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Saint Camilus de Lellis


                                                                                             SAINT CAMILUS DE LELLIS’ STORY




Humanly speaking, Camillus was not a likely candidate for sainthood. His mother died when he was a child, his father neglected him, and he grew up with an excessive love for gambling. At 17, he was afflicted with a disease of his leg that remained with him for life. In Rome he entered the San Giacomo Hospital for Incurables as both patient and servant. But was dismissed for quarrelsomeness after nine months. He served in the Venetian army for three years.

Then in the winter of 1574, when he was 24, Camillus gambled away everything he had—savings, weapons, literally down to his shirt. He accepted work at the Capuchin friary at Manfredonia, and was one day so moved by a sermon of the superior that he began a conversion that changed his life. He entered the Capuchin Novitiate but was dismissed because of the apparently incurable sore on his leg. After another stint of service at San Giacomo, he came back to the Capuchins, only to be dismissed again, for the same reason.

Again, back at San Giacomo, his dedication was rewarded by his being made superintendent. Camillus devoted the rest of his life to the care of the sick. Along with Saint John of God he has been named patron of hospitals, nurses, and the sick. With the advice of his friend Saint Philip Neri, he studied for the priesthood and was ordained at the age of 34. Contrary to the advice of his friend, Camillus left San Giacomo and founded a congregation of his own. As superior, he devoted much of his own time to the care of the sick.

Charity was his first concern, but the physical aspects of the hospital also received his diligent attention. Camillus insisted on cleanliness and the technical competence of those who served the sick. The members of his community bound themselves to serve prisoners and persons infected by the plague as well as those dying in private homes. Some of his men were with troops fighting in Hungary and Croatia in 1595, forming the first recorded military field ambulance. In Naples, he and his men went onto the galleys that had plague and were not allowed to land. He discovered that there were people being buried alive, and ordered his brothers to continue the prayers for the dying 15 minutes after apparent death.

Camillus himself suffered the disease of his leg through his life. In his last illness, he left his own bed to see if other patients in the hospital needed help.


Saints are created by God. Parents must indeed nurture the faith in their children; husbands and wives must cooperate to deepen their baptismal grace; friends must support each other. But all human effort is only the dispensing of divine power. We must all try as if everything depended on us. But only the power of God can fulfil the plan of God—to make us like himself.

Saint Camillus de Lellis is the Patron Saint of:



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Our Lady of Zeitoun Egypt

                                                         OUR LADY OF ZEITOUN EGYPT


                                                        REAL IMAGE OF VIRGIN MARY  -  ZAITUN


For more than a year, starting on the eve of Tuesday, April 2, 1968, the Blessed  Holy Virgin Saint Mary, Mother of God, appeared in different forms over the domes of the Coptic Orthodox Church named after Her at Zeitoun, Cairo, Egypt. The late Rev. Father Constantine Moussa was the church priest at the time of these Apparitions. The Apparitions lasted from only a few minutes up to several ours and were sometimes accompanied by luminous heavenly bodies shaped like doves and moving at high speeds. The apparitions were seen by millions of Egyptians and foreigners. Among the witnesses were Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants, Moslems, Jews and non-religious people from all walks of life. The sick were cured and blind persons received their sight, but most importantly large numbers of unbelievers were converted…

The Apparitions were also approved by the local Catholic Patriarch, Cardinal Stephanos I (Stephen I), who stated that the apparitions of our Lady at Zeitoun were beyond any doubt and were seen by many of his trustworthy Coptic Catholic children. Father Dr. Henry Ayrout, the rector of the Catholic Collège de la Sainte Famille (Jesuit order) in Cairo also declared his acceptance of the miraculous apparitions of Virgin Mary, saying that whether Catholic or Orthodox, we are all Her children and She loves us all equally and Her Apparitions at the Zeitoun Coptic Orthodox Church confirmed this notion. Rev. Dr. Ibrahim Said, head of all Protestants and Evangelical Ministries in Egypt at the time of the Apparitions, affirmed that the apparitions were true. Catholic nuns from the Sacré-Coeur order also witnessed the apparitions and sent a detailed report to the Vatican. On the evening of Sunday, April 28, 1968, an envoy from the Vatican arrived, saw the Apparitions, and sent a report to His Holiness Pope Paul VI of Rome.


These continuing appearances have an interesting link: They have all occurred on holy ground: traditional places where the Holy Family stopped along their flight from Herod. At each of these sites, they were welcomed or turned away, and idols fell, the desert bloomed, miracles occurred. Their first stop in Egypt was at Zeitoun and their last, Assuit. As they turned back to retrace their Nile journey, Joseph received his dream to return to Nazareth–at Gabal Dranka.

So, it would seem, Mary has been retracing all the steps of the journey when Her Son first came to His people. Sometimes, along with doves and angels, meteors and strange lights, She has been seen in the company of Her beloved Joseph, Her Sacred Child, and even a lowly little burro. She began at the beginning and is now at the end of the Flight into Egypt where the little Family returned home.

The Coptic Catholic Church, which has built churches or monasteries on each of these holy sites, has approved as authentic all these separate visitations of Our Lady. A fact hard to deny as more and more the clergy themselves have seen Mary and participated in the conversions and miracles.


On the 1st June (24th Bashans) the Church celebrates the anniversary of the Holy Family’s coming to Egypt. It is known that the Holy Family arrived at El Ferma at the north eastern border of Egypt (now the place is named Port Fouad). Then the Holy Family moved on to Tal Basta (the city of Zagazig is located there now)–and arrived there on 24th Bashans. Thus God has blessed our land and all the old Egyptian idols fell to pieces to realize the Book’s statement that: “In that day, shall there be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord” (Isaiah 19:19).

The Virgin sat in the shade of a big tree. Joseph touched the ground with a rod of iron, and fresh water sprang out of the spot. It is said that a man named Kalloum wondered at what he saw. He invited the Holy Family to his house where he used to pray to an idol. That idol fell and was broken into pieces. So, the priests demanded the death of Jesus.

The Holy Family went over to Belbeis and then to Menyat Genah (near the present town of Sammanoud). There, Christ caused a spring of water to appear. A church was built there. It was called Beekha Isous, i.e. Christ’s heel; now it is known as the Monastery of El Maghtas.

The Holy Family then went over to El Natroun Valley. So, God blessed the place and filled it with monasteries and peopled them with monks. There, it is said, the Holy Family was met by two thieves. The first was deeply affected by the light and holiness emanating from the baby Christ’s face. So he persuaded his companion to restore what they had plundered. The Virgin prayed that he might be granted the blessing of repentance. It is the same thief, on Christ’s right, that had been touched by Grace, so he cried out on the throne, “Lord, remember me when you come into thy kingdom.”

The Holy Family then moved on to Ein Shams and El Matterya. Joseph had a stick. Christ planted it. A spring of water came out, and it grew into a tree. El Matterya tree still lives up to the present day, over 2000 years.

The Holy Family passed by the site occupied now by the Church of Abou Serga in Ancient Cairo.

Then the Holy Family moved on to Upper Egypt (near Samalout) passing through El Ashmouneen, and Mount Kiskam and Meir and Mount Drinka (in Assyout). El Moharik Monastery there has an ancient church on the site of the cave in which the Holy Family stayed.


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Saint John Vianney






A man with vision overcomes obstacles and performs deeds that seem impossible. John Vianney was a man with vision: He wanted to become a priest. But he had to overcome his meager formal schooling, which inadequately prepared him for seminary studies.

His failure to comprehend Latin lectures forced him to discontinue. But his vision of being a priest urged him to seek private tutoring. After a lengthy battle with the books, John was ordained.

Situations calling for “impossible” deeds followed him everywhere. As pastor of the parish at Ars, John encountered people who were indifferent and quite comfortable with their style of living. His vision led him through severe fasts and short nights of sleep.

With Catherine Lassagne and Benedicta Lardet, he established La Providence, a home for girls. Only a man of vision could have such trust that God would provide for the spiritual and material needs of all those who came to make La Providence their home.

His work as a confessor is John Vianney’s most remarkable accomplishment. In the winter months he was to spend 11 to 12 hours daily reconciling people with God. In the summer months this time was increased to 16 hours. Unless a man was dedicated to his vision of a priestly vocation, he could not have endured this giving of self day after day.

Many people look forward to retirement and taking it easy, doing the things they always wanted to do but never had the time. But John Vianney had no thoughts of retirement. As his fame spread, more hours were consumed in serving God’s people. Even the few hours he would allow himself for sleep were disturbed frequently by the devil.

Who, but a man with vision, could keep going with ever-increasing strength? In 1929, Pope Pius XI named him the patron of parish priests worldwide.


Indifference toward religion, coupled with a love for material comfort, seem to be common signs of our times. A person from another planet observing us would not likely judge us to be pilgrim people, on our way to somewhere else. John Vianney on the other hand, was a man on a journey, with his goal before him at all times.


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From the journey of the mind to God






From The Journey of the Mind to God, by St. Bonaveture


(Cap. 7, 1. 2. 4. 6: Opera omnia 5, 312  -  313)




Christ is both the way and the door. Christ is the staircase and the vehicle, like the “throne of mercy over the Ark of the Covenant,” and “the mystery hidden from the ages.” A man should turn his full attention to this throne of mercy, and should gaze at him hanging on the cross, full of faith, hope and charity, devoted, full of wonder and joy, marked by gratitude, and open to praise and jubilation. Then such a man will make with Christ a “pasch,” that is, a passing-over. Through the branches of the cross he will pass over the Red Sea, leaving Egypt and entering the desert. There he will taste the hidden manna, and rest with Christ in the sepulchre, as if he were dead to things outside. He will experience, as much as is possible for one who is still living, what was promised to the thief who hung beside Christ: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

For this Passover to be perfect, we must suspend all the operations of the mind and we must transform the peak of our affections, directing them to God alone. This is a sacred mystical experience. It cannot be comprehended by anyone unless he surrenders himself to it; nor can he surrender himself to it unless he longs for it; nor can he long for it unless the Holy Spirit, whom Christ sent into the world, should come and inflame his innermost soul. Hence the Apostle says that this mystical wisdom is revealed by the Holy Spirit.

If you ask how such things can occur, seek the answer in God’s grace, not in doctrine; in the longing of the will, not in the understanding; in the sighs of prayer, not in research; seek the bridegroom not the teacher; God and not man; darkness not daylight; and look not to the light but rather to the raging fire that carries the soul to God with intense fervour and glowing love. The fire is God, and the furnace is in Jerusalem, fired by Christ in the ardour of his loving passion. Only he understood this who said: “My soul chose hanging and my bones death.” Anyone who cherishes this kind of death can see God, for it is certainly true that: “No man can look upon me and live.”

Let us die, then, and enter into the darkness, silencing our anxieties, our passions and all the fantasies of our imagination. Let us pass over with the crucified Christ “from this world to the Father,” so that, when the Father has shown himself to us, we can say with Philip: “It is enough.” We may hear with Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you;” and we can rejoice with David, saying: “My flesh and my heart fail me, but God is the strength of my heart and my heritage for ever. Blessed be the Lord for ever, and let all the people say: Amen. Amen!”


15 Jul Feast of St. Bonaventure

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About Saint Charbel




During his early years as a monk, St. Charbel began studying philosophy and theology in preparation for priestly ordination. For a time, he studied under St. Nimatullah Kassab. After St. Charbel was ordained, he spent his days living ascetically as a hermit. He almost never left his hermitage, and he sought to imitate the ways of the saintly hermits who lived before him. St. Charbel lived as a hermit for twenty-three years. When he was seventy years old, he had a stroke while celebrating Mass. He died on Christmas Eve, 1898.

After St. Charbel’s death, many miracles and extraordinary phenomena were associated with him. Dazzling lights were seen near his grave a few months after he died. It was then discovered that his body had been secreting sweat and blood. His body remained incorrupt, even when his coffin was reopened four times between his death and 1955. Finally, in 1976 his body was found to have decomposed.


97-St.-Charbel-wide-scaled IMAGE OF ST. CHARBEL

Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. Charbel as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate the piety he practiced throughout his life, beginning when he was a small child at home. St. Charbel, you grew up in the home of a pious mother. From the time you were very young, you were attracted to the practice of virtue. You were drawn to learning about the lives of the saints, and you strove to imitate their piety. Pray that I may practice piety as you did! The foundation of holiness that your mother helped you to develop stayed with you throughout your life. You continued on the path of virtue throughout your life as a monk and a priest. Pray for me, that I may remain firm in virtue and holiness my whole life, as you did. Please also pray for (mention your intentions here).

St. Charbel pray for us! In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

St. Charbel Novena – Day 2 Join in praying the St. Charbel Novena In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. Charbel as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate the holiness he showed in responding generously to Your call to serve You as a monk and a priest. St. Charbel, you were exposed to examples of holiness from a young age. Along with the piety of your mother, the examples of your uncles helped to form you in holiness. You saw your uncles following God’s call and you desired to serve God similarly. Pray that I may be inspired by holy examples around me! You did not hesitate to leave behind your home and worldly possessions to serve God in the monastic life. You served God faithfully in your religious vocation the rest of your life. Pray for me, that I may respond generously to whatever God may call me to in my life. Please also pray for (mention your intentions here). St. Charbel pray for us! In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

St. Charbel Novena – Day 3 Join in praying the St. Charbel Novena In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. Charbel as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate the devotion to Our Lady that he showed from the time he was a young boy. St. Charbel, you were drawn to the example of the saints from the time you were young. You had a particular devotion to Our Blessed Mother, and you made a shrine to her. You prayed often at this shrine while you were tending your family’s sheep. Pray that I may have a devotion to Our Lady like yours! You must have known what a great help Mary can be to us in our greatest needs. You must have turned to her often as you grew in holiness. Pray for me, that I may turn to Our Blessed Mother often in my needs. Please also pray for (mention your intentions here). St. Charbel pray for us! In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

St. Charbel Novena – Day 4 Join in praying the St. Charbel Novena In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. Charbel as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate the holiness he showed in choosing a life of monasticism and in living out his vocation to monastic life faithfully. St. Charbel, you grew up witnessing the holy example of your two hermit uncles. You decided to follow their holy example, and you entered the monastic life as well. Pray that I may respond to holy inspiration in my own life! As a monk, you lived ascetically for many years. You almost never left your hermitage, and you sought to imitate the saintly hermits who lived before you. You renounced worldly possessions and society, choosing instead to serve God alone in a life of monasticism. Pray for me, that I may carry out my vocation as faithfully as you did. Please also pray for (mention your intentions here). St. Charbel pray for us! In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

St. Charbel Novena – Day 5 Join in praying the St. Charbel Novena In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. Charbel as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate the holiness he showed in following Your call to become a priest and in living out his vocation faithfully. St. Charbel, you chose to serve God in a unique way. Not only did you become a hermit and live out the monastic life of constant prayer and solitude. You also answered His call to become a priest as well. Pray for the holiness and faithfulness of all priests! You remained faithful to your priestly vocation your entire life. When you died from a stroke at age seventy, you were in the midst of celebrating Mass. You carried out the duties of your vocation to the end of your life. Pray for me, that I may respond faithfully and generously to God’s call in my life. Please also pray for (mention your intentions here). St. Charbel pray for us! In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 St. Charbel Novena – Day 6 Join in praying the St. Charbel Novena In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. Charbel as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate the holiness and devotion to You that he lived out his entire life, up until he died from a stroke while offering Mass. St. Charbel, you remained faithful and pious your entire life. You chose a life of self-denial as a monk and spent most of your days in solitude. Your life as a hermit was full of virtue and piety. Pray that I may persevere in holiness throughout my whole life! You were carrying out the duties of your vocation even up until the moment of your death. When you died of a stroke, you were in the midst of offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Pray for me, that I may dutifully carry out the duties of my state in life until my death. Please also pray for (mention your intentions here). St. Charbel pray for us! In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 St. Charbel Novena – Day 7 Join in praying the St. Charbel Novena In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. Charbel as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate the holiness he showed throughout his lifetime and the devotion he inspired in others after his death. St. Charbel, you lived out your life as a monk and a priest with faithfulness and devotion. After your death, many recognized that the holiness of your life had been extraordinary. And many turned to you for help and inspiration. Pray that I may be inspired by the holy examples of others! After your death, your intercession helped bring about many miracles. Your body was incorrupt for many years, and people sought your intercession for healing or spiritual graces. These miracles inspired many people throughout your country to return to the Faith. Pray for me, that I may never miss the opportunity to bring others back to Christ. Please also pray for (mention your intentions here). St. Charbel pray for us! In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

St. Charbel Novena – Day 8 Join in praying the St. Charbel Novena In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. Charbel as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate the holy example he lived throughout his life that continued to inspire others even after his death. St. Charbel, you practiced great virtue and holiness throughout your life as a monk and a priest. After your death, others turned to your example for inspiration, and many sought your intercession for their needs. Please intercede for all who turn to you, and ask God to assist them in their needs! The graces and miracles you helped bring about through your intercession after your death inspired many. In your home country of Lebanon and elsewhere, your intercession contributed to a rekindling of the Faith. Pray for me, that I may live a virtuous life and be a holy example to others. Please also pray for (mention your intentions here). St. Charbel pray for us! In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

St. Charbel Novena – Day 9 Join in praying the St. Charbel Novena In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. Charbel as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate his virtuous example that led many to turn to him for inspiration and intercession after his death. St. Charbel, after your death, many recognized that you had lived a saintly life. Many turned to you for intercession, and your prayers brought about many miracles. You assisted in bringing about numerous spiritual graces and healings. Pray for all who are in need of healing! The healings and graces brought about through your intercession were so numerous and noteworthy that the faith of many people was rekindled. You even brought about the healing of a woman who was paralyzed, so that others would return to the Faith. Pray for me, that I may always seek to inspire others to holiness. Please also pray for (mention your intentions here). St. Charbel pray for us! In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

St Charbel has performed hundreds of thousands of miracles when he was alive as a Catholic Maronite Monk and Hermit, after his death on December 24, 1898 and to this current day in over 133 countries around the world. St Charbel has performed miracles to people that are sick, disabled, mentally ill and dying from various religions including Christians, Muslims, Buddhist, Hindus, Jewish, Druze, Alawites, Atheists to just name a few.


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Prayer to Saint Veronica




O Jesus, who in your cruel passion did become the reproach of men and the “Man of Sorrows”, I worship your Divine Face.  Once it shone with the beauty and sweetness of the divinity; now for my sake it is become as the face of a leper.  Yet in that disfigured countenance I recognize your infinite love, and I am consumed with the desire of loving you and making you loved by all mankind.  The tears that streamed in such abundance from your eyes are to me as precious pearls which I delight to gather, so that with their infinite worth I may ransom the souls of the poor sinners.

O Jesus, whose face is the sole beauty that ravishes my heart, I may not behold here on earth the sweetness of your glance, nor feel the ineffable tenderness of your kiss.  To this I consent but I pray you to imprint in me your divine likeness, and I implore you to so inflame me with your love, that it may quickly consume me, and soon I may reach the vision of your glorious face in heaven! 


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Saint Veronica’s story




Veronica’s desire to be like Christ crucified was answered with the stigmata.Veronica was born in Mercatelli, Italy. It is said that when her mother Benedetta was dying she called her five daughters to her bedside and entrusted each of them to one of the five wounds of Jesus. Veronica was entrusted to the wound below Christ’s heart.At the age of 17, Veronica joined the Poor Clares directed by the Capuchins. Her father had wanted her to marry, but she convinced him to allow her to become a nun. In her first years in the monastery, she worked in the kitchen, infirmary, sacristy, and also served as portress. At the age of 34, she was made novice mistress, a position she held for 22 years. When she was 37, Veronica received the stigmata. Life was not the same after that.

Church authorities in Rome wanted to test Veronica’s authenticity and so conducted an investigation. She lost the office of novice mistress temporarily and was not allowed to attend Mass except on Sundays or holy days. Through all of this Veronica did not become bitter, and the investigation eventually restored her as novice mistress. Though she protested against it, at the age of 56 she was elected abbess, an office she held for 11 years until her death. Veronica was very devoted to the Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart. She offered her sufferings for the missions, died in 1727, and was canonized in 1839. Her Liturgical Feast Day is July 9. 

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Devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus



The month of July is dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of the Redeemer. Supreme homage is given to the Sacred Blood. As we adore the Sacred Heart, because it is the Heart of Jesus, who is God, so we adore the Most Precious Blood. The Blood of Jesus is the fountain of salvation. Each drop that flowed from the wounds of the Saviour is a pledge of man’s eternal salvation. All races of the earth have been ransomed, and all individuals, who will allow the saving power of the Sacred Blood to be applied to their soul, are heirs of heaven.

St. John Chrysostom calls the Precious Blood “the saviour of souls”; St. Thomas Aquinas, “the key to heaven’s treasures”; St. Ambrose, “pure gold of ineffable worth”; St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, “a magnet of souls and pledge of eternal life”. St. Catherine of Siena, who bore the Stigmata, the image of Christ’s wounds in her body, had an intense devotion to the merits of Christ’s Precious Blood, urging her disciples to become inebriated with it, concluding her Dialogues with a prayer to the “Eternal Blood”. The sins of mankind, in their number, in their offense to the Supreme Being, in the effects on transgressors, are immense; yet, the Precious Blood of Jesus is not frightened by numbers, it has in Itself the power to appease an angered God and to heal wounded creatures.

 The Precious Blood is a cleansing bath. Unlike all other blood, which stains, the Blood of Jesus washes clean and white. According to the words of St. John, in the Apocalypse, the Angels wonder, and the question is asked: “These that are clothed in white robes, who are they?” The Lord answers: “These are they that have washed their robes, and have made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.” For no other reason did the Precious Blood flow but to regain for the souls of men the beautiful dress of innocence, and, once regained, to preserve it throughout life and into eternity. The Blood of the Saviour is a well of consolation for troubled hearts. Can anyone, confidingly, look at the Sacred Blood trickling down from the Cross without taking courage to carry on, in spite of the difficulties which are the common lot of all? 

One glance at the Cross must be able to drive away fear. And, another must be able to instil trust in Him who did not rest until the last drop, mingled with water, flowed out of an opened Heart. He, who was willing to do so much for men, must be willing to overlook and forget the frailties which they deeply regret; He must be willing to come to their assistance when harassed, to defend them when tempted, to comfort them when afflicted. The Blood of Jesus must be for Christians what the north-star is to sailors. Would that men on earth honoured the Precious Blood in the manner in which they who are in heaven give honour and praise and thanksgiving! They proclaim that it purchased the glory which they enjoy. Without it, they would have remained slaves of Satan and outcasts from the eternal mansions of God. Let us profess that we owe to the Sacred Blood of Jesus all that we have in this life, and that to it we shall owe all that we shall enjoy in a better and eternal life! 

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Solemnity of SS Peter and Paul, Apostles


(Sermon 295, 1-2.4. 7  -  8: PL38, 1348  -  1352)



St Peter and St Paul

This day has been made holy by the passion of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. We are, therefore, not talking about some obscure martyrs. For their voice has gone forth to all the world, and to the ends of the earth their message. These martyrs realized what they taught: they pursued justice, they confessed the truth, they died for it.

Saint Peter, the first of the apostles and a fervent lover of Christ, merited to hear these words: I say to you that you are Peter, for he had said: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Then Christ said: And I say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church. On this rock I will build the faith that you now confess, and on your words: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, I will build my Church. For you are Peter, and the name Peter comes from petra, the word for “rock,” and not vice versa. “Peter” comes, therefore, from petra, just as “Christian” comes from Christ.

As you are aware, Jesus chose his disciples before his passion and called them apostles; and among these almost everywhere Peter alone deserved to represent the entire Church. And because of that role which he alone had, he merited to hear the words: To you I shall give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. For it was not one man who received the keys, but the entire Church considered as one. Now insofar as he represented the unity and universality of the Church, Peter’s preeminence is clear from the words: To you I give, for what was given was given to all. For the fact that it was the Church that received the keys of the kingdom of God is clear from what the Lord says elsewhere to all the apostles: Receive the Holy Spirit, adding immediately, whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven, and whose sins you retain, they are retained.

Rightly then did the Lord after his resurrection entrust Peter with the feeding of his sheep. Yet he was not the only disciple to merit the feeding of the Lord’s sheep; but Christ in speaking only to one suggests the unity of all; and so he speaks to Peter, because Peter is first among the apostles. Therefore, do not be disheartened, Peter; reply once, reply twice, reply a third time. The triple confession of your love is to regain what was lost three times by your fear. You must loose three times what you bound three times; untie by love that which your fear bound. Once, and again, and a third time did the Lord entrust his sheep to Peter.

Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one; and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed. And so we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles’ blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labors, their sufferings, their preaching and their confession of faith. 

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Saint Elizabeth of Portugal




Elizabeth is usually depicted in royal garb with a dove or an olive branch. At her birth in 1271, her father Pedro III, future king of Aragon, was reconciled with his father James, the reigning monarch. This proved to be a portent of things to come. Under the healthful influences surrounding her early years, she quickly learned self-discipline and acquired a taste for spirituality.

Thus, fortunately prepared, Elizabeth was able to meet the challenge when at the age of 12, she was given in marriage to Denis, king of Portugal. She was able to establish for herself a pattern of life conducive to growth in God’s love, not merely through her exercises of piety, including daily Mass, but also through her exercise of charity, by which she was able to befriend and help pilgrims, strangers, the sick, the poor—in a word, all those whose need came to her notice. At the same time, she remained devoted to her husband, whose infidelity to her was a scandal to the kingdom.

Denis, too, was the object of many of her peace endeavors. Elizabeth long sought peace for him with God, and was finally rewarded when he gave up his life of sin. She repeatedly sought and effected peace between the king and their rebellious son Alfonso, who thought that he was passed over to favour the king’s illegitimate children. She acted as peacemaker in the struggle between Ferdinand, king of Aragon, and his cousin James, who claimed the crown. And finally from Coimbra, where she had retired as a Franciscan tertiary to the monastery of the Poor Clares after the death of her husband, Elizabeth set out and was able to bring about a lasting peace between her son Alfonso, now king of Portugal, and his son-in-law, the king of Castile.

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