Sunday, October 30, 2016


With the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, and the anti-Church legislation that followed, it became impossible for Fr. William Joseph Chaminade, then age 28, to continue normal ministry.
Catholic priests were required to pledge an oath of allegiance to the government, instead of to the pope. About half did. Chaminade did not.

This refusal to align with the government could be fatal. A good friend and mentor of Fr. Chaminade’s, Fr. Jean Simon Langorian, was stabbed to death by a mob in July 1792. It was a desperate, dangerous time.

From a comic book titled, “In the Shadow of the Guillotine,” printed in 1943.
Chaminade became a member of the underground clergy. Working with a network of faithful co-conspirators in Bordeaux, Chaminade continued a clandestine ministry.
At times, he disguised himself as a tinker – a mender of pots and pans – so that he might move among his flock. During this shadowy existence, Chaminade performed baptisms and marriages, and he visited the sick and dying. (See a depiction of this in the comic book excerpted above.)

Eventually, Chaminade was forced into exile in Saragossa, Spain. There he conceived of a plan to restore Christianity in France. It is the progeny of this plan – the Daughters of Mary Immaculate and the Society of Mary – we celebrate in these bicentennial years.

The Maranists

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Marianist trademark

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The Society of Mary had marked a mere 74 years of existence when this photo of Marianist teachers at St. Louis College was taken in Honolulu in 1891. Queen Lili’uokalani ascended the Hawaiian throne this same year; Hawaiian statehood was nearly 70 years in the future.

Marianists arrived in the Kingdom of Hawai’i in 1883 to assume leadership of St. Louis College, now Saint Louis School. The frock coats worn by the brothers were a Marianist trademark well into the 20th century. One wonders how many brothers were lost to heat stroke in these early years on the island.

The Marianists

Friday, October 28, 2016

Enter into the beautiful paths of faith

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I must share with you a sentiment that has been dominant in my heart for a long time. It is an almost constant fear that God is withdrawing His blessings from St. Remy… I think we are still doing some good there; but what is this good before God if we do it seeking ourselves; if we do it for ourselves, for our glory, our own esteem, our own motives, etc., than really and solely in the interests of religion and of the Society? … I have often thought of it, especially in the presence of God, and here is my answer: nothing will ever change for either of you unless you both enter into the beautiful paths of faith, the same as you once did by an entire devotedness to the service of our good Master and of His august Mother.

Blessed William Joseph Chaminade
(607 – 5 November 1831. To Bro. Clouzet).

Thursday, October 27, 2016

We have taken the name and standard of Mary

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In the great ensemble of religious orders, we have a family trait that distinguishes us essentially from all the others … All periods of the Church’s history are marked with the struggles and the glorious triumphs of the august Mary. Ever since the Lord put enmity between her and the serpent, she has constantly overcome the world and hell … Mary’s power is not diminished … She is today, as she was formerly, the incomparable Woman, the promised Woman who was to crush the serpent’s head … she is the hope, the joy, and the life of the Church and the terror of hell. To her, therefore, is reserved a great victory in our day: hers will be the glory of saving the faith from the shipwreck with which it is threatened among us. 

Now, we have understood this design of Providence… and have hastened to offer Mary our feeble services in order to labor under her orders and combat at her side. … by a special vow, that of Stability, to assist her with all our strength until the end of our life, in her noble struggle against the powers of hell. And as an Order justly celebrated has taken the name and standard of Jesus Christ, so we have taken the name and standard of Mary and are ready to hasten wherever she calls us, in order to spread her cult, and through it the kingdom of God in souls. 

This is certainly the distinguishing character and family trait of both our Societies: we are in a special manner the auxiliaries and the instruments of the Blessed Virgin in the great work of reforming morals, of preserving and propagating the Faith, and by the fact, of sanctifying our neighbor. She entrusts to us the projects which are inspired by her almost infinite charity, and we make a vow to serve her faithfully till the end of our life, to carry out punctually all that she tells us. We are glad that we can thus spend in her service the life and strength that we have pledged to her (1163 – 24 August 1839. To the Preachers of Retreats).

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Children of the Light

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Luke 13:10-17

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.
And a woman was there who for eighteen years
had been crippled by a spirit;
she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.
When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said,
“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”
He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
But the leader of the synagogue,
indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath,
said to the crowd in reply,
“There are six days when work should be done.
Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”
The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites!
Does not each one of you on the sabbath
untie his ox or his ass from the manger
and lead it out for watering?
This daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now,
ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day
from this bondage?”
When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated;
and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

Today’s readings, call to mind several messages and invitations. The first invitation was to be attentive to how I am crippled, bent over and/or burdened. What is keeping me from standing erect? This could certainly be the work of the devil but let's take a little closer to home. What attitudes am I currently holding that are not life giving? What assumptions am I buying into that may not be true? Whose opinions am I accepting as right but may not be? What things, culturally, have grabbed my attention but feel heavy? Reflecting on questions like these brings us all to another question for reflection, maybe even a more important question. How I am crippling others with assumptions, judgments and attitudes?

It is clear from the Gospel reading today that Jesus is implying that the leader of the synagogue was doing just that. With his attitude of indignation, judgment and “letter of the law truth” he was crippling those he claimed to be leading. He was preventing them from seeing Jesus as the Light and consequently impeding their journeys to live as children of the Light.

Children of the Light are “kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another . . . .” Children of the Light “live in love.” When we are not living in love, it is important to take a step back and ask the questions in prayer, “How am I burdened?” “How am I burdening others?” Then, when we have recognized our role in our own and others crippling, we need to pray for Christ’s healing touch and mercy for ourselves and our world.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tuesday Tunes

This song is a recent interest of mine.  I recently discovered it Bulldog Catholic and have been enjoying it pretty much nonstop since.

The Head and the Heart have always been an indie/folk band I admired, but this song turned me into a diehard fan.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Marianist Monday

Bicentennial Prayer

Gracious and loving God,
God of our founders,
you have blessed us with 200 years
of mission and mercy.
Lead us on, Lord.
Make us good stewards
and attentive listeners,
ready to do whatever you tell us
to accomplish Mary’s mission
in our world today.
With great thanksgiving
and loving praise,
we say Amen.
May the Father, and the Son
and the Holy Spirit, 

be glorified in all places
through the
Immaculate Virgin Mary.
Sr. Laura Leming, FMI

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Life of Mother Teresa

(CNS graphic/Liz Agbey)

'The greatest evil,' Mother Teresa used to say, 'is the lack of love and charity, the terrible indifference toward one’s neighbor who lives at the roadside, assaulted by exploitation, corruption, poverty and disease.' Her response to pain and need was to do little things, with love.
The big fruits of Mother Teresa’s ‘small things with love’

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Beloved Pope

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October 22 is the feast day of St. John Paul II. Join us in celebrating the beloved saint who started from humble beginnings in Poland to become one of the longest-serving popes in modern history.

Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology.

Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong!

Elected pope in October 1978, Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi.

In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. He made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations.

Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014.

–adapted from Saint of the Day

Pope Francis celebrates the canonization Mass for seven new saints

Pope canonizes seven saints who ‘fought the good fight of faith’VATICAN CITY - The seven new saints of the church were holy not because of their own efforts but because of “the Lord who triumphs in them and with them,” Pope Francis said.

Each one “struggled to the very end with all their strength,” which they received through perseverance and prayer, the pope said Oct. 16 at a canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

“They remained firm in faith, with a generous and steadfast heart. Through their example and their intercession, may God also enable us to be men and women of prayer,” the pope told the estimated 80,000 people present at the Mass.

Seven large tapestries bearing the portraits of the new saints decorated the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica, some representing specific aspects of their lives that exemplified their holiness.

Argentine “gaucho priest,” St. Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero was portrayed sitting on a donkey, his humble means of transportation when traveling thousands of miles to minister to the poor and the sick.

St. Jose Sanchez del Rio, a 14-year-old Mexican boy martyred for refusing to renounce his faith during the Cristero War of the 1920s, was depicted holding a palm branch and rosary while a trail of blood and a single bullet were at his feet.

St. Salomone Leclerq, who was killed after refusing to renounce his faith at the height of the French Revolution, was shown with his eyes fixed toward heaven as an angel carried a palm, symbolizing his martyrdom for the faith.

The French Carmelite writer and mystic, St. Elizabeth of the Holy Trinity, was shown seated in prayer, and St. Manuel Gonzalez Garcia, a Spanish bishop who spent his life devoted to Eucharistic adoration, smiled radiantly.

Brightly colored tapestries also featured the images of two new Italian saints: St. Ludovico Pavoni, the founder of the Sons of Mary Immaculate, who dedicated his life to the vocational and spiritual education of the poor and hearing impaired, and St. Alfonso Maria Fusco, founder of the Congregation of the Baptistine Sisters of the Nazarene and of the Little House of Providence, a home for abandoned children.

The celebration began with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, requesting Pope Francis enroll the six men and one woman “among the saints, that they may be invoked as such by all the Christian faithful.”

Following the singing of the Litany of the Saints, the pope “declared and defined” their sainthood which was met with applause from the crowd, many waving banners and flags in approval.

In his homily, the pope said the central theme of the Sunday readings was prayer, an important aspect in the lives of the newly canonized saints and something that obtained for them “the goal of heaven.”

He reflected on the day’s first reading which recalled Moses raising his arms in prayer while the Israelites fought Amalek’s army. When Moses’s arms would fall from weariness, the tide would turn against Israel.

Just as Aaron and Hur held Moses’s arms up until the Israelites won the battle, the pope said, so should Christians “support one another” in the “commitment to prayer.”

“Weariness is inevitable,” he said. “Sometimes we simply cannot go on, yet, with the support of our brothers and sisters, our prayer can persevere until the Lord completes his work.”

Like Moses who grew weary, yet was sustained by Aaron and Hur, Christians must remember they are not alone in the church, the pope said.

“We are members of the body of Christ, the church, whose arms are raised day and night to heaven, thanks to the presence of the risen Christ and his Holy Spirit. Only in the church, and thanks to the church’s prayer, are we able to remain steadfast in faith and witness,” he said.

Looking at the day’s Gospel reading, the pope said Jesus’s parable of the widow who persists in seeking justice reveals “the mystery of prayer” which involves crying out persistently and not losing heart.

“To pray is not to take refuge in an ideal world, nor to escape into a false, selfish sense of calm. On the contrary, to pray is to struggle, but also to let the Holy Spirit pray within us,” the pope said.

Before the final blessing, Pope Francis led the faithful in praying the Angelus and thanked the delegations as well as the pilgrims from the various countries of the new saints for their presence. The official delegations included Argentine President Mauricio Macri and cabinet ministers from Spain, France and Italy. The official Mexican delegation was headed by Roberto Herrera Mena, adjunct for religious affairs.

Pope Francis prayed that “the example and intercession of these luminous witnesses sustain the commitment of each one in your respective areas of work and service for the good of the church and the civil community.”

Friday, October 21, 2016


I came across this video scrolling through the blog Bulldog Catholic recently. Bethel, a worship group that aims to express who God is and who we are in Him, held a concert on a mountaintop to worship the Lord overlooking His creation.

It is absolutely incredible and allows the listener to truly enter into a place of authentic worship of our Lord–while at the same time appreciating the beauty of the composition itself. The blogger says that the musicians are hipster! Just look at them!

"Then you crash over me, I'm right where you want me to be, I'm going under, I'm in over my head. Whether I sink, whether I swim, it makes no difference when I'm beautifully in over my head."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Right-to-die law

NB: Two post limit. Stay on topic please.

You may have read the story from the Netherlands in which a person who has decided that they have "completed their life" can end it with the physician-assisted suicide law. That is, even if they are not ill, they can end their lives if they feel their lives are "complete." To me, this is the slippery slope that we have all rightly feared. Here is that piece, from Crux:…/dutch-set-permit-euthanasia-complete…/

Increasingly it seems that the hidden danger in this law will be with people who are coerced into thinking that they are a burden to others, that they are "worthless" for their illness, or, in the case, below, will be taken advantage of because of their race. All of these are important questions to consider.

D.C. Council is set to pass bill allowing doctors to prescribe fatal drugs to terminally ill patients.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

HS football player gives great postgame interview

I spent several years covering prep sports for various newspapers, and I can tell you first hand high school athletes are difficult interviews. Maybe it’s nerves in talking to the media, but they typically bottle up and provide very short responses to your questions.

Not Apollos Hester.

This kid, who plays football for East View High School in Texas, is a reporter’s dream. The following video comes from Time Warner Cable news in Austin, and reporter Lauren Mickler is catching up with Hester after his team held on for a 42-41 victory over Vandergrift. Everything about Hester’s interview is perfect, namely his words and his enthusiasm. We can only hope Hester becomes a motivational speaker or a coach someday

September 23, 2014 / Football

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bon Voyage

Today we said bon voyage to our Superior General and his council who have spent the last two weeks with our Province.

The General Administration visited with many student groups, faculty, and lay collaborators at Chaminade High School, Kellenberg Memorial High School, and St. Martin de Porres Marianist School. 

The members of the General Administration celebrated Mass with our Communities, attended an educational symposium for the faculties and staffs of all three Marianist schools on Long Island, and presided at Evening Prayer for the Marianist World Day of Prayer. Our General Council is composed of four members: Very Rev. Manuel Cortes, Superior General; Very Rev. Andre Fetis, Assistant for Religious Life; Bro. Maximin Magnon, Assistant for Education; and Bro. Michael McAward , Assistant for Temporalities. 

Their visit deepened our connection with our Marianist Brothers and Sisters worldwide and reminded us of our debt of gratitude to our Founder, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade. 

As he wrote, "As Mary, by her faith, conceived Jesus Christ in the natural order, we too can conceive Him very truly in the spiritual order, by our faith."

Monday, October 17, 2016

Marian faith

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Marian faith, for Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, was faith of the heart as well as of an intellectual assent, a faith so deep that, like Mary’s, it could conceive and give birth to Jesus. Mary, in her assent, embodies the openness to and cooperation with the action of the Holy Spirit that is at the center of Christian faith. Inspired by the Spirit, Mary brings Jesus into the world, dramatically showing us that with God all things are possible.

Secondly, Blessed Chaminade knew that transforming the social order required the action not just of individuals, but of many people working together with a common mission. For Chaminade, communities of faith were the natural embodiment of a vibrant Christianity. He frequently cited the example of the first Christians who held everything in common, prayed, and broke bread together. And as Mary, first of believers, gathered in prayer with the apostles in the upper room and gave birth to the Church, so she still stands at the center of all Marianist communities of faith.

Thirdly, Blessed Chaminade worked to infuse these communities of faith with a deep sense of mission. Faced with the devastation of the Revolution, Marianist communities of faith aimed at nothing less than rebuilding the Church. Religious and lay, men and women, wealthy and poor they came together and looked to Mary for inspiration in their great task. Mary, who formed Jesus for his mission, who despite her great faith had to ponder many things she did not fully understand, who despite an uncertain future uttered her fiat—this same Mary will form us, Chaminade believed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to become like Jesus for the sake of others. The person and influence of Mary is a distinguishing thread woven throughout the entire fabric of Marianist spirituality.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar

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The Apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar was approved as a miracle by the Sacred Congregation of Rites on August 7, 1723.

"According to ancient and pious tradition, St. James the Greater, led by Providence into Spain, spent some time at Saragossa. He there received a signal favor from the Blessed Virgin. As he was praying with his disciples one night, upon the banks of the Ebro, as the same tradition informs us, the Mother of God, who still lived, appeared to him, and commanded him to erect an oratory in that place. The apostle delayed not to obey this injunction, and with the assistance of his disciples soon constructed a small chapel.”

The original chapel was eventually destroyed, but the pillar and the statue remained intact. Constantine ordered a Romanesque cathedral to be built over the site in the 4th century.

The most recent church, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, is Baroque in style and construction work on it began in 1681. The original building was finished in 1711, but there were additions as late as 1872.

Catholics who have prayed before the Altar of Our Lady of the Pillar include Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Ávila, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade and Saint John Paul II.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Saint Teresa of Avila

Saint Teresa of Avila was a 16th century Spanish mystic and Doctor of the Church. Her writings on mental prayer constitute an important contribution to the Church’s body of teaching on mystical theology. She’s also a favorite patron of the Theology of the Body Institute! In honor of her October 15th feast day, here are ten of our favorite quotes from this wise, witty, and deeply prayerful saint:
1. “Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing make you afraid. All things are passing. God alone never changes. Patience gains all things. If you have God, you will want for nothing. God alone suffices.”
2. “Many people are good at talking and bad at understanding.”
3. “Christ has no body now, but yours. No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks compassion into the world.Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world.”
4. “Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.”
5. “The surest way to determine whether one possesses the love of God is to see whether he or she loves his or her neighbor. These two loves are never separated. Rest assured, the more you progress in love of neighbor the more your love of God will increase.”
6. “Take God for your spouse and friend and walk with Him continually, and you will not sin, will learn to love, and the things you must do will work out prosperously for you.”
7. “May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”
8. “The closer one approaches to God, the simpler one becomes.”
9. “. . . it is presumptuous in me to wish to choose my path, because I cannot tell which path is best for me. I must leave it to the Lord, Who knows me, to lead me by the path which is best for me, so that in all things His will may be done.”
10. “Either we are the brides of this great King or we are not.”

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Red Cups of Satrbucks

The Red Cups of Starbucks from on Vimeo.

Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

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We have a couple of “firsts” to deal with here. Saint James the Greater was the first Apostle of Jesus Christ to have been martyred. Also, the church that James and his disciples built around pillar and the wooden statue was the first Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Further, the vision of the Blessed Virgin was the first Marian Apparition in history.

The apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar is also unique in another way. The Virgin Mary was still alive and living in either Ephesus or Jerusalem when the apparition happened. Because of this, it’s apparent that Mary showed an ability that many Christian saints have exhibited over the ages … She was able to bilocate. Yup, She was in two places at the same time.

The apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar has been accepted as sacred tradition since the dawn of Christianity.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Santiago de Compostela

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The Spanish legend tells us that on January 2, 40 AD, Saint James was near the newly-built Roman town of Caesaraugusta in the Roman province of Hispania. James was disheartened by the apparent failure of his evangelizing mission, so he stopped to pray on the bank of the Ebro River. While James and his few disciples were deep in prayer, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to them.

In the apparition, Mary stood on top of a marble pillar and she was accompanied by several angels. Mary assured James that he would soon have many converts to Christianity and that their faith would be as strong as the pillar upon which She was standing.

Further, Mary gave both the pillar and a small wooden statue of herself to James. Then, she instructed James to build a church on the spot where she appeared. Mary’s words were “This place is to be my house and this image and column shall be the title and altar of the temple that you shall build.”

Local tradition tells us that it took James and his disciples about one year to build the first simple chapel over the pillar and the wooden statue. James happened upon a “planned community” that was established for retired Roman Army soldiers and their dependents. Soon, the chapel was filled to overflowing at every Holy Mass.

James the Greater left for Jerusalem at some time during the year 41 AD and he was beheaded by Herod Agrippa in 44 AD. His body was returned to the area of what would one day be known as Santiago de Compostela in North-Central Spain.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Our Lady of the Pillar

Today, October 12, is the celebration of Our Lady of the Pillar. For those who have never heard this title of Mary, it's what it sounds like - it is a shrine in Zaragoza, Spain, with...well...Mary atop a Pillar.

As the apostle James was in Spain preaching the Gospel and things weren't going well. Mary appeared to him (on top of a pillar) to encourage him in his endeavors. Of course, Spain was eventually converted and the Spaniards continue to honor St. James. Mary was still alive when she appeared to James. Mary, as Our Lady of the Pillar, is venerated in Spain and many parts of Latin America.

For us Marianists, this is a big day, too. On October 11, 1797 (the day before the feast), Marianist Founder Blessed William Joseph Chaminade arrived in Zaragoza. He had just been exiled from his native France because of the ongoing persecutions of the French Revolution. He would spend the next three years in Zaragoza, spending a great deal of time praying before the Shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar. And during those three years, something happened. Fr. Chaminade wrote practically nothing about his time in Spain, and only mentioned it in passing. However, he received some sort of inspiration or mission before Our Lady of the Pillar to return to France and "re-Christianize" the country devastated by the Revolution.

The Basilica from across the river.

It was in Zaragoza that Fr. Chaminade began to develop a plan of bringing all types of people together into Sodalities  as a means of evangelization. Of course, this led to the foundation of Marianist Lay Communities, The Daughters of Mary Immaculate (Marianist Sisters) and the Society of Mary (Marianist Brothers and Priests.)

Our Lady of the Pillar

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

St. James and symbols

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From its very beginnings Christianity has used symbolism. Each saint has a story and a reason why they led an exemplary life. Symbols have been used to tell these stories throughout the history of the Church. 

A number of Christian saints are traditionally represented by a symbol associated with their life, termed an attribute or emblem, in order to identify them. The study of these forms part of iconography in art history. They were particularly used so that the illiterate could recognize a scene, and to give each of the Saints something of a personality in art. 

They are often carried in the hand by the Saint.
Attributes often vary with either time or geography, especially between Eastern Christianity and the West. Orthodox images more often contained inscriptions with the names of saints, so the Eastern repertoire of attributes is generally smaller than the Western. Many of the most prominent saints, like Saint Peter and Saint John the Evangelist can also be recognized by a distinctive facial type – as can Christ. In the case of later saints their actual historical appearance can also be used; Saint Bernardino of Siena (1380–1444) is one of the earliest whose distinctive appearance was well-known from early prints and is nearly always used by artists. Some attributes are general, such as the palm frond carried by martyrs.

The use of a symbol in a work of art depicting a Saint reminds people who is being shown and of their story. St. James is often depicted as an old man in pilgrim garb with a staff and a sea shell.

He traveled and spread the Word for nearly forty years in Spain.

It is said that one day, as he prayed, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and asked him to build her a church, which he did.

Later, James returned to Jerusalem but was martyred for his faith by King Herod, who decapitated him. Saint James the Greater is known as the first apostle to die.

As he was not allowed to be buried following his martyrdom, his remains were taken to Compostela, Spain, by some of his followers, who buried him.

In the ninth century his remains were discovered and moved to a tomb in Santiago de Compostela. Today, his remains can still be found in the Cathedral of Santiago.

Because Santiago de Compostela is the most frequently visited place pilgrims migrate to following Rome and Jerusalem, Pope Leo declared it a shrine.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Tunes from the Crypt

At the Diocesan Pilgrimage of Mercy held at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC both of our high schools were present with over 130 students.

The Gregorian Consortium performed Matt Maher's "All The People Said Amen" during the pilgrimage in Washington Sept. 24, 2016.

Marianist students sponsored the Youth Event held in the Crypt Chapel.

Gregory Schemitz was kind enough to send me this link.
Kellenberg High School, Uniondale, N.Y., Gregorian Consortium from Gregory A. Shemitz on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 8, 2016


The Daughters of Mary Immaculate 
The Society of Mary 

This Year Has Been Named the Year of Mercy 

It is fitting that we direct our thoughts to Venerable Marie Thérèse Charlotte de Lamourous as we enter the Marianist Bicentennial. 

Marie Thérèse de Lamourous is the link between Fr. Chaminade and Venerable Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon. Marie Thérèse was Fr. Chaminade’s closest collaborator from the times of the Revolution and Exile. Fr. Chaminade was her spiritual director. Marie Thérèse was sent by Fr. Chaminade to aid Adèle as she established the first community of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate. 

In addition, Marie Thérèse de Lamourous was called to take over the Misericorde or Mercy House. 
How appropriate to honor her as we enter into the Year of Mercy. 

May Marie Thérèse pray for us and help us to appreciate this part of our vocation as Marianists. Jesus, the Son of God, became the Son of Mary in order to save the world; that is, to bring God’s mercy and love into this world. We thank Sr. Laura Leming, FMI, for this insightful look into the life of Marie Thérèse de Lamourous. 

Fr. Paul Landolfi 

A Sociologist Considers the Contributions of Marie Thérèse de Lamourous 
Laura M. Leming, FMI 

Where has this woman been all my Marianist life? The Marianist world is not immune to the penchant that many historians have had until recently to overlook the contributions of women. As with so many other women in history, we are only lately recovering and reconsidering the contributions of Marie Thérèse de Lamourous, a woman who may hold an important key to how we live Marianist life into the future. 

Marie Thérèse de Lamourous was a contemporary of William Joseph Chaminade1 , just a few years older and a collaborator in devising ways to rebuild the church of Bordeaux. Hers was one of the first names listed on the women’s section of the Bordeaux Sodality. But she had her own ministerial interests apart from Chaminade and pursued them along with the various ways she assisted in the founding days of the Marianist Family. The legacy for which she was revered and remembered in Bordeaux was her leadership of the Misericorde, a home and rehabilitation center for women who had resorted to prostitution in the chaotic post revolutionary period. 

Recently our community re-read her life story to prepare for sharing on how she inspires us. I realized that my view of Marie Thérèse is greatly influenced by the work and study I do as a sociologist. With every page I found myself thinking how amazing it was to find parallels with the urgent needs and “best practices” in doing social ministry that we confront today. Let me elaborate a bit by highlighting some aspects of Marie Thérèse’s “method” that I think have bearing on our call to practice social justice in all of our ministries. 

Responding to Critical Human Need 

The work of the Misericorde was Marie Thérèse’s “cher projet” in the second half of her life and the basis for the reflections that follow. If she had never taken this up, or if she had died young like Adele de Tranquelleon, the other woman in the triumvirate of Marianist founders, her life still would have been amazing. The leadership skills and wisdom she acquired as a leader and effectively, a pastor, of the underground church of Bordeaux during the Revolution gave her the resources she became known for throughout Bordeaux as “the saint of Bordeaux.” 

Marie Thérèse is a model for us in following one’s call wherever it leads, especially beyond one’s comfort zone. Asked to take up the work with women at the bottom of Bordeaux’ social milieu, Marie Thérèse’s initial inclination was aversion. But she revisited that decision using a principle of good discernment, to explore our aversions for signs of grace and call. Tentatively, after wrestling with this difficult decision even in her nightmares, and consulting with spiritual companions, Marie Thérèse visited the Misericorde and on the spot, decided to take up residence there. 

Then like today, political, economic and even ecclesial turmoil put women at risk for living in poverty and turning to (sometimes being forced into) the sex trade in order to survive. Even some women who had been turned out of convents fell victim to these circumstances. The Misericorde was a voluntary program for women who wanted to leave prostitution. Almost nothing in Marie Thérèse’s upbringing could have predicted that at the age of 46, the well respected woman would choose to live in a community with women who had a past as sex workers. Marie Thérèse read the signs of the times and recognized her own capacity to respond on a local level to this critical human need – a need which continues to our own day. 

Negotiating Changing Environments 

Marie Thérèse de Lamourous, of the three Marianist founders, was perhaps the most experienced and shrewd at negotiating the difficulties of shifting political, economic and ecclesial circumstances. As a lay woman in the underground church she had more freedom in the public realm than Chaminade, who needed to disguise himself. Later she had the financial acumen to serve as his representative in property negotiations. The Misericorde was a unique ministry and civil entity in France and it took compromise to establish its legal standing to receive contributions and create small business enterprises to generate operating funds. In fact, the mix of business and pastoral sense Marie Thérèse developed is a legacy for the Marianist Family. All over the Marianist world, we are exploring new means of addressing the needs we meet as we walk with populations that may be new to us: AIDS orphans in Africa, street children in India, migrant workers or people on death row in the United States. 

Whether consciously or not, Marie Thérèse left all of us a “method” of social ministry in a similar vein as Father Chaminade left us methods of spiritual growth (the System of Virtues) and community development (the Office System). The practices Marie Thérèse employed in her social ministry rest on four principles: cultivating human freedom and dignity, recognizing and drawing out leadership, creating access to a living wage, and linking local situations to global realities. 

1) Freedom and Dignity 

The Misericorde, unlike most rehabilitation programs, was a community where each member was a willing participant. If young women were referred by their families, Marie Thérèse insisted on interviewing them alone. Then they would return home with family members and come back to the Misericorde on their own if it was their choice. Today we recognize that having this sense of freedom is an important component of empowerment and commitment. The women (some of them really girls, as records show some as young as 15) would only be invested in the community life and work of the Misericorde if they had chosen it freely. Moreover, Marie Thérèse believed that people who once occupied statuses demeaned by society can and should be welcomed to make a viable contribution and provided the means to do so. 

2) Developing Leadership 

Recognizing the leadership potential of the residents of the Misericorde was important for two reasons. Smooth administration of the growing enterprise required shared responsibility, and the women needed to build confidence in their own potential and giftedness. The latter is of prime importance for people (then and now) who are accustomed to living on the margins of society where their voice doesn’t matter and their gifts are often overlooked. Marie Thérèse recognized that her “daughters” needed the small successes within the community to strengthen their capacity to move beyond the Misericorde as contributing members of the society. She encouraged independence even while creating a safe space which some of the women made their home for their entire lifetimes. De Lamourous extended the gift of the community, which the Marianist family cherishes as a special charism, to those most in need of that gift. This point deserves our scrutiny today, especially where Marianists are living in the over-developed world. How are we called to extend this gift that we have received to those who most need community in our own time? 

3) Access to a Living Wage 

One of the challenges Marianists face in confronting the legacy of Marie Thérèse is her practical recognition that for many, sharing our spiritual resources is simply not enough. People need to have access to honest and dignified ways of being part of an increasingly globalized economy. In her day and time, Marie Thérèse was able to read the economic needs and capitalize on them, not for personal profit but for her “daughters’” livelihoods. She created concrete opportunities for women through what today we would call work-training jobreadiness programs and especially micro-enterprises. She set up workrooms within the Misericorde where women performed a variety of services like sewing and laundry work. When the opportunity arose to create a small business doing contract work for the government, the Misericorde became known as a producer of fine cigars! Micro enterprise is a way of creating pathways into the economy for people who have few skills and legal avenues to gain access to financial opportunity. As inequality grows in the over-developed countries such as the United States, creating these pathways for people at lower socio-economic levels is becoming an ever more critical need. 

4) Linking local and global concerns 

Part of Marie Thérèse’s success in social ministry was keeping a balanced perspective between the “personal troubles” at hand and “global issues.” Her immediate concern was the pressing situation of the women in poverty. But Marie Thérèse’s ties to other groups with far- reaching aspirations seem to have contributed to a sense of hope and vision – a connection to a wider world. The women of the Misericorde had opportunities in the community to meet and interact with people who had broad visions and a sense of mission. The Bordeaux sodality, founded at about the same time that Marie Thérèse undertook this ministry had direct ties with the Misericorde. Its members provided service there and welcomed Misericorde residents as sodalists. Marie Thérèse also had links to a Foreign Mission society, whose members frequented the Misericorde, sharing their experiences in Asia. Keeping the links between immediate concerns and global realities allows communities to be grounded but also to have vision and a sense of connection to something larger than themselves. 

Unifying Faith 

Undergirding all of these elements of Marie Thérèse’s “method” is her strong faith in God’s Providence and her reliance on that in her day to day life. A favorite story told of her is when there was very little food at the Misericorde, she would knock on the tabernacle door and tell God that her daughters needed something to eat. Marie Thérèse was eulogized as a woman who walked in God’s presence “with an undivided heart.” Marie Thérèse’s pragmatic action in response to urgent human need was nourished and sustained her attention to and trust in Providence. We can well remember this today as communities that strive to maintain a deep spiritual source while attending to the critical needs we see in the neighborhoods and even the world around us. 

Living our Legacy 

Living the legacy of Marie Thérèse de Lamourous calls us to appreciate even more deeply the focus on lay empowerment that was part of the original inspiration of Chaminade and Adele. Their insight that the collaboration of men and women, and lay and religious was the more responsive model of church for their day still has force for us today. Marie Thérèse’s way of being in the world has timely relevance for people of mission who continue to confront dehumanizing poverty in the 21st century. She leaves us a set of practices for social ministry that can inform the action and reflection of our communities today. Marie Thérèse combined immense spiritual resources with practical resourcefulness in negotiating the political and economic realities of her day. As heirs to her legacy we are called to do no less.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Our Lady of the Rosary

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Pope Benedict XVI on the Rosary

When reciting the Rosary, the important and meaningful moments of salvation history are relived. The various steps of Christ's mission are traced. With Mary the heart is oriented toward the mystery of Jesus. Christ is put at the centre of our life, of our time, of our city, through the contemplation and meditation of his holy mysteries of joy, light, sorrow and glory. May Mary help us to welcome within ourselves the grace emanating from these mysteries, so that through us we can "water" society, beginning with our daily relationships, and purifying them from so many negative forces, thus opening them to the newness of God.

~ Recitation of the Holy Rosary, Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI, Basilica of Saint Mary Major, Saturday, May 3, 2008.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Papal Thoughts

Pope Francis prays before the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the conclusion of the daily Mass on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. - OSS_ROM
(Vatican Radio) In a “world that suffers the crisis of a great orphanhood,” we have a Mother that accompanies and defends us. That was the message of Pope Francis during the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

The Gospel of the day brings us to Calvary. All the disciples had fled, except for St John and a few women. At the foot of the Cross is Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Everyone is looking at her, saying, “That’s the mother of this delinquent! That is the mother of this subversive!”

“And Mary heard these things. She suffered terrible humiliation. And she also heard the dignitaries, even some priests, whom she respected, because they were priests, [saying] “You who are so good, come down! Come down!” With her Son, naked, there [on the Cross]. And Mary had such great suffering, but she didn’t go away. She didn’t deny her Son! He was her flesh.”

Pope Francis recalled that, when he was in Buenos Aires and would visit prisoners in the jails, he always saw lines of women waiting to enter:

“They were moms. But they were not ashamed: their flesh was there inside. And these women suffered not only the shame of being there – “Look at her! What did her son do?” -- but they also suffer the ugly humiliation of the searches they had to undergo before entering. But they were mothers, and they went to find their own flesh. And so it was with Mary: she was there, with her Son, with that very great suffering.”

Jesus, the Pope said, has promised not to leave us orphans, and on the Cross he gives us His Mother as our Mother:

“We Christians have a Mother, Jesus’ [Mother]; we have a Father, Jesus’ [Father]. We are not orphans! And she gives birth to us in that moment with such great sorrow: She is truly a martyr. With a pierced heart, she accepts giving birth to all of us in that moment of sorrow. And from that moment she becomes our Mother, from that moment she is our Mother, the one who takes care of us and is not ashamed of us: she defends us.”

The mystics of the early centuries, Pope Francis said, counsel us to take refuge under the mantle of the Mother of God in moments of spiritual turbulence: “The devil can’t enter there.” He continued, explaining that Mary is a mother, and she will defend as a Mother. The West later took this advice to heart and composed the Latin version of the Marian antiphon: Sub tuum praesidium, “under your mantle, under your protection, O Mother!” We are safe there, he said.

“In a world we could call an orphan,” Pope Francis concluded, “in this world that suffers the crisis” of a great experience of being orphaned, “perhaps our help lies in saying ‘Look to your Mother!’” We have a mother “who defends us, teaches us, accompanies us; who is not ashamed of our sins. She is not ashamed, because she is our Mother. May the Holy Spirit, this friend, this companion along the way, this Paraclete or advocate Whom the Lord has sent, make us understand this very great mystery of the maternity of Mary.”

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Since October 5, 1970 Meribah - the Chaminade Retreat House has sponsored retreats and programs to thousands of young and old. Located on 8 1/2 wooded acres in Muttontown, New York, Meribah offers a perfect setting for personal reflection, prayer, service and recreation.

Meribah has undergone many transformations since its earliest days. The one thing that has remained is the flow of youth that continue to walk through the beautiful home to challenge and grow in their faith.

The Meribah chapel houses the one main "table" in the retreat house. Morning, evening and night prayer, private reflection and the celebration of the Eucharist are the hallmarks of this retreat house that celebrates 46 years today.

Happy Birthday Meribah and congratulations to all who have shared the graces of this spiritual home.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Welcome to our General Administration

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The Province of Meribah welcomes the members of the General Administration of the Society of Mary this week.

Bro. Max Magnan (general assistant for education), Fr. Manolo Cortz(Superior General), Bro. Michael McAward(general asstant for temporalities) and  Fr. André Fétis (general assistant for religious life) will visit all the apostolic works of the Province of Meribah and share in the life and prayer of the Marianist Communities.

The  members of the General Administration will have the opportunity to meet those who share in the Marianist family. Faculty, parents, students and the many co-workers will join together later this week with the General Administration.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Marianist Monday

October, 2016

My dear young friends,

First off, please take a moment to send me your college mailing address so that we can mail each month’s Magnificat to you expeditiously. Drop me a quick email, even if it’s to say, “Same address as last year.” But we know that many of your mailing addresses have changed, and we don’t want to lose contact with any of you. So, just take a few seconds and email me at

We don’t want to lose contact with any of you!

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Now, the subject of lost addresses and lost contacts brings me to the theme of this month’s letter. Quite simply, I want to talk about being lost. Some of you have candidly expressed that to me – that you feel lost. Some of you have told me that you have pretty much lost your former religious practices, perhaps even you religious faith. “Brother, I don’t go to Mass anymore.” “Brother, I don’t pray.” One message read, rather starkly, “I’m lost.” Needless to say, reading that caused me no small degree of concern.

I know that this sense of loss does not affect all of you. Some of you have been blessed and have discovered a faith that is more personal and vibrant than the faith experience you had in high school.

But others have lost their faith, or at least the practice of their faith. And a few feel personally lost, completely lost, in a way that unsettles and enervates you.

Only a year a year or two after I had started teaching – so perhaps in 1981 or 1982 – I felt completely lost. I lost all my self-confidence and became psychically paralyzed, literally afraid to leave my room and panic-stricken about the prospect of speaking in public. I think that all this was triggered by two of my closest friends at that time leaving our Community. I had considered them model young religious, so if they had left, what was there to guarantee that I wouldn’t as well? Had I somehow contributed to their departure? Had I been an enabler of their discontent? Should I have read the handwriting on the wall more clearly? These were the questions that raced through my mind. And they brought me to a dead halt.

I would imagine that, to any of you who know me and my garrulous persona, the notion that I was afraid to speak in public seems ludicrous, but I was, and I believed that my paralysis would bring a rapid end to my teaching career and perhaps even my religious vocation.

And here’s how I got climbed out of the pit; here’s how I found my way after being lost. First of all – and this is very important – I didn’t take the first step. Fr. Francis Keenan, my former novice master, did. He sought me out, asked what was wrong, and offered some sound and kind advice.

This is why I have deep faith that, when we are lost, God seeks us out. He actually takes the first step. He may do this through a prayer that we read, wise words that we happen to hear that may not even have been intended explicitly for us, or perhaps through a caring individual who intervenes. Is God seeking us out? Yes, without a doubt, He is.
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At the time, I didn’t always understand the wisdom of Fr. Francis’s advice, but I followed it – because I had no other option. Trust is important; it is particularly important when we have lost our way. We trust GPS or Google Maps or Waze to get us to our destination. If we trust a GPS satellite high in the sky to guide us when we are lost, it seems to me that we should trust a valued friend or mentor right at our elbow to do the same for us – but on a far more profound and personal level. He may ask us to leave our comfort zones. He may be rather insistent that we break the bonds of whatever is holding us back – self-doubt, shame, alcohol, drugs, a relationship that we know is harmful for us but that we don’t want to end. But trust we must.

I’m not very good at trusting. I would rather determine my own course of action for myself, thank you very much. That’s why I changed the background photo on my iPhone to the now famous painting of Divine Mercy inspired by Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska. The inscription along the bottom serves as a powerful and humbling reminder of what I need to do daily, and especially when I am lost: “Jesus, I trust in You.”

One of God’s ambassadors in this world whom I trust completely is Pope Francis. When I hear his words, when I listen to the tone of his voce, when I see the compassion in his gestures, in his posture, and in his eyes, I know that this is a man I can trust. And I know as well that I can trust his message of God’s love for us, His mercy towards us, His desire to find us even when we feel completely lost. Just read this passage from the Pope’s homily for the Closing Mass at this year’s World Youth Day. Pope Francis comments on the Gospel story of Zacchaeus, the man so short in stature that he feared getting lost in the crowd and never seeing Jesus pass by. But Jesus finds
Zacchaeus, who has climbed a sycamore tree to get a glimpse of Christ. And Jesus declares, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” house.” With Jesus, we are never lost in the crowd.

Here’s a part of what the Pope had to say about that famous passage from the Gospel of Luke:
That is our real “stature”, our spiritual identity: we are God’s beloved children, always. So you can see that not to accept ourselves, to live glumly, to be negative, means not to recognize our deepest identity. It is like walking away when God wants to look at me, trying to spoil His dream for me. God loves us the way we are, and no sin, fault or mistake of ours makes him change his mind. As far as Jesus is concerned – as the Gospel shows – no one is unworthy of, or far from, his thoughts. No one is insignificant. He loves all of us with a special love; for Him all of us are important: you are important! God counts on you for what you are, not for what you possess. In His eyes, the clothes you wear or the kind of cell phone you use are of absolutely no concern. He doesn’t care whether you are stylish or not; He cares about you, just as you are! In His eyes, you are precious, and your value is inestimable.
Image result for marianist world youth dayAt times in our lives, we aim lower rather than higher. At those times, it is good to realize that God remains faithful, even obstinate, in His love for us. The fact is, He loves us even more than we love ourselves. He believes in us even more than we believe in ourselves. He is always “cheering us on”; He is our biggest fan. He is there for us, waiting with patience and hope, even when we turn in on ourselves and brood over our troubles and past injuries. But such brooding is unworthy of our spiritual stature! It is a kind of virus infecting and blocking everything; it closes doors and prevents us from getting up and starting over. God, on the other hand, is hopelessly hopeful! He believes that we can always get up, and He hates to see us glum and gloomy. It is sad to see young people who are glum. Because we are always His beloved sons and daughters. Let us be mindful of this at the dawn of each new day. It will do us good to pray every morning: “Lord, I thank you for loving me; I am sure that you love me; help me to be in love with my own life!” Not with my faults, that need to be corrected, but with life itself, which is a great gift, for it is a time to love and to be loved.

Are you lost? Please realize that God has not lost you. You have a cherished place in His heart. If you’ve lost that sense of God’s abiding love for you, that you are precious in His sight, then pick up the phone, write an email, or send a text to someone you trust so that he or she may help you may find once again the God who has never lost you.

“I once was lost but now am found.” That is the amazing grace that I pray the Lord bestows on all of you who feel that you have lost your bearings. Remember, God never loses sight of you!

On behalf of all my Marianist Brothers,

Bro. Stephen

Sunday, October 2, 2016

199 Years Strong

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For members of the Society of Mary, October 2, 1817 is a day of celebration. It was on this day that Jean Baptiste Lalanne and several other men met with Blessed William Joseph Chaminade to discuss the possibility of forming a group of vowed men who through prayer and living in community would be actively involved in the ministry of the Church. After the initial meeting, several additional men, clerics, manual workers, and merchants, joined with Lalanne and Blessed Chaminade to found the Society of Mary (Marianists). On December 8, 1817, several men made private vows and on September 5, 1818, seven men made public vows as members of the Society of Mary.

Today, October 2, Foundation Day for the Society of Mary, is the Feast of the Guardian Angels.

Remembering the Guardian Angels has been important to members of the Society of Mary. Guardian Angels were seen as guardians of the students in Marianist schools. To help students behave appropriately, members of the Society of Mary were encouraged to “invoke the Guardian Angels of their pupils at the beginning of class and surveillance periods.” (Resch, p. 174). Hopefully, the angels would guarantee that students behaved in a proper manner so as to be receptive to the classroom instruction of the Brothers and priests.

Blessed Chaminade was open to the possibilities that would come before him and his disciples. It soon became evident that education would become the primary ministry of the Society of Mary. Blessed Chaminade wanted each of the members of the Society of Mary and the Daughters of Mary Immaculate, “to show by their good example, that Christianity is not an obsolete institution and that the Gospel is as practicable today as it was 1800 years ago. (The men and women religious) would wage battle against a thousand and one forms of propaganda, precisely in the field of schools, by opening classes at every level and of every kind, and particularly classes for the common people, who are the most numerous and the most abandoned.” (1838 letter to Gregory XVI)

Pray with us:
God of everlasting love,
Your Son gave us his Mother to be our mother.
Taught by him and united with thousands of students
throughout the world in Marianist schools, we pray:
Mary, do for us what you did for Jesus, our brother.
Guide us so we grow strong in wisdom and grace.
Give us sight to see the talents God has given us,
the will to develop them, and the generosity to share
these talents with others. Instill in us the desire to constantly learn,
the goodness to serve generously, and the courage to follow where Jesus calls.
We pray for these blessings for ourselves, for all students at this school,
and for members of the faculty and staff. May the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
be glorified in all places through the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Amen

Saturday, October 1, 2016

St. Therese of the Child Jesus - pray for us!

St. Therese of the Child Jesus - pray for us!

We have grown used to the idea that just as there are people with talents for sport or scholarship, and the rest of us can only admire them without trying to keep up, so there are people with a talent for holiness and heroic virtue, and the rest of us can only bumble along as best we can. We can’t do better because we’re not designed to do better, so there’s no point in trying. We sink into a consoling mediocrity.

Thérèse wrecks this. She was physically weak and psychologically vulnerable. For her the great saints were giants, they were inaccessible mountains, and she was only an “obscure grain of sand;” but she was not discouraged. St John of the Cross taught her that God can never inspire desires that cannot be fulfilled. The Book of Proverbs told her, “If anyone is a very little one, let him come to me.” If you only look, Scripture is permeated with images of our littleness and weakness with respect to God, and of his care for us in our insignificance.

Thérèse’s “Little Way” means taking God at his word and letting his love for us wash away our sins and imperfections. When a priest told her that her falling asleep during prayer was due to a want of fervour and fidelity and she should be desolate over it, she wrote “I am not desolate. I remember that little children are just as pleasing to their parents when they are asleep as when they are awake.”

We can’t all hug lepers or go off and become missionaries and martyrs. But we all do have daily opportunities of grace. Some of them may be too small to see, but the more we love God, the more we will see them. If we can’t advance to Heaven in giant strides, we can do it in tiny little steps. Our weakness is no excuse for mediocrity.