Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I am currently in Guatemala, volunteering with Wells of Hope, a charitable organization that brings clean drinking water to the poor mountain people of Jalapa, Guatemala. They also build schools, homes, and bring necessary supplies, medical and dental aid to these people.

We have been here for 6 days now and the experience is nothing less than phenomenal!!! I cannot express what I have seen here. You must see it for yourself to understand.

Today's events:
6:15 am: Some friends I met last year (Paula and her children) came to visit us. We made a small garden for her last year. I gave her some gifts from Canada. This is my "special family." We had coffee together, and also gave her some clothes. Three of the children desperately needed new shoes. We found one pair here and I bought two pairs at the market this afternoon. I asked them if they are cold at night (I am, a little). She said "Yes," so I gave them both of the sleeping bags we brought up from Canada. There are others we can use while we're here. Paula's house is very poorly made.

7:15 am: We walked down to the mill to grind corn, as all the local women do, daily. We came home and make tortilllas later.

8:30 am: Delivered three loads of adobe bricks to a family whose house is being built, compliments of Wells of Hope. This family has a newborn baby, 3 weeks old, and two other young children. They are currently living in a tarp house (no exaggeration). I call it a "house that isn't a house." Carrying the bricks is gruelling work but when you pass their house and see the mother and children, you don' t mind at all! An adobe house costs only about $2500 to build and can be done in about three weeks.

11:30 am: Delivered toys and supplies to another family. Their newborn baby was sleeping in a homemade hammock made out of a grain bag! Peacefully sleeping. There were ducklings and baby chicks waddling all around us.
The bricks are heavy and the work is hard, but we have fun while we're at it.
Wall construction under way.
Cost of house: $2500... Takes 3 weeks to build. Floors: usually dirt; and the roof: metal sheets.

In addition...

12:30: A meal of honour for Wells of Hope!!! This community received a well and they all worked together to finish the pipeline so that the women no longer had to walk downhill and back up a great distance, to bring water to their homes. It was a great community effort and they were SO THANKFUL to Ted and the Wells of Hope teams to do this for them. Alyssa, Mike and I did not help in this effort, but we were fortunate to be here when the community wanted to "officially thank the team" with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and an Appreciation meal. We all felt so honoured and humbled! We had a great time with the kids too. Once you break through their shyness, they won't leave you alone! We loved it!

2:30 pm: Off to a brief meeting and then dropped off our homemade tortillas for a family. On our way home, Ted drove us up, up, up another mountain, through last year's cornfield to show us a house that they found yesterday, because a request was made for a new home. This home is made out of cornstalks, with tarps for a roof! Inside was one bed that looks like a primitive bed that was used in pioneer times. This house is totally inadequate and will not protect the family when the rainy season comes. I did not feel sad when I saw it because I know that within about three weeks this family will have a brand new house!

3:30 pm: Jalapa market. We bought some machetes.... Yes! machetes! and some other items. Lots of fun and very interesting.

That is it for the day, pretty much. A very full day and now we are all tired. We are all very thankful for what we have. We are among the rich of this world. I can also say that spending this time with the Vander Zalm family and sharing in their work really brings out the best in us.


St.John Baptiste de Rossi
Feast: May 23

Feast Day:May 23
Born: February 22, 1698, Voltaggio, Province of Alessandria, Piedmont, Duchy of Savoy
Died:May 23, 1764, Rome, Papal States
Canonized:December 8, 1881, Rome by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine:Church of San Giovanni Battista de Rossi, Rome
Born at Voltaggio in the Diocese of Genoa, 22 February, 1698; died at Rome, 23 May, 1764; feast on 23 May. His parents, Charles de Rossi and Frances Anfossi, were not rich in earthly goods, but had solid piety and the esteem of their fellow-citizens. Of their four children, John excelled in gentleness and piety. At the age of ten he was taken to Genoa by friends for his education. There he received news of the death of his father. After three years he was called to Rome by a relative, Lorenzo de Rossi, who was canon at St. Mary in Cosmedin. He pursued his studies at the Collegium Romanum under the direction of the Jesuits, and soon became a model by his talents, application to study, and virtue. As a member of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin and of the Ristretto of the Twelve Apostles established at the college, he led the members in the meetings and pious exercises, in visits to the sick in the hospitals and in other works of mercy, and merited even then the name of apostle. At the age of sixteen he entered the clerical state. Owing to indiscreet practices of mortification he contracted spells of epilepsy, notwithstanding which he made his course of scholastic philosophy and theology, in the college of the Dominicans, and, with dispensation, was ordained priest on 8 March, 1721. Having reached the desired goal, he bound himself by vow to accept no ecclesiastical benefice unless commanded by obedience. He fulfilled the duties of the sacred ministry by devoting himself to the labourers, herds, and teamsters of the Campagna, preaching to them early in the morning, or late in the evening, at the old Forum Romanum (Campo Vaccino), and by visiting, instructing, and assisting the poor at the hospital of St. Galla. In 1731 he established near St. Galla another hospital as a home of refuge for the unfortunates who wander the city by night ("Rom. Brev.", tr. Bute, Summer, 573). In 1735 he became titular canon at St. Mary in Cosmedin, and, on the death of Lorenzo two years later, obedience forced him to accept the canonry. The house belonging to it, however, he would not use, but employed the rent for good purposes.

For a number of years John was afraid, on account of his sickness, to enter the confessional, and it was his custom to send to other priests the sinners whom he had brought to repentance by his instructions and sermons. In 1738 a dangerous sickness befell him, and to regain his health he went to Cività Castellana, a day's journey from Rome. The bishop of the place induced him to hear confessions, and after reviewing his moral theology he received the unusual faculty of hearing confessions in any of the churches of Rome. He showed extraordinary zeal in the exercise of this privilege, and spent many hours every day in hearing the confessions of the illiterate and the poor whom he sought in the hospitals and in their homes. He preached to such five and six times a day in churches, chapels, convents, hospitals, barracks, and prison cells, so that he became the apostle of the abandoned, a second Philip Neri, a hunter of souls. In 1763, worn out by such labours and continued ill-health, his strength began to ebb away, and after several attacks of paralysis he died at his quarters in Trinità de' Pellegrini. He was buried in that church under a marble slab at the altar of the Blessed Virgin. God honoured his servant by miracles, and only seventeen years after his death the process of beatification was begun, but the troubled state of Europe during the succeeding years prevented progress in the cause until it was resumed by Pius IX, who on 13 May, 1860, solemnly pronounced his beatification. As new signs still distinguished him, Leo XIII, on 8 December, 1881, enrolled him among the saints.

(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)

source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/J/stjohnbaptistederossi.asp#ixzz1vePCtw5Q


Vatican City, 22 May 2012 (VIS) - Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family; Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy, and Pierpaolo Donati, professor at the department of sociology of the University of Bologna, Italy, today presided at a press conference held in the Holy See Press Office to present the seventh World Meeting of Families, which will take place in Milan from 30 May to 3 June on the theme: "The Family: Work and Celebration".
Cardinal Antonelli focused his remarks on preparations for the forthcoming event, which was announced by the Holy Father at the end of the last World Meeting of Families, held in Mexico City in 2009. Over the intervening three years, the Pontifical Council for the Family has met on various occasions with the archbishop of Milan and his closest collaborators in order to combine their efforts for the Milan meeting.
The cardinal listed some of the preparatory initiatives organised by his council. These included: the translation of the catechesis into Italian, French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian, Arabic and Russian; an international academic seminar on "The Christian Family as the Subject of Evangelisation" (Rome 2009); the council's nineteenth plenary assembly on "The Rights of Infancy" (Rome 2010); an international academic seminar with pro-life associations (Rome 2010); an international congress on "The Christian Family as the Subject of Evangelisation" (Rome 2010), and the council's twentieth plenary assembly, held in Rome in 2011, which coincided with the thirtieth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation "Familiaris consortio" and of the creation of the Pontifical Council for the Family itself.
Cardinal Antonelli also presented the "Enchiridion", a manual bringing together the Apostolic See's most recent teachings on the subject of the family and human life, dating from the final years of the pontificate of John Paul II and from the pontificate of Benedict XVI. "The aim of the publication", the cardinal explained, "is to provide a useful consultative instrument for pastoral care workers, associations, pro-life and pro-family movements, academics, teachers and politicians. It covers a wide range of subjects including: the theology and anthropology of the family, ... inter-religious marriage, regulation of fertility, demography, the ethic of life from conception to natural death, the ethics of health, the rights of minors, ... the family as the subject of evangelisation, ... and attention to canonically irregular situations".
Another volume, entitled "The Family, a Resource for Society", was also presented during the press conference. "It contains", the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family said, "new research which throws light on the different contributions, positive and negative, which the various forms of family and cohabitation bring to society".
For his part Cardinal Scola noted that the theme of the Milan meeting, "by bringing together the three fundamental aspects of man's daily life - family, work and rest - highlights two major traits ... of human experience all over the world: the uniqueness of individuals and the fact that they are always in relation with others. Thus this seventh World Meeting of Families has interpreted the perennial importance of these questions, and of this particular historical moment".
The archbishop of Milan went on: "The family founded on faithful marriage between a man and a woman, and open to life, over and above all the cultural developments that have affected it, still imposes itself as the best way to generate and raise children. In the family the child ... sees the future as a promise. From infancy we all discover the meaning of work, first as school work and them as a profession. Through work ... we develop complex social relationships. ... We discover a taste for building, ... but above all we gain a sense of reciprocal trust, which is the vital cement of human coexistence.
"Life imposes its rhythm on us", he added. "It requires us to establish an order between family affections and work. In doing this we are helped by rest, which marks the rhythm of life. ... Celebration is the apex of rest, a gratuitous and shared use of time and space which is a source of joy. Man becomes reconciled with himself, with others and with God. It is no coincidence that all religious traditions have always utilised celebration".
Finally Cardinal Scola of Milan spoke of the interest the seventh World Meeting of Families is arousing in the media. The family, he said, is the focus of attention because it is an "indispensable resource, a 'social capital' which requires specific policies, perhaps also as a result of the serious economic crisis we are in". He also provided some statistics on the forthcoming meeting, noting that more than a million faithful are expected to attend the papal Mass, and 300,000 the Feast of Testimonies.



The German Church is holding its bi-annual meeting, more commonly known as Katholikentag, in Mannheim, with over 30 thousand participants and guests assembled to discuss, worship, celebrate and share the current state of the Church in Pope Benedict XVI’s homeland. Before listening to a report from Jesuit Father Bernd Hagenkord who heads Vatican Radio’s German Programme and who’s currently in Mannheim Veronica Scarisbrick shines the spotlight for a moment on this organisation as well as take a look at Pope Benedict’s recent words to the members of this organisation .

As we know from the 22-25 September 2011 Pope Benedict visited Germany. The choice of cities on this second visit back to the homeland included the nation’s capital Berlin ( this was his first official visit to the nation) , Erfurt the land of Luther and finally Freiburg, the city whose inhabitants decided in 1520 not to take part in the Reformation, proving their independence from outside influence. The city was not named Freiburg meaning “free borough” for nothing.

It was here in what is Catholic territory in the South West tip of Germany, ruled for centuries by the Catholic Habsburgs that he dedicated time to this lay organization which in Germany wields a lot of influence. Even Catholic members of Parliament adhere to it.

The Katholikentag then as it’s popularly referred to is an organisation called 'Zentralkomitee derr Deutschen Katholiken' , or 'Central Committee of German Catholics ' led by its President Mr Alois Gluck. A lay apostolate founded in 1952 which grew out of an earlier 19th century movement. One which seamlessly combines independence with loyalty to the Church, and commitment within the Church with social and political action.

While in Germany the Holy Father addressed representatives of this lay apostolate , speaking to them of new evangelization. On this occasion among the other issues he touched on was that of how high standards of living do not exclude poverty in human relations and poverty in the religious sphere.

But on Thursday Benedict XVI also addressed the current Katholikentag gathering in Mannheim. Picking up on new evangelization he began by quoting the motto of this meeting : “ Daring to begin afresh'. A renewal which stems from God, the Pope said must always follow a personal path which leads to God . We are called to grow in faith as well as live accordingly in our daily lives. But we are not alone or isolated from others. We believe together and within the community of the Church. The path to God begins for all faithful both within and with the Church .

This 98th Katholikentag, Benedict XVI went on to say is in a sense the first step towards the Year of Faith called to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the opening session of the Second Vatican Council .

Having touched there briefly on Pope Benedict’s words, we now bring you Jesuit Father Bernd Hagenkord’s report :
"The book containing all the events of this „Katholikentag“ is nearly 600 pages long, all 1.200 events show the breadth and length of the catholic Church in Germany. There are lectures and discussions, there are presentations and new initiatives, and as during every „Katholikentag“ the city is strewn with white tents, every one of them containing an initiative, parish, diocese, association, or other catholic organization. Ecumenism, mission, parish organization, moral theology, music, social responsibility: There seems to be no topic not represented here. The whole four day meeting is framed by liturgies and prayer-services.

A particular focus this year is local Church. For lack of money, of priests many parishes have had to be merged with other parishes, creating administrative units rather than living communities. So the focus is on how to make this work and how to bring to life this changing structure with new initiatives or ideas.

This meeting of Catholics shows the signs of the times. Alois Gluck, president of the German Catholics lay council which organizes the „Katholikentag“, comments during a press conference on the character of the event. It shows the signs of the times to the church as well as the contribution the Church can make to the society. The event wants to inspire all those coming here.

This seems to be a rather necessary thing, since the Church perceives itself as being in crisis. After the sex-abuse scandals and the loss of significant numbers of Catholics, many perceive the church as being stale or numb, without answers to today’s crisis or challenges. Therefore the title of the meeting is „Aufbruch“ - meaning departure as well as new start. The Church - hierarchy as well as laity - want to find a way out of what Alois Gluck called the inner blockade in many questions. The price to pay is to give up a lot of much-loved customs or structures. However, this is necessary to move the Church forward. How to do this: to discuss that is what this Katholikentag is for. "



Over 40 Catholic diocese and organizations are suing the Obama administration for violating religioius freedom of the First Amedment to the Constitution. This initiative is led by Cardinal Dolan. There are 12 separate lawsuits being pursued.

These laws suits are opposing the  Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that obliges insurance plans to fund sterilizations and FDA contraceptives, including abortifacients.
Since the Catholic Church teaches that sterilization, artificial contraception and abortion are morally wrong this mandate violates the religious freedom of the Catholics in the USA.
For more information see:


The blind dissident spends time in a New York park. "For the past seven years, I have never had a day's rest," he said. For his mentor, Prof Cohen, NYU is ready for him. His wife may join him in his studies. Meanwhile, his family in China continues to endure the authorities' vendetta.

New York (AsiaNews) - Chen Guangcheng, the blind dissident known for his fight against forced abortions, could start his legal studies at New York University (NYU) as early as next week as university staff wrap up a research plan for the newly arrived blind legal activist. Lectures will be given in Chinese since Chen does not speak English. His wife, Yuan Weijing, may join him in his studies. The couple arrived in the United States with their children.

The Chen Guangcheng affair broke out on 26 April when the dissident escaped from house arrest the authorities had imposed on him after four years of prison.

A diplomatic tug-of-war between Beijing and Washington began when he found refuge at the US Embassy in Beijing, at a time when the two nations were holding their annual bilateral summit.

After two days of impasse, Chen left the embassy on the condition that he be allowed to leave the country. He was sent to hospital where he was placed under police guard until he left last Saturday.

Chen "wants to go back to China and he should go back to China. That's our goal," said Law professor Jerome Cohen, who served as mentor to the self-taught lawyer. "It is hard to be a foreigner here and for a refugee trying to have an impact."

Cohen said he believed Chen had a good chance of returning should he focus on legislation to protect the disabled. He noted that more Chinese activists had been pressing for legal reforms without being jailed, such as civil rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang.

Meanwhile, Chen Guangcheng has begun to enjoy his freedom. With his wife and children, he spent Sunday at a park in New York. "For the past seven years, I have never had a day's rest," he said, "so I have come here for a bit of recuperation."

However, the situation for his family back in Shandong seems to be getting worse. His nephew Chen Kegui is still in prison, persecuted by police, and unable to find a lawyer to represent him.

The Chinese Human Rights Defender (CHRD) obtained a letter addressed to the police chief of the Yinan County Public Security Bureau (PSB) in Shandong Province contesting the police's unlawful interference in their efforts to defend Chen Kegui.

The latter was formally arrested two weeks ago on suspicion of "intentional homicide" for acting in self-defence when a group of police officers and thugs broke into his home searching for his uncle who had escaped. The charge is absurd because no one was killed in the incident.

Lawyers Ding Xikui, of the Beijing Mo Shaoping Firm (which takes on human rights cases), and Si Weijiang, of the Shanghai Dabang Law Firm, wrote the letter. Both have been authorised by Chen Kegui's wife to represent her husband.

According to the letter, Chen Kegui's wife retained Ding and Si to represent her husband after two other lawyers she had hired, Liu Weiguo and Chen Wuquan, were intimidated and harassed by authorities.

For the two lawyers, Chen Kegui's arrest and detention have no legal basis. "We believe," Ding and Si said in their letter, that the "Bureau's conduct violates the Criminal Procedural Law of the People's Republic of China and other administrative and legal regulations, and seriously violates the legal rights of Chen Kegui and lawyers' lawful rights to carry out their profession."

So far, the accused has not yet met any lawyer of his choosing.


Go to Statement of Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP: Mgr Robert McGuckin’s appointment as Bishop-elect of Toowoomba
Photo: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Vicar General Right Rev Monsignor Robert McGuckin VG EV as the sixth Bishop of Toowoomba.
Mgr McGuckin’s Episcopal Ordination will be celebrated in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Toowoomba, on Wednesday 11 July.
Mgr McGuckin has served as the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta’s Vicar General & Moderator of the Curia since 1997.
Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, said he was confident the priests and people of the Diocese will share his delight in Mgr McGuckin’s appointment.
He has worked tirelessly for the bishops, priests, religious and people of the Diocese of Parramatta and we are very sad to see him go,” Bishop Anthony said.
I trust that Bishop McGuckin will be warmly welcomed in Toowoomba and will serve his new diocese with equal distinction.”
Read Bishop Anthony’s statement on Mgr McGuckin’s appointment
‘Building upon the good work of my predecessors’
“I’m honoured and humbled to be appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as Bishop of Toowoomba,” Mgr McGuckin said in a preliminary statement.
“I ask for your prayers as together we strive to fulfil the mission entrusted us in building up the Kingdom of God.”
Read Mgr McGuckin’s preliminary statement
‘A great friend and supporter of CatholicCare Social Services’
CatholicCare Social Services - Diocese of Parramatta (CCSS) Executive Director Otto Henfling has thanked Toowoomba Bishop-elect Robert McGuckin for his years of support as CCSS Council Chair and Episcopal Vicar for Health and Welfare.
“I am delighted for Mgr McGuckin and the church in Toowoomba, but saddened that our own Diocese will lose a great priest and tireless worker,” Mr Henfling said.
Read full story
Apostolic Nunciature Announcement Apostolic Nunciature Announcement
Read Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba Apostolic Administrator Bishop Brian V Finnigan’s statement on Mgr McGuckin’s appointment
Read statement of Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart
Read statement of Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge
Photo Gallery: Mgr McGuckin
CathNews report
Local coverage: New Toowoomba bishop in town


General Wani Igga of South Sudan
CISA REPORT: NAIROBI, May 18, 2012 (CISA) -Speaker of the National Legislative Assembly of South Sudan, General Wani Igga has said that the solution to the current border crisis between his country and the Sudan is the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in 2005 between the Khartoum Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) of South Sudan.
Addressing hundreds of South Sudanese residing in Kenya at Nairobi’s Railway Club grounds on May 16 during the marking of 29th Day of SPLM/A, Mr Wani said the CPA was very crucial in sorting out the prevailing issues.
“The Government of South Sudan and its entire people strongly believe that nothing short of abiding with the contents of the CPA on both sides- South Sudan and the Sudan Governments will bring to an end the current border crisis between the two countries,” he said.
Mr Wani urged the South Sudanese in Diaspora to continue to support the Government in its efforts to bring to an end the current border crisis as well as the on-going inter-community civil conflicts facing the country.
Meanwhile an official at the South Sudan Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, Mr Peter G Jok, on May 17 told CISA in a telephone interview that the Government was most willing to resume talks on the border crisis, as requested by the United Nations.
The UN had given the two parties, the South Sudan and the Sudan a deadline of May 16, which has elapsed.
“It would seem the Sudan Government is not as willing as we are on the issue,” he remarked.
“For us, we are ready, simply waiting for a signal from Mr Thabo Mbeki (former South African President), Chairman of the African Union High Implementation panel that is mediating between Sudan and South Sudan,” said Mr Jok, the Embassy’s Third Secretary.
On the role of the Church in the current inter-community conflicts in South Sudan, Mr. Jok praised churches for their commitment in combating the issue.
“The churches are currently engaged on peace-building among the affected communities. They are busy holding meetings and workshops on peace and reconciliation among the affected communities,” he further told CISA.
The Embassy official hopes that a solution to the current border crisis as well as the inter-community conflicts affecting some communities in some parts of the country will amicably be sorted out.


John 17: 1 - 11

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee,
2 since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him.
3 And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
4 I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gavest me to do;
5 and now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made.
6 "I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word.
7 Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee;
8 for I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me.
9 I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine;
10 all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.
11 And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.



On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. / I adore the brightness of Your purity the unerring keenness of Your justice and the might of Your love. You are the Strength / and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart! To be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light: and listen to Your voice and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You / by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds / and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart / I implore You / Adorable Spirit I Helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Ghost, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere / "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.


O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul / the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth / the Spirit on Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude, that I may bear my cross with You I and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God find know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable / the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples / and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

Light immortal! Light Divine! Visit Thou these hearts of Thine, And our inmost being fill!
The Gift of Knowledge
The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth--in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. "Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it."
Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen
(Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father 7 TIMES. Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts)



St. Rita of Cascia
Feast: May 22

Feast Day:May 22
1381, Roccaporena, Perugia, Umbria, Italy
Died:May 22, 1457, Cascia, Perugia, Umbria, Italy
Canonized:May 24, 1900, Rome by Pope Leo XIII
Patron of:Lost and impossible causes, sickness, wounds, marital problems, abuse, mothers
If St. Rita belongs to that wonderful band of elect who were holy from their cradles, it must be said that she required every available help that sanctity gives, to have enabled her to endure the trials and difficulties with which most of her life was filled!
She was the daughter of parents, both nearing middle age at the time of her birth, and the author of the Latin memoir of the Saint says that shortly after this event (1386), a swarm of bees was seen to come and go several times to and from the cradle a portent which was taken as indicating that the career of the child was to be marked by industry, virtue and devotion. The father and mother of Rita were themselves very pious, and from their laudable habit of composing the quarrels and differences among their neighbours, they were known as the "Peacemakers of Jesus Christ." Little Rita as she grew up, seems to have acquired a great deal of this spirit of the supernatural, for she showed little if any inclination for games, seeking her recreation chiefly in prayer and visits to sacred shrines-an exercise, by the way, which-granted the proper disposition-brings with it a wealth of real enjoyment and satisfaction quite wanting to other arid more secular amusements. This being so, it is not surprising to learn that Rita, as she neared womanhood, felt that her vocation lay in the convent rather than in that of domestic life. We are not aware of the circumstances that led her parents to oppose this apparently obvious course, but oppose it they did, and Rita submitted, even so far as to please them by marrying a man whom all accounts describe as exceedingly bad-tempered and something worse! It is the teaching of the Church that the grace of the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony, if corresponded with by a good life, works miracles, almost, in the way of establishing and perpetuating conjugal happiness. Acerbities of temper, temperamental differences, and all the other difficulties arising out of the necessary variations of human nature, are, under God's influence, toned down and adjusted, provided always Holy Mass, prayer and the sacraments are not forgotten—for "wheresoever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." So Rita tamed her rough spouse, and for two-and-twenty years lived harmoniously (concorditer) with a husband who, like most quarrelsome individuals in the days when sword and stiletto ever sharp, hung from every Italian gentleman's belt, perished in a feud. Such a death in the Italy of the Decamerone and the Republics, and, indeed, till well into our own time, usually meant a prolonged vendetta, and, of course, the two sons of the dead man at once took up the quarrel. Meantime, poor Rita was in despair, and finding her expostulations useless to prevent further effusion of blood, she had recourse to prayer, earnestly beseeching God to take her boys from this world rather than permit them to live on stained by homicide. The mother's prayer was heard, and the two youths shortly afterwards died edifying deaths, forgiving their father's slayers and resigned to God.

The way was now clear for our Saint to satisfy her long yearning for a conventual life. After due consideration, she applied to be "accepted" by the Augustinian nuns at Cascia, but was informed that the custom was only for women who had never been married, to be received as postulants. The time was to come when not only widows were to enter religious orders of their own sex as a matter of course, but even occasionally to found them, as in the case of St. Jane Francis de Chantal and the Nuns of the Visitation. Again did Rita have recourse to prayer, and it is related that the night following her second great "storming of Heaven," St. John the Baptist, to whom she had a great devotion, appeared to her, accompanied by St. Augustine and St. Nicholas of Tolentino, and these three Saints conducted her to the convent, where the Superiors who had been similarly warned, received her with great kindness. The new postulant entered upon her life in religion with characteristic zeal and thoroughness. She disposed of her family property as alms to the poor, and in addition to the ordinary mortifications prescribed or permitted by the rule, she added others of great severity, wearing a hair shirt, fasting rigorously on bread and water and taking the discipline at intervals. The Passion of Our Lord was her constant meditation, and while recalling the manifold sufferings of the Man of Sorrows, she often seemed to be carried away by mingled grief and devotion.

In the midst of such wonderful progress on the road to perfection, this pattern to the community was afflicted by God after the following mysterious manner. She was meditating one day on the Passion before the crucifix, when she apparently, accidentally, wounded her forehead by striking it against some of the no doubt very realistic thorns in Our Lord's crown. The injury caused by the hurt developed into a serious ulcer, one most painful and unsightly, so unsightly, in fact, that for many years Sister Rita had to make her devotions alone! She accepted this great trial in the light of an additional penance sent her by God, and it was about this time that many spiritual and temporal favours are said to have been granted to various persons as the direct result of the prayers of this wonderful religious, the fame of whose sanctity had already extended far beyond the convent walls. The extraordinary fact, too, that her garden—which, in common with the rest of the nuns, she had allotted to her—produced beautiful roses and ripe figs in the depths of an abnormally severe winter, was taken as an additional sign that the unceasing prayers and heroic virtues of Sister Rita were blessed beyond measure, even in this world. The last years of the Saint were marked by a most painful and lingering illness—cancer doubtless—which as in the case of all her other seeming misfortunes she employed as another means of forwarding her greater sanctification. At the approach of death, she received with wonderful fervour the last rites of the Church, and then, as it is piously believed, at the call of Our Lady, she breathed forth her spotless soul to God on 20th May, 1456.1
The sacred remains long after death yielded a most sweet and refreshing odour, and many miracles have been recorded as the fruit of her powerful intercession. The cultus of the wonderful nun of Cascia spread far and wide, notably in Spain, where she has since been known as "La Santa de los impossibiles!" She was Beatified by Clement XII, though as far back as 1637, a Mass and office were granted in her honour by Urban VIII. Finally, on 24th May, 1900, Pope Leo XIII enrolled her name among the Saints-the Saints it may be added, whose virtues shone as stars both in the world and in the cloister.

source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/R/stritaofcascia.asp#ixzz1vb8xawkC