Sunday, August 17, 2014

Novena to Bl. Mariam of Jesus Crucified

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

We are coming up on the Memorial of Bl. Mariam of Jesus Crucified who founded the Carmels in Nazareth and Bethlehem.  She is a beautiful saint who showed great devotion to Our Lady as well as Our Crucified Lord and the Holy Spirit, and overcame a myriad of obstacles to fulfill the Divine Will of Our Heavenly Father. Let us look to her to inspire and strengthen us on our spiritual journeys in Carmel, towards union with the Holy Three. Amen.  


Mariam Baouardy 1846-1878
Mariam Baouardy was born on January 5th 1846 at Ibillin, a village in the Holy Land near Nazareth.  Her parents were George Baouardy and Mariam Shashyn, they were Greek Catholics in a predominantly Muslin area. They were both persecuted for their faith and George spent some time in prison.  Their first 12 children, all boys, died in infancy so they decided to go on pilgrimage to Bethlehem, to beg Our Lady for a daughter and they promised to call her Mariam. Their prayers were answered when little Mariam was born, followed two years later by her only surviving brother, Paul. Mariam was baptised and confirmed when she was ten days old according to the Greek Catholic Rite.  Sadly before she was three years old both her parents died from an infectious illness, within a few days of each other. When her father was dying he commended  Mariam to the care of St. Joseph, looking lovingly at a picture of him, he said‘Great saint, here is my child; the Blessed Virgin is her mother; deign to look after her also; be her father’.  
Mariam was taken to the home of a wealthy paternal uncle and Paul went to live with a maternal aunt but they never saw each other again.  Mariam was treated kindly but surprised the family by her intense devotion to Our Lady.  From the age of five she fasted every Saturday in her honour and she frequently gathered flowers to place before her icon. Mariam received her First Communion when she was eight, in spite of the hesitancy of the priest; she was unable to contain her longing for the Sacrament and went to up to receive with others. The priest accepted her and she said that Jesus came to her ‘as a child’. 
Soon afterwards the family moved to Alexandria and when she was nearly thirteen Mariam’s uncle told her that he had arranged a marriage for her, according to the customs of the time. Mariam, who had already made up her mind that Jesus would be her only bridegroom, informed the family of her decision. Her uncle was so infuriated that he sent her to work as a servant in the kitchen.  After a few months she decided to try to contact her brother and attempted to send him a message through a Muslim servant who was going to Galilee. When she told him her story her tried to make her deny her faith and because she refused he slashed her throat and dumped her body on the roadside, convinced that she was dead. Later doctors agreed that the wound inflicted on her should have caused her death, but Mariam telling of this event said that a nun in blue brought her to a cave, stitched her wound and gave her some delicious soup. Then she told her, ‘You will never see your family again you will go to France where you will become a religious.  You will be a child of St. Joseph before becoming a daughter of St. Teresa.  You will receive the habit of Carmel in one house, you will make your profession in a second and you will die in a third, at Bethlehem’.  Mariam did not know who the ‘nun’ was at the time but she later believed that she was miraculously cured by Our Lady and all she said was fulfilled in Mariam’s life.
Blessed_Mariam_ Novice Resized
Mariam never saw her uncle again and her search for her brother was unsuccessful, but she spent an eventful few years working as a servant in various places and going on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where she made a vow of chastity at the age of 15.When she was 18 Mariam was offered work with a Syrian family who lived in Marseilles.  It was there that she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition, but after a two year postulancy she was asked to leave because she did not get enough votes to be accepted as a novice.  This was because some of the sisters were disturbed by her mystical graces, which included ecstasies and the stigmata; some doubted her authenticity, although her prioress and novice mistress would have accepted her.  In fact, Sr. Veronica, her novice mistress, was waiting for permission to transfer to the Carmel in Pau and she suggested to Mariam that she go with her. Mariam agreed and was accepted by the Carmel.  They both entered there in June 1867.  Mariam was given the religious name, Sr. Mary of Jesus Crucified.
Very soon Mariam’s mystical experiences became obvious as the stigmata manifested itself again that same year and later she was seen to levitate.  Throughout her life she frequently fell into ecstasies.  The Carmelites in Pau were able to accept this unusual phenomena, as they could see her genuine devotion and willing obedience.
Mariam was very devoted to the Holy Spirit and in 1869 she wrote the prayer:Blessed_Mariam Prie Dieu resized
Holy Spirit, inspire me.
Love of God, consume me.
To the right path lead me.
Mary my mother, look down upon me.
With Jesus, bless me.
From all evil, all illusion, all danger, preserve me. 
Blessed Mariam
Sr. Mary of Jesus Crucified
on her Profession Day.
In 1870 Mariam was one of a group of nuns from the Carmel of Pau who set out to found a Carmel in Mangalore, India.  It was there that she made her Profession on November 21st 1871.  Mariam had entered as a lay sister but when she received the habit she did so as a choir sister, although she had not wanted this herself and she asked to become a lay sister again while she was in India. Her mystical experiences continued to be a trial to her and some of the sisters in Mangalore thought that they were a sign of demonic possession so Mariam was ordered to return to France.  Later the sisters realised their mistake and apologised profusely.  Mariam replied, ‘All that has taken place was willed by Jesus.  May His name be praised!  It is God who has permitted everything’.
Mariam had returned to the C
armel of Pau in November 1872. Three years later she went to the Holy Land where she was instrumental in founding the Carmel at Bethlehem, Berthe Dartigaux, a young aristocrat from Pau made this possible by investing her entire fortune in the foundation. She went to Bethlehem herself with the seven nuns from Pau who set out to make the Foundation.  Mariam was already planning to found another Carmel in Nazareth when she became ill.  As the only sister who spoke Arabic, Mariam oversaw the workmen who were building the Carmel at Bethlehem and it was when she was carrying water to them that she fell and badly injured her arm.  Very soon the wound became gangrenous and the infection affected her lungs and respiratory tract. Mariam knew she was dying. 
Early on August 26th 1878 she felt as if she was suffocating and she died at 10 past 5 in the morning, having uttered the words ‘My, Jesus, mercy.’Blessed_Myriam_Icon
She is buried in the Carmel that she founded in Bethlehem and the inscription on her tomb reads:
Here in the peace of the Lord reposes Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified, professed religious of the white veil. A soul of singular graces, she was conspicuous for her humility, her obedience and her charity. Jesus, the sole love of her heart called her to Himself in the 33rd year of her age and the 12th year of her religious life at Bethlehem, 26 August 1878.’
Pope John Paul II declared Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified Blessed on November 13th 1983.
Her feast day is celebrated on August 25th.
 Foundresses of Bethlehem
This photo shows
Sr. Mary of Jesus Crucified
(second from the left in the back row)
with the other foundresses of
the Carmel at Bethlehem.
It was taken before they left
the Carmel of Pau, near
the Pyrenees in France.
 Taken from:

Carmelite Prayer: 
Merciful Father and God of all consolation, You guided, the humble daughter of the Holy Land, Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified to contemplation of the mysteries of Your Son and You made her a witness of the charity and joy of the Holy Spirit. Grant us, through her intercession, to participate in the sufferings of Christ in order to exalt and rejoice in the revelation of Your glory. We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

St. Elijah's Monastery Iraq

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

Five years ago, a beautiful effort was made by some American soldiers to restore the oldest monastery in Iraq, St. Elijah's Monastery, which is located south of Mosul, dating from the sixth century. Now, for the first time in sixteen centuries, there are no Sunday Masses being celebrated in the city, as reported by Christianity Today:

St. Elijah's Monastery, an ancient site of Christian worship and martyrdom, is now stuck in the middle of a sprawling military base just south of Mosul, in northern Iraq. United States Army engineers have drawn up plans to shore up the roof and walls of its main sanctuary -- believed to have been built in the 11th century -- before the last American troops leave the monastery to an uncertain fate.
Photo: Eros Hoagland for The New York Times

Prayers for Archbishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman, OCD of Baghdad, Iraq

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

As we watch in continued horror the events and genocide of our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria, let us remember to pray for Archbishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman, OCD who is Archbishop of Baghdad, Iraq. Archbishop Sleiman, a Carmelite priest, is the Latin Archbishop of Baghdad and head of the Latin Church Community in Iraq. He was ordained a priest in 1973 in Beirut and then earned doctorates in theology and anthropology. He was appointed as archbishop of Baghdad in 2000. Let us pray for his physical and spiritual protection and that the Holy Spirit may lead and guide him as he leads his flock in such tragic conditions. 

He recently gave an interview on the increasing violence in the region, which follows:

Archbishop Sleiman: Real Actors in Iraq Are Foreign Governments and Big Oil

Latin Rite Archbishop of Baghdad Tells ZENIT They Must Control Fire They Started

Latin rite Archbishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman of Baghdad has shared his views on the situation in Iraq and for its Christians.
In addition to discussing the events of Iraq and Mosul with ZENIT Wednesday, he also discussed the roles of the Church, government, and other organizations in resolving the internal conflict.
Also in this interview, he gives his perspective on the appeal recently launched by the Chaldean Patriarch.
ZENIT: Could you describe that actual situation taking place in Iraq and Mosul?
Archbishop Sleiman: It’s not easy to describe the situation in Iraq today. In the first place, we see a conflict between the government and the rebels, experienced as a war between Sunnis and Shi’ites, with tension between the Kurds and the Arabs. In any case, the invasion of the Islamic State [Isis] cut the country into pieces and spread general panic, with killings, destruction, ethnic-confessional cleansing, and the imposition of the Sharia. However, this at times apocalyptic picture of the events in Iraq does not obscure the real actors, namely, the governments with influence in the Middle East area and big oil and gas companies.
ZENIT: Please describe the current state of the Christian community there. What are the Christian community’s needs?
Archbishop Sleiman: Basically, the situation of Christians hasn’t changed. A part of it that increases tragically now lives in the Green Zone, that is, in Kurdistan and the agglomerations of the Nineveh Plain that head them. A part that has been reduced to a minimum lives in the Red Zone where there still is, as there was in the past, real persecution. Mosul, under the domain of the Islamic State, has uprooted the centuries-old Christian presence.
A third group of Christians live in the Grey Zone, primarily in Baghdad and the South. Grey because they live in an atmosphere of evident psychological and socio-political pressure. And there is still the panic that envelops everything and everyone, increasing the rate of the migratory movement, which for years has become an exodus.
Their needs: respect of their right to live in peace in their millennial homeland.
ZENIT: According to you, what must be done by the Church, government, organizations, etc.?
Archbishop Sleiman: The Church tries to alleviate the suffering with aid to evacuees but also appealing to the Government as well as the international authorities for protection of the rights of the people. Certain organizations help as well. The Government doesn’t control the situation.  Left is an urgent and insistent diplomatic action with the great actors that guide events by remote control. Let’s not forget that the control of energy remains the principal goal.
ZENIT: In the appeal that Chaldean Patriarch Sako launched, he said Iraq is heading toward “a humanitarian, cultural, and historical disaster.” Could you, very briefly, explain if you agree and if so how – humanitarian, culturally and historically?
Archbishop Sleiman: The Chaldean Patriarch’s appeal is the heartfelt cry of a very grave and dangerous situation. The problem of Christians reveals the tragedy into which Iraq was pushed in 2003: the systematic and crude instrumentalization of religion, the reawakening of tribalism, the stimulation of ethnicity, the whole flavored with corruption, to the detriment of citizenship and hence of unity of the whole, and of sovereignty. The dictatorship of theocratic groups surpasses by far those that Iraq has suffered in the past.
ZENIT: Do you have any other further reflections to add?
Archbishop Sleiman: I would like to add this: When a fire flares up, it is circumscribed immediately to control it, otherwise it can spread. For years I have felt that the powers often start the fire in the Middle East. It’s not said that they will always be able to control it. Therefore, the fire that flares up in the region can hit Europe and cause a World War. Of course, it’s legitimate that states pursue the interests of their countries.  However, my prayer is that reasons of state not sacrifice the life of peoples, their goods and their future.
[Interview in Italian]
[Translation by ZENIT]

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel...          Pray for us!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

St. Edith Stein & Hebrew Catholics

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

Today we celebrate the Feast of one of the foremost Jewish Catholic saints. Hebrew Catholics website provides the following information on the final hours of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and the many other Jewish converts who were to die with her that day:

Some Hebrew Catholic Companions of Saint Edith in her Ordeal
Saint Edith Stein was accompanied by a group of Hebrew Catholics throughout her ordeal; they lived with her, prayed with her, shared her spiritual sentiments, and died, most of them, together with her in the same gas-chamber. They are the rays of light that scintillate around our Saint’s crown of glory. Divine Providence wanted to give the world an example of an ideal Hebrew Catholic Community, though one assembled under duress and for a short period only.
We recall a few names, those most closely associated with Saint Edith in her trial.
Rosa, Edith’s sister
She was the only member of the Stein family to follow Edith into the Church, delaying her entry until the death of her mother, so as to spare the latter the suffering her entry would have occasioned her. She became a Tertiary Carmelite and rendered service to the Nuns at Echt, from where she left with her sister, Edith, for Auschwitz.
Dr. Bromberg and his family
The Doctor, his wife, son and daughter travelled in the transport from Amersfoort to Westerbork. They survived the war, as by a miracle. Mrs. Bromberg, who was very close to Edith, left a fine testimony to her bearing during the two days Edith spent in the camp. The son was ordained a priest in the Dominican Order after the war: Fr. Ignatius Bromberg, O.P.
The Löb family
The father was a Dr. Löb; of his five children, two became Trappist priests, two Trappistines, and one, a Trappist lay-brother. The two priests deployed an admirable ministry amongst the prisoners, proving a benediction to them in their distress. All were to die with Edith and Rosa.
Sister Judith Mendez da Costa
Her family had left Portugal in the 16th century to settle in Amsterdam. She became a Dominican nun and was conventual in Bilthoven from where she was carried off by the Gestapo on August 2nd. Her distant Portuguese origin provided an excuse, so that she was set free for a while and returned to her convent on the 15th August. On the 25th February 1944, she and the entire Portuguese community were transferred from Westerbork to Theresienstadt camp and from there to Auschwitz (16th May) where they were all gassed. Her brother and sister died in the torment. Sister Judith managed to send to her Superior a detailed description of her stay in Westerbork, from August 4th to August 15th, during which time she met Saint Edith.
Alice Reis
She entered the Church in 1932, Edith Stein standing as her godmother. Two years later she entered the Sisters of the Good Shepherd as a postulant. Circumstances in Germany being what they were at the time, she was sent to Holland. On account of her asthma, she was not accepted as a religious, but remained on as a lay-helper to the Sisters in several of their establishments. At 5 o’clock on the morning of August 2nd, she was snatched from her convent at Almelo by the Gestapo and sent to Amersfoort camp, from where she accompanied our Saint on the journey to Auschwitz.
Dr. Ruth Kantorowicz of the Ursuline Convent at Venlo
She had been an old friend of Edith’s. She was arrested on August 2nd and carried off to Amersfoort and then in a goods-train to Hooghalen. She was one of those who were forced to walk across fields, woods and hedges to the Westerbork camp. In answer to an urgent note, the Ursulines sent her supplies with two gentlemen. These saw her in the camp with Edith Stein, both wearing the yellow star-shaped patch. She remarked that the Trappist priests had not been able to celebrate Holy Mass for them. She left with Edith for Auschwitz.
Dr. Meirowsky
Since 1940, she had been resident in the lodge of the Trappistine Abbey near Tilburg. She was a medical doctor of Polish-Jewish origin, acquainted with our Saint with whom she had exchanged several letters. At Tilburg, she rendered valuable services to the community as doorkeeper and community doctor. She was a member of the Dominican Third Order and was regarded by the Trappistines as one of themselves.
In a letter addressed to her confessor from Westerbork, dated “Transfiguratio, 6, VIII.” she expressed the most admirable spiritual sentiments, showing to what extent our Saint was seconded in her intentions by other Hebrew Catholics.
We quote the following passages from her letter:
“I want to send you my last greetings and to tell you that I have complete confidence in God and have surrendered myself entirely to His will. Even more — I regard it as a grace and privilege to be driven along this road under these conditions, a witness to the words of our good Fathers and shepherds in Christ.
“If our sufferings have been increased somewhat then we have received a double portion of grace and a glorious crown is being prepared for us in heaven. Rejoice with me. I am going forward unshaken, confidently and joyfully — like the Sisters who are with me — to testify to Jesus Christ and to bear witness to the Truth in company with our Bishops. We are going as children of Our Holy Mother, the Church; we will unite our sufferings with the sufferings of our King, our Saviour and our Bridegroom, sacrificing ourselves for the conversion, for the Jews, for those who persecute us, so that all may know the peace of Christ and his Kingdom. Join with me in thanking God for this great favor by singing an exultant Magnificat.”
The letter was signed, Sister M. Magdalena Dominica
(in the world, Dr. Meirowsky).
In our humble option, the sentiments that emanate from Dr. Meirowsky’s letter are no less sublime than those expressed by the early Christian martyrs as they went to their death by fire, by torture and by the lions, in the arenas of the Roman Empire.
An attempt has been made to draw a parallel between the last week in the life of Saint Edith Stein and the last week in the life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. There is more in the parallel than pure analogy; Jesus himself, repeated his passion in the soul and body of Saint Edith. It is what gives to her suffering its full redemptive value. Through Jesus, our Saint sanctified the Shoah, turning the Catastrophe into a true Holocaust unto the Lord. Tragic as the story is, it should be understood as the sine qua non for the ingrafting of the Jewish People into the Church, their own olive-tree.
Hebrew Catholics should see themselves as the survivors of the Holocaust, no less than their fellow-Jews. All were sentenced to death by the Nazis.
In her life and death, Saint Edith is an example to Hebrew Catholics of identification with the destiny of the people. Alienation, assimilation, are contrary to the will of God.
It is the light of these principles, that we affirm the aim of the Association of Hebrew Catholics to be fully justified.
Elias Friedman, O.C.D.See
A prayer to the Father written by Edith Stein

Prayer of abandonment
Lord, let me blindly follow your paths.
I do not want to try understand your ways.
I am your daughter, You are the Father of wisdom
And you are my Father, you are the one
Who Guides me through the night.
Lift me up to you Lord,
That I might do Your will: I am ready!
Even if in this world you do not accomplish any of my desires
You are the Lord of time, this moment is yours.
Time is yours
Your eternal “Now” I want to make my own.
Realize in me what in your wisdom you have planned:
If you call me to offer myself in the silence help me to respond,
Help me to close my eyes to all that I am.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pater Noster Carmelite Convent in Jerusalem

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

Dear Ones-
I mentioned this beautiful convent that I had the blessing of visiting nearly 3 weeks ago.  I wanted to send along more information on it, for a further appreciation of our Carmelite order's love of God the Father, and how this convent honors this eternal prayer taught to us by Jesus Himself.

CONVENT OF THE PATER NOSTERCatholic - Carmelite Cloistered Sisters
Located on the Mount of Olives

"As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately."Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. ... Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom ... you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

MATTHEW 24:3-14
In the year 312, just before entering the fray at Milvian bridge, the Roman emperor Flavius Valerius Constantinus is said to have had a vision of the Chi-Rho cross. Later to become known as the Constantinian monogram, it was formed by joining the first two letters of the Greek word for "Christ" (resembling an English P and an English X). Tradition holds that he inscribed the Chi-Rho on his standard and on the shields of his soldiers. History tells us that Constantine won the battle, which proved to be the decisive victory over his dangerous rival, Maxentius.

One year later, Constantine issued an edict granting freedom of religion within his empire. He gradually began favoring Christianity, until in 324 he became the first Roman sovereign to formally adopt the nearly 300-year-old faith.

Together with his mother, Queen Helena, Constantine built three glorious monuments to Jesus in the Holy Land. One was the splendid Church of the Holy Sepulchre, at the site where Jesus was crucified. The second sanctuary was the stately Nativity Church in Bethlehem over the cave where Jesus was born. And above the Mount of Olives grotto in which Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world they ordered construction of the third magnificent basilica. Called either the Church of the Disciples or the Church of Eleona (Mount of Olives, in Greek), it was destroyed by the Persians in 614.
Hundreds of years later, the crusaders erected a chapel on the site of Eleona and called it Pater Noster - the Lord's Prayer. It is widely believed that this is the site on which Jesus taught the Lord's Prayer to the disciples.

"One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to Him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.' He said to them, 'When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation' "

LUKE 11:1-4

The Church of Eleona consist of the crypt along with a second cave called the Grotto of the Creed. But except for a bit of the foundation, a couple of stones and the bases of a few pillars, little is left of the elaborate Byzantine church. Even less remains of the more modest Crusader chapel, which was probably destroyed by Saladin's forces in 1187. An attempt by the French government to construct a church dedicated to the Sacred Heart ended abruptly in 1927 when the funds ran out. What remains of that endeavor are a stone altar and a chair - looking quite out of place in the open air!

Fortunately for travelers who have come here from afar, however, a stirring cloister and a small chapel were built adjacent to the site in the 1870's. Sponsor of the complex was an Italian woman, Aurelia Bossie, who on her second marriage wed a member of the French Royalty and became the Princess de la Tour d'Auvergne. It was Marie Alphonse Ratisbonne, a French Jew who had converted to Christianity, who convinced her to purchase the property in 1868. That was the very same year in which he, himself, was busy building the ECCE HOMO BASILICA.  

And her tomb is there:

Aurélie de Bossi [Bossi Aurelia], the Princess de la Tour d’Auvergne, had a particular devotion to the Lord’s Prayer. She erected translations of the prayer in 39 [sic] different languages.  Later she added a convent for Carmelite Sisters [ In 1868 she built a cloister modeled on the Campo Santo at Pisa, Italy and founded a Carmelite convent in 1872]. While the buildings were being constructed, she lived nearby in a wooden cabin brought from France. The princess was also keenly interested in the cave — which she never discovered, although she suggested where it might be.

Excavations by archaeologists in 1911 found the cave exactly where she had predicted it to be. It was partly collapsed when it was discovered.

The princess died in Florence in 1889, but her last wish was for her remains to rest in the Pater Noster Church, in a tomb which she had prepared. Her wish was fulfilled in 1957. On top of her sarcophagus is a life-size effigy

When one arrives at Pater Noster, immediately inside the convent's iron gate visitors begin seeing richly decorated plaques containing the entire Lord' Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). The first panel you see is in Icelandic; two more plaques to the left near the cloister are in Hebrew and Aramaic and 107 additional ornamental panels are inscribed in other languages scattered throughout the compound. Among the dozens on view in the remarkable vaulted cloister are Guarani, Maltese, and the interesting Chaldean language whose letters have a curious resemblance to Hebrew. Unfortunately, a metal French version in Braille was vandalized, but a copy is on view in the gift shop.

The convent's rather stark chapel is just off the cloistered walkway. Within the high-ceilinged sanctuary are wrought iron lamps and a large painted status of Mary and her baby Jesus. While these lend an air to the church, it is the colorful tile plaques lining the white stone walls which catch your eye. Several of the tongues in which the Lord' Prayer is written are truly exotic, including Tagalog, Pampango, and Ojibway.
At one end of the walkway is a mausoleum where the princess is entombed. For nearly a decade, until the convent was well established, she lived nearby in a wooden cabin brought from France. She loved the site so much that she prepared her own sarcophagus and asked to be buried within the confines of the Pater Noster. Atop the sarcophagus a life-size effigy lies in state, a fitting memorial to a princess whose favorite and most comforting litany was the Lord's Prayer. (See 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

August Dedicated to Immaculate Heart of Mary and God the Father

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

Amidst the dog days of summer, our hearts, souls, and minds can seek the shelter and shade of our Heavenly parents. That is because this month has traditionally been dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which has been honored since the 16th Century. This devotion draws our attention to our Blessed Mother's virtue and Her ability to love and care for all of Her children on earth. We are called to imitate her, and to honor this devotion on at least Five First Saturdays,  to help make amends for the offenses committed against her heart by the blasphemies and ingratitude of men as she revealed in her messages at Fatima. More attention and focus will be given to that soon. But I want to mention, a lesser known devotion, one that is gaining strength and momentum as the faithful recognize the importance of honoring our Heavenly Father. In these times where division and hatred, along with rampant sins against life and God's creation spiral out of control, it is imperative that we look to the Alpha and Omega of all the universe. Not only must we recognize and honor God in His omnipotence and Glory, which is beyond our human comprehension, but we must look to His Divine Paternal Merciful Heart  and snuggle up to Him in order to find the freedom and love of being His adopted children through Jesus Christ. This is explained more fully in the work written by Mother Eugenia Ravasio who reported that God the Eternal Father appeared to her on two separate occasions. The first time was on July 1, 1932. The second time was on August 12, 1932.  After a ten year investigation, the Church approved the apparition.

On July 1st, 1932, the Feast of the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, Our Heavenly Father communicated to Sr. Ravagio as follows: "I have already told you and now I say again: I cannot give My beloved Son another time to prove My love for men! I am now coming among them in order to love them and to make them know this love, assuming their image, their poverty. Look, now I am putting aside My crown and all My glory to take on the appearance of an ordinary man!" 

"Peace and salvation," He said, "to this house and to the whole world! May My power, My love and My Holy Spirit touch men's hearts, so that all mankind may turn to salvation and come to its Father, Who seeks it, to love and to save it!

I have chosen this day to begin My work among men because today is the feast of the Precious Blood of My Son Jesus. I intend to bathe in this Blood the work I am beginning, so that it may bear great fruit among all mankind.

This is the real purpose of My coming:

1. "I am coming to banish the excessive fear that My creatures have of Me, and to show them that My joy lies in being known and loved by My children - that is, all mankind, present and future.

2. I am coming to bring hope to men and nations. How many have long since lost it! This hope will make them live in peace and security, working for their salvation.

3. I am coming to make Myself known just as I am, so that men's trust may increase together with their love for Me, their Father. I have but one concern to watch over all men and love them as My children. The painter delights in contemplating the picture he has painted. In the same way, it is My pleasure and delight to come among men, the masterpiece of My creation! Time presses. I wish men to know as soon as possible that I love them and that I feel the greatest happiness in being with them and talking with them, like a father with his children. See for more information on this.

I want to share with you that I was so blessed to visit the Carmel in Jerusalem known as Pater Noster. It is the place where Our Lord Jesus taught His disciples the Lord's Prayer, the prayer par excellence.  This is the very prayer that St. Teresa provides an extensive commentary on in The Way of Perfection and remarks that this prayer contains every perfection and all Divine Wisdom and all that we need to ask and do in relation to Our Heavenly Father.  The Pater Noster Convent located on the Mt. of Olives consists of beautiful tiles of the Our Father prayer in over 140 languages of the world. Its very walls speak of the universality of the Our Father prayer, and how He invites and unites His children to be one human family under His protective wing.    As Carmelites, we must seek to find the connection with each individual person and build upon this in order to build and foster the Kingdom of God. This convent does this in a very special way and reminds us that it is through common ground and the practice of the Beatitudes that peace and unity can be fostered. May we seek to honor our Father in a special way this month, and to draw closer to Him while encouraging others to get to know our Heavenly Father, to trust Him, and to realize His tender care, mercy, and love for each one of us. Amen.  


Monday, August 4, 2014

Edith Stein Novena

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

Ok. I know I'm late in posting this as it was to begin four days ago for St. Teresa Benedicta's Feast Day this coming Saturday, August 9th. This is such an appropriate time to pray to our Jewish convert and saint to intercede for peace for the Jewish people in Israel as well as in Palestine. As someone who just returned from the Holy Land nearly 2 weeks ago, I think I have a more well- formed appreciation for the Jews and their profound role in salvation history. We see that St. Teresa Benedicta was so very brave in offering herself for her own people. She was not afraid to empty herself as Christ did in order to seek mercy, expiation, and reparation for the people she loved most. In this present-day when we are witnessing violence between God's children between Hamas and Israel, and with the extermination of Christians in Iraq and Syria, we too must ask ourselves what we can do to tip the scales and beg for the intervention of Our Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Our Lady Queen of Peace.  

In Selected Writings, St. Teresa wrote in her confidence to Our Triune God in the poem To Foster Faith, Love and Friendship as follows:

Wheneverstorms are roaring, 
You Lord, are our support. 
We praise You, God, imploring, 
You guide us safe to port. 
Safe, secure we stand, 
Trusting hold Your hand, 
Though the mountains quake 
Mighty oceans break.

When swelling waters frighten 
When solid mountains sway, 
Joy comes our life to lighten. 
Our thanks to You we say. 
In Your city dwell, 
Keep her safe and well. 
A mighty river shelters 
God's lofty citadel.

The nations rage in frenzy, 
The splendor of the proud 
Falls when God speaks with mighty voice 
No thunder is so loud. 
God is with us here. 
Lord of hosts, You're near, 
Our light and our salvation. 
Therefore we have no fear.

Come here, that you may see them, 
The wonders of His might 
Discord must surely vanish 
Where He brings peace and light. 
Spear and mighty shield 
To His light must yield 
The Lord God indeed 
Rescues all in need.

Novena – Day 1, Sat. Aug. 1, 1942 (See for novena)

esiconscan1aNovena to Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
Day 1 – Saturday, August 1st, 1942
Carmel of Echt, Holland
It was the last day of freedom for Saint Edith and her sister, Rosa. By then Saint Edith had reached a clear perception of the eschatological nature of the crisis affecting the Jews of Germany and the role she was called upon to play in the drama, as a victim of expiation for her people and for mankind.
As far back as March 26th, 1939, Edith had addressed a petition to her Prioress on a used postcard (for motives of monastic poverty) asking permission to offer herself to Jesus in expiation, that the sway of Antichrist be broken and peace ensue.
“I am asking this, today, because it is already the twelfth hour. I know I am nothing, but Jesus wills it and He will call many more to the same sacrifice in these days.”
The manuscript of her book, Science of the Cross, lay on her table; it would never be finished, because the next day, the Gestapo would come to drag her away from the convent. What we read therein is proof of the clarity and courage with which she grasped the call to expiation, key to her earthly destiny.
Around her, the atmosphere was growing heavy with fear and foreboding. A few days earlier (July 28th), her brother, Paul, his wife Eva and their daughter, were sent off to the Theresienstadt Camp. Hede Spiegel, her god-daughter, depressed and distraught, came to the grille of the convent, to pour out her anxieties for the future, anxieties which were shared by Saint Edith’s fellow-Nuns in the Carmel of Echt, where Edith had been sent by her superiors to take refuge from the persecution of the Jews raging in Germany. Edith, in contrast, maintained a rock-like composure and faith in God, which impressed all those in contact with her. The Church has since defined her virtue as heroic.
Gospel Reading
“They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, Jesus leading the way; the disciples were filled with foreboding, while those following behind were afraid. He took the Twelve aside and began to tell them what was to happen to him. ‘We are now going to Jerusalem,’ he said, ‘and the Son of Man will be given up to the Chief Priests and the doctors of the Law. They will condemn him to death and hand him over to the foreign power. He will be mocked and spat upon, flogged and killed.’” Mark 10: 32-34
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
(Any suitable prayer may be said here)
Saint Edith, Pray for Us!