Saturday, August 12, 2006

Bl. Mariam Baouardy-'The Little Arab'-Mystic

Palestine was a troubled State as different Muslim factions would argue over their religious differences. The land during the 1800's was mainly made up of Muslims and Christians with a very small percentage of Jewish people. It became a part of the Ottoman Empire in 1516 under the occupation of the Ottoman Turks.

Into this troubled land would be born a lily for Palestine, Mariam Baouardy. The birth of Mariam in 1846 came after many tears and much prayer by her parents Giries and Mariam Baouardy. Who had traveled to Bethlehem to pray for the birth of a healthy child after several of their children had died in infancy. The parents were overjoyed when their prayers were answered and Mariam was born to them, they then named her after the Virgin Mary in whom they had a great devotion. A few years later Mariam would be joined by a little brother named Boulos but this joy was to be short-lived as both of little Mariam's parents died.

Upon the tragic death of her parents the siblings found themselves separated as Mariam was adopted by an Uncle and went to live in Ibillin. Mariam grew strong under the care of her benevolent Uncle and though not spoiled she lacked for little. Her great joy as a child was to look after her pet birds which she kept in a cage. One day the little Mariam decided her little birdies needed a bath and through ignorance Mariam accidentally drowned them. The child was inconsolable at the terrible mishap, this little accident was to have a major impact on her life as little Mariam heard a voice within her say, "This is how everything passes. If you will give me your heart, I shall always remain with you." These words were to take root in the young heart of Mariam.

When Mariam was 8 years old her Uncle moved his family to Egypt and once again Mariam was saddened to leave her home which she had come to love. Mariam was quickly learning to understand the transient feeling that happiness was, as shadows seem to chase after her.

The event that would change Mariam's life forever was when she learnt she had been promised in marriage to a man she had never known. It was the custom in those days that the parents would arrange their childs nuptials in this case it was Mariam's uncle who had made the marital arrangement. This arrangement filled Mariams heart with dread as she knew that God did not wish for her to be married but for her to remain a virgin, her uncle did not see things this way and flew into a rage. Mariam spent the night before her wedding in prayer when once again she heard within her this voice, "Everything passes! If you wish to give me your heart, I will remain with you." Mariam was not surprised to hear this voice as she had heard it before once again this voice spoke to her, "Mariam, I am with you; follow the inspiration I shall give you. I will help you."

Upon the morning Mariam informed her Uncle that she would not marry, after trying to reason with her the uncle then beat Mariam and screamed his rage at her insubordination of his order. This did not change Mariams mind as she withstood the beatings and insults hurled at her by her uncle. Mariams heart was saddened that she had upset her uncle but her resolve stood firm for her love for God was greater than anything else. In order to further punish Mariam her uncle then forced her to work as a servant in his house, still Mariam remain unmoved with her decision.

Things became increasingly difficult for Mariam as she sunk into a deep loneliness under the threat of her uncles beatings and mistreatment. Through this ordeal Mariam tried to contact her brother Boulos by giving a letter to one of the Muslim hired help. This young Muslim upon learning of the mistreatment of Mariam at first was angered and then he tried to convert Mariam away from her Christian beliefs and to embrace Islam as her new faith. Once Mariam realized this young man's intentions she said fiercely, "Muslim, no, never! I am a daughter of the Catholic Apostolic Church, and I hope by the grace of God to persevere until death in my religion, which is the only true one."

Things were not easy between the Muslim and Christian Faiths and the words of Mariam incensed the young Muslim who then tried to murder Mariam by slashing her throat with his sword. He then left her body in an alley as he thought her dead.

Mariam upon recovering and determined not to go back to her uncles home began work as a domestic servant in an Arab Christian family. For a few years this made Mariam happy and content, but always there was a stirring in Mariams heart as she remembered what was shared within her heart from that inner voice.

Upon speaking to her Priest Mariam was directed to join the Sisters of St. Joseph. Mariam was happy there for a while until she began experiencing mystical events which upset and frightened the other Sisters. It soon became clear that Mariam was not welcomed in their convent. One of the Sisters took her to a Carmelite convent and upon telling their stories both the Sister, Veronica and Mariam were welcomed into the Convent.

Mariam upon taking her Vows in the year 1871 took the name Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified. A most timely name as Sister Mariam was gifted with the Stigmata during another Mystical event.

Throughout Mariams entire life, she would be touched by the Mystical when as only a child she heard that inner voice. Later she was treated upon have her throat slashed by a lady dressed in blue who helped her recover, she felt herself transported to Heaven where she glimpsed the throne of the Holy Trinity and grew close to the Virgin Mary whom she loved. Upon joining the Carmelites of Pau further Mystical gifts would be given to Sister Mariam as she was gifted with not only the Stigmata but also with the readings of hearts, the ability to levitate while in prayer, transverberations of the heart, prophecies and other Mystical phenomena.

These experiences did not puff up Sister Mariams pride but instead made her deeply aware of her own nothingness as she said many times to her fellow Sisters, "Everything passes here on earth. What are we? Nothing but dust, nothingness, and God is so great, so beautiful, so lovable and He is not loved."

Sister Mariam also had an intense devotion to the Holy Spirit and sent a prayer to Pope Pius IX as she tried to re-ignite a passionate devotion and love for the Holy Spirit. Her prayer was simple in its eloquence, "Holy Spirit, inspire me. Love of God consume me. Along the true road, lead me. Mary, my good mother, look down upon me. With Jesus, bless me. From all evil, all illusion, all danger, preserve me." Many people from all over the world continue to pray this simple prayer daily.

Sister Mariam would also spend some of her short life in India when a Carmelite Convent was founded in Mangalore. She would later return to Pau in order to help begin a new foundation of the Order of Carmel in Palestine. Wherever Sister Mariam traveled news of the her Mystical life preceded her and many curious people came to look at this young Mystic. Sister Mariam would often fall into trances and described it this way to a fellow Sister, "I feel as though my heart is open; as though there is a wound in it; and when I have certain ideas and impressions of God which move me, it feels like someone touched the wound in my heart, and I fall in weakness, I lose myself". Not everything that touched Sister Mariam though was from the Divine. Many times she was often tempted by the evil one to doubt God's Goodness and do disobey her Superiors, but Sister Mariam was always able to differentiate the voices that spoke within her.

Within the Convent walls Sister Mariam suffered an a terrible accident from which she did not recover she died in 1878 while heard whispering over and over, "My Jesus, mercy."

I would encourage all to read more about the life of this remarkable Saint, Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified, known as the 'Little Arab'.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Our Lady of America

"It is the United States that is to lead the world to peace, the peace of Christ, the peace that He brought with Him from heaven."

These are the words of Our Lady to Sister Mary Ephrem who belongs to the Order of Precious Blood Sisters which is based in Indiana. During these visitations Our Lady emphasised to Sister Mary the need for America to return to the virtue of purity and to focus on the family as all important. A message that is greatly needed in this fast paced generation. As well as receiving messages from our Lady Sister Mary was also visited by our Savior, St. Joseph as well as the Arch Angels.

Sister Mary was a normal woman with no outstanding features so it came as a shock to this most humble Nun to be the recipient of Divine Messages for America and the world. At first Sister Mary took no note of the mystical events that were happening to her in that she thought all her fellow sisters were receiving the same Gift. This was not so and in confusion Sister Mary spoke to her Spiritual Director, Monsignor Paul Leibold who took this most humble sister under his wing. Monsignor Paul Leibold upon investigating these supernatural occurrences and in witnessing the humble disposition of Sister Mary Ephrem gave his approval thereby validating this humble Sister and the most important message of our Lord and Lady.

Let us now look at some of these Divine messages given to Sister Mary. Our Lord spoke to Sister Mary giving her these messages to the world;

"My little white dove, if the world is dying, it is because it will not let Me give it life."

" I am the resurrection and the life, and unless souls seek their life in Me, they will only find death and destruction."

"They fear man-made destroyers of life, yet destruction is in themselves. Man destroys himself through the evil that is in himself."

"Implements of war kill only that which is without. Man kills that within himself which none but he can kill."

"God is light, man is darkness, and unless he comes into the light, he will be forever in darkness."

"The Voice of My Heart is the Voice of Mercy. If man will not listen, there is no more I can do, for he ties My hands."

"My little white dove, do you know what I find most lacking in the world today? It is FAITH. There are so few souls that believe in Me and My love. They profess their beliefs and their love, but they do not live this belief. Their hearts are cold, for without faith there can be no love."

We must remember that these words were spoken to Sister Mary in the 1950's. Which leaves one to think what our Lord would say now for when Sister Mary received these messages Roe VS Wade had yet to reach the courts. How through our sins we wound our relationship with our most Loving and Merciful God. To continue with the messages give to Sister Mary Ephrem:

"My heart beats with compassion for the sorrows of man. Oh, how gladly would I help him bear the weight of his terrible cross, fashioned, for the most part, by his own guilt! But alas, he will have none of my help. So I am forced to stand by the side of the road and watch him struggle hopelessly in his agony."

"O man, what have I done to you that you should refuse My aid?"

As our world becomes more and more secularized and parents take on one job or two jobs each, families become fractured and dysfunctional. In the end though what are families working for? Or has the reason been lost in the fight to keep up with appearances. Surely it is time to consider a more simpler way of life where the spiritual welfare of your family come first, and though it is a parents responsibility to provide for their families who decides what is best? Advertisements which demand you must buy this item in order to be fulfilled and other sundry adverts which only emphasises the materialistic and not the spiritual. Here is our Lords words to Sister Mary concerning the family unit:

"My daughter, I am not loved in the homes of men. And because I am not loved, the Divine Trinity refuses to dwell therein."

"Children are not taught to love Me, because those who have charge over them have no time or patience to do so."

"My Heart grieves over My children in the world. Their hearts are being drawn farther and farther away from Me. They will not even listen to My Mother, because they have never been taught to listen."

"Woe to parents who set a bad example to their children! Terrible will be their judgment. I will demand a strict account of every soul entrusted to their care."

"Woe to children who disobey and show disrespect towards their parents!"

As we can see these are very cautionary words indeed when even parents allow alcohol to be served at parties so they can be seen as 'hip' and progressive. Still there is hope, a time where families can once again embrace a more simpler life without the needs of gadgets and gizmo's.

"Blessed are the homes that honor My Name and the Name of My Father."

"Blessed are the homes where I am loved, for there the Holy Trinity dwells."

"Blessed are the parents and children who have made a home for God in their hearts."

"Little secretary of My Heart, write these instructions for the sanctification of My people."

Once when Sister Mary was visiting a sister house she was in prayer when an Angel of light appeared to her. Sister Mary described him as having a sword in his left hand his robe was bright white as he was bathed in a glow of pure white. In his hand he held a green palm and offered this palm to Sister Mary as the Angel said, "receive the palm of Victory." This disturbed Sister Mary as she felt herself not worthy of such notice and also she was opposed to any form of flattery. Was this Angel from God or was it Satan trying to fool her? Sister Mary's suspicions were allayed when the Angel said to her, "You do not believe me. Will you accept the cross?" When Sister Mary heard these words her response was, ' Yes, I will accept the cross." The Angel then responded with these words, "Then you will accept the palm and the sword. With the sword and the saints conquered themselves, the world and the devil. I am the Angel of Peace. I come to those whose hearts are attuned to the Voice of God. To such as these I remain a perpetual light through blinding darkness. I was sent by Him Who said, "I am the Light of the world."

Upon hearing this Sister Mary was given to know that this was St. Michael the Arch Angel.
Not long after this message from St. Michael, Sister Mary would be visited by Our Lady who had this message to give to the world and most especially families:

"It is the wish of my Son that fathers and mothers strive to imitate me and my chaste spouse in our holy life at Nazareth. We practiced the simple virtues of family life, Jesus our Son being the center of all our love and activity. The Holy Trinity dwelt with us in a manner far surpassing anything that can ever be imagined. For ours was the earthly paradise where again God walked among men."

"As in our little home no sin was to be found, so it is the wish of the Heart of my Son and my Immaculate Heart that sin should, as far as possible, be unheard of in the homes of our children."

"The Divine Trinity will dwell in your midst only if you are faithful in practicing the virtues of our life at Nazareth. Then, you also, my children, you also will become another paradise. God will then walk among you and you will have peace."

" I need your help to bring peace into the world. Do not disappoint me."

We see once again the great emphasis placed on the importance of family life, Our Lady did not say to make sure you have the latest in DVD players or the latest CD's. We are urged instead to place the Trinity as first place in the family unit.

Our Lady also imparted these words to Sister Mary:

"I am pleased, my child, with the love and honor my children in America give to me, especially through my glorious and unique privilege of the Immaculate Conception. I promise to reward their love by working through the power of my Son's Heart and my Immaculate Heart miracles of grace among them. I do not promise miracles of the body, but of the soul."

" For it is mainly through these miracles of grace that the Holy Trinity is glorified among men and nations. Let America continue and grow in its love for me, and I in return, in union with the Heart of my Son, promise to work wonders in her. My child, I desire that this be known."

" I am Our Lady of America. I desire that my children honor me, especially by the purity of their lives."

As I mentioned earlier we must remember that these messages were given at a time of innocence in America this is why the very same messages need to be heard today as they are most needed. Let us reflect on the content of these revelations and ponder within our own hearts if our families reflect those of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

I would encourage all to read more about Our Lady of America.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Jesus Message To Sister Mary of the Trinity

Louisa Jaques was born in the year 1901. Unlike many other ladies who were favoured with visits from our Lord, Louisa was not an overly devout young girl. Her parents were lax protestants who lived in South Africa, this was not a good example for Louisa to follow and helped bring Louisa to lose belief in God.

Though Louisa went through a period of doubting Gods existance, God had not given up on his beloved child. It was during this time that Louisa was given a vision of a nun who was praying to God, from this time on Louisa had a secret longing to become a nun.

Louisa began to secretly go to Catholic Churches and pray to this God who had so touched her heart, it was not long before Louisa felt a great longing to enter the Catholic Church. This began an internal struggle within her as she began to fight this calling that God had begun to whisper in her heart. One day Louisa fell ill and through prayer God cured her of her ailment from then on Louisa was determined to enter a Religious Order.

This brought even more problems for Louisa as many were suspicious of her Protestant background even though Louisa truly loved Jesus most especially in the Eucharist, still Louisa persevered. Finally Louisa upon journeying to the Holy Land went and prayed in a Catholic church belonging to the Poor Clares. It was here that Louisa great wish came true she joined the Poor Clares and took the name Sister Mary of the Trinity.

Around this time Sister Mary began to hear the voice of our Lord in the inner depths of her heart and soul. At first Sister Mary was concerned and so sort the advice of her Spiritual Director who ordered her to write down our Lords words spoken to her.

These are the messages that our Lord gave to this most holy and devout Nun, Sister Mary of the Trinity of the Poor Clares Jerusalem;

Jesus words to Sister Mary on Abandonment and trusting in God.

"Let me act; you are not competent to do anything; it is not your province."

"My little daughter, if you endeavor to speak to Me, your voice might drown Mine...It is better to keep a respectful silence that allows you to listen to Me."

"The most important work is not that which you do, it is that which you allow Me to do among you."

"The purpose of your life does not lie in the personal merit due to your generosity; your merit will lie in using all your generosity to allow Me to live in you."

Our Lords words to Sister Mary on Charity

"The communion of Saints, fellowship, brotherly mutual help are gifts of God. The human means given you, use them."

"No soul will enter My paradise without having forgiven at least once."

"Why are you not content with what the Church says? 'He who is not against Me is with Me.'

"There is not a single material advantage, however great it may be, that ought not to be sacrificed to charity, or that justifies actions against charity."

"It is I, your Jesus, whom you love in your neighbor; I, who am hidden in each soul, that I may grow there, I have such need to meet a heart that desires Me there and loves Me.."

"Be charitable, above all in your thoughts: the rest will follow spontaneously of itself."

Jesus to Sister Mary on Confidence

"When you have all that is necessary, you deprive Me of the joy of taking care of you."

"Let me have the pleasure of defending you at the right time."

"It is My joy to respond as God to humble confidence."

"You honour Me more by the confidence you show Me than by all that you could give Me."

Our Lords words to Sister Mary on Faith

" Pray that faith may spread. It transforms everything. Do you understand what is the greatest act of love that you can offer Me? It is when you make an act of pure faith. Faith places you in the light of that order in which you were created. You must follow that light."

"Faith is also a form of obedience: the submission of the mind."

"The greatest proof of love that you can give Me is to believe in Me."

Our Lords words to Sister Mary on Generosity

" The more you give Me, the more I will increase your capacity for giving."

"It is when a soul forgives and is silent that she most resembles My Mother."

"One must be blindly generous. Children must be taught generosity; it will turn their souls towards Me for the whole of their lives. Teach them to do rather more than not give always a little more than is actually asked of them. And in giving to hide their gifts."

Our Lords words to Sister Mary on Heaven

" The trials of your life on earth are such a small thing in comparison with that which they obtain for you for eternity."

"Rejoice, My beloved! Are you not in a hurry to join Me?...I long to keep you near Me; I long for you to finish your preparation."

"I wish for every soul to understand that I am awaiting her. That beyond this life a boundless love awaits her, and that she must hasten...must purify herself to meet Love, and let that be her one object."

"If you only knew how great a thing it is: to appear before God. If the soul is ready, why wish to detain her? Think more of her than of yourself."

Our Lords words to Sister Mary on Holiness

"The more you give Me, the more I will increase your capacity for giving."

"It is not sins that injure your purity, it is your pride, which, so often, does not wish to acknowledge them."

"Sanctity is to allow Me to live in you, and it is I who bring it to pass within you. It is to give Me your human nature so I may live on among you."

Our Lords words to Sister Mary on Humility

" It is with coal that I make diamonds. What would I not do with a soul, however black she might be, who would give herself to Me!"

"Do you understand that you are nothing? Apart from Me you are nothing but rebellion, refusal, negation."

"When you do not think of yourself, My grace visits you, and I provide what is necessary for you. When you try to do it yourself, I leave you to your own care."

Sister Mary of the Trinity died in 1942.

I would encourage all to read more about our Lords messages to this most Holy Sister.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Apparitions-Prisoners of War- a True Story of 'Our Lady'?

At a prisoner of war camp, under the rule of the Japanese, the Australians and other soldiers were in desperate need of medical supplies.

One night two Australian soldiers were outside the barracks chatting, when they spotted a lovely lady standing by the wired fence. The soldiers approached her and asked if she could speak English, she just gently smiled, so the two soldiers took a chance and asked this lady if she could supply them with the required amount of quinine and other medications, she smiled, gently nodded her head and walked away.

The next night she returned with the exact amount asked for, nothing more nothing less, the soldiers thanked her profusely. Then a few weeks later when these medications were running low, the two same soldiers stood outside waiting to see if this lady would return. One night she did and once again the soldiers gave her a list of medications they needed. The next night she returned with the required amount, once again they thanked her and asked if it were possible to do this every two weeks? They didn't want to push their luck or endanger the life of this lady. And so it continued till the time when the camp was liberated.

Many years after the war, at a remembrance gathering, the soldiers spoke about this beautiful lady, and all agreed after hearing this story that these two Australian soldiers should return to that country and find that lady. They wanted to put into action someway of honouring her through a bravery award or medal. So the two retired soldiers returned to this country and searched the neighbouring villages, after giving descriptions of this beautiful lady not one village could recall her, and many said that NO such lady existed, as the description given did not fit anyone who had ever lived there.

Now the soldiers were stunned because this lady was not Asian in appearance, and the villagers said they would have remembered such a person but none of them did!

One of the Australian soldiers was catholic the other an atheist, the catholic soldier said with a shocked _expression, " it must have been "Our Lady", while the atheist believed that all the villagers simply had a "memory lapse".

Now what do you believe? Was it Our Lady or an unknown lady?

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Our Lady of Tre Fontane

Bruno Cornacchiola though raised a Catholic grew to not only detest everything Catholic but also nursed a deep hatred for the Catholic Church and vowed action in order to bring down the Church he so hated.

Bruno's hatred of the Catholic Church was not helped in that he grew up poor and so kept company with unruly boys of his own age. After only receiving a rudimentary education Bruno joined the military which seemed to suit his need for constant excitement and fed his need to hate someone or something.

One would think with such hatred eating at his very soul, that Bruno would be a lost cause, but God and our Lady thought differently. So even though Bruno went on his own evil path, soon God would intervene by sending the Mother of God to appeal to him directly.

Before this though, Bruno decided to go and fight in the Spanish civil war, though he had no particular ideology Bruno fought simply for the love of it. When he arrived in Spain Bruno met up with a Lutheran man who convinced Bruno that the Catholic Church was the cause of all the world evils and needed to be destroyed, most especially the Pontiff! These words fed Bruno's already active hatred of all things Catholic, and he vowed then to one day kill the Pope!

This was no empty threat for while in Spain Bruno bought a dagger in order to carry out this evil deed, his heart was indeed in the depths of darkness as his family also felt the wrath of this hate filled man. Bruno was not a good husband and constantly beat his wife, he also threw out any statues or other religious items from his home. The Cornacchiola household was certainly NOT a happy one, as his wife lived in fear everyday of her life and the children suffered as they themselves were beaten and witnessed their fathers violence towards their mother.

Due to his violent nature Bruno demanded that his wife leave the Catholic Church and join a protestant Church, under great duress Bruno's wife did just that but only after she had applied conditions that Bruno would make the Nine Fridays devotion. Bruno scoffed at this 'challenge' and so did as his wife suggested, it had little impact on this enraged man and so Iolanda left the Catholic Church and joined her husband in the new Protestant Church, though she was sorely grieved at taking this action.

Bruno eventually found a steady job as a tram conductor in Rome, but this brought no relief to the family as Bruno's violence intensified against Iolanda and his children who had to deal with his abuse and drunkenness. Iolanda though did not give up hope and constantly prayed for the salvation of her husband and the well being of their children.

This man's heart was so full of hate that he soon became an avowed communist much to his wife's distress. Bruno had also not forgotten his vow to kill the Pope and so he began to plan the ultimate crime, to assassinate the reigning Pontiff.

One day while he was preparing an anti-Church and anti-Mary speech, Bruno took his children to the park where he sat and wrote notes on his speech as his children played ball. As Bruno prepared his notes he could hear his children gleefully playing together, this did not deter Bruno from his course.

It was only when the children cried out that they had lost their ball that Bruno with great irritation left his notes and began to help his children look for the missing ball. While Bruno and his children were searching for the ball Bruno could hear his son Gianfranco say over and over 'oh beautiful lady, beautiful lady'. Very much in fear for his son Bruno searched for Gianfranco and found him kneeling transfixed before the small grotto, soon all three of Bruno's children knelt in awe at the sight of this most beautiful lady. Bruno immediately tried to get his children away from the Grotto but to no avail, he as strong as he was could not lift his own little one's. Finally Bruno yelled, 'God help us!'

Upon yelling this out, Bruno could finally see what his children were seeing, as two hands reached out and touched his eyes he gradually saw before him the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He also felt a swelling of great inner joy at the sight of his most gracious and lovely woman. Bruno like his children could not move or remove his eyes away from this glorious woman who was wearing a green mantle over a white dress with a rose sash tied at her waist. Her expression was one of deep sadness and Bruno felt immediate compunction over the sad look in her eyes, but still he could not tear his eyes away from such a sight as this most wondrous lady.

As Bruno took in this sight he also noticed that the beautiful and sad lady held a book in her hands which she cradled close to her heart and beneath her feet was a broken crucifix on top of a black cloth. Bruno could hardly believe what he was seeing but he could not move as he listened to our Lady speak to him.

Our lady bent a little towards Bruno and said these words to him, "I am she who is related to the Divine Trinity. I am the Virgin of Revelation. You have persecuted me, now is the time to stop! Come and be part of the Holy Fold which is the Celestial Court on earth. God's promise is unchangeable and will remain so. The nine First Fridays in honor of the Sacred Heart, which your faithful wife persuaded you to observe before you walked down the road of lies, has saved you." Our Lady continued to instruct Bruno as she said, "Live the divine doctrine. Practise Christianity. Live the Faith....The Hail Marys that you pray with faith and love are like golden arrows that go straight to the heart of Jesus," and, "Pray much and recite the Rosary for the conversion of sinners, of unbelievers and of all Christians."

Bruno was stunned at her words and a transformation began to take place within the heart of this man who had been driven by hate but had now been touched by Divine Love through the help of our Lady. Bruno's heart began to beat with the chorus of love rather than the loud and raucous diatribe of hate, a miracle had happened within the soul of this one man which would affect his life forever more.

Our Lady also had more messages for this simple man who's life would never be the same again, as she continued to speak with him, "I promise this special favour: With this sinful soil (the soil of the grotto) I shall perform great miracles for the conversion of unbelievers and of sinners.....Science will deny God and will refuse His calls." Our lady then spoke of her Assumption into heaven, "My body could not and did not decay. I was assumed into Heaven by my Son and the angels." The Blessed Mother also instructed Bruno with a special message for the Holy Father himself, "You must go to the Holy Father, the Pope, the Supreme Pastor of Christianity, and personally tell him my message. Bring it to his attention. I shall tell you how to recognize the one who will accompany you to see the Pope."

After this message Our Lady disappeared leaving a pungent scent of roses, Bruno was almost in shock at what he had seen and heard, he would never be the same again. Upon returning home, Iolanda could smell the scent of roses and when she enquired the children blurted out that they had seen a most beautiful lady, Iolanda with tears in her eyes forgave her husband as Bruno begged her forgiveness for his vicious behaviour towards her and their children.

Bruno was indeed a changed man and he with his entire family re-converted back to the Catholic Faith which filled his wife's heart with great joy. Never again would Bruno raise his hand in violence against his family.

It would take two years before Bruno could fulfill Our Lady's request when he and a group were invited to pray the Rosary in private with Pope Pius XII. After completing this most holy prayer the Pope then asked if anyone wished to speak with him. Bruno immediately raised his hand and with great sorrow he knelt before the Pope and begged his forgiveness for his years of hatred and his intention to kill this holy man of God, the Pope unhesitatingly gave Bruno his forgiveness.

Even though over time many would try and use this simple man for their own purposes, Bruno has maintained what he saw and what our Lady revealed to him. He also continued to remain a devout Catholic with a sincere devotion to the Mother of God.

I would encourage all to read more about Our Lady of Tre Fontane, with due consideration that the Church is investigating this amazing vision of our Lady of Revelations.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Visions of St. Rose of Lima

Isabel De Flores Y Del Oliva was born in the year 1585 to very devout parents of Spanish-Indian heritage. Because of her rosy cheeks, little Isabel was quickly nicknamed Rose and it is as Rose that she is now remembered in the Catholic Church, as the first Saint of the America's.

From a very early age Rose would show an unusual love for Jesus and the suffering that our Lord undertook in our place. Even as a baby many people including her parents were amazed that this child would gaze adoringly at the Crucifix and nothing seemed to distract her from her contemplation of Jesus. Her understanding of Christ's suffering was almost an inherent condition within the soul of this devout child, even when she too was made to suffer through an operation she uttered no cries but withstood the pain in silence. Another time when Rose was suffering with severe earache once again she uttered no cries of pain nor were tears shed and when questioned about how she withstood such pain little Rose responded, "our Lord's crown of thorns must have hurt much more."

There was always something mysterious about the little Rose who seemed to grasp the most fundamental aspects of the Faith and most especially of prayer. When her Mother tried to teach her daughter to read and write, she gave up in exasperation, a little while later Rose came to her mother and gave her a page where she had written down some prayers. Rose's mother was most surprised and startled and upon asking her daughter how she had come to write such things, Rose surprised her mother even more when she replied very honestly, " I asked the baby Jesus to teach me, Mama, to save you the work; and He did."

When still quite young Rose's brother built her a little hermitage, and from this little building Rose would spend much of the day and night in prayer while practicing severe mortifications. Her diet consisted of stale bread crusts, bitter herbs and water, when Lent would begin, Rose also deprived herself of her bread crusts. All this seems astounding to those of us living in this modern world where going without one meal can leave our tummy's grumbling in discontent, but in Rose's era this was considered normal acts of penance.

One day Rose noted the worried look upon the face of her parents and though her father was loathe to tell her, he in end confided that he had overspent their family budget and that the creditors were now insisting he pay the money that was owed immediately upon saying this Rose's Papa exclaimed, "all is lost. It is the end." It was not the end as far as Rose was concerned and she immediately began praying that God would help her poor Papa. As Rose prepared to leave the Church with her brother, a man approached Rose and said to her, "I have this package of money, for the senorita. Give this to your father for his needs." Upon returning home her family was jubilant that their money worries were over but much more as the family now considered that Rose was indeed a special child of God.

Once when praying in Church Rose came under severe attack by the devil who sent her many temptations to try and lure her away from her first love which is Jesus. Upon finally overcoming this terrible attack, Rose questioned her Lord in these words, "Lord, if you had been here I would not have been exposed to such horrible temptations." Upon which her beloved Lord replied, "Rose, if I had not been there, do you think you would have conquered?"

One day when Rose was praying at Church with her brother, Fernando it came time for them to leave, whereupon Rose found she could not move. Growing exasperated with his errant sister, Fernando insisted that she get up immediately, usually very obedient to everyone's commands Rose found she could not move and when Fernando came to help her he also could not move his sister who seemed set in stone. Finally Rose prayed to our Lady and said, "Good Mother, if you deliver me, I promise you to go back to my mother and live at home with my parents as long as you order me to do so, instead of in the convent." After she had finished this prayer Rose was finally able to move and returned home with a puzzled and stunned Fernando.

Even though Rose had set her heart on entering a Religious Order it was not to be as her parents were opposed to it most especially her mother, this did not mean that God had rejected her and soon it became apparent to Rose that she should join the Dominican Third Order. It was also at this time while serving the sick and the needy that Rose met and became spiritual friends with her soul friend, Martin de Porres, who helped her with the sick and feeble.

Many times Rose's mother, Olivia would become frustrated at the piousness shown by her devout and very beautiful daughter, it was not that Olivia did not love her daughter indeed she did! It simply vexed her that Rose did not seem to be like other girls and long for marriage and babies. Therefore Olivia stood opposed to anything religious that her daughter wished to embrace. Then one day as Olivia lay down to rest, she saw a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary who said these words to Olivia, "This rose represents your daughter, my Son's cherished flower: I plucked her for Him from your garden and He will not let her go. Only see how grateful He is to you for having tended her for Him and for having given her to me!" Our Lady then showed the baby Jesus to Olivia as she lay there Olivia then saw a young woman in a Dominican habit kneel before Jesus and kiss His baby feet, Olivia knew this was her lovely daughter Rose, then Olivia heard a voice say, "Come, spouse of Christ, accept the crown the Lord has prepared for thee from eternity." After seeing this Olivia stopped all objections to her daughters need to live as Dominican Third Order.

Not all of Rose's experiences were grand there were times where she suffered the most severe spiritual aridity. During such a dark night of the soul Rose confided the depths of her anguish to her spiritual brother, Martin de Porres, as she fretted that perhaps she had offended her beloved Lord. Martin was able to comfort Rose with these wise words, "I am not at all surprised at this purification the Lord allows you to bear. I should be more surprised if you had not begun to suffer some such trial. It is the lot of those whom God wishes to raise to the highest sanctity to pass this way. You should find in the very violence of your trial a source of encouragement, since He purifies most, those for home He has destined the most perfect union with Himself!" This brought Rose great comfort as she suffered through this dark and lonely path towards her beloved Lord.

During her life there were meaning miracles attributed to Rose not only of visions but also of healings, this brought her to the attention of the Inquisition, in which through her evident piety and holiness the Inquisitors were appeased. Throughout the entire life of Rose was her utter obedience to those in authority, she never once contradicted or disobeyed an order from anyone in authority, this also impressed the Inquisition.

One of Roses last visions was of seeing herself in the middle of a beam of light which she knew extended from the source of all goodness which is God. Within the light was a beautiful rainbow of many beautiful colours also Rose saw a Cross covered in the precious blood of our Lord. Through this beautiful light Rose could also see our Lord resplendent and so bright that she could almost not bear to look upon Him, Rose was enraptured. Next to our Lord Rose also saw a set of scales and surrounding these scales were Angels and souls upon the scales the Angels placed great weights which Rose knew to be tribulations and sufferings, she also saw the weight of her own scales and knew she would suffer much. Once the sufferings had been completed the Angels then placed graces upon the scales the graces were equal to the sufferings Rose knew this meant that for every suffering there is the compensating grace which helps the soul endure suffering for the sake of love. Our Lord then spoke these words, "Affliction is always accompanied by Grace; Grace is proportionate to Suffering. The measure of My gifts is increased with the measure of trials. The Cross is the true and only road that leads souls to Heaven." Rose then felt her own soul fill with an abundance of Graces.

After this vision Rose was led the way of the Cross as she suffered immensely before she died, Rose's last words were, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!...Jesus be with me!"

Upon breathing her last, her body retained its suppleness and an odor of sanctity surrounded the body of this most beautiful Saint.

I would encourage all to read more about St. Rose of Lima.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 22, 2006

St. John Bosco's Dog... or Angel?

Saint John Bosco was a heroic man who cared deeply about the young boys he cared for. Through his perseverance he began a school for wayward boy's, to help them return to the Faith and to become men of strength. Though John Bosco loved his boys and saw through their hard facades, not everyone held the same opinion, and many wished that he would remove his school from their area.

John Bosco was also a strong man of great Faith and he fought courageously against those espousing heretical views, this incurred the wrath of some who disputed with the Church's Teachings.

Some of the townspeople felt so strongly that they even plotted to take his life and thereby destroy his schools, but what people plot and what God plans are two different things!

John Bosco had weathered some attacks against his person when out and about performing his Priestly duties. One night as John Bosco was returning home he felt that he was being followed and growing wary of the constant harassment, this brave man hastened his steps. It was not long before the footsteps he could hear were gaining ground, when suddenly out of the cold mist John Bosco saw a very large dog come towards him. The dog soon fell into step beside him, and after reaching his goal John Bosco also discovered that the man following him had been frightened off by the huge dog.

Many nights when John Bosco traveled around the town and most especially in the more dangerous districts, often times the dog would miraculously show up just when John Bosco most needed him. The dog became such a friend on his dangerous missions that John Bosco named him, Grigio.

One night when Father John Bosco was returning home an assassin tried to shoot him dead and upon failing this the man rushed forward to beat this wonderful Priest to death! When suddenly John Bosco cried out for his dog 'Grigioooo' the dog immediately came to John Bosco's aid and bit the attacker with all his might. The attacker after a cry of pain ran from the scene, Grigio had saved John Bosco's life!

This scene was repeated when on another occasion two men set forth to murder this annoying Priest and so they lay in wait upon him in the shadows. Upon seeing John Bosco the two men rushed forward and covered his head with a sack, they then began to beat him but not for long, for once again Grigio seemed to spring from out of no-where and grabbed one of the assailants by the neck. It was John Bosco who then had to save the life of his attacker as he commanded Grigio to set his assailant free.

The dog soon became John Bosco's closest companion even to the extent of preventing Father John from leaving his home, perhaps Grigio knew when this brave Priest needed to be kept safe and the safest place was home!

One night when Father John Bosco was eating a convivial dinner with friends, the family decided to feed this great protector of their friend Father John. So the husband prepared to give scraps to Grigio only to find that this huge dog had vanished, but where and how? Because of the dangers that faced Father John the family had bolted all the doors and windows. Where had Grigio disappeared to and more importantly, how?

Who was this courageous and fierce protector of Father John Bosco, an ordinary dog or an Angel sent to protect him?

I would encourage all to read more about the life of this great Saint John Bosco.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Our Lady of Fatima-The Real Message

Catholic Apparitions

The visitation of Our Lady to three children in Fatima, Portugal is one of the most famous apparitions of our Lady in the world. It stands alongside Lourdes as one of the most revered and respected appearances of Our Lady. But unlike Lourdes, Fatima has also become a centre point for confusion amongst the faithful who misunderstand the important message given to the three young children of Fatima, Lucia dos Santos, Jacinta Marto and her brother Francisco Marto.

Many Catholics already know of the miracle of Fatima where the sun was seen to spin and also many of the messages given to the world by Our Lady as a warning, but what has caused dissension is the third secret of Fatima. Many people have chosen to believe that the Vatican has entered into a vast conspiracy to keep the secret from the world, this is not so!

As in all apparitions Our Lady can reveal nothing further than what has already been foretold in the Bible, so there is no 'new revelation' that needs to be known. What The Blessed Virgin Mary has done is merely illuminate and make present the Word of God through Scripture so that those who do not reflect on what God has revealed through the Bible will quickly remedy this by studying the Bible alongside our Catholic Traditions and Doctrine.

As the Word reveals in Mathew, "Jesus said to them in reply, "See that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Messiah,' and they will deceive many. You will hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not yet be the end. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be famines and earthquakes from place to place. All these are the beginning of the labor pains. Then they will hand you over to persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name. And then many will be led into sin; they will betray and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved....If anyone says to you then, 'Look, here is the Messiah!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will arise, and they will perform signs and wonders so great as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect. So if they say to you, 'He is in the desert,' do not go out there; if they say, 'He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it." We see this piece of Scripture correspond within the Catholic Catechism, 672 Before his Ascension Christ affirmed that the hour had not yet come for the glorious establishment of the messianic kingdom awaited by Israel[561] which, according to the prophets, was to bring all men the definitive order of justice, love and peace.[562] According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by "distress" and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church[563] and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching.[564]...674 The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus.[568] St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old."[569] St. Paul echoes him: "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?"[570] The "full inclusion" of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of "the full number of the Gentiles",[571] will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all".[572] And once again we read in the Catechism these words of instruction for the Faithful, 675 Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.[573] The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth[574] will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.[575]

With the visions of Fatima and the messages Our Lady is simply reminding us of what we should inherently know, to pray with our hearts, to study God's Word, to participate in the Sacraments of the Church, most especially the Sacrament of Penance, in order to receive the Eucharist in a state of Grace. To be obedient to the Churches Teaching and its Authority and the real meaning of Fatima is to practice acts of penance in reparation for the many sins committed against God.

As much as many people would like to think, there is NO smoking gun when it comes to the revelations of Fatima. The Catechism states quite clearly about private revelation, 67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church."

It cannot be stated more clearly than this, that though Our Lady cannot reveal to us anything over and above what has been revealed through her Son our Lord Jesus Christ. The Blessed Virgin Mary does warn us to return to the fundamentals of our Faith by following the Word given to us at such a price and to the Authority of the Catholic Church and the Vicar of Christ.

This is the message given to the three Seers written down by Sister Lucia, regarding the 'third secret', "After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God." Though the language is symbolic it also correlates to Scripture and the Catechism, which warns of a falling away as souls grow cold, "And then many will be led into sin; they will betray and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold."

The most integral aspect of the message of Fatima is not one of scandal or a dramatic scene of 'signs and wonders' the REAL message of Fatima is that of 'Penance, Penance, Penance'. We know that sins abound everywhere and that we too are all sinners, therefore to appease the Divine Justice of God our Lady reminds us to offer Penance to God in reparation for the sins committed against His Divine Majesty. As the then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, "key word" of the third secret of Fatima "is the triple cry, 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'' Once again it cannot be stated more clearly than what has been spoken by Bishops, Cardinals and Popes.

Those who seek the 'sensational' in the messages of Fatima, have missed the point entirely, Our Lady is beyond human hysterics, the Queen of Heaven always points the way to her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Blessed Mother simply reminds her children to follow the Word of God which is Life and to be OBEDIENT to the Catholic Churches Teaching, irrespective of what society is teachings for God's Moral Law eclipses man made laws. Those who do prefer to believe the more 'sensational' aspects of Fatima do so out of ignorance in that the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is not to be mistaken for the time when our Lord returns to Judge the Living and the dead as is spoken in the Credo. It is Christ Himself which will herald in that peace which the Word Reveals in the book of Revelation, "Behold, I am coming soon. I bring with me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end...The one who gives this testimony says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! "

What Our Lady of Fatima is asking of the Faithful is to offer up penances for the conversion of Russia and the world, in order to avoid and mitigate Gods Divine Wrath against a faithless people.

Through the valid Consecration of Russia made by Pope John Paul II united with the Bishops and for which Sister Lucia conveyed to the Pope our Lady's acceptance of this Consecration, the communistic hold over Russia has ceased. The Faithful must now continue to pray and offer penance to God for sins committed against Him and for the sins which cry out to Heaven for Divine Justice.

This is the essential message of Fatima as our own generation becomes more secularized and belief in Jesus Divinity is now questioned not only by non believers but also by those who 'profess to believe', yet they deny the fundamentals of our Catholic Faith.

Has our Faith reached a stage of 'coldness' that is a question each person must ask of themselves.

I would encourage all to read more about our Lady of Fatima and its message for the world.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Miraculous Medal and Alphonse Ratisbonne

When Our Lady appeared to Saint Catherine Laboure in 1830 a Jewish family living in France would have no idea how much this would reverberate through their home.

The Ratisbonne family were wealthy Jewish bankers who numbered among their closest friends the Rothschilds as well as other distinguished families of the nobility and the wealthy classes. The family would be shaken to its core when its first born son Theodor embraced the Catholic Faith alongside some of his Jewish friends. Theodor's conversion would tear at the heart of the Ratisbonne family and most especially his younger brother Alphonse, who came to hate all things Catholic! Little did he know that Our Lady had plans for this young man.

Alphonse was born in the year 1814 in Strasbourg, France. All the Ratisbonne children were spoilt and over indulged which only increased the pain of the parents when their son Theodor turned his back on his parents religion and chose to convert to the Catholic Faith, but not only to convert but to become a Priest! This was too much for them and too much also for Alphonse who vowed to hate the Church as long as he lived.

Life was moving along relatively smoothly for Alphonse as he studied law with the promise of working within his families banking firm, he was also engaged to be married to his niece, Flore. It seemed Alphonse's life was mapped out for him or was it?

Before marrying Flore, Alphonse set off to travel and see as much of the world as he could, something many of the more wealthy families did at that time. Being a man of great sophistication Alphonse chose countries where he could let go of all propriety and give in to his hedonistic tendencies without incurring too much wrath. Towards the end of his foreign adventures Alphonse made the mistake of booking the wrong ticket and ended up in Rome of all places! That hated country which was full of so many loathsome Catholics! As Alphonse once said about these Catholics, "I cherished a hatred against priests, churches, and convents, and especially against the Jesuits, whose very name goaded me to frenzy."

Upon touring Rome's famous ruins Alphonse accidentally meets up with an old friend, Gustave de Bussieres and it was through Gustave that he met his brother Baron Theodor de Bussieres who had also converted to Catholicism. Alphonse was infuriated even more so when he discovered that the Baron knew and was friends with his own brother, Theodor the family outcast.

While out with Gustave one day he accompanied his friend into a Church, Alphonse was not too happy about it but Gustave needed to speak with the Priest so Alphonse waited rather uncomfortably in the Church. Suddenly Alphonse felt 'something' move deep within his spirit as he waited for his friend, a feeling of deep peace and a longing for what, exactly? Alphonse grew uncomfortable as he tried to ignore this 'feeling' and the beautiful music within the Church, he started to shift in his seat as he looked for his friend in order to make a hasty retreat.

Alphonse was relieved to leave that place, what was it that he had felt? A few days later he paid a courtesy visit to Baron Theodor de Bussieres and his family, it wasn't long as he listened to the Baron that Alphonse loses his temper and launches an attack against all things Catholic! The Baron was unfazed and then challenged Alphonse to a simple test. Alphonse felt laughter welling in his heart as he found that the 'test' was nothing more than superstitious nonsense to wear the Miraculous Medal, so Alphonse scoffingly accepted this challenge. The Baron though was not finished and he requested that Alphonse also recite the Memorare, this was too much for this hater of the Church!

Though Alphonse hated the Church and all things Catholic he did not wish to show disrespect in front of the family of whom he was a welcome visitor so he accepted the challenge of Baron Theodor as his daughter placed the Miraculous Medal around Alphonse neck. During his stay in Rome Alphonse would occasionally meet up with the Baron who continued to discuss religion with Alphonse, this began to irritate Alphonse immensely.

One day the Baron told Alphonse about a much respected fellow Frenchman, the Comte de la Ferronays who had also embraced Catholicism. The Comte was near death and as a special request he began to pray deeply for the conversion of Alphonse, though moved by the Comte's sentiments Alphonse didn't pay it much heed to what the Baron told him.

A few days later he once again meets Baron Theodor de Bussieres, who was taking Alphonse on his last tour of the city but upon being told of the death of Comte de la Ferronays the Baron needs to see the Priest in order to make some of the funeral arrangements. Feeling uncomfortable Alphonse agreed to go with the Baron rather than appear churlish at such a sorrowful time.

It would be this visit that would change Alphonse forever for as he waited upon his friend, he suddenly saw before him a gold light, Alphonse rubbed his eyes before looking again. There before him stood the most beautiful lady he had ever seen, her sweet and serene expression shames Alphonse who drops his gaze before one so Majestic as this beautiful lady. Alphonse tries to look at her again but he cannot bring himself to behold such purity and beauty so all he see's are her outstretched hands with rays of light emanating from them. Just like he had seen on the Medal, Alphonse quickly picks up the Miraculous Medal and there it is the very same rays of light.

Alphonse was stunned and a little terrified, but this soon disappeared as the beautiful Lady gestured for him to move closer to her, Alphonse did as requested and on his knees he moved closer to the beautiful lady who then said to him, "Enough--that's good!" It is as he is gazing at the rays which seem to pierce through the murky depths of Alphonse very heart and soul and he is moved to tears as through the Grace of God he is given the knowledge of how his sins have grieved the Triune Spirit. Through this experience an infused knowledge is given to Alphonse who quickly understands the Truth's of Catholicism and most especially the Blessed Sacrament, which contains the true Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Alphonse is shaken to his core at such spiritual illuminations.

When Baron Theodor returned he was amazed to see Alphonse kneeling with his head against the rail of the Chapel, he is even more surprised at the change in Alphonse who with tears streaming down his face he describes to the Baron what he has seen and been told. Through his heartrending sobs he cries out, "How happy I am! How good God is! How unbelievers are to be pitied!" Alphonse was no longer an unbeliever!

Baron Theodor is also overcome and encourages Alphonse to accompany him home but as they journeyed in the carriage together Alphonse exclaims to the Baron, "Take me to a confessor! When can I receive baptism, without which I can no longer live?" The Baron complies with Alphonse request and upon talking to a Priest, 11 days later Alphonse is baptized into the Catholic Church.

This was not to be the end as a few months later Alphonse enters the Jesuits where he lives in peace and harmony for 10 years in the bosom of the Church. He also helps his brother Father Theodor to begin a new Order that of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion.

It seems there would be two miracles within the Ratisbonne family the brothers were once again reunited with their combined love for Holy Mother Church and our Lady.

I would encourage all to read more about this miraculous event and to wear this most beautiful medal, The Miraculous Medal as revealed to Saint Catherine Laboure.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Our Lady of Zeitun

Marian Apparitions

It was an ordinary evening in a small town called Zeitun in Egypt, some of the towns people were outside their doors chatting as they waited for their husbands to come home. The day had started as any other day, women cooked the breakfasts for their husbands and children, completed the housework and other chores. Men went to work just like any other ordinary day, some feeling tired while others enjoyed their job. Children did their chores and played games, nothing was different, or was it?

In the year 1968 something very different took place in this nondescript little province of Egypt, for it was the evening of April 2nd that two men noticed a woman who seemed to be floating upon the roof of a Church, the men at first thought they were witnessing a woman in distress and so cried out to save her. Some of the women in neighbouring houses came out to see what the fuss was about and they too saw the woman floating above the Church which was named St Mary's which was of the Orthodox denomination.

Upon hearing of the woman the resident Priest came out to see for himself who was upon the roof of his Church! Even though the Priest mixed among the crowds he himself saw nothing, but one person after another with loud exclamations all saw this floating woman, till finally one of the women cried out, "It is our Holy Mother"!

The crowds stood stunned at such a sight, some were overcome with joy while others fretted that perhaps this was the beginning of the end! None though denied what they were seeing, for indeed it was a woman who seemed to glow as she looked at them from above the Church as she swayed and glided around the roof of the Church. Many people were amazed to see such a thing and right before their very eyes with many thousands of witnesses, some were deeply touched that Our Lady would deign to visit them, simple ordinary folk.

Our Lady rarely shows herself to the elite in society but prefers to reveal herself to little ones who are in need of her special Graces given to her from God. With her appearance at Zeitun our Lady allowed all to see her even political leaders of the country and also the wealthy some of whom were self proclaimed atheists!

Thousands of people poured into this little town to see for themselves this awe inspiring spectacle of the appearance of Mary, but just like Knock our Lady was silent. Many speculated as to the reasons why? Some suggested that this was the very place that the Holy Family had made their home when they had to flee Israel. Others suggested that perhaps Our Lady was warning of future calamities, the answer is no-one knows.

What we do know is that in 1968 Our Lady at times surrounded by lights of angelic beings allowed herself to be seen by thousands of people of all persuasions whether they be atheist, Orthodox, Catholic or Muslim all know and testified to what they had seen with their own eyes and through some of their camera lens as many took photo's of our Lady.

Why did our Lady not speak? Perhaps her silence speaks louder than any words for in the Bible Our Lady spoke very little yet pondered much....maybe it is her example we should follow, to speak little and ponder much on the Mysteries of God as did this most Blessed Mother.

In this age of terror perhaps we need to absorb Our Lady's silent appearance and to contemplate the Will of God in our lives.

I would encourage all to read more about Our Lady of Zeitun.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Visions and Miracles of Saint Padre Pio

Much has been written about that great man of the Church known as Padre Pio, let us examine some of the more extraordinary experiences that touched the life of Padre Pio, those who were close to him and for the world.

Francesco Forgione was born in the year 1887 to poor parents, Grazio and Maria who were farmers in the region of Pietrelcina, though a poor family the Forgione family were rich in love of God and the Church. From early youth the young Francisco had a horror and aversion towards sin to the extent that he would often refuse to play with his contemporaries as they often swore and behaved badly. So the young boy lived a life of deep prayer even in one so young, he felt the call to live as holy as possible in order to please God and God alone! He would often practice penances even to having a rock as his pillow and going without meals, in order to make reparation for his sins and the sins of others. Francisco at the young age of 16 entered the Order of the Capuchin Friars and in January 1903 he took the habit and the name Brother Pio. In 1907 Brother Pio took his final Vows, and was known as Padre Pio.

Though God would touch Padre Pio's life in extraordinary ways, within himself Padre Pio was known for his uncompromising nature, his compassion to all he met and his determination to remain faithful to the Teachings of the Church and his Order, and all in a spirit of humility. Even though he embraced and lived in a spirit of humility and meekness this did not mean that the devil left him alone in fact the opposite was the case, for the devil truly fears a humble and meek spirit that is devoted to God.

Even from a young age the devil would assault this most noble boy with horrible and terrifying dreams, but the young boy held fast to his Faith and trusted in God's Mercy and relied on Him for strength. Upon becoming a Priest the devil increased his attacks upon this holy soul, but now the devil became direct and took to physically attacking this holy Priest with his diabolical assaults upon his person. Padre Pio bore all the pain in a spirit of humbleness and intense prayer as he drew closer to his source of strength, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Through the intensity of his prayer life Padre Pio felt the comforting presence of the Blessed Mother and his Guardian Angel, which strengthened him as his spirit was illumined as to the intensity of the spiritual battle he would face with the enemy of God, Satan himself!

Padre Pio was shown a vision from his youth what this spiritual battle would entail, as he recounted later, "he saw himself in the middle of a large hall between two groups of people, one group had beautiful faces, the other hideous ones. Just then a huge monster came from the end of the hall toward him, but Jesus appeared, in order to give Francesco strength. Before the monster could reach Francesco it was struck by lightening and disappeared. The Lord said to him, "That is the fiend against whom you will have to fight." This vision would prove to be fortuitous, as many pilgrims sought this holy Priest in the Sacrament of Penance, and led Padre Pio into a deeper prayer life, for this holy Priest did not fear Satan but he did fear offending God, a fear shared by many Mystics within the Catholic Church.

Throughout his life Padre Pio had always practiced severe mortifications and austerities in order to overcome the temptation of the body and live for Christ alone. As Padre Pio exclaimed, " I am happier than ever when I am suffering, and if I would listen to the promptings of my heart, I would ask Jesus to give me all the sufferings of men." Though Padre Pio trusted God with absoluteness, he distrusted himself and at times doubts would impose themselves upon him as he confided to a friend, "How difficult, Father, is the way of Christian perfection for a soul so ill-disposed as mine. My badness makes me fearful at every step I take." As in the case of Padre Pio and many other Mystics at times our Lord will allow a soul to undergo extreme aridity of soul in order to strengthen that which is weakest in their nature, but God never abandons a soul even if that soul has lost all 'feelings' of God.

God knows man's frailty and so illuminates the soul with the Spirit and comforts the afflicted soul with His own Presence and also the comforting presence of our Lady, which strengthens the soul to continue to fight the good fight. Padre Pio was also Graced with the Gift of bi-location, and also carried within him the odor of sanctity, where people could smell the scent of roses wherever Padre Pio happened to be. Another Gift given to Padre Pio was the Stigmata where a soul is marked with the sufferings of the Crucified Christ, upon their person, when this first occurred Padre Pio described these wounds as such to his Superior, "red patches, about the size of a cent, and accompanied by acute pain....the pain was much more acute in the left hand and it still persists. I also feel some pain in he soles of my feet." This Gift of the Stigmata would bring both joy and suffering to this holy Priest as he became the focus of much unwanted attention, this truly mortified this humble Priest, as he and his Superiors coped with the ever growing crowds of people who came to be near Padre Pio. Around this time Padre Pio also described another extraordinary occurrence to his Superior, "While I was hearing the confessions of our boys on the evening of 5th, I was suddenly filled with extreme terror at the sight of a celestial being whom I saw with my mind's eye. He held a kind of weapon in his hand, similar to a steel sword with a sharp, flaming point. At the very instant I saw all this, I saw the person hurl the weapon into my soul with all his might. It was all done in a split second. I was hardly able to cry out and felt as if I were dying. I cannot ell you how much I suffered during this period of anguish. Even my insides were torn and ruptured by that weapon, everything lashed by fire and steel. From that day on, I was wounded to death. In the depths of my soul, I feel an open wound with causes me to suffer continual agony." Only few Saints have been honoured to share the wounds of Christ, one of whom was St. Francis of Assisi.

Once people heard about this miraculous occurrence and the other Gifts given to Padre Pio they flocked to him in thousands, whereupon Padre Pio would often be in the Confessional for up to and over 18 hours a day. This remarkable Priest also had the Gift of reading souls, so those people who came to him through the Sacrament of Penance would often be reminded by him of their forgotten sins. These are the testimonies of several people who experienced Padre Pio's extraordinary Gifts. In one case a man felt he had sinned by gluttony and so he went to see Padre Pio as he explains in his own words, "Once I ate too many figs and I felt guilty about it. I thought I had committed a sin of gluttony. Since I would have confession with Padre Pio the next day I thought I would confess it then. The following day as I was walking slowly on the road to the convent, I made an examination of conscience. The sin of gluttony did not come to mind. Padre Pio heard my confession but before concluding and before the absolution I said to him, "I think I am guilty of yet another sin but I can’t remember it." "Don’t worry," he answered me smiling: "for two figs." This is another testimony by a man who went to Padre Pio in the Confessional, "I had decided to give up smoking and to offer this small sacrifice to Padre Pio. Since then, every evening, with the intact packet of cigarettes in my hand, I stayed in front of his image telling him, ‘ is one...’ The second day, ‘Padre, it is two…’ Three months later, I went to San Giovanni Rotondo to see Padre Pio after doing the same thing every evening. ‘Padre,’ I told him as soon as I saw him, ‘I haven't been smoking for 81 days, 81 packets...’ Padre Pio said, ‘I know everything you know, you made me count the packets every evening." Though Padre Pio was a compassionate and kind Priest still he had no time for hypocrites as is seen by these two cases who also went to him for Confession, "A man of some distinction within his own community had the reputation of being a good Catholic, admired and esteemed by all who knew him. Actually he was living in sin. He had neglected his wife, and was now compensating for his loneliness by a relationship with another woman. On one occasion he went to confession to Padre Pio. In order to justify himself, he started talking about a "spiritual crisis." But he had not counted on facing an "extraordinary" confessor. Padre Pio stood up at once and shouted, "What spiritual crisis? You are a litterbug! And God is angry with you. Go away!" As is seen here Padre Pio had no time for those who were trying to use and abuse the Sacrament of Penance for their own purposes. Once again we have another case of a woman caught in serious sin when she went to Padre Pio, "A woman had come from England to see Padre Pio and for him to hear her confession. She went to his confessional but Padre Pio closed the window saying: "I am not available to you." The woman stayed for a few weeks and during this time, daily returned to his confessional and daily was turned away. Finally, Padre Pio consented to hear her confession. She asked the Padre why he made her wait so long to be heard. Padre Pio answered: "And You?" "How long have you made Our Lord wait?" You should wonder how Jesus could welcome you after you committed so many sacrileges. You have delayed your judgment for years, besides sinning against your husband and your mother you have received Holy Communion in mortal sin. The woman was stunned and reformed. She cried when she received absolution. She returned to England a few days later, very happy." It is here that we learn a valuable lesson in the seriousness of sin and to not take the Sacrament of Penance without complete remorse and sorrow for one's sins!

There were also many miraculous events which happened near or around Padre Pio, once during the years of the war food had got so low that many of his fellow Priests were in terrible need of bread. As the townsfolk were also suffering the Priests gave much of their food rations away till one day they were left with hardly no supplies for themselves, so they prayed that the Lord would provide them with some sustenance whereupon the Priests were amazed to see Padre Pio's arms full of bread. When his fellow Priests questioned as to how Padre Pio came upon such a treasure he replied that a pilgrim had knocked on the door and given the bread to him. Another miraculous event occurred when a mother and father who were at Mass came home to find that their young daughter had been accidentally burned in a hot tub of water. The parents immediately sent for a doctor who told them to take their daughter immediately to hospital as she could die at any moment. The parents were terrified and in deep anguish over their beloved child, when suddenly they heard their daughter cry out to them as she said, "Mommy, I don’t have a wound anymore!" "Who has taken your wound?" I asked her out of curiosity. She answered: "Father Pio has come. He took my wounds by putting his whole hand on my burn."

Even the Holy Souls in Purgatory would seek out the help of this holy Priest. One such case was when a soul from Purgatory appeared before Padre Pio, he then told Padre Pio that he had died in a fire and that God had granted him permission that he was able to visit Padre Pio and to request a Mass be offered for the repose of his soul. The next morning Padre Pio offered up the Mass and the soul was able to enter Paradise to spend eternity in Heaven. Another case was when a woman who had just lost her mother appealed to Padre Pio, whereupon after offering a Mass for the repose of her mothers soul, she too entered Eternal Glory into the Kingdom of Heaven.

These are only a few of the miraculous events which happened around Saint Padre Pio a most holy Son of the Church.

I would encourage all to read more about this most illustrious Saint, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.

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