Stories

March 14, 2019

Maria Domenica Lazzeri

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Maria Domenica Lazzeri was born on March 16, 1815, in Capriana, Italy. For a year between the ages of 17 and 18, she fell ill, but began to help the sick, anyone who was in need, regardless of the epidemics that were prevalent or the danger to her own health.

When she was 19, she became bedridden. She began to eat less and less. Beginning at Easter, 1834, a doctor was called and began to record how much she was eating. During the course of the ensuing year, she progressed to the point where she consumed no food except the Holy Eucharist.

The following year, she received the Stigmata, soon to be followed by a mystical crown of thorns. Each Thursday, the Stigmata would reappear and on Fridays, she would relive the Passion, bleeding upwards from the feet, in ways that her doctor described as defying the laws of physics.

She is said to have a number of other extraordinary abilities, such as the knowledge of future events, the gift of bilocation, a capability in languages she never studied and the ability to hear and then repeat sermons said in a nearby Catholic church.

Her condition of being bedridden, as well as her sustenance on nothing but the Eucharist, lasted for the final 14 years of her life.

Source: http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2010/07/maria-dominica-lazzari-mystic-stigmatic.html

March 13, 2019

Why Catholic Cathedrals are Beautiful

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“It became obvious why Catholics had built such beautiful cathedrals and churches throughout the world. Not as gathering or meeting places for Christians. But as a home for Jesus Himself in the Blessed Sacrament. Cathedrals house Jesus. Christians merely come and visit Him. The cathedrals and churches architecturally prepare our souls for the beauty of the Eucharist.”

― Allen R. Hunt, Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor: How I Discovered the Hidden Treasures of the Catholic Church

March 12, 2019

Heroine of Ecuador

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St. Mariana de Jesus de Paredes was canonized by Pope Pius XII on June 4, 1950. She lived more than 300 years earlier.

Born on October 31, 1618 in present-day Ecuador, she went to live with her married sister at age 7, when she was orphaned. She lived a life of seclusion in her sister’s house, except for visits to the Blessed Sacrament in the nearby Jesuit church.

She received Holy Communion each morning, and except for only an ounce of food every 8-10 days, she lived on the Eucharist alone.

A number of miracles are accorded to her, including predictions of the future, cures of the sick and, in one case, bringing someone back to life.

In 1645, an earthquake besieged her home of Quito. During a homily, a priest publicly offered his life to God in exchange for an end to the turmoil. She then immediately came forward and said, “No Lord, the life of this priest is necessary to save many souls, but I am not necessary.” She offered her own life instead.

The next day, she began to take ill and, shortly thereafter, on May 26, 1645, she died at the age of 27.

In 1946, Ecuador awarded her the title, Heroine of the Nation, and several years thereafter, she was canonized as related above.

Source: https://aleteia.org/2019/02/10/this-heroine-of-ecuador-lived-on-nothing-but-the-eucharist/.

March 11, 2019

A Child’s Teaching

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In the Holy Eucharist the Good Shepherd feeds His sheep with the Bread of Life which is His Flesh. We need this food to live as sheep of the fold of Christ and to keep His life strong and growing in us. Without it we would grow sick and die on the way. To be good and strong we need it often.

Source: The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism, explained by Kelley, Rev. Bennet, C.P. (N.Y., Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1964) p. 125.

March 10, 2019

Conversation with a Priest

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Yesterday, in speaking to a priest I know, he revealed that there have been several times during his career when he has been a witness to something extraordinary, although he treated it with almost a certain air of nonchalance. The word “nonchalance” is one to which I am sure he would not agree, but that is how I might best characterize his tone of voice as he related the events described below. It comes from a firm faith that the special is not extraordinary with the Eucharist, because the Eucharist itself is indeed special.

At every Mass, those responsible for seeing to it a sufficient number of hosts are available for Communion, by necessity, make an estimate of that amount. Invariably, over time, some estimates fall short. The priest said that in many such instances, Hosts are broken in half or even other fractions in order to overcome the difficulty. But there have been a few times, not just once, when, this priest said, although he should have run out, he did not. He was not aware how it occurred, he did not see any multiplication actually happen, but there just seemed to be more Hosts in the ciborium. More would simply be there, again and again.

He carefully pointed out that, in each of these cases, he had been fervently praying as the episode was transpiring.

Then, he told me something that surprised still further. He said that he had known other priests that had similar experiences. They had exchanged their stories with each other like other people do at work. While these instances are by no means commonplace in any possible sense of the word, they are out there, and more often than we know.

March 9, 2019

Early Church Catechesis

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(I) … Therefore, when he has spoken and says about the bread, “This is my Body,” who will have the nerve to doubt any longer? And, when he affirms clearly, “This is my Blood,” who will then doubt, saying this is not his Blood?” …

(III) Therefore, with all confidence we receive this as the Body and Blood of Christ. For in the type of bread the Body is given to you, and in the type of win the Blood is given to you, so that, partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, you may become one Body and one Blood with Christ. And so we become Christ-bearers …

– From the Mystagogic Catechesis, a series of sermons from the Church in Jerusalem during the late 4th or early 5th centuries, given to the recently baptized.

Source: O’Connor, Rev. James T., The Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist (San Francisco, Ignatius Press 1988) p. 27-28.

March 8, 2019

Sister Bernadette Moriau

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There have been 70 cures at the shrine to Our Lady at Lourdes, France which have been officially recognized as miraculous. Here is the 70th.

Sister Bernadette Moriau was raised in a devout family. Her parents were members of the Franciscan Third Order. She herself entered the Congregation of the Franciscan Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus some 60 years ago. For two years, she cared for the sick. Then, she began to experience problems with her vertebral column, for which she has had four surgeries. After operations in 1965 an 1968, she was moved into a living area where she was one of the sick herself.

Some 40 years later, she was in an infirmary in Nantes, in northwestern France. Shortly thereafter, she met Dr. Fumery, who had been leading pilgrimages to Lourdes for 40 years. He asked her to go. At this time, Sister Moriau had been on morphine for some 14 years. While she could still walk, her condition was degrading and she was, in her words, “headed for paralysis. She had come to be at peace with her condition and no longer believed in a miracle for herself. Still, she decided to go to Lourdes in July of 2008, to participate in the celebration marking the fact that it had been 150 years since the apparitions of Our Lady to Bernadette Soubirous.

At Lourdes, she received the Sacrament of Reconciliation ad the Sacrament of the Sick. Then she went to the pools and to the Saint Pius X Basilica. There, during the procession of the Holy Sacrament, the Bishop, Monsignor James, came to bless the sick with the monstrance. She said that, when he came towards her and the others in her midst, she: “had these words in my heart, Jesus saying to me: ‘I walk in your midst, I see your suffering, that of your sick brothers and sisters, give Me all.’ At that moment, I truly felt this living presence of Christ and I asked for healing for my sick brothers and sisters who were next to me, particularly for the youngest.”

Afterwards, she returned home. She rested for three days, still wearing a corset and a splint on her leg and foot. She also still had the neuro-stimulator and the self-probes that she had lived with for the last 10 years.

On the third day after her return, she went to the chapel, for adoration of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It was at 5:45 pm, the same hour as the procession of the Holy Eucharist at Lourdes, that she felt a “great relaxation and a warmth,” that felt as if it, “invaded her.” Not knowing what this meant, she went to her room. There, she “perceived” a voice that said to her, “pick up your equipment.” She picked up the equipment of her foot and leg and her foot was straightened. She could put her foot on the floor. Then she took off her corset, and no longer had any pain to move. She left her room and told another sister, “I don’t know what’s happening to me.” She stopped the neuro-stimulator; she stopped the morphine abruptly, without any symptoms of withdrawl; she stopped the self-probes. The following day, she took a walk in the forest, for five kilometers.

On July 15, she went to see Dr. Fumery. He was astounded, but understood. She had been cured.

Source: https://zenit.org/articles/my-life-is-a-miracle-sister-bernadette-moriaus-experience-healed-at-lourdes/

March 7, 2019

The Power to Subdue Passion

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Sacrament of the Lord’s precious Body and Blood … effects two things in us: it lessens our inclination to lesser sins, and it prevents our consenting to all those that are more serious. If any of you feels the urge to anger or jealousy or self-indulgence or is guilty of any of those things less often and less sharply than he used to do, let him thank the Body and Blood of the Lord; for the power of the sacrament is at work in him.

– St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Source: Gaudoin-Parker, Michael, The Real Presence Through the Ages (New York, Alba House, 1993) p. 84-85.

March 6, 2019

Maiden Lane Church

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During the 1920s, an assistant pastor by the name of Fulton J. Sheen was serving at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Soho Square, London. Every morning, when he opened the church at 7:00 a.m., a certain man would enter. He would stay until 9:00 and then receive Communion. Afterwards, he would remain in the church until 11:30, only to return in the afternoon and stay until the church closed in the evening.

After several months, Fr. Sheen approached the man and asked him, “were you always as good as you are now?” The man replied that, considering the grace he had received, he was “1,000 time worse now than I ever was.” The man then proceeded to recount that he had been an alcoholic. He was so bad that, when he came to the entrance of the pub, he would take off his shoes so that he could sell them for the price of some drink. But, the man said, every Ash Wednesday, he would take a pledge to remain sober, and faithfully kept it each time until Easter Sunday. Well, one year he reasoned with himself that, if he could do it for 40 days, he could do it for 40 years.

His exuberance was soon supplanted by a severe test. Descending the three steps into Corpus Christi Catholic Church on Maiden Lane in London, also simply called Maiden Lane Church, he proceeded all the way to the front pew, for a Benediction that was to be conducted. As Fr. Carney placed his hands on the monstrance, the man said he felt an “overwhelming passion.” The passion, however, was of the distinctly unpleasant variety. It was a passion for drink and vice. He said, “if the temptations of a lifetime were concentrated in one moment, they could not equal that agony.” He could not stand to stay in the pew. He exited the pew and ran the entire length of church, down the main aisle, and then stumbled on the three steps. As the Benediction bell rang, he “tore out” his heart, pleading with Christ for forgiveness and promising Him that he would go to confession.

Since that time, he told Fr. Sheen, he had no more drink and spent his days in prayer. Fr. Sheen asked him how much time he spent on average. The man replied, “18 hours.” Fr. Sheen then asked, “what do you consider a good day?” The man said, “24.”

He further explained that he lives in the same dive that he did when he was an alcoholic. Each night, he kneels beside his simple cot and prays for all the alcoholics in the world.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNZPvk6wB6k

December 24, 2018

The Joy of Having Christmas Every Day

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The Holy Eucharist is the continuation of Christ’s incarnation on earth. The mystery of the Eucharist gives us the joy of having Christmas every day. When we come to the Blessed Sacrament we come to Bethlehem, a name which means “house of bread.” Jesus chose to be born in Bethlehem because He would dwell with us forever as the “Living Bread” come down from heaven. When the shepherds and Magi came to adore Him, they brought Him so much joy with their humble visit to Bethlehem that their visit has been praised and retold down through the centuries. God has never stopped honoring them for honoring His Son in Bethlehem. So too, your humble visit to Jesus today in the Blessed Sacrament brings Him so much joy that it will be retold for all eternity and bring the world closer to His promise of peace on earth.

– St. Teresa of Calcutta

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