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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

 
Human beings will never comprehend sufficiently the anguish and immensity of Mary's sorrows. Very few Christians partake of those sufferings and even fewer offer any consolation to her.
St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373AD)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Faith without works is dead James 2:24

 
True religion consists of these two elements: pious doctrines and virtuous actions. God does not accept doctrines apart from good works, nor are works, when divorced from godly doctrines, accepted by God. What does it profit a man to be an expert theologian if he is a shameless fornicator; or to be nobly self-controlled, but an impious blasphemer?
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386AD) on Faith and Works


How can a man say he believes in Christ if he doesn't do what Christ commanded him to do?St. Cyprian of Carthage (200-258AD) on Faith and Works

Friday, August 7, 2015

70th Anniversary of the Amazing Hiroshima Eight

August 6, 2015
Hiroshima before the bombing.
Hiroshima before the bombing.
Early on August 6, 1945, a lone American B-29 Superfortress bomber circled in a vividly blue sky over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The unsuspecting inhabitants on the ground barely glanced at the plane. They were unaware of the deadly payload it was about to unleash on them, ushering in the atomic age with unimaginable death and destruction.
As one single bomb neared the ground, a city died in an instant. Houses crumbled, people evaporated, an immense ball of fire shot skywards, and a terrible wave of super-heated gas bulged out from ground zero, flattening buildings for miles.
Atomic cloud over Hiroshima.
Atomic cloud over Hiroshima. The cloud rose to over 60,000 feet in about ten minutes, while smoke from the burst of the first atomic bomb had spread over 10,000 feet at the base of the rising column.

Amongst the unsuspecting inhabitants of Hiroshima was Fr. Schiffer, a Jesuit missionary assisting the many Catholics of that city. On the morning of August 6, 1945, he had just finished Mass and sat down at the breakfast table. As he plunged his spoon into a freshly sliced grapefruit, there was a bright flash of light. His first thought was that a fuel tanker had exploded in the harbor, as Hiroshima was a major port where the Japanese refueled their submarines. Then, in the words of Fr. Schiffer: “Suddenly, a terrible explosion filled the air with one bursting thunder stroke. An invisible force lifted me from the chair, hurled me through the air, shook me, battered me, whirled me round and round like a leaf in a gust of autumn wind.” Next thing he remembered was that he opened his eyes and found himself on the ground. He looked around, and saw there was nothing left in any direction: the railroad station and buildings in all directions were gone. Yet, the only harm to him was a few slight cuts in the back of his neck from shards of grass. As far as he could tell, there was nothing else physically wrong with him.
Father John Seimes, S.J., one of the eight Jesuit Fathers that miraculously survived the atomic bombing.
The small community of Jesuits to which Fr. Schiffer belonged lived in a house near the parish church, situated only eight blocks from the center of the blast. When Hiroshima was destroyed by the atomic bomb, all eight members of the small Jesuit community escaped unscathed, while every other person within a radius of one-and-a-half kilometers from ground zero died immediately. The house where the Jesuits lived was still standing, while buildings in every direction from it were leveled. Father Hubert Schiffer was 30 years old when the atomic bomb exploded right over his head at Hiroshima. He not only survived, but also lived a healthy life for another 33 years!
Our Lady of the Assumption Church and the Jesuit Rectory.
Our Lady of the Assumption Church and the Jesuit Rectory.
How did this group of men survive a nuclear blast that killed everyone else, even people over ten times further away from the blast? It is absolutely unexplainable by scientific means. An interesting detail is that this group of Catholic clergy was made up of ardent enthusiasts of the Message of Fatima. They lived the Message. Was their fidelity to Our Lady rewarded by this stupendous miracle of their survival?
Atomic cloud over Nagasaki from Koyagi-jima on August 9, 1945.
Atomic cloud over Nagasaki from Koyagi-jima on August 9, 1945.
Even more astonishing is that the story was to be repeated a few days later at Nagasaki, the second Japanese city to be hit by an atomic bomb. In both Hiroshima and Nagasaki the survivors were Catholic religious. Most other buildings were leveled to the ground, even at 3 times the distance, but in both cases their houses stood – even with some windows intact! All other people, bar a handful of scattered mutilated survivors, even at thrice the distance from the explosion, died instantly. Those within a radius ten times the distance of the Jesuits from the explosion were exposed to fierce radiation and died within days.
After the American conquest of Japan, U.S. army doctors explained to Fr. Schiffer that his body would soon begin to deteriorate because of the radiation. To the doctors’ amazement, Fr. Schiffer’s body showed no radiation or ill effects from the bomb. All who were at this range from the epicenter should have received enough radiation to be dead within a matter of minutes. Scientists examined the group of Hiroshima Jesuits over 200 times during the next 30 years and no ill effects were ever found.
hiroshima after
Hiroshima after the bombing
Could it have been a fluke? Could the bomb’s makers have designed it to avoid killing U.S. citizens? There is no known way to design a uranium-235 atomic bomb so it could leave such a large discrete area intact while destroying everything around it. The Jesuits say: “We believe that we survived because we were living the message of Fatima. We lived and prayed the Rosary daily in that house.” Fr. Schiffer feels that he received a protective shield from the Blessed Virgin, which protected him from all radiation and ill effects. Fr. Schiffer attributes this to his devotion to Our Lady, and his daily Fatima Rosary: “In that house the Holy Rosary was recited together every day.” Secular scientists are dumbfounded and incredulous at his explanation. They are sure there is some ‘real’ explanation. However, over 60 years later the scientists still have not been able to explain it.
From a scientific standpoint, what happened to those Jesuits at Hiroshima still defies all the laws of physics. It must be concluded that some other force was present, whose power to transform energy and matter as it relates to humans is beyond our comprehension.
Urakami Cathedral after the bomb. Only 500 feet from the hypocenter of the blast stood the original Urakami Cathedral, a center for Nagasaki’s Catholic community. Catholic missionaries first came to Nagasaki in the 16th century, and within several decades hundreds of thousands of people in Southwestern Japan were practicing Catholics.
Urakami Cathedral after the bomb. Only 500 feet from the hypocenter of the blast stood the original Urakami Cathedral, a center for Nagasaki’s Catholic community. Catholic missionaries first came to Nagasaki in the 16th century, and within several decades hundreds of thousands of people in Southwestern Japan were practicing Catholics.
Dr. Stephen Rinehart of the U.S. Department of Defense is widely recognized as an international expert in the field of atomic blasts. Says Rinehart: “A quick calculation says that at one kilometer the bulk temperature was in excess of 20,000 to 30,000 degrees F, and the blast wave would have hit at sonic velocity with pressures on buildings greater than 600 PSI. If the Jesuits, at one kilometer from the geometric epicenter, were outside the atomic bomb’s “plasma” their residence should still have been utterly destroyed. Un-reinforced masonry or brick walls, representative of commercial construction, are destroyed at 3 PSI, which will also cause ear damage and burst windows. At 10 PSI, a human being will experience severe lung and heart damage, burst eardrums and at 20 PSI limbs can be blown off. All the cotton clothing would be on fire at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and your lungs would be inoperative within a minute of breathing even one lungful of air at these temperatures.
Hypocenter of the blast in Hiroshima was Shima Hospital.
“No way could any human have survived nor should anything have been left standing at one kilometer. At ten times the distance, about ten to fifteen kilometers, I saw the brick walls standing from an elementary school and there were a few badly burned survivors; all died within fifteen years of some form of cancer. Reconnaissance pictures taken of a panoramic view from epicenter of the blast, at Shima Hospital looking towards the Jesuits’ house, did show some kind of two-story building totally intact, at least from what I could make out, and it looked to me the windows were in place. Also there was a church with walls still standing a few hundred yards away, but the roof was gone.
“The Department of Defense never commented officially on this and I suspect it was classified and never discussed in open literature. I think it is possible the Jesuits were asked not to say anything either at the time.”

For God, who made all matter and energy, it is simply a matter of willing it and the laws that govern them are suspended. This is what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It also happened in ancient times, to the loyal servants of God Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, as is related in the Book of Daniel (3:19-24):
“Then was Nebuchodonosor filled with fury: and the countenance of his face was changed against Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, and he commanded that the furnace should be heated seven times more than it had been accustomed to be heated. And he commanded the strongest men that were in his army, to bind the feet of Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, and to cast them into the furnace of burning fire. And immediately these men were bound and were cast into the furnace of burning fire, with their coasts, and their caps, and their shoes, and their garments. For the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace was heated exceedingly. And the flame of the fire slew those men that had cast Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago. But these three men, that is, Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, fell down bound in the midst of the furnance of burning fire. And they walked in the midst of the flame, praising God and blessing the Lord.”
Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 486

Thursday, July 23, 2015





This is holy Church, the one Church, the true Church, the Catholic Church, fighting against all heresies; she can fight, but she cannot be conquered. All heresies are expelled from her as if they were dead branches pruned from the vine; she herself, however, remains fixed in her root, in her vine, in her charity. The gates of hell shall not prevail against her.



St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430AD) on the permanence of the Catholic Church

Friday, July 17, 2015

Carmelites

July 17 – Martyred in the Name of Equality


The Sixteen Blessed Teresian Martyrs of Compiègne

Guillotined at the Place du Trône Renversé (now called Place de la Nation), Paris, 17 July, 1794. They are the first sufferers under the French Revolution on whom the Holy See has passed judgment, and were solemnly beatified 27 May, 1906. Before their execution they knelt and chanted the “Veni Creator”, as at a profession, after which they all renewed aloud their baptismal and religious vows. The novice was executed first and the prioress last. Absolute silence prevailed the whole time that the executions were proceeding. The heads and bodies of the martyrs were interred in a deep sand-pit about thirty feet square in a cemetery at Picpus. As this sand-pit was the receptacle of the bodies of 1298 victims of the Revolution, there seems to be no hope of their relics being recovered. Their names are as follows:
Plaque at the Picpus Cemetery in Paris in memory of the 16 Martyrs of Compiègne, guillotined on July 17, 1794 and beatified by Pope Pius X on May 27, 1906. Photo by Mu
  • Madeleine-Claudine Ledoine (Mother Teresa of St. Augustine), prioress, b. in Paris, 22 Sept., 1752, professed 16 or 17 May, 1775;
  • Marie-Anne (or Antoinette) Brideau (Mother St. Louis), sub-prioress, b. at Belfort, 7 Dec., 1752, professed 3 Sept, 1771;
  • Marie-Anne Piedcourt (Sister of Jesus Crucified), choir-nun, b. 1715, professed 1737; on mounting the scaffold she said “I forgive you as heartily as I wish God to forgive me”;
  • Anne-Marie-Madeleine Thouret (Sister Charlotte of the Resurrection), sacristan, b. at Mouy, 16 Sept., 1715, professed 19 Aug., 1740, twice sub-prioress in 1764 and 1778. Her portrait is reproduced opposite p. 2 of Miss Willson’s work cited below;
  • Marie-Antoniette or Anne Hanisset (Sister Teresa of the Holy Heart of Mary), b. at Rheims in 1740 or 1742, professed in 1764;
  • Marie-Françoise Gabrielle de Croissy (Mother Henriette of Jesus), b. in Paris, 18 June, 1745, professed 22 Feb., 1764, prioress from 1779 to 1785;
  • Marie-Gabrielle Trézel (Sister Teresa of St. Ignatius), choir-nun, b. at Compiègne, 4 April, 1743, professed 12 Dec., 1771;
  • Rose-Chrétien de la Neuville, widow, choir-nun (Sister Julia Louisa of Jesus), b. at Loreau (or Evreux), in 1741, professed probably in 1777;
  • Anne Petras (Sister Mary Henrietta of Providence), choir-nun, b. at Cajarc (Lot), 17 June, 1760, professed 22 Oct., 1786.
  • Concerning Sister Euphrasia of the Immaculate Conception accounts vary. Miss Willson says that her name was Marie Claude Cyprienne Brard, and that she was born 12 May, 1736; Pierre, that her name was Catherine Charlotte Brard, and that she was born 7 Sept., 1736. She was born at Bourth, and professed in 1757;
  • Marie-Geneviève Meunier (Sister Constance), novice, b. 28 May, 1765, or 1766, at St. Denis, received the habit 16 Dec., 1788. She mounted the scaffold singing “Laudate Dominum”. In addition to the above, three lay sisters suffered and two tourières. The lay sisters are:
  • Angélique Roussel (Sister Mary of the Holy Ghost), lay sister, b. at Fresnes, 4 August, 1742, professed 14 May, 1769;
  • Marie Dufour (Sister St. Martha), lay sister, b. at Beaune, 1 or 2 Oct., 1742, entered the community in 1772;
  • Julie or Juliette Vérolot (Sister St. Francis Xavier), lay sister, b. at Laignes or Lignières, 11 Jan., 1764, professed 12 Jan., 1789.

The two tourières, who were not Carmelites at all, but merely servants of the nunnery were: Catherine and Teresa Soiron, b. respectively on 2 Feb., 1742 and 23 Jan., 1748 at Compiègne, both of whom had been in the service of the community since 1772.
The miracles proved during the process of beatification were
  • The cure of Sister Clare of St. Joseph, a Carmelite lay sister of New Orleans, when on the point of death from cancer, in June, 1897;
  • The cure of the Abbé Roussarie, of the seminary at Brive, when at the point of death, 7 March, 1897;
  • The cure of Sister St. Martha of St. Joseph, a Carmelite lay Sister of Vans, of tuberculosis and an abcess in the right leg, 1 Dec., 1897;
  • The cure of Sister St. Michael, a Franciscan of Montmorillon, 9 April, 1898.
Five secondary relics are in the possession of the Benedictines of Stanbrook, Worcestershire.



PIERRE, Les Seize Carmélites de Compiègne (Paris, 1906); WILLSON, The Martyrs of Compiègne (Westminster, 1907).
JOHN B. WAINEWRIGHT (Catholic Encyclopedia)
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Thursday, July 9, 2015

July 10 – Seven Holy Noble Brethren


St. Felicitas, Martyr


The earliest list of the Roman feasts of martyrs, known as the “Depositio Martyrum” and dating from the time of Pope Liberius, i.e. about the middle of the fourth century (Ruinart, Acta sincera, Ratisbon, p. 631), mentions seven martyrs whose feast was kept on 10 July. Their remains had been deposited in four different catacombs, viz. in three cemeteries on the Via Salaria and in one on the Via Appia. Two of the martyrs, Felix and Philip, reposed in the catacomb of Priscilla; Martial, Vitalis and Alexander, in the Coemeterium Jordanorum; Silanus (or Silvanus) in the catacomb of Maximus, and Januarius in that of Prætextatus. To the name of Silanus is added the statement that his body was stolen by the Novatians (hunc Silanum martyrem Novatiani furati sunt).
In the Acts of these martyrs, that certainly existed in the sixth century, since Gregory the Great refers to them in his “Homiliæ super Evangelia” (Lib. I, hom. iii, in P.L., LXXVI, 1087), it is stated that all seven were sons of Felicitas, a noble Roman lady. According to these Acts Felicitas and her seven sons were imprisoned because of their Christian Faith, at the instigation of pagan priests, during the reign of Emperor Antoninus. Before the prefect Publius they adhered firmly to their religion, and were delivered over to four judges, who condemned them to various modes of death. The division of the martyrs among four judges corresponds to the four places of their burial. St. Felicitas herself was buried in the catacomb of Maximus on the Via Salaria, beside Silanus.
Martyrdom of St. Felicitas's seven sons, painting by Francesco Coghetti.
Martyrdom of St. Felicitas’s seven sons, painting by Francesco Coghetti.

These Acts were regarded as genuine by Ruinart (op. cit., 72-74), and even distinguished modern archæologists have considered them, though not in their present form corresponding entirely to the original, yet in substance based on genuine contemporary records. Recent investigations of Führer, however (see below), have shown this opinion to be hardly tenable. The earliest recension of these Acts, edited by Ruinart, does not antedate the sixth century, and appears to be based not on a Roman, but on a Greek original. Moreover, apart from the present form of the Acts, various details have been called in question. Thus, if Felicitas were really the mother of the seven martyrs honoured on 10 July, it is strange that her name does not appear in the well-known fourth-century Roman calendar. Her feast is first mentioned in the “Martyrologium Hieronymianum”, but on a different day (23 Nov.). It is, however, historically certain that she, as well as the seven martyrs called her sons in the Acts suffered for the Christian Faith. From a very early date her feast was solemnly celebrated in the Roman Church on 23 November, for on that day Gregory the Great delivered a homily in the basilica that rose above her tomb. Her body then rested in the catacomb of Maximus; in that cemetery on the Via Salaria all Roman itineraries, or guides to the burial-places of martyrs, locate her burial-place, specifying that her tomb was in a church above this catacomb (De Rossi, Roma sotterranea, I, 176-77), and that the body of her son Silanus was also there. The crypt where Felicitas was laid to rest was later enlarged into a subterranean chapel, and was rediscovered in 1885. A seventh-century fresco is yet visible on the rear wall of this chapel, representing in a group Felicitas and her seven sons, and overhead the figure of Christ bestowing upon them the eternal crown.

Fresco by Paris Noggia of Saint Felicity, who having witnessed the death of her seven sons, during the persecution of Diocletian, is about to be put death as the Emperor watches.
Fresco by Paris Noggia of Saint Felicity, who having witnessed the death of her seven sons, during the persecution of Diocletian, is about to be put death as the Emperor watches.

If St. Felicitas did not suffer martyrdom on the same occasion we have no means of determining the time of her death. In an ancient Roman edifice near the ruins of the Baths of Titus there stood in early medieval times a chapel in honour of St. Felicitas. A faded painting in this chapel represents her with her sons just as in the above-mentioned fresco in her crypt.
Santa Susanna in Rome

J.P. KIRSCH (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Nobility.org Editorial comment: —

Like St. Cecilia and many others, St. Felicitas and her seven sons share in the glory of the Roman Christian nobility that embraced martyrdom, shedding their blood, rather than renouncing the Catholic faith and their baptismal vows.
In martyrdom, these Roman nobles led by example. By faithfully following themselves in the footsteps of the Redeemer, they showed other Christians that neither life nor money are our supreme values. In baptism we acquire a special bond with Our Lord and this bond of faith is our greatest supernatural good. It is more precious than life, our greatest natural good.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Holy Family Vtge Dat. 1954 Holy Card Postcard photo"When we call the Blessed Virgin the Mother of God, we assert our belief in two things: First - That her Son, Jesus Christ, is true man, else she were not a mother. Second - That He is true God, else she were not the Mother of God.
In other words, we affirm that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Word of God, who in His divine nature is from all eternity begotten of the Father, consubstantial with Him, was in the fulness of time again begotten, by being born of the Virgin, thus taking to Himself, from her maternal womb, a human nature of the same substance with hers.
But it may be said the Blessed Virgin is not the Mother of the Divinity. She had not, and she could not have, any part in the generation of the Word of God, for that generation is eternal; her maternity is temporal. He is her Creator; she is His creature. Style her, if you will, the Mother of the man Jesus or even of the human nature of the Son of God, but not the Mother of God.
I shall answer this objection by putting a question. Did the mother who bore us have any part in the production of our soul? Was not this nobler part of our being the work of God alone? and yet who would for a moment dream of saying "the mother of my body," and not "my mother"?
The comparison teaches us that the terms parent and child, mother and son, refer to the persons and not to the parts or elements of which the persons are composed. Hence no one says: "The mother of my body", the "mother of my soul;" but in all propriety "my mother", the mother of me who live and breathe, think and act, one in my personality, though uniting in it a soul directly created by God and a material body directly derived from the maternal womb.
In like manner, as far as the sublime mystery of the Incarnation can be reflected in the natural order, the Blessed Virgin, under the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, by communicating to the Second Person of the Adorable Trinity, as mothers do, a true human nature of the same substance with her own, is thereby really and truly His Mother.
(p. 137-138: Faith of Our Fathers)