Welcome family to our e-Newsletter.
Summer 2012 Online Issue #13
Summer 2012 - Double Issue
This Issue - Glorify Thy Name
There are dates and sounds in our country’s history that have great meaning! When we hear the sound of the National Anthem, our hearts begin to beat a little faster and tears begin to flow! We are free! We are a people unique, unlike in any other country! We are a country founded by a people who wanted something different. We came from countries ruled by sovereigns of one kind or another! That is why we traveled over the rough high seas to this new world! We knew what we were doing, at some high costs at times! But it was worth it!
There have been times, especially lately, when I scratch my head in wonderment and concernment. What happened!! It was so well planned, and it seemed to work! Oh it wasn’t always perfect, but she is our country, and we love her so! There have been times when I wondered what happened to our people. I have had trouble, trying to put things together! Where are all the patriots of the United States! What has happened to them! Have they all disappeared! Doesn’t anyone care!!
Then a former Baptist preacher, who also had been our governor, stepped forward and called all Americans to step forward and challenge the attack being perpetrated against a chain of fast food restaurants, whose only fault was being faithful to the Lord and His Tenets. We are referring to Chick-fil-A! As long as we have known the chain, they have had the policy of closing on Sunday, living up to their commitment to their religious belief. We have respected them for their stand, as well as the chain, Hobby Lobby, who also closes on Sundays.
I believe those thousands upon thousands who stood for hours to get into Chick-fil-A, were not only supporting the philosophy and belief of the founder of Chick-fil-A, but were also saying clearly, “Don’t step on my freedom of expression! Don’t step on my 1st Ammendment Rights!!” How did this come about! The owner of Chick-fil-A was attending services in a Baptist church. Somehow, the subject of same-sex marriage surfaced and he set forth his personal religious belief – that, as the Bible tells us, deep into the Word of God in the Old Testament, marriage is only between one man and woman. I don’t have all the facts, but it appears unless he retract what he said certain states would not allow Chick-fil-A stores to operate within their borders. Well, we have been kind of like the three monkeys, “see no evil; hear no evil; speak no evil!’ So no one expected the reaction. It was as if the bear who had been sleeping, suddenly woke up and roared!! I have never been so proud of our fellow Americans! Our men and women in uniform who have given their lives to preserve our rights, have spoken through their family of Americans! It is as if we are all saying, You did not die in vain! We will never forget!
Remember, we always say, “God reveals; Satan conceals.” What was God wanting to say to His children? A thought comes to mind. Many years ago, when we would bring pilgrims to the Holy Land, we had occasion to meet the representative of El Al airline. He was Jewish, a citizen of Israel, and surprise of all surprises, his name was Angel!
I cannot tell you how the conversation went from booking air and schedules to the holocaust, but his words still ring in my ears, “We will never walk into the gas chambers again! We will fight to the last man, woman and child, but we will never walk into the gas chambers again!”
What has God been saying? A few very influential sources have been doing all within their power to bury God! I must admit I thought we were outnumbered, but that was Satan’s deep lie! We are no longer asleep! Our land of the free is rumbling with the sounds of the National Anthem resounding from coast to coast, from the mountains to the sea. Our flag is waving, larger and larger for all to see! We are putting the enemy of God on notice! We are not scattered! We are united! And we mean business!
Who was Pope
“Born poor and humble of heart,“Undaunted
champion of the
“Zealous to restore all things in Christ,“Crowned a holy life with a holy death”
This is the story of a Pope who refused to stay buried in the annals of history. The boy who became Pope always worked with the image of Mother Church and her founder Jesus Christ before him, leading the way, as if on a path, beckoning him to follow. He never ceased being the boy who worked and struggled endlessly to keep alive the true teachings of the Church!How long I have waited to know more about Pope Pius X! It is awesome and a little more than exciting to discover how many Popes have succeeded St. Peter, to whom Our Lord gave the keys of His Church, making him our first Pope. I cannot help feeling my heart swell as our research brings us to the road our Pope Pius X trod, along with those who preceded him and those who faithfully followed after him. When we attempt to explain that our Church has had an unbroken history dating back to when Jesus walked the earth, commissioning the Apostles to carry on and spread the Good News that He is with us till the end of the world, we need only turn to the unbroken, unending succession of our Popes.
Allow me to bring you the story and life of Pope Pius X, the 257th Pope to fill St. Peter’s chair as Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, serving at a crucial and disturbing time from 1903-1914. Pope Pius X was the first Pope, since the Counter- Reformation Pope Pius V (1566-72) to be canonized. As his story commences, I pray you will see why Mother Church chose to so honor him. I must say, I am much humbled to have the great privilege to write the story of so special a Pope, who did so much to bring about reforms, which are still enriching our Church till today.
From the time we began studying the attacks from within and without our Church, for our book, Scandal of the Cross and Its Triumph, and ever since we first wrote our book, This is My Body, This is My Blood, Miracles of the Eucharist, the name of Pope St. Pius X has been consistently coming up, drawing us to learn more and yet more about this very special gift from the Lord. I just have to interject that we fall in love with each of the Saints we write about; and so it is with our Popes.
Pope Pius X’s humble beginnings
Let us begin with our Pope Pius X’s humble beginnings, the Lord choosing whom He will, when He will, for that time in our Church History he is needed. There is no accident with Our Lord; only design. As we walk through the valleys and high places of the lives of our special Pontiffs over the centuries, if we are too quick to crown one or the other the greatest of all, we find ourselves falling in love with yet another Pontiff, crowning him the greatest!
A light appears in the darkness! On the 2nd of June, 1835, a boy, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto was born to two people rich in faith but poor in the eyes of the world, Giovanni Battista Sarto and Margarita Sanso. Our Lord, through these two faithful followers, chose to bring a future Pope into the world in Riese, Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia which at that time was part of the Austrian Empire, but now is part of the Province of Treviso, in Venice, Italy. The village of Riese would later tack on “Pio X” to its name.
Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto was the second born into a family of ten children. He was baptized on the 3rd of June, the day after he was born, as had been our custom. His father labored tirelessly, earning a modest income as a postman. Dying in 1852, he sadly would not live to see his son ordained, or the day to day struggle that would accompany his son as he said yes to the life the Lord laid out for him. Giuseppe’s mother earned a small living, laboring as a seamstress. Before she would join his father who had preceded her in death, she would live to see her son raised to a Cardinal!
Although born into poverty, his family scrimped and saved so that this special son could receive private lessons in Latin from their parish priest, and then go on to continue his education at the gymnasium of Castelfranco, Veneto. For the four years he attended this fine school, out of necessity, he had to walk about four miles to and from his home to the school, each day.
A zealous, dedicated student, at fifteen years old, in the year 1850, he received the tonsure from the Bishop of Treviso. Not only that! Because he coupled his ability to absorb and retain his lessons with his iron-clad determination to succeed, he received a scholarship from the Diocese of Treviso to attend the Seminary of Padua. There he would finish his classical, philosophical, and theological studies with honors.
Giuseppe Melchoirre Sarto was ordained a priest on the 18th of September, 1858, at 23 years old; and subsequently was assigned to fill the role of curateof Tombolo, where, out of necessity, he would shoulder most of the duties of the pastor who, as he was quite old and infirmed, was unable to physically fill. That lasted nine years, where, in addition to fulfilling all his duties, (for all intents and purposes) as pastor, he was able to perfect his knowledge of theology by studying Thomas Aquinas and Canon Law. This would color his walk later as Pope. His pastor, Father Constantini, touched by the love and vigor of his young assistant, wrote the following which would turn out to be a prophecy:
“They have sent me as curate a young priest, with orders to mold him to the duties of pastor; in fact, however, the contrary is true. He is so zealous, so full of good sense, and other precious gifts that it is I who can learn much from him. Some day or other he will wear the mitre of that I am sure. After that who knows?”
It is said of him, Pius X remained a country priest at heart all the years he served Mother Church. In addition, he faced the evils of a world hell bent on destruction, with the determination and dedication of a knight poised for battle.
Not one to lay back, a problem not only a challenge but an opportunity, Father Giuseppe Sarto, with the love of spreading the Truth, opened a school for adult students (laity).
Knowledge of the Faith was always closest to his heart. As the school was not large enough to fill the enormous need; Father Giuseppi began preaching to parishes in the many towns who, having heard of his talents, asked him to come and deliver sermons on the beauty of the Church and its gifts.
In 1867, he was elevated to the position of Arch-priest of Salzano. Granted this great responsibility, especially for so young a priest, he proceeded with the determination he had received from his parents. He accepted the challenge to bring about the restoration of his now parish church which had seen much better days. In addition, he had the hospital enlarged; using his own personal finances (selling what little he had) to accomplish it. And when that was not enough, he was not past begging for help. But he did not become so involved, he would allow his attention to become diverted from his responsibility toward his flock. Remembering his own childhood, he always showed great compassion for the poor, generously helping them, taking money from himself, at times, to do so. He lived his words: “I was born poor, I have lived poor, and I wish to die poor.”
If there is one thing, which colored and permeated Father Giuseppe Sarto’s life, in addition to helping the poor, it was his ongoing love for Mother Church. This precipitated his desire to make available religious education to not only seminarians studying for the priesthood, but to the laity as well, living the philosophy: to truly love you must first learn about who or what you love, for you cannot love that which you do not know. Always the caring, involved shepherd of his flock, in 1870 he gained the love and respect of not only his parishioners but of all the sick and suffering of the surrounding parishes of Northern Italy, during the devastating, deadly cholera plague that mercilessly stuck down men, women and children (irrespective of age). He not only used all his own resources, giving away most of his clothing and food, he personally got involved with the dying and ministered to the families of those struck down.
After nine years of diligent and faithful service as Arch-priest at Salzano, Father Sarto was raised to Canon of the Cathedral at Treviso and Chancellor of that diocese. He was also made Spiritual Director of the seminary. Forming young men to serve Mother Church faithfully and wisely, being true to the tenets passed down by those who had served before them, was one of Spiritual Director Giuseppe Sarto’s dreams. This loving task was truly complementary to his love and focus to educate the people of God to know and subsequently faithfully serve God and all who were placed in their charge. These young men would become shepherds, called to teach and lead those in their care to know the path to the Kingdom of God, falling in love with all that had been passed down by those who trod that path before them.
Father Sarto becomes Bishop of Mantua
When the Bishop of Mantua died in 1884, leaving his position in the diocese of Mantua vacant, without a shepherd, His Holiness Pope Leo XIII named Canon Sarto - Bishop of Mantua. This was in light of Sarto’s great, selfless work of nine years, as Canon of the Cathedral at Treviso, and Chancellor of that diocese, as well as Spiritual Director of the seminary.
Bishop Giuseppe Sarto soon discovered the gift he was awarded was a badly fragmented diocese, more like a hornet’s nest just waiting to erupt, its winged inhabitants ready to attack!
With his new assignment, in 1884, as newly appointed Bishop of Mantua, Giuseppe Sarto’s role not only included taking over a very troubled diocese, but also the continued responsibility of filling the role of Canon of the Cathedral of Treviso as well as Chancellor of that Diocese. In his capacity as Bishop, he insisted on retaining his role of Chancellor, therefore continually involving himself in making sure public school students received catechesis, formerly only available in Catholic schools. In addition, he kept the role of Spiritual Director and that of Rector of the seminary, as well as that of Vicar-General and examiner of the clergy. As Rector of the seminary, Bishop Sarto treasured his task of being involved with the education and formation of future priests in the seminary, as for many years he had played a viable part, teaching Dogmatic Theology and Moral Theology. Desiring the seminarians have the proper foundation, he required they study the doctrine and method of St. Thomas Aquinas, copies of which he gave at no charge to the poorer students who could not afford to purchase them.
In addition to his many responsibilities, he made sure adult laity would receive a comprehensive knowledge of their Faith; for you cannot pass down to the next generations, something or Someone you do not know. In spite of his many duties, Bishop Sarto made educating seminarians a top priority; but not to the neglect of children who were prohibited learning the Faith in the public schools they attended. Sundays, he would take off from the seminaries and personally teach the children.
Bishop Sarto reformer, battles heresies fostered by the government!
The diocese of Mantua, he inherited as Bishop, was under great attack, as the secular governing body of the area was diametrically opposed to the Catholic Church and the spread of its Truths, passed down from the beginning by our Lord Jesus Christ. They did everything they could to kill or, in any event, block the spread of the teachings of the Church. They levied astronomical taxes on seminaries and other religious institutions. The teaching of the Faith was under siege, with the government running all religious institutions allowed to operate, including most especially seminaries. Consequently, the seminarians, the future priests, were taught one heresy after the other, with Catholic teaching not even a glimpse or a promise.
As the teaching, they received, was heretical, these cancers were allowed to grow and permeate the entire body of believers, to a point there was little remnant of the Faith which had not been corroded by design. Leaders of governments have historically endeavored to take over the Catholic Church because there is no body of believers so ardent and faithful. These leaders have known if they could take over the Church, they could take control of the citizens of the country, of the world.
The above article was taken from the chapter on Pope Bius X in Bob and Penny Lord's latest book, "Heroes - Popes in Hard Times" http://bobandpennylord.com/popes.htm pre-order this special book and have Bob and Penny personlize it for you.
We believe that statement to be true. We have always had great admiration for both the parents of St. Thérèse, although we did not know very much about Zélie Martin in our research for our chapter on the Little Flower for our book, Saints and Other Powerful Women in the Church. We were able to learn a little more about her when we went to Alençon to videotape the birthplace of St. Thérèse for our Super Saints program, and the home where Louis and Zélie lived as husband and wife during their life together. We learned there that Zélie was more outgoing than Louis, and that she was able to draw him out of his shell because her social life was so active due to her flourishing lace business. We learned that Louis eventually gave up his business as watchmaker, so that he could concentrate on managing Zélie’s lace business. It was in this house that all nine children were born, the four who died, and the five who survived. We focused our attention on the last of the Martin children, Thérèse. We never realized how much her mother grieved for the five children she lost.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s begin with the lives of these two Saint-Makers!
The parents of Thérèse, Louis and Zélie Martin, both felt drawn to the Religious life. Louis was born in Bordeaux in 1823. His father was a military man, but Louis didn’t want any part of that. He wanted to enter a Religious order. To that end, he joined a Carthusian monastery in the Swiss Alps. He tried with all his heart to become a member of that community, but he was turned down because he couldn’t learn Latin. He decided to become a watchmaker. He studied in Rennes and Strasbourg. He moved to Paris, where he stayed for three years. It was too sinful a city for him. He couldn’t stay there any longer, so he went to Alençon, where his parents had a jewelry business. He lived there for eight years in virtual seclusion. He opened up a watch and clock shop, which took up much of his time. He was very spiritual, and kept to himself pretty much. He enjoyed being alone on fishing trips, or spending time at church. He did involve himself in a young Catholic organization in his parish. He had no qualms about closing his shop each Sunday, which was one of the busiest days in Alençon.
Zélie’s early years were much different from Louis’. She had suffered an unhappy childhood. She felt that no matter what she did, her mother never considered her as good as her sister. She could never live up to her sister’s potential. Perhaps because of this, she became an over-achiever, excelling in anything into which she put her energy. She was very hard on herself, suffering from Scrupulosity, which her daughter Thérèse inherited from her. (Scrupulosity has been described as a “religious melancholy” brought about by the heretical teachings of Jansenism, in which a soul convicts itself of sins which it has not committed.) At age 22, when Louis met Zélie, she had mastered the art of making Alençon lace, for which the region was world famous. She had her own little shop, and was doing quite well. She, too, had wanted to enter the Religious life, but was turned down, which only added to her poor self-image, seeing as how her sister had become a Visitation Nun.
A theory of how Louis and Zélie met is that one day, as Zélie was passing the Saint-Leonard Bridge, she passed a young man with a noble face, a reserved air and a demeanor filled with an impressive dignity. Her interior voice told her “This is the one I have prepared for you.”
(taken from Carmelite Website)
And when we researched the life of the Little Flower, we read that it was Louis’ mother who brought the two together. She had seen Zélie in the school for lace in Alençon. She was concerned about her son, who was now 34 years old and a near-total recluse. After a very short courtship of three months, Louis and Zélie were married. However, a wrench was thrown into the marriage from the start. When Zélie was denied entrance to the religious life, she made an oath to have as many children as possible, and consecrate them to the Lord. Well, Louis wanted to live a completely chaste, celibate life with Zélie, as brother and sister. She wasn’t too happy about the idea, but begrudgingly agreed, for almost a year. Finally, the couple asked guidance from their Confessor, who convinced them that they were to live the full married life, which was what Zélie had wanted. They were so obedient that they had nine children in ten years. Only five of them survived, all girls, of which Thérèse was the youngest and the last. Our little Saint was born on the 2nd of January, 1873.
The family had lost four children, three in infancy, and one at age five. The loss of these children, especially the two boys, Marie Joseph Louis and Marie Joseph John Baptiste, (she had made a decision to name all her children after the Blessed Mother first) caused great grief and depression for Zélie. Tragedy followed her wherever she looked. Her sister, a Visitation nun, was suffering badly when Zélie went to visit her. Her father was in the throes of death, and Zélie had to care for him in his last days. Add to this the deaths of the two boys, and the poor health of her daughter Hèlène, which eventually led to her death, and Zélie had to take weeks off from her lace business to grieve over her losses. We’re sure that she shared her sorrow with her husband, Louis, but there is no indication that they grieved together.
As a girl, Zélie had received a blow on the breast from striking the corner of a table. At that time, nothing was done about it. As far as she was concerned, it was gone. But as the years progressed, the lump increased in swelling, and eventually started to cause her pain. She didn’t do anything about it because of all her other problems, mostly with her children and her father. But after eleven years, when the pain and the swelling became unbearable, she went to the doctor. As she expected, his report was that she had waited too long for surgery, and there was nothing they could do. This took place at a horrendous time in her life. Her sister, the nun, was dying at the Visitation convent. She was experiencing some problems at her lace business. The cysts in her neck took to swelling. She increased her prayer life. She tried to remain in good spirits throughout. But she knew that at this rate of deterioration, she could not live much longer.
Zélie turned everything over to the Lord and Our Mother Mary. Remember, she had a great devotion to the Mother of God. So, when it was recommended that she travel to Lourdes to seek a cure, she begrudgingly agreed. Louis wanted to take here, but she decided to bring her three eldest children, Léonie, Marie and Pauline. They all needed Our Lady’s help with their own individual problems. As it turned out, they were more problems than help. This might have been a gift from the Lord, because Zélie could not concentrate on her own pain; she had to take care of her children. They arrived at Lourdes in late June, 1877. Zélie was submerged into the baths four times. Nothing seemed to help. The last time she was lowered into the baths, she was left in the water for almost fifteen minutes. She came out, resigned to the will of God. She looked at the writings on the walls of the baths, “I cannot promise you happiness in this world, but in the next.”
Zélie’s condition accelerated after they returned from Lourdes. The three girls were bitter on the return trip. They thought for sure that the Blessed Mother would cure their mother, but it was not to be. Zélie went downhill. Soon her tumor began to ooze. She was in terrible pain. She continued going to Mass as long as she could, but eventually it became impossible. The children had to keep her home in spite of her desire to attend Mass. The spirit was willing, but the flesh was falling apart. She suffered very much like her sainted daughter Thèrése was to suffer many years later.
On August 28, just after midnight, Zélie breathed her last. The older children were allowed to be there for their mother’s final hours. However, our little Thèrése had to wait until the following morning to say her farewells to her mother. We go to her own words to describe this sad time in her life.
“The moving ritual of Extreme Unction impressed itself on my soul. I still see the spot where I was told to kneel; I still hear the sobs of our poor father. . . I do not remember that I wept much. I spoke to no one of the profound feelings which filled my heart; I looked and listened in silence.”
Louis Martin felt it best to move his five girls to Lisieux, to be close to Zélie’s brother and sister-in-law, who could be helpful in raising them. They rented a beautiful little home, called Les Buissonnets, which still stands today. The atmosphere was different from Alençon. There, their home faced the main street. Zélie was outgoing, and there were many friends visiting all the time. In Lisieux, they knew nobody, except of course, Zélie’s family, the Guérins. The home was a distance from the main street, and very secluded. For Thérèse it was good in a way, in that she had a big garden, which was reminiscent of her infancy in the country. For all of them however, it was a time of being alone, just family. Louis went back to his old ways of solitude, a luxury he was not able to enjoy while Zélie was alive.
The two older girls took charge of the household, under the supervision of Madame Guérin. Thérèse had two more playmates however, her cousin Jeanne, who was much older, ten, and Marie, seven and a half. But soon, her sister Céline, closest in age to Thérèse, went off to school, and our little Saint found herself alone much of the time. She wrote about this time in her life.
“After Mamma’s death my happy disposition changed completely. I, who had been so full of life, so outgoing, became shy, quiet and oversensitive. A look was enough to reduce me to tears. I was only happy when no one paid attention to me. I could not bear the company of strangers, and only regained my cheerfulness within the intimacy of my family.” (Saints and Other Powerful Women in the Church)
The grief that our little Saint expressed in her writings could not compare with the complete heartbreak her father experienced. Louis had to move the family to Lisieux, as he was too grief-stricken to take care of his girls. He knew he had the responsibility of raising them. He and Zélie spoke about it before her death. She had suggested that he bring the children there. She had had a good relationship with her sister Marie, and her brother-in-law Isidore. She was correct in believing how much of an aid they would be to the family.
For a time Louis took to hiding out in the belvedere above the house. From there he had a vantage point where he could see the children playing in the backyard beneath him. Most times, however, he just reminisced about his life with his love, Zélie. However, his daughters were not happy with their father wasting away up in the belvedere, so they came up with a plan. He would take the youngest, the little coquette, his Thérèse for walks in the afternoon. People stopped to stare at Thérèse no matter where they went. They always had a compliment to pay to her father, about how pretty she was. There had been a time when she loved to hear these flattering words, but now she wanted to hide behind her father. The compliments, however, remained in her subconscious.
It was during this time at Les Buissonnets that Thérèse had a Vision, which she did not understand for years to come. One day, she was up in her room. Her father had gone back to Alençon to visit friends. All of a sudden, she saw a man who looked exactly like her father, walking in their garden. But he was all stooped over, and wore something over his head like an apron. She called out to him, “Papa! Papa!” but he disappeared without turning back.
Her two older sisters, alarmed by the sound of her voice, ran into her room. She cried aloud what she had seen. She was on the verge of hysteria. Marie and Pauline ran downstairs and looked all over the grounds. They found no one. They spoke to the maid, who had a habit of finding ways of teasing Thérèse. She knew nothing of what the child had seen. Thérèse was confused and frightened by this vision. She had never seen her father this way. She couldn’t get it out of her mind. A time would come after she had entered the Carmel when this would prove to have been a prophetic vision.
One by one, Louis lost all his girls to religious life. Pauline was the first to ask permission to enter the Carmel in Lisieux. He gave her his permission, but said to her, “Pauline, I give you permission to enter Carmel for your happiness, but do not think that there is no sacrifice on my part, for I love you so much.”
Next, Marie, who had always been his pen-pal, when he was traveling to different parts of Europe, asked to enter the Carmel. He was surprised, because she had taken over the running of the household. He said to her, “God could not have asked a greater sacrifice from me. I thought you would never leave me. But he also gave her permission.
The family went to Alençon to visit the tomb of Zélie. Out of left field, Léonie said she wanted to become a Poor Clare. This caused a little friction as Marie had not yet entered the Carmel. However, Léonie didn’t last two months as a Poor Clare and returned home. She finally became a Visitation nun some years later.
Louis was to lose his precious youngest, his princess, Thérèse. He said of her, “I must tell you that Thérèse, my little queen – I call her that for I assure you that she is a fine, tall girl…”
Hers was a difficult journey, mostly because she was too young, but Louis stuck by her the entire time. When she was finally accepted, it was a bittersweet victory, because she was so close to her father.
Céline vowed to remain with her father as long as he lived, which she did. She was an accomplished artist. Once, upon showing her father a painting she had made of Our Lady, he thought it so good he wanted to send her to Paris for lessons. She told him at that time that her desire was to enter the Carmel, but she would never leave him. Upon his death, she entered into the Carmel.
Louis’ final illnesses were a source of embarrassment to the family. He had a tendency to run away from home for days at a time. Really, what he was trying to do was find a place where he could be a hermit. But his mind would always clear enough to remind him of his responsibilities to his daughters, for their financial well-being.
However, at one point, when his disappearances began to cause great alarm to the family, his brother-in-law, Isidore, had him placed in a home in Caen, some forty miles away. His health deteriorated more and more. He was no longer able to walk, and he lost his speech, or his desire to talk. The girls, Léonie and Céline arranged for him to be brought back to Lisieux to their home, with a married couple taking care of them. His condition deteriorated completely until July 29, 1894, when he passed away peacefully at Les Buissonets. The cause for the Canonization of Louis and Zélie were opened up in the late 1950s. They were beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on October 19, 2008. When they are canonized, they will be the first Married Couple who were made Saints together. Pray for their cause.
Loyal Wife, Loving Mother,
Mystic and Stigmatist Advisor to the Popes
On May 29, 1769, a baby girl was born to Mary Santa Masi and Luigi Giannetti In Siena. Our little future Blessed, Anna Maria Taigi came from a very well respected family. Two and a half months after her birth, Napoleon Bonaparte I was born, he who would destroy and plunder all that was good and holy. His background was like hers, in that he came from a middle class family who had fallen on hard times. As Napoleon would seek to conquer the world with its empty promises, Anna Maria would live only to serve her Lord with the World above in her sights.
She was baptized the day after her birth in the church of St. John the Baptist. Her father Luigi’s business went bad, and at age six, the family moved. We can just see the little impoverished band walking towards Rome. They settled in the “dei Monte” area of Rome, a quarter teeming with families jammed together in small hot dwellings.
Luigi found a job as a domestic. Anna Maria went to school. Small Pox struck; she took ill, and her schooling was cut short. She never returned to school. Her family needed her to remain at home. This girl, who was never taught to write, would someday dictate volumes of messages that she had mystically received from the Lord.
Anna Maria made her first confession at age seven and was confirmed at eleven in St. John Lateran. At thirteen, she received her First Holy Communion. When Anna Maria turned sixteen, she was breathtakingly beautiful! She soon began to notice eyes constantly upon her. She enjoyed going to dances. She found herself not only enjoying the attention and complimentary glances, she began to cater to the accolades, fussing over her appearance, until one day, she realized her new found vanity could lead her to sin. All who testified at her Beatification, affirmed, she did not fall victim to even venial sin, as a result of this temporary temptation. Even at this time, Anna Maria never ceased praying, receiving Holy Communion every Sunday, as well as attending Daily Mass.
Anna Maria offers herself as victim to God for the Papacy
All parishioners were asked to pray for Pope Pius VI who was trying to dissuade Emperor Franz Joseph and his minister, from turning the Church into a heretical State Church. Anna Maria had an inner locution. She felt the Lord speak to her heart. She must offer herself as a victim to God for the triumph of the Papacy over enemy forces who desired to destroy the Church.
Anna Maria’s father obtained a position in the Maccarani palace. The mistress of the palace, Madame Serra had need of a maid, he recommended his daughter Anna Maria. Madame Serra was so pleased with Anna Maria, she offered a post to her mother. And so the whole Giannetti family moved into the palace with their few possessions.
God sends a husband into Anna Maria’s life
The Lord sent Domenico Taigi into her life. After he arrivd at the servant’s entrance of the palace, upon seeing the beautiful Anna Maria, he was convinced he would marry her. The wedding Mass was celebrated in the church of St. Marcellino in the Corso on January 7, 1790. There was a joyful dinner that followed. But all too soon, we discover that courtships and honeymoons can soon turn into nightmares. It was the marriage of a lamb and a wolf. But instead of the wolf eating the lamb, the lamb tamed the wolf.
Prince Chigi kept Domenico in his service and the couple moved into two rooms on the ground floor of the Chigi palace.
Domenico loved to see and hear the admiration, all his friends had for Anna Maria’s beauty. She, being a young girl of twenty, enjoyed dressing up and her one weakness, at this time, was that of vanity.
But, God had a job that had to be done, and He would not wait too long for Anna Maria to grow up. We are in the terrifying period of 1790-1791. The Revolution in France was gaining violent momentum. In Paris, the Constituent Assembly, formed by a band of renegades and misfits, took over Church property. They closed down Abbeys, Convents and Religious Chapters; religious were thrown out, churches desecrated in the vilest ways.
Pope Pius VI condemned the renegade Assembly and its heartless massacre of the King and thousands upon thousands of lay people as well as priests and nuns. The Assembly retaliated by decreeing the end of the Papacy and the Church in France. Although, news of these happenings had reached Rome, Anna Maria and her young husband were too busy being married to pay too much attention.
One day, as Anna and Domenico were strolling outside St. Peter’s Basilica, she was thrown against a Servite Priest. Father Angelo had never seen Anna Maria before, but an inner voice told him: “Notice that woman, for I will confide her to your care, and you will work for her transformation. She shall sanctify herself, for I have chosen her to become a Saint.”
Anna was twenty-one years old, and she was struggling between her desire to please her husband and the pull of the Lord. She went to confession at the church where she and Domenico had been married, and with more than a little apprehension, she entered the confessional and began to confess. She was before the priest she had bunked into at St. Peter’s Basilica! He said: “So you have come, at last, my daughter. Our Lord loves you and wants you to be wholly His.” Father Angelo told her all the Lord had told him in front of St. Peter’s. Her new life was about to begin.
Anna Maria knew it was time to ask Domenico to allow her to do without the luxuries, he so loved to give her. He said Yes!
Anna and her walk with confessors
Anna Maria told her confessor she desired to go to confession before receiving Holy Communion at Daily Mass. He told her to receive each day and go to confession once a week. She did not look kindly upon those who brag of going from one famous confessor to another, and said that once you have the right confessor you should stay with him. But like St. Teresa of Avila, Anna had to change confessors frequently. But as with the other Saint, it was not through her design.
Her first confessor Father Angelo soon discovered he was in above his head, and sent her to Msgr. Strambi who remained with her, counselling and being counselled by her, until he became Bishop of Macerata and his duties made it impossible. He recommended her to a Passionist, Father Philip Salvatori, who expounded on her gifts to so many people he drew huge crowds to her home. Another confessor was sought. At this time Anna Maria went to Father Angelo and told him that she was to atone for the sins of the world. He recommended she become a Tertiary of the Order of the Trinity, as she had such a great devotion to the Holy Trinity. Father Ferdinand of the Trinitarians would be her new confessor. Anna Maria asked Domenico’s permission to become a Tertiary, and again he gave his consent.
Upon receiving the Habit of a Tertiary, Anna Maria was so overcome, she had one of her now almost ongoing ecstasies and began sobbing loudly. Fearing she would disrupt the proceedings, Father Ferdinand ordered her to awaken. And she obeyed! Everything went well until Father then told her she was to live with Domenico as brother and sister. Domenico flatly refused, arguing that if that was what she wanted, she should have become a religious, not a wife. But wife she was, and Domenico expected her to be faithful to that commitment. Father Ferdinand then ordered her to wear her Habit out in the street. Domenico rebelled, insisting it was not fitting for a married woman to be dressed as a religious, especially when carrying his child! Anna and the Lord agreed, and she changed confessors. The Lord told her that He would make up for what was lacking in her confessors; He would guide her in the way of perfection. And He did for fifty years, until the day of her death.
Anna Maria dictates to her priest-secretaries
As she could not write, Anna Maria dictated all that the Lord said to her priest-secretaries, especially one who would later become Cardinal Pedicini. This highly respected prelate faithfully recorded it all for thirty years, filling in anything the other secretaries might have missed. This was crucial when the Cause for her Beatification opened.
Anna Maria always worried whether it was the Holy Spirit or the evil spirit who was speaking to her. The Lord told her, the way that she would know that it was He Who was speaking to her would be by: feelings of compassion, serenity, regret for her sins, and above all humility. He said:
“Man has within himself a dust that settles around his heart; it is called self-love. Man is full of pride and I have nothing to do with the proud.”...“He who wishes to taste My delights must despise the world, and expect to be despised by it in return.”...“I make my abode in humble souls that are full of simplicity. The more lowly and uncultured they are, the more I take pleasure in them. As to these wise and learned professors whose heads are full of the fumes of pride, I put them down from their seats, and you yourself shall soon learn where I send them.”
Anna Maria sees the future in the sun of light
Anna Maria’s husband and mother were quarreling. There was barely enough bread to eat. Envious housewives were spreading scandals about Anna Maria and her priest-secretaries. A devastating sadness came over her.
When she approached the door of her home, Anna Maria saw what appeared to be a blinding sun encircled by a crown of thorns, with two thorns wrapped around it as if in an embrace. A young woman was seated in the center and appeared to be meditating. Anna Maria was made to understand she represented Eternal Wisdom. A hazy film covered the sun, dimming the brightness of its rays. An inner voice said this would clear, and the light would become brighter as she reached a higher degree of purification. Sounds poetic, doesn’t it? But gold is purified by fire! Anna Maria would suffer greatly to bring about the sanctification necessary to burn away the veil of fog that blocked her vision from seeing all the Lord had prepared for her, how she could grow in God’s perfection, how she would be able to aid the Church Militant and pray for the Church Suffering.
Right up to her death, whenever she looked into the sun, Anna Maria was able to prophesy the future and discern the present; she could read the secret recesses of men’s hearts and reveal the most hidden dreams and thoughts of the rich and the poor, the famous and the infamous alike.
For forty-seven years, day and night, at home, in church or in the street, as the light became increasingly brighter, Anna Maria was able to see things on earth, both physical and spiritual. She penetrated the depths of hell and soared to the heights of Heaven. She saw shipwrecks in far-off seas and heard the anguished cries of those drowning. She entered prisons in China and Arabia and heard the agonized cries of prisoners whose only crime was they were priests. She suffered with them, as she witnessed the inhumane torture endured by religious, slaves and prisoners alike. Cardinal Pedicini said that although she withheld nothing from him out of obedience, she took equally strong measures to keep herself hidden from those who had benefited from her revelations from the sun. She wanted no reward, no recognition, no recompense of any kind.
She was a seer at twenty-one years old and would live for close to fifty years, till her death, in almost continuous, never-ending ecstasy. She derived no pleasure from it and feared it was of diabolical origin, until her spiritual advisor assured her it was the work of the Divine. Jesus told Anna Maria she was to convert sinners, console people of all walks of life, priests, bishops, religious and even “His Vicar.” He spoke of the Graces, those who listen to her words, would receive. But he also warned, she would meet false and treacherous people, she would be scorned and ridiculed and scandal would be spread about her, but she would live through it, out of love for Him. She protested, she was too weak for this great task. Our Lord replied, “It is I Who will guide you by the hand, as a lamb is led by the shepherd, to the Altar of Sacrifice.”
The above article was taken from the chapter on Blessed Anna Maria Taigi in Bob and Penny Lord's book, "Visionaries, Mystics and Stigmatists" http://bobandpennylord.com/books.htm
Dear Bob and Penny:
Thanks for your newsletter. We both remember you fondly. We traveled with you in 2002 to Italy. We still talk about the things and places we visited.
Thanks for making us feel like family on the trip. You are still having trips we see by your newsletter, however we are older now and cannot get around so well.
Thanks for continuing your ministry. You have accomplished much. We are active in our parish in NE Philadelphia. We are 5 or 6 minutes from Katharine Drexel's Shrine. We are honor guards on Fridays.
God Bless you and may Mary ever keep you safe.
A. & F.
Dear Bob and Penny:
I was born in East Grand Forks , Minnesota accross the bridge from North Dakota July 4th, 1916. Later I moved to Seattle and married my sweetheart of 67 years. I now have 5 children, 15 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren.
I have read 23 of your books and now am rereading them.
I want to comment on Brother Joseph's article on unalienable rights. Excellent!
We have unalienable rights given to us by God our Creator. Pray fou our country and leaders and may God continue to protect our unalienable rights.
The Bishops of the United States sent out a letter about conscience rights being taken away with regard to abortive service in the Health Care Bill. The root of the confrontation comes from the fact that no one or entity can take away these rights because God has given them to us. Let us resolve to ask God our Heavenly Father to guide us this year and protect us.
God love you all.
Dear Bob and Penny:
Thank you for your information regarding Pilgrimage coming up in October 2012.
I am reading We Came Back to Jesus by Bob and Penny Lord. Please will you tell them that I just cannot put into words the effect their personal testimony is having on me. It would be wonderful if everyone could read it. I would love to meet them.Thanks to all and please keep in touch.
BY LAURA LYNN BROWN ARKANSASDEMOCRATGAZETTE
Bob and Penny Lord of Morrilton remember Pope John Paul II as a man who cared about everyone he met and had a charismatic effect on people regardless of their religious affiliation.
The Lords were part of an audience of the pope at least once a year for his entire papacy, giving them plenty of opportunities to see him - and a wealth of memories.
“You had to see him with people up close,” Penny Lord said in a telephone interview.
She recalled time when the pope met a young man with an aflliction.
“He was very tall and muscular, but his body was moving in all directions, and the Pope put his arms around him. The pope was powerful, but the young man was so strong that the pope was going with him,” she said. “He was swinging the pope and the pope never let go of him. When we looked at the pope, he had tears streaming down his face.”
The Lords run Journeys of Faith, a Morrilton-based mission. They lead Catholic Pilgrimages to Europe two or three times a year, write books, produce videos and appear weekly on EWTN, a Catholic cable television network.
‘We did feel very close to him. and we loved him very much,” said Bob Lord, who was too overcome with emotion to talk very long. He was so alive.”
Penny Lord spoke with awe’of the pope’s touch. “One time he touched my face and I remember thinking, ‘I’ll never wash this face again,’” she said. She recalled how the pope’s touch affected a jaded priest. “When he used to go around in the popemobile, he’d put his hand out and touch lightly the hands that were out,” she said. A priest along the route wasn’t impressed and said something like, “You’ve been to one audience with the pope, you’ve been to them all she recalled. When the pope neared the priest, “he looked at him and he took his hand and he grabbed, it and held onto it,” she said. After that, she said, the priest exclaimed, “Did you see what, he did? He looked at me. He touched me.”
Penny Lord also recalled a woman who was determined to see the pope. The Lords were at the airport, seeing off a pilgrimage group that was headed for France, Spain, Belgium and Portugal. “This little Hispanic woman came up to me and said, I am going to see the pope,” Penny Lord said. “I said to her, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, you’re not, not on this trip.’ She looked me in the eye and said, ‘But I am.’’’ The Lords also met the plane when it returned. “Here comes this little Hispanic lady, and she says, I saw the pope,’” she said It turned out that when the group went to visit a Shrine in Belgium, “there in the open field was his holiness the pope and they were celebrating his birthday,” Lord said.
They also said the pope deeply affects non-Catholics.
They had befriended a family in Nevada who had a sick daughter. The Lords wrote to the pope for a blessing for the girl, and sent along a lock of the girrs hair . that her father gave them. . “The girl died on Oct. 28, the . feast day of St Jude;’ Penny Lord’ said. Days later she received a letter that the pope had written on Oct. 28. “He bestowed’ “his blessing on the family,” she’ said. “He sent a beautiful golden’ cross,”
The Lords visited the family and brought the letter and cross’ as a gift for the family. Although , the family wasn’t Catholic, the father called John Paul II “my pope,” Lord said. “From that time on, he used to go into the back yard early in the morning, and we would take bread and he would take grape juice and he’d. do a Mass,” she said. “That's how the pope touched lives;’ she said “Catholic means universal, and he was truly universal”
Like many Catholics, the Lords “have mixed feelings,” Penny Lord said
“I know that every time I pass his picture in the hall I will cry, because he was so alive. But another part of me feels like resurrection,” she said “I know he has no more pain.”
If ever a time in the history of mankind on this Earth we needed heroes, now is that time.
We have recently been making heroes out of sports figures, Hollywood stars and political figures and boy have they let us down. Their personal lives have revealed people that we would never want our children to emulate.
Our Ministry has been promoting many Saints and Blesseds as heroes and they certainly have all the qualifications to be heroes.
Now Bob and Penny would like you to focus on some of the Popes that led the world in hard times. These Church leaders have the stuff of heroes.
The World is experiencing hard times now and the accounts of these Popes during their Pontificates reveal how God uses good people to accomplish miracles when the times require extraordinary effort.
Bob and Penny have often used the phrase, "In times of crisis God raises up Saints and Blesseds to do His work and sends Miracles as necessary." So many of the lives of the Saints reveal God's hand in the mix. And certainly, He would also call upon and use the Successor of Peter, our Popes for those same purposes.
When you study these Popes and see how God used them to prevent a war or heal a world beset by wars, it becomes evident that God is truly in charge. Furthermore, by studying them, and the history of the past crises we can more clearly see God's Hand in our times with our Pope Benedict XVI.
We believe the world is on a precipice of persecution and impoverishment.
What can we do to stop it? We can study the past for clues and instances of how God has worked in the past and educate ourselves to the direction we may be headed and prepare for it.
I certainly recommend you purchase a copy of Bob and Penny's latest book,, "Heroes - Popes in Hard Times.
See page 12 of this Newletter to order.
This is our first double issue. Spiraling costs have forced us to do this.
We added four pages of articles and we hope you enjoy the extra reading.
Finally, we are approaching November and the election of our next President.
I highly suggest you read the platforms of the two parties running in that election and make your decision based on what those parties will fight for.
If one party is fighting for a platform that is against Church teaching and freedom of Religion then you must not support that party.
And please continue to pray for our Ministry.
These are trying times and with our loving help we are up to the challenge, and we know God will see us through.
God Bless you.
Pope of Peace during World War I, the “Suicide of Europe”
Family, as you’ve read in previous chapters, the Lord has given us so many heroes in the Popes who have defended our Church down through the ages. In the Twentieth Century alone, there have been a great number who have done battle with the powers of hell. Some have won the battles; others seemingly lost. But as we know, God is in charge. He always makes things right. Perhaps not immediately, but He does turn things around.
The Pope we’re bringing you now is Pope Benedict XV who reigned from 1914-1922. There are so many facets to this Pope of the First World War, who served only seven years, the bulk of his term having to do directly with the war, or the aftermath of the war. Pope Benedict XV was ignored, ridiculed, and copied by the powers of Europe during the war, and after it was over. His Papal Peace Note of 1917 was rejected and denigrated by our own President Woodrow Wilson and then ultimately copied and made his own by Wilson in the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. He was elected Pope on September 3, 1914, just a month after World War I was declared. And he had only been a Cardinal for three months before his election to the Papacy. Talk about out of the frying pan into the fire!!
But we must begin at the beginning. He was born Giacomo della Chiesa in Pegli, a suburb of Genoa of the aristocracy of The House of Savoy in November 1854. At the time of his birth, Pegli was in the kingdom of Sardinia. It was part of the House of Savoy. This was after Napoleon’s rule in Italy had ended, but before the Unification of Italy under Victor Emmanuel II in 1861. So for all intents and purposes, he was part of the upper crust of the Piedmont section of Italy.
Giacomo was a very spiritual boy. He had a desire to enter the priesthood from an early age. However, his family did not think that was a good choice for their son, especially after the Unification of Italy after which Italy became very anti-Catholic. This took place when he was only a child of 7 years old. His father led him in the direction of law which would prove to be helpful in his role as Pontiff of the Church, especially having to deal with the powers of Europe. He was a very slight boy, never having reached a normal height. (Even as Pope, he was called il Picollito, the small one) Possibly because of his shortness, Giacomo went out of his way to be a great achiever. He was determined to please his father in his studies. He received his doctorate in law at 21 years old, in 1875.
Though he worked hard to excel in his study of law, mostly to please his father, he still had an overpowering desire to enter the priesthood. Having achieved his law degree, and being of legal age, he renewed his request to his father to enter a seminary to become a priest. His father was hard-pressed to refuse him when he asked permission. And although he was not at all happy about his son choosing that life, which the father believed was beneath the family’s station, he grudgingly gave his consent, conditionally. Giacomo had to study in Rome, rather than Genoa. His father could just imagine the embarrassment his family would suffer if his son spent his life as a village priest in a small farming community in Italy. He should not have been concerned. God was moving everything into place. He had great plans for Giacomo. This demand of his father’s turned out to be a gift from the Holy Spirit. It was exactly the right move for Giacomo.
He entered a prestigious school in Rome, the Collegio Capranica. This was an institute started by Cardinal Capranica in 1457 for the express purpose of training some of the best minds in the Church. Many prominent bishops and cardinals were alumni, as well as Pope Benedict XV (Giacomo della Chiesa) and subsequently Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli). He spent his seminary years at a crucial time in the history of the Church. Blessed Pope Pius IX, who had been pontiff for 32 tumultuous years, during which he fought for and lost the Papal States in 1870, and became the first of many popes to go into exile, living out his life inside the Vatican, was waning in strength. He had fought a good fight. He felt betrayed by his people. He was ready for his reward. He passed from this earth in February 1878, the same year that Giacomo was ordained, and was succeeded by Pope Leo XIII, who also reigned for many years, 25, from 1878 to 1903.
After his ordination, Giacomo continued his studies, now at the Pontificate Academy for the Nobility in Rome. He excelled in this school. As a normal part of their curriculum, the students were required to stand up and defend a particular research paper. It was at one of these sessions that he was noticed by an important cardinal in the Church, Cardinal Mariano Rampolla, who took him under his wing. He brought him into the Vatican Diplomatic Service and opened up a position for him in the Diplomatic service in Madrid. Fr. Della Chiesa did exceedingly well in that post, and was able to resolve some territorial issues between Germany and Spain, which could have caused serious problems. Father Giacomo returned to Rome and moved up in ranks as Cardinal Rampolla became the Secretary of State under the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII.
Now you remember we told you that Giacomo’s family, who were high up in the nobility, was never happy about their son becoming a priest. They were not pleased at all when Fr. Giacomo was sent to Spain. This did not seem in the least a way to further his career in the Vatican. Giacomo’s mother, who was very aggressive in many things, but especially in her anxiety over her son’s career, appealed to Cardinal Rampolla many times, feeling that her son was stagnating in the Vatican. Truth be known, he was making great strides in the Diplomatic services of the Vatican. But you know how mothers are. At any rate, Cardinal Rampolla is purported to have made a prophecy. We’re not sure if the following are his actual words, but they went something like “Signora, your son will take only a few steps, but they will be gigantic ones.a
When Pope Leo XIII died in 1903, Cardinal Rampolla was favored to become the new pope. In the conclave, all the votes seemed to be going his way. However, before the final voting, the Cardinal from Poland lowered a bomb on the conclave. Emperor Franz Josef of Austria issued a “veto “or “Jus Exclusivae”b, which, as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, he had the right to do. There was no clear reason why the emperor exercised this right. There are those who claimed that the emperor’s reasoning was that as the Cardinal Secretary of State, Rampolla was too sympathetic towards France in attempt to bring the Catholics in France back to the church after the Church had been virtually banished from France as a result of the French Revolution and Napoleon’s capture of Italy. Austria, who had just been at war with France in the Franco-Prussian war, may have considered Rampolla too soft on the French. All the cardinals protested the action by Franz Josef, but on the next ballot, it seemed like the emperor’s veto took effect. Rampolla had fewer votes, and Cardinal Sartos had more. Eventually, Cardinal Sartos was elected pope and took the name, Pope Pius X. But that’s not the end of the story. One of the first acts by the new pope in his Commisum Nobis was to forbid the Cardinals ever to accept the “Jus Exclusivae.” Some of the language of his Constitution is as follows:
“Wherefore in virtue of holy obedience, under threat of the Divine Judgment, and pain of excommunication….we prohibit the cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, all and single, and likewise the Secretary of the Sacred College of Cardinals, and all others who take part in the conclave, to receive even under the form of a simple desire the office of proposing the veto in whatever manner, either by wiring or by word of mouth…” and it goes on. But you get the drift of his message.
However, Cardinal Rampolla lost his position as Secretary of State, and took on unimportant roles in the Church of Rome until his death in 1913. Fr. Giacomo della Chiesa maintained his position in the Vatican as secretary to the new Secretary of State, Cardinal Merry del Val. But his position became difficult in his position as secretary to Merry del Val because of his strong association with Cardinal Rampolla. And so in April 1907, it was decided that he would return to Madrid as Papal Nuncio. However, Pope Pius X turned all that around, took him out of the diplomatic corps, and made him the Archbishop of Bologna in December of 1907. Not much is known why the great switch by Pope Pius X, from April to December of the same year, but it is recorded that on the day of Giacomo’s consecration to Archbishop, the Pope was very friendly with him and spent much time that day and the next with his family. You may recall we mentioned early on in this biography that Giacomo’s mother was a very ambitious woman, and did not want her son to languish in the Vatican. This move brought him to the front lines of the Church. Bologna was and is a very important archdiocese of the Church. Being archbishop of Bologna could be very helpful to the career of a priest like Giacomo della Chiesa, especially considering his family’s ambition for him.
The norm when a religious is promoted to the rank of prelate of an archdiocese, he is usually raised to the rank of Cardinal within a short period of time. Archbishop della Chiesa’s predecessor, Cardinal Svampa, held the title of Cardinal. This did not happen in the case of Archbishop Della Chiesa. He was made to wait seven years after having been given the archdiocese of Bologna before he was made a cardinal. There were many rumors as to why this may have been. Some said that it was because of his association with Cardinal Rampolla. Perhaps Pope Pius X did not want two cardinals who were so simpatico in the College of Cardinals. Then there were the rumors floating around that Pope Pius X and his Secretary of State, Cardinal Merry Del Val did not trust Della Chiesa. They may have wanted him as far from the Vatican as possible. Whatever the case, Cardinal Rampolla died in December, 1913, and Giacomo della Chiesa was raised to the rank of Cardinal in May 1914, which may have given credence to the rumor that Pope Pius X and Cardinal Merry Del Val did not want two cardinals like Cardinal Rampolla in the College of Cardinals at the same time. However, our future Pope Benedict XV did not want to involve himself in what could have been considered politics of the Vatican. He had a job to do.
Archbishop della Chiesa threw himself into his job as shepherd of some 700,000 souls. He made a point of visiting every parish in his diocese, very often having to depend on horseback as his means of transportations. Some of these parishes were in little mountain towns, which could not be reached by automobile. He preached in all of his visits. He instilled the need for education in his priests and in his flock. One of his pet projects was the completion of a Byzantine Church, the Church of the Sacred Heart. It had been begun by his predecessor Cardinal Domenico Svampa in 1901, but was not completed when he died in 1907. Archbishop della Chiesa made a point to complete the church as beautifully as Cardinal Svampa had envisioned it. In 1912, when it was opened to the public, the body of Cardinal Svampa was transferred from his resting place, and placed in a beautiful sarcophagus which Archbishop della Chiesa had built. It was one of the great joys of his time in Bologna, seeing that church completed.
The end of the Beginning
The great awaited day for Archbishop della Chiesa, or so he thought, was the auspicious occasion in which he was to be raised to the College of Cardinals. He left Bologna amidst great shouts of joy from the faithful there, and made his way to Rome for the celebration which was to be held on May 25, 1914 at the Vatican. His whole family was present as Pope Pius X, with all the pomp and ceremony of bringing a member into the brotherhood of Cardinals, embraced his fellow Cardinal. Neither knew what the Lord had planned for the Papacy in the next three months. Cardinal della Chiesa tried to return to Bologna after the ceremony, but was blocked by an anti-Catholic group of rioters in central Italy, which made it necessary for him to remain in Rome.
Our dear Pope Pius X, soon to be canonized Pope St. Pius X, left this world on August 20, 1914. He was 79 years old. He had suffered a heart attack the year before, which left him in poor health. The final blow came on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1914. He suffered an illness from which he did not recover. It was a shock to the whole world, but especially the newly installed Cardinal della Chiesa. He had to remain in Rome for the period of lying in state of Pope Pius X and his funeral Mass. The Conclave began twelve days after his death on August 31, 1914.
There were many special aspects to this conclave. For one thing, it was the first conclave since medieval times that the shadow of a European monarch did not hang over their heads. Ironically, it was the Pope who had just died, Pius X who forbade any outside interference in the Papal Election, under pain of Excommunication. As we mentioned, he, himself was elected after a veto had been thrown into the papal conclave of 1903 by Franz Josef of Austria.
The second and more imminent problem which faced the Church was the World War which had begun only a month before. Out of the 57 cardinals present at the conclave, 55 were European. One was from Latin America, and one from North America. There were French and German, who were at war with each other, as well as Italian, Spanish and English, all part of the hostilities. It was a very difficult conclave. While the cardinals tried to focus on various aspects of the Church, such as who would follow in Pope Pius X’s anti-modernist campaign, or who would take a more liberal stance, and had different priorities than Pius X, foremost in their minds was who was going to be a Pope who would not favor one country over another in the war, a Pope who could lead the Church through what they all knew would be a horrendous period of time.
A logical question would be, “Why did the papal conclave elect someone with so little experience in these matters?” True, Cardinal Giacomo della Chiesa had been Archbishop of Bologna for seven years prior to being raised to the position of Cardinal. But we’re talking about a man who will be representing the Catholic Church going nose to nose with the powers of Europe and the United States, most of whom were not friendly with the Church. He had two outstanding traits which had been exhibited during his career as a bishop and cardinal. He had a strong training in law, and had shown great prowess from his years in the Diplomatic Corps, both of which would prove invaluable in his papacy. But the attribute the Cardinals in the papal conclave saw in Cardinal Giacomo della Chiesa was his strong stand of neutrality. He would not favor either side in the war. As we have said, the papal conclave consisted of Cardinals from all over Europe. They were from France and Britain, who were at war with Germany and Austria-Hungary. The Pope could not waiver in any direction in his sympathies towards one side or the other. It would debilitate the Vatican’s ability to negotiate or even be a credible factor in peace efforts. As Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna, when the war broke out; Della Chiesa vowed his neutrality from the pulpit to the people of Bologna. Never thinking that it would be tested on the world stage, he declared boldly that he would never take sides in the issue. He pleaded with his flock to consider the combatants as brothers and sisters.
Our Pope Benedict XV was elected Pope on September 3, 1914, in one of the shortest conclaves in history. There were a total of ten ballots in four days. He was only voted in by one vote. There was a statute that if the election were determined by only one vote, the ballots had to be checked to be sure that the cardinal elected had not voted for himself. Cardinal Merry Del Val, who had been Secretary of State under Pope Pius X, and had taken the position from Cardinal Rampolla, a dear friend of the new pope, had insisted on the tally. It was determined that Cardinal della Chiesa had not voted for himself. The election was considered official. When all the cardinals embraced the new pope, he said to Cardinal Merry del Val “The Stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”, referring to his losing his position as secretary to the Secretary of State when Cardinal Merry del Val took the position from Cardinal Rampolla. To which Cardinal Del Val replied, “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”c In his papacy, Pope Benedict XV relieved Cardinal Merry Del Val from his position as Secretary of State. He replaced him with Cardinal Pietro Gasparri who fought the great battle of World War I with His Holiness.
The above article was taken from Bob and Penny Lord's latest book, "Heroes - Popes in Hard Times"
See http://bobandpennylord.com/popes.htm to pre-order this special book and have Bob and Penny personlize it for you.
Before St. Francis of Assisi died, he established a Franciscan Monastery in Loreto, Italy. At the time, there was nothing in this little town off the Adriatic Coast. When his followers, asked why, he replied, “Before the end of this century, Loreto will be the holiest place on earth.”
Loreto was later declared “The Holiest Place on Earth,” because the House which is inside the great Basilica of Loreto, is the House of the Annunciation, where our dear Mother Mary was told by the Angel Gabriel that she would be the Mother of God, and through her Yes, Incarnation came about, God became Man, we were joined to the Divine and, through Him, the gates of Heaven were opened to us.
This is the Holy House of Nazareth, the Home of the Holy Family during Jesus’ Lifetime - where He grew up, where He was obedient to His Mother Mary and foster father Joseph, where He may have helped Joseph with his carpentry work, where Little Jesus surely must have helped Mary do household chores. If we dare to dream, we can see ourselves sitting down with the Holy Family, breaking bread with Them. If we look with the eyes of our hearts, we can see Mother Mary holding the Baby Jesus in her arms, rocking Him to sleep with a sweet melody. Jesus, did Your foster father, St. Joseph, die in Your Arms here? So much happened to the Holy Family in this House in Nazareth, and has continued to happen to us, the children of the Holy Family, for the last 800 years, only now in Italy.
The question that is most natural to ask is, What is the Holy House of Nazareth doing in Italy? We go back in time to the late 13th century. The Saracens were invading all the Sacred Shrines in the Holy Land, and destroying them, trying to wipe out any vestige of Jesus on earth. Before they could attack the Holy House, it was lifted up by Angels and carried over the sea, to Croatia, Yugoslavia, to the city of Tersatto. One morning, the local people were surprised when they awakened to the presence of a house in a wasteland, upon which, the day before, there had been nothing. Inside this modest little house was a church, with an altar, and an ebony statue of Our Lady and the Child Jesus. The villagers were completely awestruck and confused, until Our Lady appeared to the local Parish priest, and explained:
“Know that the house which has been brought up of late to your land, is the same in which I was born and brought up. Here, at the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel, I conceived the Creator of all things. Here the Word of the Eternal Father became Man. The altar which was brought with this house was consecrated by Peter, Prince of the Apostles. This house has come from Nazareth to your shores by the Power of God, of Whom nothing is impossible. And now, in order that you may bear testimony to all these things, be healed. Your sudden and unexpected recovery shall confirm the truth of what I have declared to you.”
The priest, who had suffered for years from an illness, was cured. He immediately told the villagers, and word of this spread throughout the countryside. A church was built over the house to protect it from the elements, and pilgrimages began to come to the shrine of the Holy House of Nazareth. However, this sacred house was not to last long in their midst. Three years after the house appeared, it disappeared. Shepherds in Loreto, across the Adriatic Sea from Tersatto, reported seeing a house in the air, being carried by Angels across the Sea. It traveled inland some four miles, and landed into a wooded area. Saddened by their loss, they built a small church, fashioned after the Holy House, on a hill near where the original one had stood, and placed an inscription reading:
“The Holy House of the Blessed Virgin came from Nazareth to Tersatto on the 10th day of May, in the year 1291, and left the 10th of December, 1294.”
The Holy House moved three times in one year, after it arrived in Italy. The first location was in a wooded area. After the news of it spread, many people came on pilgrimage to the house. But so did bandits. People were being waylaid, robbed, and beaten. Pilgrims stopped coming, and the house quickly fell into disrepair. It left the area. It was lifted again, and set down by the angels on a small hill nearby, on land owned by two brothers, who immediately began fighting over the ownership of the House. The Angels moved the House a third time, to another hill, in the middle of a road, where it has rested for the last 700 years.
The people didn’t know anything about the origin of the house. They could see it had been used as a church, and it had come to them under miraculous circumstances, but that was it. Then, Our Lady appeared to Paul of the Woods, a hermit who had a reputation of being very holy, . She explained the origin to him, and concluded as follows:
“It remained in the city of Nazareth, to the great consolation of Christians, until, by the permission of God, those who reverenced this Holy House were expelled from the city by the arms of infidels. And since no honour was any longer paid to it, and it was in evident danger of being profaned by the infidels in contempt of the Christian Name, it seemed good to my Beloved Son to translate it from Nazareth to Illiria by the hands of angels, and afterwards,to remove it to your land.”
Paul of the Woods took the story to the people of Recanati, who sent a group of 16 men, first to Tersatto, and then to Nazareth, to check out the authenticity of the House. They took all the measurements and full details of the house with them. After a period of about six months, they returned, and reported that the House in their midst measured the exact dimensions of the foundation left in Nazareth and the facsimile built in Tersatto. They concluded that the clay stones and soil used for the House came from Nazareth. They found pollen which was not only from Nazareth but also Tersatto, definitively affirming the authenticity of the House.
Pilgrims flocked to The Holy House. A traffic problem developed. There was only one door to the house. Pilgrims would get crushed trying to get out, as others pushed their way in. Pope Clement VII decided to close the original door, and have three doors built, two directly across from each other, and one in back of the altar. This would facilitate the flow of traffic in and out of the Holy House. The Pope commissioned one of the famous architects of the time.
This architect felt the task to be of such importance, he personally began the work. The only problem we have here is that apparently no one asked permission of Our Lady to break through the walls; not the Pope, nor the renowned architect. So when he took his hammer and struck the wall, his hand withered, and he began trembling convulsively. He had to be carried away, and it took eight hours before he was back to normal. Needless to say, he gave up the job. No amount of coaxing from the Pope could get him to change his mind.
When the situation looked the dimmest, a humble cleric named Ventura Barino volunteered to do the job. He, however, went about it slightly differently than his predecessor. He and his workmen fasted and prayed for three days before attempting to touch the walls. Then, on the third day, Barino went up to the wall, fell to his knees and prayed to Our Lady. He said to her, in effect:
“Dear Lady, I’m innocent. It’s not really me striking this wall, but the Pope, Clement VII. He’s doing this so that your Holy House will be more accessible to those people who would venerate you here. So, if you are not happy with this task we are about to undertake, I would really appreciate it if you would take it up with the Pope, and not me.”
And with that, he and his men began the remodeling of the Holy House, which exists to this day.
A Bishop from Portugal visited the Shrine at Loreto, and thought it would be a terrific idea to take a stone out of the wall, bring it back to Portugal, and use the stone as a relic in one of his churches, in honor of Our Lady of Loreto. The priests at the shrine didn’t think it was such a good idea, and refused to let the Bishop take the stone. When he got back to Rome, he got permission from the Pope Pius IV. His secretary, with the permission of the Pope, went to Loreto and removed the stone. The local priests although upset, had no recourse but to follow the orders of the Pope. They would not, however, help the Bishop’s secretary remove the stone, and so he had to do it by himself. When he arrived at Trent, where the Bishop was attending the Council, the stone was placed in a silver case for it’s journey to Portugal.
All of a sudden, the bishop was taken mysteriously ill. The doctors could not diagnose the problem, but they all concurred he was dying. The bishop asked the sisters in the convent at Trent to pray for his recovery. Two days after they began, the Bishop received a message from the convent. “Our lady says, if the Bishop wishes to recover, let him restore to the Virgin of Loreto what he had taken away.” The Bishop responded immediately, knowing this had to be from the Blessed Mother, because no one in Trent knew anything about the stone. The secretary was dispatched back to Loreto, with the stone. As he drew closer to the Holy House, the bishop’s health and strength began to increase. At the very moment, the stone was replaced in the wall, the bishop was completely healed. As a result of this, the bishop sent a letter to the Governor of Loreto, declaring that anyone removing a stone from the Holy House would suffer excommunication from Mother Church. His letter is still on file in the archives at Loreto.
There are so many miracles attributed to the Holy House of Loreto, they had to stop recording them. Cardinals, who later became Popes, have attested to personal cures and apparitions by Our Lady to them at the shrine at Loreto. The shrine has been visited by more than 200 Saints, including St. Therese of Lisieux, St. John Neumann, St. Maxmilian Kolbe, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, and many others. All the Popes of this century have prayed at the shrine. Pope John XXIII came here the day before the opening of Vatican II, prayed, offered Mass, and placed the Council under Our Lady’s guidance and protection. Pope John Paul II has visited the Holy House several times, leaving His Black Madonna a golden rose.
Loreto is one of those Shrines of Mary that keeps calling us back. We can’t wait to return. You can spend time there. You can feel the Presence of the Holy Family in that little House. We pray the Lord give you the gift of a lifetime with a visit to Mary at Loreto. But should this not be possible and you would want to venerate Our Lady of Loreto in the United States, we have brought a replica of the statue of Our Lady from the Holy House back to Arkansas! On a pilgrimage to Italy, the Rector of the Basilica of the Holy House of Loreto, consecrated a Statue of Our Lady of Loreto, an exact replica of the statue that reigns above the Altar in Loreto, Italy. At that time, he also blessed the Holy House we built in Arkansas and gave us a sacred stone to place inside the Holy House. This stone is part of the wall which was originally built covering the Holy House, which was later replaced by the marble facade which covers it, today.
Our Lady has come to this Continent, this holy land made sacred by the blood of Martyrs. It had appeared that the serpent had taken over this land, some have called the Garden of Eden, that once again the children of God had fallen under the spell of the “slimy one” and like our first parents would be seriously chastised. But we, in our Ministry never gave up on our nation. We prayed, and we asked God for a sign! Just as Jesus and Mary are the new Adam and Eve, then we are called to reclaim our country back to God, under Whom she was founded. And how best can we do it? Through the Daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God the Son and the Spouse of God the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary most Holy. So, the word we received was to build the Holy House here in the United States! Here, prayers will go up for American families in the United States, for our Mexican cousins to the south. and our Canadian cousins to the north. Our Lady has come once again, to reclaim this country, consecrated to Her Immaculate Conception, this continent first evangelized for God. Our Lord will listen to His Mother, as He did at Cana. Pray to Him through His Mother. He will show that the God of Miracles is still involved with His children, and that this loyal and faithful loving God still cares!
Family, we’re so excited to bring you the life of this spcial Saint. She could easily be called the Saint of Married Couples, and consequently Saint of the Family.
But let us go back to our first encounter with Blessed Elizabeth Canori Mora. When we made our television program on Blessed. Anna Maria Taigi, and wrote about her in our book, Visionaries, Mystics and Stigmatists, little did we realize the Lord was pointing us toward yet another woman, another model for today and, as with Bl. Anna Maria, for centuries to come. Looking around the relics and artifacts of Bl. Anna Maria, we discovered another member of the Third Order of the Trinitarians - Blessed Elizabeth Canori Mora. Here in this museum were relics of yet another Blessed! We were told she was a friend and spiritual sister of Bld. Anna Maria Taigi. Absorbed with bringing our story of our beloved Bld. Anna Maria Taigi, we promised ourselves we would dig deeper and deeper into the life of this yet priceless treasure!
There is a bust of Blessed Elizabeth which seemed to call out to me, every time we brought pilgrims to visit the museum and shrine of Bld. Anna Maria Taigi. We discovered she was a true Romano, born and raised in the Eternal City on via Tor dei Conti, very close to the Coliseum. She was born in 1774, of a very spiritual family, of the nobility. She was raised in the finest schools. As a child, her parents would promenade through the streets of Rome with her and her sister, Benedetta. The children were thrilled at the awe and wonderful sights of the city.
But then, the family experienced hard times due to crop failures, poor livestock, and the like. As their situation went from comfortable wealth to dire poverty in a short time, she and her sister were sent to Spoleto to live with relatives. For a time as a young girl, Bl. Elizabeth and her sister Benedetta were sent to Cascia, to attend school with the nuns of the order of St. Rita of Cascia. The Augustinian nuns there said she showed a great deal of intelligence and spirituality. While studying with the nuns at Cascia, her sister Benedetta made the acquaintance of a nun from the Augustinian monastery of St. Clare of Montefalco, and developed a relationship with her which continued after the girls returned to Rome.
Bl. Elizabeth grew into a beautiful young woman. On her return to Rome, she found herself involved with the social life of the city. While she never compromised her morals or religious values, she did enjoy that part of her life. While the family had lost their financial position, they never lost their social standing in the community. It was in this atmosphere that she met Christopher Mora, son of a well-known doctor. Christopher was a lawyer. He was handsome and gallant! He swept her off her feet and they were married when she was 22 years old in 1796.
The honeymoon did not last long. Christopher never stopped being what he had been before he met Elizabeth, a playboy. He continued to flirt with young women. He met and began an adulterous affair with another woman. He neglected his family and his business, to the extent he wound up putting his whole family into debt, close to poverty.
Elizabeth and Christopher had four girls, two of which died in childbirth, and of the other two, Marianna, the oldest, married in 1825, the year of her mother Elizabeth’s death, and died eight years later. The youngest surviving girl, Maria Lucina, entered the monastery the month after her mother died, and became a nun in the order of St. Philip Neri. She took the name, Sister Maria Giuseppa of the Most Holy Trinity, in honor of her mother, who had become a third order Trinitarian.
Christopher treated Elizabeth and the children horribly. He abused them, and brought their financial situation to the point of bankruptcy. All her friends advised her to leave him and begin a new life. It was at this low point in her life, where she experienced such suffering, that the Lord put the Trinitarians, an order dedicated to the Holy Trinity, in her path. They aided her in her suffering. Through the spiritual aid they provided her, she made a commitment to be faithful to her unfaithful husband and pray for his conversion. She devoted her life to this mission. When their financial situation became dim, she did everything in her power to help them survive. She took on work to help support her family, mostly sewing. This was another thing she had in common with Anna Maria Taigi.
It was during this time that the two women met in the Church of San Carlino, which had become very important to Elizabeth. She met Anna Maria at the funeral of Elizabeth’s father. It is said that the two women went to the Scala Sancta, the Holy Steps where Jesus climbed to be condemned to death by Pontius Pilate. They went up the steps on their knees praying for the soul of Elizabeth’s father. They developed a friendship which lasted throughout the lives of the two friends. They would often walk from the Church of San Carlino in Quattro Fontane (Four Fountains), near the Presidential Palace, to the Church of St. Paul outside the Walls, a distance of some 6 kilometers, or 4 miles. Under normal conditions, it would take about an hour and a half to walk. But they walked barefoot all the way. When they arrived at the Church of St. Paul Outside the Walls, they encircled the Church, praying with each step they took. Word soon got out! Many people reached out to Bld. Elizabeth for help. Her home became a headquarters for those in need of physical, spiritual and emotional help.
It was during this time that she began to have visions, many of them regarding Pope Pius VII, who was having major problems with Napoleon Bonaparte, to the point of being imprisoned by the French monarch. Elizabeth had other visions, mostly about the Church and the Pope.
On March 22nd, 1814, Blessed Elizabeth was praying for Pope Pius VII, when she suddenly had a vision of the Holy Father being attacked by a pack of “wolves”. During this vision, she saw the Pope “surrounded by wolves who plotted to betray him… I saw the Sanhedrin of wolves which surrounded the Pope, and two angels weeping… when I asked them why they were sad and lamenting, looking upon Rome with eyes full of compassion they responded, ‘Wretched city, ungrateful people, the justice of God will chastise you”
The two angels in this vision bring to mind the two angels of the Third Secret of Fatima, who gather the blood of the martyrs during the Great Tribulation. “Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium (holy water font) in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.”
Bl. Elizabeth continued receiving private revelations concerning the plight of the Pope, and on 16th Jan, 1815, she stated that angels showed her “many ecclesiastics who persecute Jesus Crucified and His holy Gospel under the guise of doing good… Like furious wolves they scheme to pull the Church leader down from his throne.” Then she was allowed to see the terrible indignation these wolves aroused in God. “In terror I saw the blazing lightning bolts of Divine Justice fall about me. I saw buildings collapsing in ruins. Cities, regions and the whole world fell into chaos. One heard nothing but countless weak voices calling out for mercy. Countless people will be killed. I saw that God was extremely angry with those who persecute Him. His omnipotent hands were holding bolts of lightning, His face was resplendent with indignation and His gaze alone was enough to incinerate the whole world.”
This part of Bl. Elizabeth’s vision, with a vision of lightning bolts and Divine Justice recalls various biblical passages related to the Second Coming of Christ:
For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matt 24:27-28) Excerpt from unveiling theApocalypse.blogspot.com
She prayed for the Pope’s well-being. He was eventually freed when Napoleon lost power in 1814, but still had problems with the Church of Rome for the rest of his life.
She took great care to help those who had problems of a family nature. She had consecrated her life to the conversion of her husband and to the well-being of her family. She continued to do that, as well, for those who sought out her help. But she made a point with all she helped, to make Jesus, the beloved Savior of Nazareth, the foundation of the family.
Elizabeth found solace and comfort at the Church of San Carlino. Whenever she would move from apartment-to-apartment, she would move closer to the church. The last place she lived prior to her death was only across the street from the church. She had embraced the Trinitarians, and became a third order Trinitarian. She was known to be a very holy lady to all the priests and parishioners of San Carlino. Elizabeth suffered from illness all her life, but she never let her illnesses slow her down. Finally, the Lord called her Home on February 5, 1825 while being cared for by her two daughters. She prophesied to her husband that he would be converted, become a priest, and one day celebrate Mass in her honor. He laughed at the time, because he was still a sinner. However, a time would come after her death when he would convert, enter a seminary and eventually become a priest. And yes, as she predicted, he celebrated Mass for his wife, whom he now believed was a Saint. He died in the odor of sanctity.
When she died, she was buried in the Church of San Carlino. She was laid out for three days at the church and throngs of people came to pay their last respects to her. She was buried in the Church, and after her Beatification, her body was brought up to a special chapel in the church where it remains to this day.
Official judgment of the writings of Blessed Elizabeth.
On May 11, 1990, the ecclesiastical censor entrusted by the Holy See with the examination of the manuscripts of Blessed Elizabeth Canori Mora issued his formal judgment. He affirms, “In all the writings of the Servant of God Elizabeth Canori Mora there is nothing contrary to the Faith and good customs, nor is therein encountered any altered or deviant doctrine, or doctrine foreign to the common and customary sentiment of Holy Mother Church.”
He does, however, observe that objections might be made as regards “certain visions and revelations that refer in particular to greater and lesser prelates of Rome, which include rather gloomy descriptions and are of such dimensions that they would seem more suited to cause scandal to the faithful and to offend pious ears.”
In order to dismiss this eventual objection, the ecclesiastical censor clarifies, among other things, that “lamentations of this kind, at times expressed in even more vibrant language, are nothing new in the writings of the Servants of God in which, if it be sad to witness corruption among the people, it is even more deplorable to witness it among the ministers of the sanctuary.”
After explaining how difficult it would be to attempt to prove the visions of Blessed Elizabeth false and how easy to show their authenticity, he concludes, “The words of the Servant of God, rather than being offensive to the ears of the pious, ought to be considered very useful, especially to priests who read them.”
The zealous censor also expressed his desire
that “the autobiography of
our Venerable Servant of God might be published as soon as is possible
and convenient,” for these pages “will not fail to be equally
advantageous to many souls of good disposition not inclined to slight
the marvels of God in his saints.” (From Sacra Ritum
et canonizationis Ven. Servae Dei Elizabeth Canori Mora.
Rome: Typographia in Instituo Pii IX, 1914.)
Pope John Paul II spoke of Blessed Elizabeth in these words:
“Today we are also raising two Italian women to the honors of the altar: Gianna Beretta Molla and Elizabeth Canori Mora. Women of heroic love; both exemplary wives and mothers, who gave dedicated witness to the demanding values of the Gospel in daily life.
“For her part Elizabeth Canori Mora, amidst a great many marital difficulties, showed total fidelity to the commitment she had made in the sacrament of marriage, and to the responsibility stemming from it. Constant in prayer and in her heroic dedication to her family, she was able to rear her children as Christians and succeeded in converting her husband.
“Taking these two women as models of Christian perfection, we would like to pay homage to all brave mothers who dedicate themselves to their own family without reserve, who suffer in giving birth to their children and who are ready to make any effort, to face any sacrifice, in order to pass on to them the best of themselves.”
If there was ever a time for us to be aware of Our Lady with us, it’s now beyond a shadow of a doubt. We have written of Our Lady, under the title Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, being declared in 1846, Patroness of the United States. Now we would like to share Her presence, in our country, as La Conquistadora, for 400 years! We are not alone! She is with us! My brothers and sisters, we want to share with you a gift we were given, a witness to a love and devotion to Our Lady. We were able to be part of a people, even for a short time, who, from generation to generation, have kept alive a powerful love and devotion to Our Lady; and it is right here in our own country. We have been to Shrines around the world. But we have never seen any tribute paid to Our Lady in the world surpassing the one we experienced in New Mexico, when we visited the city of Santa Fe (Holy Faith), nestled against the Sierra de la Sangre de Cristo (Mountains of the Blood of Christ). In the Cathedral of St. Francis, there is a statue of Our Lady, called La Conquistadora, which has captured the hearts and souls of the people there for almost 400 years. She has been venerated longer than any other image of Our Lady in the United States. We would like to include this editorial from the Albuquerque Journal, dated July 14, 1992:
“A Newer, Truer Name
“In more than 350 years of residency in Santa Fe, she has been known by several names - Our Lady of the Assumption, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary and La Conquistadora.
“In this 500th year since Columbus planted the Spanish flag in the Americas, the icon of the Virgin Mary and relic of Spanish Catholicism has a new and truer name: Our Lady of Peace.
“It is said that `La Conquistadora’ never held any connotation of force. The wooden statue, carried into retreat during the Pueblo Revolt in 1680 and back across the Jornada del Muerto (Day of the Dead) in 1692, was no battering ram for the one true Faith and the rest of a conquering culture. Instead she was a symbol of the power of Christian love to conquer the souls of unbelievers.”
Our Lady comes to America
Our Lady’s voyage to the New World began somewhere around 1600. Researchers have said the actual where and when the statue was made was in the 1400’s in Spain. To the best of our knowledge, it was most likely brought over to Mexico by the Spanish Franciscans, or the Spanish Conquistadors around the end of the Sixteenth Century. Before departing from Mexico City, Our Lady’s retinue of Conquistadors and Franciscan Friars knelt before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe (who had appeared to St. Juan Diego, an Indian in 1531), and asked Her to bless their voyage and new evangelization to the north. The statue of Our Lady was brought to Santa Fe, New Mexico by a Franciscan Priest, Fr. Alonso de Benavides in 1625, to be placed in the first parish church in New Mexico. As the little wooden carved statue resembled Our Lady of the Assumption, it was named appropriately, Our Lady of the Assumption. Things went well for the little community for a time. The local people loved their Lady of the Assumption. Even the Indians held a great respect for the devotion to Our Lady, with wild Apache chieftains, trading with the Spaniards, entering the Chapel to see the statue, often resulting in them inquiring about the Faith. But while the Church and the devotion to the Lady were strong, settlers in the territory of New Mexico and Santa Fe had become victims of absentee management. The government seats were in Mexico City, or Spain. The outlying territories, of which Santa Fe was one, were left to the mercy of appointed Governors, and there was not a lot of mercy going around from them.
The Governors were not all committed to building a community, and/or promulgating the Faith, as were the original Spanish settlers of the territory. Evil and greed reared its ugly face, and the Indians felt the sting worse than anyone else. Father Benavides wrote that a decadent Governor rounded up some rival Indians and commissioned them to kill those chieftains who, upon viewing the statue of Our Lady, had become attracted to the Faith. Not only that, to give you some idea of where their hearts and souls were, another Governor falsely accused a man of sedition and had him hung, all because he had devoted too much time with the Sodality and the Church. This man is just one of the many martyrs, who died for the Faith that we might have a Church here in the United States.
Santa Fe was bombarded by enemy tribes, attacking the Spanish settlers and the Pueblo Indians, who had converted. But they never gave up hope that Our Lady would see them through. This never-ending love went from father to son and mother to daughter, and down the line. A new generation grew up, with them carrying on the ongoing faithful devotion, of the former generation, to Our Lady. Only they now renamed the Parish Church, formerly Our Lady of the Assumption, Our Lady of the Conception, meaning the Immaculate Conception. As there was a great belief in Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception in Spain, all the faithful Spanish Catholics of New Mexico embraced the new title.
The Pueblo Indians revolt
Enough is enough! After years of mistreatment at the hands of various unscrupulous Governors, the Pueblo Indians revolted in August, 1680. On the 10th of that month, an organized attack was made on the city of Santa Fe and outlying ranches. Trying to wipe out any vestige of all that represented the Spaniards in their midst, they wildly attacked anyone in their path. No one was spared! Twenty one Franciscan Priests were martyred throughout the territory, and are today honored at Martyr’s Hill in Santa Fe. Other people were killed as well, and the rest fled the city. The Church of the Assumption was burned down by the Indians, but not before the faithful risked their lives saving the image of Our Lady of the Rosary. The people just took what they could, in most instances very little, just the clothes on their backs, and fled until they finally found refuge in El Paso, Texas, some three hundred miles away. There they met up with other refugees from the ranches around Santa Fe. They didn’t have much; but they had their lives and they had their Lady.
These dear people were in exile for thirteen long years, from 1680 to 1693. They were the ones who kept the Faith, and kept the morale of the community going. Old people died and children were born during that time. They still held on to the devotion to their Lady, their Conquistadora. She had conquered their hearts and their souls. They had been faithful to Her; She would take care of them. And She did. There were times during those hard years when Our Lord Jesus and their Conquistadora were all they had to hold on to. But they did hold on.
This excerpt comes from Bob and Penny Lord's book, The Many Faces of Mary Book II
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