Everything truly and lastingly catholic in word and image

The Most Beautiful Blue Eyes! – The Miraculous Medal

Posted by catholicus on April 6, 2007

By Rev. Harold Rahm, S.J.

A most unforgettable impression of Paris is the Seminary (as the Sisters of Charity call it) at 140 Rue du Bac. There you can gaze into the most beautiful blue eyes… of a woman who kept a secret for 46 years: Catherine Labouré.

The fact that she rested her hands on the lap of the Blessed Mother did not make her a saint; her sanctity consists in half a century of faithful service as a simple Daughter of Charity. She ist not untouchable, like many Saints; she personally worked no miracles, nor did she practice external heroic charity like Saint Martin de Porres. She was not materially poor as were the children of Fatima and Bernadette… she sprang from upper middle-class parents among the meadows and vineyards of Burgundy, France. Her father was an educated man and excellent farmer living in the village of Fain-les-Moutiers, not far from Dijon.

Body Never Decayed

On 28 May 1933, Pope Pius XII beatified Cathedrine Labouré. Her beautiful body was exhumed and found as fresh as the day it was buried. Though she had lived 70 years and was in the grave another 57 years her eyes remained very blue and beautiful; and in death, her arms andl egs were as supple as if she were asleep. Her incorrupt body is now encased in glass beneath the side altar at 140 Rue du Bac, Paris, beneath one of the spots where Our Lady appeared to her there. Her marvelous blue eyes attract visitors from every corner of the globe.

God chose Catherine Labouré to usher in the Marian age.

As the evening Angelus sounded, she was born of Peter and Louise Labouré on 2 May 1806 – the ninth of a family of 11 children. Fifteen minutes after her birth, her name was entred on the City records. The next day, she was baptized on the Feast of the Finding of the True Cross. The Angelus, the month of May, and the Feast of the Finding of the True Cross were not coincidence; in fact, there is no coincidence with God – it is all a part of His plan, a signpost he places along the way of a soul. It was not merely an accident that Catherine was born at the ringing of the Angelus; it was God’s charming touch – the heralding by Our Lady’s bells of the saint who was to usher in the Marian age. Nor was it an accident that Catherine’s name received the prompt attention of the world… surely, it was her holy mother’s intuition that led Madeleine Louise Labouré to call attention to her elected child. Even the feast of Catherine’s baptism was prophetic, for Catherine was to find the Cross at every turn of her life, was to have deep devotion for it, and was to see a mysterious vision of the Cross.

When Catherine was 9, her saintly mother passed on to heaven. After the burial service, little Catherine retired to her bedroom, stood on a chair, took Our Lady’s statue from the wall, kissed it, and said: “Now, dear Lady, you are my Mother.”

After living a year with her Aunt Margaret, Catherine came back to her father’s farmhouse as mistress of the household. She was her father’s favorite child, and this efficient, stern, upper middle-class farmer depended upon her. On 25 January 1818, Catherine made her First Holy Communion; and from that day forward rose at 4 a.m., walked several miles to Mass, meditated, and ruled the home with charm.

Not long after, she went to the village church and, in a dream, saw an old priest saying Mass. After Mass, the priest turned and beckoned her with his finger, but she drew backwards, keeping her eyes on him. The vision moved to a sickroom where she saw the same priest, who said: “My child, it is a good deed to look after the sick; you run away from me now, but one day you will be glad to come to me. God has designs on you – do not forget it.” Later, she awoke, not knowing the significance of the dream.

Catherine’s Temptations

As is the European custom, her father invited various suitors to seek her hand in marriage and always her reply was: “I shall never marry; I have promised my life to Jesus Christ.” She prayed, worked, and served the family well until she was 22, when she asked her father’s permission to become a Daughter of Charity. Peter flatly refused. To destract her, he sent her to Paris to work in a coffee shop run by her brother Charles. During the entire year, she retained her resolve to become the bride of Christ.

Her aunt, Jeanne Gontard, came to her aid and enrolled Catherine in the finishing school she directed at Chatillon. Since Catherine was a country girl, she was miserable at this fashionable school. One day, while visiting the hospital of the Daughters of Charity, she noted a priest’s picture on the wall. She asked the nun who he might be, and was told: “Our Holy Founder, Saint Vincent de Paul.” This was the same priest Catherine had seen in the dream. Later, after much persuasion from her Aunt Jeanne, Peter granted permission for his daughter to enter the convent.

Triumph Amidst Evils

On 22 January 1830, she entered the Probation House of the Sisters of Charity and, before long, donned the novice uniform which looks like the little Dutch Cleanser girl. On 21 April, with the other young ladies, she officially became a novice at the Rue du Bac Mother House. This was just after the Reign of Terror in France, where sacrileges were committed in the name of freedom. Licentious women danced on the main altar of Notre Dame. Even the body of St. Genevieve, the Patroness of France, was desecrated. Saint Vincent de Paul’s body had been hidden, but 4 days after Catherine’s entry into the Mother House, his remains were transferred back to his own church with marvelous processions and ceremonies.

During the next 9 days as she prayed in chapel, Saint Vicent’s heart appeared to Catherine. It would come in a flesh-white color, signifying peace; it appeared as fiery red, signifying charity, and in dark red hues, signifying suffering. Catherine understood that Saint Vincent was deeply afflicted at the sorrows that were to befall France, but that he also was consoled because he had obtained from God, through the interecession of Mary, the assurance that his two families should no perish in the midst of these sorrows and that God would make use of them to reanimate the faith. Actually, God was preparing her soul for greater visions.

To be continued


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Mulierem fortem quis inveniet?

Posted by catholicus on February 1, 2007

Stetit juxta crucem Mater Jesu. (Jo. 19.)
Klauber Cath. Sc. et exc. A.V.

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The civilization of the world is Christian

Posted by catholicus on January 25, 2007

The light of Catholic revelation is of such a nature that it diffuses itself with the greatest brilliance on every science. The force of the evangelical counsels is so powerful that it strengthens and firmly establishes the precepts of the natural law. The fruitfulness of the doctrine and morality taught by Jesus Christ is so limitless that providentially it sustains and promotes the material welfare of the individual, the family, and society. The Church, even in preaching Jesus Christ crucified, “stumbling block and foolishness to the world,” has become the foremost leader and protector of civilization. She brought it wherever her apostles preached. She preserved and protected the good elements of the ancient pagan civilizations, disentangling from barbarism and educating for a new civilization the peoples who flocked to her maternal bosom. She endowed every civilization, gradually, but with a certain and always progressive step, with that excellent mark which is today universally preserved. The civilization of the world is Christian. The more completely Christian it is, the more true, more lasting and more productive of genuine fruit it is. On the other hand, the further it draws away from the Christian ideal, the more seriously the social order is endangered. By the very nature of things, the Church has consequently become the guardian and protector of Christian society. That fact was universally recognized and admitted in other periods of history. In truth, it formed a solid foundation for civil legislation. On that very fact rested the relations between Church and State; the public recognition of the authority of the Church in those matters which touched upon conscience in any manner, the subordination of all the laws of the State to the Divine laws of the Gospel; the harmony of the two powers in securing the temporal welfare of the people in such a way that their eternal welfare did not suffer.

Pope Pius X. in his encyclical on Catholic Action in Italy “Il fermo proposito”, June 11th, 1905

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The Immaculata’s Relationship to the Trinity

Posted by catholicus on December 16, 2006

Immaculata, Reina de las MisionesFrom all eternity the Father begets the Son, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son. This life of the most Holy Trinity is re-echoed in numberless and various ways by the creatures that issue from God’s hands… Every act of love in God comes forth from the Father through the Son and the Holy Spirit. God creates, maintains in existence, gives life and growth in the natural as well as in the supernatural order. In his love God supports in existence all his innumberable limited created resemblances; and the love-reaction that is provoked in the creature can return to the Father only through the Holy Spirit and the Son… Among creatures, the summit of this love that goes back to God is the Immaculata, the one being totally without any stain of sin, all beautiful, all divine. At no time did her will ever deviate from God’s will. With all its strength, her will was always at one with his. In her there came about the marvelous union of God with creation.”

St. Maximilian Kolbe in his “Sketches for a Book”, 1940

Posted in Mary Our Lady | 3 Comments »

Mary, Queen of Prophets

Posted by catholicus on September 20, 2006

Mary, Queen of Prophets“Queen of prophets” is one of the titles of our Lady in the Litany of Loreto. For many Catholics calling Mary “queen of prophets” is a reminder that the prophets of the Old Testament looked ahead to the Mother of the Messiah as well as the Messiah himself. In early Christian understanding, however, our Lady was herself also regarded as a prophet. There had been no prophets in Israel for some centuries before Christ, and the revival of prophecy was expected as a sign of the coming of messianic times. The gift of prophecy was given Mary of Nazareth in her role of preparing for the Messiah; that she is a prophet is part of the Gospel portrait of the Virgin Mother of Jesus.

The famous early author, St. Irenaeus, born in Asia Minor (modern Turkey), who became bishop of Lyons in France (died about 202) wrote that in her Magnificat Mary prophesied in the name of the Church. The word St. Irenaeus used for ‘prophesied’ is the same word used in the New Testament for ‘crying out in the power of the Holy Spirit’, as in St. Paul’s letters to the Romans (8,15) and to the Galatians (4, 6: ‘we cry out in the Spirit, Abba, Father’).

Other early writers considered Mary along with the Old Testament prophets; she was the greatest of the prophets because she prophesied the Savior, that is, she proclaimed the mystery of God’s becoming man. A friend of St. Ambrose, St. Gaudentius of Brescia (d. ab. 406) said that at Cana Mary asked for wine in the name of the Church, in the name of all mankind. The abundant wine Jesus provided for the wedding feast at Mary’s request, the best saved till the last, is a sign of the superabundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the young Church, the first Christians, at Pentecost. ‘Mary, queen of prophets, pray for us.’ 

Rev. Eamon R. Carroll, O. Carm. – Our Lady’s Digest, March-April 1978

Posted in Mary Our Lady | 1 Comment »

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Posted by catholicus on September 17, 2006

The Dormition of Our LadyMary lived, cared for by St. John, for twelve years after Our Lord’s resurrection. Her life was spent in helping the apostles and in praying for the conversion of the world. On the third day after Mary’s death, when the apostles gathered around her tomb, they found it empty. The sacred body had been carried up to the celestial paradise. Jesus Himself came to conduct her thither; the whole court of heaven came to welcome with songs of triumph the mother of the divine word. Why was Mary’s body received into heaven instead of remaining in the earth, like the rest of mankind? The grave had no power over one who was immaculate. Her flesh could not see corruption. Her body had been overshadowed by the Holy Ghost; it had been the sacred temple in which had dwelt God incarnate, and so it had a claim to ascend whither the body of her Son had already gone before. But the chief reason was that as she had shared in each detail in the sorrows and agony of her Son, so it was right that she should take part in His triumph. Let us ask of God, through Mary’s intercession, the grace of a happy death.

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O Salutaris Hostia

Posted by catholicus on July 1, 2006

Per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipsoO saving Victim, opening wide
The gate of heav’n to man below!
Our foes press on from every side;
Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow.
To Thy great name be endless praise,
Immortal Godhead, One in Three!
O, grant us endless length of days
In our true native land with Thee.
O salutáris Hostia,
Quae coeli pandis óstium!
Bella premunt hostília;
Da robur, fer auxílium.
Uni trinóque Dómino
Sit sempitérna glória!
Qui vitam sine término
Nobis donet in pátria.
Per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipso
est Tibi Deo Patri omnipoténti,
in unitáte Spíritus Sancti,
omnis honor et glória.
Per ómnia sáecula saeculórum. Amen.

Posted in Eucharist, Jesus Christ | 1 Comment »

Our Lady of Good Counsel

Posted by catholicus on June 14, 2006

S. Maria vom Guten Rat, originally uploaded by Immaculata Helvetia.

This is a very precious old print of the sacred image “Our Lady of Good Counsel” that originally came from Albany to Genazzano, Italy.
This copy was kept by the Augustinian Fathers in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, and this print dates back to 1759!
About “Our Lady of Good Counsel” learn more here.

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England’s Vocation

Posted by catholicus on June 6, 2006

Our Lady of Walsingham, St. Barnabas Church, Beckenham, England"Mourn not, O England, should thy wealth and power,
Thy sway o'er sea and land, thine empire cease;
For these became thy portion on that hour
When thou forsookst the Faith, thou, once her dower,
Didst turn from her who bore the Prince of peace.
Mourn not, O England, if thy pride decay,
Mourn not if thy most mournful riches waste,
Mourn not if runes of running fire shall say
That forfeit is thine empiry this day,
And thou from thy long dominance displac'd.
For these have left thee desolate indeed,
Yea, poor and naked in the sight of God.
Nay, even in the sight of men the need
Of landless millions brandeth Mammon's creed
The plague that spoils the vineyard. Ichabod.
Oh, well were lost all that could be desir'd
By man's ambition, or by nation's pride,
If thou, thy former love of God acquir'd,
If thou, with zeal like Boniface inspir'd,
Wouldst seek to spread Christ's kingdom far and wide.
O land of Edward, Alfred, Wilfrid, Bede,
O land of Willibrord and Boniface,
Let the five wounds upon thy banners bleed,
And in the sight of God be great indeed,
Apostle of the tidings of His grace"

Fr. Henry (Edward George) Rope

(From: Carmina No. 2, p. 23)

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Go to Joseph

Posted by catholicus on June 1, 2006

Saint Joseph - IconReverend Father Haggeney, S.J., in his biography of Father Petit, narrates the following incidents.
A lady in Ghent made the Spiritual Exercises under Father Petit. She belonged to a devout Catholic family, but her husband – despite her pleading and prayers – had not gone to the Sacraments for forty-five years. The thought of separation from him for all eternity, were he to die in this state, filled her with terror. Father Petit comforted the good lady: "Hope may still be had. This is the first of the month dedicated to St. Joseph. I shall remember your intention every day during this month at Holy Mass. Have the little children pray too, and then let us wait with confidence."
On March thirty-first Father Petit received a letter. "Reverend and dear Father", it ran, "he for whom we prayed so earnestly this month has come back to God. His conversion is a miracle!  Help me thank the merciful God and St. Joseph."
Whenever there was question of hardened sinners, Father Petit recommended recourse to this favorite patron, St. Joseph, telling people to expect great miracles. One of his priest-retreatants spoke to him of a Freemason in his parish who was very ill and close to death, but who would hear nothing of conversion. His brother, in fact, likewise a Mason, kept constant watch to prevent any priest from approaching the dying man. Father Petit replied: "We may never despair of a soul's salvation. Let us both make a novena in honor of St. Joseph." Ten days later the pastor wrote: "Praised be Jesus! Praised be St. Joseph! A miracle of conversion has taken place! On the last day of the novena the sick man of his own accord sent for me. He was prepared to do all that was necessary to return to the arms of God. With touching piety and devotion he received the Last Rites. Everyone says: 'This is a miracle!' "

(From Sankt Josef auch dein Helfer of A. M. Weigl, 1968)

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