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 Family,  Welcome to our e-Newsletter

Summer 2014  Online Issue #19

                                               
In Memory of Penny Lord

 

From My Pew

Brother Joseph's Article

Heroes - New Book Release

People of God Speak Out

Saint Hildegard of Bingen

The Saints of Germany

Pilgrimages for 2015

Miracle of the Eucharist of Offida

We Need Your Help

Our Lady of Ostra Brama - the Gate of Dawn

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Bob and Penny Lord

From My Pew

Bob and Penny Lord

Family, first off, I want to thank you for all the letters and phone calls, the condolence cards and Mass cards and Memorials to Journeys of Faith you sent since my Penny passed away six months ago.  It has been a very difficult time and continues to be difficult for me.  But your kindness has been a source of strength during this very rough time.

You see that same photo of both of us at the heading of the article.  That’s that way it’s always been for close to 57 years, and that’s the way it’s always going to be.  There is no Bob Lord.  There is only Bob and Penny Lord and that’s just fine with me.  Shortly after Penny passed, a radio station wanted to interview us, not knowing about Penny.  When Luz told him she had passed, he tried to reorganize our bio which they read at the beginning of our interview, to eliminate Penny.  He found himself somewhat tongue-tied, because there was so much reference to us as a couple. I told him very quickly to refer to us a Bob and Penny, which was easier for both of us.  The rest of the interview worked very smoothly.  Penny was with us.  She’s always with us.  Some of you have told Luz and Blanca that they spoke to Penny, that they had dreams of Penny.   I’m not that fortunate.  She hasn’t spoken to me yet.  But she’s with me, I know that.  She’s always with me.  If you read the article on our video shoot to Germany, you will see that she was with us there. 

Family, you know how loving she is.  So many of you over the years have told us how she has been such an influence on your lives to bring you back to the Church, how she has taught you so much, especially about the Saints, that you never knew before.  Well, you’re not the only ones.  She has hypnotized me with those beautiful eyes and soft, loving voice since the day we met.  The Lord gave us to each other.   Of course, He and Our Lady also gave me a beautiful girl that I could love and cherish for all those years.  I once asked her, early on in our marriage, “Come, grow old with me.”  She did that. We were one couple, one team, one gift of love for each other for the rest of our lives.  And for me, she’s still here with me.  I look at photos of her from various times in our lives, and I just adore her.  She will always be with me, teaching me, admonishing me when I don’t write with all my heart.  She taught me from the very first book we wrote.  She would read a chapter I wrote, and asked if I prayed to the Holy Spirit before I wrote it.  My answer was always “I always pray to the Holy Spirit.”  Her response was “Well go back to the computer and pray harder.”  She was my editor from hell.

She’s still doing that, only more so, to me, to you, to so many people all over the world..  She doesn’t have the illness to hold her back, and tie her down.  She can also travel all over the world.  I remember when we were young and people wanted us to talk in churches all over a given state, mostly Louisiana and California.  She would make commitments to give talks all over, even though one church was 8 hours away from the one we would be talking at that time.  She can do that now.  She’s got Angels to transport her.  She has always had a motto “So much to do and so little time.” 

Many of you have called my Penny a Saint, and I believe you are correct.  So pray for her intercession, as you would St. Anthony or St. Thérèse.  She will help.  You may not find something you lost, or receive a rose.  But then again you might.  There’s nothing my girl can’t do anymore.  I believe Our Heavenly Family is giving her free reign right now to help all who have loved her and been loved by her.

We love you Family.  In each Good Newsletter, I’ll share a little more about my girl, our Saint Penny Lord.  God bless you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Called to Serve by Brother Joseph

During our trip to Germany, taping the lives of the German Saints, I had the fortunate experience to visit Freyaldenhoven Germany, a small town between Cologne and Aachen, and actually closer to Aachen.

It was good to get in touch with my father’s roots in that part of Europe.  Aachen is the new name for Aix la Chapelle which was the Capital of the Holy Roman Empire starting with Charlemagne. We visited the Cathedral in Aachen at that time also. Also we visited the magnificent coronation hall of the emperors, in which thirty-five German kings and eleven queens have banqueted after the coronation ceremony in the Cathedral. 

So much of the history of Europe is centered around the area that we visited, and two of the Saints were Queens. As with all power, also came conquest and defeat, battles and wars, on and on, even up to today.

I am reminded of three battles in our Christian history and want to also remind you of them so that we can see if we can learn from the past.

The first is the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. This battle took place between the Roman Emperors Constantine I and Maxentius on 28 October 312. It takes its name from the Milvian Bridge, an important route over the Tiber. Constantine won the battle and started on the path that led him to end the Tetrarchy and become the sole ruler of the Roman Empire. Maxentius drowned in the Tiber during the battle. During the battle, a Cross appeared in the sky with the words, “With this Sign you will conquer.” From then on the Roman Empire used the Cross as their symbol and that Sign was carried forward through Europe and its empires. Furthermore many of the existing countries in Europe still have the Cross on their flags.

The Second is the Battle of Tours. This battle was between the Franks lead by Charles Martel the Grandfather of Charlemagne and the Saracens.  The Franks were victorious.   Abdul Al Ghafiqi was killed. This battle marked the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire in Europe.

The third is the Battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571, 40 years after Our Blessed Mother came to Mexico.  Interesting that an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was on the ship of the leader of the Christian Forces, Don Juan of Austria. The Ottoman Empire was defeated on that day from their attempted conquest of Europe.

Now I will tell the rest of the story. The Pope asked all the faithful to pray the Rosary and that is why we  celebrate the Feast of the Holy Rosary on October 7 each year to this day. Prayer will destroy Empires – done it before and will do it again.

Read more about these Battles in Bob and Penny Lord’s book, “ Miracles of the Cross.”

The most important part of all this is the power of Prayer and God’s intervention in times of great need.  If we would just turn back to God and get down on our knees and pray….  Might be a good time for us to think about praying the Rosary and turning back to God with all our hearts.

 

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The People of God Speak Out

Dear Bob, Luz and Brother Joseph
Your trip to Germany sounds wonderful and we are looking forward to seeing the videos and books that come from your travels there. 
We hope your trip to Germany was a blessing. We wish you all the best with the writing and editing to come and be sure and let us know if there is ever anything we can do to help.

A D J                                                                                                              Amelia, OH

Dear Bob:
Bob, The Super Saints program you and Penny have on EWTN has helped me grow so much in my spiritual life. Penny was always so wonderful and loving and I wanted to send both my love and prayers. I know she will be with you always and I pray that brings you comfort
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Dear Bob,
I have been meaning to write you. We are so sorry about Penny. We love you both very much. And I am praying for you every night during the Rosary. I know that God will guide you through this difficult time. We love you so much, Bob. Please tell Luz-Elena that we love her as well. Penny is perhaps the sweetest person I ever knew. She was (is) a beautiful soul. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you. Love,
Facebook

Dear Bob,

Thank you so much for everything you have done for me and all who were blessed to watch your programs.  I surely hope the viewing continues.  I have learned so much and get very excited every time a new Saint is talked about.  I especially looked forward to you both saying “we love you”.  It surely came from the heart.  Many prayers for you Bob and all of your family.  God bless you….as He most definitely has and will continue to do so.

 DF

 

Dear Bob,

I thank God for our dear Penny Lord, it is because of her that nobody will ever take me away from The Holy Catholic Church, she taught me about the miracles of the Holy Eucharist and The Saints.  God has manifested His glory in the Saints and the Holy Mass is a miracle that most Catholics take for granted.  May God have her in His glory and may her family have the blessing from heaven.  What a great mission of love she did for Us Catholics, You are alive in my heart Penny Lord.

 JR

 

 Dear Bob,

Thank you for helping me see the beauty in the Catholic Church!  Because of your witness, I am a changed soul.  I pray I see you in Heaven and you can lead me to all of the Saints you talked about on earth.  Rest in Peace dear sweet Penny!

 

Dear Bob,

Even though we have never met, I feel that I know you and your loving wife, Penny.

 

Thank you both for your shared video ministry; a labor of love that has enriched the lives of countless souls over the years.  Because of the legacy of video recordings you have both created, you and Penny will continue to proclaim the Good News long after you are reunited in heavenly glory with our risen Lord Jesus.

With prayerful sympathy and with hope, I remain…

In the Heart of Christ the Good Shepherd,

Father JM

 


Saint Hildegard of Bingen

 

Saint Hildegard of Bingen

Hello, Family and welcome. We’re Bob and Penny Lord, although Penny is directing everything from Heaven. We want to share with you today, a very special Super Saint, St. Hildegard of Bingen, a visionary, a mystic, a doctor of the Church, who is not well known in the United States, but is greatly admired and venerated in Germany and other European countries.

St. Hildegard is called the Sybil of the Rhine meaning seeress. She is not only venerated by the Roman Catholic Church, but also by the Anglican and Lutheran Church and many eastern religions. She is many things. She is a visionary and mystic. She is an author, a composer, a playwright, a person of great learning in many areas, including medicine. Truth be known, there’s not a whole lot that she was not adept at. During her lifetime, she was an advisor to Abbots, Bishops, Popes, Kings as well as the everyday people who asked for her help. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s begin at the beginning.

She was born in 1098, at Bermersheim, near Mainz. She was the tenth and last child of a noble family. Apparently from her earliest age, she was having visions, actually what we might consider inner locutions today. There was always a bright light followed by a voice. It was an interior voice which she understood rather than heard. She and everyone around her were convinced that she heard the voice of God.

Tradition at that time was to give the tenth child back as a tithe to God by sending her to a Convent. At 8 years old, Hildegard was placed in a Benedictine monastery under the care of Jutta von Sponheim, who was the abbess. Jutta was the youngest of four born into a very rich family in what is called the county of the Rhein-Palatinate. Jutta also was a very spiritual girl. She, too, joined the Benedictine Abbey as a young girl and chose to live a solitary life, in one room with only a small window from which food was passed in and out. A few years later, she was made Abbess of her community. Jutta was a visionary as well, and attracted many young women to her community.

Into this setting young Hildegard was placed and stayed cloistered with Jutta in that one room for the rest of Jutta’s life. Jutta taught her many things about God, (the Opus Dei) the Church, how to read and write and subsequently had the child reading the Psalms, the Canonical Hours, and gave her her first lessons in music, on a zither-like stringed instrument called the psaltery. Music became a great part of Hildegard’s life from that time on.

Jutta became aware of Hildegard’s gifts, especially her visions and locutions. She mentioned them to monks in other abbeys, who were also involved in Hildegard’s Benedictine education, but no one paid much attention to them at the time, except for one Volmar, who became Hildegard’s secretary and friend. Hildegard took her vows as a Benedictine to live in the monastery for life. When Jutta died in 1136, the nuns asked Hildegard to become the Magistra, the equivalent of Consul, teacher, professor. So she was not yet elected Abbess, but she was asked to lead the convent. She eventually came out of her solitary confinement and her wings began to spread.

It was during this time that she was impelled by the Holy Spirit to write down her visions. She tried to ignore the inner voices because she feared public opinion, even though she truly believed in what she had seen and heard. She said: “Up to my fifteenth year I saw much, and related some of the things seen to others, who would inquire with astonishment, whence such things might come. I also wondered and during my sickness I asked one of my nurses whether she also saw similar things. When she answered no, a great fear befell me. Frequently, in my conversation, I would relate future things, which I saw as if present, but noting the amazement of my listeners, I became more reticent.”

The command she was given was “O fragile one, ash of ash and corruption of corruption, say and write what you see and hear.” She writes: “But although I heard and saw these things, because of doubt and low opinion of myself and because of diverse sayings of men, I refused for a long time a call to write, not out of stubbornness, but out of humility, until weighed down by a scourge of God, I fell onto a bed of sickness.” Eventually, she could not resist the constant urging, and began to write her visions in a book she titled Scivias (Know the Ways) in 1141 when she was “forty two years and seven months”, her own words.

You have to understand that her visions and locutions were not human. They were not voices and sights which she would see with her eyes and hear with her ears. They were a stream of consciousness. They were interior visions and voices. They would come at once and she knew what they were saying.

She wrote: “A shaft of light of dazzling brilliancy came from the opened heavens and pierced my heart like a flame that warms without burning, as the sun heats by its rays. And suddenly I knew and understood the explanation of the psalms, the gospels, and other Catholic books of the Old and New Testaments.” It was a full infusion of the Holy Spirit, which opened her mind and spirit to see in her heart all that the Lord wanted her to write and say.

During the heat of writing these visions, she wrote them down on a wax tablet as she received them from above, and her secretary, Volmar the monk, would put them into written form. She said “And I spoke and wrote these things not by the invention of my heart or that of any other person, but as by the secret mysteries of God. I heard and received them in the heavenly places. And again I heard a voice from Heaven saying to me ‘Cry out therefore, and write thus.’”

It took ten years to complete this book. It represents a view of God on His Holy Mountain with man at the base. It tells of the original condition of man, his fall and redemption through Jesus on the Cross, as well as man’s ongoing struggles. It talks of the Mass, the times to come, the son of perdition and the end times. Actually, there’s not much that is not said in the book. And a lot of it has to do with our time. It’s very apocalyptic and not easy for the average person to understand. Sometimes you have to read a passage over and over two or three times before you can grasp its meaning. But the work is notably brilliant, and without doubt the words of God.

 

It was put into finished form by her abbot and presented to the Bishop of Mainz, who declared it was from God. But that was not enough for Hildegard. She needed more. She wrote a letter to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, also a doctor of the Church. Through a long, lengthy letter, she basically asked his approval of the work she was doing. His answer was much shorter, but to the point. Without going into too much detail, he told her that he believed her work was God-centered. He actually took some of her work to the Synod of Trier and presented it to Pope Eugenius III, who studied it and was so impressed; he read her writings aloud to the Cardinals at the Synod. He gave her his blessing and the title German Prophetess.

As a result of the Pope’s vocal approval of Hildegard and his subsequent l etter of blessing to her, she and her monastery became very popular. Many aspirants came to join their community. They outgrew their comfortable little convent. They were running out of room for all the new people who were coming as a result of Hildegard’s popularity. The convent was in a constant state of construction. Under these conditions, plus her day job of running the convent, it took her an additional three years after the Pope acknowledged her, to finish the book.

She felt the need for a more austere, smaller community, where she could concentrate on more prayer, less distraction and all that the Lord had to tell her. Her first attempt at independence of sorts came when Abbot Kuno asked her to be prioress of the community. She said the Lord told her to move to a poorer convent in Rupertsburg, about 30 kilometers away, which would allow the nuns more austerity in their life styles and growth. The abbot refused. Hildegard, who by this time had developed quite a reputation on her own, went over the Abbot’s head to the Archbishop who gave her permission to take her nuns and move.

Apparently, she believed she did not move quickly enough for the Lord. Hildegard was struck down with an illness which paralyzed her and made her a prisoner of her bed. She claimed this was God’s way of punishing her for not following the Lord’s command at once. The situation became so bad; Abbot Kuno could not lift her out of the bed. Finally, in frustration, he gave the nuns permission to move to Rupertsburg, at which time Hildegard was released from the bondage of her bed.

In 1150, Hildegard and about twenty of her nuns moved to the Monastery in Rupertsburg, which was near Bingen. This was good as the monk Volmar, who was her secretary or scribe, was also her confessor there. However, when she left the convent of Disibodenberg, it began to fall out of popularity, because everyone wanted to follow Hildegard. The move to the new convent in Rupertsburg was not without immediate problems. The convent and grounds were extremely run down, as Hildegard wanted. However, she may not have communicated this to the nuns who went with her. The Lord gave her a vision of what it would be like, and this was described as beautiful and desirable to her sisters until they actually arrived.

There was a lot of disappointment among many of the nuns. A few of them left. You must remember that for the most part, they came from well-to-do families, and never wanted for anything. She writes: “…so they said, ‘What is the point of this that noble and wealthy nuns should move from a place where they wanted for nothing, to such poverty?’”

This was a new and unacceptable situation for them. But for Hildegard, in this new convent, she was actually the Abbess. In her former convent, one of the monks was in charge. She was really loved by all, especially the Archbishop of Mainz, who bent over backwards to make the new convent the beautiful place which Hildegard described to the nuns, and made them happy. This was a time when her charismatic personality began to break through the clouds.

In the years to come, the Rupertsburg convent became the convent of choice for wealthy families to send their daughters. As their blessings multiplied, the Rupertsburg convent became too small. But Hildegard was not about to leave it. Some years later, she opened another abbey in Eibingen, a short distance across the Rhine River from Rupertsburg, and was abbess of both abbeys.

Hildegard wrote two more major volumes on her visions, “Book of Life’s Merits” and “Book of Divine Works”. These were composed during her years at the Abbey at Rupertsburg. She described each of her visions, the particulars of which could be difficult to comprehend, and would follow with a theological explanation, based on “the voice of the Living Light.” The first volume, “Book of Life’s Merits” took about five years to write. Her last volume on her visions, “Book of DivineWorks” took her almost ten years to complete. All these volumes were enormous undertakings. In these books, the Lord would give Hildegard a particular vision, after which He would give her an outline of what they meant, almost a study guide.

Hildegard did not limit her evangelical work to writing, as did most women of that time. Because of her popularity, she was beyond any questions about her authority, and her right to speak. She went on the road in her evangelical work. She was probably the first female evangelist of her time. She gave many lectures, not only in monasteries, but to the general public as well. She went on four different lecture tours in Germany in 1160, speaking not only to clergy but to laity as well. The thrust of her lectures was clerical corruption. She was well accepted everywhere she went. She was actually a trail blazer, going into an area where women of any kind, even popular ones like her, were not allowed by the standards of her time. She paved the way for other women to speak out and be heard on matters of the Church, including Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Mother Teresa, Mother Angelica and our own Penny Lord.

She wrote, and wrote and wrote. She wrote books. She wrote books on herbal medicines. And while she was writing the book on medicines, she also wrote a Morality Play put to music, the first Morality play. Actually, she invented the form. She wrote seventy songs to go with her play. She created an actual language, which was not used very much. She composed music to be used during religious ceremonies. She wrote letters, almost 400 of them. She wrote to four different popes, to abbots, statesmen and monarchs such as Frederick Barbarossa. She was invited to appear before this red-headed prince of the German people. To a great degree, her letters took the form of homilies, and prophecies, as well as symbolic discourses. Some of her letters lit into what she considered avarice and greed on the part of priests and monks.

She had no problem in letting someone have it if she thought they deserved it. In our time we had Mother Angelica, Mother Teresa, and again our own Penny Lord who had no problem standing up to anyone, telling it like it is. Most of her letters were to regular people asking for her help, to counsel them and/or pray for them. Hildegard had granted that certain nobles could be buried on the grounds of the Abbey. Most of these people had been benefactors, or relatives of benefactors. It was an unusual policy, but acceptable because of

Hildegard’s stature in the religious community. This came to be a problem towards the end of her life. A nobleman who had been excommunicated was buried in the convent cemetery. There was an uproar from the local church officials as well as the Archbishop of Mainz for her to remove the body. She maintained that the man had been absolved of his sins and brought back into the favors of the Church.

Nobody agreed with her, and so when she continued to hold her stand, her convent was put into the state of interdict, which means the nuns could not pray the Divine Office, receive Communion, or celebrate Mass. This was a terrible burden to put on the nuns, but Hildegard was sure she was correct. She even had visions which confirmed her actions. However, it went on until months before she died. Through much prayer and correspondence, she was able to have the interdict removed.

Hildegard lived a long life, an active life. We said earlier that she was sick all her life. Our research doesn’t show what she actually died of but towards the end, she was racked with pain and had to be carried around. On September 17, 1179, at the age of 81, the Lord took her home. She was immediately proclaimed a Saint by the German people, and for that matter, many hierarchy in the Church in Europe. But she was not canonized a Saint for over a thousand years!!

Her cause was opened in 1226, and Pope Gregory IX began the canonization process in January 1227. So what happened? Nobody knows for sure. One possibility is that hers was either the first or one of the first causes for Canonization submitted in the history of the Church. It was before St. Francis or St. Anthony, or any of our Super Saints’ causes were opened. Maybe they didn’t know what to do.

In researching a chronology of the history of the Cause for her Canonization, many attempts were made over 1000 years to get her Cause opened, but they all failed. Her name was entered into the Roman catalog of Saints in the Fifteenth Century. So for the last 600 years, we’ve been officially calling her a Saint, but the process lingered. The longer it took, the fewer original sources were to be found. It just went on and on. The German bishops pushed her cause in 1998, the 900th anniversary of her birth, but still there were roadblocks. All of these were legalese; having to do with procedure that they could never resolve.

Finally, in 2010, a German Pope, Benedict XVI took the bull by the horns, and pushed for the process to be completed. He said in effect that this had been going on too long, almost a thousand years, and that he was going to canonize her on May 10, 2012 and declare her a Doctor of the Church on the eve of the Year of Faith, October 7, 2012 which he did. Halleluiah, thank You God.

Family, what we’ve given you here is the slightest taste of the life of an outstanding woman. There’s so much more to learn about her. Find out more about her. Her own book of visions, Scivias, has been translated into English. There are many biographies of St. Hildegard also. Women of the Church, she is someone you should be proud of, look up to, and emulate.

She wrote millions of words in a period of close to ninety years of life. It would be impossible to give you even a glimmer of the things the Lord gave her. But we would like to give you some words to live by that St.

Hildegard wrote in Vision Six of Book Two regarding the Eucharist, which has always been the focus of Bob and Penny Lord’s Ministry. “Hear then o human. As long as you need help, and as long as you can help others, My Son’s Passion will appear before Me in in mercy, and His body and blood will be consecrated on the altar to be received by believers for their salvation and the purgation of their crimes. For when My Only-Begotten was in the world in the body, His body was physically sustained by wheat and wine; and therefore His body and blood now is consecrated on the altar in the oblation of wheat and wine, that the faithful may be refreshed in soul and body. For My Son miraculously redeemed humanity from Adam’s perdition and now mercifully absolves people from the daily evil into which they often lapse.”

 

My wife Penny Lord was called “an indomitable woman of faith.” I think she and St. Hildegard are sharing their love of God and of their Faith in Heaven. We love you. God bless you.

We love you!!

 

 

 

 

 

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St. Hildegard
BK311

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Saints of Germany
D311 - Saint Hildegard of Bingen

Prophetess of Germany - Visionary - Mystic - Doctor of the Church

Come with us as we travel to Bingen, Germany and the area of the beautiful Rhine River which is where St. Hildegard lived and had her visions. It was here where she wrote her books on her visions and many other subjects, like a Morality Play, put to music, which she also wrote. She wrote a book on herbal medicine which is used to this day in that area of Germany. She made speaking tours throughout Germany. She wrote letters to Abbots, Kings, Emperors and Popes, in addition to many ordinary people.

Come to her first Abbey, Disibodenberg, about 30 kilometers from Bingen, where she was placed at 8 years old and spent over half her life. She wrote her first book there. She is an outstanding woman of our Church. She is a role model for all, but especially women.

DVD D311 $19.95

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Saints of Germany

 

Saints of Germany

The Saints of Germany

 Family, this year in June, we went to Germany to make programs for EWTN which we had planned to do last year, but Penny became too ill to do it.  It was a very difficult trip in that it was not only the first time in 40 years that I traveled to Europe without Penny, but it was also the first program I would be making without her by my side. It was only after much prayer and discussion as a community that we decided to continue with the Television Ministry for EWTN. 

EWTN was very helpful in that they have an office and staff in Cologne, Germany.  They actually make programs for EWTN in Germany for Germans.  The two people we worked with, Christina Link-Blumrath and Francisco Kroger were of monumental help.  They worked with us in making appointments with the various shrines, and speaking to the local people.  Because, believe it or not, all Germans do not speak English.  We also want to thank our dear friend on this side of the ocean, Dorothea Anderson, who made a great many phone calls to the shrines and also to her brother, who lives in Germany, on our behalf.  So without the help of these dear people, I don’t know how we would have done it.  We know, of course, that Penny was guiding us from above.  We have some instances to verify that, which we’ll share with you as we go along.

We had chosen 5 German Saints to make programs on.

St. Hildegard of Bingen, Doctor of the Church.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, a princess and a precious girl.

St. Boniface, Apostle of Germany

St. Gertrude, Saint of the Sacred Heart and Souls in Purgatory

St. Matilda, queen of Saxony

We gave ourselves 10 days which included 2 days of air travel, and then 8 days of traveling through Germany and filming.  It was an ambitious undertaking, but we knew we could do it, with Penny’s help.  We were blessed with a van and driver from Heaven.  He didn’t speak German, but he had a brother in Austria who did.  Whenever we got into trouble with our German, he would call he brother, who would then speak to the person we were having problems with in Germany.  It worked out fine.

We ran into a major problem which we had not anticipated. In the US, the Feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated on the Sunday after the feast, in this case, June 22nd .   However, in Europe, the Feast of Corpus Christi occurs 60 days after Holy Thursday, June 19th .  It is a national holiday.  We had scheduled to videotape the life of St. Boniface in the Cathedral in Fulda that day.  We were told that would be impossible.  What to do?  We knew that the Basilica of St. Elizabeth has become Protestant, so we attempted to switch from the 20th to the 19th.  We kept sending e-mails to the priest in charge of St. Elizabeth’s in English.  He doesn’t speak English.  He replied in German.  We don’t understand German.  It was a run-around until days before we left.  Our contact in Cologne, Christina, had been trying to call him, without success.  Finally, she reached him by phone, explained the problem, and we were able to switch days.  Thank You Jesus, thank you Penny, thank you Christina.

We had never traveled in this part of Germany before, the area around the Rhine River.  It was magnificently beautiful from a tourist point of view.  For us it was perfect in that it reflects the glory of God in the Saints we were documenting.  The little towns along the Rhine river are quaint, perfect places to bring a family for vacation.

The town we focused on at first was Bingen and Rudesheim, both along the Rhine.  These had to do with the life of St. Hildegard of Bingen, a newly canonized Saint and Doctor of the Church, one of only five women proclaimed as Doctors.  The little town of Bingen has many little shrines to St. Hildegard, and murals on the walls of the town.  In addition to learning more about the Saint, there are quaint coffee shops and restaurants.  In Bingen, there is a museum dedicated to St. Hildegard, which tells the life of the Saint and shows all her visions.

 

The Abbey at Eibingen, on the Rudesheim side of the river, is the final abbey founded by St. Hildegard in the 12th century. It is beautiful, and still operating as a Benedictine Abbey.  Masses are celebrated on a regular schedule, and there is a gift shop which has much on St. Hildegard, mostly in German, but there are a few books in English.

The other two Abbeys, Rupertsberg on the other side of the Rhine, and Disibodenberg Abbey, which is south of these other two, have all been destroyed.  The Abbey at Disibodenberg, while in ruins, is still a beautiful place to visit and venerate the Saint.  There is enough of the ruins to see the Abbey as it existed at the time of St. Hildegard. We went there to include it in our program on St. Hildegard.  Needless to say, we were impressed by Bingen and this area of the Rhine.  Luz Elena wants to bring a pilgrimage here.

Our next stop was Marburg, the home of St. Elizabeth of Hungary.  Again, the town is beautiful and quaint.  The basilica to St. Elizabeth is huge, in the center of town, and awesome.  There is only one problem.  It was turned over to the Protestants around the time of Martin Luther, so it does not have all the pomp and beauty of a Catholic Church.  But it was built in honor of St. Elizabeth, who was German royalty, and so it is a magnificent structure.  There are many beautiful sights inside the basilica.  Most importantly is her original tomb, which is made of gold.  There are many stained glass windows which tell the story of her life, as well as paintings and murals.  It worked well for the program we are making on her life.

The next stop, some 79 miles away, was Fulda, Germany, the home of the Shrine of St. Boniface, called the Apostle of Germany.  Although he lived in the 8th century, he is responsible for not only the conversion of Germany to Catholicism, but also to a great degree, to the civilization of Germany.  There are many little shrines around the town dedicated to St. Boniface, but the major shrine is in the Cathedral of Fulda, where his body is at rest, and most of the artifacts of his life and ministry in Germany are on display.  The Cathedral is built over the ruins of the Abbey of Fulda, which was built by St. Boniface.  It is said to be the most beautiful abbey other than Monte Cassino, after which it was fashioned.  We only wished we had more time to spend in this beautiful city.

At this point, our journey took us out of the beautiful cities and villages we’ve mentioned above, to what used to be known as East Germany, which is somewhat poorer than what had been known as West Germany.  The two places we visited, however, had beautiful shrines to the Saints.  The first was Quedlinburg, and the beautiful Abbey built by St. Matilda.  She and her husband, Henry the Fowler, are entombed in the bottom of the Abbey.  It is a place of pilgrimage and veneration for Germans in particular.  We had to wait until a certain time when the guided tours were finished to enter the crypt area.  It is very bare; it is very bleak.  However, we were given a very special gift in this place.  I sat on what I thought was a bench and began talking about St. Matilda.  Luz Elena stopped us and told us to look behind us on the other side of the crypt.  There was a vase of roses, what we call Confetti or Ambrosia (yellow with a red tip), which are Penny’s and Mother Angelica’s favorite roses.  We knew that my Penny was there with us, aiding us.

We decided that the Crypt was not the best place to make our program on St. Matilda.  It was dark and just all stone.  We looked for a better place to tell our story.  We found the garden of the Abbey, far below where we were.  It was perfect.  The next day, early in the morning, we went there and completed our videotaping on the life of St. Matilda.

Our next stop was about forty miles away.  It is the Abbey of St. Gertrude the Great, and St. Mechtilda.  On the day we went, they were holding a Womens’ Empowerment Conference.  So you can imagine how strange we felt in the presence of hundreds of empowered women.  However, we didn’t let anything dissuade us.  Unfortunately, there are no tombs to the two women Saints there.  Remember, they died in the 9th century.  There was a chapel where it is said that Gertrude received many visions.  There was a beautiful garden there with a backdrop to the main Abbey, which gave us a good place to tell the story of St. Gertrude.

As far as videotaping was concerned, we were finished.  We had made arrangements with the  people at EWTN in Cologne, to meet there and have a thanksgiving dinner.  We drove to Cologne.  As it turned out, Christina was not able to return to Germany from Italy, so we changed our plans to go to breakfast with her intern, Francisco Kroger, who had also been a great help.  He took us on a tour of the Cathedral of Cologne, which is absolutely magnificent. There are relics of the Three Magi in that Cathedral.  When we first saw the sign for the relics of the Three Kings, Luz Elena said to us, “What’s the big deal about relics of kings?”  Then we explained who the kings were.  “Oh,” she said.

Brother Joseph’s mom had told him that he had family in a little village called Freyaldenhoven (his name) on the road to Aachen.  Aachen is where the great Cathedral built by Charlemagne the Great, and the place of his repose is.  We felt we would try to take care of both things at one time.  We found Brother Joseph’s ancestral town, but it was not Freyaldenhoven; it was Freialdenhoven.  We went there and took a photo of Brother Joseph in front of the sign.  I’m sure he’ll tell you all about it in his article.

The Cathedral at Aachen was beautiful.  There was a special presentation going on while we were there which had just  begun a few days before we got there, and would continue for a few months.  There were various relics on display, including the apparel of Our Lady, Swaddling clothes, the loincloth of Jesus, and the decapitation cloth of St. John the Baptist. It was a great experience. There were pilgrimages from all over Germany.  As a matter of fact, there was an outdoor Mass for children with the Bishop, attended by hundreds of children.

Oh oh I have to tell you this.  Penny followed us all over Germany.  As we drove along the autobahn and country roads, we passed shopping centers.  Many of them had this big red building, and in front of the store, written in white was PENNY!  Every time we saw that, we knew she was with us.

The first of the programs we worked on in Germany will be on St. Hildegard of Bingen.  Her feast is September 17.  It will most likely be shown that week sometime in our Super Saints spot.  Be sure to watch it.  We love you!

 

 

 

We are presently working on our 2015 Pilgrimage Schedule.
 As soon as it is finalized we will update this page.

 

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Miracle of the Eucharist
of Offida

Miracle of the Eucharist of Offida

           

Offida 1273: Shedding His Blood

The Lord allows Himself to be drawn back to Lanciano again.  This could very well be called THE EUCHARISTIC MIRACLE OF LANCIANO II, because what we call the Miracle of Offida actually happened in Lanciano in the year 1273.

Why did Jesus pick Lanciano yet a Second Time?  What was the need for Him to manifest Himself again in this town in another miraculous way?  To the inquisitive mind, the scientific mind, there has to be a logical explanation for a phenomenon such as this.  It has to be broken down into an understandable equation.  In my mind, it conjures up enormous excitement.  We don’t know what the Lord’s plan is, what His thinking is.  There’s no way that we can anticipate His actions because they defy the laws of logic.  I sometimes believe He does this intentionally.  WE CAN NEVER BE BORED! 

St. Thomas Aquinas, the great Doctor of the Church and one of the most brilliant minds the world has ever known, was given a revelation towards the end of his life.  Afterwards, he stopped writing and dictating his great SUMMA THEOLOGICA.  When asked why he was abandoning his work, he replied, “The end of my labors has come.  All that I have written appears to be as so much straw after the things that have been revealed to me.  We are thrilled about the prospect of what God will reveal to us when we meet Him in the Kingdom.  But until that time, we can only try to speculate on the mysteries of God’s ways.  The Second Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, or as it is better known, The Eucharistic Miracle of Offida falls into one of the mysteries of God’s way.

THE MIRACLE

The principal characters in this miraculous account are a newlywed couple, Ricciarella and Giacomo (James) Stasio, their mule, and a witch.  Apparently, the newlyweds’ marriage was not made in heaven.  They had nothing in common.  Giacomo cared more for his mule than for his wife.  There is no indication as to what was the cause of their problem, whether the wife was at fault or the husband.  We do know that the wife, Ricciarella wanted a better life for them.  She thought if they had a better sex life, they would be more happily married.  She never considered getting even with her husband for his treatment of her, or of having extra marital affairs.  She just wanted a better life with him.

To this end, she enlisted the services of a local sorceress, or witch.  The witch had a powerful reputation for bringing the excitement back into marriages whose fire had gone out.  The witch prescribed the following potion:

“Go to Communion, but don’t swallow the Host.  Take it home, put it on the stove, and burn it.  Take the ashes and throw them into his wine or his soup.  Then let me know the effect.  You’ll see that he will walk in heat like cats on a fence.”

This description of how her husband would react to the potion gave Ricciarella just the incentive she needed to justify committing this terrible act. She knew, because of  her upbringing in the faith, that this was an act of Sacrilege.  We have to wonder how she must have wrestled with her conscience before she made the decision to perform this horrible act.

Whatever justification finally gave her the courage, she set out for the church to take part in the Mass, and receive Our Dear Lord Jesus in Communion.  Her heart pounded as she rehearsed the plot over and over again in her mind.  At the proper time, Ricciarella, looking like a little saint, went up to the priest to receive Communion.  After having received the Host, she turned away from the priest quickly, so that she could remove the Lord from her mouth.  She made sure she was not caught in the act.

She left the Church and ran through the streets of Lanciano until she reached her home.  Her hands shook violently.  She started a fire under an earthen pot.  Then, when it was very hot, she took the Host, and placed It in the pot.  It began to smoke.  She could not take her eyes away from the wickedness she was performing.  The driving force that prevented her from stopping this madness was the change she fantasized would take place in her husband towards her.  The outside of the Host turned into flesh, and began to bleed profusely. The center of the Host retained its original form.  The blood gushed from the Host Turned Flesh. 

She panicked.  She didn’t know what to do.  The blood covered the bottom of the pot, which was filling quickly.  She took wax and dirt and threw them into the pot.  She filled the pot with dirt, but the blood seeped through the dirt, rising to the top of the pot.  She grabbed a huge linen table cloth and wrapped the pot in it.  She didn’t know where to put it.  She ran out to the stable, and dug a hole in the dung of the mule.  She buried the table cloth and the pot with the Eucharist inside.

When her husband returned home that evening, he noticed that the mule was acting more stubborn than usual.  The animal did not want to go into the stable.  Giacomo was used to a certain amount of obstinacy from the mule, but this was the worst the animal had ever behaved.  Giacomo tried pushing the mule, and then slapping him, all to no avail.  Finally he got a whip and began beating the animal.  The pain being more than the mule could endure, he reluctantly stumbled into the barn.   The animal fell prostrate near where the dung was located, almost in a position of adoration.

Giacomo never needed an excuse to be unkind to Ricciarella, but if he had, the incident with the mule provided him with perfect justification.  He blamed her for the behavior of the mule, accusing her of putting some spell on the stable.  He gave her a few cracks with the same whip which he had used on his beast.

For Ricciarella, this was the beginning of living Hell.  She felt great pangs of conscience for her sin.  She came to realize more and more the seriousness and consequences of her actions.  She was also beginning to wonder just how powerful the witch was, by the way her husband was treating her.  The desired results of her sin never materialized.  If anything, their relationship got weaker, while the feelings of guilt and remorse grew stronger by the passing day.

Ricciarella lived with this situation for seven years.  The torture she inflicted on herself was maddening.  The way that her husband continued to treat her, she believed was a punishment by God.  She lost all hope.  She could not accept that she could ever be forgiven by God. The pain she felt was mostly for having committed such an inexcusable crime against a God who had never hurt her.  Tales of the Good God, that her mother had told her when she was a child, echoed in her mind.  She yearned to confess her sin, and relieve the burden of her heart and soul.  But she didn’t have the courage to accept the shame she would inflict on herself, she thought, by confessing to a priest.

Finally, when she could no longer live with herself, or the self-inflicted pain she had suffered for seven years, Ricciarella contacted the prior of the local Augustinian monastery in Lanciano.  This friar was a native of OFFIDA, which will become important as our story unfolds.  Ricciarella confessed her grave sin to the priest.  He accompanied her back to her home.  They went into the stable,  and dug through the dung which had accumulated over the seven years.  When the friar pulled the table cloth out, and uncovered it, he found that the contents of the pot, the bleeding Flesh and the Host, had remained incorrupt over the years. 

He took the table cloth and the earthen pot containing the Host away with him.  He told no one of the incident.  Ricciarella was relieved because her scandal would not be spread all over the province, and her deteriorated relationship with her husband would not worsen.  We’re not sure what the friar’s motives were.  He wanted the Eucharistic Miracle taken away from Lanciano, that is known.  Was it because he was sincerely afraid that if the miracle were revealed, Ricciarella would be implicated?  Or did he want the glory of an incorrupt Eucharistic Miracle to be given to his home town Offida?

On a pretext, the Friar received permission from his superiors to leave the monastery.  He left Lanciano in secrecy a few days later.  He took the Sacred Host to a Fr. Michael Mallicani, who was the prior of the Augustinian monastery of Offida.  Fr. Mallicani embraced the miracle as the property of Offida, and immediately created a sanctuary for It in that town.  This was in the year 1280, seven years after Ricciarella had committed the Sacrilege.

Fr. Mallicani moved quickly.  He and another friar went to Venice in the same year to have a beautiful reliquary built which was to become the home of the Eucharistic Miracle.  They commissioned a goldsmith to do the work under secrecy.  After he had finished the beautiful reliquary, and the priest had placed the Eucharistic Miracle inside, the friars left by boat to return to Offida.  It was then that the goldsmith decided to tell the local Duke of Venice what had transpired.  The Duke, anxious to get hold of a genuine Eucharistic Miracle for his own province, ordered a ship to intercept the one carrying the two friars back to Offida. 

The Lord intercepted! As the Duke’s ship was about to overtake the friars, the Adriatic Sea became violent, allowing the friars to disembark at Ancona, and return safely to their monastery in Offida.  The reliquary was installed in the Church in Offida.  It is still there to this day.

Why was there so much intrigue and deception involved with this miracle?  The Miraculous Host, which was given to us in Lanciano, was stolen by a member of the clergy, and brought to Offida, in another province.  The friars in Offida were accomplices to the larcenous deed.  They compounded it by going to Venice to have a reliquary made.  This would, in their eyes, and the eyes of the city, validate the authority of Offida to keep the stolen Sacred Host.  Why was it so important to the people involved that they would go through all that they did? 

We can give light to part of the reasoning.  In those days, and even today, for a town to have the reputation of having a famous saint buried there, or even better, a Eucharistic Miracle, as in this case, was for that town to become famous.  People flocked from miles around to come and venerate the Miracle.  Whether they were pilgrims or curiosity seekers was not important to the town.  What was important was that people came and spent money in their town. 

Venice, scandalously involved in this miracle, boasts that the faithful can venerate the incorrupt body of St. Lucy of Siracusa, Sicily in one of their churches.  There is even a big sign outside the church, facing the Grand Canal, attesting to the fact.  The people from Siracusa blame the Venetians for stealing the body of the saint from their town centuries ago.  On a Saturday evening in November of 1981, just hours after we had visited the Church of St. Lucy, thieves broke in and stole the body.  There had been an expensive silver face mask covering St. Lucy’s face, which was not taken.  So robbery was ruled out.  It was believed that Siracusans were responsible for the crime.  St. Lucy’s body has since been returned to the Church in Venice.

But in the case of Lanciano, why did the Lord allow the theft to happen?  Or was this His plan from the outset?  Is it possible that all these people were doing the Lord’s will without realizing it?  Lanciano had been famous for its Eucharistic Miracle for centuries before this happened.  Would a second shrine to a Eucharistic Miracle in the same town, say Lanciano, command the same devotion of the Faithful as it would in a different town, say Offida that had just the one Eucharistic Miracle? 

We have to go back to the very beginning of this story.  The more we study the workings of the Lord, the Scripture passage The Lord works in mysterious ways, His wonders to behold becomes increasingly apparent.  We’ll have to wait until the end of the story, when we meet Him in Heaven, to find out what He was doing.  But in the meantime, WE’LL NEVER BE BORED!

 

 

           

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Our Lady of Ostra Brama
The Gate of Dawn

 

Our Lady of Ostra Brama - The Gate of Dawn

The Lord blesses us with signs upon signs of His love for us, mostly through His Mother Mary.  There are so many Shrines throughout the world, dedicated to venerating the precious miracle of Our Lady's presence among us, Her children. Although we've tried to capture all of them on paper or on television, we don't think our quest will ever end.  There are just too many beautiful gifts and graces Our Lord wants to bestow upon us, through His Mother, to take them all in.  But we do try.

A case in point is the ancient Capital of Lithuania - Vilnius.  We had spent a lot of time in that beautiful country, videotaping programs on the Shrines of St. Faustina and Divine Mercy in Lithuania, the Hill of Crosses, and the Shrine to Our Lady of Šiluva.  We actually thought we had finished all there was to cover, when our guide, a beautiful Priest from the area, excitedly told us that we had not visited the most important Shrine in Lithuania, Our Lady of the Gate, or Our Lady of Ostra Brama.

The driver had strategically parked the tour bus across the street from the gate, so that he left us outside the city walls, where we would be able to approach the Eastern Gate.  Our pilgrims poured out.  Lo and behold, we could see through the arches of the gate!  What was most unusual was that people who were walking towards the arch, stopped suddenly, looked up and genuflected.  From our vantage point, this looked unusual because we had no idea what they were looking at, or to whom they were genuflecting.  That is until we walked inside the gates of the city, and turned around.

Above us was one of the most beautiful visions we had ever seen, way up high, above the arches of the city.  It was the image of Our Lady of Ostra Brama, Our Lady of the Gate.  As our pilgrims followed us into the city and saw what we saw, they all went down on their knees in reverence and awe.  Finally, we got up and bounded up the stairs as quickly as we could to get to the Chapel of Our Lady.  Except for Bob.  He had to go as far back down the street as possible to see how far away from the Chapel he could go before he would no longer be able to see the image up in the Chapel.  It was almost the equivalent of two blocks.  It seemed no matter where he went in that area, the image was there in plain sight.  Then he ran after the rest of us.  By this time, we were up in the Chapel, above the arches of the Gate, and standing in front of the image of Our Lady!

It was one of the most breathtaking images of Our Lady that we had ever seen.  Her face did not have the two-dimensional Byzantine features that most icons have; rather the artist mixed the best of both worlds - the Western Church and that of the East, giving Our Lady a very real, warm, beautiful, touchable face.  We were awestruck!  There was Our Blessed Virgin Mary glancing lovingly down upon us, a true Mother beckoning Her children.  She had Her hands crossed over Her breast, one hand slightly raised as if gesturing us to come closer to Her.  The entire bust of Our Lady, with the exception of Her face, hands and neck, was ornately clothed with painstakingly decorated silver.  Her head tilted invitingly to the right, Her delicate, warm features seemed to cry out to us.  As befits a Queen, She wore a resplendent crown embellished with precious jewels, regally poised atop the silver veil draped over Her hair.  Her image was further illumined by a golden halo, framing HHer breathtakingly beautiful face.  If that was not enough, golden rays, orbited by stars, shot out from the halo, forming a heavenly, majestic crown in back of Her head. 

The tradition of the image of Our Lady of the Gate

The tradition of the image of Our Lady of the Gate goes way back, to before the time it was placed in the Chapel above the gate.  There are legends supporting, it came to Lithuania by way of Poland in the late Fourteenth Century, when a Polish princess married into a royal Lithuanian family.  Her name was Jadwiga.  Tradition tells that she was the first one to introduce Roman Catholic practices into what was then primarily an Orthodox country.  The Lithuanians welcomed the great love that was projected by the princess for the Mother of God.  Veneration to the image was accepted almost immediately.

A great wall was built around the city of Vilnius to defend her from her enemies, of which there were many over the centuries.  Above each of its nine gates, providing access to the city, an image of Our Lady was placed.  Above the Eastern Gate was placed the image of Our Lady of the Dawn. 

The Carmelite community enters into the picture.  In our travels, we have met many religious groups who had a great devotion to Our Lady.  Among these would be the Servants of Mary, the Marists, the La Salette Brothers and Fathers, and many others.  However, no group, with whom we have had personal experiences over these many years, has had a more undying love for Our Lady than the Carmelites, whose open love for Mary has been unsurpassed.  And why not?  They were formed by Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  It was to the Carmelites that the devotion to the Scapular was first given, July 16, 1251.  

The Carmelites literally fell in love with the image there at the Eastern Gate, so much so that they built a monastery near the gate, and named it after the great Carmelite reformer, St. Teresa (Avila).  They made such an extensive effort to care for, and venerate Our Lady's image at this gate, they became the custodians of the image above the Eastern Gate.  It has been a loving task, which they have continued to perform down through the centuries.  Of all the nine gates, this gate, the Eastern Gate, the gate called Ostra Brama, the Gate of Dawn, has been the most beloved of the people of Lithuania. 

Ever beautiful, much of the popularity of the image is due to its great beauty and charm.  But part of it came about when the great fire of 1655 almost burned the town down.  It was time for Lithuania to be pillaged and raped.  The Russians attacked the city, setting it afire.  The furious, roaring flames lasted for seventeen days, indeed destroying a great deal of the city.  But the image of Our Lady above the Eastern Gate was spared!  No longer just an image, something miraculous happened here; and new hope came to the people of Vilnius.  God had shown them they had a Mother they could turn to.  Now, they proceeded on a much greater scale to go to Mother Mary in petition and thanksgiving here at the Gate of Dawn. 

Another reason for the great devotion to the image was due to the Carmelites.  They loved the image so much, they eventually built a Chapel above the gate, as a token of their devotion and love for Our Lady at this gate.  Well, if you think miracles had happened, through the intercession of Our Lady, at this place before the Chapel was built, the number of miracles went through the roof after the Carmelites installed the image in the new Chapel above the Eastern Gate.  As many as seventeen miracles took place, which were recorded by the Carmelites in the 17th & 18th centuries. 

Now, although none of this was officially accepted by the Church at the time, news of miracles spread, propagated by the people of Vilnius and the Carmelites who adored Our Mother Mary so much that they were drawn to Her in this place.  The official Church, being ever wisely prudent, did not give credence to the miracles as quickly as the people and the Carmelites.  But Our Lady had Her way with them.  Little by little, the members of the Church began to pay respect, and show devotion to Our Mother here.  In 1688, Bishop-elects began a tradition of going in procession to Our Lady at the Gate of Dawn to pray for Her help in their bishopric.  This practice has continued down through the centuries. 

Many miracles have been attributed to Our Lady of the Gate.  We believe that one of Her greatest miracles here, in this place, is Her very survival.  There have been more fires and attacks, first by the Russians, then by the Nazis, then by the Communists.  This dear little nation has been under the gun for centuries.  And yet they have never lost hope in their Mother to bring them through.  She has brought them through every calamity and disaster possible.  There was another unfortunate fire in 1715.  This one destroyed the little Chapel the Carmelites had built less than a hundred years before.  But the image of Our Lady remained untouched, as it was taken out of the Chapel before it was too late and kept in the Church of St. Teresa for safekeeping.  Ever faithful, ever persistent, a new Chapel was built in 1726; only this time they were not taking any chances.  This Chapel was built of brick. 

These dear people remind us so much of their contemporaries, the Poles, who have also been victimized throughout their existence by their neighbors to the east and west.  At one point the Germans took over Poland, and annexed great parts of that country.  Then the Russians came in and did the same from the other boundary.  But there is a story of one man whose plight is indicative of the Polish people as a whole, and also of their neighbors, the Lithuanians.  The story goes that the Russians came and destroyed his home.  So he built another one.  Then the Nazis came and destroyed his home.  So he built another one.  Then the Communists came and destroyed his home.  And he built another one.  So goes the history of these people, and the Gate of Dawn.  It is too obvious who is at work here.  This image, reminding the people of their Mother, Who is always there to love them and protect them, angers the evil one so badly, he tries whatever he can, to get Her out of their minds.  If he can destroy Her Shrine, and they don't see Her anymore, they'll stop pleading to Her.  But the people would not let that happen.

Our Lady Just Waits

Little by little; the official Church took notice of the mass devotion to Our Lady in Vilnius.  A great aid to the authenticity of the Shrine came when, in 1773, His Holiness, Pope Clement XIV imparted special indulgences (under the special conditions: Go to Confession, receive Holy Communion and pray The Our Father, The Hail Mary, and the Glory be, for the Pope's special intentions) to any who prayed at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Gate.  The popularity of the Shrine had been known all over Lithuania and Poland, but this beautiful tribute paid to Our Lady by Her special Pope, brought recognition to the Shrine from all parts of Europe, especially Estonia, Latvia and Germany.

During the 20th century, another Pope, Pius XI, paid honor to Our Lady and the people of Lithuania by bestowing on Her a gold crown, with two Angels, one on either side of the crown, holding it on Her head.  At that time, he also gave Her icon, the title: Mater Misericordiae - Mother of Mercy.

The Russians came back in 1795, less than 100 years after their last attack on this little country.  They were bound and determined to keep this people under their thumb.  Again, they destroyed the walls of the city of Vilnius, but this time, by Our Lady's intercession, the Shrine was not touched.  People considered this a major miracle on the part of the Blessed Virgin on their behalf.  Again during the periods of 1830-1840, a new, larger Chapel was built and the Russians came back again in 1844 to destroy the walls of the city.  You would think that someone would get a clue.  But the Russians kept destroying it; the Lithuanians kept rebuilding it.

But this time the Russians did not want to chance a major rebellion among the people, so they allowed devotion to Our Lady of the Gate to continue.  Perhaps this was to soften the blow of expelling the Carmelites from Vilnius.  They were gone but not forgotten.  During their period of exile, they did more to promote devotion to the Lady of Dawn than before.  Prayers were written; prayer cards were made and distributed.

After a long wait, they returned in 1936, during Communist occupation.  They survived during a Nazi occupation in 1941, as part of Hitler's push on Moscow, which was unsuccessful.  After World War II, the country went back into the hands of the Communists, but devotion to the Lady never stopped. 

A great battle ensued, both physical and spiritual, as the people of Lithuania struggled to keep their faith, as well as their lives.  The enemy hit them where it hurt the most, in their Church.  Convents were closed; religious processions were forbidden; activity at the Shrine was harshly curtailed.  Temporarily wounded, but not crushed, the faithful of Lithuania didn't stop!  In the eyes of the world, they did not have much to hold onto.  But what the world didn't know, and never knows is they had Our Lady, and they held onto Her and Her Son Jesus.

Communism collapsed in 1989.  But although the Soviet Union fell, Russia did not want to give up Lithuania.  Lithuania declared her independence, but it seemed like there would be a war between the little country and Russia.  However, much prayer to Our Lady of Ostra Brama, and a fierce loyalty to their faith and their country, gave these dear people victory!

Today, the churches are open.  They continue to give Our Lady the respect due Her.  Most people either bow their head or curtsey as they pass the Gate of Dawn and see the image of Our Lady high above them.  Many genuflect, and some actually pray on their knees there.  When we were there, brides and grooms, still in their wedding attire, went to the Lady to ask Her blessings on their marriage and their future together.  Very often they pray to Her:

"We fly to your patronage, O Holy Mother of God;

despise not our petitions in our necessities,

but deliver us always from all dangers,

O glorious and Blessed Virgin."

She is always there.  She loves Her people very much.  She has stayed by them in thick and thin.  When all else seemed hopeless, she was always there for them, somehow.  And why wouldn't she be?  As she said to St. Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill in 1531, "Am I not here who am your Mother?"

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Saint Malligned Misunderstood and Mistreated bookSt. Elizabeth of Hungary 1207 – 1231)

Patroness of Widows - Brides -- Young Girls - the Poor

The following is an excerpt of a chapter in Bob and Penny Lord’s book

Saints, Maligned, Misunderstood and Mistreated.

This is the story of a precious child of God, who was born into royalty, yet never used or abused it.  It is the story of a great woman, a daughter, a wife, a widow, a benefactress of the poor, a glowing example of a soul endeavoring to love her Lord more purely, yet faithful to her calling as wife and mother.  As  the story of her life unfolds, you will see, in addition to the titles attributed to her above, we could add these below to the number: Patroness of bakers, beggars, charitable societies, charitable workers, countesses, parents who have lost children to death, the innocent who are falsely accused, homeless people, hospitals, those having problems with in-laws, nursing homes, people in exile, the faithful persecuted for their love of Mother Church, Sisters of Mercy, Tertiaries (Third Order), and on and on.  Quite a rich list for one whose life would be snuffed out at the young age of twenty-four!

She lived at a time when the Lord blessed His children with a wealth of Saints, including St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, St. Dominic Guzman, St. Bonaventure, Blessed Angela of Foligno and many others, whose contributions were powerful weapons of the Lord to defend the Church of the Middle Ages.

 

Anthology of a future Saint

In the year 1207, a baby girl was born to Andrew II, King  of Hungary and his wife Gertrude, of the Counts of Andechs-Meran.  They named her Elizabeth.  She was a precious bundle of joy not only to her parents, but to her brother as well.  At her birth, it was predicted to Hermann, the Landgrave[1] of Thuringia[2] (Germany) that a child was born to the King and Queen of Hungary.  It was told to him that she would be a very holy girl, and should become the wife of Hermann's son, of the same name.  Elizabeth was born into a time where it was not uncommon for marriages to be arranged between royal families of different principalities.  This was usually done in an effort to solidify their lands, and by a coalition to add new lands to their domains.  In addition, it was a form of protection against other powers who would like to take over by force, these little principalities. 

By the time St. Elizabeth was four years old, her marriage was sealed with the young Prince Hermann of Thuringia.  She was even taken to the court of her future husband to be brought up with him and to learn the customs and niceties of his people.  You must remember that although she was a very spiritual girl, she was only a little person.  She was obedient, some would say to a fault, but not in those days.  While our women of today would think that a match made by the heads of two families for the sole purpose of power and politics would be unthinkable, and we're not suggesting they're wrong, it's the way things were done at that time.  And so whatever her parents or the parents of her betrothed felt was to be, had to be.

Elizabeth is sent to her future husband's court.

She never behaved other than who she was, this beautiful flower of the Lord.  Her demeanor was perfect; we can't say the same for the people with whom she had to associate in the court of Thuringia.  They treated her terribly, possibly because of jealousy that she was going to marry the Landgrave's son, or perhaps just because she was so nice.  Many people can't handle nice people.  Landgravine Sophia, who would become her mother-in-law, embraced the child at first.  However, some of Elizabeth's piety rubbed Sofia and her daughter the wrong way.  There were many reverent gestures which St. Elizabeth performed in the normal course of her religious life which upset Sofia and her daughter. 

One example was when they would enter the chapel.  Elizabeth would remove her coronet; the others would leave them on.  When questioned about this, Elizabeth said that she could not bear wearing a coronet adorned with jewels, in the presence of Jesus who was crowned with thorns.  The noble family's feathers were ruffled at what they considered the child claiming false piety.  Their suggested remedy was to send the girl to a convent, rather than having her stay at court.  This is how it began, and through little things that continued to irk the family, they wanted her out.

She had one friend at the castle at Thuringia, Ludwig, the second-oldest son of Landgrave Hermann.  He was very kind to Elizabeth.  When he would return from a trip, he always brought her little gifts, all of which she loved, especially the Rosaries he brought for her.  It was very obvious to all that they cared for each other.  Elizabeth went into deep sorrow upon learning just two years after having left her home, that her mother had died, murdered as part of the political situation at home.  It was thought that she was killed by Hungarian nobility, who hated her for her ties with the Germans.  This had the effect of devastating the child, who felt all alone, save for her friend, Ludwig. 

To make matters worse, three years later, her betrothed, Hermann, son of Landgrave Hermann, died.  She was all of nine years old.  All her enemies in court took this as a perfect excuse to get her thrown out of the country.  They accused her of all kinds of things, but most importantly, she was not one of them, and now that the reason she had been brought to the court was gone, the prince having died, there was no justification for her to stay.  However, what they didn't count on was the younger brother, Ludwig, who had fallen in love with this beautiful child.  They also did not consider that nothing had changed in Landgrave Hermann's need for an alliance with the father of Elizabeth, the King of Hungary.  Elizabeth was betrothed to the second son, Ludwig, whom she really cared for.  It was as if the Lord had planned that these two were destined to be one, even though there was a great difference in their ages, he being sixteen, and she only nine. 

Another blow to the family and the marriage proposal took place the following year.  Landgrave Hermann had great difficulties trying to put through his great political plans in an effort to build a kingdom, or at least protect what he had.  He made enemies in the Church, and was finally excommunicated.  This was a shock to his whole family, who were very close to the Church, especially his daughter-in-law to be, Elizabeth, who was totally committed to the Church as was her husband-to-be.  Landgrave Hermann lost his mind, and died in 1217, never having made amends with the Church. 

A Fairy Tale Romance

The good thing that came about was that his son and Elizabeth's betrothed, Ludwig, became the Landgrave of Thuringia.  He was well-respected by other principalities, especially in areas where his father had not been, and so he was given more and more titles and positions of importance.

It was against this background that Ludwig IV and Elizabeth were married in 1221, he being twenty one, and she fourteen.  This took place amidst a great deal of controversy.  The people in the court still didn't want her to be a Thuringian countess, no matter how much Ludwig loved her.  He fought them vehemently.  He is quoted as having said in her defense, "I would rather cast away a mountain of gold than give her up." 

It was truly a marriage made in Heaven.  The lovely couple lived an exemplary life, not only as husband and wife, but as rulers of their country.  She was a benevolent ruler, caring more for the welfare of her subjects than for her own well-being.  He was truly a Saint of a man.  To this day, the Germans call him St. Ludwig, not only for being married to a Saint, but as an acclaim to having been one of the best men of his time.  They are described as being the perfect couple, not only in spirituality and temperament, but also in their physical appearance.  She is said to have been "perfect in body, handsome, of a dark complexion; serious in her ways, and modest, of kindly speech, fervent in prayer and most generous to the poor, always full of goodness and divine love."[3]  They don't go to such lengths in describing Ludwig, other than he "was handsome and modest as a young maid, wise, patient and truthful, trusted by his men and loved by his people."[4]

They led a glorious life.  Theirs was truly a story-book marriage.  They had eyes only for each other.  True, they were both beautiful people.  But remember, he was becoming more and more important as right hand man to the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.  People, women in particular, looked on him as a great catch.  But he saw no one other than his beloved, his Elizabeth.  And she saw no one but him.

Six glorious years of marriage

We have to take a moment out here to talk about the death of Elizabeth's husband, and its effect on her and her life.  Elizabeth and Ludwig were extremely in love.  In addition to their early years of courtship, as children really, and four years of betrothal, they shared six glorious years of marriage together.  It was a fairy-tale romance, he being the prince and then ruler of their little country, and she being the benevolent, and very loving countess, or consort.  They did everything together, wherever possible.  Because he became more and more trusted by high ranking members of the nobility, he was called upon to take on responsibilities which took him away from their home.  She understood this, but grieved all the time they were apart. 

Her husband adored her.  She could do no wrong as far as he was concerned.  Very often, while he was out of the country, she had to take matters into her own hands.  As we said, she cared more for others than herself.  This was evidenced on many occasions, but one in particular took place when a great famine threatened that area of Germany.  Ludwig was away, handling matters of state for Emperor Frederick II of the Holy Roman Empire.  Elizabeth depleted most of their own assets, including their entire stock of corn.  She fed the poor, aided the sick, built a hospital, then another; she was just completely at the service of her people.

The members of his household and the court couldn't wait for Landgrave Ludwig to return, so they could complain bitterly against her, saying she was frivolous, and caring more about the commoner than the nobility of the country.  He never bothered to investigate the claims.  After ascertaining that no one was left out of her generosity, he said "Her charities will bring us Divine blessings."  That was truly a prophecy which came true. 

St. Elizabeth actually tickled her husband.  While she was a perfect consort, she was such a free soul, such a beautiful child of God, he couldn't help but enjoy everything she did. 

We tell you this about them and their life together just to bring a point across. You must know how much they meant to each other if you are to understand how devastated she became when she received news of his death.  They were each other's next sentence, next thought, next breath.  They were each other's life.

When she fully understood what had happened, she lost control completely for a time.  She ran all over the castle, shrieking as if she had lost her mind.  She cried out:  "The world is dead to me, and all that was joyous in the world."

a time of trial and tribulation

When Ludwig had gone off to war, Elizabeth had put on clothes of a widow.  She had promised not to take them off until he came home.  Now, she wept bitterly and said, "If my husband be dead, I promise to die henceforth to myself, and to the world and all its vanities."  While we don't believe the Lord caused what happened next to her, we believe He may have let loose the powers of hell which had been building up against her for years, but were held in check because of her husband's power.  Her enemies were bound and determined to get her out of the royal court, and to strip her of her title. 

They were able to use all of her corporal works of mercy against her.  While we consider what she did for the starving people of Germany as a noble act, she was accused of squandering the country's revenue.  Now her husband was not there to protect her, and so all the good things she had done were twisted and became bad things.  Her brother-in-law, Prince Henry, took over the reins of the country at the death of his brother, and promptly threw her, the children and two of her loyal attendants out of the castle in the dead of winter, without anything, no money, no clothes, not even a stick of furniture. 

It was a complete shock, even to some of those who had advocated her removal.  It was one thing to do it.  It was another thing to do it so quickly, and so brutally.  But at any rate, it was done.  It was what everyone at court had wanted from the time she was a child.  They were finally giving her what they thought she deserved.  There was such an outpouring of anger against this child and her family, it was impossible to conceive.  She was only twenty years old.  It was the beginning of four years of suffering.

From the day she was thrown out of the castle, she was to know rejection from the ones whom she had helped, and was to see the hatred that had been covered over with cosmetics for so many years.  Her first night out, she had to take refuge in one room in a poor person's inn.  The next night, a priest, who could not believe how low she had gone, took pity on her and her family and attendants, and gave her shelter.  She never said a word in her defense against what was happening to her.  To the contrary, she praised God in all things for the gift of suffering.  Her only regrets were what was happening to her children.  Though she felt it was good to reject things of the world, this was not the way she wanted it for them.

So that when her aunt, who was the abbess of a monastery in the diocese of Wurzburg, heard of her plight, she suggested that Elizabeth appeal to her uncle, the Bishop of Bamberg for aid.  He immediately offered them a home in his diocese - her and her family.  This uncle was a very powerful man, who was also very influential.  He suggested to Elizabeth that in view of her youth and beauty, and her position in society, (remember, she was a princess in Hungary), that she remarry.  She refused, explaining to her uncle the vow she and her husband had taken never to remarry, just before he left for the Crusades.

It was just about this time that the remains of her husband were being brought back from Otranto, Italy, where he died.  His was truly a royal ceremony, as his coffin was escorted by royalty in every country it traveled through.  There were royal guards to accompany his body, and as the cortege passed from one country to another, the sovereign of the country being entered took over.  This continued until the body reached the diocese of Bamburg, where the bishop, uncle of St. Elizabeth, went out to meet the convoy.  He brought the body into the Cathedral, and there, our Saint was reunited with her beloved husband.  At first, she found herself reliving the pain and anguish she had first felt upon receiving news of his death.  She went to pieces.  She wept deep agonizing cries, from the pit of her stomach.  But then, realizing she had to be strong for him, and for their children, she withheld her emotions and remained stalwart throughout. 

The Bishop used the great honor being shown the head of the House of Thuringia to appeal to the brother-in-law, Henry, to end the outrageous treatment he had subjected his brother's wife and children to, and restore her back to her previous position in the court.  Various knights and princes who had accompanied Landgrave Ludwig appealed to his younger brother, Henry, to stop this scandalous conduct towards Elizabeth. The Lord must have touched his heart, or the spirit of his brother, considered by all to be a Saint, whispered into his ear, or the pressure exerted by all the nobility of the Holy Roman Empire, and he relented of his former disgraceful behavior, and reinstated her income and properties to her.  At first, she didn't want to accept the money or lands, but her spiritual director felt she should be in control of her finances, so that she could give her money to any cause she felt worthy, and so she did maintain control, only to give the money away to the poor as she wished.  And so, that part of her plight had ended.  

Four years of suffering

However, she was just beginning to experience what would become a purging of her soul for the remainder of her short life.  While her husband was still alive, and through the recommendation of the Pope at the time, Gregory IX, she was given a Spiritual Director, Conrad of Marburg, who, while he was a very pious man, was also a very stern disciplinarian.  His background would seem a little strange for such a delicate task.  Prior to taking over as her Spiritual Director and confessor, he had been an inquisitor of heretics.  He truly loved Elizabeth's soul, and knew the Lord had great plans for her, but that she was overpowered by materialism in her position as Landgravine, and had been all her life as the Princess of Hungary.  There are those who felt that this man had not been a good choice for her Spiritual Director, he being so forceful and she being so gentle.  Whatever the case, the Lord was in charge, and in spite of, or because of her austere lifestyle for the next four years, she is a powerful Saint today. 

He began a program of stripping Elizabeth of all that she had known, material possessions which had never been considered luxurious by her or her family, but according to certain poorer classes in the world, would have been looked upon as almost sinful.  She had never taken herself seriously.  She never cared about the splendor surrounding her.  There was a time, long before Conrad came into her life when she would feed the poor and hungry and physically take care of the sick at the hospitals she opened at the foot of the castle in Marburg.  Actually, she had become a third order Franciscan when the Franciscans first came to Germany in 1221.  She was vested in the harsh, rough wool of the Franciscan habit, which she was not allowed to wear except on special occasions.  At that time, she also had a confessor and Spiritual Director from the Franciscans, Friar Rodeger, one of the first Germans who joined the Franciscan community.

So the fact of the matter is, she had already begun to dress down, almost to the point of a peasant, when her husband was out of town, or when she was not needed for any matters of state.  And so she dressed as one who worked with the poor and sick.  But she always made sure that she was ready and available for when her husband needed her to be his noble lady.

Except for one time.  This is recorded as only one of the Angelic intercessions on her behalf when she might have gotten into trouble.  The story goes that on this particular occasion, she was working diligently at her hospital for the poor, so deeply involved was she that time got away from her.  Suddenly she realized that she was supposed to be in royal garb at the castle with her husband, entertaining guests of great importance to him and the kingdom.  She ran to the castle, still dressed in her plain wool dress, which she used when she worked with the poor.  There was no time to change.  She had to be at the right side of her husband.  So she prayed all the way to the main ballroom where he was with his guests.  As she approached, Angels came down from Heaven with the most exquisite gown and tiara, slippers and the like, and actually dressed her as she kept moving towards her husband.  When she finally arrived by his side, she was a picture of majesty.  No one could imagine where she got the material for the exquisite gown and headdress, slippers and the accessories that she wore.  Only she, the Angels, and Our Lord Jesus knew.

However, when Conrad of Marburg took over as her confessor and Spiritual Director, he immediately began to strip her of her possessions, while never taking away her ability to handle her own money or possessions.  She left the court of Thuringia and settled into a small house for her and two attendants until a proper house could be built for her at the edge of her husband's lands, far from the center of noble activity.  With the exception of being out of touch with the poor people at her hospitals, this was good for her.  She preferred the quiet time, away from all that she had disliked in court.

We can't say for sure if the life imposed on her by Master Conrad was the cause of an early death for Elizabeth, or if she chose that life for herself, especially after the death of her beloved.  We do know that in a short period of time, four years after the death of her husband, St. Elizabeth went up to Heaven.  Her life to that point was exemplary.  She spent all her time with the poor, the sick and the downtrodden.  They had always been very important in her life; now they became the focal point of her whole life.  The only thing she may have neglected was, to quote St. Francis of Assisi, "Sister Ass" (her body).  Whenever she was not taking care of the poor, she was on her spinning wheel, making cloth for the Franciscans, rough, scratchy, itchy wool, to remind all who wore it that it was a gift from God, and to remind all when they itched, that it was made and given with love.

She ate very little, and whatever she did eat was plain, tasteless.  But that didn't just happen towards the end of her life.  She was that way when her husband was alive.  She also maintained a rigorous prayer life.  Because she occupied herself with constant communication with God through prayer, she would go into ecstasies and rapture.  There are times when she would just get lost with her God in a place where no one could follow.  She was halfway between Heaven and earth.  So much so that it had been reported that when she came out of any given ecstasy, she radiated; she glowed; she reminded Master Conrad of Moses coming down off the mountain.  She was also a powerful intercessor for the conversion of sinners.  There are many accounts of conversions of hardened sinners through the works of St. Elizabeth.

An Explosion of Grace

This dear Flower of God reminds us very much of the Little Flower, St. Thérèse of Lisieux.  Her greatest work began after her death.  St. Elizabeth was given a word from above regarding when she would die.  She kept working up to the end of her life.  She could not leave her loved ones, her sick and poor alone.  So she continued.  However, just a few days before her death, she couldn't continue; she had to be put to the bed. 

According to a letter by Master Conrad, she wanted everything distributed to the poor after her death.  .  When all this had been decided, she received the Body of Our Lord.  Afterward, until vespers, she spoke often of the holiest things she had heard in sermons.  Then, she devoutly commended to God all who were sitting near her, and as if falling into a gentle sleep, she died."[5]

Our Lord Jesus came for His precious child on the evening of November 17, 1231.  Did her dear husband come with Jesus to bring his bride, his princess, home, to where they would never be separated again?  It had not been that long by man's standards, but by this dear couple's measure, it could have been a series of lifetimes.  We know she had to be happy in Heaven with her husband, with all of her sick who had passed away during her time on earth.  The reason we know this has to be so is the amount of work she continued to do from Heaven.  She was reminiscent of the prophecy made by St. Thérèse of Lisieux on her deathbed: "I will spend my Heaven doing good on earth: yes, I will come down; I will come back."[6]

She was treated as royalty by all Germany, and probably many other countries on her death.  Keep in mind, she was a princess in her own right, and she was married to the Landgrave, or Prince of Thuringia, who was also considered a Saint by the German people.  Her body lay in state at the chapel of the hospital she had founded in Marburg.  Miraculous healings began to take place immediately upon the body being placed there.  The Archbishop of Mentz, in which Thuringia was a part, had examinations made of all those who claimed miraculous healings, and there were very many!  He forwarded his findings on to Pope Gregory IX.  The Pope knew of the holiness of this girl.  He had chosen Master Conrad as her Spiritual Director, and had received reports over the years that the priest was in that position.

But he took four years before he proclaimed her a Saint in 1235.  Remember, this was at a time when St. Anthony of Padua was proclaimed a Saint one year after his death (1232), and St. Francis of Assisi was proclaimed a Saint two years after his death (1228) by the same Pope, Gregory IX.  But he could not take a chance of anyone accusing him of playing favorites to the Saint herself, having known her personally, or Emperor Frederic, so prudence was the key in waiting those four years.

But all the time the Church was waiting to proclaim Elizabeth a member of the Communion of Saints, miracles continued to happen.  Records were kept by Master Conrad, the Archbishop of Mentz and Montanus.[7]  We're just going to mention the ones we found in Butler's Lives of the Saints.[8] 

"Many instances are mentioned by Montanus and by the Archbishop of Mentz, and the confessor Conrad, of persons afflicted with palsies, and other inveterate diseases, who recovered their health at her tomb, or by invoking her intercession; "...of a boy three years old, dead, cold, and stiff a whole night, raised to life the next morning by a pious grandmother praying to God through the intercession of St. Elizabeth, with a vow of alms to her hospital, and of dedicating the child to the divine service attested in every circumstance by the depositions of the mother, father, grandmother, uncle, and others, recorded by Conrad:

"...of a boy drawn out of a well, dead, and stiff for many hours, just going to be carried to burial, raised by the invocation of St. Elizabeth;

"of a youth drowned, restored by the life prayer;

"of a boy drawn out of a well, dead, black and etc. and a child still-born brought to life;

"others cured of palsies, failing-sickness, fevers, madness, lameness, blindness," and on and on.

When word got back to the Archbishop of Metz that the Canonization was going to take place in 1235, he went with all haste to Thuringia to supervise the proper Shrine for this Saint of royalty.  Everybody from all over Europe came to the Canonization, which took place on Whit-Sunday.[9] 

Her relics were transported from her tomb to a grand Shrine at the hospital, named St. Elizabeth after our Saint.  The Emperor was there to take the first stone from her grave and place it on her Shrine, and then placed a crown of gold on her Shrine.  The assembled dignitaries included cardinals, bishops, priests, kings, princes, and of course, her favorite, the poor and destitute.  It was estimated that there were over 200,000 people in attendance for the ceremony.  Her relics were placed in a rich red case, and put on the altar of the church in the hospital.  A Cistercian monk testified that just prior to the translation of the relics, as he was praying at her tomb, he was cured of a palpitation of the heart which he had suffered for forty years.  It just went on and on.  She is one of the greatest intercessors in Germany.

But that's not the end of the story.

Or at least we don't think it is.  We believe Our Lord Jesus has prepared a mansion for Elizabeth and Ludwig in Heaven.  We believe she's just as free-spirited as she was on earth, or even more so, and she's probably got everyone in Heaven working overtime to help the poor, the sick, the destitute, and all those categories of people we gave her credit as being benefactress for.  Only now, she's not alone.  Her dear husband has all the time in the world to help her in her quest for the glory of God's people.  And their honeymoon continues.  We truly believe that the Fairy Tale Romance of Elizabeth and Ludwig, has all the Angels and Saints in Heaven sighing, that they are just so beautiful and so in love. Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?  Why not?  Praise God!

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FOOTNOTES:

[1]in medieval Germany, the title of certain German Princes.

[2]Thuringia was a large part of central Germany.  It was a strategic location for anyone who wanted to get or maintain a strong position in the area.

[3]Butler's Lives of the Saints

[4]Butler's Lives of the Saints

[5]Catholic-forum.com

[6]Saints and Other Powerful Women in the Church - Bob & Penny Lord

[7]James Montanus of Spire, an early biographer of St. Elizabeth

[8]Harmony Media copyright 1997

[9]Whit Sunday is Pentecost Sunday.  The origin is unclear.  There are those who believe it comes from Old English, whit, meaning Spirit, or from the word white because those are the vestments for that day.

 

 

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Family, Pope Benedict XVI has pleaded with us to do whatever we can to insure that the Christian Culture not disappear.
He is asking us to spread the Christian Culture in our case, the Catholic Culture far and wide.
This being the season of giving, is a perfect opportunity to follow the mandate the Pope is giving us.
As a part of this, he has asked us, the Mystical Body of Christ,  these last two years, to get to know the Saints.  The Catholic Saints are our ancestors, our brothers and sisters who have gone before us, and have passed the test of time.
The Catholic Saints are Role Models.  We have received many requests from non-Catholic Christians for books and videos on the Saints because they are much-needed Role Models for their children.  Their comments were Thank God for real role models.  Our children have no role models, other than what comes out of MTV and Hollywood.
We have been able to do what we do because of your support.  The way for us to continue bringing you Role Models, the Saints, is by giving our books and videos for Christmas.  In order for us to continue to add to the long roster of Saints and Apparitions of Our Lady, and Miracles of the Eucharist, we need you to evangelize with us by giving our books and DVDs to your friends and family for Christmas.
We have tried to give you some specials in the form of discounts and free books for this season.
Please take advantage of this opportunity.  Listen to our Pope and spread the Christian Culture. 
Together, we can change the world.  We love you
Bob and Penny


 

Link to complete listing 
of Super Saints

Catholic Men Saints Media 
Select from Pull down then click on GO

 

Click the yellow GO

 

Catholic Women Saints Media
Select from Pull down then click on GO

Donations
Discover what we do and how you can help 
To make a donation
 click here

 

Complete DVD List

Traditional Catholic Faith DVDs 
Catholic Saints

 

Ebooks 
Kindle - Nook - Ipad - Iphone - Other
Browse our complete selection of ebooks 
from many outlets and formats
 click here

 

Minibooks

  
Minibooks on your favorite Saints 
Popes - Apparitions 
Miracles and more click here 
for complete listing

www.BobandPennyLord.com

Call 1-800-633-2484 or order online

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Journeys of Faith
65 Holy Family Mission Road
Morrilton, AR 72110
1-800-633-2484

   
 
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