venerated by a special feast on Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. I wish that the feast be preceded by a novena in which the faithful make reparation with me, joining together and sharing in my sorrow.”

In 1939 Jesus said again:

“I wish that My Holy Face be honored in a particular manner on Tuesdays”.

Our Lady said to Blessed Maria Pierina de Micheli

“A visit to the Blessed Sacrament every Tuesday in reparation for the outrages that the Holy Face of my Son Jesus received during His Passion and is still receiving in the Holy Eucharist every day,
– will be strengthened in the Faith, and will be made ready to defend it,
– will overcome all difficulties, internal and external
– and they will have a peaceful death under the loving gaze of my Divine Son”

Sr. Mary of St. Peter writes: “In the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, His adorable Face is more dazzling than the sun. He then once more promised me to imprint His Divine Likeness upon the souls of those who honour the features of His Face” (Autobiography p187)

St. Gaetana Catanoso (canonised by Pope Benedict XVI) said: “If we wish to adore the real Face of Jesus…, we can find it in the divine Eucharist, where with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the Face of Our Lord is hidden under the white veil of the Host”.

Prayers of the Holy Face
A Heaven- revealed Remedy to the Ills of our Times

Introductory Prayer

Dear Lord, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary I (we) offer you these prayers in reparation for the sins which offend God the most in these modern times – the sins of blasphemy and the profanation of Sunday and Your Holy Days of Obligation.

Prayer to offer the Holy Face of Jesus to God the Father to appease his justice and draw down mercy upon us.

Almighty and Eternal Father, since it has pleased Our Divine Saviour to reveal to mankind in modern times the power residing in His Holy Face, we now avail ourselves of this treasure in our great need. Since our Savior Himself promised that by offering to you His Holy face disfigured in the passion we can procure the settlement of all the affairs of our household, and that nothing whatsoever will be refused to us, we now come before Your throne. Eternal Father, turn away Your angry gaze from our guilty people whose face has become unsightly in your eyes. Look instead upon the Face of Your Beloved Son; for this is the Face of Him in whom you are well pleased. We now offer You His Holy face covered with blood, sweat, dust, spittle and shame, in reparation for the worst crimes of our age, which are atheism, blasphemy and the desecration of Your holy days. We thus hope to appease Your anger justly provoked against us. The All-Merciful Advocate opens His mouth to plead our cause; listen to His cries, behold His tears, O God, and through the merits of His Holy Face, hearken to Him when he intercedes for us poor miserable sinners.

LITANY OF THE HOLY FACE OF JESUS

(composed by Sister Mary St. Peter)

I salute Thee, I adore Thee and I love Thee, O adorable Face of Jesus, my Beloved, noble Seal of the Divinity! outraged anew by blasphemers. I offer Thee, through the heart of Thy blessed Mother, the worship of all the Angels and Saints, most humbly beseeching Thee to repair and renew in me and in all men Thine Image disfigured by sin.

O adorable Face which was adored, with profound respect, by Mary and Joseph when they saw Thee for the first time, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which ravished with joy, in the stable of Bethlehem, the Angels, the shepherds and the magi, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which transpierced with a dart of love in the Temple, the saintly old man Simeon and the prophetess Anna, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which filled with admiration the Doctors of the Law when Thou appeared in the Temple at the age of twelve years, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which possesses beauty always ancient and always new, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which is the masterpiece of the Holy Ghost, in which the Eternal Father is well pleased, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which is the ineffable mirror of the divine perfections, have mercy on us,

O adorable Face of Jesus which was so mercifully bowed down on the Cross, on the day of Thy Passion, for the salvation of the world! Once more today in pity bend down towards us poor sinners. Cast upon us a glance of compassion and give us Thy peace.

O adorable Face which became brilliant like the sun and radiant with glory, on the Mountain of Tabor, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which wept and was troubled at the tomb of Lazarus, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which was rendered sad at the sight of Jerusalem, and shed tears on that ungrateful city, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which was bowed down to the ground in the Garden of Olives, and covered with confusion for our sins, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which was covered with the sweat of blood, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which was struck by a vile servant, covered with a veil of shame, and profaned by the sacrilegious hands of Thine enemies, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which by Its divine glance, wounded the heart of St. Peter with a dart of sorrow and love, have mercy on us, Be merciful to us, O my God!

Do not reject our prayers, when in the midst of our afflictions, we call upon Thy Holy Name and seek with love and confidence Thine adorable Face.

O adorable Face which was washed and anointed by Mary and the holy women and covered with a shroud, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which was all resplendent with glory and beauty on the day of the Resurrection, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which is hidden in the Eucharist, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which will make sinners tremble, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which will fill the just with joy for all eternity, have mercy on us,

O Lord, show us Thy Face, and we shall be saved!
O Lord, show us Thy Face, and we shall be saved!
O Lord, show us Thy Face, and we shall be saved!

O adorable Face which will appear at the end of time in the clouds with great power and great majesty, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which merits all our reverence, our homage and our adoration, have mercy on us,

Prayer of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus to the Holy Face

O Jesus, who in Thy bitter Passion didst become “the most abject of men, a man of sorrows”, I venerate Thy Sacred Face whereon there once did shine the beauty and sweetness of the Godhead; but now it has become for me as if it were the face of a leper! Nevertheless, under those disfigured features, I recognize Thy infinite Love and I am consumed with the desire to love Thee and make Thee loved by all men.

The tears that thou hast shed so abundantly appear to me as so many precious pearls that I love to gather up, in order to purchase the souls of poor sinners by means of their infinite value. O Jesus, whose adorable Face ravishes my heart, I implore Thee to fix deep within me Thy divine Image, to set me on fire with Thy Love, and to make me worthy to contemplate in Heaven Thy glorious Face. Amen.

 Chaplet of Sister Marie of St Peter

The following Chaplet of Reparation contains prayers composed by Sister Marie of St Peter after Jesus asked her to battle in prayer against the “enemies of God”, especially communists.
(Even if you do not have the ‘chaplet’ of beads, you can still pray the prayers).

The Holy Face Chaplet beads consists of 33 beads made up of 5 sets of 6 beads each to make reparation for the sins of blasphemy against Our Lord’s Holy Face through His five senses and the last three beads in honour of the three years of our Lord’s public ministry on earth.

On the Crucifix say:

Eternal Father I offer You the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ and all the other instruments of His Holy Passion, that You may put division in the camp of Your enemies; for as Your Beloved Son has said, “A kingdom divided against itself shall fall.”

On the next five beads say:

1) May God arise and let His enemies be scattered and let those who hate Him flee before His Face!
2) May the thrice Holy Name of God overthrow all their plans!
3) May the Holy Name of the Living God split them up by disagreements!
4) May the terrible Name of the God of Eternity stamp out all their godlessness!
5) Lord, I do not desire the death of the sinner, but that he be converted and live. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

On the medal say: the “Golden Arrow” prayer.

THE “GOLDEN ARROW” PRAYER

(Dictated by Our Lord to Sister Mary of St. Peter)

This “Golden Arrow” prayer was given to Sr. Mary of St. Peter to atone for the sins of blasphemy against God’s name. Just as sins of blasphemy were like a ‘poisoned arrow’ continually wounding God’s Heart, she saw in a vision that this “Golden Arrow” had the power to wound him “delightfully”.

Our Lord revealed to her the inseparable connection in honouring the unutterable name of God through the Golden Arrow prayer and in venerating the Holy Face of Jesus. She saw how its recitation caused torrents of graces to stream for the conversion of sinners.

It is the central prayer in the devotion to the Holy Face.

“May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.”

On the thirty three white beads say:

Arise, O Lord, and let Your enemies be scattered, and let those that hate You flee before Your Face.

On each of the six large beads say:

My Jesus, mercy” and one “Glory Be..”

On the medal at the end say:

Eternal Father, I offer You the Holy Face of Jesus, covered with blood, sweat, dust and spittle, in reparation for the crimes of communists, blasphemers, and for the profaners of the Holy Name and of the Holy Day of Sunday. (This exclamation is also recommended to be recited frequently throughout the day).

BOOKS

 

The Life of St Mary the Harlot, the niece of Abraham the Hermit by St Ephraem the Archdeacon

The Life of St Mary the Harlot, the niece of Abraham the Hermit

[Celebrated in the Roman Martyrology on 29 October]

by St Ephraem the Archdeacon

translated into Latin from the Greek by an anonymous author.

This is the rest of Life of Abraham, begun in Life No 7 in Book 1a

Chapter I

Beloved brethren, I would like to respond to your unanimous request that I should tell you about another admirable matter which this blessed man dealt with in his old age. For wise and spiritual men it provides an instructive example of humility and compunction. This is what it was all about:

Chapter II

The blessed man Abraham had a brother who died leaving a daughter seven years old. Her father’s friends decided that as this girl had now lost both her parents, she should be immediately handed over to her uncle. The old man accepted this, and put her in the outer room of the cell. There was a little window in the wall between the rooms, through which he was able to teach her the psalter and the scriptures. She joined with him in praising God in the vigil services, and she strove to emulate her uncle in his practice of abstinence. She readily accepted this regime and made great advances in all the virtues. The holy man unceasingly prayed with tears to the Lord that her mind should be freed from attachment to the affairs of this world, for her father had left her a large sum of money. But with her father now dead, and her uncle in charge, the servant of Christ ordered that the money be distributed to the needy and orphans. The girl daily asked her uncle to pray that she be kept safe from the divers snares and traps of the devil, and kept faithfully to the rule he had given her.

Her uncle gave thanks that he could see her unhesitatingly moving forwards in the practice of all the virtues, that is in tears, humility, modesty and silence, and what was even more wonderful, in a profound love of God. She had lived with him in abstinence for twenty years, as pure as a lamb and as unspotted as a dove, when the devil began to rage against her, and tempted her with his usual tactics. He sought to ensnare her in his nets, hoping to turn her mind away from God and give the blessed man great cause to worry about her.

Chapter III

There was a certain monk (a monk in name only) who was in the habit of coming to visit the holy man under the pretext of seeking for instruction. He could see that blessed woman through the window, and began to be stirred with desire for her. He sought pretexts for speaking with her, and the urgings of lust began to set his heart on fire. Over the space of a year he insinuated himself into her affections by degrees, until her thoughts were quite overwhelmed by the sweetness of his words, and at last she opened the window of her cell and went out to him. He immediately contaminated and polluted her in the wickedness of his sinful lust.

Afterwards, she was horrified at how wicked was the deed she had done. She tore the tunic she was wearing and lacerated her face with her nails. In her excessive grief, she wished she were dead. Her anxiety oppressed her like a dead weight, in her mental storm she could not see the prospects of any harbour, her fevered thoughts flew backwards and forwards and she bewailed her fate unceasingly.

“This feels like a wound unto death,” she cried. “The labour of my days and my abstinence have gone for nothing, the work of my prayers, tears and vigils has been rendered completely worthless. I have grievously offended my God and have destroyed myself. What a miserable wretch I am, drowning myself in tears! I have inflicted the most bitter sorrow upon my holy uncle, my soul is burdened with guilt, and I have simply become a bit of sport for the devil. What point is there in prolonging my miserable existence any further? Alas, what have I done? Alas, what shall I do now? Alas, what evils have I brought upon myself? Alas, how could I have ever sunk so low? How did my mind come to be so darkened? I could not see that I was doing wrong, I did not realise I was being despoiled, I cannot understand how my heart came to be hidden in a cloud of darkness. How is it that I did not realise what I was doing?

“Where can I hide myself? Where can I go? Where is there some ravine I can throw myself into? Where now are all the teachings of my most holy uncle? Where are the warnings of his colleague, Ephraem? They taught me to preserve my virginity so that I might offer an immaculate soul to my immortal bridegroom. ‘Your bridegroom,’ they said, ‘is holy and ardent’. Alas, what can I do? I don’t dare so much as lift up my eyes to heaven, for I know that in the eyes of both God and man I am as good as dead. I don’t dare to go anywhere near his window. I am a sinner full of sordid uncleanness – how shall I even try to speak with my holy uncle? If I even dared to attempt it, wouldn’t a blast of fire burst from him to burn me to ashes? Seeing that I am already dead and have no hope of gaining salvation, I had better leave here and go to some foreign land where nobody knows me.”

Hastily, she left, went to a foreign land, changed her clothes and found employment in a brothel.[stabulum, a word which can mean simply ‘fixed abode’. In Chapter VI, below, it seems to mean ‘inn, hostelry’, but is also, obviously, a brothel]

Chapter IV

This disaster which happened to her was revealed to the holy man by a vision in his sleep. What he saw was a terrifying, enormous dragon, hissing loudly and stinking most horribly, which burst out from somewhere towards his own cell, where it found a little dove, which it devoured and then returned to its own pit. He woke up in great distress, weeping bitter tears, interpreting the vision as an attack of the devil against the Church of God, turning many away from the faith and creating some schism in holy Church. He fell on his knees and prayed to God.

“O God, lover of men, nothing is hid from your sight. You know the meaning of this vision.”

Two days later he saw the same dragon coming back to the cell in the same manner as before. With its belly torn open it lowered its head down at his feet, and he could see the dove which it had devoured was still alive in its stomach. He put his hand in and pulled it out alive. When he woke up he called out for his blessed niece several times, thinking that she was still in her cell.

“What has been the matter with you, Mary” – for that was her name – “that you have not opened your voice to praise God these last two days?”

He got no reply, and since he had not heard her singing the psalms as usual for the last two days it began to dawn on him that the vision most certainly was about her. Then he groaned and wept bitterly, pouring out floods of tears.

“Woe is me! A wolf has carried off my little lamb and taken my daughter captive! O Christ, Saviour of the world, give me back my little lamb Mary. Bring her back to the fold, lest in my old age I depart this world in grief. Do not turn your ears away from my prayer, O Lord, but speedily send down your grace that she may be snatched unharmed from the mouth of the dragon.”

The two days of the vision turned out to signify two years, during which his niece lived out her shameful life as if in the disgusting belly of the dragon. But the holy man never ceased at all times day and night from praying for her to God.

Chapter V

After two years, he found out where she was and what she was doing, and he asked someone he knew very well to go there and find out everything about her that he could. After having gone there and actually seen her, he came back and gave Abraham a full and truthful report. At Abraham’s request he then lent him a soldier’s uniform and a horse to ride. Disguised as a soldier, and wearing voluminous headgear to conceal his face, he opened his door, came out, mounted his horse, and hurried off, taking with him just one solidus. Anyone who ventures into any foreign country or city always assumes the dress of that country so that he won’t be noticed; just so did Abraham wear aggressive clothing, to frighten off any possible attacker. Take a lesson, my beloved brothers, from this second Abraham. Just as the first Abraham went forth to do battle with kings and struck them down in order to rescue his nephew Lot (Genesis 13.12-16), so did this second Abraham sally forth to do battle with the devil, to conquer him and bring back his niece in triumph.

Chapter VI

When he arrived at the place where she was, he turned aside into the inn (stabulum) and looked about him carefully in all directions, hoping to catch sight of her. Having lingered there for the best part of an hour without having caught the slightest glimpse of her, he approached the landlord with a grin on his face.

“I have heard, my friend,” he said, “that you have a most beautiful girl here. I would gladly have a look at her, if you will allow me.”

The landlord looked at Abraham’s grey hairs, and thought to himself that this person could hardly have any thoughts of lust in his mind, considering his obviously advanced age.

“You have been told correctly,” he replied. “She really is outstandingly beautiful.”

And indeed it is true that Mary was of an almost preternatural beauty.

“What is her name?” he asked.

“Mary.”

“I should be delighted if you would bring her in to me,” he said, filled with joy at hearing her name. “Perhaps she might dine with me today, for I have heard great stories about this girl.”

He called her in, and when her uncle saw her, dressed like a prostitute, a shudder of grief shook his whole frame, but he hid the bitterness of his soul with a smile of pleasure. He restrained himself from breaking out into tears, lest she recognise him and take refuge in flight.

Chapter VII

They sat down and had a drink, and this wonderful man then began to lead her on. She got up from her seat, put her arms around his neck and gave him a few gentle kisses. But as did so, the familiar scent of an abstinent body assailed her sense of smell, and the remembrance of the days when she lived in abstinence herself suddenly burst upon her mind. She cried out, as if pierced by a javelin, and tears rolled down her cheeks.

“Woe, woe is me!” she cried, unable to restrain the pain in her heart.

The landlord was shocked.

“What is the matter Mary?” he cried. “Why these cries of pain? You have been here two years and I have never heard you moan like this before. I don’t understand what’s bothering you.”

“It would have been better for me if I had died three years ago!” she said.

Her blessed uncle, hoping not as yet to be recognised, said to her quite calmly:

“We were enjoying each other’s company a moment ago. Could it be that the memory of your sins has just come into your mind?”

O Almighty God! How wonderful is the way you shed your mercy upon us! Wouldn’t you think that by now the girl was at least thinking to herself, ‘What a close resemblance there is between this man and my uncle!’ But you alone are the lover of mankind, O God, from whom all goodness and wisdom flows; you so decreed that she did not recognise him and so run away in confusion. The only possible reason for this servant of yours, her uncle, being able to hold back his tears, must surely be that you intervened to make the impossible possible.

The holy man gave the landlord the solidus he had brought with him.

“Prepare  the best meal for us that you possibly can,” he said, “so that the girl and I can dine together. I have come a long journey for the love of her.”

O loving wisdom of our God! O truly spiritual fount of knowledge! The wisdom of your saving ways is a perpetual cause for celebration. For fifty years of abstinence Abraham had tasted nothing but bread, and here he was now eating meat without hesitation, simply in order to save a lost soul. The choirs of Holy Angels looked on and applauded with exultation at the discretion this blessed man was displaying, for he was eating and drinking enthusiastically with no qualms at all simply in order to rescue a lost soul from the lowest deeps O wisdom of the wise, O knowledge of the knowledgeable, O discretion of the discreet! You cannot but admire the simplicity of this man. Come, stand in awe of how this man, so perfect and wise and prudent and discreet, has made himself into something quite different, into someone ignorant and completely lacking in discretion, simply in order that he might snatch a soul from the mouth of the lion, and free an imprisoned and conquered soul from the chains and oppression of darkness.

Chapter VIII

After they had eaten, the girl became quite provocative and suggested they go to the bedroom.

“Yes, let’s go,” he said.

As he went in he saw the bed in the corner and sat down on it without hesitation. However shall I describe you, you most perfect athlete of Christ? I really do not know how to put the right name to you. Do I call you continent, or incontinent? Wise, or idiotic? Discreet or indiscreet? For fifty years of your life you have slept on a hard bed, and here you are now boldly getting into a bed of this sort! But of course you have done all these things for the praise and glory of Christ. You have undertaken a long and tedious journey, you have eaten meat and drunk wine, entered a house of ill repute, and all for the sake of saving one lost soul. Yet we tend to draw back in diffidence when we should at least be saying some sort of constructive word to our neighbour.

Chapter IX

“Come, sir, let me take your shoes off for you,” she said, as he sat on the bed.

“Shut the door first,” he said, “and then you can take them off.”

She wanted to take them off first, but he would not let her, so she went and shut the door and came back to him.

“Come closer, Mary,” he said.

He took her by the hand, and she thought he was about to embrace her, but instead he took off the concealing headgear he was wearing and at last allowed the tears to flow.

“Mary, my daughter,” he said, “don’t you recognise me? You are my own flesh and blood. Wasn’t it I who brought you up? O my daughter, what has become of you? Who has destroyed you? Where is the clothing of angels that you used to wear? Where is your continence, your tears, your vigils, your sleeping on the ground? How did you come to fall into this pit after dwelling in the heights of heaven, my daughter? If you had sinned, why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you immediately let me help? My beloved brother Ephraem and I would gladly have done penance for you. Why have you behaved the way you have? Why desert me and plunge me into such grief. After all, is there anyone who hasn’t sinned, except God?”

As he was saying all this, and much more besides, she remained in his grip as still as a stone, transfixed as much by fear as confusion. But the blessed man kept on talking to her through his tears.

“O Mary, my daughter, haven’t you got anything to say to me? Flesh of my flesh, can you not speak? Haven’t I come all this way especially for your sake? Let your sin rest upon my shoulders, my daughter, that in the day of judgment I may stand in your place before God and make satisfaction to God for your sin.”

He went on till midnight pricking her conscience with such words and overwhelming her with his life-giving tears. Little by little she began to regain a little confidence, and answered him through her tears.

“I am so covered in confusion,” she said, “that I can hardly bear you to look at me. But how could I possibly have poured out my prayers towards God, when I had been wallowing in such filth?”

“Let me bear the burden of your sin,” said this most holy man. “Let God require your sin at my hands, if only you will listen to me. And come, and let us go to our own place. Look, there is that most loving Ephraem who has been most deeply upset because of you. He prays without ceasing for you to the Lord. Don’t have any doubts, my daughter, about the mercy of the Lord. Though your sins be as big as mountains, yet his mercy is greater than all creation. Don’t we read about how the unclean woman came to him who was spotless without in the least contaminating him? By him she was cleansed, she washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair (Luke 7.38). There is more hope of a spark setting the sea on fire than there is of your sins contaminating him.

“There is nothing new in falling down in the contest; the wicked thing is to keep on lying there. Be brave, retrace your steps. For as long as you go on lying down the enemy is laughing at you, but he knows that you will be all the stronger when you get up. Have pity on my old age. Give me some recompense for the labours I have undertaken in spite of my grey hair, I beg you. Leave here and come back with me to your cell. Don’t be afraid, it is human nature to be in danger of falling. But even though a fall can happen quite quickly, by the help of God to rise again can be quicker still. For God does not will the death of a sinner but rather that he may be healed and live” (Ezekiel 18.23).

“If you are sure that I can do penance, and that God will accept my reparation,” she said, “then, see, I am going to do what you say. You lead, and I will follow your holiness, and kiss your footprints, because you have grieved so much about me and drawn me out this unclean morass.”

And she laid her head down at his feet and wept for the rest of the night, crying: “What shall I give to the Lord, as retribution for all my sins?”

Chapter X

“Come, daughter,” said Abraham as soon as it was light, “let’s go back to our cell.”

“I have a little money here,” she replied, “and some clothes. What do you want me to do with them?”

“Leave them behind,” said the blessed Abraham. “They are the wages of sin.”

So they arose and departed. He put her on his horse and walked in front of her. Just as a shepherd who has found his lost sheep puts it on his shoulders rejoicing (Luke 15.5), so did the blessed Abraham begin this journey with his niece rejoicing. When they got home he put her in the inner room which he had previously occupied, and he remained in the outer room. Wearing the monastic habit once more, she passed her days in humility of mind and body, her eyes bathed in tears, disciplining herself with the strictest abstinence, declaring unceasingly with untroubled confidence before the Lord that her tears were offered in sure hope of the forgiveness of her sins. She cried out for mercy so powerfully that he would be hard hearted indeed who would not have been overcome with compassion at the sound of her weeping. Who is there so devoid of mercy that would not have wept in sympathy with her in her lamentation? And who in true compunction of heart would not have given thanks to God?

Her penitence was beyond measure, compared to ours. So zealously did she pray to the Lord to pardon what she had done, that she was bold enough to ask God for a sign that her sins were indeed forgiven. And the most merciful Lord who wills no one to perish but rather come to repentance (1 Timothy 2.4), so graciously accepted her penances, that after three years salvation began to come to many other people through her prayers. For crowds of people began to flow eagerly towards her, begging that she might pray to the Lord for their salvation.

Chapter XI

The blessed Abraham lasted for a further ten years in this life, to witness the depth of her penitence and glorify God, until in his seventieth year he rested in peace. For fifty years he had been faithful to his profession with great devotion, humility of heart and charity unfeigned.

Chapter XII

He had shown favouritism to no one, as many are inclined to do, loving this person and despising that. He never relaxed his rule of abstinence, he never slumped into indolence, he was never careless, but lived each day as it if were his last. The way of life of this most blessed Abraham, and the battles he endured, were such that he ever stood resolute in the face of the enemy and never retreated. In his struggles in the village, [In his earlier life he had been responsible for converting a pagan village, at the behest of his bishop. See chapter iv and following, in Life No 7 in Book 1a.]  and in all his battles against the phantasies of the demons, he never relaxed his mind or quailed before anyone. A great and memorable battle he had in the matter of the most blessed Mary. With spiritual wisdom, prudence and innocence he rescued her from the carelessness and incontinence of a morass of iniquity. What a miracle! He ventured even into the lair of the dragon and trod him underfoot, snatching his prey from out of his very mouth. What agonies and sweat this blessed man endured.

2AXAG8R Les Vies des Peres des deserts d’Orient : leur doctrine spirituelle et leur discipline monastique . ersonnes qui y etaientC-icore engagees dans les erreurs du paganisme : aussi ne pouvait-ol ;Ieux confier qua lui un champ si herisse, pour ainsi dire,de ronces et depines. Saint Euloge fut place sur la chaire dEdessepar saint Eusebe, eveque de Samosate. Ce fut avant le conciledAntioche, auquel il assista en 379, ainsi qua celui de Gons-jople en 381. Le Martyrologe romain fait memoire de saintBarses le 30 janvier, de saint Euloge le 5 de mai, de saint Pro-togene le 6 du meme mois. SAINT ABRAHAM,
Chapter XIII

We have written all these things for the comfort and devotion of all those who desire to govern their lives devoutly and zealously, and to the praise and glory of God whose grace has surrounded us abundantly at all times. I have described the rest of his virtues in another book. When he was lying in peace, having passed to the Lord, almost the whole city gathered. Each person approached his most pure body with the greatest devotion, tearing off bits of his clothing to obtain a blessing for themselves. And if they were ever ill, they only needed to touch the scrap they had torn off to be fully restored to health.

Chapter XIV

Mary lived for another five years, pursuing an extraordinarily strict mode of existence. Day and night she continually prayed to the Lord with great lamentation bathed in tears, so that the many people who came by night to hear the voice of her weeping were so affected by her plaints that they joined her weeping with their own weeping. And on the day of her falling asleep, when she was taken up out of this life, all who saw her gave glory to the Lord because of the shining splendour of her countenance.

Chapter XV

O what a wretch am I, my beloved brothers, compared with those who have already fallen asleep and passed to the Lord with such great faithfulness! Their minds were never preoccupied with mundane business, but centred solely in the love of God. But I, indeed, remain buried in self-will, stumbling and unresponsive. My soul is wintry, an unending tempest leaves me bare, and despoiled of the hope of bringing any good work to perfection.

Chapter XVI

I am astonished at myself, my beloved brothers, because of the way in which I daily fail. I build for hours, then for hours I destroy what I have built. At night I say, ‘Tomorrow I will repent’, but in the morning when I get up I put it off for another day. Again towards evening I say, ‘Tonight I will keep vigil and besiege the Lord with tears that he may look mercifully on my sins’, but when nighttime comes I fall asleep. There are those who like me have been given a talent and have laboured day and night to trade successfully and gain the prize of being given power over ten cities (Luke 19.17), but I in my laziness have hidden my talent in the ground, and my Lord is hastening near and will strike fear into my heart, and I mourn for the days of my negligence, for I have not any excuse to offer.

Chapter XVII

O my God, have mercy upon me and save me, for you alone are without sin, you alone are merciful and kind, and apart from you I know no other, nor is there any other in whom I believe, Father most blessed, and only begotten Son incarnate for our sakes, and holy Spirit who gives life to all things. It is in your nature, O lover of mankind, both to keep me in mind, and to lead me out of the prison house of my sins. It is at your behest that I both came into this world and shall depart from it. Be merciful to me in my helplessness, and bring salvation to me, a sinner. Your grace is my helper in this world, my refuge and my hope of glory. Let it hide me under the shadow of its wings in that terrible and horrendous day. For you know the secrets of our hearts and minds, you know how many depravities and scandalous by ways I have scorned, you know how many shameless vanities and inclinations to heresy I have rejected. And all that not in my own strength but by your grace  which has enlightened my mind. Wherefore I pray you, holy Lord, to save me into your kingdom and be graciously pleased to bless me along with all who are pleasing to you, for yours alone is the glory, the adoration and the magnificence, Father Son and holy Spirit. Amen.on,

On the Roman Pontiff by St Robert Bellarmine ~ Ryan Grant

These are some of the shows from the series that aired on the Veritas Radio Network a few years ago on the great work On the Roman Pontiff by St Robert Cardinal Bellarmine.

Here is an brief account on the book from the Mediatrix Press website (where you can purchase the book)

For the first time, St. Robert Bellarmine’s treatise on the Papacy is available in English. In this phenomenal work, St. Robert Bellarmine lays down the foundation of the Papacy by demonstrating that:

  • Monarchy is the best of all governments;
  • That Christ established a Papal Monarchy (by an exegetical commentary of Matthew XVI and John XXI);
  • That Peter succeeded in this monarchy;
  • Proving this by early Popes, Councils, the Fathers and Law;
  • What would happen were the Pope a heretic?
  • That the Roman Pontiff is not Antichrist
  • That the Pope is infallible in definitions on faith and morals as well as authoritative in Ecclesiastical laws
  • That the Pope, while he is not the lord of the world, nevertheless has indirect temporal jurisdiction in civil affairs when it is for the sake of the faith.

Enjoy the series and please help Ryan in his work at translating these fine works at www.mediatrixpress.com

 

2019 Sensus Fidelium NFL All Catholic Pro Bowl Team

Many might not know that my brother (now a priest) and I are big Carolina Panther fans.  We grew up in Spartanburg, SC, the training camp of the Panthers, and have never missed watching a game.  So I figured why not make a post, being that it is the Pro Bowl today, on the first annual Sensus Fidelium All-Catholic NFL squad.

Owner:
With any team you must have an owner and this years S.F. Peter Award for best owner goes to the Steeler’s owner, Dan Roone.  He’s a daily Mass goer and it is said that “if you want to see Mr. Roone then go to daily Mass.”  That is a great line to hear others say about you.

Vice President of football operations:
Tom Coughlin for the Jacksonville Jaguars

CNS photo/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion

Head Coaches:
We have a couple head coaches out there
1) Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans.  Coach Vrabel also gives lectures at the Catholic Business League events.
2) John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens.  I know his brother, and coach of the Michigan Wolverines Jim Harbaugh, goes to Peru (the same mission trip the FSSP does) to help those in that area.  I assume John may do that too but I am not sure.  If John is reading this my brother is the priest at St Alphonsus’ Shrine in downtown Baltimore.
3) Dan Quinn of the hated Atlanta Falcons.  Okay, okay, maybe the Falcons are not hated by most of the known world but like I said we are Panther fans.  I big rivalry exists between Carolina and Atlanta 🙂

Assistant Coaches:
So the New England Patriots are in the Super Bowl so we will start with their coaches. More on their story here
1) Special Teams coach Joe Judge
2) Defensive Line coach Brendan Daly
3) Wide Receivers’ coach Chad O’Shea

New England Patriots’ special teams coach Joe Judge, defensive line coach Brendan Daly and wide receivers’ coach Chad O’Shea are pictured in undated photos. The Catholic men will coach their AFC championship team against the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (Credit: CNS photos/courtesy New England Patriots.)

4) Mark Duffner, the Defensive Coordinator for the (other hated team) Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He apparently wanted to be pope as a young man. You can hear an interview on his story here
5) Ben Steele, was the Tight Ends coach for Tampa Bay in 2018.  You can read what he has to say here
6)
Pat Shurmurm now the New York Giants Head Coach.  You can read a story here on him
7)
Eric Sutulovich, Assistant Special Teams Coach, Atlanta Falcons.  Sure he was let go in Feb 2018 but I’m keeping him in the list.
8)
Joe Lombardi, the Quarterbacks Coach with the really hated New Orleans Saints.  Sorry about that blown call.  I would have been upset if that happened to my Panthers.  Hey when is Drew retiring?  Getting tired of him beating us.  Joe is Vince Lombardi’s grandson & you can read more on Joe here & here is a great article on his grandpa, Vince and how Catholicism made the greatest Football coach ever.
9) Jack Del Rio, who may become the next Defensive Coordinator with the Cincinnati Bengals.
10) Mike Shula, now the Offensive Coordinator & QB Coach with the NY Giants.  I heard, while he was the Panther’s OC, that he prayed the office and we saw him in the confessional line in Spartanburg often.  He was apparently on EWTN’s Life on the Rock back in 2004 but I could not find the video.

PLAYERS

Offense

Quarterback:
1) Philip Rivers.  The former NC State Wolfpack made news this year with the secular sports talk radio folks when he said how many kids he had.  They were all amazed, sadly.  Here he is doing Life on the Rock on EWTN

2) Kellen Clemens.  Recently retired & finished with the San Diego Chargers backing up Philip Rivers.  In the interview here Kellen speaks of the two of them saying rosaries together, going to mass together (even going to traditional Masses) and growing in the faith.
3) Matt Ryan, of the (did I mention hated before?) Atlanta Falcons.  They had a disappointing season as did Carolina.  Here’s hoping to a better 2019 for you but not better than Cam, of course. Hopefully Matt can check out St Francis de Sales, FSSP parish in Mableton
4) Tom Brady.  Many do not know he is one but, in his words, not exactly a good one.  Here’s a write up on that here.  Say some Ave’s for him (and all of course).
5) Jared Goff of the LA Rams looks like he could be but I’m going off a hunch from going to Catholic school.

Running Backs:
1) Giovani Bernard of the Cincinnati Bengals.  He went to St Thomas Aquinas in Florida and here is the Bengal’s former chaplain speaking on things
2) Christian McCaffrey of the greatest team ever, the Carolina Panthers.  Ok I may be exaggerating.  The guy had a phenomenal record breaking year for the cats.  I’ll post his 2018 highlights below.

Offensive Line:
1) Ryan Kalil just retired from the NFL this season after 12 years… all with the beloved Carolina Panthers.  The best center in the game.  Keep Pounding brother!  Here’s an interview he did with “Blessed to Play” with Ron Meyeer
2) Zack Martin of the Dallas Cowboys.  Here is a write up in the Texas Catholic on Zack.
3 Alejandro Villanueva of the Steelers.  He is their Offensive Tackle.  You can read more on Alejandro here

Tight End:
1) Greg Olsen of the Carolina Panthers.  Mr Reliable is Olsen.  Sadly he has hurt his foot the last two seasons and he may or may not give it another run in 2019.  He is excellent on and off the field.  He, Luke, and Ryan go to St Matthew’s in Charlotte.
2) Luke Wilson of the Detroit Lions. His patron saint is St Luke, his confirmation saint is St Sebastian (he wears a medal of his) & a medal of St Michael.  Here is a write up on more from Luke.

Defense

Linebackers:
1) Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuke Kuechly.  Charlotte’s favorite adopted son. Here are a few links on him here and his interview with “Blessed to Play”

2) Paul Posluszny of the Jacksonville Jaguars.  A great write up on Paul is found here

Cornerbacks:
1) Prince Amukamara of the NY Giants.  A solid write up here on Prince Free Safety:
1) Harrison Smith of the Minnesota Vikings.

Special Teams

Kickers:
1) Harrison Butker of the KC Chiefs.  My vote is he is the SF MVP, bc he is a fan of the youtube channel so I am biased.  He was originally drafted by the Carolina Panthers and they kept Gano over him (I’m slightly bitter about that haha).  Here is a write up on Harrison 2) Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens.  He signs himself before every kick.  Here is a write up on Justin here

3) Greg “the Leg” Zuerlein of the Rams.  Here is his “Blessed to Play” interview

Well there you have it.  If you have any other recommendations or if I left anyone out, feel free to put them in the comment sections below.

 

Feast of the Miraculous Medal (27 November)

From: MIRACULOUS MEDAL: ITS Origin, History, Circulation, Results by Rev Aladbel

When Sister Catherine was favored with these apparitions of the Blessed Virgin she related by word of mouth to her Director, what she had seen and heard, and he, though apparently attaching little importance to her communications, carefully took note of them. The Sister never thought of writing them, she judged herself incapable of doing so, and, moreover, in her opinion, it would have been contrary to humility.

In 1856, when events had confirmed the truth of her predictions, M. Aladel told her to commit to writing all she could recollect of the supernatural visitations of 1830. She obeyed, despite her repugnance, and sketched an account of her vision of St. Vincent’s heart, which we have already read, and that of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin.

In obedience, she again wrote in 1876, an account of these same apparitions.

Finally, another copy, not dated, was found among her papers after death.

These three narrations accord perfectly in the main, yet differ sufficiently in detail to prove that one was not copied from the other.

To these manuscripts, in which no change has been made, except a correction of faults in style and orthography, are we indebted for the following account of the apparitions.

It is to be regretted that M. Aladel’s notes should have been almost entirely destroyed; no doubt they contained very interesting details, but what portion of them remains, is of little importance.

Before quoting Sister Catherine’s own narration, we must remark, that the first vision, having little reference to anything but the Sister herself and St. Vincent’s two Communities, M. Aladel did not deem it advisable to have published; also, that although the account of the vision of the medal in the first editions of the notice, seems to differ notably from that related by the Sister, we will see later how these discrepancies can be explained, and that in the main the two versions are identical.

FIRST APPARITION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
To Sister Catherine Labouré, Daughter of Charity. After a picture painted from instructions given by Sister Catherine.

Sister Catherine, already favored with celestial visions, ardently desired, with all the simplicity of her nature, to see the Blessed Virgin. To obtain this grace, she invoked her good Angel, St. Vincent, and the Blessed Virgin herself.

On the 18th of July, 1830, eve of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, the Directress of the Seminary gave an instruction on devotion to the Saints and the Blessed Virgin; this but inflamed our Sister’s pious desire. Fully imbued with the thought, she retired for the night, recommending herself to her blessed Father, St. Vincent, and confidently believing that her prayers would be answered.

About half-past eleven o’clock, she hears her name, “Sister Labouré,” distinctly called three times; suddenly awaking, she opens her curtain on the side whence the voice proceeds, and what does she perceive? A little child of ravishing beauty, four or five years of age, dressed in white and enveloped in the radiant light beaming from his fair hair and noble person. “Come,” said he, in a melodious voice, “come to the chapel, the Blessed Virgin awaits you.” But, thought Sister Catherine (she slept in a large dormitory), the others will hear me, I shall be discovered. “Have no fears,” said the child, answering her thought, “it is half-past eleven, everybody is asleep, I will accompany you.”

At these words, no longer able to resist the invitation of her amiable guide, Sister Catherine dresses hastily and follows the child, who walks always at her left, illuming the places through which he passes; and everywhere along their path, to the Sister’s great astonishment, does she find the lamps lighted. Her surprise redoubles, on seeing the door open at the child’s touch, and on finding the altar resplendent with lights, “reminding her,” she said, “of the midnight Mass.”

The child conducts her into the sanctuary; here she kneels, whilst her celestial guide remains standing a little behind at her left.

The moments of waiting seem long to Sister Catherine; at last, about midnight, the child says to her: “Behold the Blessed Virgin, behold her!” At that instant, she distinctly hears on the right hand side of the chapel, a slight noise, like the rustling of a silk robe; a most beautiful lady enters the sanctuary, and takes her seat in the place ordinarily occupied by the Director of the Community, on the left side of the sanctuary. The seat, the attitude, the costume (a white robe of a golden tinge and a blue veil), strongly resemble the representation of St. Anne in the picture adorning the sanctuary. Yet it is not the same countenance, and Sister Catherine is struggling interiorly against doubt. Can this indeed be the Blessed Virgin? she asks herself. Suddenly, the little child, assuming the voice of a man, speaks aloud, and in severe words asks her if the Queen of Heaven may not appear to a poor mortal under whatever form she pleases.

Her doubts all vanish, and following only the impulses of her heart, the Sister throws herself at the Blessed Virgin’s feet, familiarly placing her hands upon the Blessed Virgin’s knees, like a child beside its mother.

“At this moment,” said she, “I felt the sweetest emotion of my life, it would be impossible for me to express it. The Blessed Virgin told me how I must act in all my trials; and pointing with her left hand to the foot of the altar, she told me it was there I must come and lay open my heart, adding that it was there I would receive all needful consolation. Then she also said to me: ‘My child, I am going to charge you with a mission; you will suffer many trials on account of it, but you will surmount them, knowing that you endure them for the glory of the good God. You will be contradicted, but you will be sustained by grace, do not fear; with simplicity and confidence, tell all that passes within you to him who is charged with the care of your soul. You will see certain things, you will be inspired in your prayers, give an account to him.’

“I then asked the Blessed Virgin for an explanation of what she had already shown me. She answered: ‘My child, the times are very disastrous, great trials are about to come upon France, the throne will be overturned, the entire world will be in confusion by reason of miseries of every kind.’ (The Blessed Virgin looked very sad in saying this.) ‘But come to the foot of this altar, here graces will be shed upon all—upon all who ask for them with confidence and fervor.

“‘At a certain time the danger will be great indeed, it will seem as if all were lost, but do not fear, I shall be with you; you will acknowledge my visit, the protection of God and that of St. Vincent upon the two Communities. Have confidence, do not be discouraged, you are in my especial keeping.

“‘There will be victims in other Communities.’ (Tears were in the Blessed Virgin’s eyes as she said this.) ‘Among the clergy of Paris there will be victims, Mgr. the Archbishop will die.’ (At these words her tears flowed anew.) ‘My child, the cross will be despised, it will be trampled under foot, our Lord’s side will be opened anew, the streets will flow with blood, the entire world will be in tribulation.'” (Here the Blessed Virgin could no longer speak, grief was depicted in her countenance.) At these words Sister Catherine thought, when will this take place? And an interior light distinctly indicated to her in forty years.

Another version, also written by her own hand, says forty years, then ten, after which, peace. In connexion with this M. Aladel said to her:

“Will you and I see the accomplishment of all these things?” “If we do not, others will,” replied the simple daughter.

The Blessed Virgin also entrusted her with several communications for her Director concerning the Daughters of Charity, and told her that he would one day be clothed with the necessary authority for putting them in execution. After this, she said again: “But great troubles will come, the danger will be imminent, yet do not fear, St. Vincent will watch over you, and the protection of God is always here in a particular manner.” (The Blessed Virgin still looked very sad.) “I will be with you myself, I will always keep my eye upon you, and I will enrich you with many graces.” The Sister adds: “Graces will be bestowed, particularly upon all who ask for them, but they must pray, they must pray.——

“I could not tell,” continues the Sister, “how long I remained with the Blessed Virgin; all I can say is that, after talking with me a long time, she disappeared like a shadow that vanishes.”

On arising from her knees, Sister Catherine perceived the child just where she had left him, to throw herself at the Blessed Virgin’s feet. He said: “She has gone,” and, all resplendent with light as before, he stationed himself anew at her left hand, and conducted her back to the dormitory by the same paths as they had come.

“I believe,” continues the narration, “that this child was my Guardian Angel, because I had fervently implored him to procure me the favor of seeing the Blessed Virgin…. Returned to my bed, I heard the clock strike two, and I went to sleep no more.”


What has just been recounted was only a part of Sister Catherine’s mission, or rather a preparation for a future mission to be given her as a pledge of the Immaculate Mary’s tenderness for the human race.

In the month of November of this same year, 1830, Sister Catherine communicates to M. Aladel a new vision; but it is no longer that of an afflicted Mother weeping over the evils menacing her children, or the martyrdom of her dearest friends. This vision recalls the rainbow appearing in a sky still black with storms, or the star shining through the tempest to inspire the mariner with confidence—it is the Virgin Queen, bearing the promise of benediction, salvation and peace.

M. Aladel relates this to the Promoter of the diocese, and we find it inserted in the verbal process of the investigation, dated February 16, 1836, as follows:

“At half-past five in the evening, whilst the Sisters were in the chapel taking their meditation, the Blessed Virgin appeared to a young Sister as if in an oval picture; she was standing on a globe, only one-half of which was visible; she was clothed in a white robe and a mantle of shining blue, having her hands covered, as it were, with diamonds, whence emanated luminous rays falling upon the earth, but more abundantly upon one portion of it.

“A voice seemed to say: ‘These rays are symbolic of the graces Mary obtains for men, and the point upon which they fall most abundantly is France.’ Around the picture, written in golden letters, were these words: ‘O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!’ This prayer, traced in a semi-circle, began at the Blessed Virgin’s right hand, and, passing over her head, terminated at her left hand. The reverse of the picture bore the letter M surmounted by a cross, having a bar at its base, and beneath the monogram of Mary, were the hearts of Jesus and Mary, the first surrounded with a crown of thorns, the other transpierced with a sword. Then she seemed to hear these words: ‘A medal must be struck upon this model; those who wear it indulgenced, and repeat this prayer with devotion, will be, in an especial manner, under the protection of the Mother of God.’ At that instant, the vision disappeared.”

According to the testimony of Sister Catherine’s Director, this apparition appeared several times in the course of a few months, always in the chapel of the Mother House of the Daughters of Charity, either during Mass or some of the religious exercises. M. Aladel adds that he was not certain as to their number, but he knows they were repeated thrice, at least, the Sister having mentioned it three different times.

Here is the account written by the Sister’s own hand:

“The 27th of November, 1830, which was a Saturday and eve of the first Sunday in Advent, whilst making my meditation in profound silence, at half-past five in the evening, I seemed to hear on the right hand side of the sanctuary something like the rustling of a silk dress, and, glancing in that direction, I perceived the Blessed Virgin standing near St. Joseph’s picture; her height was medium, and her countenance so beautiful that it would be impossible for me to describe it. She was standing, clothed in a robe the color of auroral light, the style that is usually called à la vierge—that is, high neck and plain sleeves. Her head was covered with a white veil, which descended on each side to her feet. Her hair was smooth on the forehead, and above was a coif ornamented with a little lace and fitting close to the head. Her face was only partially covered, and her feet rested upon a globe, or rather a hemisphere (at least, I saw but half a globe). Her hands were raised about as high as her waist, and she held in a graceful attitude another globe (a figure of the universe). Her eyes were lifted up to Heaven, and her countenance was radiant as she offered the globe to Our Lord.

SECOND APPARITION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
To Sister Catherine Labouré.

“Suddenly, her fingers were filled with rings and most beautiful precious stones; the rays gleaming forth and reflected on all sides, enveloped her in such dazzling light that I could see neither her feet nor her robe. The stones were of different sizes, and the rays emanating from them were more or less brilliant in proportion to the size.

“I could not express what I felt, nor what I learned, in these few moments.

“Whilst occupied contemplating this vision, the Blessed Virgin cast her eyes upon me, and a voice said in the depths of my heart: ‘The globe that you see represents the entire world, and particularly France, and each person in particular.’“I would not know how to express the beauty and brilliancy of these rays. And the Blessed Virgin added: ‘Behold the symbol of the graces I shed upon those who ask me for them,’ thus making me understand how generous she is to all who implore her intercession…. How many favors she grants to those who ask. At this moment I was not myself, I was in raptures! There now formed around the Blessed Virgin a frame slightly oval, upon which appeared, in golden letters, these words: ‘O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!’

“Then I heard a voice which said: ‘Have a medal struck upon this model, persons who wear it indulgenced, will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck; graces will be abundantly bestowed upon those who have confidence.’

“Suddenly,” says the Sister, “the picture seemed to turn,” and she saw the reverse, such as has already been described in the previous account of the investigation.

Sister Catherine’s notes do not mention the twelve stars surrounding the monogram of Mary and the two hearts. Yet they are always represented on the medal. It is morally certain that she communicated this detail, by word of mouth, at the time she related the apparitions.

Other notes in Sister Catherine’s own hand-writing complete the account. She adds, that some of these precious stones did not emit rays, and when she expressed her astonishment at this, she was told that they were a figure of the graces we neglect to ask of Mary. On a hasty perusal, our Sister’s account of the vision appears to differ from M. Aladel’s. We were struck with this, and had to study these interesting and authentic documents attentively, in order to decide whether the visions differed essentially or were really the same.

 

SECOND APPARITION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
To Sister Catherine Labouré.

According to M. Aladel’s testimony in the investigation, the apparitions relative to the medal were always similar, and Sister Catherine, before her death, confirmed this assertion. As we have just learned from our Sister’s own words, the Blessed Virgin always appeared with the terrestrial globe under her feet, and at the same time in her virginal hands, pressing it and warming it, as it were, against her maternal heart, and offering it to her Divine Son in her quality of Advocate and Mother, with an ineffable expression of supplication and love.

This is what the Sister saw. Was it all? No, after the first act of sublime intercession, after this most efficacious prayer of our divine Mediatrix, her hands are suddenly filled with graces, under the figure of rings and precious stones, which emit such brilliant rays that all else is invisible, Mary is enveloped in them, and her hands are bent beneath the weight of these treasures. Her eyes are cast upon the humble Sister whose ravished glances can scarcely support this celestial effulgence. At the same time, an oval frame is formed around the vision, and a voice directs the Sister to have a medal struck according to the medal presented. The medal is a faithful reproduction of this picture, at the moment the symbolical part disappears in the sheaves of light.

Sister Catherine being asked if she still saw the globe in the Blessed Virgin’s hands, when the luminous sheaves issued from them, answered no, there remained nothing but the rays of light; and that when the Blessed Virgin spoke of the globe, she meant that under [62]her feet, there being no longer any question of the first. Hence, we may conclude, that Sister Catherine’s description of the apparition and M. Aladel’s agree perfectly. The small globe which the Blessed Virgin holds in her hands, and the large one on which she stands, are both inundated with the same dazzling rays, or enriched with the same graces. The august Mary seems to indicate by the small globe merely a figure of the world, imperfectly represented beneath her feet, thus reminding us that she is the all merciful Queen of the human race.

There is yet another variation in the description of the two apparitions. M. Aladel, in conformity with the popular belief, that white and blue combined constitute the Blessed Virgin’s livery, as emblems of purity, celestial purity, gives the mantle an azure tint. Sister Catherine expresses the same idea several times in her notes, saying: “White signifies innocence, and blue is the livery of Mary.” However, the blue mantle is not mentioned in the notice of the apparition, Sister Catherine speaks only of the robe and veil of auroral light.

When questioned as to a more definite description of this color, she replied that it was a deep white, tinted with the mild, beautiful radiance of dawn, thus wishing, no doubt, to give some idea of the celestial hue of the robe and veil. It is this hue that tortures the artist, for he feels his pencil powerless to depict the beauties of another sphere.

We can understand from the above, how M. Aladel could have mistaken some details furnished by Sister Catherine, or have confounded the apparition of the medal with the visions of July 18th and 19th, in which the Blessed Virgin’s apparel was white and blue.

However, the accessories of the mantle and its indescribable hue, in no wise affect the reality of the apparition.