Friday, 30 October 2009
Thursday, 29 October 2009
PRAYING THE MYSTERIES OF LIGHT FOR PRIESTLY VOCATIONS:
In his Apostolic Letter of October 2002, Pope John Paul II introduced five new mysteries of the Rosary, named 'The Mysteries of Light'. These mysteries particularly lend themselves to prayer for priests and those who are considering a vocation to the priesthood.
The Baptism in the Jordan: Jesus is baptised by his cousin, John the Baptist at the start of his public ministry.
Pray for those who are being called to the priestly ministry.
The Wedding at Cana: Mary tells the servants at the feast, 'Do whatever he tells you'.
Pray for seminarians that they will hear and follow God's leading.
The Proclamation of the Kindgdom Of God: Jesus preaches, 'The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the Gospel.'
Pray that priests and deacons may proclaim the Gospel in their lives as in their preaching.
The Transfiguration: Jesus is seen by his closest friends in all his glory.
Pray that priests may obey the Father's voice, 'This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.'
The Institution of the Eucharist: on the eve of his Passion, Jesus gives himself to his apostles as bread and wine transformed.
Pray that priests and all who take part in the Eucharist may be transformed by the mysteries they celebrate.
Prayer to St. Pio, in which our petitions are for all priests:
O God, you gave Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, Capuchin priest, the great privelege of participating in an unique way in the Passion of Your Son, grant through his intercession the grace of answering out petitions, which we ardently desire; and above all grant us the grace of living in conformity with the death of Jesus, to arrive at the glory of the resurrection.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. (3 times)
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
On Thursday November 5 at 11.30am European time, the Holy Father will offer Mass for all the Cardinals and Bishops who have died during the past year. So far as I can see it won't be televised, which is a shame because the higher the office a man holds, the greater responsibility he has, and potentially the greater temptation of many kinds. If during his earthly life, he has given in to any of these, his accountability before God will be the greater also. On November 5 therefore, please unite your prayers for them all with those of the Holy Father.
May I also ask prayers for fallen priests, particularly those who may be personally known to us, and for those of us who have been called to be their spiritual mothers.
Monday, 26 October 2009
Coming shortly: Clare on Spiritual Motherhood and the encyclical of Pope John Paul II "Mulieris Dignitatem"
In the meantime, I will be taking a few days off, for three major reasons. First, there are several emails and letters I must write connected with this blog; second, I'm in the middle of a house maintenance initiative (brandishing the paintbrush and all that) made slightly more stressful by the fact that the roof has sprung a leak and we've had a lot of rain over the last few days; third, I want to record my reactions to the Anglican issue on my Oasis blog.
Back as soon as possible. Thursday DV.
Sunday, 25 October 2009
We pray for the soul of Gertrud Ganswein and for the souls of all departed mothers of our priests.
Requiescant in pace.
Thursday, 22 October 2009
Spiritual Mothers' Thanksgiving Novena Day 9: Five new saints; Pope opens door for Traditional Anglicans.
The Canonisation of Saints Damien of Moloka'i, Mary of the Cross (Jeanne Jugan), Francisco Coll y Guitart, Rafael Arnaiz Baron, and Zygmunt Felinski.
On October 11 many of us will have been fortunate enough to follow the Canonisation Mass online and live from Rome. It was wonderful to feel spiritually close to so many of my 'sisters', particularly those in Hawaii itself at the 'Catholic Mom in Hawaii' blog. Their joy, thanksgiving and pride in their own Saint must have been indescribable. And I send them heartfelt felicitations. There was a large delegation from Hawaii at the ceremony in Rome including the Hawaiin lady who recovered from cancer after praying to St. Damien. Senator Daniel K.. Akaka of Hawaii was also present. There was great rejoicing in Belgium too where St. Damien was born.
St. Mary of the Cross began her foundation of the Little Sisters of the Poor in France, but it was not France alone that celebrated her canonisation, but in countless others across the world, specifically for the followers of this blog, in the US, UK, and Australia where her daughters still care for the deprived elderly. After the Ceremony had finished EWTN had a little interview with two of them. They were spilling over with serene happiness. I expect there will be an upturn in vocations for them!
My contact in Spain also had reason to rejoice in the raising to sainthood of St. Fransciso Coll and St. Rafael Arnaiz. Saint Francisco was a Dominican and lived his life as an itinerant preacher in the villages and towns of Catalonia. St. Rafael died aged 26 as an oblate in a Trappist monastery. He was from a rich family but unlike the rich young man in the Gospel of the Canonisation day, he did not go away sorrowing but followed Jesus unequivocally throughout his short life.
We do not have any direct connection with spiritual mothers in Poland but we can pray to St. Zygmunt to correct this lack. He was Archbishop of Warsaw at a very oppressive time for his nation and the Church within it. Throughout a difficulat life, 20 years of which were spent in exile in Russia, he was steadfast in his trust in Divine Providence.
Pope Benedict gave a beautiful homily in which he not only outlined the lives of these new saints, but showed us how much we can learn from them, holding them up to us as demonstrating the required answer to the question asked of Christ by the young man in the gospel, 'What must I do to inherit eternal life?'
If you haven't read the homily here is a link to the full text.
Traditional Anglicans knock at the door; Pope Benedict opens it and invites them in.
Our Holy Father has made an unprecedented move and has promised, in the very near future, to issue an Apostolic Constitution which will govern the terms of the acceptance of Traditional Anglicans into full visible unity with the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. It will still be a complicated situation for the groups and individuals involved, but at least it IS a real possibility now. This matter has been under consideration in the Vatican for two years, ever since the TAC and others first appealed to Rome. Pope Benedict has cleared away many obstacles. He couldn't have done more.
We will not know for some time how many Traditional Anglicans will avail themselves of the new structures. May I ask for your prayers for these Anglicans, particularly those who will be priests - a whole new group for spiritual mothers to take under their wings!
Dear Lord Jesus, we thank you for our five new saints, and for Pope Benedict, who is giving the term 'ecumenism' a new and vibrantly effective meaning.
One Our Faher
Most Sacred Hear of Jesus, have mercy on us. (3 times)
Holy Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Queen of Clergy, pray for your Son's beloved priests.
Holy Mary, Virgin most prudent, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Cause of our Joy, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us
One Hail Mary
St. Alban, protomartyr of England, pray for us.
St. Hilda of Whitby, pray for us.
St. Bede, the Venerable, pray for us.
St. Thomas of Canterbury, pray for us.
Holy Martyrs of England and Wales, pray for us.
Saints Damien, Mary of the Cross, Fransisco, Rafael and Zygmundt, pray for us.
Saints Joseph and Benedict, pray for our Holy Father, Benedict XVI.
Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, pray for all priests of Our beloved Lord and for us their spiritual mothers.
Final prayer to the Holy Spirit, "Come O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful............"
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Spiritual Mothers' Thanksgiving Novena Day 8: Deo gratias! In our small way, helping Pope Benedict mend the 'torn net'.
"Praying for Priests" by Monsignor Peter Dunne and Viki Herout of Omaha Archdiocese:
Some time ago my friend in Nebraska alerted me to the book's existence and I put up a post drawing attention to it. Last Sunday I emailed, as follows, to tell him what had happened since then: "As a result, our contact in Scranton ordered it for herself. She emailed me about how friendly the suppliers were.. For us here in Europe there was a difficulty with dollar payment and so I searched the Net and found another outlet which allowed me to send for copies and pay by credit card for the postage. I ordered three, one for myself and one each for two of my spiritual sisters in Birmingham UK. So the book has found its way through your little note to me to the Philadelphia diocese and to two others in Europe. (Actually it's a total of four dioceses because Clare saw the post and she and Bernadette ordered copies for their parish prayer group.) I've no doubt that other readers and followers have ordered it as well, and really, all thanks to you. It sort of went from you to me, and then back to the US (via the UK) through the blog, making the round trip for me to be able to tell you this."
My 'sister' in Scranton and I agreed that if we open it up, the Holy Spirit quite clearly breathing through the Internet and uses all of us to spread the word, and indeed, the Word. He uses us to help counteract all the vileness and evil that exists on the Net. And we are so happy, grateful and privileged that He does. Each of us plays a little part, but when it all adds up, it is an important, significant part. That's why we all keep blogging and networking. One can't avoid recognising the pun here when one thinks of the Gospel references to 'casting the net' , and all that they signify. Our Holy Father used this pun himself quite recently when he spoke of the Vatican (in its use of the www) having cast a net. (The image of the net is dear to him. He used it in his inaugural homily, although then he spoke of the 'torn net'. Looking back, ever since that day, he has done everything in his power to mend that 'torn net'. Oh, how we are blessed in him. If it be the Lord's will, may he be with us on earth for many years yet, mending and mending until the last breath leaves his body, and when he is finally taken from us, if mending is still needed, may he continue to do it in Heaven..)
The day after I emailed him, our Nebraskan friend replied and told me that he had been speaking to the manager of 'Gloria Deo', who has said that this blog initiated many people contacting the store for the book, the response for which has been better than expected.
In the Foreword to Mgr's book the Archbishop of Omaha writes "It is my hope that this booklet of prayers be distributed in strategic locations throughout the archdiocese and beyond so that the words of Cardinal Hummes may be realised. 'This movement will offer better service to Christ and his brothers...standing in Christ's stead and representing him as head, shepherd and spouse of the Church'. "
News from, Wisconsin:
Anne and Marge from Milwaukee let me know the following news .
They are waiting word from their Temporary Administrating Bishop about starting a Spiritual Motherhood Apostolate in Milwaukee, but Anne says, 'I've had so much wonderful support here that I know it won't be long before all 800 bishops, priests, seminarians and religious brothers here will have a spiritual mother to pray for them."
O dear Lord Jesus we thank You for giving us Pope Benedict; we thank you for all the things he strives daily to help us see and understand; we thank you that he insists always on the most important thing, that is that we love you with every fibre of our being; we thank you for the cardinals, bishops, priests, seminarians, religious and laity who support him in the struggle, for we know it is a struggle against the Evil One; we thank you that through Pope Benedict and Cardinal Hummes that you have called us to spiritual motherhood of your beloved priests and given us a part to play, making each one of us know which little section of the 'torn net' is our responsibility; we thank you for making it clear, that in spite of the hugeness of the task, everyday, there are fewer holes to darn; and we thank you for the graces you continually send that enable us to continue steadfastly in your service.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy upon us. (3 times)
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.(3 times)
All holy Popes in Heaven pray for our Holy Father Benedict.
All holy Priests in Heaven, pray for our priests and seminarians.
All those yet in Purgatory, pray for us, as we pray for you.
St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for Our Lord's beloved priests and for us their spiritual mothers.
Final prayer to the Holy Sporit, "Come O Homy Spirit............"
(Note: apologies for yesterday's incomplete post. There was nothing I could do about it. Will finish it at the weekend, so the Novena will be intact.)
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Our Holy Father Benedict made it possible on this 20th day of October 2009, for up to half a million Traditional Anglicans worldwide, to fully reuinte with the one holy Catholic and apostolic Church.
I had thought that this would happen, but not quite in this way, and not quite so soon. This 7th day of the Novena was planned to be in thanksgiving for events which connect our blog community in Philadelphia, Nebraska, Wisconsin and this little French village. I have offered those prayers privately and will make them public tomorrow.
But for tonight there is one thing that causes my soul to sing out her joy. After five hundred years, the most amazing number of traditional Anglicans, will be able as the result of the wisdom and mercy of our present Pope, (put into his heart by the Holy Spirit, I have no doubt) be able to return to full communion with the Church. Yes, he seems to have taken them all by surprise. And there are already signs that some men of the Church are upset that he apparently gave them such short notice of his intentions. He gave good notice of his intentions in 'Summorum Pontificum' and we all know how many of the same men of the Church have ignored what he said there. We now move into the new era which began today. It will be difficult; it will be complex, but it will be productive.
(Incomplete post, techno problems)
Monday, 19 October 2009
Spiritual Mothers' Thanksgiving Novena Day 6: The Visit of St. Therese's relics to UK: A personal testimony...
St. Therese visits England and Wales, and through my friends, on and off the internet, has sent several gifts to us here in St. Romain as well:
A Little Background to the present thanksgiving:
Our dear Lord knows that I shouldn't be surprised by her continued concern, and which she has shown me for half a century. In 1959, as a low church Anglican, I knocked on the local Presbytery door and asked to see a priest and be given instruction in the Catholic Faith. As a result, at the age of 16, I was put in the charge of a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and was warned that I could not be received without parental consent until I was 21. (Actually my father gave in when I was 19, but I am glad now that I had that period of waiting, of being tested.) The first book, apart from the penny catechism, that the Sister gave me to read was 'One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism' by Monsignor Vernon Johnson. As is generally known, the book describes his own conversion and he tells of the great influence of St. Therese in that event. It is hardly surprising that her influence on him affected me greatly. Since that time, I have been devoted to her, at times more fervently than at others, but her interventions throughout the years have been a constant in my life - too many to describe here. St. Therese is known to present people with gifts, often roses. In the case of myself and Colin on our honeymoon in Lisieux, in the holy stillness of her deserted garden at 'Les Buisonnets', she gave us the most pure and ecstatic birdsong. But I will describe exactly what happened on another occasion. It was 21 years ago. We have never forgotten it. Nor will we ever do so.
When I first heard that St. Therese's relics were to visit England and Wales I was very sad that I wouldn't be able to come home for their tour. I think the first thing she did as a sort of overture, was to send, via a dear friend in Devon some 'Rosa Mystica' incense from Walsingham. I don't think he or I connected this with St. Therese at the time, but I most certainly do now. Its scent has pervaded our French home during the entire month of her 'visit' to Mary's Dowry. Five days into the schedule she 'arrived' at St. Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham and I have already reported that my 'sister' at St. John Fisher went there with her parish group of Spiritual Mothers after their inaugural meeting that same day. A few days after this, I received a letter from another most special sister who had also visited, and venerated the relics and been present at the Anointing of the sick. (I had written to her previously asking for her prayers in a particular spiritual trial I was experiencing, although I had not mentioned the visit of the relics in this context. She took the relevant page of my letter with her to the Cathedral and prayed for me there. Meanwhile my problem cleared but I did not know what she had done until several days afterwards when her letter arrived and I read about it and also her description of the event.)
"There were so many hundreds of people converging on the Piazza trying to gain entry into the Cathedral that the Veneration procession had to be stopped so that the 4.30pm Mass could begin. It continued at 6.30pm once the Mass was over. We were also informed from the Sanctuary that at the time the Mass was about to begin, there were in the region of 1000 people outside in the piazza wanting anointing. ............It was so glorious and so utterly moving and yet so full of simplicity. People were carrying bouquets of roses, the marshalls were walking up and down the aisles with great courtesy dispensing plastic cups of water for those who needed it.
Bishop Gough was so thoroughly in command but in the most lovable way as one felt Our Blessed Lord would have been, and his homily about 'the little things' brought such comfort - the time passed so quickly until at the end after the final blessing the collective voices of 'Our God Reigns' stayed ringing in the ears for hours afterwards."
There is more, but I will not repeat it because of the necessity to protect spiritual privacy. However, it should be easy to understand that at the moment of reading the letter, I felt that I was on the journey with Saint Therese, close to her and with her friends and mine. In spite of all the mean-spirited, ignorant and frankly anti-catholic material that the secular press decided to print, I had already known that this visit of St. Therese would not only be a patent success, but that it would be the source of a great outpouring of grace on our country which is so direly in need of it. There had already been signs in Portsmouth, Plymouth and Taunton, but after Birmingham there was no doubt. I rejoiced daily as the news came in from the other stops on the itinerary, culminating in Westminster Cathedral. (Thanks to Leutgeb of 'Bara Brith' for her reports from there.) I could not make the journey physically, but truly I made it spiritually.Three other friends besides Bernadette and Theresa went to Aylesford and two have let me know about their experiences, one of whom is Annie who commented on the last post. The third is Mac, on her blog 'Mulier Fortis'. Heartfelt thanks to you all for ensuring that I felt I'd been there with you . As indeed I had.
But then on the day that St. Therese's relics left Westminster, incidentally my own home Cathedral, I received another letter from my Birmingham sister, who had been at the Anointing of the Sick almost a month earlier. She had sent the page of my letter (mentioned above) to a priest friend telling him of my need in prayer. Now she recounted that he had written to her saying that he had visited St. Therese's relics at St. Aloyisius Church in Oxford. There, he had placed the page of my letter on St. Therese's casket and prayed for my intentions. He returned the page to her together with a rose petal from the church and a prayer card. These she had sent on to me. And so it comes full circle. The page returns to me, and is probably now some kind of official relic, together with a rose petal from St. Therese. Their value to me is impossible to quantify, as is that of this most dear spiritual sister and of St. Therese herself.
This afternoon I had to be driven to the Doctors, not serious, just an administrative matter. After I came out and before being brought home, there was time to visit the Blessed Sacrament at the Church in Aubeterre. It is 17th century with a 14th century facade and very cold inside! Once I knelt down in front of Him, I didn't feel the cold. His tabernacle was in a side chapel and I mourned that to Him. I could only stay for about 15 minutes, but I was alone with Him for that time, and I'm afraid I doubt that many came after I left. It was the first time in months and months that I've been able to make a visit of this kind. Oh how wonderful it was to rehearse with Him all the things I've written (and not written ) in this post. And then just as I left He suggested a solution to one of my problems which was so glaringly obvious, that I caught my breath and almost laughed at my denseness, that had meant He had to spell it out to me. Difficult to believe that this visit was a coincidence.
All I can say here is that I thank Him wholeheartedly, - pathetically insufficient words in place of the silent prayer I offered Him today, which in itself was woefully inadequate. Suffice to say before closing that everyone mentioned above was brought lovingly before Him, as was our Holy Father, and every one of Our Lord's beloved priests and their spiritual mothers and supporters.
Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis.
Mater Divinae Gratiae, ora pro nobis.
Virg0 potens, ora pro nobis.
Virgo clemens, ora pro nobis.
St. Paul of the Cross, pray for your fellow priests and for their spiritual mothers.
St. Therese we thank you for this time of grace. Pray for all the beloved priests of Our Lord and for their spiritual mothers.
Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Final prayer to the Holy Spirit.
Sunday, 18 October 2009
Spiritual Mothers' Thanksgiving Novena Day 5: The Visit of St. Therese's relics to England and Wales
This report has been sent in by Clare, who received it from two of her friends who travelled together to Portsmouth Cathedral and Aylesford. They also brought to Clare, who had been unable to travel with them because of her broken ankle, a white rose which had been blessed and touched to the relics.
SAINT THERESE VISITS AYLESORD
It was as if there had never been a Reformation in England; the huge crowds which converged on the ancient village gave an almost medieval feel to the pilgrimage. All the elements were there: people of all classes intent on venerating the holy relics, overcast weather with mud from the night's rain, souvenirs everywhere on sale and a huge assembly of cheap food stalls. Above all was the gentle pervading sense of true piety, for here were reall relics and people had travelled great distances to be present.
If the expected figure of 25,000 was slightly down, it was no doubt due to the weather, inadequate transport facilities and the congestion on the roads. A major access road from the motorway was closed, causing tailbacks and confusion among those who did not know the area ad did not hav 'satnav'. There must have been people who set out and returned home without ever reaching Aylesford. Squadrons of great coaches make their toruous way along narrow streets, each coach full of pilgrims - there was talk of people arriving at the coach stops only to be turned away, antoher explanation for the slightly reduced numbers of those who actually made it. Parking was in a field and there was quite a lot of walking involved; not the best place to be a disabled visitor.
Aylesford has a collection of chapels as well as a friary, a guest house and refectory. Like all good pilgrimages it offered opportunities to buy religious souvenirs and the great field where Mass would take place was entirely surrounded by ice-cream vans and mobile burger stalls. Nevertheless, the chapels were all open and the feeling of being surrounded by prayer was intense, almost tangible.
Everywhere people were praying and there was a feeling of friendliness and solidarity. The wheelchairs in evidence reminded one of Lourdes though this occcasion had greater intimacy. That being said, it wasn't always easy to pray as there was just so much going on and it's hard to pray and queue at the same time but simply being in this place brought many graces and consolations; a great reminder of what has been lost in the centuries since Henry VIII parted from Rome. Aylesford Priory was built in 1242 by the Carmelites and it is (elieved that is was) here that St. Simon Stock received his vision of Our Lady of the Brown Scapular. The buildings were sold off in 1538 at the Dissolution of the Monasteries and only returned to Carmelite hands in 1949. Thanks be to God this holy place once again is a place for prayer and the Mass!
The dull weather cleared just as Mass was about to start - another sign of God's grace through Therese's intercession - and the huge crowd of 20,000 soulsassembled for a reliminary rehearsal, which may have diminished the prayerfulness somewhat, but led to the most wonderful Liturgical celebration. There was a great procession of priests followed by the bishop of Southwark and an Auxiliary. The music was splendid with a choir and orchestra, and the hymns were traditional, such as ' Soul of my Saviour'. Taking the Offertory collection were African women resplendent in clothing printed with images of the Little Flower.There was a powerful sense of God's presence throughout as everyone united in prayer. The wonderful homily on 'Surrendering to God's Love' in the spirit of Therese, was preached by Fr John Keating O Carm and it can (and should) be viewed online.As the Mass ended the participans waved white roses in the air = 20,000 0f them -and the people and the people and the roses were blessed. Therese had promised a shower of roses after her death and was true to her word.
The experience at Aylesford had a very different feel to the visit of the relics to Portsmouth Cathedral and was in many ways more satisfying. This week the relics will make a stop at Wormwood Scrubs prison - many different venues, but always the same spirit. Glory be to God!
(Relevant links including the one to Fr. Keating's homily will appear tomorrow.)
Dear Lord Jesus, we thank you that through the visit of the relics of St. Therese you have enabled your faithful remnant in England and Wales to be revivified in the love of Your Most Sacred Heart and in the sight of your Most Holy Face.
Holy Mary, Mother of Christ, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Mirror of Justice, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Cause of our Joy, pray for us.
Sant Luke, pray for us.
Saints Bernadette, Clare and Therese pray for our priests and seminarians and for us their spiritual mothers.
Final prayer to the Holy Spirit, "Come O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful........."
Saturday, 17 October 2009
The co-operation between Bishop Edward Slattery and Father Mark Kirby, OSB, the fruits of which are recognisable, not just in Tulsa but in several other places across the world.
When Bishop Slattery read Cardinal Hummes' document he took it to heart and determined to do something about it. Most of my readers know the story of what has happened since he invited Father Mark to come down from Connecticut to Tulsa and fill a triple role. He would be a Perpetual Adorer of the Blessed Sacrament with the intention of founding a new monastery with Adoration at its heart; he would be spiritual director of all the priests and deacons of the diocese; and he would institute a group of Spiritual Mothers of Priests. There would be a proper discernment process for the women who put themselves forward, and those who were accepted would receive proper formation.
Father took up his post at the beginning of August last year. On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception that same year, he was involved in a seemingly inexplicable car accident, which from all accounts should have been fatal. Father walked away from it unscathed.
The story of what has happened since then can be read on Father's well known and much loved blog "Vultus Christi". In less than a year the following things have happened: a group of some 30 Spiritual Mothers have made their oblation before Bishop Slattery at a public ceremony, and as the result of "Vultus Christi" the vocation of Spiritual Motherhood had been spread across at least four continents. This blog is part of that development and we are eternally grateful to Father Mark for his encouragement. His work with the priests and deacons of Tulsa continues apace, but at the beginning of October this year, month of Our Lady, came the news that two postulants would, on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, be joining Father as the first postulants of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle, and that on October 11 a third would arrive. This event has caused as great rejoicing amongst readers of this blog, as I'm sure it has in Tulsa itself.
Oh dear Lord Jesus, we offer you our prayers of thanksgiving and supplication for Bishop Slattery and for Father Mark. We pray that they and the three postulants will remain faithful in Your service, and that each day as the new community behold You in your glorious Eucharistic Presence in the Cenacle at Tulsa, they will never be separated from You. And we pray You to send more labourers into this little corner of your Vineyard. We thank you for calling us to spiritual motherhood of Your beloved priests and for giving us the sure guide we have in Father Mark. We beseech You that we too may never be separated from You.
Holy Mary Mother of Good Counsel, pray for us.
Holy Mary Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.
Saints Mark and John Evangelists, pray for Father Mark and for all our priests, deacons and seminarians.
Saints Ignatius of Antioch, Benedict, and Edward the Confessor, pray for Bishop Slattery and all our bishops, priests and monks.
Saints Charles Borromeo, Juan Diego and Brendan, pray for the postulants at the Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle in Tulsa.
St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for the beloved priests of Jesus, and for us their spiritual mothers.
Final prayer to the Holy Spirit, "Come O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful............"
Friday, 16 October 2009
The design is meant to be printed on both sides - the prayer bouquet on one side and the address on the second so it can be mailed as a postcard. I wonder if it would be more appropriate to send such a precious thing in an envelope however? I like the pictures on the address side so perhaps this could be printed onto paper and cut and glued to an envelope?
Thanks to Bernie F-S for finding this!
(Note from Jane: And thanks from me to Bernie F-S and Clare!!)
Opening prayer, ending, "We thank you that your Providence has arranged that the following should happen.
Announcement of a New Archbishop joyfully received; report from Spiritual Mothers in the Parish of St. John Fisher.
On the feast day of St. Therese of Lisieux, and whilst her relics were touring England, the Holy See announced that Pope Benedict has chosen Bishop Bernard Longley, at present an Auxiliary bishop in Westminster, to fill the See left vacamt by the departure of Archbishop Vincent Nichols for Westminster. Bernard Longley will be installed on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception this year. He himself was surprised, not only that he had been chosen, but also that the decision, which he had felt would probably not come until next year, had been made with such speed. British Catholics see this appointment as one of several things for which they thank Our Lord from the bottom of their hearts. First there is the projected visit of the Pope next Autumn , then the Beatification of Cardinal Newman, scheduled according to reports, to occur around the same time. Then there has been the Tour of St. Therese's relics and which has been responsible for an upsurge in Catholic devotion, giving as it has, an opportunity for Catholics to reclaim and to state their identity in our currently secularised society. Added to all this our Queen is reported as having become increasingly sympathetic to the Catholic Church and Prince Philip has been to Walsingham.
The above paragraph outlines 'the big picture' in our Islands. Meanwhile at the grass roots and on a very personal parish level for spiritual mothers attached to this blog, quiet but no less important things are happening.
I have received the following update from my 'sister' at St. John Fisher parish on whose spiritual mothers group I reported in an earlier post. On October 11 she wrote:
"I just wanted to let you know how our Spiritual Mothers initiative is going. We had the faithful 12 yesterday again, which was fantastic and next week, I hope that some of the mothers from the Union of Catholic Mothers will join us.
Additionally, the other day I was prompted (I'm sure it was by the Holy spirit) to think about our own Father George, and ways in which we could particularly support him. As you know, here in Birmingham each Priest is being prayed for on a particular day and Father George's 'day' is Tuesday October 27th. I have therefore started a kind of 'petition' asking people in the parish to commit to saying a prayer or prayers for Father on that day so that we can present him with his own Spiritual Bouquet.
I have written to our local Catholic primary school and asked them to do a similar bouquet from the children and they have agreed wholeheartedly. You will be delighted to know that the children are being encouraged to pray for Priests each day and to embrace our Holy Father's directive that this year be given over wholly to praying for our Priests..........."
Dear Lord Jesus we thank you for the blessings you are bestowing on Your Church in England and Wales. We thank you for inspiring us to offer ourselves as spiritual mothers of Your priests, and to make sure that your 'little children' are also being encouraged in Your way of love. We thank you for our dear Pope Benedict and pray that we may endure with him until we may at last, contemplate 'Your glorious Face'.
Holy Mary, Queen conceived without original sin, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Our Lady of the Taper, Cardigan, pray for us.
Saints Hedwig and Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us,
Holy Martyrs of England and Wales, pray for us.
Saint Richard Gwyn, Martyr of Wales, pray for us.
Saint Therese of Lisieux, pray for our Priests and for their spiritual mothers.
Final prayer to the Holy Spirit, "Come, O Holy Spirit, ......." as on every day during this Novena.
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Opening prayer as on every day of this Novena ending, " We thank You that your Providence should have arranged for the following to happen."
Women's Group of Nocturnal Adorers in the Diocese of Granada, Spain:
I have been informed that most of the women in this group would love to be spiritual mothers of priests. The priest who is in charge of them presides over their Vigils and invited one of them to talk to the group about spiritual motherhood. This priest knows the Archbishop, Mons. Martinez very well, because he is the delegate of Liturgy in the Archdiocese. He has also organised for the same 'mother' to bring Cardinal Hummes' document to the Eucharistic Adorers Group. This has already been emailed to some of the priests and will be printed and copied for more of them and for the group of Adorers. Also, I am told that the Liturgical office of the same Archdiocese has sent a letter to every single Parish introducing a special petition in each Holy Mass praying for our Priests and for more vocations.
Oh dear Lord Jesus, you know with what joy spiritual mothers will receive this news; we beg you to strengthen our resolve to support through our prayer and sacrifice, your beloved priests and their spiritual mothers in the Archdiocese of Grenada, and that we may with Your help and the protection and encouragement of Your dear Mother, strive constantly so that developments such as this one will spring up throughout the world.
Holy Mary Mother of the Church, pray for us.
Holy Mary Queen of the Clergy, pray for the priests of Your Son.
St. Teresa of Avila, pray for them.
St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for them, and for their spiritual mothers.
Final prayer to the Holy Spirit:
"Come, O Holy Spirit..............." as on everyday of this Novena.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Since Father Mark recommended this blog on July 27th it has taken wing. Over past weeks, and particularly since the relics of St. Therese of Lisieux have been touring England and Wales, many spiritual mothers and their friends have been sharing our experiences as they have happened. Our feeling is very strong that we are linked not only by Our Blessed Mother and St. Therese as role models of Spiritual Motherhood, and by their intercession, but also by the Holy Spirit working among us and spreading the word about our vocation beyond the readership of our blog. We are being linked to each other in ways that are remarkable.. One instance of this is Clare's recent article about St. Therese and Spiritual Motherhood. I did not know she was writing it; she did not know when she submitted it that I'd been reflecting on the influence of St. Therese, particularly since the Australian blog 'Spiritual Mothers for Priests had reminded me about Patrick Ahern's book, "Maurice and Therese: The Story of A love". Nor did Clare know that on either side of this incident were many others, and that I had been trying to find a way of telling you them all. In the thanksgivings that follow, many of my correspondents, will recognise the stories they have shared with me, but unless they have given permission for their names to be revealed, no one else will know who they are. What will be known, are the stories themselves. In this way all Spiritual Mothers and their friends will be profoundly encouraged and will want to join in this nine day period of thanksgiving.
My God, from my heart I thank you for the many blessings you have given us. I thank you for having created and baptised us, and for having placed us in your holy Catholic Church; and for having given us so many graces and mercies through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son. And I thank you dear Jesus, for having become a little child for our sakes, to teach us to be holy and humble like you; and for having died upon the Cross that we might have pardon for our sins and get to heaven. We thank you that your Providence should have arranged for the following to happen.
Spiritual Mothers and Priests in Crisis
A friend of Jane's was looking at websites to do with St. Therese of Lisieux. In the course of this she came across 'Priests in Crisis' and read about Father Gordon Macrae who has been 15 years in prison in America, convicted of abuse. Had he pleaded guilty, he would have been out of prison by now. Father has his own blog 'These Stone Walls". She was terribly upset by the story because the Father claims he is innocent of the charges brought against him. She contacted Jane and discovered that she also knew of his case. Jane told her that she too had discovered the story when she had found the "Priests in Crisio website to put on the blogsidebar but for some reason, she didn't know what, had not highlighted Father Gordon's case in a blogpost. Her friend's email came as a pointed reminder, and she looked again in greater depth. Both women agreed that they felt Father was telling the truth, and both were 'haunted' by his plight. The result is that Jane's friend now counts herself a spiritual mother to this priest and that Jane prays for him too every night. The two have been friends for some time but now they feel there is a much closer and deeper link between them. in You, and for Father Macrae.
You alone know the state of Father's soul. We know that whatever it is, that You have made it clear that we must pray for him. It is our loving duty and privilege to do so. We turn to the love and mercy of Your Most Sacred Heart for Father Macrae, for all Your beloved priests in crisis, and for ourselves.
Holy Mary Consolation of the afflicted and Help of Christians, and the supreme example of spiritual motherhood, pray for all priests in crisis.
Saint Therese of the Holy Face, holy example of spiritual motherhood, pray for all priests in crisis.
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of thy love.
v. Send forth thy Spirit and they shall be created.
R And thou shalt renew the face of the earth .
O God, who hast taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise and ever rejoice in his consolation. Through Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.
Monday, 12 October 2009
Link in sidebar.
Philip Johnson of "In Caritate non Ficta" let us know today that the Raleigh Diocese, where he is a seminarian, now has a new vocations website. He has a link on his site but it didn't work when I tried it direct. Here is the link again. Philip, praying that it works from here!
Sunday, 11 October 2009
Therese's spiritual children are a varied bunch and the lives of five of them are given particular attention, including Edith Piaf, Dorothy Day, and the saint's own sister, the awkward and problem-filled Leonie Martin. Not all of Therese's spiritual children became saints or even good Catholics, but there is reason to believe that her care and intercession brought them into the kingdom, sometimes like those labourers in the parable who came to the vineyard at the close of day.
Therese embraced Love so wholly that she desired to become Love itself, in union with her divine Father. When Pope John Paul II made Therese a Doctor of the Church he referred to her 'divine filiation', whereby she entered fully into divine childhood through Jesus, the Son, who is our Saviour and Brother. Therese, in fully experiencing what it is to be a child of God, putting on littleness and humility, united herself entirely with the Father. The fruit of this was to experience Love in its other manifestations as spouse and mother.
Mrs Caldecott's little book includes spiritual children from Therese's own lifetime and beyond. As with Saint Padre Pio, the number of her spiritual children today must be enormous.
Therese's early concern for the condemned murderer Henri Pranzini began her journey as a spiritual mother. She had read about this man who was seemingly to go to the gallows unrepentent. She prayed and sacrificed for him intensely and his, literally, last minute conversion encouraged her to continue in this ministry. As is widely known, Therese desired to enter into all the Christian vocations - priest, apostle, missionary, martyr, and prayed with and for all these. Her prayers for Pranzini show her already as a 'missionary'.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta tells us that 'God doesn't call us to be succussful, he calls us to be faithful', reminding us that those in most need of prayer are those closest to falling. Pope John Paul II says in his document on Therese, as earthly mothers endure suffering to give birth, so spiritual mothers embrace suffering to bring their spiritual children into the Kingdom of God.
An example of this role of suffering is the story of the highly strung White Father Maurice Belliere, who, with a mind ravaged by black fever, abandoned his missionary post, facing censure and an early death He cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called a success, nevertheless Threse prayed fervently for him throughout his life from seminary onwards, and one feels he found peace at the last. A more recemt spiritual child of Therese, Marcel Van, a Vietnamese mystic denounced to the communist authorities, is scarcely known to western readers, but his life and death make inspiring reading.
'The Spiritual Children of Therese', Leonie Caldecott, CTS 2009, CTS code B725 ISBN 978 1 86082 6146
'Praying for Priests with St. Therese of Lisieux', Maureen O'Riordan, CTS code D715 ISBN 978 1 86082 6191
CTS online with many other booklets and resources about Therese. http://www.cts-online.org.uk/
Saturday, 10 October 2009
He suggests that those who are considering the vocation of a Spiritual Mother should pray this Offering for 30 consecutive day, 'sincerely and from the heart'.
It is a wonderful offering to make every day in any case, whatever our status in life or in the Church.Thank you Father.
With prayers always for you and your new young brothers.
Friday, 9 October 2009
Friday Week 27 of Ordinary Time: From the first Notebook of St. Vincent of Lerins: The Development of Christian Doctrine
"Care should be taken to ensure that it really is development of the faith and not alteration. Development implies that each point of doctrine is expanded within itself, while alteration suggests that a thing has been changed from what it was into something different.
"It is desirable than that development should take place and that there should be a great and vigorous growth in the understanding, knowledge and wisdom of every individual as well as of all the people, on the part of each member as well as of the whole Church, gradually over the generations and ages. But it must be growth within the limits of its own nature, that is to say within the framework of the same dogma, and of the same meaning.
"Long ago our ancestors sowed the seeds of the faith in the field of the Church. It would be quite incongruous and wrong if their descendants were to reap the weeds of error in place of the harvest of truth.
"Rather it is right and fitting, that there should be no discrepancy between the final result and the beginning. From the seed that was planted, that is the teaching of the gospel, we should reap a harvest of wheat, that is the doctrine that has developed. So then, when something evolves from those first beginnings, as from seeds, it should now be received with joy and cultivated with care."
(There are many articles on the www about St Vincent. Here is one.)
Also today is the Optional Memoria of St. John Leonardi, on whom the Holy Father delivered his catechesis at yesterday's General Audience.
The proper Office Reading is from the letters of St. John Leonardi to Pope Paul V, entitled "I will show you what the Lord requires of you." Getting on for a thousand years separates these two saints. St. John writes during the Counter-Reformation....
"Those who would set about the reformation of mens' morals must first of all seek the Lord's glory above everything else and look for and request help in so beneficial and arduous a matter from Him who is the source of all good. Then they should place themselves in the sight of the persons needing reform as mirrors of all virtues, like lamps set on a stand to give light by their integrity of life and example of virtue to all in the house of God; thus they will draw them gently to reform rather than compel them, and there will not be required of the body................what is not found in the head, and so the standing and good order of the whole of the Lord's family will not be impaired. They will also take care, like prudent doctors, that they are fully able to diagnose the various ills afflicting the Church which need to be remedied so that the appropriate remedy can be applied to each.
"Its reformation (the Church's) must be undertaken by high and low alike, among its leaders as well as its children; first we should direct our attention to those who have charge of the rest, so that reform begins among those from whom it should be communicated to others.
"Every effort must be made to ensure that cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops and parish priests, who have immediate care of souls, are such that the direction of the Lord's flock can be safely entrusted to them. But let us take into account the lowest as well as the highest, that is, the children as well as the leaders; for we should not overlook those in whom all renewal of churchmen's morals must begin. It would not be right to leave anything untried to educate boys from their tender years in a sincere Christian faith and holy life. To effect this nothing is more helpful than a sacred institute for teaching Christian doctrine, with boys' education in the hands of none but good and God-fearing men.
"These are the things, holy Father, which the Lord has suggested to me in the present grave crisis. If they seem somewhat difficult of execution at first sight, they will appear easy when set against the magnitude of the crisis; great changes are not brought about save by great means, and great deeds befit great men."
Comment on these readings is superfluous. Suffice it to say that our Holy Father Benedict knows them like the back of his hand. We, the children offer our prayers for him to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Thursday, 8 October 2009
In the meantime, she and I are working on connected posts, hers about 'The Children of Saint Therese" and mine, as I suggested earlier, about the Holy Spirit, St. Therese and their recent influence in our corner of the Internet.
God bless you Clare.
Love from Jane.
As you see I'm still 'in the land of the living' and feeling a little less washed out! My, has this knocked me for six. However, it has given me a chance to prioritise what I should write about next. Also DV will try to catch up with outstanding emails over the next few days.
Thank you again for your prayers and your patience. God bless all here.
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Wonderful news that the Holy Father has invested Mother Angelica with the 'Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice' medal, the highest honour he could have awarded her.
Hope to be back on track tomorrow. In the meantime love and prayers to all my readers for a wonderful Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. I know we're all doing our best to make sure she receives as many suppliant Rosaries as possible.
Monday, 5 October 2009
Working title of post: "The Holy Spirit, St. Therese of Lisieux and the Internet: Part I"
Friday, 2 October 2009
"A Living Instrument of Christ": Clare reports on an ordination at Pluscarden and gives text of Abbot Gilbert's meditation on Priesthood
"The priesthood is more than anything a gift. As Fr Ronald Knox expressed it, '"Every ordination means the creation of a fresh unit of spiritual force", and creation is an act of God. By the laying-on of hands and the prayer of a Bishop, successor of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit is given a man in a particular way. he "is consecrated to God in a new way... and made a living instrument of Christ the Eternal Priest and so enabled to continue through time that wonderful work of salvation by which the human race was made whole again by power from above" (Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests 12).
But this gift, like many another, goes beyond the recipient. It's too much for him. By it, the lesser (a man) becomes a bearer of something greater than himself (the grace of Christ, the God-man). There is a disproportion. It does not make for comfort. St Paul used the image of a 'treasure', something valuable and precious, confided to a clay pot, an 'earthenware vessel', weak and all too liable to break (2 Cor 4:7). There is no shortage of contemporary experience of the break-able breaking. Here is one reason surely for the Pope's initiative of a Year for Priests. And here too we can appreciate the prayer mentioned above. It offers us a 'take' on the paradox. We pray that God himself will look after the gift in the person to whom it has been give; that he will guard it, protect it, keep it; that he will enable the recipient to carry it, perhaps by a surprising mercy sparing him the full realisation of it.
The gift is really given, like the gift of our existence, and yet it also remains God's. He does not abandon the gift "If we are faithless, he remains faithful - for he cannot deny himself" (2 Tim 2:13). he protects the gift, keeps it safe, makes it effective. It is all God's work. In this perspective, the priest can find comfort as well as a call to prayer. The whole Church, in fact, can find comfort; "For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable" (Rom 11:29).
In this Year of the Priest, then, may I commend our new priest Fr Dunstan to the prayer of our readers, that he may make more and more progress towards God, persevere to the end, and bring the joy of the truth to many through his ministry. The gift of the priesthood, like every gift, is a gift for others and in praying for Fr Dunstan and all priests (including those we feel have failed us) we are also praying for ourselves."
Fr Hugh's prayerful insight into the nature of the priesthood will inspire spiritual mothers everywhere. His final prayer for the new priest in the community we can adapt for all the priests we pray for. Let's add a little prayer for Fr Dunstan and the Pluscarden monks as well.
Also from the newsletter comes this quotation from the Vatican II document Presbyterorum Ordinis*
"The spiritual gift which priests receive at their ordination prepares them not for a sort of limited and narrow mission but for the widest possible and universal mission of salvation, 'even to the ends of the earth' (Acts 1:8), for every priestly ministry shares in the universality of the mission Christ entrusted to his apostles. The priesthood of Christ, in which all priests really share, is necessarily intended for all peoples and all times, and it knows no limits of blood, nationality or time, since it is already mysteriously prefigured in the person of Melchisedech."
Thanks very much for this valuable contribution Clare.
*The complete document mentioned in the Pluscarden newsletter is to be found here. It has 23 pages and is structured as follows: Preface; Chapter I - The Priesthood in the Ministry of the Church; Chapter II - The Ministry of Priests; Chapter III - The Life of Priests; Conclusion and Exhortation. It's printable and is on my Advent Reading list.
May I also recommend Abbot Hugh Gilbert's book "Unfolding the Mystery: Monastic Conferences on the Liturgical Year" This is available from http://www.amazon.co.uk/ for Europe as little as £5.75 used, and £8.36 new, International delivery available. For USA customers it costs $ 17.95 from http://www.amazon.com/
Thursday, 1 October 2009
In the meantime many thanks to my 'sister' in Scranton who sent me the link in this post, and to my 'brother' in Nebraska for supplying the initial information about the book's existence.
I've posted the link in the sidebar beween the image of Pope Benedict with the Blessed Sacrament and that of St. John Bosco's dream.