Sunday, October 14, 2012

TODAY'S SAINT: OCT. 15: ST. TERESA OF AVILA: DIED 1582




St. Teresa of Avila
DISCALCED CARMELITE MYSTIC, FOUNDRESS, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: October 15
Information:
Feast Day:
October 15
Born:
28 March 1515, Ávila, Old Castile, Spain
Died:
October 15, 1582, Alba de Tormes, Salamanca, Spain
Canonized:
12 March 1622 by Pope Gregory XV
Major Shrine:
Shrine of St. Teresa of Ávila, Ávila, Spain
Patron of:
bodily ills; headaches; lacemakers; laceworkers; loss of parents; people in need of grace; people in religious orders; people ridiculed for their piety; sick people; sickness; Spain

In the Autobiography which she completed towards the end of her life, Saint Teresa of Avila gives us a description of her parents, along with a disparaging estimate of her own character. "The possession of virtuous parents who lived in the fear of God, together with those favors which I received from his Divine Majesty, might have made me good, if I had not been so very wicked." A heavy consciousness of sin was prevalent in sixteenth-century Spain, and we can readily discount this avowal of guilt. What we are told of Teresa's early life does not sound in the least wicked, but it is plain that she was an unusually active, imaginative, and sensitive child. Her parents, Don Alfonso Sanchez de Capeda and Dona Beatriz Davila y Ahumada, his second wife, were people of position in Avila, a city of Old Castile, where Teresa was born on March 28, 1515. There were nine children of this marriage, of whom Teresa was the third, and three children of her father's first marriage.
Piously reared as she was, Teresa became completely fascinated by stories of the saints and martyrs, as was her brother Roderigo, who was near her own age and her partner in youthful adventures. Once, when Teresa was seven, they made a plan to run away to Africa, where they might be beheaded by the infidel Moors and so achieve martyrdom. They set out secretly, expecting to beg their way like the poor friars, but had gone only a short distance from home when they were met by an uncle and brought back to their anxious mother, who had sent servants into the streets to search for them. She and her brother now thought they would like to become hermits, and tried to build themselves little cells from stones they found in the garden. Thus we see that religious thoughts and influences dominated the mind of the future saint in childhood.
Teresa was only fourteen when her mother died, and she later wrote of her sorrow in these words: "As soon as I began to understand how great a loss I had sustained by losing her, I was very much afflicted; and so I went before an image of our Blessed Lady and besought her with many tears that she would vouchsafe to be my mother." Visits from a girl cousin were most welcome at this time, but they had the effect of stimulating her interest in superficial things. Reading tales of chivalry was one of their diversions, and Teresa even tried to write romantic stories. "These tales," she says in her Autobiography, "did not fail to cool my good desires, and were the cause of my falling insensibly into other defects. I was so enchanted that I could not be happy without some new tale in my hands. I began to imitate the fashions, to enjoy being well dressed, to take great care of my hands, to use perfumes, and wear all the vain ornaments which my position in the world allowed." Noting this sudden change in his daughter's personality, Teresa's father decided to place her in a convent of Augustinian nuns in Avila, where other young women of her class were being educated. This action made Teresa aware that her danger had been greater than she knew. After a year and a half in the convent she fell ill with what seems to have been a malignant type of malaria, and Don Alfonso brought her home. After recovering, she went to stay with her eldest sister, who had married and gone to live in the country. Then she visited an uncle, Peter Sanchez de Capeda, a very sober and pious man. At home once more, and fearing that an uncongenial marriage would be forced upon her, she began to deliberate whether or not she should undertake the religious life. Reading the , helped her to reach a decision. St. Jerome's realism and ardor were akin to her own Castilian spirit, with its mixture of the practical and the idealistic. She now announced to her father her desire to become a nun, but he withheld consent, saying that after his death she might do as she pleased
This reaction caused a new conflict, for Teresa loved her father devotedly. Feeling that delay might weaken her resolve, she went secretly to the Carmelite convent of the Incarnation outside the town of Avila, where her dear friend Sister Jane Suarez was living, and applied for admission. Of this painful step, she wrote: "I remember . . . while I was going out of my father's house—the sharpness of sense will not be greater, I believe, in the very instant of agony of my death, than it was then. It seemed as if all the bones in my body were wrenched asunder.... There was no such love of God in me then as was able to quench the love I felt for my father and my friends." A year later Teresa made her profession, but when there was a recurrence of her illness, Don Alfonso had her removed from the convent, as the rule of enclosure was not then in effect. After a period of intense suffering, during which, on one occasion, at least, her life was despaired of, she gradually began to improve. She was helped by certain prayers she had begun to use. Her devout Uncle Peter had given her a little book called the , by Father Francis de Osuna, which dealt with "prayers of recollection and quiet." Taking this book as her guide, she began to concentrate on mental prayer, and progressed towards the "prayer of quiet," with the soul resting in divine contemplation, all earthly things forgotten. Occasionally, for brief moments, she attained the "prayer of union," in which all the powers of the soul are absorbed in God. She persuaded her father to apply himself to this form of prayer.
After three years Teresa went back to the convent. Her intelligence, warmth, and charm made her a favorite, and she found pleasure in being with people. It was the custom in Spain in those days for the young nuns to receive their acquaintances in the convent parlor, and Teresa spent much time there, chatting with friends. She was attracted to one of the visitors whose company was disturbing to her, although she told herself that there could be no question of sin, since she was only doing what so many others, better than she, were doing. During this relaxed period, she gave up her habit of mental prayer, using as a pretext the poor state of her health. "This excuse of bodily weakness," she wrote afterwards, "was not a sufficient reason why I should abandon so good a thing, which required no physical strength, but only love and habit. In the midst of sickness the best prayer may be offered, and it is a mistake to think it can only be offered in solitude." She returned to the practice of mental prayer and never again abandoned it, although she had not yet the courage to follow God completely, or to stop wasting her time and talents. But during these years of apparent wavering, her spirit was being forged. When depressed by her own unworthiness, she turned to those two great penitents, St. Mary Magdalen and St. Augustine, and through them came experiences that helped to steady her will. One was the reading of St. Augustine's ; another was an overpowering impulse to penitence before a picture of the suffering Lord, in which, she writes, "I felt Mary Magdalen come to my assistance.... From that day I have gone on improving in my spiritual life."
When finally Teresa withdrew from the pleasures of social intercourse, she found herself able once more to pray the "prayer of quiet," and also the "prayer of union." She began to have intellectual visions of divine things and to hear inner voices. Though she was persuaded these manifestations came from God, she was at times fearful and troubled. She consulted many persons, binding all to secrecy, but her perplexities nevertheless were spread abroad, to her great mortification. Among those she talked to was Father Gaspar Daza, a learned priest, who, after listening, reported that she was deluded, for such divine favors were not consistent with a life as full of imperfections as hers was, as she herself admitted. A friend, Don Francis de Salsedo, suggested that she talk to a priest of the newly formed Society of Jesus. To one of them, accordingly, she made a general Confession, recounting her manner of prayer and extraordinary visions. He assured her that she experienced divine graces, but warned her that she had failed to lay the foundations of a true spiritual life by practices of mortification. He advised her to try to resist the visions and voices for two months; resistance proved useless. Francis Borgia, commissary-general of the Society in Spain, then advised her not to resist further, but also not to seek such experiences.
Another Jesuit, Father Balthasar Alvarez, who now became her director, pointed out certain traits that were incompatible with perfect grace. He told her that she would do well to beg God to direct her to what was most pleasing to Him, and to recite daily the hymn of St. Gregory the Great, "!" One day, as she repeated the stanzas, she was seized with a rapture in which she heard the words, "I will not have you hold conversation with men, but with angels." For three years, while Father Balthasar was her director, she suffered from the disapproval of those around her; and for two years, from extreme desolation of soul. She was censured for her austerities and ridiculed as a victim of delusion or a hypocrite. A confessor to whom she went during Father Balthasar's absence said that her very prayer was an illusion, and commanded her, when she saw any vision, to make the sign of the cross and repel it as if it were an evil spirit. But Teresa tells us that the visions now brought with them their own evidence of ,authenticity, so that it was impossible to doubt they were from God. Nevertheless, she obeyed this order of her confessor. Pope Gregory XV, in his bull of canonization, commends her obedience in these words: "She was wont to say that she might be deceived in discerning visions and revelations, but could not be in obeying superiors."
In 1557 Peter of Alcantara, a Franciscan of the Observance, came to Avila. Few saints have been more experienced in the inner life, and he found in Teresa unmistakable evidence of the Holy Spirit. He openly expressed compassion for what she endured from slander and predicted that she was not at the end of her tribulations. However, as her mystical experiences continued, the greatness and goodness of God, the sweetness of His service, became more and more manifest to her. She was sometimes lifted from the ground, an experience other saints have known. "God," she says, "seems not content with drawing the soul to Himself, but he must needs draw up the very body too, even while it is mortal and compounded of so unclean a clay as we have made it by our sins."
It was at this time, she tells us, that her most singular experience took place, her mystical marriage to Christ, and the piercing of her heart. Of the latter she writes: "I saw an angel very near me, towards my left side, in bodily form, which is not usual with me; for though angels are often represented to me, it is only in my mental vision. This angel appeared rather small than large, and very beautiful. His face was so shining that he seemed to be one of those highest angels called seraphs, who look as if all on fire with divine love. He had in his hands a long golden dart; at the end of the point methought there was a little fire. And I felt him thrust it several times through my heart in such a way that it passed through my very bowels. And when he drew it out, methought it pulled them out with it and left me wholly on fire with a great love of God." The pain in her soul spread to her body, but it was accompanied by great delight too; she was like one transported, caring neither to see nor to speak but only to be consumed with the mingled pain and happiness.
Teresa's longing to die that she might be united with God was tempered by her desire to suffer for Him on earth. The account which the gives of her revelations is marked by sincerity, genuine simplicity of style, and scrupulous precision. An unlettered woman, she wrote in the Castilian vernacular, setting down her experiences reluctantly, out of obedience to her confessor, and submitting everything to his judgment and that of the Church, merely complaining that the task kept her from spinning. Teresa wrote of herself without self-love or pride. Towards her persecutors she was respectful, representing them as honest servants of God.
Teresa's other literary works came later, during the fifteen years when she was actively engaged in founding new convents of reformed Carmelite nuns. They are proof of her industry and her power of memory, as well as of a real talent for expression. she composed for the special guidance of her nuns, and the for their further edification. was perhaps meant for all Catholics; in it she writes with authority on the spiritual life. One admiring critic says: "She lays bare in her writings the most impenetrable secrets of true wisdom in what we call mystical theology, of which God has given the key to a small number of his favored servants. This thought may somewhat lessen our surprise that an unlearned woman should have expounded what the greatest doctors never attained, for God employs in His works what instruments He wills."
We have seen how undisciplined the Carmelite nuns had become, how the convent parlor at Avila was a social gathering place, and how easily nuns might leave their enclosure. Any woman, in fact, who wanted a sheltered life without much responsibility could find it in a convent in sixteenth-century Spain. The religious themselves, for the most part, were not even aware of how far they fell short of what their profession demanded. So when one of the nuns at the House of the Incarnation began talking of the possibility of founding a new and stricter community, the idea struck Teresa as an inspiration from Heaven. She determined to undertake its establishment herself and received a promise of help from a wealthy widow, Dona Guiomar de Ulloa. The project was approved by Peter of Alcantara and Father Angelo de Salazar, provincial of the Carmelite Order. The latter was soon compelled to withdraw his permission, for Teresa's fellow nuns, the local nobility, the magistrates, and others united to thwart the project. Father Ibanez, a Dominican, secretly encouraged Teresa and urged Dona Guiomar to continue to lend her support. One of Teresa's married sisters began with her husband to erect a small convent at Avila in 1561 to shelter the new establishment; outsiders took it for a house intended for the use of her family.
An episode famous in Teresa's life occurred at this time. Her little nephew was crushed by a wall of the new structure which fell on him as he was playing, and he was carried, apparently lifeless, to Teresa. She held the child in her arms and prayed. After some minutes she restored him alive and sound to his mother. The miracle was presented at the process for Teresa's canonization. Another seemingly solid wall of the convent collapsed during the night. Teresa's brother-in-law was going to refuse to pay the masons, but Teresa assured him that it was all the work of evil spirits and insisted that the men be paid.
A wealthy woman of Toledo, Countess Louise de la Cerda, happened at the time to be mourning the recent death of her husband, and asked the Carmelite provincial to order Teresa, whose goodness she had heard praised, to come to her. Teresa was accordingly sent to the woman, and stayed with her for six months, using a part of the time, at the request of Father Ibanez, to write, and to develop further her ideas for the convent. While at Toledo she met Maria of Jesus, of the Carmelite convent at Granada, who had had revelations concerning a reform of the order, and this meeting strengthened Teresa's own desires. Back in Avila, on the very evening of her arrival, the Pope's letter authorizing the new reformed convent was brought to her. Teresa's adherents now persuaded the bishop of Avila to concur, and the convent, dedicated to St. Joseph, was quietly opened. On St. Bartholomew's day, 1562 the Blessed Sacrament was placed in the little chapel, and four novices took the habit.
The news soon spread in the town and opposition flared into the open. The prioress of the Incarnation convent sent for Teresa, who was required to explain her conduct. Detained almost as a prisoner, Teresa did not lose her poise. The prioress was joined in her disapproval by the mayor and magistrates, always fearful that an unendowed convent would be a burden on the townspeople. Some were for demolishing the building forthwith. Meanwhile Don Francis sent a priest to Madrid, to plead for the new establishment before the King's Council. Teresa was allowed to go back to her convent and shortly afterward the bishop officially appointed her prioress. The hubbub now quickly subsided. Teresa was hence. forth known simply as Teresa of Jesus, mother of the reform of Carmel. The nuns were strictly cloistered, under a rule of poverty and almost complete silence; the constant chatter of women's voices was one of the things that Teresa had most deplored at the Incarnation. They were poor, without regular revenues; they wore habits of coarse serge and sandals instead of shoes, and for this reason were called the "discalced" or shoeless Carmelites. Although the prioress was now in her late forties, and frail, her great achievement still lay in the future.
Convinced that too many women under one roof made for relaxation of discipline, Teresa limited the number of nuns to thirteen; later, when houses were being founded with endowments and hence were not wholly dependent on alms, the number was increased to twenty-one. The prior general of the Carmelites, John Baptist Rubeo of Ravenna, visiting Avila in 1567, carried away a fine impression of Teresa's sincerity and prudent rule. He gave her full authority to found other convents on the same plan, in spite of the fact that St. Joseph's had been established without his knowledge.
Five peaceful years were spent with the thirteen nuns in the little convent of St. Joseph. Teresa trained the sisters in every kind of useful work and in all religious observances, but whether at spinning or at prayer, she herself was always first and most diligent. In August, 1567, she founded a second convent at Medina del Campo. The Countess de la Cerda was anxious to found a similar house in her native town of Malagon, and Teresa went to advise her about it. When this third community had been launched, the intrepid nun moved on to Valladolid, and there founded a fourth; then a fifth at Toledo. On beginning this work, she had no more than four or five ducats (approximately ten dollars), but she said, "Teresa and this money are nothing; but God, Teresa, and these ducats suffice." At Medina del Campo she encountered two friars who had heard of her reform and wished to adopt it: Antony de Heredia, prior of the Carmelite monastery there, and John of the Cross. With their aid, in 1568, and the authority given her by the prior general, she established a reformed house for men at Durelo, and in 1569 a second one at Pastrana, both on a pattern of extreme poverty and austerity. She left to John of the Cross, who at this time was in his late twenties, the direction of these and other reformed communities that might be started for men. Refusing to obey the order of his provincial to return to Medina, he was imprisoned at Toledo for nine months. After his escape he became vicar-general of Andalusia, and strove for papal recognition of the order. John, later to attain fame as a poet, mystic confessor, and finally saint, became Teresa's friend; a close spiritual bond developed between the young friar and the aging prioress, and he was made director and confessor in the mother house at Avila.
The hardships and dangers involved in Teresa's labors are indicated by a little episode of the founding of a new convent at Salamanca. She and another nun took over a house which had been occupied by students. It was a large, dirty, desolate place, without furnishings, and when night came the two nuns lay down on their piles of straw, for, Teresa tells us, "the first furniture I provided wherever I founded convents was straw, for, having that, I reckoned I had beds." On this occasion, the other nun seemed very nervous, and Teresa asked her the reason. "I was wondering," was the reply, "what you would do alone with a corpse if I were to die here now." Teresa was startled, but only said, "I shall think of that when it happens, Sister. For the present, let us go to sleep."
At about this time Pope Pius V appointed a number of apostolic visitors to inquire into the relaxations of discipline in religious orders everywhere. The visitor to the Carmelites of Castile found great fault with the Incarnation convent and sent for Teresa, bidding her to assume its direction and remedy the abuses there. It was hard to be separated from her own daughters, and even more distasteful to be brought in as head of the old house which had long opposed her with bitterness and jealousy. The nuns at first refused to obey her; some of them fell into hysterics at the very idea. She told them that she came not to coerce or instruct but to serve and to learn from the least among them. By gentleness and tact she won the affection of the community, and was able to reestablish discipline. Frequent callers were forbidden, the finances of the house were set in order, and a more truly religious spirit reigned. At the end of three years, although the nuns wished to keep her longer, she was directed to return to her own convent.
Teresa organized a nunnery at Veas and while there met Father Jerome Gratian, a reformed Carmelite, and was persuaded by him to extend her work to Seville. With the exception of her first convent, none proved so hard to establish as this. Among her problems there was a disgruntled novice, who reported the nuns to the Inquisition, charging them with being Illuminati.
The Italian Carmelite friars had meanwhile been growing alarmed at the progress of the reform in Spain, lest, as one of their number said, they might one day be compelled to set about reforming themselves, a fear shared by their still unreformed Spanish brothers. At a general chapter at Piacenza several decrees were passed restricting the reform. The new apostolic nuncio dismissed Father Gratian from his office as visitor to the reformed Carmelites. Teresa was told to choose one of her convents and retire to it, and abstain from founding others. At this point she turned to her friends in the world, who were able to interest King Philip II in her behalf, and he personally espoused her cause. He summoned the nuncio to rebuke him for his severity towards the discalced friars and nuns. In 1580 came an order from Rome exempting the reformed from the jurisdiction of the unreformed Carmelites, and giving each party its own provincial. Father Gratian was elected provincial of the reformed branch. The separation, although painful to many, brought an end to dissension.
Teresa was a person of great natural gifts. Her ardor and lively wit was balanced by her sound judgment and psychological insight. It was no mere flight of fancy when the English Catholic poet, Richard Crashaw, called her "the eagle" and "the dove." She could stand up boldly and bravely for what she thought was right; she could also be severe with a prioress who by excessive austerity had made herself unfit for her duties. Yet she could be gentle as a dove, as when she writes to an erring, irresponsible nephew, "God's mercy is great in that you have been enabled to make so good a choice and marry so soon, for you began to be dissipated when you were so young that we might have had much sorrow on your account." Love, with Teresa, meant constructive action, and she had the young man's daughter, born out of wedlock, brought to the convent, and took charge of her upbringing and that of his young sister.
One of Teresa's charms was a sense of humor. In the early years, when an indiscreet male visitor to the convent once praised the beauty of her bare feet, she laughed and told him to take a good look at them for he would never see them again-implying that in the future he would not be admitted. Her method of selecting novices was characteristic. The first requirement, even before piety, was intelligence. A woman could attain to piety, but scarcely to intelligence, by which she meant common sense as well as brains. "An intelligent mind," she wrote, "is simple and teachable; it sees its faults and allows itself to be guided. A mind that is dull and narrow never sees its faults even when shown them. It is always pleased with itself and never learns to do right." Pretentiousness and pride annoyed her. Once a young woman of high reputation for virtue asked to be admitted to a convent in Teresa's charge, and added, as if to emphasize her intellect, "I shall bring my Bible with me." "What," exclaimed Teresa, "your Bible? Do not come to us. We are only poor women who know nothing but how to spin and do as we are told."
In spite of a naturally sturdy constitution, Teresa continued throughout her life to suffer from ailments which physicians found baffling. It would seem that sheer will power kept her alive. At the time of the definitive division of the Carmelite Order she had reached the age of sixty-five and was broken in health. Yet during the last two years of her life she somehow found strength to establish three more convents. They were at Granada, in the far south, at Burgos, in the north, and at Soria, in Portugal. The total was now sixteen. What an astounding achievement this was for one small, enfeebled woman may be better appreciated if we recall the hardships of travel. Most of this extensive journeying was done in a curtained carriage or cart drawn by mules over the extremely poor roads; her trips took her from the northern provinces down to the Mediterranean, and west into Portugal, across mountains, rivers, and arid plateaus. She and the nun who accompanied her endured all the rigors of a harsh climate as well as the steady discomfort of rude lodgings and scanty food.
In the autumn of 1582, Teresa, although ill, set out for Alva de Tormez, where an old friend was expecting a visit from her. Her companion of later years, Anne-of-St. Bartholomew, describes the journey. Teresa grew worse on the road, along which there were few habitations. They could get no food save figs, and when they arrived at the convent, Teresa went to bed in a state of exhaustion. She never recovered, and three days later, she remarked to Anne, "At last, my daughter, I have reached the house of death," a reference to her book, . Extreme Unction was administered by Father Antony de Heredia, a friar of the Reform, and when he asked her where she wished to be buried. she plaintively replied, "Will they deny me a little ground for my body here?" She sat up as she received the Sacrament, exclaiming, "O my Lord, now is the time that we shall see each other! " and died in Anne's arms. It was the evening of October 4. The next day, as it happened, the Gregorian calendar came into use. The readjustment made it necessary to drop ten days, so that October 5 was counted as October 15, and this latter date became Teresa's feast day. She was buried at Alva; three years later, following the decree of a. provincial chapter of Reformed Carmelites, the body was secretly removed to Avila. The next year the Duke of Alva procured an order from Rome to return it to Alva de Tormez, and there it has remained.
Teresa was canonized in 1662. Shortly after her death, Philip II, keenly aware of the Carmelite nun's contribution to Catholicism, had her manuscripts collected and brought to his great palace of the Escorial, and there placed in a rich case, the key of which he carried on his person. These writings were edited for publication by two Dominican scholars and brought out in 1587. Subsequently her works have appeared in uncounted Spanish editions, and have been translated into many languages. An ever-spreading circle of readers through the centuries have found understanding and courage in the life and works of this nun of Castile, who is one of the glories of Spain and of the Church. Teresa's emblems are a heart, an arrow, and a book.


VATICAN : POPE : COURAGE TO ASK THE LORD WHAT MORE WE CAN DO

Vatican Radio REPORT In his first Sunday Angelus since the beginning of the Year of Faith, Pope Benedict welcoming the faithful to St Peter’s Square focused his attention on one of the most famous Gospel stories. The parable is of a rich man who asks Jesus how he can enter the kingdom of God and who receives the notable reply, 

"It 's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

The Holy Father explained to those gathered that Jesus teaches that it is very difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, but not impossible, in fact, the Pope said, God can win the heart of a person who possesses great wealth and can push them to work for solidarity and sharing with those in need.

Pope Benedict also underlined the fact that wealth does not bring true happiness.

The man in the Gospel, continued the Holy Father is someone who has observed God’s commandments but like many people thinks that eternal life can somehow be bought.

Jesus, notes Pope Benedict, is underlining the fact that the riches of heaven far out way those of this world, which is why he asks the man in the parable to give his wealth to the poor.

The Pope concluded his address by saying that this story teaches us that the rich should not neglect their salvation. He also remarked on the number of Saints, such as St. Francis, St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Charles Borromeo who had given up their wealth to follow God.

Following the recitation of the Marian prayer the Holy Father, drew the attention of those present in St Peter’s Square, back to the Year of Faith.

“During this Year of Faith may we, like the man in today’s Gospel, have the courage to ask the Lord what more can we do, especially for the poor, the lonely, the sick and the suffering, so as to be witnesses and heirs to the eternal life God promises.”

He also recalled those who had died for the Faith such as Federico Bachstein and thirteen Brothers of the Order of Friars Minor who were beatified this weekend.

He said they were killed in 1611 because of their faith and this reminds us of those people who are willing to suffer for Christ.

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

AMERICA : USA : MASS AND PILGRIMAGE FOR FREEDOM

USCCB REPORT: 

October 14 Mass and Pilgrimage for Life and Liberty

On Sunday, October 14, starting at 12 noon EDT, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore will lead a Mass and Pilgrimage for Life and Liberty at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.  Shortly after the Mass, Archbishop Lori will lead the recitation of the first day of the Rosary Novena for Life and Liberty, which will take place from October 14 to 22Additional resources are available for the October Respect Life and Liberty campaign.  Check out the press release and Facebook page!

NEW: Please see the video invitation of Archbishop Lori and web graphics you can use to promote this Sunday's Mass and Pilgrimage!
A huge flag drapes the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. CNS Photo/Bob RollerPope Benedict XVI's 2011 World Day of Peace message called religious freedom the “path to peace.” Since “religious freedom is at the origin of moral freedom,” the Pope taught it should be understood “not merely as immunity from coercion, but even more fundamentally as an ability to order one’s own choices in accordance with truth... When religious freedom is acknowledged, the dignity of the human person is respected at its root, and the ethos and institutions of peoples are strengthened. On the other hand, whenever religious freedom is denied, and attempts are made to hinder people from professing their religion or faith and living accordingly, human dignity is offended, with a resulting threat to justice and peace...."
Religious freedom has profound implications for the common good of our nation and world.  Visit the menu on the left for resources related to Religious Liberty at HomeInternational Religious Freedom, and Conscience Protection. The menu on the right offers opportunities for you to take action and make your voice heard in support of religious freedom within our nation and throughout the world.

Latest News!

"Cardinal Wuerl Says Faith Sets Standards for Morals, Behavior. . . " Georgetown University.  September 13, 2102.  Video of Talk Courtesy of theBerkley Center for Religious Liberty. . . .
"International Religious Freedom: An Imperative for Peace and the Common Good" by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  September 12, 2012, Feast of the Holy Name of Mary.

Speech by Archbishop John Onaiyekan on International Religious Freedom in Nigeria
September 12, 2012

Speech by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi on International Religious Freedom
September 12, 2012

Let Freedom Ring . . . !” by Timothy Cardinal Dolan.  John Carroll Society Event, September 10, 2012.  To hear the audio of Cardinal Dolan’s speech, click here. . . .
Letter to Assistant Secretary Blake on Rimsha Masih
Bishop Richard E. Pates, September 7, 2012 
Bishops Urge Congress to Act on Religious Liberty Crisis in Health Care Before Year's End (USCCB News Release, August 3, 2012)
"HHS mandate shouldn't require leaving faith, values at home". . . by Archbishop William E. Lori. (Washington Post, August 2, 2012)

fortnight-freedom-texting-campaign-help.jpgText the word "Freedom" to 377377

After the Supreme Court's ruling, the contraception mandate still remains. Keep up your prayers and action for religious freedom!
Sign up for text messages to stay up-to-date on current religious freedom issues. 
Text the word "FREEDOM" to 377377.

Prayer Card - Jesus Prayer for VocationsPrayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty

O God our Creator,from your provident hand we have received our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as your people and given us the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God, and your Son, Jesus Christ....MORE
SHARED FROM CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF USA

ASIA : BANGLADESH : 1000 MISSING IN TROPICAL STORM - 23 DEAD

UCAN REPORT: 

Death toll expected to rise
ucanews.com reporter, Dhaka
Bangladesh
October 12, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Storm kills 23, at least 1,000 missing
Communication remain disrupted and homes are devastated (Rudra Masud)
A violent tropical storm yesterday has left 23 people dead, hundreds injured and more than 1,000 missing in four southeastern districts, officials said.
Accompanied by strong wind and rain, the storm devastated thousands of homes leaving tens of thousands without shelter. Telephone communication, transportation and power remain out after hundreds of trees and electric poles were uprooted and fell on the roads.
The death toll is expected to rise as more than 1,000 fishermen are still missing, officials at various districts confirmed.
According to the Meteorological Department, a seasonal depression in the Bay of Bengal caused the storm and an alert was issued Tuesday. Gaining strength, the storm ripped through small islands and the coastal areas of Noakhali, Bhola, Chittagong and Feni districts. Noakhali was the worst hit, recording 12 deaths.
“Most people died when walls and trees fell on them,” said Sirajul Islam, deputy commissioner of Noakhali.
Islam added that relief efforts including money and food distribution to victims are in full swing.
SHARED FROM UCAN

AUSTRALIA : CHURCH BACKS MANDATORY REPORTING

ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE REPORT: 

Catholic Church in Victoria backs mandatory reporting for clergy and reporting to police

Wednesday 10 October 2012

TODAY the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, announced that the Catholic Church in Victoria supported extending mandatory reporting under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 to ministers of religion and other religious personnel, and the reporting of child abuse to police.

Archbishop Hart was speaking on behalf of the leaders of the Catholic Church in Victoria, following the publication by the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Non-Government Organisations of the Catholic Church in Victoria’s submission, Facing the Truth. Click here to read the executive summary from 'Facing the Truth.'

“In Facing the Truth the Church supports the extension of mandatory reporting of cases of suspected child abuse to ministers of religion and other religious personnel, with an exemption for information received during the rite of confession. It also proposes a mechanism for reporting child abuse to police while protecting the victim’s right to privacy,” he said.

Mandatory reporters include doctors, nurses, teachers and police. No additional professions have been added since the introduction of the Children, Youth and Families Act in 1993.

 “The Church also supports the recommendation of the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry that mandatory reporting should operate prospectively, so that it covers reasonably suspected instances of physical and sexual abuse of a person who is under the age of 18 at the time the reporter forms the suspicion of such abuse.

 “Extending mandatory reporting in this way would mean that all of those mandated are doing so under the same system and to the same authorities.

 “In relation to the police, our submission discusses the issue – a sensitive one for victims – that many want their experiences to remain private and do not want their complaint reported to the police. A tension exists between respecting the wishes of these victims and the calls for all allegations of abuse to be reported to the police.

“The Church acknowledges that Victoria Police has the primary role and expertise in investigating criminal allegations.

“We recommend that all allegations of serious crimes be reported to the police in a way that does not infringe the confidentiality and privacy of victims who have come forward on that basis, or the sanctity of the confessional.

“This difficult matter requires a balance to be struck between the responsibility of the community to prosecute criminal conduct and protect the vulnerable, and the right of victims to privacy.

“This balance could be achieved by implementing a system in which details of an allegation (other than those that could identify the complainant) are reported to the police on the basis that the police’s powers of compulsion cannot be used to discover the identity of the complainant from the source of the report.

“The Church would support reforms to implement this,” Archbishop Hart said.

The Catholic Church submission was made by the Catholic Bishops of Victoria: Archbishop Denis Hart, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne , Bishop Peter Connors, Catholic Diocese of Ballarat, Bishop Christopher Prowse, Catholic Diocese of Sale and Bishop Leslie Tomlinson, Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst and the Catholic Religious Orders, Congregations and Societies within Victoria, represented by Sister Annette Cunliffe rsc, Catholic Religious Australia and Sister Helen Toohey csb, Catholic Religious Victoria.

For further information go to www.facingthetruth.org.au
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE 

EUROPE : NOBEL PEACE PRIZE AWARDED TO EU

ASIA NEWS REPORT: 
by Bernardo Cervellera
The Oslo Committee has decided to award the Peace Prize to the EU, for achieving 60 years of peace on the continent. But they have forgotten Bosnia and Kosovo. Europe seeks to promote respect for human rights and religious minorities in Turkey and Central Asia, but is silent with regards China. The embarrassing campaigns for "new rights" (homosexual unions, reproductive health, etc. ..). Perhaps this award (also) seeks to garner support for Barack Obama. 


Rome (AsiaNews) - The Nobel Peace Prize awarded today to the European Union is perhaps only half deserved given the many areas of shadow as well as of light in the history of the EU.

The head of the Nobel Committee, Thorbørn Jagland said the award was being given to the EU because of its helping to "transform most of Europe as a continent of war in a continent of peace." The honor falls at a time when many sections of the European population are concerned by the economic choices of their leaders, slaves of Europe's economic iron fist.

Jagland was quick to point out that the award is also being given because the EU has contributed to "six decades of advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe."

But even for this, perhaps we should remember and beat our breasts for Euorpe's immobility and then slowness to move on the massacres in Bosnia, or the superficiality with which it intervened in Kosovo. What's more, we should remember the embarrassing EU attitude - at least for us Catholics and people of good will - in launching its "anti-discrimination" campaign in defense of de facto unions, reproductive health rights (which often also imply abortion); accusing the Vatican of "discrimination" over women priests, monastic vocations suspected of being forms of "brainwashing."

Of course, the staff and leadership of the EU is overjoyed by this recognition. EU Commission President Manuel Barroso, said that it "is justified recognition for a unique project that works forthe benefit of its citizens and the benefit of the world." It is also true that the political and economic relations of the EU with the rest of the world spread sensitivity on human rights and religious freedom. Work on the sidelines with Turkey, to push it to respect religious minorities, as a condition for its entry into the EU, has often been appreciated by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The commitment of Europe to Central Asia also demands recognition, where demand for post-communist leaders to respect human rights and opposition views, with these improvements affecting economic relations. At the same time, however, we also have to mention the timidity with which these "conditions" are demanded of the Chinese giant, which continues unabated to arrest Tibetan monks and Catholic bishops, pro-democracy dissidents and artists. It must also be said that the EU's list of human rights, goes much further that the UN Charter, to include those "rights" of medicine and reproductive health, the result of ideological and anti-religious choices.

Somehow, this Nobel Prize for Peace is as controversial as the one awarded to Barack Obama three years ago, assigned to him on his "intention" to do something for the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian problem: an intention which was not followed by any action, indeed, arriving at a boycott of the recognition of Palestine as a UN member.

Perhaps the Nobel Prize this year is for Obama. After all, his competitor, Mitt Romney, has promised a tough stance toward Beijing and more interventionism in the Middle East. But this is not the policy desired by the EU. Could exalting the way the EU works "for peace" be just another way to suggest: "Vote Obama?".

SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT 

AFRICA : CHAD : BISHOP EXPELLED - DUE TO HOMILY

Agenzia Fides REPORT - "There is an openness to dialogue on behalf of the government to resolve Mgr. Russo’s situation in a positive way" sources of the local church in N'Djamena, capital of Chad, say to Fides where local authorities have announced the expulsion of Mgr.Michele Russo, Bishop of Doba, because during a homily he had criticized the management of oil revenues in the Country denouncing an unfair distribution. Mgr. Russo is a missionary Bishop, Combonian, of Italian nationality.
"Mgr. Russo’s homily was broadcast by a local radio station, but in the translation from the French to the Ngambay language it gave a translation which does not perfectly comply with the Bishop’s words, using words that Mgr. Russo did not use" say our sources that conclude hoping for "the continuation of good relations between Church and State." (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 13/10/2012)

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : SUNDAY OCT. 14, 2012


Oct 14, 2012 - 28th Sun Ordinary Time

Your generosity will help to keepSUNDAY MASS on the
Wisdom 7: 7 - 11
7Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me; I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
8I preferred her to scepters and thrones, and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her.
9Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem, because all gold is but a little sand in her sight, and silver will be accounted as clay before her.
10I loved her more than health and beauty, and I chose to have her rather than light, because her radiance never ceases.
11All good things came to me along with her, and in her hands uncounted wealth.
Psalms 90: 12 - 17
12So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
13Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on thy servants!
14Satisfy us in the morning with thy steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15Make us glad as many days as thou hast afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil.
16Let thy work be manifest to thy servants, and thy glorious power to their children.
17Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish thou the work of our hands upon us, yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. -Hebrews 4: 12 - 13
12For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.13And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.Mark 10: 17 - 30
17And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"18And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.19You know the commandments: `Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'"20And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth."21And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."22At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.23And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!"24And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."26And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, "Then who can be saved?"27Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."28Peter began to say to him, "Lo, we have left everything and followed you."29Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,30who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
 air!

TODAY'S SAINT: OCT. 14: ST. CALLISTUS



St. Callistus I
POPE
Feast: October 14
Information:
Feast Day:
October 14
Died:
223
Patron of:
cemetery workers

The name of St. Callistus is rendered famous by the ancient cemetery which he beautified, and which, for the great number of holy martyrs whose bodies were there deposited, was the most celebrated of all those about Rome. He was a Roman by birth, succeeded St. Zephirin in the pontificate in 217 or 218, on the 2nd of August, and governed the church five years and two months, according to the true reading of the most ancient Pontifical, compiled from the registers of the Roman Church, as Henschenius, Papebroke, and Moret show, though Tillemont and Orsi give him only four years and some months. Antoninus Caracalla, who had been liberal to his soldiers, but the most barbarous murderer and oppressor of the people, having been massacred by a conspiracy raised by the contrivance of Macrinus, on the 8th of April 217, who assumed the purple, the empire was threatened on every side with commotions. Macrinus bestowed on infamous pleasures at Antioch that time which he owed to his own safety and to the tranquillity of the state, and gave an opportunity to a woman to overturn his empire. This was Julia Moesa, sister to Caracalla's mother, who had two daughters, Sohemis and Julia Mammaea. The latter was mother of Alexander Severus, the former of Bassianus, who being priest of the sun, called by the Syrians Elagabel, Emesa, in Phoenicia, was surnamed Heliogabalus. Moesa, being rich and liberal, prevailed for money with the army in Syria to proclaim him emperor; and Macrinus, quitting Antioch, was defeated and slain in Bithynia in 219, after he had reigned a year and two months, wanting three days. Heliogabalus, for his unnatural lusts, enormous prodigality and gluttony, and mad pride and vanity, was one of the most filthy monsters and detestable tyrants that Rome ever produced. He reigned only three years, nine months, and four days, being assassinated on the 11th of March 222 by the soldiers, together with his mother and favorites. His cousin—German and successor, Alexander, surnamed Severus, was for his clemency, modesty, sweetness, and prudence one of the best of princes. He discharged the officers of his predecessor, reduced the soldiers to their duty, and kept them in awe by regular pay. He had in his private chapel the images of Christ, Abraham, Apollonius of Tyana, and Orpheus, and learned of his mother, Mamma a, to have a great esteem for the Christians. It reflects great honour on our pope that this wise emperor used always to admire with what caution and solicitude the choice was made of persons that were promoted to the priesthood among the Christians, whose example he often proposed to his officers and to the people, to be imitated in the election of civil magistrates. It was in his peaceable reign that the Christians first began to build churches, which were demolished in the succeeding persecution. Lampridius, this emperor's historian, tells us that a certain idolater, putting in a claim to an oratory of the Christians which he wanted to make an eating-house of, the emperor adjudged the house to the Bishop of Rome, saying it were better it should serve in any kind to the divine worship than to gluttony, in being made a cook's shop.
To the debaucheries of Heliogabalus St. Callistus opposed fasting and tears, and he every way promoted exceedingly true religion and virtue. His apostolic labours were recompensed with the crown of martyrdom on the 12th of October 222. His feast is marked on this day in the ancient Martyrology of Lucca. The Liberian Calendar places him in the list of martyrs, and testifies that he was buried on the 14th of this month in the cemetery of Calepodius, on the Aurelian Way, three miles from Rome. The pontificals ascribe to him a decree appointing the four fasts called Ember-days; which is confirmed by ancient Sacramentaries, and other monuments quoted by Moretti. He also decreed that ordinations should be held in each of the Ember-weeks. He founded the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary beyond the Tiber. In the Calendar published by Fronto le Duc he is styled a confessor, but we find other martyrs sometimes called confessors. If St. Callistus was thrown into a pit, as his acts relate, it seems probable that he was put to death in some popular tumult. Dion mentions several such commotions under this prince, in one of which the praetorian guards murdered Ulpian, their own prefect. Pope Paul I and his successors, seeing the cemeteries without walls, and neglected after the devastations of the barbarians, withdrew from thence the bodies of the most illustrious martyrs, and had them carried to the principal churches of the city. Those of SS. Callistus and Calepodius were translated to the Church of St. Mary beyond the Tiber. Count Everard, lord of Cisoin or Chisoing, four leagues from Tournay, obtained of Leo IV, about the year 854, the body of St. Callistus, pope and martyr, which he placed in the-abbey of Canon Regulars which he had founded at Cisoin fourteen years before; the church of which place was on this account dedicated in honour of St. Callistus. These circumstances are mentioned by Fulco, Archbishop of Rheims, in a letter which he wrote to Pope Formosus in 890. The relics were removed soon after to Rheims for fear of the Normans, and never restored to the abbey of Cisoin. They remain behind the altar of our Lady at Rheims. Some of the relics, however, of this pope are kept with those of St. Calepodius, martyr, in the Church of St. Mary Trastevere at Rome. A portion was formerly possessed at Glastonbury.
Among the sacred edifices which upon the first transient glimpse of favour, or at least tranquillity, that the church enjoyed at Rome, this holy pope erected, the most celebrated was the cemetery which he enlarged and adorned on the Appian Road, the entrance of which is at St. Sebastian's, a monastery founded by Nicholas I, now inhabited by reformed Cistercian monks. In it the bodies of SS. Peter and Paul lay for some time, according to Anastasius, who says that the devout Lady Lucina buried St. Cornelius in her own farm near this place; whence it for some time took her name, though she is not to be confounded with Lucina who buried St. Paul's body on the Ostian Way and built a famous cemetery on the Aurelian Way. Among many thousand martyrs deposited in this place were St. Sebastian, whom the Lady Lucina interred, St. Cecily, and several whose tombs Pope Damasus adorned with verses.
In the assured faith of the resurrection of the flesh, the saints, in all ages down from Adam, were careful to treat their dead with religious respect, and to give them a modest and decent burial. The commendations which our Lord bestowed on the woman who poured precious ointments upon him a little before his death, and the devotion of those pious persons who took so much care of our Lord's funeral, recommended this office of charity; and the practice of the primitive Christians in this respect was most remarkable. Their care of their dead consisted not in any extravagant pomp, in which the pagans far outdid them,[8] but in a modest religious gravity and respect which was most pathetically expressive of their firm hope of a future resurrection, in which they regarded the mortal remains of their dead as precious in the eyes of God, who watches over them, regarding them as the apple of his eye, to be raised one day in the brightest glory, and made shining lustres in the heavenly Jerusalem.