Friday, September 4, 2020

Saint September 5 : St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta the Founder of the Missionaries of Charity - Short Biography + Novena Prayer

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, Mother Teresa received the Nobel peace prize for her tireless work for the poor.
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 and her only lament was: 
‘My son did this to me.’ I begged her: You must forgive your son. In a moment of madness, when he was not himself, he did a thing he regrets. Be a mother to him, forgive him. It took me a long time to make her say: ‘I forgive my son.’ Just before she died in my arms, she was able to say that with a real forgiveness. She was not concerned that she was dying. The breaking of the heart was that her son did not want her. This is something you and I can understand."
She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Mother died in 1997 when her order had 610 institutions in 123 countries world wide. Mother Teresa was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003. Her 100th birthday was celebrated around the world by many with special tributes. India has created a stamp with her image. Mother Teresa was Canonized as a Saint by Pope Francis on September 5, 2016 at the Vatican. (Edited)
Shared from the Missionaries of Charity
Official Novena Prayer to Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Prayed each day of the Novena

you allowed the thirsting love of Jesus on the Cross to become a living flame within you,

and so became the light of His love to all.

Obtain from the Heart of Jesus (here make your request).

Teach me to allow Jesus to penetrate and possess my whole being so completely that my life, too, may radiate His light and love to others. Amen.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cause of Our Joy, pray for me.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta, pray for me.
“Jesus is my All in All”

Ask for the grace of an intimate knowledge of Jesus.

Recite the prayer to Saint Teresa

Thought for the day:

Ask for the grace to be convinced of Jesus’ unconditional and personal love for you.

Recite the prayer to Saint Teresa

Thought for the day:

Ask for the grace to understand Jesus’ cry of thirst.

Recite the prayer to Saint Teresa

Thought for the day:

Ask for the grace to learn from Our Lady to quench Jesus’ thirst as she did.

Recite the prayer to Saint Teresa

Thought for the day:

Ask for the grace to have an unshakeable trust in the God’s power and love for you and for all.

Recite the prayer to Saint Teresa

Ask for the grace to surrender your whole life to God.

Recite the prayer to Saint Teresa

Thought for the day:“Joy is the sign of union with God, of God’s presence. Joy is love, the normal result of a heart burning with love.”

Ask for the grace to find joy in loving and to share this joy with all you meet.

Recite the prayer to Saint Teresa

Ask for the grace of a deep faith to see Jesus in the Bread of Life and to serve Him in the distressing disguise of the poor.

Recite the prayer to Saint Teresa

Ask for the grace to become a saint.

Recite the prayer to Saint Teresa

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : 1st Saturday, September 5, 2020 - Your Virtual Church


A reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians        4:6-15

Take Apollos and myself as an example (remember the maxim: ‘Keep to what is written’; it is not for you, so full of your own importance, to go taking sides for one man against another. In any case, brother, has anybody given you some special right? What do you have that was not given to you? And if it was given, how can you boast as though it were not? Is it that you have everything you want – that you are rich already, in possession of your kingdom, with us left outside? Indeed I wish you were really kings, and we could be kings with you! But instead, it seems to me, God has put us apostles at the end of his parade, with the men sentenced to death; it is true – we have been put on show in front of the whole universe, angels as well as men. Here we are, fools for the sake of Christ, while you are the learned men in Christ; we have no power, but you are influential; you are celebrities, we are nobodies. To this day, we go without food and drink and clothes; we are beaten and have no homes; we work for our living with our own hands. When we are cursed, we answer with a blessing; when we are hounded, we put up with it; we are insulted and we answer politely. We are treated as the offal of the world, still to this day, the scum of the earth.

I am saying all this not just to make you ashamed but to bring you, as my dearest children, to your senses. You might have thousands of guardians in Christ, but not more than one father and it was I who begot you in Christ Jesus by preaching the Good News.

The Word of the Lord

Responsorial Psalm        Ps 144
Response                             The Lord is close to all who call him.

1. The Lord is just in all his ways
and loving in all his deeds.
He is close to all who call him,
who call on him from their hearts.                   Response

2. He grants the desires of those who fear him,
he hears their cry and he saves them.
The Lord protects all who love him;
but the wicked he will utterly destroy.              Response

3. Let me speak the praise of the Lord,
let all mankind bless his holy name for ever,
for ages unending.                                                 Response

Gospel  Acclamation         Ps 26: 11
Alleluia, alleluia!
Instruct me, in your way; on an even path lead me .
Alleluia !

or                                      Jn 14: 6
Alleluia, alleluia!
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, says the Lord; no one can come to the Father except through me .
Alleluia !


A reading from the Gospel according to Luke        6:1-5
One sabbath Jesus happened to be taking a walk through the cornfields, and his disciples were picking ears of corn, rubbing them in their hands and eating them.Some of the Pharisees said, ‘Why are you doing something that is forbidden on the sabbath day?’
Jesus answered them, ‘So you have not read what David did when he and his followers were hungry how he went into the house of God, took the loaves of offering and ate them and gave them to his followers, loaves which only the priests are allowed to eat?’
And he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is master of the sabbath.’
Prayer to Make a Spiritual Communion-
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion.
At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint September 4 : St. Rosalia who lived in a Cave and Ended the Plague

Saint Rosalia was born in about 1130, when Sicily was ruled by the Normans. The king was Roger the Second.
Before Roger conquered Sicily, it had had been ruled by Arabs, and they developed and changed the place a lot. They built palaces and set up courts that were much more organised and showy than anything the Europeans had ever seen.

So, although the Normans were from France, and were Christians, they started to live like Arabs. They wore Arab clothes, ate Arab food, and ran their palaces like Arab palaces, with harems. The only thing about them that was not Arab was their religion, but they even modified their version of Catholicism to be more in line with Arabic traditions, by making the women cover their heads in public for example.

Rosalia grew up in Roger’s court, in the Palazzo Dei Normanni, and she must have been kept in the harem with all the other women. She was a daughter of Duke Sinibaldo of Quisquina delle Rose, who was a nephew of the king. Since she was living in the royal palace, that meant the king was in charge of her.
One day King Roger went out hunting on Monte Pellegrino. He was with a group of men from the court, and among them was Count Baldwin, who was a guest at the palace. Roger was attacked by a wild lion and Prince Baldwin very bravely fought it off, and saved the king’s life.

The king offered him anything he wanted as a reward, and Baldwin asked to have Rosalia as his wife. Rosalia had long blonde hair and blue eyes and was about twelve or thirteen years old.

Baldwin, like many other men at the time, was overwhelmed by her beauty. Rosalia was clearly not overwhelmed by his. The day after his proposal, she appeared in court with all her long blonde hair chopped off, and said she wanted to become a nun.

The fact she was still showing her hair means she hadn’t even had her first period, because that was the usual turning point at which a girl become a woman and must cover her head.

First, Rosalia took refuge in the Convent of the Basilian nuns in Palermo. That’s a church now, by the way, and it’s absolutely beautiful. But even there she could get no peace. She was visited constantly by her parents and by Count Baldwin, trying to convince her to marry him. In the end she was so desperate that she just ran away completely and lived in a cave.

Nobody knew where she was at first, and they were all desperate. She lived for twelve years all alone on Mount Quisquina and then moved to Mount Pellegrino, and lived in a cave on the mountain till she died, aged about thirty. She lived her whole life praying and devoting herself to God.

The cult of Santa Rosalia is connected to a particular event that occurred in Palermo during an episode of plague, three centuries after she died all alone on the mountain top, sheltering in her cave.

On the seventh of May 1624 a trading vessel arrived from Tunis and docked in the port of the city. Previously the vessel had called at Trapani, where it had been impounded because the crew was suspected of spreading the plague. The alarm was quickly raised, but the Viceroy of Palermo, one Emanuele Filiberto (who was absolutely tiny, by the way), was talked into letting the ship unload. The ship’s captain, one Mahomet Cavalà, together with the harbourmaster, headed off to the Royal Palace to give the pint-size Viceroy numerous gifts – camels, lions, jewels and tanned hides – sent to him by the King of Tunis. Silly, greedy little Emanuele was one of the first to die of the plague.

As feared, plague started spreading through the city. It lasted the whole month of May and to the middle of June, with people dying in their thousands.

The authorities blocked off the ports and the streets, banning anyone from leaving the city. Thus the people in Palermo at that time knew they may be living under a death sentence, in mass quarantine – the only means of protecting the rest of Sicily and Europe.

The Italians invented quarantine as a policy and the word is derived from quarantena, which means “about forty”. This is one of those numbers that appears again and again in the Bible because in the past it was used to mean “quite a long time” rather than exactly forty.

The citizens of Palermo prayed day and night to their four patron saints: Santa Cristina, Santa Ninfa, Santa Olivia and Santa Agata. They organised religious processions. The churches were packed with masses going on around the clock, begging God and Jesus and the Virgin Mary for help. Yet the plague killed more and more people.

According to contemporary records, Vincenzo Bonelli, a soap-maker residing in Via dei Pannieri who had lost his wife to the plague, went up on Monte Pellegrino for a walk and got lost in a storm. Some versions of the story say he liked hunting, and was hoping to catch some wild animal to eat.
He experienced a vision: Saint Rosalia appeared to him and guided him to the cave on top of the mountain, where he found some bones. These were her bones, she told him, and if they were taken to Palermo and given a Christian burial, the plague would stop.

Vincenzo went straight to the Archbishop of Palermo, Cardinal Giannettino Doria, taking the bones of Saint Rosalia with him. At first the cardinal sent this crazy soap-maker packing.

The plague continued. The soap maker returned.

Vincenzo refused to take no for an answer, pestering the cardinal again and again as the plague raged on through the city. Eventually he agreed to organise a procession and conduct a funeral. The bones were carried in solemn procession through the streets of the city, and finally given full funeral rites.

As Rosalia had promised, the plague immediately stopped spreading. She was instated as the new patron saint of Palermo and the four old saints were fired. They still stand, looking ashamed and redundant, around the four corners of the spectacular Quattro Canti crossroads in Palermo.

Meanwhile Rosalia is honoured in statues all over Palermo.
Edited from

Quote to SHARE by St Mother Teresa "Sometimes we think that we don't hear God's voice. Not because He isn't speaking but because we have the volume of the world..."

"Sometimes we think that we don't hear God's voice. Not because He isn't speaking but because we have the volume of the world way too loud."
Saint Mother Teresa 

RIP Cardinal Adrianus Johannes Simonis - Pope Francis sends Condolences upon Death of Dutch Cardinal

Vatican News reports that Pope Francis sent condolences on the death of Cardinal Simonis of the Netherlands. In a telegram addressed to the current Archbishop of Utrecht, Pope Francis offers his condolences on the death of Cardinal Adrianus Johannes Simonis.
By Vatican News

Pope Francis has sent condolences to Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, the current Archbishop of Utrecht, in the Netherlands on the death of his predecessor, Cardinal Adrianus Johannes Simonis. “Commending his soul to the loving mercy of Jesus the Good Shepherd,” the Pope said, “I join you in giving thanks to Almighty God for the late Cardinal’s faithful witness to the Gospel, his years of devoted episcopal ministry to the Churches of Rotterdam and Utrecht, and his valued efforts in the service of ecclesial communion.”

The Holy Father then extended his Apostolic Blessing “to all who mourn Cardinal Simonis in the sure hope of the Resurrection… as a pledge of consolation and peace in the risen Lord.”

Cardinal Simonis served from 1970 to 1983 as Bishop of Rotterdam and as Archbishop of Utrecht from 1983 to 2007. He was created Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1985.

Cardinal Simonis died on September 2 at a care centre in the Netherlands. He was 88 years old.

With the death of Cardinal Simonis, there are currently 220 living Cardinals, of whom 122 are under the age of 80 and thus eligible to vote in a Conclave.

Biography of Cardinal Adrianus Johannes Simonis
Bishop emeritus of Utrecht, the Netherlands

Cardinal Adrianus Johannes Simonis, Archbishop emeritus of Utrecht (the Netherlands), was born on 26 November 1931 in Lisse. He was one of a family of 11 children. After his studies in the Hageveld and Warmond seminaries he was ordained a priest on 15 June 1957. After this he served as curate of two parishes. From 1959 to 1966 he studied biblical exegesis in Rome where he completed his studies by defending the thesis ‘Die Hirtenrede’. The book deals with the texts concerning the Good Shepherd in the Gospel of John.

On 29 December 1970, he was nominated Bishop of Rotterdam by Pope Paul VI. The ordination took place on 20 March 1971.

On 27 June 1983, he was nominated Archbishop-Coadjutor of Utrecht with the right of succession to Card. Johannes Willebrands. On 8 December 1983 he was installed as Archbishop. Since then, he had been the president of the Episcopal Conference in the Netherlands.

As Archbishop, he assumed the role of president of the Commissions for teaching and education and for religion. He was named Grand Chancellor of the Catholic University of Nijmegen. He had been dedicated to defending the catholic doctrine regarding matrimony, the family and the inviolable value of human life.

Archbishop emeritus of Utrecht, 14 April 2007.

He participated in the conclave of April 2005, which elected Pope Benedict XVI.

He was created and proclaimed Cardinal by St. John Paul II in the Consistory of 25 May 1985, with the Title of San Clemente (St. Clement).

Cardinal Adrianus Johannes Simonis died on 2 September 2020.

Pope Francis says "... Jesus of Nazareth. Christ urged...not to stop at externals, but to discern sagely the signs of the times." to Forum - Full Text


[Villa d’Este, Cernobbio 4-5 September 2020]

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I offer a warm greeting to all those taking part in the Forum of The European House-Ambrosetti. Your discussions this year deal with significant issues involving society, the economy and innovation: issues that call for extraordinary efforts to meet the challenges created or aggravated by the present medical, economic and social emergency.
The experience of the pandemic has taught us that none of us is saved alone. We have experienced at first hand the vulnerability of the human condition that is ours and that makes us one family. We have come to see more clearly that each of our personal choices affects the lives of our neighbours, those next door and those in distant parts of the world. The turn of events has forced us to recognize that we belong to one another, as brothers and sisters dwelling in a common home. Having failed to show solidarity in wealth and in the sharing of resources, we have learned to experience solidarity in suffering.
Culturally, this time of trial has taught us a number of lessons. It has shown us the greatness of science, but also its limits. It has called into question the scale of values that sets money and power over all else. By forcing us to stay at home together, parents and children, young and old, it has once again made us aware of the joys and difficulties involved in our relationships. It has made us refrain from the superfluous and concentrate on the essential. It has toppled the shaky pillars that supported a certain model of development. In the face of a future that appears uncertain and full of challenges, especially on the social and economic level, we have been moved to spend this time discerning what is lasting from what is fleeting, what is necessary from what is not.
In this situation, economics – oeconomia in its deepest human meaning as the governance of our earthly home – takes on even greater importance, due to its close connection with the concrete life situations of individual men and women. Economics ought to become the expression of a care and concern that does not exclude but seeks to include, that does not demean but seeks to uplift and give life. A care and concern that refuses to sacrifice human dignity to the idols of finance, that does not give rise to violence and inequality, and that uses financial resources not to dominate but to serve (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 53-60). For genuine profit comes from treasures accessible to all. “That which I truly own is what I can offer to others” (cf. General Audience, 7 November 2018).
In this tragedy, that humanity as a whole continues to experience, science and technology have, of themselves, proved insufficient. What has proved decisive instead is the outpouring of generosity and courage shown by so many persons. This should spur us to move beyond the technocratic paradigm, understood as a sole or dominant way to deal with problems. That paradigm, born of a mindset that sought mastery over the natural world, was based on the erroneous presupposition that “an infinite quantity of energy and resources are available, that it is possible to renew them quickly, and that the negative effects of the exploitation of the natural order can be easily absorbed” (Cf. PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 463; cf. Laudato Si’, 106). Where nature and, even more, persons are involved, another way of thinking is needed, one that can broaden our gaze and guide technology towards the service of a different model of development, more healthy, more human, more social and more integral.
The present is a time for discernment in light of the principles of ethics and the common good, for the sake of the recovery desired by all. Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, frequently employs the term “discernment” in his writings, drawing from the great sapiential tradition of the Bible and, above all, the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. Christ urged all who heard him, and ourselves today, not to stop at externals, but to discern sagely the signs of the times. To do so, two things are demanded, conversion and creativity.
We need to experience an ecological conversion, in order to slow down our inhuman pace of consumption and production, and to learn once more how to understand and contemplate nature. To reconnect with the world around us. To work for an ecological retooling of our economy, without yielding to the pressures of time and of human and technological processes, but rather by returning to relationships that are experienced, not consumed.
We are also called to be creative, like artisans, devising fresh new ways to pursue the common good. That creativity can only come from openness to the breath of the Spirit, who inspires us to attempt new, timely and indeed bold decisions, as men and women capable of shaping that integral human development to which we all aspire. The creativity of a love that can restore meaning to the present, in order to open it to a better future.
This conversion and creativity necessarily imply training and encouraging the next generation of economists and entrepreneurs. For this reason, I have invited them to meet from 19 to 21 November next in Assisi, the town of the young Saint Francis, who stripped himself of everything “in order to choose God as the compass of his life, becoming poor with the poor, a brother to all. His decision to embrace poverty also gave rise to a vision of economics that remains most timely” (Letter for the Event “Economy of Francesco”, addressed to young economists and entrepreneurs worldwide, 1 May 2019). It is important to invest in the young people who will be the protagonists of tomorrow’s economy, to train men and women prepared to put themselves at the service of the community and the creation of a culture of encounter. Today’s economy, and the young and the poor of our world, have need, above all, of your humanity and your respectful and humble fraternity, and only then of your money (cf. Laudato Si’, 129; Address to Participants in the Meeting “Economy of Communion”, 4 February 2017).
The work of your Forum also foresees the development of an agenda for Europe. Seventy years have passed since the Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950, which paved the way for today’s European Union. Now, more than ever, Europe is called to show leadership in a creative effort to emerge from the straits of the technocratic paradigm as applied to politics and the economy. This creative effort must be one of solidarity, the sole antidote to the virus of selfishness, a virus far more potent than Covid-19. Back then, the concern was for solidarity in production; today, solidarity must extend to a more precious good: the human person. The human person must take its rightful place at the heart of our educational, healthcare, social and economic policies. Persons must be welcomed, protected, accompanied and integrated when they come knocking on our doors, seeking a future of hope.
Your reflections will also concentrate on the city of the future. It is not by chance that, in the Bible, the destiny of all humanity finds fulfillment in a City, the heavenly Jerusalem described by the Book of Revelation (Chapters 21-22). As its name indicates, it is a city of peace, whose gates are always open to all peoples; a city built for people, beautiful and resplendent: a city of abundant fountains and trees; a welcoming city where sickness and death are no more. This lofty vision can mobilize the best energies of mankind for the building of a better world. I ask you not to lower your gaze, but to pursue high ideals and great aspirations.
It is my hope that these days of reflection and discussion will prove fruitful, that they will contribute to our common journey by providing guidance amid the din of so many voices and messages, and will be concerned that no one be lost along the way. I urge you to strive to develop new understandings of the economy and progress, to combat every form of marginalization, to propose new styles of life and to give a voice to those who have none.
I conclude by offering you my prayerful good wishes in the words of the Psalmist: “May the favour of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper the work of our hands. Prosper the work of our hands!” (Ps 90:17).
Rome, Saint John Lateran, 27 August 2020


FULL TEXT + Image Source: - 

Bishops of Poland discuss LGBT, Gender, and Abuse during Meeting and Stress the Church's Teachings

 Catholic bishops in Poland now have an official “position on the question of LGBT+”. They say that LGBT people, like all others, deserve respect, the bishops say that this “does not mean accepting their views uncritically”.
The bishops during their assembly also rejected “the right of a person to self-determine their gender without reference to objective criteria determined by their genome and anatomy”, and including the “radical separation between biological sex and cultural gender“.
FULL TEXT : Communication of the Polish Episcopate: 30 years of religion lessons at school, return to churches for Mass and protection of minors 31-08-2020

Religion lessons at school, the response to the drama of the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy, the position on LGBT+, and the encouragement for believers to return to churches for Mass after the pandemic were the main issues raised at the 386th Plenary Assembly of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, which was held at Jasna Góra from 27 to 29 August.

With regard to the 30th anniversary of the return of religion lessons to school, one of the topics of the plenary assembly was the state of religious education, programming, and proper preparation and formation of catechists.

The second topic addressed by the Plenary Assembly concerned issues related to pastoral care. “In a situation of a normalizing social life, the bishops encourage – while maintaining all sanitary standards – the rebuilding of parish communities gathering around the altar at Sunday Mass” – wrote the bishops in the Communication. They also thanked all those who, during the period of isolation, organised the broadcast of Masses and prayers in the media, including social media.

The bishops expressed their gratitude to health care workers who, at the risk of their own lives, help those who are threatened by COVID-19.

During the assembly, the bishops analysed the activities of the Church in Poland, which were taken in response to the drama of sexual abuse of minors by some clergy. “This response is only possible through honest and consistent accountability for every crime actually committed and assistance to the victims, as well as an explanation of negligence” – wrote the bishops. They also informed, among other things, about the activities of the Saint Joseph Foundation of the Polish Bishops’ Conference.

In the next point of the Communication, the bishops expressed their “strong opposition to all forms of aggression and violence in public and economic space”, as well as their concern about the increasingly frequent cases of profanation of places of worship and religious symbols.

The bishops adopted the “Position of the Polish Bishops’ Conference on LGBT+”. “The document stresses the need to respect people who identify themselves with LGBT+. At the same time, it opposes the attempts of these communities to dominate social life, especially by wanting to equate same-sex unions with marriages and granting them the right to adopt children.”

The Bishops express their gratitude to the missionaries for staying in their mission stations during the pandemic. On the 40th anniversary of “August 1980”, the bishops remember with gratitude the social movement “Solidarność”.

Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference
Source: - 27 - page Document by the Bishops

Man Punches Elderly Priest during Mass and Tears Bible Apart at Church in Berlin, Germany

At first, the man is said to have sat quietly on a bench. But then he got up, spat on the church floor and went to the altar and punched the priest with his fist. The pastor of the Catholic St. Joseph parish on Müller Street (Wedding) was hit  and fell to the ground during morning mass.  Then he walked to the altar and shouted anti-religious sayings and ripped apart the Bible from the altar.  The priest, aged 61-year-old, was assisted by his brother (56), who was also present. The stranger attacked him too, beating him with the Bible. Then the attacker fled the church. Fortunately, the pastor and his brother were only slightly injured.  As the police announced, citing witness statements , the act happened in the morning at around 10:30 a.m. in St. Joseph's Church in Wedding.
According to the police, the pastor and his 56-year-old brother were treated on-site by ambulance workers. Both suffered only minor injuries.

100 Pro-Life African-American Leaders Write Letter Accusing Planned Parenthood of Racism

The following is the Full Text of an open letter to Planned Parenthood accusing them of racism- it is signed by 100 African-American leaders.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
National Headquarters
1110 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

Dear Alexis McGill Johnson:

We are a diverse coalition of Black leaders fighting for the dignity of all human life. Like you, we feel called to action by America’s collective reckoning with its history of racism and unjust violence against Black lives. We affirm, with you, that Black lives matter and that every human being, regardless of race or ethnicity, deserves equal respect, equal rights, and equal dignity.

That’s why we’re writing to you today. We are asking you to use your position at Planned Parenthood to confront the systemic racism of America’s abortion practices and to publicly renounce the racist legacy of your founder, Margaret Sanger.

Since George Floyd’s tragic death in police custody, Planned Parenthood has openly voiced its support of the Black Lives Matter movement and its commitment to combating racism in all its forms. Planned Parenthood National has said that Planned Parenthood will be “turning inward and dedicating ourselves to calling out injustice and reckoning with our own institutionalized racism long-term.” In your own statement about America’s reckoning with racism, you said: “We demand justice…we must demand an end to the inequity that continues to define every moment of life for Black America.”

But Ms. Johnson, will you confront the iniquity that your abortion practices perpetrate against Black lives? Will you fight the racism that targets Black lives in the womb?

The impact of abortion on Black communities is unequal and disproportionate. Despite constituting only 13% of the female population, Black women represent 36% of all abortions, and Black women are five times more likely than white women to receive an abortion. In some cities, like New York, more Black children are aborted every year than are born alive.

This is no accident. Across the country, Planned Parenthood’s surgical facilities target minority communities for abortion. In fact, 79% of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities are located in or near communities of color. Can Planned Parenthood really claim to care for Black lives while remaining complicit in the targeting of Black pregnant women?

This massive iniquity, and the disproportionate harm it does to Black Americans, is fully in keeping with the racist, eugenicist vision of your organization’s founder. Margaret Sanger wanted to use abortion and contraception to cull minority populations.

When Black employees of Planned Parenthood of New York called for the removal of Laura McQuade as president and CEO, they raised awareness about the toxic culture and systemic racism within the organization, including pay inequity and racial inequities among patients. This is no surprise considering the organization’s founding beliefs about minority and vulnerable populations.

Ms. Johnson, your words about the Black Lives Matter movement ring hollow while your organization perpetuates this racist legacy. While Planned Parenthood of Greater New York and North Central States has disavowed Sanger’s eugenic views, Planned Parenthood National has remained silent.

We call on you to change that. Planned Parenthood National must renounce the views and legacy of its founder and acknowledge and discontinue its ongoing systemic targeting of Black Americans with abortion facilities.

You are right that every American must confront, challenge, and dismantle the racist institutions and practices that surround us. Planned Parenthood must do the same.


Rev. Dean NelsonHon. Katrina JacksonHon. Kay James
Hon. Mack JacksonHon. Monica SparksDr. Deborah Honeycutt
Dr. John DiggsBishop Wellington BooneMr. Benjamin Watson
Mr. Chris BroussardBishop George McKinneyDr. Alveda King
Dr. Deborah OwensBishop Vincent MathewsDr. Freda Bush
Bishop Joseph GarlingtonView All 100+ Prominent Signers
See all signers:

Saint September 4 : Blessed Dina Belanger : a Concert Pianist who became a Nun and Consecrated to Jesus and Mary

MICHAEL Journal: 
Dina Belanger was born in Quebec, Canada, on April 30th, 1897. Olivier and Seraphia Belanger were quite well off and lavished a great deal of attention on their only child. Although this could have made Dina quite spoiled, they were very careful that their precious little girl would only know and understand that which would keep her holy and pure.
Dina’s parents were truly the essence of devotion and Christian love that every mother or father could hope to achieve. They carefully trained their little girl to shun every offense against God, even the most involuntary. And from her earliest moments, Dina strove to please them. She would say later: "Only in Heaven will I understand the watchfulness, devotedness and love of my mother and father. It is one of the greatest heavenly favors, to be born and to live in a climate of peace, union, charity, sublime example and constant conformity to the designs of Providence" ... "To prove my gratitude to them, I have but one duty – and a very pressing duty: to become holy. It is a sacred obligation. If I fail in this, I am devoid of filial devotion; I do not deserve to be called their child."

Dina’s mother taught her how to pray and sing to God. As soon as Dina could follow along, she would unite herself with her mother in singing hymns of praise to Heaven. Mrs. Belanger would also take her small daughter to prayer meetings and other religious functions. One day, when Dina was four years old, her mother took her to a retreat being preached in honor of St. Francis Xavier. The priest spoke about Hell. The following night, Dina experienced a dream that she would never forget.
In her dream, she envisioned horrible demons, bright-red, rushing in and out of a railway train. They moved constantly and were full of distress. The fear she felt upon seeing them crushed Dina; the sight of these repulsive creatures gave her great pain. Afterwards, she described this dream as a great grace because she had only to remember it and she experienced a hatred and fear of sin equal to the sight of the demons. This attitude towards sin would follow her throughout her entire life.
During her childhood years, Dina often demonstrated tendencies to be strong-willed and obstinate. Her parents however, watchfully corrected this bad behavior. Later Dina would say of them, "How grateful I am to my parents for having known how to love me in the fullest sense of the word! For true love presupposes correction. What would have become of me had I been left to the mercy of my pride, my obstinacy, my whims, my unjustifiable roguishness. I would have been all the more ill-humored and unbearable because of being brought up on my own, never being thwarted by other children; and later on, I would never have been able to get on with people or be tolerated without unwittingly causing everyone else to suffer. My God, thank you for making my parents teach me to obey them."
Dina’s training in religion
Dina accompanied her mother during her charitable visits to the poor. These works of charity were not without sacrifice. However, the Belanger family conducted them in secret. More often than not, the individuals never knew who their benefactors were. God loves a generous giver and the parents of Dina are certainly recorded in the Book of Grace inscribed in Heaven, because of how they opened their hearts to the poor.
Dina’s education began with the faith. For these holy parents, everything good was simply attributed to God. Because of this Dina learned the advantage of a good relationship with God very quickly. She was a good student; she loved to study and took on her work with much enthusiasm. Often she would go with her parents to convents in Montreal and it was there, witnessing the investiture of a cousin into the convent, that she first became conscious of her desire for the religious life.
After her first confession, the unique attentions and favors she received from Our Lord started to increase. At the age of six, she started her formal education at the Congregation of Notre Dame. She describes herself during this time: "I was extremely shy and sensitive: the slightest thing made me cry. With unrelenting ambition, I aimed at first place; if I failed, I worked quickly to recover lost ground. Obedience came easily to me. I carried out the least recommendation as faithfully and promptly as I did the sternest commands."
Prayer-time at the school was very attractive to Dina. She would often go to evening prayers, with her mother watching from the window. One day, her teacher asked her who her patron saint was. Dina did not know the answer and so said to herself: "Very well! I will be a saint. I will provide a patron for those who will bear my name!"
Her First Holy Communion
At the age of eight, Dina began piano lessons and became very proficient in music. It became her own special way of praising God and through the melody, Dina would offer her thoughts of love to Jesus. Soon after, she made her First Holy Communion and Confirmation. She describes this great event in her life: "When I had received Holy Communion in the morning, I had no fear of exterior events" ... "I became much more recollected in prayer, avoiding every unnecessary movement and not raising my eyes when I was reading my prayer book. My conscience was extremely delicate: the slightest suggestion (of evil) made me tremble, for fear of causing my Jesus any pain: insignificant things seemed worthy of great fidelity."
At the age of eleven, Dina received her intermediate grade diploma for piano. She began to compete in various events, although any compliment was always received as a praise to God for her accomplishments. She would say: "Thank you but the credit is not mine; God did it, and I am merely His instrument."
At the age of thirteen, Dina consecrated herself to Mary through the devotion of Blessed Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort. This great blessing gave her much consolation and she abandoned herself to Mary’s care. Her studies continued, and she continued to devote a great deal of her time to her spiritual life. She listened with care to all sermons and other religious instruction.
She says: "I was an extremist by nature; I was dedicated to goodness, so I was determined to achieve perfection. If, one day, when grace left me to my own devices, I had said: ‘I am not going to follow the path of duty any longer’, I would have gone to any length. How good the infinite Master was to constrain me to follow Him!"
When she was sixteen, she asked her parents permission to enter the novitiate. However, because she was so young, they told her to wait. With her characteristic obedience, Dina acquiesced to her parents wishes. During these years of her life, she spent many pleasant hours with her family and friends. She joined several charitable organizations and did much volunteer work, visiting the sick and those in need.
Musical studies

Her music education continued and she earned her diplomas quickly. "This musical study brought me closer to God; I offered him each note I played as an act of perfect love. My hours of practice often turned into a meditation, especially when the pieces were slow and rather reflective in style." Although performing caused her nothing but aversion, she never showed it and was always gracious and pleasing.
At the end of 1915, it was decided that Dina would continue her musical training at the New York Conservatory of Music. Because this was a two-year course, Dina went with two companions who would later join a religious order also. Dina was loath to leave the safety of her parents care, but in a true spirit of obedience, she left for the United States.
The young Canadians stayed at the convent of the Ladies of Jesus and Mary. There was a chapel close to the entrance of the convent, and Dina never lost the opportunity to visit and speak with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Dina immersed herself in her studies with vigor, but with a natural prudence, frequented popular entertainment very seldom.
"My divine Master took the shortest possible route to ensure that I soon arrived at a desire to be humiliated and despised. On His part, this was not achieved in a moment, a day or a week, but was an incessant task – an attitude which was infiltrating my mind, a truth which was taking root in my heart never to be banished. They were invaluable resources from which I learnt to cherish humility as a pearl beyond price, and one day I wanted to gain possession of it. It made me indifferent to the opinion of others... Jesus did not want me to take any pleasure in my efforts, and He permitted that, by my way of acting, others could not suspect what was going on within me. What I am writing at this moment may seem very obscure; the divine action is so profound that I am powerless to put it into words."
Her deepening spiritual life
During the three years before Dina was to enter the convent, she experienced a terrible spiritual trial. All spiritual exercises became a source of aridity; prayers and meditations were a constant struggle. Despite this, Dina persisted in an intense prayer life, never neglecting even the slightest devotion. It was during the beginning of this trial that she began to hear the voice of Jesus speaking in her heart.
She says: "His light brought unfamiliar representations before the eyes of my imagination. I prayed a great deal about this voice and these representations. I was assured that they were my divine Master teaching me; anything that speaks of obedience, humiliation and self-sacrifice can come only from Him. I begged the grace not to allow myself to be ensnared by the evil spirit... I again told Our Lord of my ardent and sincere desire to love Him with a pure love and of my confidence in His goodness which could not allow me to give way to illusion against my will."
Our Lord helped Dina to understand that when He was speaking to her, than all was calm and at peace. However, when Satan tried to manifest himself as something other than he is, everything became noisy and disturbing. "I want to explain once and for all the expression that I shall use, such as: I saw... Jesus said to me... and other similar expressions. They mean I saw in my imagination, and Jesus told me by an interior voice which every soul hears in the depths of his heart in moments of divine consolation."
To make reparation for sacrileges committed against Jesus and the salvation of souls became two duties that Dina took upon herself to carry out. Throughout the rest of her earthly life, she was to concentrate on these two themes. Her sufferings and sacrifices brought countless souls to Heaven. For three years, Dina continued her studies in music by correspondence. This time filled her with much anticipation, because her love for the cloister through the years had never ceased. Then in the summer of 1920, Jesus spoke to her and told her to join the Congregation of Jesus and Mary. Good-byes’ to her mother and father were said. The day so long desired had come at last.
Dina enters the convent
Dina entered the convent on August 11, 1921. Dina’s spiritual darkness intensified to the point that, as the sister’s admitted her within the convent walls, she had a distinct sense of repugnance. In her words: "I felt utterly dry. Far from experiencing the least emotion, my heart was cold as marble, as hard as a rock."
Dina’s postulancy was extremely difficult; the devil was always there to try to discourage her from her life’s mission. However, her intimate union with Jesus protected her and she resolved to put all her old life behind her and begin anew. She would not even allow memories from the past to distract her from her intense desire to follow her new way of life perfectly.
After a retreat while she was still a postulant, Dina made a summary of her plan for the future: "To obey blindly, to suffer with joy, and to love to the point of martyrdom!" Dina clung to her vocation and often said that to go back to the world would have been the cruelest suffering. Mother Superior instructed her to teach young people the piano and Dina undertook this new task with enthusiasm. In her young students, she saw the image of God.
On February 15, 1922, Dina went into the novitiate and took the name of Sister Mary St. Cecilia of Rome. She prayed to St. Cecilia: "Holy spouse of Jesus, my desire is to sing with you: I love my Christ. To honor you, I desire an immortal and noble crown, like yours. In heaven, I want to be adorned with the robes associated with your three claims to glory. Prepare a lyre for me, tune it with your own. Together we will sing a canticle of love, we will compose an eternal symphony of rich chords for the glory of the Eternal."
During the next few months, Dina wished fervently to progress further in holiness. During this time, she spent time writing thoughts and poems to her beloved Jesus, along with teaching music. Her one wish was to remain hidden in the confines of the cloistered life.
Jesus began to favor her with many insights into the divine mysteries. During Lent He shared with Dina a unique understanding of His divine Passion and she gained a greater knowledge of His love for her. "I longed for the moment when I would surrender myself to Jesus, in reality, as His Spouse, committing myself by the holy vows, I received this special permission and the day chosen was a Saturday, the 25th of March, feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin. A happy coincidence!"
Complete abandonment to Jesus
On the day of her profession, Dina took as her ideal the complete substitution of herself for her loving Jesus. She wished to remain so united with Him, that her thoughts, words and deeds would come from Him and her will would be entirely subjected to His. She repeated an examination of conscience frequently, always delving deeper and drawing ever closer to her beloved Spouse.
"In this way, I realized that I was an apostle of love. The divine Mendicant convinced me of the truth that men on earth are dependant on one another, for their spiritual as well as their social life. I had a moral responsibility towards all the souls throughout the world, those living at the present time and those who would be created in the future.
"This is the reason: the actions of Jesus are infinite in value; one single act of love offered by Him to the Father could save millions of worlds. Hence, if I remained annihilated, the Savior, hidden beneath the cloak of my exterior being, could freely carry out His pastoral mission, baptizing and purifying souls in His Blood, bringing them to perfection, enabling them to run towards the fragrance of His perfume. But, alas! If I simply hesitated to remain in the state of death, if for one moment I desired to be born again out of dust, then I would interrupt the action of Jesus; perhaps just at that moment He was ready to shed a torrent of graces on the entire universe and, if I placed an obstacle in His way, I would become responsible for the lack of good accomplished because of an absence of divine light. The Master was beginning to trace out for me the nature of the mission about which He had spoken to me some time before I entered the novitiate."
Dina became sick with tuberculosis during this time and began to spend many hours in the infirmary. However, because of her intimate union with Jesus, she often lost count of the days spent there. During the Holy Mass, she would receive visions of celebrations in Heaven which transported her soul into paradise. She would often hear the choirs of Heaven and she said: "I can no longer find pleasure in earthly harmonies and melodies. No! No! Even at their most perfect, they are but a faint murmur, lacking warmth. Oh! How captivating are the heavenly harmonies!"
Jesus continued to ask her to write about whatever she saw or heard. Her understanding of heavenly things grew and so did her love for God. She had many battles with the devil and although she suffered much because of this, by following the counsels of Jesus, she became more virtuous as a result of them.
As her illness progressed, Dina was told to give up her music students. She obeyed with the same willingness she showed in all things, although this new sacrifice cost her very much indeed. Our Lord asked her to accept or perform all acts of self-denial without dwelling on them. Although she was forbidden to go to Mass very often due to her illness, she was there in spirit. Her soul would fly towards her beloved Spouse in the Blessed Sacrament.
The salvation of souls
During the month of October, 1924, Dina revealed how God inspired her with a hunger for the salvation of souls. She united herself with Jesus to do reparation for the evil that had been done so that souls, who were on the danger of being eternally damned, would be saved and brought to eternal happiness.
God gave Dina to understand that she was nothing and that in accepting His will, her responsibility did not weigh her down, but gave her freedom. He told her that on earth millions of souls were depending on her willingness to conform and abandon herself to the divine action.
On February 16, 1925, Dina was given a special insight into Jesus in the Eucharist. The veil of mystery was torn apart and she beheld God in His true presence. "He is there, my God, infinite Unity, adorable Trinity, under the appearance of a small piece of bread. Jesus is there, in His sacred Humanity, His Heart, His precious Blood, His Soul, His eternal Divinity; He is there, whole and entire, in each Host consecrated throughout the world and in each fragment of consecrated Host." Jesus told her: "You will not possess me more in Heaven, because I have absorbed you totally."
Her spiritual desert continued throughout this time of grace. Dryness, aversion, temptation to discouragement and despair: all of these things she experienced. However, the peace in her soul was never disturbed and she often said that she was content, even in the midst of this spiritual dryness. She was given insight on the angels and saints in Heaven and the Blessed Trinity.
The importance of consecrated life
Dina made a vow of total perfection, something which she had wanted to do since she was a novice. Now that her superiors finally gave her permission, her joy was complete. Her submission to the Divine Will grew in leaps and bounds; because of this the devil continued to torment her and above all tried to prevent her from receiving Holy Communion. Many times, it was only because of her obedience that she was able to receive.
Jesus let her know in a special way how the link between souls is so important and especially those who are consecrated to Him in the religious life: "I am letting you see the whole multitude of consecrated souls, to the end of time, so that you will understand how even one soul completely given over to me can radiate on all the other souls. You can see that, through it, my rays reach out into the distance, far into the distance, to the furthest end, meaning that I am doing good until the end of time.
"I call upon all consecrated souls to abandon themselves totally to me, to let themselves be filled by me, to let me act freely in them and to shine through them as I will. I call upon all of them. And you see how few there are who do not refuse me anything. In all this multitude, in each soul, nothing human should be visible, only me, me alone. When my heavenly Father looks upon consecrated souls, he should recognize and see only me in each one of them. Alas! This is far from being the case!
"My little Bride, listen... listen well... If all consecrated souls refused me nothing, if they allowed me to act freely in them all the time, all other souls would be saved. Yes, all other souls would be saved. Seeing only me, his well-beloved Son, in consecrated souls, hearing only my divine voice, my heavenly Father could not refuse them anything... pray and intercede with my divine Father. Intercede, that means praying earnestly, praying untiringly, praying with the certainty of being given what you are asking. Pray and intercede!"
From this moment onwards and for the rest of her life on earth, Dina prayed constantly for the conversion of consecrated souls. Her suffering augmented as she threw herself into the light of God’s grace and worked to wrest souls from the snares of the devil. He fought with her with all his strength; but her trust in the love of Jesus won many souls for Heaven. Although she often felt totally abandoned by God, in those same moments He was showering graces of pardon and purity upon the earth and saving many souls. She said: "I am undertaking a completely new life, a life of consuming love."
On August 15, 1928, Dina Belanger made her perpetual vows in the Congregation of Jesus and Mary. What a great joy she felt as she became the spouse of Christ forever and was united for eternity with Him.
The following year Dina’s health started to decline very quickly. Because she could not write anymore, one of the sisters was always with her to take down the reflections and interior inspirations she received from Our Lord. They said that when they went to visit her in the infirmary, it was like walking into a sanctuary. Her love of suffering found goodness and delight in all the moments of her last days on earth. Although sometimes in excruciating pain, she continued to smile and her face was shining with happiness at being able to suffer for her Jesus.
"This general weakness, this sense of oppression, these violent spasms of pain... they are all a consummation of every moment (of my life)... I feel I am being torn to pieces and destroyed for Him... How good it is!..." As the end approached, she was fully conscious and joined in the prayers for the dying with the other sisters. At about three in the afternoon her breath slowed and she said, "I am suffocating." She left in the same position as St. Therese of Lisieux, almost sitting up in the bed with her gaze fixed on Heaven. Dina died September 4th, 1929, at the age of thirty-three years old.
Cardinal Rouleau, Archbishop of Quebec at that time, wrote to the Mother Superior after reading Dina’s autobiography. He said: "These pages, radiant with faith and divine love, reveal to us the increasingly profound working of Our Lord in the soul of his ‘little Bride’. To read and meditate on these writings can bring only profit, especially to souls consecrated to the Lord."

Indeed, in the life of Blessed Dina Belanger we can find an unfailing faith and hope in Jesus. She was beatified in Rome by Pope John Paul II on March 20th, 1993. Let us follow her example during these troubled times, when evil grips our world and abandon ourselves to God’s loving and merciful care. May God bless you!
Shared from the Michael Journal