Monday, May 21, 2018

Saint May 22 : St. Rita of Cascia : Patron of #Impossible Causes, #Marriage Problems and #Abuse Victims


St. Rita of Cascia 
AUGUSTINIAN NUN





Born: 1381, Roccaporena, Perugia, Umbria, Italy
Died: May 22, 1457, Cascia, Perugia, Umbria, Italy Canonized:
May 24, 1900, Rome by Pope Leo XIII
Feast Day:
May 22
Patron of:
Lost and impossible causes, sickness, wounds, marital problems, abuse, mothers
The Precious Pearl/The Story of Saint Rita of Casica (Abridged) by Michael DiGregorio, OSA
Antonio and Amata Lotti, natives of Roccaporena, a tiny village in the Umbrian Hills of the republic of Cascia, were well-respected peacemakers in their town who welcomed their only child, Margherita in 1381.  In the local dialect, her name meant “pearl” and she was known as Rita.  Baptized in the church of St. Augustine in Cascia, Rita became acquainted with the local Augustinian nuns of St. Mary Magdalene and was attracted to their way of life.  But her parents arranged a marriage for her in order to provide safety and security, and so Rita obediently married Paolo Mancini with whom she had two sons.  In the climate of the times, there was often open conflict between families, and her husband Paolo was murdered.  Her sons were young, but the expectation would be for them eventually to avenge the murder of their father to defend family honor.  Rita, influenced by the peacemaking example of her parents, pledged to forgive her husband’s killers.  She faced a steep challenge, however, in convincing her sons to do the same.  Tradition has it that she often pointed out to them the image of the crucified Christ and the fact that he forgave those who killed him.  Within a year, however, both sons succumbed to a deadly illness leaving Rita not only a widow, but also childless.  Following these tragedies, Rita placed her trust in God, accepting them and relying on her deep faith to find her way.  After eighteen years of marriage, Rita felt called to a second but familiar vocation, to religious life in the Augustinian convent.

But the sisters were hesitant and refused her request; however, Rita was not discouraged, convinced that she was called to the contemplative community.  The sisters even more firmly refused, citing that although Rita had forgiven her husband’s killers, her family had not.  There were members of the rival family in the convent; her presence would be detrimental to community harmony.  And so, inspired by her three patron saints (Augustine, Nicholas of Tolentino and John the Baptist), Rita set out to make peace between the families.  She went to her husband’s family and exhorted them to put aside their hostility and stubbornness.  They were convinced by her courage and agreed.  The rival family, astounded by this overture of peace, also agreed.  The two families exchanged a peace embrace and signed a written agreement, putting the vendetta to rest forever.  A fresco depicting the scene of the peace embrace was placed on a wall of the Church of Saint Francis in Cascia, an enduring reminder of the power of good over evil and a testament to the widow whose forgiving spirit achieved the impossible.
At the age of 36, Rita finally was accepted into the Augustinian convent.  She lived a regular life of prayer, contemplation and spiritual reading, according to the Rule of Saint Augustine.  For forty years she lived this routine lifestyle, until fifteen years before her death, on Good Friday 1442, she had an extraordinary experience.  In contemplation before an image of Jesus that was very dear to her, the Jesus of Holy Saturday or, as it is also known,the Resurgent Christ, she was moved by a deeper awareness of the physical and spiritual burden of pain which Christ so freely and willingly embraced for love of her and of all humanity.  With the tender, compassionate heart of a person fully motivated by grateful love, she spoke her willingness to relieve Christ’s suffering by sharing even the smallest part of his pain.  Her offer was accepted, her prayer was answered, and Rita was united with Jesus in a profound experience of spiritual intimacy, a thorn from his crown penetrating her forehead.  The wound it caused remained open and visible until the day of her death.
Toward the end of her life, Rita progressively weakened physically.  Several months before her death, she was visited by a relative from Roccaporena who asked if she could do something for her.  Rita at first declined, but then made a simple request to have a rose from the garden of her family home brought to her.  However, it was January, the dead of winter in the hills of Umbria.  But upon her return home, the relative passed Rita’s family garden and found to her astonishment a single fresh rose in the snow-covered garden on an otherwise barren bush.  She immediately returned to the convent where she presented it to Rita who accepted it with quiet and grateful assurance.  For the four decades she had spent in Casica’s convent she had prayed especially for her husband Paolo, who had died so violently, and for her two sons, who had died so young.  The dark, cold earth of Roccaporena, which held their mortal remains, had now produced a beautiful sign of spring and beauty out of season.  So, Rita believed, had God brought forth, through her prayers, their eternal life despite tragedy and violence.  She now knew that she would soon be one with them again.
Rita died peacefully on May 22, 1457.  An old and revered tradition records that the bells of the convent immediately began to peal unaided by human hands, calling the people of Cascia to the doors of the convent, and announcing the triumphant completion of a life faithfully lived.  The nuns prepared her for burial and placed her in a simple wooden coffin.  A carpenter who had been partially paralyzed by a stroke, voiced the sentiments of many others when he spoke of the beautiful life of this humble nun in bringing lasting peace to the people of Cascia.  “If only I were well,” he said, “I would have prepared a place more worthy of you.”  With those words, Rita’s first miracle was performed, as he was healed.  He fashioned the elaborate and richly decorated coffin which would hold Rita’s body for several centuries.  She was never buried in it, however.  So many people came to look upon the gentle face of the “Peacemaker of Cascia” that her burial had to be delayed.  It became clear that something exceptional was occurring as her body seemed to be free from nature’s usual course.  It is still preserved today, now in a glass-enclosed coffin, in the basilica of Cascia. Text from St. Rita Shrine

Pope Francis "The important thing is that the Church be a woman, that has this attitude of a bride and of a mother." Homily on Mary Mother of the Church


Pope Francis: The Church, like Mary, is woman and mother
The Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, was observed for the first time on Monday; the movable feast is set for the first day following Pentecost. In his homily during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said the first virtue of a mom is tenderness.
By Vatican News
“The Church is feminine,” Pope Francis said in his homily on Monday, “she is a mother.” When this trait is lacking, the Pope continued, the Church resembles merely “a charitable organization, or a football team”; when it is “a masculine Church,” it sadly becomes “a church of old bachelors,” “incapable of love, incapable of fruitfulness.”
That was the reflection offered by Pope Francis during the Mass celebrated in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta for the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. The feast is being celebrated this year for the first time, after the publication in March of the decree Ecclesia Mater (“Mother Church”) by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Pope Francis himself decided the feast should be celebrated on the Monday immediately following Pentecost, in order “to encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety.”

The “motherliness” of Mary

In his homily, Pope Francis said that in the Gospel, Mary is always described as “the Mother of Jesus,” instead of “the Lady” or “the widow of Joseph”: her motherliness is emphasized throughout the Gospels, beginning with the Annunciation. This is a quality that was noted immediately by the Fathers of the Church, a quality that applies also to the Church.
The Church is feminine, because it is “church” and “bride” [both grammatically feminine]: it is feminine. And she is mother; she gives life. Bride and Mother. And the Fathers go further and say that even your soul is the bride of Christ and mother.” And it is with this attitude that comes from Mary, who is Mother of the Church, with this attitude we can understand this feminine dimension of the Church, which, when it is not there, the Church loses its identity and becomes a charitable organization or a football team, or whatever, but not the Church.
No to a Church of old bachelors
Only a feminine Church will be able to have “fruitful attitudes,” in accordance with the intention of God, who chose “to be born of a woman in order to teach us the path of woman.”
The important thing is that the Church be a woman, that has this attitude of a bride and of a mother. When we forget this, it is a masculine Church. Without this dimension, it sadly becomes a church of old bachelors, who live in this isolation, incapable of love, incapable of fecundity. Without the woman, the Church does not advance—because she is a woman. And this attitude of woman comes from Mary, because Jesus willed it so.

The tenderness of a mom

The virtue that primarily distinguishes a woman, Pope Francis said, is tenderness, like the tenderness of Mary, when she “gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger.” She cared for Him, with meekness and humility, which are the great virtues of mothers.
A Church that is a mother goes along the path of tenderness. It knows the language of such wisdom of caresses, of silence, of the gaze that knows compassion, that knows silent. It is, too, a soul, a person who lives out this way of being a member of the Church, knowing that he or she is [like] a mother [and] must go along the same path: a person [who is] gentle, tender, smiling, full of love.

FULL TEXT from Vatican News

#BreakingNews over 10,000 at March for Life in Rome, Italy with Nuns, Priests, and Families and Youth - #ProLife March

The March for Life held in Rome, Italy was the synthesis of the many events that during the year to affirm the importance of defending human life. Virginia Coda Nunziante, the president of the organizing committee has defined the eighth edition of the most important pro-life event in Italy. This is the 40th anniversary of the legal abortions in Italy of May 22. "There is a book of lives and there is a book of death – said Coda Nunziante – In this death book is the date of May 22, 1978 in Letters written from blood, the blood of nearly 6 million victims, 6 million of unborn children who send us a message that we want to collect: it is the silent cry, I use the expression of a famous document of Dr. Nathanson, whose echo does not go out and we want to reinforce and pass on. "According to the president, 50 million children were killed every year in the world, 137,000 per day, 5,700 per hour. On Saturday afternoon of May 20 thousands gathered in the Piazza della Repubblica for Rome’s annual March for Life. The March got underway around 4 p.m. This year it began far from Via della Conciliazione and ended next to Piazza Venezia. 20 foreign groups joined the March, including some from the United States and Canada. A spirited band of seminarian drummers kept marchers upbeat. Also marching were pro-life scientists, doctors, and pharmacists, representing the thousands of medical personnel who are conscientious objectors to abortion, euthanasia, and abortifacient pharmaceuticals—all opponents to Law194/78, which brought legal abortion to Italy nearly 40 years ago. Among the few dignitaries present was Cardinal Raymond Burke. One speaker was Stéphane Mercier, a philosophy professor at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, who spoke about his recent suspension for describing what happens in an abortion to his students. Gianna Jessen, an American who has cerebral palsy, was also speaking. She told how, in 1977, she was born alive at seven and a half months after her mother underwent a saline abortion that failed. She was saved because her unexpected arrival happened early in the morning before the abortionist arrived. Then Roberto Brazzale spoke, he is a businessman and owner of a prominent dairy company in Vicenza, in Northern Italy, which has over 500 employees. He explained his company’s policy is to grant every employee with at least two years’ service a special “baby bonus” of €1,500 to help support a new child and urged other employers to follow his example. Someone read a statement from Pope Francis, which had been transmitted through his Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, The Pope expressed his wish that “the event might favor adherence to the values of human life and welcoming of this divine gift in all of its fascinating richness.” Then the March’s president and Chief organizer, Virginia Coda Nunziante, said “The piazza is full..We are an immense crowd. The people of life want to be a positive presence that takes on the responsibility to defend not only the value of life [which is] a free and exclusive gift of God, but also the defense of all those who, weak or defenseless, cannot react and become castoffs of our hedonistic society.” The marchers, their slogans, and the real-life testimonies of believers and supporters of life sent a strong and clear message to politicians (and others) from Rome to Brussels and beyond: Thou shalt not kill! (Vincenzina Santoro)  National March for Life was this year is dedicated to Alfie Evans, the child to whom was given Italian citizenship and yet died in hospital.

Memorial of Mary Mother of the Church - Mater Ecclesiae - with Special Prayer


Pope Paul VI, in November 1964, announced his wish to end the sessions of the Second Vatican Council “with the joy of honoring our Lady with the title Mother of the Church, Mater Ecclesiae.” And Paul VI added: “This title will help us to honor Mary Most Holy, loving Queen of the world, source of unity as our Mother, and tender hope of our salvation.” This image, so closely united to the memory of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, is a good reminder for all Christians, upon seeing it, to ask her to protect all her children in the Church.
This new feast day, Mary, Mother of the Church on May 21,  will be celebrated annually the day after Pentecost, and was announced in a March 3 decree by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. The decree said the pope approved the celebration because he thought it might "encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety."
The Mosaic Icon of Mary Mother of the Church or Mater Ecclesiae (pictured below) was placed in the Vatican by order of Saint Pope John Paul II whose motto was "Totus Tuus" or Totally yours - which refers to his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mother Mary. 

POPE FRANCIS
Prayer to Mary, Mother of the Church and Mother of our faith*


Mother, help our faith!
Open our ears to hear God’s word and to recognize his voice and call.
Awaken in us a desire to follow in his footsteps, to go forth from our own land and to receive his promise.
Help us to be touched by his love, that we may touch him in faith.
Help us to entrust ourselves fully to him and to believe in his love, especially at times of trial, beneath the shadow of the cross, when our faith is called to mature.
Sow in our faith the joy of the Risen One.
Remind us that those who believe are never alone.
Teach us to see all things with the eyes of Jesus, that he may be light for our path. And may this light of faith always increase in us, until the dawn of that undying day which is Christ himself, your Son, our Lord!


New Movie on Pope Francis - A Man of His Word - Now in Theaters and receives Great Reviews - FULL Trailer Video

Wim Wenders’s documentary about Pope Francis had the full participation of the Vatican.
 Pope Francis — A Man of His Word, features interviews as the core of the film, mixed with footage of Francis all over the world meeting with refugees, prisoners, children, hospital patients, victims of natural disasters, aid workers, and more. It also explains  the 13th-century St. Francis of Assisi from whom the Pope chose his name.
The movie got a near Perfect rating from "Rotten Tomatoes" organization that critiques films and 4/5 from both the WashingtonPost and film critique Roger Ebert.
 Wim Wenders, director of Pope Francis — A Man of His Word, spent much time with the Holy Father. Francis is the 266th pope, and a pope of firsts: the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, the first Jesuit, and the first to take the name of St. Francis of Assisi. Like his namesake, as the film explains, Pope Francis is concerned with mainly: the poor and God’s creation.
 “Talk a little, listen a lot, say just enough, and look everyone in the eye,” Pope Francis says.
 Francis is a man who means what he says and tries to live by it. He lives simply — or as simply as a pope can —at the Vatican guesthouse rather than the luxurious papal apartments.
 Leaders who actually live what they proclaim are hard to come by.
 Pope Francis — A Man of His Word is a answer to that model of leadership. The portrait of Francis the film presents is gently, radically inspiring Pope Francis who greets crowds.
This is a film to watch on the Big Screen near you before it's too late! 

#BreakingNews Militia Attacks Bambari Town in Central Africa - Attack on Catholic Church and homes burned - Please Pray

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "The population is devastated, houses burned and looted. The bodies of the victims lie on the ground", says Fr. Firmin Gbagoua, Vicar General of Bambari, the city of the Central African Republic, 300 km from the capital, Bangui, ravaged by the militiamen of Ali Darassa, at the head of the Union for Peace in Central Africa (UPC).
Last week, the UPC men attacked the gendarmerie, the police station, and the local base of MINUSCA (UN Mission in Central Africa). Not even the local NGO offices were spared while the Saint-Jean parish was sacked. 
According to Médecins Sans Frontier (MSF) at least 300 inhabitants of the city took refuge in the local hospital on the night of May 14 when the UPC assaulted the city.
The area of Bambari is strategic not only for its central position but also for the presence of gold and diamond mines.
At the end of March, Don Désiré Angbabata, parish priest of the Church of Séko, 60 km from Bambari, was killed in an assault on the village by the UPC (see Fides 23/3/2018). (L.M.) (FULL TEXT Release: Agenzia Fides, 21/5/2018)

#BreakingNews ISIS Attacks Christian Orthodox Church in Chechnya - 3 Killed - Please Pray


Islamic State claims attack on Grozny Orthodox church

Armed with knives, incendiary devices and firearms, four terrorists stormed the church 
of the Archangel Michael. One faithful and two policemen died. The Chechen president: 
"The attackers received the order from a Western country".

Grozny (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Islamic State (IS) has claimed the attack two days ago on 

an Orthodox church in the Chechen capital, during which a faithful and two policemen were 
killed, in a statement released online. A few days after the attacks in Surabaya (Indonesia),
 the terrorist group has targeted another Christian place of worship.
Armed with knives, incendiary devices and firearms, four terrorists stormed the church of 
Archangel Michael (photo) at around 3 pm, just before the evening function. The militants 
tried to take some of the parishioners hostage. The attack was thwarted by security forces 
who killed all four terrorists at the end of a brief shoot out, which took place outside the building.
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, who arrived at the scene of the shooting, reported that 
three out of four terrorists were from a country, while their leader came from Ingushetia. 
The attackers were between 18 and 19 years of age. Citing "intelligence information", 
Kadyrov said that "terrorists have received the order [to carry out the attack] from a Western 
country".
A few hours later, mufti Ismail Berdiyev, president of the North Caucasus Muslim Coordination 
Center, condemned the attack: "It was done during the holy month to destabilize the situation. 
It is the month of Ramadan now. It is the moment when not only wars are forbidden, but even 
vulgar language is banned ".
Vladimir Legoyda, head of the Synodal Information Department of the Russian Orthodox 
Church, said the attack was "another attempt by pseudo-Islamic extremists to put Orthodox 
Christians and Muslims against each other"
FULL TEXT from AsiaNews IT
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Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday May 21, 2018 - #Eucharist - Mem. Mary Mother of the Church


Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
Lectionary: 572A

Reading 1GN 3:9-15, 20

After Adam had eaten of the tree,
the LORD God called to him and asked him, "Where are you?"
He answered, "I heard you in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself."
Then he asked, "Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!"
The man replied, "The woman whom you put here with me—
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it."
The LORD God then asked the woman,
"Why did you do such a thing?"
The woman answered, "The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it."

Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
"Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
On your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
He will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel."
The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.

OrACTS 1:12-14

After Jesus had been taken up to heaven,
the Apostles returned to Jerusalem
from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem,
a sabbath day's journey away.

When they entered the city
they went to the upper room where they were staying,
Peter and John and James and Andrew,
Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew,
James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot,
and Judas son of James.
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer,
together with some women,
and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Responsorial PsalmPS 87:1-2, 3 AND 5, 6-7

R. (3) Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
His foundation upon the holy mountains
the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
more than any dwelling of Jacob.
R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
Glorious things are said of you,
O city of God!
And of Zion they shall say:
"One and all were born in her;
And he who has established her
is the Most High LORD."
R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled:
"This man was born there."
And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
"My home is within you."
R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.

Alleluia 

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O happy Virgin, you gave birth to the Lord;
O blessed mother of the Church,
you warm our hearts with the Spirit of your Son Jesus Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 19:25-34

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved,
he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son."
Then he said to the disciple,
"Behold, your mother."
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
After this, aware that everything was now finished,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
Jesus said, "I thirst."
There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop
and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
"It is finished."
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

Now since it was preparation day,
in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath,
for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one,
the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken
and they be taken down.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first
and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead,
they did not break his legs,
but one soldier thrust his lance into his side,
and immediately Blood and water flowed out.

Saint May 21 : St. Eugene de Mazenod : Founder of the #Missionary #Oblates

Eugene de Mazenod (1782-1861)
Bishop of Marseille, founder of the Congregation
of the Missionaries, Oblates of Mary Immaculate  
  
CHARLES JOSEPH EUGENE DE MAZENOD came into a world that was destined to change very quickly. Born in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France on August 1, 1782, he seemed assured of position and wealth from his family, who were of the minor nobility. However, the turmoil of the French Revolution changed all that forever. When Eugene was just eight years old his family fled France, leaving their possessions behind, and started a long and increasingly difficult eleven year exile.
The Years in Italy
The Mazenod family, political refugees, trailed through a succession of cities in Italy. His father, who had been President of the Court of Accounts, Aids and Finances in Aix, was forced to try his hand at trade to support his family. He proved to be a poor businessman, and as the years went on the family came close to destitution. Eugene studied briefly at the College of Nobles in Turin, but a move to Venice meant the end to formal schooling. A sympathetic priest, Don Bartolo Zinelli, living nearby, undertook to educate the young French emigre. Don Bartolo gave the adolescent Eugene a fundamental education, but with a lasting sense of God and a regimen of piety which was to stay with him always, despite the ups and downs of his life. A further move to Naples, because of financial problems, led to a time of boredom and helplessness. The family moved again, this time to Palermo where, thanks to the kindness of the Duke and Duchess of Cannizzaro, Eugene had his first taste of noble living and found it very much to his liking. He took to himself the title of "Count" de Mazenod, did all the courtly things, and dreamed of a bright future.
Return to France: the Priesthood
In 1802, at the age of 20, Eugene was able to return to his homeland - and all his dreams and illusions were quickly shattered. He was just plain "Citizen" de Mazenod, France was a changed world, his parents had separated, his mother was fighting to get back the family possessions. She was also intent on marrying off Eugene to the richest possible heiress. He sank into depression, seeing little real future for himself. But his natural qualities of concern for others, together with the faith fostered in Venice began to assert themselves. He was deeply affected by the disastrous situation of the French Church, which had been ridiculed, attacked and decimated by the Revolution. A calling to the priesthood began to manifest itself, and Eugene answered that call. Despite opposition from his mother, he entered the seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris, and on December 21, 1811, he was ordained a priest in Amiens.

Apostolic endeavours: Oblates of Mary Immaculate
Returning to Aix-en-Provence, he did not take up a normal parish appointment, but started to exercise his priesthood in the care of the truly spiritually needy-prisoners, youth, servants, country villagers. Often in the face of opposition from the local clergy, Eugene pursued his course. Soon he sought out other equally zealous priests who were prepared to step outside the old, even outmoded, structures. Eugene and his men preached in Provencal, the language of the common people, not in "educated" French. From village to village they went, instructing at the level of the people, spending amazingly long hours in the confessional. In between these parish missions the group joined in an intense community life of prayer, study and fellowship. They called themselves "Missionaries of Provence". However, so that there would be an assured continuity in the work, Eugene took the bold step of going directly to the Pope and asking that his group be recognized officially as a Religious Congregation of pontifical right. His faith and his persistence paid off-and on February 17d, 1826, Pope Leo XII approved the new Congregation, the "Oblates of Mary Immaculate". Eugene was elected Superior General, and continued to inspire and guide his men for 35 years, until his death. Together with their growing apostolic endeavours-preaching, youth work, care of shrines, prison chaplaincy, confessors, direction of seminaries, parishes - Eugene insisted on deep spiritual formation and a close community life. He was a man who loved Christ with passion and was always ready to take on any apostolate if he saw it answering the needs of the Church. The "glory of God, the good of the Church and the sanctification of souls" were impelling forces for him.
Bishop o f Marseilles
The Diocese of Marseilles had been suppressed after the 1802 Concordat, and when it was re-established, Eugene's aged uncle, Canon Fortune de Mazenod, was named Bishop. He appointed Eugene Vicar General immediately, and most of the difficult work of re-building the Diocese fell to him. Within a few years, in 1832, Eugene himself was named auxiliary bishop. His Episcopal ordination took place in Rome, in defiance of the pretensions of the French Government that it had the right to sanction all such appointments. This caused a bitter diplomatic battle, and Eugene was caught in the middle, with accusations, misunderstandings, threats, and recriminations swirling around him. It was an especially devastating time for him, further complicated by the growing pains of his religious family. Though battered, Eugene steered ahead resolutely, and finally the impasse was broken. Five years later, he was appointed to the See of Marseilles as its Bishop, when Bishop Fortune retired.
A heart as big as the world
Whilst he had founded the Oblates of Mary Immaculate primarily to serve the spiritually needy and deprived of the French countryside, Eugene's zeal for the Kingdom of God and his devotion to the Church moved the Oblates to the advancing edge of the apostolate. His men ventured into Switzerland, England, Ireland. Because of his zeal, Eugene had been dubbed "a second Paul," and bishops from the missions came to him asking for Oblates for their expanding mission fields. Eugene responded willingly despite small initial numbers, and sent his men out to Canada, to the United States, to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), to South Africa, to Basutoland (Lesotho). As missionaries in his mould, they fanned out preaching, baptising, caring. They frequently opened up previously uncharted lands, established and manned many new dioceses, and in a multitude of ways they "left nothing undared that the Kingdom of Christ might be advanced." In the years that followed, the Oblate mission thrust continued, so that today the impulse of Eugene de Mazenod is alive in his men in 68 different countries.
Pastor of his Diocese
During all this ferment of missionary activity, Eugene was an outstanding pastor of the Church of Marseilles-ensuring the best seminary training for his priests, establishing new parishes, building the city's cathedral and the spectacular Shrine of Notre Dame de la Garde above the city, encouraging his priests to lives of holiness, introducing many Religious Congregations to work in the diocese, leading his fellow Bishops in support of the rights of the Pope. He grew into a towering figure in the French Church. In 1856, Napoleon III appointed him a Senator, and at his death he was the senior bishop of France.
Legacy of a Saint
May 21, 1861, saw Eugene de Mazenod returning to his God, at the age of 79, after a life crowded with achievements, many of them born in suffering. For his religious family and for his diocese, he was a founding and life-giving source: for God and for the Church, he was a faithful and generous son. As he lay dying he left his Oblates a final testament, "Among yourselves-charity, charity, charity: in the world-zeal for souls." The Church in declaring him a saint on December 3, 1995, crowns these two pivots of his living-love and zeal. His life and his deeds remain for all a window unto God Himself. And that is the greatest gift that Eugene de Mazenod, Oblate of Mary Immaculate, can offer us.
Text from the Vatican.va Website

Saint May 21 : St. Godric of Finchale : #Hermit

St. Godric of Finchale
HERMIT
Feast: May 21


     Information:
Feast Day:May 21
Born:1069 at Walpole, Norfolk, England
Died:1170 at Finchale, County Durham, England
He was born of very mean parents at Walpole, in Norfolk, and in his youth carried about little peddling wares which he sold in villages. Having by degrees improved his stock, he frequented cities and fairs, and made several voyages by sea to traffic in Scotland. In one of these he called at Holy Island, or Lindisfarne, where he was charmed and exceedingly edified with the retirement and religious deportment of the monks, and especially with the account which they gave him of the wonderful life of St. Cuthbert. He inquired of them every particular relating to him, visited every corner of that holy solitude and of the neighboring isle of Fame, and falling on his knees, prayed with many tears for grace to imitate the fervor of that saint in serving God, resolving for that purpose to give up all earthly pretensions. He entered upon a new course of life by a penitential devout pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and visited Compostella in his way home. After his return into Norfolk, he accepted the charge of house-steward in the family of a very rich man. The servants were not very regular, and for  their private junketings often trespassed upon their neighbors. Godrick finding he was not able to prevent these injustices, and that the nobleman took no notice of his complaints about them, being easy so long as he was no sufferer himself, left his place for fear of being involved in the guilt of such an injustice.

After making a pilgrimage to St. Giles in France, and to Rome, he went to the north of England in order the better to carry into execution his design of devoting himself wholly to a retired life. A fervent servant of God, named Godwin, who had passed a considerable time in the monastery of Durham, and by conversing with the most holy monks and exercising himself in the interior and exterior practices of all virtues, was well qualified to be a director to an inexperienced novice, joined our saint, and they led together an austere anchoretical life in a wilderness situated on the north to Carlisle, serving one another, and spending both the days and nights in the praises of God. After two years God called Godwin to himself by a happy death after a short sickness. St. Godrick having lost his companion, made a second painful pilgrimage to Jerusalem. After his return he passed some time in the solitude of Streneshalch, now Whitby; but after a year and some months went to Durham to offer up his prayers before the shrine of St. Cuthbert, and from thence retired into the desert of Finchal, or Finkley, three miles from Durham, near the river Wear. St. John Baptist and St. Cuthbert he chose for his principal patrons and models. The austerities which he practiced are rather to be admired than imitated. He had his regular tasks of devotion, consisting of psalms and other prayers which he had learned by heart, and which he constantly recited at midnight, break of day, and the other canonical hours, besides a great number of other devotions. Though he was ignorant of the very elements of learning, he was too well experienced in the happy art of conversing with God and his own soul ever to be at a loss how to employ his time in solitude. Whole days and nights seemed too short for his rapturous contemplations, one of which he often wished with St. Bruno he could have continued without interruption for eternity, in inflamed acts of adoration, compunction, love, or praise. His patience under the sharpest pains of sicknesses or ulcers, and all manner of trials, was admirable; but his humility was vet more astonishing. His conversation was meek, humble, and simple. He concealed as much as possible from the sight and knowledge of all men whatever might procure their esteem, and he was even unwilling any one should see or speak with him. Yet this he saw himself obliged to allow on certain days every week to such as came with the leave of the prior of Durham, under whose care and obedience he died. A monk of that house was his confessor, said mass for him, and administered him the sacraments in a chapel adjoining to his cell, which the holy man had built in honor of St. John Baptist. He was most averse from all pride and vanity, and never spoke of himself but as of the most sinful of creatures, a counterfeit hermit, an empty phantom of a religious man: lazy, slothful, proud, and imperious, abusing the charity of good people who assisted him with their alms. But the more the saint humbled himself, the more did God exalt him by his grace, and by wonderful miraculous gifts. For several years before his death he was confined to his bed by sickness and old age. William of Newbridge, who visited him during that time, tells us that though his body appeared in a manner dead, his tongue was ever repeating the sacred names of the three divine Persons, and in his countenance there appeared a wonderful dignity, accompanied with an unusual grace and sweetness. Having remained in the desert sixty-three years, he was seized with his last illness, and happily departed to his Lord on the 21st of May, 1170, in the reign of Henry II. His body was buried  in the chapel of St. John Baptist. Many miracles confirmed the opinion of his sanctity, and a little chapel was built in his memory by Richard, brother to Hugh Pidsey, bishop of Durham. See William of Newbridge, 1. 2, c. 20; Matthew Paris, Matthew of Westminster, his life written by Nicholas of Durham his confessarius, and abridged by Harpsfield, Saec. 12, c. 45. Source : Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler