Monday, October 14, 2019

Saint October 15 : St. Teresa of Avila - a Carmelite and the Patron of loss of Parents, Religious, Sickness and Spain

St. Teresa of Avila

28 March 1515, Ávila, Old Castile, Spain
October 15, 1582, Alba de Tormes, Salamanca, Spain
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.

SOURCE The Catholic Encyclopedia

Free Movie - "Resting Place" Lifetime Movies Based on a True Story - 1986 - HD - with Morgan Freeman

The mysterious death of an army officer comes under investigation by Major Kendall Laird as the young soldier's parents seek an honorable burial place, out of respect for their son. The parents are assisted by their neighbor, Mrs. McAlister, in their patriotic and racially divided community. Director: John Korty Writer: Walter Halsey Davis Stars: John Lithgow, Richard Bradford, Morgan Freeman |

#BreakingNews 4,000 attend March for Life in Austria with Many Youth and Religious Leaders - Watch Video - #ProLife

The second March for Life brought 4,000 Pro-Life marchers-
"What is required is solidarity. We must turn to a culture of solidarity. That's why I find this slogan so wonderful - love them both, the child and its mother. "On Saturday, October 12, 2019 in Austria, the second March for Life in Vienna began in the crowded St. Stephen's Cathedral with a Holy Mass. Also this year, the Viennese Auxiliary Bishop Stephan Turnovszky and Austrian bishops and took time for the most important pro-life event of the year. According to organizers, around 4,000 people took part to demonstrate for the right to life. Most of the participants were young people, families and children.

At the beginning, Turnovszky conveyed greetings from Salzburg bishop Andreas Laun, who was unfortunately unable to attend for health reasons. "It's about one big, courageous YES to everything God has done well. To love both uncompromisingly - we affirm the born as it were the unborn life. That's why I support the march for life, the parliamentary citizens 'initiative # fairänder and before that also the citizens' initiative Facts help to the statistical collection of abortions. Thank you for helping our society by taking to the streets and shouting: LOVE THEM BOTH! "

After the Holy Mass for the rally in front of the cathedral and chants of a Syriac Orthodox choir in Aramaic language, the Chorepiskopos Emanuel Aydin, and the former deputy chairman of the World Council of Churches in Austria.

"How did this happen in a Christian country? Creation is created for man and calls to us as it were: kill no human life! There is no justification for killing an unborn child. "

The bishop also criticized the religious decline in Austria and the fact that politics in Austria no longer cares about the commandments of God. And explosive and against the zeitgeist was then the criticism of the climate mystery. "This hysteria about the supposedly manmade climate change is crazy," said the bishop. "Creation is well established by God, and we must protect creation, but rationally and without panic." Aydin then clearly said that abortion was murder. "The state has to protect the children. The state must also protect the women, who are often under great pressure. That can not be for God's sake, that's a relapse into barbarism! "

At the podium, guest speaker Jonathon van Maren from Canada, who had specially come to Vienna for the Impact Congress, stated in a brief statement: "The truth is on our side, morality is on our side and science is on our side too.That's why it's so urgent that we create a science-based approach to this debate. "

Particularly impressive was a testimony of Jen Bricker from the USA, who has been in a wheelchair for years. Jen was born without legs or names, her birth parents had abandoned her and left her behind in the hospital. The doctors gave her up, but she survived. "I knew there was a purpose in my life. I practiced all sports ". She was even on tour with Britney Spears. "That's why I say YES to show how important a life can be. It's so important that we get up and fight for life. "
Image Source: Photo Credit: Facebook Marsch fürs Leben Österreich Eduard Pröls
Text Edited and Translated from

Wow Prince Charles attends Canonization of St. John Henry Newman saying ...this great saint, who bridges the divisions between traditions."

Official Press Release of the Prince of Wales: 

Today, The Prince of Wales attended the canonisation of Cardinal John Henry Newman at the Vatican.
Ahead of the ceremony, His Royal Highness met His Holiness Pope Francis.
The canonisation ceremony was conducted at an open-air mass in the Vatican’s St Peter's Square, which was attended by tens of thousands of pilgrims.
Cardinal Newman is the first English saint since the Forty Martrs were canonised in 1970, and the first British saint since St John Ogilvie in 1976.
Newman made an impact as an educator, theologian and a pastor. He was the first Rector of the Catholic University of Ireland (now University College Dublin), led the Oxford Movement which promoted the idea that the Anglican Church should reconnect with its Catholic roots, and wrote hymns that are still in use today such as ‘Praise to the Holiest in the Height’ and ‘Lead Kindly Light’.
The day’s events celebrated Newman’s life and work alongside four other newly canonised saints; from India, Mother Mariam Thresia, Swiss Marguerite Bays, Mother Giuseppina Vannini from Italy and Brazilian-born Sister Dulce Lopes.
The Prince has described Newman as:
This great Briton, this great churchman and, as we can now say, this great saint, who bridges the divisions between traditions.
Following the service, His Royal Highness visited the Venerable English College to view an exhibition of Cardinal Newman’s life and work.
Finally, The Prince attended a reception at the Pontifical Urban College. Cardinal Newman studied at the College while preparing to become a Catholic priest.
During the reception the London Oratory Schola Cantorum Boys Choir, made up of boys aged 10-18, performed and His Royal Highness gave a speech.

Latest from the Amazon Synod - “cum Petrus and sub Petrus” - Hypothesis of ordaining Married Persons - Access to food and respect for Ecosystems

#Amazon Synod. The Church’s commitment against violations of the rights of peoples
The ninth General Congregation marked the beginning of the second of three weeks of the Special Synod for the Amazon Region, which will end on October 27th. This morning there were 179 Synod Fathers present. Together with the Pope, they prayed for Ecuador.
By Vatican News

The Synod is a Kairos, a time of grace: the Church listens with empathy, and walks alongside the land’s indigenous peoples: those who abide in the geographical and existential peripheries that have received the gift of contemplating the "Let there Be", the first word spoken by God, every day. Creation is a ‘green Bible’ that reveals the Creator, and in the celebration of the Sacraments, commitment towards the environment finds its deepest foundation.

Ongoing formation and catechumenate for a Church that goes forth
In view of the significant decrease in the number of religious communities in the region, as is the case for example in the State of Parà in Brazil, where the presence of constant pastoral care has become limited to visits, religious congregations are asked to revive their missionary enthusiasm. At the same time it is necessary to offer constant formation and catechumenate ways based not only on books, but on grass-roots experience in direct contact with local culture. To take on an Amazonian face means to understand the signs and symbols of these peoples, and to live together in a perspective of dialogue and interculturality, encouraging the deepening of an Indios theology so that the liturgy may increasingly respond to local culture. This implies a dynamism: that is the capacity to go beyond our structures and perspectives. In some cases an outgoing Church is already a reality in the Amazon.  There are many examples of pastoral presence that aim to encourage indigenous peoples, who are forgotten by the world, to take their fate into their own hands. Never, however, must we yield to the temptation of an evangelization based exclusively on aid programmes. At the same time the Church is called to face the challenges posed on one hand by the proliferation of religious sects, and on the other by a relativistic culture perpetrated by industrialized countries.

Contribution in an international context
The Church is called to make its voice heard.  Some have said that Pontifical representations could continue to play an essential role in Governments and International Bodies in order to promote the demands of the peoples of the Amazon regarding their rights for land, water and forests. In addition, the Church in the Amazon is called upon to promote a circular economy that respects local wisdom and practices. The creation of an international ecclesial observatory on the violation of the human rights of the Amazon peoples has also been called for. Thus the exhortation: industrialized countries should express greater solidarity towards countries with fragile economies, also because they produce higher rates of pollution. Thanks to the multiplicity of interventions and ideas expressed in the Synod Hall, the Synod is strengthening in the participants the idea of a Church that is united around the challenges of the Pan-Amazon region. Every region in the world feels the Amazon is its own and the fruits of this special assembly will benefit the Universal Church.

Communication favours interconnectivity
The Amazon is a multiethnic, multicultural and multi-religious world where many seeds of the Word have already taken root and are bearing fruit. It is desirable to create an ecosystem of pan-Amazonian ecclesial communication that reflects the interconnectivity of humanity. The idea is to weave not so much a network of cables as a network of human persons. The great difficulties of mobility in the boundless region in fact urgently demand greater effectiveness and widespread reach of the means of social communications. At the same time, it is necessary to help people have a critical reading of the information diffused in a superficial way by some media, unmasking all forms of manipulation, distortion or spectacularization.

Ministries and discernment
Presence is essential. Not only of priests and bishops, but also of lay collaborators, men and women.  A pastoral leader - be he or she a catechist, a lector, someone who ministers to the sick, a deacon, or an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist - exercises his or her baptismal priesthood when he or she assumes an attitude of service and not of power or dominion. Women are precious collaborators in the mission of the Church in the Amazon, they are irreplaceable in  Samaritan care, in the custody and protection of life. At the same time, in the field of education, the need  to transmit the faith,  to motivate young people to build their own life projects, to promote the care for our Common Home, to raise awareness about the scourge of human trafficking, to combat illiteracy and school dropout, are all issues that were highlighted. Young people must be helped to integrate ancestral and modern knowledge in order to allow both to contribute to "good living". Under the action of the Spirit, “cum Petrus and sub Petrus”, the Church is therefore urged to convert to an Amazonian perspective and to undertake, without fear, discernment and reflection on the theme of priesthood, also listening to the hypothesis of ordaining married persons, without ever watering down the value of celibacy. In fact, we must always keep in mind the tragedy of those populations who cannot celebrate the Eucharist because of the lack of priests or who receive the Body of Christ only once or twice a year. A reflection was suggested regarding the possible updating of Paul VI’s Apostolic Letter Ministeria Quaedam. The introduction of permanent indigenous deacons and of deacons, who, through the ministry of the Word, will help the local people to better understand the Sacred Texts, was also proposed.

Protection of our Common Home and irresponsible exploitation
The idea was put forward to create eco-intercultural Christian communities that are open to inter-institutional and interreligious dialogue and that teach new lifestyles aimed towards the care for our common home. Oil and logging companies - it has been denounced - damage the environment and undermine the existence of peoples. In fact, indigenous people do not derive any profit from the extractive industry or from the logging of forests. It is therefore necessary to strongly expose the rampant corruption that feeds inequalities and injustice and to ask ourselves what is it we will leave to future generations. The great threat posed by drug trafficking must also be tackled, together with all that fuels it.

Access to food and respect for ecosystems
Room was also given to the issue of food sovereignty: every people has the right to choose what to cultivate, what to eat and how to guarantee access to food while respecting ecosystems. A significant part of the agro-food biodiversity in the Amazon is still unknown and has been preserved so far by local populations. The appeal was issued that this is not something that must end up being exploited by few and taken away from the multitude, as has happened on the medical front, where plants and active ingredients have enriched multinational pharmaceutical companies, and nothing has been given in return to the people.
Full Text Source : - Image source Screenshot - Vatican Media

Pope Francis meets Football team that helps Children's Hospital "The only thing the child understands...the language of tenderness"

Audience with the Italian national football team, 10/14/2019

Yesterday morning, at 9.00 am, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the Italian national football team and the leaders of the Italian Football Federation on the occasion of the initiatives of the national team born within the bond with the Bambino Gesù Hospital and the 150th anniversary since the establishment of this institution. Also present at the meeting was the President of the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital, Dr. Mariella Enoch.

We publish below the greeting that the Pope addressed to those present during the Hearing:

Greeting of the Holy Father

Thanks for visiting! It is good for me to see your courage after a game: come here so soon ... We see that here there is "the mystic" [spirit]. Thanks. Thank you very much.

You have been with the children [of the Bambin Gesù Hospital] - I know - and there came out that tenderness that we all have, but many times we hide, it's hidden inside. But tenderness always comes out in front of a child, doesn't it?

When I entered, I saw, on the left, a painting, a fantasy about the creation of the world. When you go out, look at it. It is God's hands that give birth to a child. The artist thought that every birth is a creation. It is always a creation, even those times when creation is not perfect and there are the pains of children, as you could see during the visit, and you also know "the ABC", as a cross perhaps of family, sometimes . But they are the hands of tenderness. In language to understand a child and to get closer to a child there is tenderness, always. The only thing the child understands and that we in front of a child begin to understand: the language of tenderness. I know you were there with them. Thank you for this tender gesture. Thanks.

And then, the balloon [which they gave to the children]. You gave a beautiful thing. Don Bosco also said this: "How can children be happy, how to gather children? - at that time, in poor, abandoned neighborhoods -: throw a ball on the street and the children will immediately arrive ”. The ball has an attraction. I remember that there was a small square a few meters from my house. There we played, but we didn't always have a ball available, because at that time the ball was leather, it was very expensive. There was still no plastic, there were still no rubber ... There was a ball of rags. Even with a ball of rags, miracles are performed. And the children of Mozambique, when I was there, brought me a ball of rags. They play like this. It is important to have a balloon there, whatever it is, because they throw themselves behind it.

There is an Argentine film that has this title - "The ball of rags" - "Pelota de trapo", so in Spanish, which shows "the mystic" [the spirit] of what you [the President of the FIGC] has said, even with a ball of rags. A film perhaps from the 40s, well done, very beautiful, poetic.

I leave you with these two artistic works: what I said [the painting], the tenderness of God in the creation of every person, of a child; and "The ball of rags", the film. Maybe you'll want to see it. And thank you, thank you very much for this gesture, this gesture of great men who are capable of tenderness, of approaching a child. Perhaps more than one of you later, alone, cried. Maybe so. Tenderness always betrays us! One makes the gesture of tenderness and then secretly cries, because it is so! That's life. Thank you very much. They are gestures that do good, are gestures that bring health, bring health. Thanks.

And now I would like to greet you one by one.
Image Screen shot - Full Text (Unofficial Translation) - Source:

#BreakingNews Typhoon in Japan leaves 40 Dead and 17 Missing with 189 Injured and Thousands Displaced

Typhoon Hagibis leaves 40 dead, 17 missing and 189 wounded
Over 110 thousand police officers, firefighters, soldiers and coast guard personnel in relief efforts. By noon today, about 38,000 people in 17 prefectures had evacuated their homes. 21 rivers flooded in Nagano, Fukushima, Ibaraki and three other prefectures.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The death toll from typhoon Hagibis has risen to 40 this morning, while search and rescue teams continue to operate in areas hit by floods and landslides in central and eastern Japan. The storm moved away from the Japanese archipelago yesterday, and despite having largely spared the capital, it left a trail of destruction in the surrounding regions: the authorities counted 17 missing persons and 189 wounded.

The government chief secretary, Yoshihide Suga, reports that more than 110,000 police officers, firefighters, soldiers and coastguard personnel as well as about 100 helicopters are mobilized for the rescue operations. In several locations in the country, the aircraft rescued the survivors from the roofs and balconies, but in Fukushima an operation ended in tragedy when a woman fell from the stretcher that was carrying her on board.

At a disaster task force meeting, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government will do everything possible to support the people affected by the typhoon and its consequences. The premier added that he will set up an interaction group to improve shelters and help displaced people find a place to live.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency states that at noon today, about 38,000 people in 17 prefectures have evacuated their homes. "We fear - continued Abe - that the impact [of the storm] on life and economic activity may persist. "We will respond in the best possible way, continuing to think about how many suffer."

The premier asked the cabinet ministers to ensure the rapid restoration of infrastructure such as electricity and water systems; to provide food, water and other materials without waiting for requests from local authorities.

The 19th typhoon of the season dumped record rains that led to rivers breaking banks, flooding residential neighborhoods and causing landslides in 11 prefectures. Displaced people who could not go home continue to take refuge in places like local schools. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism states that 21 rivers have flooded into Nagano, Fukushima, Ibaraki and three other prefectures.

The water system "has not held up," says Fr. Gianluca Belotti, missionary of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) for 11 years in the country. "In just 12 hours - continues the priest - typhoon Hagibis has unleashed the amount of water that a normal storm releases in three or four days. The authorities have never recorded anything similar. 70% of the country is mountainous, which is why the storm has not crossed the country. It entered the bay of Tokyo and then headed north with extreme slowness".
FULL TEXT Release from AsiaNewsIT - Image Source: Free Malaysia - Google Images

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday, October 14, 2019 - #Eucharist

Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 467

Reading 1ROM 1:1-7

Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus,
called to be an Apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God,
which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,
the Gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh,
but established as Son of God in power
according to the Spirit of holiness
through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him we have received the grace of apostleship,
to bring about the obedience of faith,
for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles,
among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;
to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Responsorial PsalmPS 98:1BCDE, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R.(2a) The Lord has made known his salvation.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.

AlleluiaPS 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 11:29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
"This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here."