Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Saint Colette The Franciscan

Nicolette was named in honor of St. Nicholas of Myra. Her loving parents nicknamed her Colette from the time she was a baby. Colette's father was a carpenter at an abbey in Picardy. Quiet and hard-working, Colette was a big help to her mother with the housework. Her parents noticed the child's liking for prayer and her sensitive, loving nature. When she was a little girl Saint Francis appeared to her in a vision one day. He asked her to love God very much. "And make your sisters good nuns," he begged her.

When Colette was seventeen, both her parents died. She was placed under the care of the abbot at the monastery where her father had worked. Colette lived in a hut built next to the abbey church. She spent her time praying and sacrificing for Jesus' Church.

Many people knew about this holy young woman. They went to see her and asked her advice about important problems. They knew that she was wise because she was close to God. She received everybody with gentle kindness. After each visit, she would pray that her visitors would find peace of soul.

Colette was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis. During Colette's time, the Poor Clares needed to go back to the original purpose of their order. St. Francis of Assisi had appeared to Colette and asked her to reform the Poor Clares. She must have been surprised and afraid of such a difficult task. But she trusted in God's grace. Colette traveled to the Poor Clare convents and helped the nuns become more poor and prayerful. She showed them how happy a good nun is and taught them how to take care of the poor and teach little children about Jesus Christ.

The Poor Clares were inspired by St. Colette's life. She had a great devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist. She also spent time frequently meditating on the passion and death of Jesus. She loved Jesus and her religious vocation very much.

Colette knew exactly when and where she was going to die. She died in one of her convents in 1447. She was sixty-seven. Colette was proclaimed a Saint by Pope Pius VI in 1807.

St. Colette teaches us that even if what we are asked to do is hard, we can find joy just the same. We can do this by keeping in close touch each day with God.

Saint Clare

Clare was the daughter of a count and countess. She heard St. Francis preach in the streets of Assisi and told him of her desire to give herself to God. They became close friends.

At the age of eighteen, Clare became the first follower of Saint Francis when she left her home on Palm Sunday night in order to be consecrated as the handmaid of Christ. Francis cut off her hair and Clare gave her life to Christ.

In an old house outside Assisi she started her Order of the Poor Clares. She also chose to live with the privilege of poverty. She placed her security in the providence of God and trusted He would take care of her through the goodness of the faithful. Later, her sister and mother and other noble ladies joined her. They lived a life of prayer, silence, and fasting.

Saint Clare was the first woman in history to write a Rule. She took her form of life from Saint Francis who wanted to live the Gospel radically. She also had a deep devotion to Our Blessed Mother. As Francis was called to imitate Jesus in a radical and total way, Clare was called to imitate Mary.

Clare also had a deep devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. When the Saracens attacked her monastery, she had herself led to the door with the Blessed Sacrament. She begged Jesus to protect her Sisters whom she was unable to protect. She heard the voice of our Lord promise: "I WILL ALWAYS PROTECT YOU." The Saracens fled in terror, and peace returned.

During her illness of twenty-eight years, the Holy Eucharist was her strength. She died in 1253.

The name Clare means light.
As Clare was a radiant light in the dark thirteenth century she continues to be a brilliant light for all people.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Saint Gerard Majella

Gerard was born in the year 1726 to a poor family, because he was so sick his parents had him baptized immediately, but he was able to recover from sickness.

Sadly for the Majellan family the father died when Gerard was only 12 years, but Gerard was strong enough to care for his family and so he went to work as a tailor to help make clothes. During this sad time, little Gerard like to pray a lot and he dearly loved our Blessed Mother and would often pray before the Blessed Sacrament.

His boss who saw him praying one day, decided to be mean and unkind to little Gerard, but this little boy took no notice of being teased as he kept a strong prayer life and kept his devotion to our Blessed Mother.

Gerard had a real love for Mothers and so he prayed that God would protect all Mothers from harm, most especially if they were pregnant. He spent many hours praying for Mothers and their babies, so that families all over the world would be happy and healthy.

Even when someone told a very nasty lie about him, still Gerard kept praying and in silence waited for God to reveal the truth, which God did and the person admitted she had lied against Gerard.

Gerard would spend many long hours praying before the Blessed Sacrament even forgetting to go home for meals, so his mother, Mrs Majella would go to Church to call her son home for dinner.

What Gerard wanted most was to become a Priest and serve our Lord by serving and being to kind to all peoples, but most especially Mothers and little babies. So after trying to join several Religious Orders and being rejected, finally Gerard was accepted into the Redemptorist Order, this made Gerard so very happy.

Through all this time Gerard was also able to perform miracles as a special Grace from God. Because he was such a good Priest, many people listened to him and decided to accept God into their hearts. Gerard was also known to cure those who were sick and even restored a young boy who had fallen from a great height back to life through his prayer.

But one day Gerard got very sick and was unable to get better so God called Gerard to Heaven to spend eternity with Him and our Blessed Mother.

Copyright © 2006 Steve Smith. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha

Kateri was the daughter of a Native American Chief from the Mohawk Tribe. She grew up loving Jesus because her mother had converted to Christianity.

But when Kateri was still very little, both her parents died and little Kateri became nearly blind because of the disease that spread through her village. It was thought best that little Kateri be raised by her uncle who was also an Mohawk Chief, and her aunts.

For a while Kateri was very happy and helped out in her village by doing chores and helping her aunts. Kateri also loved nature and would often go for long walks in the woods. It was during these walks that Kateri would remember the man Jesus, who her mother had loved so much.

One day, a Catholic Missionary named Father de Lamberville, came to live near her village and taught some of the children in the area about Jesus. Through his teachings and the memory of her Mothers prayer, little Kateri decided she too wanted to be a Christian, so the Father Baptised Kateri and she was accepted into the Catholic Church.

This made her uncle very angry and some of the members of her tribe were mean to Kateri. This made Kateri very sad, and so she decided to leave her village.

Kateri then set off on a very long journey through woods and rivers to reach the Catholic Mission which was 200 miles away in Canada. When Kateri arrived at the Mission she was very tired and so she was allowed to receive the Eucharist, this made Kateri very happy.

For the rest of her life, Kateri prayed to Jesus and Our Lady, the people in the Mission loved Kateri because she was always so happy.

Kateri died very young, so now she lives in Heaven with Jesus and Mary.
Copyright © 2006 Steve Smith. All rights reserved.

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Blessed Kateri And The Cross In The Forest

Blessed Kateri And The Cross In The Forest

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Saint Catherine Of Alexandria

Catherine was born of a well-known and noble family in Alexandria. She was converted to Christianity when Jesus appeared to her in a vision. Catherine was very well educated and studied very hard. She was very devout and always made time to pray quietly to God.

In the days of Catherine the Christians were being persecuted by Emperor Maxentius. Many were executed. Catherine fearlessly practiced her faith and by her example and words many people converted to Christianity and were baptized. When the Emperor heard of this he had the converts burnt over a fire.

When Catherine was eighteen years old, she went to the Emperor and told him to stop attacking the Christians and to stop serving false gods. He was very angered and insulted by what Catherine had told him. Catherine was told to deny her Faith but she would not. She was questioned by the scholars and she converted many of them to Christianity.

Catherine was arrested and imprisoned. While in prison, Catherine became friends with the Emperor’s wife. She was very moved by Catherine and all she said. The Emperor’s wife soon converted to Christianity along with most of her household. Emperor Maxentius was very angry when he heard this and sentenced his wife and her servants to death!

Catherine was also sentenced to death! She was to be tortured on a spiked wheel! Miracles happened! When she touched the wheel it fell apart! The Emperor ordered that Catherine’s head be cut off. When she was beheaded, the Angels from Heaven carried her intact body to Mount Sinai! Later on, a church and convent were built in her honor.

We can ask St. Catherine to help us grow in love for the truths of our faith as she did.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Saint Lawrence

Lawrence was a fine young Roman. He had a great sense of humor.

He was the first deacon to serve the Roman Church. Lawrence was in charge of the Church property and distributing among the poor the offerings given by the Christians. He also took care of the sick and poor.

The Romans thought that Lawrence was the treasurer of the Church. They arrested him and ordered him to give them the treasures of the Church. Lawrence agreed. He took them to the hospital where the poor and the sick lived. Lawrence knew how much God loves the poor and needy, they were indeed the treasures of the Church. The Romans were furious because they expected to find gold and precious stones.

The Romans sentenced him to death. They put him over a fire. Through this intense pain, Lawrence could still joke. As he was being burnt he told them to turn him over because he was done on this side.

Even through his pain, God gave Lawrence the strength to endure the pain and a deep happiness.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Saint Agnes

Young Saint Agnes lived in Rome at a time when it was against the law to be Christian. Her name means 'lamb'. She was young, wealthy and beautiful. Agnes was gentle and pure. Many young men wanted to marry her but she refused them all saying that she had chosen Someone else. The young men were very angry because Agnes refused to marry them so they accused her of being a Christian.

They brought her before a judge and tried to frighten her into saying that she was not a Christian. Agnes would not say that she was not a Christian because she was a Christian. They showed her some of the instruments they would use torture her and a great big fire. Agnes was not afraid and refused to betray her God.

They bound her hands and feet and seeing that Agnes was not afraid of pain, they had her clothes stripped off and she had to stand in the street before a pagan crowd. She cried out “Christ will protect His own.” A miracle happened! Her hair grew so long that it covered her entire body!

Agnes was offered the hand of a rich man in marriage but she refused saying “Christ is my Spouse. He chose me first and His I will be. He made my soul beautiful with the jewels of grace and virtue. I belong to Him Whom the Angels serve.” The judge ordered that she be put to death thinking that Agnes would change her mind but she would not.

She bowed her head in prayer and then bowed her head to the sword above her. At one stroke her head was cut off.

Saint Agnes was a martyr. A martyr is someone who chooses to die rather than betray their religious beliefs. She gave her life for the love of God and His Church.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Saint Bernadette

Bernadette was the daughter of a miller in the town of Lourdes. Her family was very poor but very devout in their faith. She was always sick. One day when she was fourteen years, she was out gathering firewood with her sister and a friend. They reached a river. There was washed up wood on the other side of the river near a little grotto. A grotto is a small cave.

Bernadette had a bad cough and remembering that her mother told her not to get wet did not want to cross the river. Her sister and friend ran across the river and Bernadette not wanting to be left took off her shoes and stockings to cross the river. As she was about to cross the river she heard a noise like a gust of wind and saw the bushes above the grotto moving. Behind the bushes was something white and on looking closer, Bernadette realized it was a Lady.

The Lady had on a white veil which went all the way down to her feet. There was a yellow rose on each of her feet. The Lady’s hands were slightly apart and she had a Rosary in her hand. She had a most beautiful smile and there was light all around her. Bernadette thought that she reminded her of a statue of Our Lady that she would kneel and pray before. Bernadette knelt before the Lady and prayed. This lady was our Blessed Mother.

Bernadette’s sister and friend came back from collecting firewood and Bernadette asked them if they had seen anything. They had not. Bernadette whispered to her sister what she had seen. Her sister told her mother about the Lady Bernadette had seen but she did not believe her and told her she was perhaps dreaming. She told her to forget about what she had seen but Bernadette could not forget, she knew it was not a dream.

Bernadette went back to the grotto and again she saw the Lady. Some people went with her but they could not see anything. They realized that Bernadette was seeing and talking to someone! Some of them thought that she was a little mad or playing a trick on them. They tried to prevent Bernadette from going to the grotto and praying and hoping to see the Lady.

Bernadette had seen the Lady sixteen times by this time. There was a very large crowd of people that would go to watch Bernadette pray at the grotto. One day the crowd saw Bernadette crawl on her knees up and down the grotto. She would scrape the mud at the bottom of a dirty puddle, drink some of the water and splash some on her face. The crowd was convinced that Bernadette was mad. They did not see the Lady or heard when she told Bernadette to “go and drink at the fountain and wash yourself in it.” The Lady had pointed to a spot in the grotto. All Bernadette could see was a dirty puddle but she knew that she must do as the Lady had told her. The people asked her why she was playing in the mud. She told them the Lady told her to do it and she obeyed. Bernadette asked the Lady her name. She smiled and looked to Heaven and said “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Her message was to pray for sinners. She asked that a chapel be built near the grotto.

Most of the crowd left because they believed that Bernadette was playing a trick on them but some remained. They saw the little puddle that Bernadette was scrapping in turn into a little stream of clear water had bubbled up from a spring that no one had known of until the Lady pointed it out to Bernadette. The spring would have healing powers! A blind man from the town heard about what had happened and sent his daughter to bring him some of the water to him. When he washed his eyes with the water he could see! This was the first of many miracles that have happened and continue to happen all because of the obedience of a young girl.

Later, Bernadette became a nun. Her life was one of joy. She died, at the age of thirty-six.

Saint Rose Of Lima

Isabel de Flores y Del Olivia was called Rose by her mother because of her rosy red cheeks. She was born in Peru, South America. Rose was very obedient to her parents. She did all her chores with a smile on her face because she was doing them for the love of Jesus. She always tried to do little things to help people. Rose had a great love for Jesus.

Rose was very pretty. Her mother wanted her to wear beautiful clothes. But Rose would say, "Mother, only beauty of the soul is important.” She took a vow to remain a virgin when she was very young. A rich young man wanted to marry Rose. He offered her a large home and many servants, but she refused. She wanted only to love and serve God.

When her parents had lost their money, Rose went out every day to work, and at night did sewing, to help her parents. She worked very hard to help support her family by doing needlework, embroidery, and by growing flowers.

Rose bore her many and great adversities with heroic patience and consoled the sick and suffering among the slaves, poor and native Indians. She visited the homes of the poor and brought them food. Rose had a compassionate heart for the poor, sick and suffering and would do anything she could to help them.

Rose would spend many hours in prayer in her little garden hut and before the Blessed Sacrament. She offered all her sufferings and good works to God for sinners. Our Lord often appeared to her like a little child to tell her how pleased He was with her kind deeds.

Saint Rose died when she was thirty one and is the first Saint of the Americas.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Saint Therese of Lisieux- Saint Therese Of The Child Jesus

Therese Martin was the last of five daughters of a wealthy watchmaker. Therese’s mother died when she was very young. The Martin girls had most of what they wanted but their father taught them that the most important thing was to want to please God.

From a very young age, Therese did little deeds for everyone. She prepared for her First Holy Communion by making many little sacrifices. She became a very special friend of Jesus.

Therese had a great desire to join the Carmelite nuns from very young age. Two of her older sisters, Pauline and Celine were already nuns at the Carmelite convent. When she was a teenager she was ready to join the Carmelite sisters but this was a very young age to join the convent. She went to Rome and asked the Pope to allow her to join the convent at her tender age.

Therese entered the convent when she was fifteen. She wanted to save souls. Therese tried to please God in the very smallest things in her life. She understood that everything that happened to her was God’s will and His gift. Therese lived a life of humility, simplicity, and childlike trust in God.

If she were scolded or blamed she would not answer back. If she were disappointed she would not show it. No matter how sick or tired she felt, she would never complain. She called this her “Little Way.” She saw everything she did as an offering to God.

Saint Therese died when she was only twenty-four years old.

Saint Therese teaches us that we don’t have to do big things to please God. We please God by the little things we do, in work school or play. Doing our chores without complaining or maybe smiling at someone who may be sad, or sharing our toys are examples of little things we can do to please God.

Saint Anthony

Saint Anthony was born Fernando de Bouillon but later changed his name to Anthony. He was very wealthy. Anthony had a deep love for God and wanted to serve him. When he was fifteen he decided to leave his family and all his luxuries and become a priest.

Anthony was a very good preacher. He went to many countries, towns and villages and preached. Many people were converted because of his preaching, prayer and his good example.

Saint Anthony spent a lot of time praying. One day while praying, the Infant Jesus appeared to him. He hugged and kissed him. He was granted this visit because he kept his soul from sin and loved Jesus very much. In most of his pictures, Saint Anthony is seen with the Infant Jesus.

God continued to use Saint Anthony to show the people how much He loved them. Anthony was always very cheerful and willing to do whatever God asked of him.

Saint Anthony died when he was thirty-six. He is known as the “wonder-worker” because many miracles happened when he was alive and after his death.

Saint Joachim and Saint Anne

Saint Joachim and Saint Anne were the parents of our Blessed Mother Mary. They lived in Nazareth. It was in their home that the Virgin Mother learned to pray and read the Holy Books.

Joachim was a prominent and much respected man. Anne was a very humble and devout woman. They prayed to God to have children and God answered their prayers. They had a baby girl, Mary. She was dedicated to God when she was very young.

It was in the womb of Saint Anne that Mary was conceived without sin, the Immaculate Conception. Mary was always in a state of grace and free from original sin.

Joachim and Anne raised Mary to love God and to know and follow the Holy Scriptures. When the Angel Gabriel came to Mary at the Annunciation, Mary knew the prophecies of Jesus’ life and death. She was humble and said yes to God. The way Mary treated and cared for people showed the virtues and values she was taught by her parents.

Saint Joachim and Saint Anne are the Patron Saints for married couples and grandparents. Their feast day is July 26th.

Thank you God for Saint Joachim and Saint Anne who through them You gave us the gift of Our Blessed Mother.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Saint Maria Goretti

Saint Maria Goretti is one of the youngest Saints.

Maria was a very pretty Italian girl. She was twelve years old and lived on a farm. Maria was obedient and was always happy. She had a deep love for God and would spend a lot of time praying.

One day, one of the young helpers on the farm, Alessandro, went to Maria’s home to hurt her. Maria cried out telling Alessandro “No, no! Do not touch me, it is a sin, you will go to hell! “

She tried to fight him. Alessandro took a knife and stabbed Maria fourteen times. He ran from the house after what he had done to little Maria.

Maria was taken to the hospital. The priest came to visit her and asked her to forgive Alessandro. She replied “Yes I forgive him for the love of Jesus. I want him to go to heaven with me. May God forgive him!”

Maria died and went to heaven a short time after. Maria showed great courage by standing up to the man who tried to hurt her. She forgave him for what he had done to her because she loved Jesus and wanted to do what He told us to do, to forgive those who hurt us. Her feast day is July 6th.

Saint Francis of Assisi

Saint Francis was born in Assisi, Italy in 1182. He was very wealthy and had many fine clothes. When Francis was older he heard the Lord asking him to leave everything he had and to follow Him. Francis gave away all his money even his clothing.

He worked with the poor and the sick. Seeing the love that Francis had for God and for the poor and sick, other men started to follow him and work with him.

They wore the robes of poor shepherds and preached to the people about loving one another as Jesus had told us. Francis loved people and nature because he saw that everything and everyone was created by the same God.

Francis took some of the young men who had been working with him to Rome. He wanted to start a new order of priests, the Franciscan order. The Pope gave his permission to Francis to start the new order.

Francis had a vision where he saw Jesus on the cross. After the vision he realized he had the wounds of Jesus on his hands, feet and side.

Saint Francis lived a life of serving God and serving others. He lived for loving God and for loving his neighbor as Jesus told us “ to love God with our whole hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves.” His feast day is October 4th.

Guardian Angels

We are very special to God. He has given each of us an Angel to watch over us and protect us. They are our Guardian Angels. Our Guardian Angels love us and protect us because of God’s infinite love for us.

We should love and honor our Guardian Angels. Remember to ask your Guardian Angels to help you, guide you and protect you.

The Angels and The Saints

Angels are spiritual beings created by God to serve Him.

They guide us to do God's will.

They protect us.

They are God’s messengers. In the above picture, the Angel Gabriel visits the Virgin Mary with the message that she would bear a child, Jesus.

The Saints of our faith were and still are the men and women who loved God so very much. They dedicated their whole lives in whatever way was best for the use of the gifts they had been blessed with. Some would even lay down their lives for love God and the church. Many gave up their lives of wealth. They came from every walk of life, kings and queens, soldiers, scholars, workmen, housewives, children… The Saints are God’s examples for us and we can learn from the way they lived their lives.