Saturday, March 8, 2014


Today, March 8, is International Women's Day. The 1st national "Women's Day" was held on February 28, 1909 in the USA. The International Women's Day was celebrated on March 18, 1911. To celebrate this many hold parades or conferences in honour of women's roles in society. It also serves to call attention to the plight of many women suffering unjustly in many countries world wide.
In honor of women's day; here is a list of
1. MARY, MOTHER OF GOD Mary of Nazareth was born before the 1st century AD. Mary was born to Anne and Joachim. She was the mother of Jesus Christ. She conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit and remained a virgin. The angel Gabriel came to her and announced that she would conceive and bear a son who would be Emmanuel. She proclaimed the famous inspired prayer found in the Gospels: "My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. Shall call me blessed: These words are a prediction of that honour which the church in all ages should pay to the Blessed Virgin. Let Protestants examine whether they are any way concerned in this prophecy. He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy: As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever." (Luke 1: 46)
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born in Skopje, Macedonia, on August 26, 1910. The Bojaxhiu family was of Albanian descent. When she turned 18 she entered the Sisters of Loreto of Ireland. She took the name Teresa after St. Therese of Lisieux. She taught in a missionary school in India until 1948. While traveling through India she felt God calling her to serve the poorest of the poor. She received permission to leave her order and began to help the poor with volunteers. In 1950, she was given permission from the Vatican to start the order "The Missionaries of Charity".In 1979, she received the Nobel peace prize for her tireless work for the poor. (picture above)
Her order rapidly spread around the world to care for the poor, sick and marginalized in over 120 countries. She spoke of this ministry in her own words, "I once picked up a woman from a garbage dump and she was burning with fever; she was in her last days."
was born in Victoria, Australia, on January 15, 1842 and died on August 8, 1909. She is also known as St. Mary of the Cross. She founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart with Father Julian Tenison Woods. They focus on education for the poor. She was canonized on October 17, 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. (Image: She is the first Australian Canonized Saint. Mary Helen MacKillop was born in Fitzroy, Victoria.
was born near the Rhine River, in Germany, in 1098 and died  on September 17, 1179. She was a visionary, musician, doctor, abbess and theologian.  She founded 2 monastaries. Hildegard composed Ordo Virtutem, the 1st passion play. She was taught in a monastery from the age of 8. Later she became an Abbess. She was the youngest of 10 children. Her books include: Scivias and Vita.
Mother Angelica was born in Canton, Ohio, on April 20, 1923, with the name Rita Rizzo. She founded the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) in 1980. She became a novice and then nun with the Poor Clares of Adoration in 1944. In 1962 she founded a house for the Poor Clares in Alabama. Her network has reached over 1 billion viewers world-wide. They run Catholic programming. It also offers a Website and Radio.                                        
were African martyrs from Carthage in 202. Both of them were young mothers when they were killed by the Roman Emperor. Perpetua is quoted as saying: "We were in the hands of our persecutors, when my father, out of the affection he bore me, made new efforts to shake my resolution. I said to him: 'Can that vessel, which you see, change its name?' He said: 'No.' I replied: 'Nor can I call myself any other than I am, that is to say, a Christian." Felicity is quoted replying to a guard: "It is I that suffer what I now suffer; but then there will be another in me that will suffer for me, because I shall suffer for him." They and other martyrs were severly tortured; St. Pertua said before death:  "Continue firm in the faith, love one another, and be not scandalized at our sufferings." Their names are mentioned in the Canon of the Roman Catholic Mass. Their feast is on March 7.
7. ST. TERESA BENEDICTA OF THE CROSS, born as Edith Stein, was a Jewish woman born in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland), on 12 October 1891, the youngest of 11. She was an academic and worked for a university. In 1917, Edith was converted when visiting a friend; she wrote "This was my first encounter with the Cross and the divine power it imparts to those who bear it ... it was the moment when my unbelief collapsed and Christ began to shine his light on me—Christ in the mystery of the Cross". On 1 January 1922 Edith Stein was baptized. She entered the Carmelite convent of Cologne on 14 October and was clothed in the habit on 15 April 1934.
During the time of Nazi power Edith Stein was arrested by the Gestapo on 2 August 1942, while she was in the chapel with the other sisters. She together with her sister Rosa, who had also converted and was serving at the convent. Her last words to her sister: "Come, we are going for our people". She and her sister were killed in Auschwitz. Her feast day is August 9.
8. ST. ALPHONSA MUTTATHUPADATHU was born on August 19 1910 and died on July 28, 1946. She was a Franciscan Sister. She is the 1st Indian canonized Saint. Alphonsa was from the Syro-Malabar Eastern Rite founded by St. Thomas the Apostle. She was born in Kudamlloor, Kerala, India and spoke Malayalam.  She became a nun in 1936 and though sickly, taught in school for  years. Many miracles are attributed to her. She was canonized on October 12, 2008 and her feast is July 28.
9. ST. THERESE OF LISIEUX was born on January 2, 1873 and died on September 30, 1897. She was born in Alencon, France. Her original name was Marie-Francoise-Therese Martin. She became a Carmelite nun at the age of 15. Her other names were St. Therese of the Child Jesus, of the Holy Face and the Little Flower. She was a sacristan who became ill with Tuberculosis and died at age 24. She and her 5 sisters all became nuns.  Her memoirs entitled Story fo a Soul have become famous. She never left the convent but had an intense prayer life and love of God. She was declared a Doctor of the Church and the patroness of missions. Her feast day is October 1st or 3rd.
10. ST. JOSEPHINE BAKHITA was born in Sudan, Africa, in 1869 and died on February 8, 1947. She was a slave and became a Canossian nun in Italy. She worked for 45 years in Europe. She was born in Darfur to the Daju people; and belonged to a wealthy family. As a young child she was kidnapped by Arab slave traders, severally tortured and enslaved. She was forcibly converted to Islam. After much tortue under her masters she was sold to an Italian Consul who was kind. She moved to Italy with the family and worked in peace for them. She was declared free by an Italian court in 1889. Bakhita was baptised and confirmed in 1890. In 1893 she entered the Canossian Sisters and was welcomed by Pope Pius X. She was cook, sacristan and portress. Her reputation for holiness spread throughout Italy. Her feast is February 8.

Compiled by: Miriam Westen, M.Ed, MA Theology


Sunday, March 9, at 2am the clocks will move forward 1 hour in the USA and Canada. This is called "Daylight Savings Time" or "Spring Forward".

On March 19 it will be the feast of St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus.
The Novena Prayer to St. Joseph begins today.
Say for nine consecutive mornings for anything you may desire. It has seldom been known to fail.

*Oh St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so  
strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I
place in you all my interests and desires.
Oh St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful
intercession and obtain for me from your
Divine Son all spiritual blessings through
Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged
here below your Heavenly power I may offer my
Thanksgiving and Homage to the Loving of
Oh St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you
and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not
approach while He reposes near your heart.
Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head
for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I
draw my dying breath.
St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray
 for us.       Amen



Agenzia Fides REPORT - The rape of girls belonging to religious minorities is a very common phenomenon in Pakistan. Christian women are a prime target, because the most vulnerable and defenseless. The majority of cases are not even reported to the police and, when it happens, the perpetrators of violence often go unpunished. 
The Christian community is still shocked by the recent case of Sumbal, a 5-year-old Christian girl, raped by a group of Muslim men on a street in Lahore. The mobilization of activists and Christian organizations to seek justice remains very strong.
Another recent case reported to Fides by the NGO CLAAS ("Centre for Legal Aid Assistance & Settlement") concerns a Muslim man from Lahore who attempted to rape two Christian girls, sisters, aged 1 and 3. The mother worked in the house of a wealthy Muslim, where also Allah Baksh worked, who began to harass her sexually. After the woman’s refusal, the man was caught red-handed while trying to rape the two girls. Baksh was arrested following a complaint, but the police are putting pressure on the girls’ parents to withdraw the complaint.
A few months ago another case aroused indignation: that of a 9-year-old Christian girl who suffered a gang rape by three young Muslims. Violence against children are committed with ease, explains a source of Fides that assists victims, especially because the perpetrators remain unpunished: injustice fuels the vicious cycle of violence.
In 2004, a case that caused uproar around the world was the brutal rape of a-two-year old child Neha Munir raped because her father, Munir Masih, a Christian, refused to convert to Islam. After a long ordeal, Neha's family fled to Canada. Neha has become a symbol of all the abused children in Pakistan.
The NGO LEAD ("Legal Evangelical Association Development"), which is dedicated to promoting the social integration of Christians in Pakistan, notes that Christian women are being denied every human right and dignity. In particular, Christian girls are often treated "as a commodity". According to data gathered by Fides, each year there are approximately 700 cases of girls belonging to religious minorities (Christian or Hindu ) who are raped or kidnapped, even for the purpose of conversion. The "All Pakistan Minorities Alliance" (APMA ), has created a special legal team that provides free legal assistance to religious minorities, such as the families involved in these cases of violence. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 07/03/2014)


The aircraft had departed from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing. Shortly after midnight, without launching any SOS, it disappeared. Malaysian minister : "We have not ruled out the possibility it was an act of terrorism”. Chinese President Xi Jinping: "Every effort made to rescue the survivors”.

Beijing ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 with 239 people on board disappeared shortly after midnight last night without launching any alarm signal while flying over the sea to the south of Vietnam, two hours after departure from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing . The Malay government has not excluded any hypothesis over the cause of the disappearance, even that of a terrorist attack , but has called for "calm". At the moment the aircraft is still given as "missing" , but searches are ongoing for possible wreckage in the sea.
Malaysia Airlines is considered a highly reliable airline, which can boast nearly four decades without any serious incidents: the worst dates back to 1977, when 100 people died . In recent years, the company began to suffer serious economic losses due to competition from low-cost airlines, in particular the Malaysian Air Asia.
The Boeing disappeared while flying over the sea to the south of Vietnam. According to the passenger list, the majority on board were Chinese (153) with 38 Malays, 12 Indonesians, but also Australians, Europeans and Americans. The only Italian on the list, Luigi Maraldi, was at first believed on board: a few hours ago he contacted his parents to tell them he was safe in Thailand.

The Chinese government has recalled the ambassador in Kuala Lumpur, and the President Xi Jinping has called on the Chinese Foreign Ministry , embassies and relevant Chinese departments concerned to "follow the progress of the rescue operations closely, and make every effort to help in issues relating to Chinese citizens".


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
7 Mar 2014
Governor-General Designate General Peter Cosgrove AC MC CNZM
Around 200 parliamentarians and faith leaders from a number of denominations joined Governor-General Designate, General Peter Cosgrove at the inaugural NSW Interfaith Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast this week.
The Breakfast was inaugurated by Australian Catholic University (ACU) where General Cosgrove was the Chancellor until his recent appointment.
While parliamentary prayer breakfasts have been an agenda item for some time across Australia, interfaith breakfasts are rare.
ACU's first one on Thursday attracted representatives from 24 different faith denominations.
Guests were welcomed by Prof Greg Craven, the Vice-Chancellor, Australian Catholic University which is the largest Catholic university in the English-speaking world.
Bishop Peter Comensoli, Sydney Catholic Archdiocese
Prof Craven  said he hoped the event provided a chance to demonstrate "our mission in action, namely to foster an appreciation of the sacred life" and a commitment to serving the common good.
"We hope this parliamentary prayer breakfast presents parliamentarians of all parties with the opportunity to join with leaders of different faiths to pray for wise deliberations over the coming parliamentary year," Prof Craven said.
The Deputy NSW Premier, Andrew Stoner and NSW Opposition Leader, John Robertson, along with a number of politicians from both the major parties attended the breakfast.
Representatives from some of the faith groups read a prayer before the address by General Cosgrove.
General Cosgrove said he was honoured to address a gathering with a unity of purpose.
His Grace, Bishop Daniel, Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Church Diocese of Sydney and Affiliated Regions
He said; "This morning involve a sense of community and sharing where we can declare our common spirit, resolve and faith."
The Governor-General Designate said faith can take different forms and related some of his experiences and those of the men and women in the defence forces. He spoke of loyalty and values and faith in a higher being, acknowledging the many different faiths represented in the room.
"The fundamental aspect of our society in Australia is our diversity of individuals. Our similarities are stronger than our differences.
"We have a great generosity of spirit. We are inclusive in our diversity, and we believe in something called a 'fair go'".
The Archdiocese of Sydney representatives at the breakfast included the Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Peter Comonsoli and the Director of the Commission for Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations Dr Giovanni Farquer, RSJ
NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner
Venerable Dr Juewei, Head Priest, Nan Tien Temple