“our whole lives are defined by who and what we love authentically.” -Owen Joseph/shannan suzzette
Archive for May, 2012
Posted in Uncategorized on May 27, 2012|
Saint Bernadette and The Message of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes
Saturday, January 10, 2009
In 1854, Pius IX defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Four years later, Bernadette Soubirous, a fourteen-year-old girl whose family was the poorest in Lourdes, France, declared she had seen a Lady in the village dump, where she and two other girls had been gathering firewood. The vision had issued from the heart of a massive rock formation next to the river Gave, in a place called “Massabielle,” which literally means “old rock.” After several visits, the Lady asked Bernadette to return fifteen times, which she faithfully did, whereupon she and the whole world received a message and a gift. The message was simple and direct: “Repentance! Repentance! Repentance!”
The gift was a beautiful clear spring, coming forth from the base of the rock at a point where Bernadette had obediently dug with her bare hands in the mud, for the Lady had directed that she drink at The Spring. The waters soon displayed miraculous healing properties, and pilgrims began their journeys to Lourdes to bathe in the water and drink at The Spring. Ever since The Spring appeared, countless millions have found living waters at this spot where the Blessed Virgin spoke to a little girl of no account. When Bernadette at last asked the beautiful Lady who she was, the vision confessed, with awesome simplicity, “I am the Immaculate Conception!” Unburdened from sin from the beginning, she showed what the Lord wants for us at the end. Her battle is ours, a fight against sin. If we would only repent of our sins, the calamities that threaten the humans would never occur. There would be healing and peace that issues from the heart of God, like water from The Rock. Like Mary, we dwell within the “old rock” of the Church, the Rock of Christ. The waters flowing from it in the mystery of Baptism would cleanse us and refresh us with grace.
The miracles at Lourdes continue until today to confront us with the message of Mary and the constant availability of God’s healing and forgiveness. The Spring is a reminder that the springs of “living water” are waiting for the people of the world, that they may come and “drink freely, without pay.” The burden of sin upon us will be lifted, its stain washed away. The message grows more emphatic with Lourdes. Sin is the core of the problem. The world must change. The Darkness is gathering.
St. Catherine Labouré and the Miraculous Medal
Saint Catherine Labouré and the Miraculous Medal
Incorrupt body of St. Catherine Labouré
Mother and Child
The sound of the evening Angelus bells floated across the fields and vineyards of Burgundy. It was the second day of the month of May in the year of Our Lord 1806. In the little village of Fain-les-Moutiers a child of destiny was coming into the world, a tiny instrument of God, who would one day be the confidante of the Queen of Heaven to usher in the age of Mary. Her name was Catherine Labouré, the ninth child of a family of eleven.
The following day, the Feast of the Finding of the True Cross, the small child was baptized. All her life she was to have a deep devotion to the Cross of Our Lord. It would not be long before she was to feel the weight of sacrifice with the death of her mother at the age of nine.
Early one morning shortly after her mother’s death, a family servant came silently upon the little one standing on her tiptoes, stretching upwards, impelled by love, until she reached the statue of the Blessed Virgin. As she leaned her head against the Madonna, the servant heard the child say: From now on, You will be my Mother!
Catherine received her First Holy Communion at the age of eleven on January 25th, 1818. From that day on, she rose at four o’clock each morning and walked several miles to assist at Mass and to pray for grace and strength before the start of her day’s work. Her only desire now was to give herself without reserve to her dear Lord. Never was the thought of Him far from her mind.
By this time Catherine’s elder sister, Marie Louise, had left to join the Sisters of Charity, and the little girl who had always been obedient now had to direct and supervise the homestead. She looked after everything: she made the bread, cooked and did the housework, carried daily meals to the workmen in the fields and cared well for the animals.
A Sister of Charity
Once, when she was in the village church, she saw a vision of an old priest saying Mass. After Mass the priest turned and beckoned to her with his finger, but she drew backwards, keeping her eyes on him. The vision moved to a sickroom where she saw the same priest, who said: “My child, it is a good deed to look after the sick; you run away from me now, but one day you will be glad to come to me. God had designs for you. Do not forget it!” At that time, of course, she did not understand the significance of the vision.
As is the European custom, Catherine’s father invited various suitors to seek her hand in marriage and always her reply was: “I shall never marry; I have promised my life to Jesus Christ.” She prayed, worked, and served the family well until she was twenty-two, when she asked her father’s permission to become a Daughter of Charity. He flatly refused, and to distract her, sent her to Paris to work in a coffee shop run by her brother Charles. During the entire year spent there, she maintained her resolve to become the bride of Christ.
Her aunt, Jeanne Gontard, came to Catherine’s aid and enrolled her in the finishing school she directed at Chatillon. Since Catherine was a country girl, she was miserable at this fashionable school. One day, while visiting the hospital of the Daughters of Charity, she noted a priest’s picture on the wall. She asked the nun who he might be, and was told: “Our Holy Founder, Saint Vincent de Paul.” This was the same priest Catherine had seen in the vision. Later, after much persuasion from her Aunt Jeanne, her father granted permission for Catherine to enter the convent.
In January of 1830 Catherine entered the hospice of the Daughters of Charity at Chatillon-sur-Seine. This was just after the Reign of Terror in France, where sacrileges were committed in the name of freedom. Licentious women danced on the main altar of Notre Dame. Even the body of St. Genevieve, the Patroness of France, was desecrated. Saint Vincent de Paul’s body had been hidden, but four days after Catherine’s entry into the Mother House, his remains were transferred back to his own church with joyous processions and ceremonies.
Shortly after her entrance, God was pleased to grant Catherine several extraordinary visions. On three consecutive days she beheld the heart of Saint Vincent each time under a different aspect. At other times she beheld Our Divine Lord during Mass, when He would appear as He was described in the liturgy of the day.
In 1830 Catherine was blessed with the apparitions of Mary Immaculate to which we owe the Miraculous Medal. The first apparition came on the eve of the feast of St. Vincent, July 19. The mother superior had given each of the novices a piece of cloth from the holy founder’s surplice. Because of her extreme love, Catherine split her piece down the middle, swallowing half and placing the rest in her prayer book. She earnestly prayed to St. Vincent that she might, with her own eyes, see the Mother of God.
That night, a beautiful child awoke her from her sleep, saying: “Sister Labouré, come to the chapel; the Blessed Virgin is waiting for you.” When Catherine went to the chapel, she found it ablaze with lights as if prepared for Midnight Mass. Quietly, she knelt at the Communion rail, and suddenly heard the rustle of a silk dress. The Blessed Virgin, in a blaze of glory, sat in a chair like that of Saint Anne’s.
Catherine rose, then went over and knelt, resting her hands in the Virgin’s lap, and felt the Virgin’s arms around her, as she said: “God wishes to charge you with a mission. You will be contradicted, but do not fear; you will have the grace. Tell your spiritual director all that passes within you. Times are evil in France and in the world.”
A pained expression crossed the Virgin’s face. “Come to the foot of the altar. Graces will be shed on all, great and little, especially upon those who seek them. Another community of sisters will join the Rue du Bac community. The community will become large; you will have the protection of God and Saint Vincent; I will always have my eyes upon you.” (This prediction was fulfilled when, in 1849, Fr. Etienne received Saint Elizabeth Seton’s sisters of Emmitsburg, MD, into the Paris community. Mother Seton’s sisters became the foundation stone of the Sisters of Charity in the United States.)
Then, like a fading shadow, Our Lady was gone.
The Second Apparition
Four months passed until Our Lady returned to Rue du Bac. Here are Catherine’s own words describing the apparition:
“On the 27th of November, 1830 … while making my meditation in profound silence … I seemed to hear on the right hand side of the sanctuary something like the rustling of a silk dress. Glancing in that direction, I perceived the Blessed Virgin standing near St. Joseph’s picture. Her height was medium and Her countenance, indescribably beautiful. She was dressed in a robe the color of the dawn, high-necked, with plain sleeves. Her head was covered with a white veil, which floated over Her shoulders down to her feet. Her feet rested upon a globe, or rather one half of a globe, for that was all that could be seen. Her hands which were on a level with Her waist, held in an easy manner another globe, a figure of the world. Her eyes were raised to Heaven, and Her countenance beamed with light as She offered the globe to Our Lord.
“As I was busy contemplating Her, the Blessed Virgin fixed Her eyes upon me, and a voice said in the depths of my heart: ‘ This globe which you see represents the whole world, especially France, and each person in particular.’
“There now formed around the Blessed Virgin a frame rather oval in shape on which were written in letters of gold these words: ‘ O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.’ Then a voice said to me: ‘ Have a medal struck upon this model. All those who wear it, when it is blessed, will receive great graces especially if they wear it round the neck. Those who repeat this prayer with devotion will be in a special manner under the protection of the Mother of God. Graces will be abundantly bestowed upon those who have confidence.’
“At the same instant, the oval frame seemed to turn around. Then I saw on the back of it the letter ‘M’, surmounted by a cross, with a crossbar beneath it, and under the monogram of the name of Mary, the Holy Hearts of Jesus and of His Mother; the first surrounded by a crown of thorns and the second transpierced by a sword. I was anxious to know what words must be placed on the reverse side of the medal and after many prayers, one day in meditation I seemed to hear a voice which said to me: ‘ The ‘M’ with the Cross and the two Hearts tell enough.’ ”
“All who wear this medal will receive great graces . . .”
The Miraculous Medal
The Mother of God instructed Catherine that she was to go to her spiritual director, Father Aladel, about the apparitions. At first he did not believe Catherine, but, after two years, approached the Bishop of Paris with the story of the events that had taken place at Rue du Bac. Our Blessed Mother had chosen well Her time for the apparitions as the Bishop at that period was an ardent devotee of the Immaculate Conception. He said that the Medal was in complete conformity with the Church’s doctrine on the role of Our Lady and had no objections to having the medals struck at once. The Bishop even asked to be sent some of the first.
Immediately upon receiving them, he put one in his pocket and went to visit Monseigneur de Pradt, former chaplain to Napoleon and unlawful Archbishop of Mechlin who had accepted his office from the hands of the Emperor and now lay dying, defiant and unreconciled to the Church. The sick man refused to abjure his errors and the Bishop of Paris withdrew in defeat. He had not left the house when the dying man suddenly called him back, made his peace with the Church and gently passed away in the arms of the Archbishop, who was filled with a holy joy.
The original order of 20,000 medals proved to be but a small start. The new medals began to pour from the presses in streams to France and the rest of the world beyond. By the time of St. Catherine’s death in 1876, over a billion medals had been distributed in many lands. This sacramental from Heaven was at first called simply the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, but began to be known as the Miraculous Medal due to the unprecedented number of miracles, conversions, cures, and acts of protection attributed to Our Lady’s intercession for those who wore it.
The most remarkable miracle was the conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne, a wealthy Jewish banker and lawyer and also a blasphemer and hater of Catholicism, in 1841. A Catholic friend, M. de Bussieres, gave him a medal, daring him to wear it and say a Memorare. After considerable persuasion he agreed to do so. Not long after, Alphonse accompanied M. de Bussieres to the Church of Sant ‘ Andrea delle Frate to make funeral arrangements for a dear friend. There Alphonse saw a vision of Mary as on the Miraculous Medal. He was converted instantly and immediately begged for Baptism.
Alphonse Ratisbonne later went on to become a priest, taking the name of Father Alphonse Marie. Working for thirty years in the Holy Land, he established several institutions. Out of reverence and gratitude to Our Savior, he built the expiatory sanctuary of the Ecce Homo on the spot where Pilate displayed Jesus to the Jews. So great was the love he had for his people, that he dedicated the remainder of his life, as did his brother, Father Theodore, to work for the conversion of their immortal souls. Among the converts of these two priest brothers were a total of twenty eight members of their own family.
On the last day of 1876, St. Catherine passed to her eternal reward. For the forty-six years from the year of the apparitions until her death, only she and her confessor knew who it was to whom the famous Miraculous Medal was revealed, despite many pressures she received to reveal the secret. The years passed by, Catherine performed daily her mundane and very ordinary tasks of sewing and door keeping, unknown to the world around her, which was buzzing with the miraculous effects of the medal. Because of this humility, she is often called the Saint of Silence. When her body was exhumed for beatification 57 years after her death in 1933, it was found as fresh as the day it was buried. Her incorrupt body can still be seen today at the Mother House of the Sisters of Charity, 140 Rue du Bac in Paris.
If you wish to know more about St. Catherine Labouré and the Miraculous Medal, we recommend the booklet “Mary’s Miraculous Medal.” It contains novena prayers, history, conversion stories and beautiful color pictures. www.olrl.org/lives/
Posted in Uncategorized on May 26, 2012|
John Michael Montgomery “The Little Girl”….One person can and does make a difference with love and light..we are all points of Light of we choose to be..the truth of this song says it all. we are either part of the problem or part of the solution…who do you see in the mirror? Please Help Stop Child Abuse In Our Lifetime. Music Makes A Difference. -shannan suzzette
Her parents never took the young girl to church
Never spoke of His name
Never read her His word
Two non-believers walking lost in this world
Took their baby with them
What a sad little girl
Her daddy drank all day and mommy did drugs
Never wanted to play
Or give kisses and hugs
She’d watch the TV and sit there on the couch
While her mom fell asleep
And her daddy went out
And the drinking and the fighting
just got worse every night
Behind their couch she’d be hiding
Oh what a sad little life
And like it always does, the bad just got worse
With every slap and every curse
Until her daddy in a drunk rage one night
Used a gun on her mom and then took his life
And some people from the city took the girl far away
To a new mom and dad
And kisses and hugs everyday
Her first day of Sunday school the teacher walked in
And a small little girl
Stared a picture of Him
The Little Girl -John Michael Montgomery
She said I know that man up there on that cross
I don’t know His name
But I know He got off
He was there in my old house
and held me close to His side
As I hid there behind our couch
The night that my parents died
Daisies Flower Meanings
Daisy Flower Symbolism
The flower symbolism associated with the daisy is purity, innocence, loyal love, beauty, patience and simplicity. Daisies are often depicted in meadows in Medieval paintings, also known as a “flowery mead.” Daisies are believed to be more than 4,000 years old and hairpins decorated with daisies were found during the excavation of the Minoan Palace on the Island of Crete. Even further back, Egyptian ceramics were decorated with daisies. Daisies were used in Mary Gardens. The daisy is also symbolically connected to St. John.
The Daisy Family
The family Asteraceae (known as the aster, daisy, or sunflower family) is the largest family of flowering plants. The name ‘Asteraceae’ is derived from the type genus Aster, meaning star. The family comprises more than 1,600 genera and 23,000 species. Asteraceae are most common in the temperate regions and tropical mountains.
The name daisy come from “day’s eye” because the flower is only open during the day and closes up at night. Another name is “thunderflower” since it blooms in the summer when thundershowers are common. In addition, the daisy is believed to keep away lightening. For this reason, it was also kept indoors. A common name in England for the flower is bruisewort since the crushed leaves could be used for soothing bruised or chapped skin.
Uses of The Daisy Family
Commercially important plants in the daisy family include the food crops lettuce, chicory, globe artichoke, sunflower, safflower and Jerusalem artichoke. Other commercially important species include flowers used as herbs and in herbal teas and other beverages. Chamomile and calendula are grown commercially for herbal teas and the potpourri industry. Echinacea is used as a medicinal tea.
Sylvia Weinstock Is The Final Word In Wedding Cakes
Sylvia Weinstock’s passion takes the cake! I was so enthralled by this beautiful lady many years ago and so inspired by her passion for her one-of-a-kind creations, that I never forgot her. Being “unforgettable” is the trademark of a spiritual experience. God speaks through the unforgettable experiences of our lives. We make a divine connection with one another through the passion of our hearts. And, that is just good business!
Sylvia’s cakes are unforgettable for the reason that they fill your taste buds with joy and your life with an unforgettable experience of touching true greatness in baking to your lips. Sylvia’s cakes are an extention of her maternal nurturing capability with a simple smile. She offers a mother’s love in every morsel.
When you have tasted a Sylvia Weinstock cake you feel loved. And, love is what good things and good people are all about.
A wedding is more than a day or an event…..It is the beginning of a new life of eternal love and a commitment to passionate living.
Sylvia Weinstock knows love, commitment, and passion…..it’s all in the cake!