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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Saint Dymphna.


Saint Dymphna was born in the seventh century. Her father, Damon was a pagan and her mother was a very beautiful and devout Christian. When Dymphna was fourteen her mother died.

Damon, her father, is said to have been afflicted with a mental illness, brought on by his grief. He sent messengers throughout his own and other lands to find some woman of noble birth, resembling his wife, who would be willing to marry him. When none could be found, his evil advisers told him to marry his own daughter.

Dymphna, with the help of St. Ocrebran, her confessor and two other friends ran away. Her father found them in Belgium and he gave orders that the priest be executed. He tried to persuade Dymphna to return to Ireland with him. When she refused, he drew his sword and executed her. She was only fifteen years old.


Dymphna was made a martyr in defense of her purity. She is the patron of those suffering from nervous and mental afflictions. Many miracles have taken place at her shrine, built on the spot where she was buried in Gheel, Belgium.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Saint Louise de Marillac



Louise was born on August 15, 1591, in France. She had always wanted to be a religious but because of her poor health, many of the orders would not let her join. She married Antony Le Gras in 1611, an official to the queen. Her husband died thirteen years after their marriage, leaving Louise with a son.

Saint Vincent de Paul was her confessor. He organized groups of men and women to help the poor and the sick in each parish, and from them, with the help of Louise started the Daughters of Charity dedicated to the bodily and spiritual service of the poor.

Ten years later, the Sisters of Charity was approved by the Church. Louise took her vows in that order and served as its superior.


Saint Vincent said that the chapel of the Sisters is the parish church, their cloister the streets of the city and the wards of the hospitals.

Louise was a woman of great courage, and remarkable self-sacrifice in spite of her feeble health. She was most willing to humble herself in doing works of charity. She was always motherly in dealing with the Sisters as well as the poor and the sick.

In her last days she said to her grieving Sisters: "Be diligent in serving the poor. Love the poor, honor them, my children, as you would honor Christ Himself." She died on March 15, 1660.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Saint Julie Billiart


Mary Rose Julie Billiart was born in Belgium. She was the sixth of seven children. Her parents Jean-Frangois Billiart and Marie-Louise-Antoinette Debraine were peasant farmers. Her uncle, the village school teacher, taught her to read and write.

Although she was not a very good student, she loved to study her catechism. In fact, when she was just seven, Julie knew her catechism by heart and would explain it to other little children. When her parents became poor, she worked hard to help support the family. She even went to harvest the crops. Yet she always found time to pray, to visit the sick, and to teach catechism.

When she was fourteen she decided she would not marry but give her life to God. Instead she spent her life serving and teaching the poor.

While she was still a young woman, she was sitting beside her father when some one shot at him. The shock made her very ill and completely paralyzed. Although helpless, Julie offered her prayers so that sinners would find eternal happiness with God. She was closer to God than ever and kept on teaching catechism from bed.

Julie was very holy and people came to her for advice because she helped them grow closer to Jesus and practice their faith with more love. She encouraged everyone who came to her to receive Holy Communion often.

Many young women were inspired by Julie's love for God. They were willing to spend their time and money for good works. With Julie as their leader, they started the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and were devoted to the Christian education of girls.

Once a priest gave a mission in the town where Julie was. He asked her to make a novena with him for an intention which was a secret. After five days, on the feast of the Sacred Heart, he said: "Mother, if you have faith, take one step in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus." Mother Billiart, who had been paralyzed for twenty-two years, stood up and was healed!

St. Julie spent the rest of her life looking after and training young women to become sisters. People who did not understand her mission, hurt her a lot, but she always trusted God. Her favorite words were: "How good is the good God."

God rewarded her by helping her religious congregation to grow. By the time St. Julie died on April 8, 1816, there were already fifteen convents. Today there are many of St. Julie's sisters of Notre Dame all over the world.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Blessed Joan of Toulouse


A few Carmelite brothers from Palestine started a monastery in Toulouse, France in 1240. The great Carmelite priest, St. Simon Stock, visited Toulouse twenty-five years later. A good and devout woman asked to see him. She introduced herself simply as Joan.

Joan earnestly asked the priest if she could join the Carmelite order as an associate. St. Simon Stock who was the head of the order agreed and granted Joan’s request. Joan became the first lay associate. She received the habit of the Carmelite order and in the presence of St. Simon Stock, she made a promise to always be chaste and pure.

Joan continued her quiet, simple life in her own home. She tried to be as faithful as possible to the rules of the Carmelites for the rest of her life. Joan went to daily Mass and devotions at the Carmelite church.

She spent the rest of the day visiting the poor, the sick and the lonely. She trained the altar boys. She helped the elderly and those who were weak and frail by performing tasks and running errands for them. Joan prayed with them and brightened many lives with her cheerful conversations.

Blessed Joan carried a picture of the crucified Jesus in her pocket. That was her "book." Every now and then, she would pull out the picture and gaze at it. Her eyes would light up. People said that Joan read some new and wonderful lesson every time she studied the picture.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Saint Isaac Jogues, Saint John De Brebeuf and Companions


More than three hundred years ago, six Jesuit priests and two holy laymen, all from France, died as martyrs in North America. These eight men were some of the bravest and most daring missionaries in the New World.

They put their own lives in danger to bring Jesus to the Indian people. They worked very hard and were able to convert many of the Huron tribe. But the Iroquois, bitter enemies of the Hurons, put them all to death.

Isaac Jogues was a Jesuit priest who was sent as a missionary to New France in Canada. This was a very difficult job. Not only were the living conditions hard, but the locals blamed the "Blackrobes", the priests, for any disease, bad-luck or other problems they had. The Mohawks captured and made him suffer for thirteen months. During that time, he tried to teach the Faith to anyone who would listen. When he was set free by the Dutch, he went back to France to get better, but as soon as he could, he returned to North America to continue his work.

Father Jogues had his head chopped off with a tomahawk (large axe) by the Bear Clan of the Mohawks.

When St. John de Brebeuf was in France, he had tuberculosis and was so sick that he could not teach much. But then he too was sent as a missionary to New France. There the harsh and hearty climate agreed with him so well that the Native Indians called him Echon or load-bearer. He was so huge that they were afraid to share a canoe with him as they feared it might sink.

Although he was a famous professor of Theology in France, it took him a long time to learn the Huron language. Finally he was able to write a catechism in Huron for the native people. He also wrote a French-Huron dictionary and a list of Instructions for other Jesuit Missionaries on how to work well with the Indians. He was a wonderful and brave apostle of Jesus and his courage amazed the fierce Iroquois as they tortured him to death.

St. Gabriel Lallemont was also tortured to death with St. John de Brebeuf.

St. Anthony Daniel had just finished celebrating Mass for his Huron converts, those who had become Christians, when the Iroquois attacked the village. The Christian Indians begged him to try and escape. But Father Daniel stayed. He wanted to help all those who were crying to him for Baptism before they would be killed. The Iroquois burned him to death in his little chapel.

St. Charles Garnier was shot by an Iroquois musket during a surprise attack, but he still tried to crawl to help a dying man. When the Iroquois saw this they angrily killed him with a hatchet blow.

Father Noel Chabenel found the life of a missionary very hard, but had made a promise to stay in North America. He was killed by a Huron traitor using a tomahawk.

The two lay helpers, Rene Goupil and John Lalande, were also both killed with tomahawks.

These brave martyrs were heroes of Christ and gave their lives for the native people of North America so that they too could know the love and friendship of Jesus. After their death, new missionaries were able to convert almost every tribe that the martyrs had known.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Feast of the Holy Innocents


December 28

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Wise Men, or Magi came from the east to worship him. They went to Herod, the king, looking for the newborn king of the Jews, the Savior.

Herod was a very bad man. When he heard that these Wise Men were looking for a newborn king, he began to worry about losing his throne.


But he did not let the Wise Men know what he was thinking. He called in his chief priests and asked them where the Bible says the Messiah was to be born. They answered: Bethlehem.

"Go and find out about this child," the wicked king said to the Wise Men. "When you have found out where he is, come and tell me. Then I, too, will go and worship him."


The Wise Men agreed and continued on their way, following the star. They found Jesus the Messiah, with Mary and Joseph. They adored him and offered their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

But in their sleep an angel warned them not to go back to Herod. Then an angel asked Saint Joseph to take Mary and Baby Jesus into Egypt. In this way, God spoiled Herod's plans to harm little Baby Jesus.

When Herod realized that the Wise Men had not come back to him, he became very angry. He was an evil, horrible man, and now the fear of losing his throne made him worse.

He sent his soldiers to kill all the little baby boys of Bethlehem in the hope of killing Jesus too. The soldiers had to obey his order. There was great sorrow in the little town of Bethlehem, as mothers wept when their beloved babies were killed.

These little children are honored today by the Church as martyrs. They are called the Holy Innocents.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas- The Birth of Jesus

December 25

About two thousand years ago, in the town of Nazareth, there lived a young woman named Mary. She was engaged to be married to Joseph, a carpenter. One day an angel appeared before her and told her she had been chosen to have a special baby. The baby would be God's son and she must call him Jesus. Soon after the angel's visit, Mary and Joseph were married.

Mary was due to have her baby when they were told they had to go on a long journey to Bethlehem, which was where Joseph came from.This was because they had to pay a special tax. Mary had to ride on a donkey for a few days over the hills of Gallilee.

At last Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem. It was crowded with other people who needed to pay their taxes. Mary was very tired and needed a place to stay. At each inn, the story was the same. There was no room for them. Eventually, , one kind innkeeper said he had a stable where he kept his animals. They were welcome to stay there.

And so it was that a few hours later, Mary gave birth to her son in that stable. She wrapped Jesus in strips of cloth and laid Him in a manger full of hay.

At the same time, on a hillside overlooking Bethlehem, some shepherds were watching over their sheep. A bright light appeared in the sky. They were very afraid. It was an angel sent by God. The angel told them not to be afraid, because he had some good news. He said the Son of God had been born and they would find Him in Bethlehem.

The shepherds wanted to go and see the baby. When they arrived at the stable, they were filled with joy at seeing Jesus lying in the manger. They knelt down and worshipped Him. They told Mary and Joseph how the angel had appeared in the sky and told them that Jesus was to be the Savior of the world.

Then they went away giving praise and glory to God.

The great prophets of the Old Testament had been comforted by the thought that someday the Savior would come into the world. Now he had been born among us. Christ came for all of us.
The Bible says: "God so loved the world that he sent his only-begotten Son."

We must rejoice because we know that as always, God had kept his wonderful promise!

We have Jesus' teachings, his Church and Jesus himself on our altars at every Mass. Christmas is the time when we realize more than ever how much God loves us.