Sunday, February 03, 2019

Prayer of Rev. Cyrillus a Matre Dei

the first and most devoted venerator of the Miraculous Infant Jesus of Prague

Jesus, unto Thee I flee, 
Through Thy Mother praying Thee
In my need to succour me.
Truly, I believe of Thee
God Thou art with strength to shield me ; 
Full of trust, I hope of Thee
Thou Thy grace wilt give to me. 
All my heart I give to Thee, 
Therefore, do my sins repent me;
From them breaking, I beseech Thee,
Jesus, from their bonds to free me. 
Firm my purpose is to mend me;
Never more will I offend Thee. 
Wholly unto Thee I give me,
Patiently to suffer for Thee,
Thee to serve eternally.
And my neighour like to me
I will love for love of Thee. 
Little Jesus, I beseech Thee,
In my need to succour me,
That with Joseph and Mary 
And the angels, I may Thee
Once enjoy eternally. 


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Sunday, January 27, 2019


Gaudete! gaudete Christus est natus ex Maria Virgine: Gaudete!

Tempus adest gratiae, Hoc quod optabamus;
Carmina laeticiae Devote redamus.

Gaudete! gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria Virgine: Gaudete!

Deus homo factus est, Natura mirante;
Mundus renovatus est, A Christo regnante.

Gaudete! gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria Virgine: Gaudete!

Ezechiellis porta Clausa pertransitur;
Unde lux est orta, Salus invenitur.

Gaudete! gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria Virgine: Gaudete!

Ergo nostra concito Psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino: Salus Regi nostro.


Friday, January 11, 2019

Christmastide - a very beautiful season


This song pre-dates 1450.
Original song attributed to Johannes Tauler.
This version's lyrics by Daniel Sudermann (1550 - 1631?).
Music: 1st published in Andernacher Gesangbuch, 1608.

my notes:

This is so very beautiful. 

This is one rendition that we listened together as a family: 

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Monday, December 24, 2018

Advent: a (spiritual) longing for the Holy Baby Jesus, a gratitude for so beautiful a lady, His Mother

“Christ saved men not with thunder and lightning, but as a wailing babe in the manger and as a silent sufferer upon the cross.” 

—St. Jerome, Letters, 82.1

A Child of Snows

There is heard a hymn when the panes are dim

And never before or again,

When the nights are strong with a darkness long,
And the dark is alive with rain.

Never we know but in sleet and in snow,
The place where the great fires are,
That the midst of the earth is a raging mirth
And the heart of the earth a star.

And at night we win to the ancient inn
Where the child in the frost is furled,
We follow the feet where all souls meet
At the inn at the end of the world.

The gods lie dead where the leaves lie red,
For the flame of the sun is flow,
The gods lie cold where the leaves lie gold,
And a Child comes forth alone.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton 
(1874 - 1936)

Maria durch ein' Dornwald ging

1 Maria durch ein' Dornwald ging.
Maria durch ein' Dornwald ging,
Der hat in sieben Jahr'n kein Laub getragen!
Jesus und Maria.

2 Was trug Maria unter ihrem Herzen?
Ein kleines Kindlein ohne Schmerzen,
Das trug Maria unter ihrem Herzen!
Jesus und Maria.

3 Da haben die Dornen Rosen getragen.
Als das Kindlein durch den Wald getragen,
Da haben die Dornen Rosen getragen!
Jesus und Maria.

Alle Jahre wieder

Alle Jahre wieder
kommt das Christuskind
auf die Erde nieder,
wo wir Menschen sind.

Kehrt mit seinem Segen
ein in jedes Haus,
geht auf allen Wegen
mit uns ein und aus.

Steht auch mir zur Seite
still und unerkannt,
daß es treu mich leite
an der lieben Hand.
Frohe Weihnachtszeit!

Veni, veni Emmanuel
(an instrumental)

O du Fröhliche

O du fröhliche, o du selige,
Gnadenbringende Weihnachtszeit!
Welt ging verloren, Christ ist geboren:
Freue, freue dich, o Christenheit!


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Young people are important! A call to Action: For the Love of Jesus

Where are you, youths?

The call of Christ the King - St Ignatius

We belong to you, dearest Jesus.

How can I serve You, dearest Jesus, as I ought?



Important note:

The spirit of sacrifice:
strengthens the will, [discipline, fight your main passions]
forms the character 
(and instructs the intellect).


Christ's sermon upon the mount. The eight beatitudes.

[1] And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain, and when he was set down, his disciples came unto him. 
Videns autem Jesus turbas, ascendit in montem, et cum sedisset, accesserunt ad eum discipuli ejus,

[2] And opening his mouth, he taught them, saying: 
et aperiens os suum docebat eos dicens :

[3] Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Beati pauperes spiritu : quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum.

[4] Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. 
Beati mites : quoniam ipsi possidebunt terram.

[5] Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 
Beati qui lugent : quoniam ipsi consolabuntur.

[6] Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. 
Beati qui esuriunt et sitiunt justitiam : quoniam ipsi saturabuntur.

[7] Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 
Beati misericordes : quoniam ipsi misericordiam consequentur.

[8] Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. 
Beati mundo corde : quoniam ipsi Deum videbunt.

[9] Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God. 
Beati pacifici : quoniam filii Dei vocabuntur.

[10] Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Beati qui persecutionem patiuntur propter justitiam : quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum.

[11] Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: 
Beati estis cum maledixerint vobis, et persecuti vos fuerint, et dixerint omne malum adversum vos mentientes, propter me :

[12] Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you. 
gaudete, et exsultate, quoniam merces vestra copiosa est in caelis. Sic enim persecuti sunt prophetas, qui fuerunt ante vos.

[13] You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men. 
Vos estis sal terrae. Quod si sal evanuerit, in quo salietur? ad nihilum valet ultra, nisi ut mittatur foras, et conculcetur ab hominibus.

[14] You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. 
Vos estis lux mundi. Non potest civitas abscondi supra montem posita,

[15] Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house. 
neque accedunt lucernam, et ponunt eam sub modio, sed super candelabrum, ut luceat omnibus qui in domo sunt.

[16] So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. 
Sic luceat lux vestra coram hominibus : ut videant opera vestra bona, et glorificent Patrem vestrum, qui in caelis est.

[17] Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 
Nolite putare quoniam veni solvere legem, aut prophetas : non veni solvere, sed adimplere.

[18] For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. 
Amen quippe dico vobis, donec transeat caelum et terra, jota unum aut unus apex non praeteribit a lege, donec omnia fiant.

[19] He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 
Qui ergo solverit unum de mandatis istis minimis, et docuerit sic homines, minimus vocabitur in regno caelorum : qui autem fecerit et docuerit, hic magnus vocabitur in regno caelorum.

[20] For I tell you, that unless your justice abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 
Dico enim vobis, quia nisi abundaverit justitia vestra plus quam scribarum, et pharisaeorum, non intrabitis in regnum caelorum.

[21] You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill. And whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. 
Audistis quia dictum est antiquis : Non occides : qui autem occiderit, reus erit judicio.

[22] But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou Fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 
Ego autem dico vobis : quia omnis qui irascitur fratri suo, reus erit judicio. Qui autem dixerit fratri suo, raca : reus erit concilio. Qui autem dixerit, fatue : reus erit gehennae ignis.

[23] If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath any thing against thee; 
Si ergo offers munus tuum ad altare, et ibi recordatus fueris quia frater tuus habet aliquid adversum te :

[24] Leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother: and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift. 
relinque ibi munus tuum ante altare, et vade prius reconciliari fratri tuo : et tunc veniens offeres munus tuum.

[25] Be at agreement with thy adversary betimes, whilst thou art in the way with him: lest perhaps the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 
Esto consentiens adversario tuo cito dum es in via cum eo : ne forte tradat te adversarius judici, et judex tradat te ministro : et in carcerem mittaris.

[26] Amen I say to thee, thou shalt not go out from thence till thou repay the last farthing. 
Amen dico tibi, non exies inde, donec reddas novissimum quadrantem.

[27] You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not commit adultery. 
Audistis quia dictum est antiquis : Non moechaberis.

[28] But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart. 
Ego autem dico vobis : quia omnis qui viderit mulierem ad concupiscendum eam, jam moechatus est eam in corde suo.

[29] And if thy right eye scandalize thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee. For it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body be cast into hell. 
Quod si oculus tuus dexter scandalizat te, erue eum, et projice abs te : expedit enim tibi ut pereat unum membrorum tuorum, quam totus corpus tuum mittatur in gehennam.

[30] And if thy right hand scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body be cast into hell. 
Et si dextra manus tua scandalizat te, abscide eam, et projice abs te : expedit enim tibi ut pereat unum membrorum tuorum, quam totum corpus tuum eat in gehennam.

[31] And it hath been said, whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a bill of divorce. 
Dictum est autem : Quicumque dimiserit uxorem suam, det ei libellum repudii.

[32] But I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, excepting for the cause of fornication, maketh her to commit adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery. 
Ego autem dico vobis : quia omnis qui dimiserit uxorem suam, excepta fornicationis causa, facit eam moechari : et qui dimissam duxerit, adulterat.

[33] Again you have heard that it was said to them of old, Thou shalt not forswear thyself: but thou shalt perform thy oaths to the Lord. 
Iterum audistis quia dictum est antiquis : Non perjurabis : reddes autem Domino juramenta tua.

[34] But I say to you not to swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God: 
Ego autem dico vobis, non jurare omnino, neque per caelum, quia thronus Dei est :

[35] Nor by the earth, for it is his footstool: nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great king: 
neque per terram, quia scabellum est pedum ejus : neque per Jerosolymam, quia civitas est magni regis :

[36] Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 
neque per caput tuum juraveris, quia non potes unum capillum album facere, aut nigrum.

[37] But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil. 
Sit autem sermo vester, est, est : non, non : quod autem his abundantius est, a malo est.

[38] You have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.
Audistis quia dictum est : Oculum pro oculo, et dentem pro dente.

[39] But I say to you not to resist evil: but if one strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other: 
Ego autem dico vobis, non resistere malo : sed si quis te percusserit in dexteram maxillam tuam, praebe illi et alteram :

[40] And if a man will contend with thee in judgment, and take away thy coat, let go thy cloak also unto him. 
et ei, qui vult tecum judicio contendere, et tunicam tuam tollere, dimitte ei et pallium :

[41] And whosoever will force thee one mile, go with him other two, 
et quicumque te angariaverit mille passus, vade cum illo et alia duo.

[42] Give to him that asketh of thee and from him that would borrow of thee turn not away. 
Qui petit a te, da ei : et volenti mutuari a te, ne avertaris.

[43] You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thy enemy. 
Audistis quia dictum est : Diliges proximum tuum, et odio habebis inimicum tuum.

[44] But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: 
Ego autem dico vobis : Diligite inimicos vestros, benefacite his qui oderunt vos, et orate pro persequentibus et calumniantibus vos :

[45] That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust. 
ut sitis filii Patris vestri, qui in caelis est : qui solem suum oriri facit super bonos et malos : et pluit super justos et injustos.

[46] For if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? do not even the publicans this? 
Si enim diligitis eos qui vos diligunt, quam mercedem habebitis? nonne et publicani hoc faciunt?

[47] And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more? do not also the heathens this? 
Et si salutaveritis fratres vestros tantum, quid amplius facitis? nonne et ethnici hoc faciunt?

[48] Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect. 
Estote ergo vos perfecti, sicut et Pater vester caelestis perfectus est.


Christ declares matrimony to be indissoluble: he recommends the making one's self an eunuch for the kingdom of heaven; and parting with all things for him. He shews the danger of riches, and the reward of leaving all to follow him.

[1] And it came to pass when Jesus had ended these words, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judea, beyond Jordan. [2] And great multitudes followed him: and he healed them there. [3] And there came to him the Pharisees tempting him, and saying: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? [4] Who answering, said to them: Have ye not read, that he who made man from the beginning, Made them male and female? And he said: [5] For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh.
[6] Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. [7] They say to him: Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorce, and to put away? [8] He saith to them: Because Moses by reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. [9] And I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery. [10] His disciples say unto him: If the case of a man with his wife be so, it is not expedient to marry.
[9] "Except it be": In the case of fornication, that is, of adultery, the wife may be put away: but even then the husband cannot marry another as long as the wife is living.
[11] Who said to them: All men take not this word, but they to whom it is given. [12] For there are eunuchs, who were born so from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs, who were made so by men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it. [13] Then were little children presented to him, that he should impose hands upon them and pray. And the disciples rebuked them. [14] But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such. [15] And when he had imposed hands upon them, he departed from thence.
[11] "All men take not this word": That is, all receive not the gift of living singly and chastely, unless they pray for the grace of God to enable them to live so, and for some it may be necessary to that end to fast as well as pray: and to those it is given from above.
[12] "There are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs, for the kingdom of heaven": This text is not to be taken in the literal sense; but means, that there are such, who have taken a firm and commendable resolution of leading a single and chaste life, in order to serve God in a more perfect state than those who marry: as St. Paul clearly shews. 1 Cor. 7. 37, 38.
[16] And behold one came and said to him: Good master, what good shall I do that I may have life everlasting? [17] Who said to him: Why asketh thou me concerning good? One is good, God. But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. [18] He said to him: Which? And Jesus said: Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. [19] Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [20] The young man saith to him: All these I have kept from my youth, what is yet wanting to me?
[21] Jesus saith to him: If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come follow me. [22] And when the young man had heard this word, he went away sad: for he had great possessions. [23] Then Jesus said to his disciples: Amen, I say to you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. [24] And again I say to you: It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. [25] And when they had heard this, the disciples wondered very much, saying: Who then can be saved?

[26] And Jesus beholding, said to them: With men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible. [27] Then Peter answering, said to him: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee: what therefore shall we have? [28] And Jesus said to them: Amen, I say to you, that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. [29] And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting. [30] And many that are first, shall be last: and the last shall be first.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018


Flavigny prie et chante sur de la beauté from Society of St Pius X on Vimeo.

This is beautiful. The music, the scenery and especially the mountains, for me...
2018-08-31 Herbstwanderung from Society of St Pius X on Vimeo.

More mountains over here!!! ha

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Testimonials - A Catholic Perspective: Fatima

Testimonials - A Catholic Perspective from P. Stark on Vimeo.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Sainte Thérèse de l'Enfant Jésus

On this day, in the year we got married, we enthroned our house to the Sacred Heart, and as a way of remembering this, decided to post this:

Sharing this because St Therese has helped me so much and in so many different ways. I’ve learnt and grown in this life because of her. Her little way to perfection is so very easy to understand. Only a silly person like me needs so much help on this journey towards perfection. 

St Therese’s beautiful offering each day in her native French 🤗🤗🤗 It’s beautiful because she most certainly said it in French... just like how singing Je vous salue Marie is so beautiful also because countless saints from the eldest daughter of the church said it in French of course and Mother Mary said the Rosary with St Bernadette in Lourdes ... in French too! 

Mon Dieu, je vous offre toutes les actions que je vais faire aujourd'hui, dans les intentions et pour la gloire du Coeur Sacré de Jésus ; je veux sanctifier les battements de mon coeur, mes pensées et mes oeuvres les plus simples en les unissant à ses mérites infinis, et réparer mes fautes en les jetant dans la fournaise de son amour miséricordieux.

O mon Dieu ! je vous demande pour moi et pour ceux qui me sont chers la grâce d'accomplir parfaitement votre sainte volonté, d'accepter pour votre amour les joies et les peines de cette vie passagère afin que nous soyons un jour réunis dans les Cieux pendant toute l'éternité.
Ainsi soit-il.
Prière de Thérèse de l'Enfant Jésus - Offrande de la journée

Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grâce,
Le Seigneur est avec vous,
Vous êtes bénie entre toutes les femmes,
Et Jésus le fruit de vos entrailles est béni.
Sainte Marie, Mère de Dieu, priez pour nous pauvres pécheurs,
Maintenant et à l’heure de notre mort.


Wash day at Le Carmel. Therese is the second from the left. Her sister, Celine is next to her on the right.
St Therese with her real blood sisters! and the older Mother Prioress

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Signadou Boarding House in Wanganui!

Dear readers, 

The Signadou Boarding House in Wanganui [Signadou Snippet - the Newsletter] for girls is now accepting enrolments for the boarding school for next year. 

If you know anyone of suitable age 11-15 who might be interested in coming to the girls’ school in Wanganui (St Dominic's College) please let Mother Mary Madeleine O.P. know via this contact page. Here is a 2015 Prospectus of the school. 

Please find the Signadou Brochure for 2018 at this link :)

God bless you always. 

From their website:

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Sunday, September 09, 2018

Nine unusual saints whose inspiring lives have significance for modern men and women

I've only managed the first saint and I want to drink the whole book in. ... (what a way to put it) - I was looking at a pile of books, somewhere, and the caption had me intrigued. One of the nine saints in this book included "Blessed Claude de la Columbière (confessor of St Margaret Mary Alacoque!)", someone whose prayers [Act of Confidence and The True Friend Prayer] I love a lot and whom I have been wanting to find out more of (Deo Gratias et Mariae!) and I was surprised also when I turned to the back of this book and what they describe of him, "repeatedly endured despondency and desolation of soul;" - very important saint for our times, even though he lived in the 1600s [1641-1682]!

For our encouragement, a series of quotes that I want to remember, from various sources, as attributed, which I got from this book are here: 

The foolish things of the world hath God chosen that He may confound the wise and the weak things of the world hath God chosen that He may confound the strong and the base things of the world and the things that are contemptible hath God chosen and things that are not that He might bring to nought things that are that no flesh should glory in His sight.

- I Corinthians 1:27-29 

"virtue is made perfect in infirmity" 

- II Corinthians 12:9

If man has a soul, as the greatest philosophers maintain, and if that soul is immortal and divine, then must it needs be that the more it has been steeped in reason, and true love, and the pursuit of truth, and the less it has been stained by vice and passion, so much the more surely it will rise above this earth and ascend into the skies.

- Cicero 

"How long?" he cried, "how long shall this be? It is always to-morrow and to-morrow. Why not this hour an end to all my meanness?"

- St Augustine of Hippo

"Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof." 

- St Paul to the Romans 13:14

"Keep this in mind, my brother; practise it and preach it with meekness that shall never fail. Love the men you fight; kill only their lie. Rest on truth in all humility; defend it but with no cruelty. Pray for those whom you oppose; pray for them while you correct them." 

- St Augustine of Hippo

This, then, is the other side of the life of one of the most successful of the chosen servants of God. There is a greater greatness than the greatness of success; and that is the greatness of failure. For that is the greatness of being, without the encouragement of doing; the greatness of sacrifice, of which others less great may reap the fruits.

- Archbishop Alban Goodier, SJ, on Saint Francis Xavier

I hope to expand this list and please pray that I can finish this book soon, Deo volente!

†Deo Optimo Maximoque!

†Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Padre Pio, the Living Portrait of Christ Crucified

Reposting from the above link:

The July-September 2018 issue of Le Chardonnet (#340) includes an article by Fr. François-Marie Chautard on Padre Pio, the stigmatized priest who died 50 years ago on September 23,1968. 
One of Padre Pio’s missions was to “make the cross of Jesus Christ visible”. Christ took on the human form in order to make the invisible visible. This revelation of God did not end with His Ascension, for upon His return to His Father, Our Lord sent the Spirit of Holiness. Since then, every century has had its share of saints whose perfect lives in imitation of Christ seem to renew His Incarnation. The exterior life of some saints sometimes espouses that of Christ so perfectly that they relive His Passion in their own flesh.
St. Francis of Assisi is the most well-known of them all, and many an artist has illustrated the Poverello receiving the stigmata. Other saints also experienced this extraordinary phenomenon: St. Catherine of Sienna, or Madame Acarie (Blessed Marie de l’Incarnation), whose stigmata were invisible.
But until September 20, 1918, not a single priest, despite their sacramental union with Christ the High Priest, had ever yet been chosen to renew in his own flesh the mystery of the Sacrifice of the Cross.
On September 20, 1918, as he was praying before a crucifix hung before the monks’ choir, rays of light from the crucifix pierced his hands, feet and side like arrows. The young 31-year-old Capuchin did not know it yet, but for the next fifty years, until September 20, 1958, he would bear the visible marks of the Passion of Christ that he relived every day.
One of Padre Pio’s missions had begun: that of making the cross of Jesus Christ visible, of enlightening souls as to the reality of the sacrifice renewed on the altar and reminding priests and faithful of the priest’s vocation as a victim: “Unless the grain of wheat dies, it will not bear fruit.” “Do as you have seen Me do.”
Born on May 25, 1887, into a peasant family, little Francesco Forgione was the fourth of seven children. His parents had a very simple life and lived in a poor home in Pietrelcina. They were solid Christians and hard workers.
The parish church is dedicated to St. Pius I, pope and martyr, and it was in his honor that the young Capuchin chose the name of Fra Pio.
As a young boy, Francesco was already favored with visions and extraordinary phenomena. From his earliest years until the end of his life, Padre Pio was used to receiving visits from angels, Marian apparitions and.... being subjected to diabolical violence. At first, the child thought all other boys his age experienced the same things.
Beware, dear reader, for this is where devotion to Padre Pio could go astray. As the spiritual authors explain, extraordinary phenomena are not sanctity; they sometimes, and even often, go hand in hand; they can occur without sanctity, but they must be carefully distinguished from it. If Padre Pio is a saint, it is not because of his bilocation and other exceptional phenomena, but because of his heroic virtues.
And little Francesco practiced heroic virtue from the very start. Did his mother not find him sleeping on the ground, with his head on a rock? His piety was solid, his obedience absolute, his diligence in his studies and duties more than admirable, and his friendship exemplary.
At the age of fifteen, a strange vision implicitly revealed his future to him: an angel invited him to fight against a giant much stronger than him. Reluctantly, the young teenager fought and won. With this divine commemoration of David and Goliath, Providence announced to Francesco the violence of the battles to come.
A few weeks later, on January 22, 1903, at the age of fifteen, he entered the Capuchin novitiate of Morcone, and took the name Fra Pio da Pietrelcina.
His mother was there, but his father was in the United States, working to pay for his children’s studies. For seven years in all (3 and then 4), this admirable father was separated from his no less admirable wife and his dear children in order to provide for them all.
The young novice’s studies continued until 1909. The young monk proved serious, studious and satisfactory, but not brilliant. Towards the end of his studies, he rapidly ascended the sanctuary steps; after receiving the first minor orders in 1908, he was ordained a deacon the following year in July 1909.
But health troubles came to try the young monk. He had to interrupt his studies and even the convent life and was ordered to go rest at his family’s home in Pietrelcina. This temporary rest would last…seven years. Despite this difficulty, he was ordained a priest in the cathedral of Benevento on August 10, 1910, and celebrated his first Mass in Pietrelcina on August 14.
Separated from the other Capuchins, and a prey to terrible interior trials, he corresponded regularly during this period with Fr. Agostino, his spiritual director, who told him to write down his interior combat and the extraordinary graces he received.
One superior planned to send him away to live as a secular priest, but he was told to return to the convent in 1911. The devil was furious, and he attacked and beat the young mystic so violently that the guardian of the convent, moved by a very Franciscan inspiration, ordered Padre Pio to ask for the grace to be tormented… in silence from then on. This grace was granted that very evening, to the great joy of the Capuchins who were a bit tired of the noise and the villagers who were beginning to be a bit worried.
But Padre Pio’s weak health soon forced him to return to Pietrelcina. The doctors had a hard time finding a diagnosis. One of them even announced he would not last more than a week.
He left Pietrelcina again to go to Foggia, where the air did not suit him at all. On July 28, 1916, he was advised to go to San Giovanni Rotondo to rest for a few weeks. He would remain there until his death…
Half-alive, he was still enlisted, until they took a closer look. There is a photo from this time of the Capuchin friar as a conscript, wearing a uniform and holding a gun; he had never shot a firearm and looks a bit out of place in the picture. It was during this period that he bilocated for the first time. The Italians had just been severely defeated in Caporetto on October 24, 1917, and the commander-in-chief, General Cardonna, decided to commit suicide; as he was raising his gun, a Capuchin entered his office and persuaded him to change his mind. The general did so, then thanked the good priest and showed him out. He immediately asked his subordinates who the priest they had let in was. No one had seen him go in or out. The general only recognized him in a photograph many years later.
Upon returning to his convent after his time in the military, he received the grace of a wound of love on May 30, 1918. On August 5, he received a transverberation, and on the 20th, the stigmata, with intense pain. But do not be mistaken. As he wrote to Fr. Agostino, his spiritual director, “in comparison with what I suffer in my flesh, the spiritual combats I am undergoing are far worse (…); I am living in a perpetual night… Everything troubles me, and I do not know if I am doing good or evil. I can see that these are not scruples, but the doubt I feel about whether I am pleasing God or not crushes me.”
At first, Padre Pio tried to heal his wounds. It was useless. To hide them. In vain. The pilgrimages to San Giovanni Rotondo began.
From 1918 to 1921, the priest’s apostolate grew and the doctors who observed his wounds were convinced of their inexplicable nature. Pope Benedict XV even went so far as to say that “Padre Pio is one of those men God sends to the earth once in a while to convert nations.”
The year 1921 changed the course of events. An ecclesiastical conspiracy of corrupt priests living with women and presided over by a bishop who practiced simony was influential in Rome. The bishop of Manfredonia, the diocese the convent of San Giovanni Rotondo belongs to, even claimed he had seen Padre Pio put on perfume and powder and pour nitric acid on his wounds to deepen the stigmata! And the canons of San Giovanni Rotondo, at least some of them, gossiped about the juicy profits the Capuchins were making off their “stigmatist”. The worst is that they were taken seriously.
Worried by these episcopal claims and canonical revelations, Rome was wary… of the Capuchins. A difficult period followed for Padre Pio, as the apostolate entrusted to him was little by little taken away. There was even talk of transferring him to another convent. This was enough to stir up the locals, who were determined to keep and defend their “santo”. A rebellion was not far off. Thinking he was going to leave this little village perched on the headland of Gargano, Padre Pio wrote this touching letter, whose final words are now engraved in the crypt where he used to be buried.
“I will always remember this generous people in my poor and assiduous prayer, imploring for them peace and prosperity; and as a sign of my affection, being able to do nothing else, I express the desire that as long as my superiors do not object, my bones will be laid to rest in a tranquil corner of this ground.”
A Capuchin superior even considered sneaking Padre Pio out in a large barrel on a cart. Obedient, but neither servile nor stupid, the Father Guardian refused this masquerade.
Punishments continued to rain down upon the poor priest. On March 23, 1931, the Holy Office forbade him all ministry, any public celebration of Mass and any contact with any Capuchins outside of his convent. After remaining stoic when he discovered in the refectory the letter that his brothers had put off revealing to him out of discretion, he burst into tears upon reaching his cell. A good brother who witnessed the scene felt sorry for him, but Padre Pio gave him an answer worthy of that given to the holy women of Jerusalem: he was weeping not for himself but for all the souls that were going to be deprived of graces of conversion.
As a recluse, Padre Pio was able to spend time reading. The History of the Church by Rorhbacher and in a single day, the Divine Comedy – paradoxically suffering from headaches upon reaching Paradise.
In 1933, the sanctions began to be lifted. Padre Pio resumed his ministry, especially in the confessional, where he regularly spent up to 10 hours a day.
The peaceful years passed. In 1940, a sick man if ever there was one, Padre Pio launched the project for what would become the Casa Sollievo della Sofferanza, a large hospital with modern material and eminent doctors. As in all providential undertakings, there was no lack of obstacles, but the hospital was inaugurated in May 1956. It still exists today.
At the same time, Padre Pio created prayer groups throughout the entire world mainly thanks to his spiritual sons and daughters that included Freemasons, swindlers, a famous tenor (Gigli) and women of little virtue.
Pius XII confided prayer intentions to him, but his death in 1957 opened a new and painful chapter in the life of the Capuchin. Some of his high-ranking brothers showed an anything but religious interest for the enormous sums that passed through his hands. They wanted them for themselves. A “brotherly” conspiracy supported by the authorities of the Order was formed; they even went so far as to put microphones in the Padre’s cell and confessional. The affair was discovered – the priest complained to some of his friends – and the brothers guilty of this far from evangelical surveillance were relieved of their functions and sent to other convents.
The end of his life was more peaceful, though still spent in the all-absorbing ministry to souls.
Two events in the last few months of his life are worth mentioning. The New Mass promulgated in 1968 was preceded by normative Masses. Padre Pio asked to be allowed to keep the Mass of all time and this permission was granted to him.
During the same year, 1968, Paul VI’s encyclical on birth control was promulgated. Padre Pio, with only two months left to live and at the summit of his mystical life, sent a letter to the pope thanking him for this encyclical that caused so much controversy.
This second Curé d’Ars felt the end approaching. On the night of September 20 to 21, 1968, fifty years to the day after they appeared, his stigmata disappeared: the skin on his hands became smooth and clean without the mark of a scar. His jubilee of blood was complete.  Eternity was approaching, and on the night of September 22 to 23, Padre Pio went to be with his Maker.

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