Why Do Statues Survive Disasters?

Our LadyA house fire once destroyed all the holy objects in my bedroom – except one 

It was reported this week that a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes was left untouched by a fire that gutted a military base near Madrid. Reading about this reminded me of something similar that happened in my own life.

Seven years ago this summer, I had a bad house fire where my bedroom was charred by flames. All my religious statues, rosaries and prayer cards were burned to dust. When the toxic fumes evaporated and things cooled down, it was safe to go in there again. There was a pungent smell of burnt plastic.

Almost everything that was made from plastic had melted and become fuel for the bonfire – I say “almost”, because when I searched through the rubble I was astonished to find that a piece of earth from Fatima, encased in a little plastic bubble, had survived the flames.

I had the plastic, which looked no thicker than cling film, examined and I was told that it should have combusted or exploded in the heat. I believe that the raging flames were prevented from destroying a tiny part of the ground that Our Lady had personally visited.

In the same way, the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, which was untouched by fire, is an icon of Our Lady’s miraculous appearances at Lourdes, when the Queen of Heaven paid a visit to our home here on earth.

These are not isolated instances – and not every holy object that mysteriously survives a conflagration is of Our Lady or related to a Marian apparition.

I have always been struck by case histories of statues of the Divine Infant of Prague that have survived devastation and/or fire.

For example, there is the astounding story of how a rural church in Syston, Leicestershire, came to be dedicated to the Divine Infant of Prague. During the 1940s, a ruinous fire destroyed the meeting rooms around the church. A statue of the Divine Infant of Prague was found among the rubble by a Fr Horgan, who had a strong personal devotion to the Divine Infant. The statue was broken but had not been burnt to dust or reduced to rubble.

According to this account by Helen Harwood: “Fr Horgan was so amazed at the discovery in a secular building that he took it as a sign and decided that this would be the dedication of the new Syston church: the Divine Infant of Prague.”  Source 

Pope Francis’ Latest Craziness – World Day of Prayer For Creation…


“Sharing with my beloved brother the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew his concerns for the future of creation (cfr Encylical Letter. Laudato Si, 7-9) and taking up the suggestion by his representative, the Metropolitan Ioannis of Pergamum who took part in the presentation of the Encyclical Laudato Si on the care of our common home, I wish to inform you that I have decided to set up also in the Catholic Church, the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” which, beginning this year, will be celebrated on the 1st of September, as the Orthodox Church has done for some time now.   

As Christians we wish to offer our contribution towards overcoming the ecological crisis which humanity is living through.  Therefore, first of all we must draw from our rich spiritual heritage the reasons which feed our passion for the care of creation, always remembering that for believers in Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became man for us, “the life of the spirit is not dissociated from the body or from nature or from worldly realities, but lived in and with them, in communion with all that surrounds us.” (ibid., 216).   The ecological crisis therefore calls us to a profound spiritual conversion: Christians are called to “an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them.” (ibid., 217).  Thus, “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.”(ibid   Read entire report here


Things are just getting crazier and crazier under this pontiff.  It’s difficult to find the words to describe the extent of the scandals caused directly by Pope Francis.  Some blog administrators seem to have given up trying, and I had to ditch one that I thought of using here, because of his description of all the key players as “b*******”.  Believe me, I sympathise with the sentiment, but we gotta keep reminding ourselves that we are Catholics, first and foremost, despite the shocking behaviour and lack of zeal of so many priests and  hierarchy.  

Anyway, what about you – will you be taking steps to undergo “a profound spiritual [and] ecological conversion, whereby the effects of [your] encounter with Christ becomes evident in [your] relationship with the world around [you]” – whatever the heck that means.  Or will you simply continue to pray your rosary and wear your Brown Scapular with both eyes on the four last things – death, judgment, Heaven and Hell? 

Should Catholics Join Prayer Groups?

A reader recently emailed the following message …

“Prayer groups to me suggest emotionalism, swaying, chanting, charismatic-type activities and I want none of it – but I am struggling to explain why I Padre Pioam instinctively against them.  I am not aware of any Church Teaching in this area, apart from Group Prayer in the form of the Mass, being the most powerful of prayers. Could you bear this in mind as a possible topic for some time in the future?  “The dangers of emotionalism, fired up in prayer groups”. 

I have to admit that I’m with our reader on this – prayer groups do not appeal to me, at all.  It always surprises me that Padre Pio was apparently staunch advocate of such groups.  Click  here to read more on the topic of Padre Pio prayer groups. Then share your thoughts.

Voris Fighting the Wrong Battle… Again!

From Catholic Family News…

[Yesterday] Michael Voris once again attacked the SSPX, this time for the SSPX’s strong reaction to the New Mass. But is Voris’ outrage properly directed? Are Catholics actually bound to accept a Protestantized New Liturgy? And what about those who impose – and who to impose – this “banal on-the-spot fabrication” on the Catholic world. Contains quotations from men who rejoiced — at the time of the Council itself — that Vatican II’s liturgical reform “destroy the uniformity of the Roman Rite.”  Source


Well? Is John Vennari of Catholic Family News right?  Is Voris’s rage against the SSPX misplaced? Should it be re-directed to question the (lack of) right of the churchmen who imposed this new Mass on the faithful? And before you answer that, take a deep breath and think of those quotes from both modernist priests and Protestants…

Blessed Pope Pius IX … Pray for us!

Pope Pius IXAt the time of the Pope’s death in Rome, a Belgian child, dying from an undiagnosed illness, told his mother he had a vision of Pius IX being crowned by the Virgin in Heaven. The child was instantly cured. Since news of the Pope’s death had not yet reached Belgium, the mother sent a telegram to Rome. The answer indicated the child had been cured at the very moment of the Pope’s death.  

Read more about Pope Pius IX here  – and note this remark:

“They write that I am tired,” said Pius IX five weeks before his death. “They are right. I am tired of so much iniquity and discord.”  

Now, of course, much of the “iniquity and discord” is being caused by a Pope – and wouldn’t Pope Pius IX be surprised to learn that it is the beleaguered faithful who are “tired” of it all.   

This thread is to help us recall the holy popes of days gone by and to share our favourite stories of these, their major contributions to the life of the Church and their fidelity in passing on the Faith through their teaching office, encyclicals etc.  A trip down Memory Lane, so to speak, with perhaps some thought given to what the contents of an updated Syllabus of Errors might include…

Vatican Event: Why Would Pope Francis Permit Protestant Heresy To Be Sung?

I found these videos on the website of The Remnant earlier today.  In the above video, Michael Voris of Church Militant TV rightly exposes the fact that the popular “Amazing Grace” should not be sung in Catholic churches as routinely happens these days, but now he faces a dilemma since it’s been sung within the Vatican walls – in the presence of Pope Francis himself: he who, according to Mr Voris, is above and beyond all criticism.  Watch the performance below – and weep to see princes of the Church behaving like Pentecostal Protestants and a pope apparently moved to tears by a  Protestant “hymn” packed with heresy.  And – as a side issue, because who, really, gives a toss – ask yourself what it will take to get Michael Voris to waken up and admit that the problem within the Church today – the problem – is Papa Francis.

I have to admit that I’ve never liked “Amazing Grace” –  tuneless, heretical  and singularly uninspiring. Why any priest would choose it over the many beautiful traditional Catholic hymns available, beats me. If you can think of a reason, spill. Ditto if you can think of a reason why the Pope (any pope) would permit Protestant heresy to be said, read or sung, in his presence, with his approval, and the obvious approval of the swaying, with-it/cool cardinals within the Vatican walls.

Or perhaps you are one of those who sang along innocently, not realising that it is a Protestant song containing heresy? I’ve met people in that category and I couldn’t even swear on oath that I’ve never sung it myself in years gone by, although I can definitely swear, hand on heart and a stack of bibles, that I’ve never liked it.  There is so much confusion in the Church today and so little sound teaching in pulpits and schools, that there are undoubtedly innocent members of congregations who will have joined in the singing, without realising that they were “praising God” with heresy.  And now we’ll even find some who will say “Well, if it’s good enough for the Pope, it’s good enough for me” (with the sub-text, “and it should be good enough for God!”)

Truly, you couldn’t make it up. Anyway, read the Remnant article on the subject here and then share your thoughts (politely!)

A Happy Feast Of The Assumption!

I’ll sing a hymn to Mary,
The Mother of my God,
The Virgin of all virgins,
Of David’s royal blood.
O teach me, Holy Mary,
A loving song to frame,
When wicked men blaspheme thee,
To love and bless thy name.

O noble Tower of David,
Of gold and ivory.
The ark of God’s own promise,
The gate of Heav’n to me.
To live and not to love thee
Would fill my soul with shame.
When wicked men blaspheme thee,
I’ll love and bless thy name.

The saints are high in glory,
With golden crowns so bright,
But brighter far is Mary
Upon her throne of light.
O that which God did give thee,
Let mortal ne’er disclaim;
When wicked men blaspheme thee
I’ll love and bless thy name.

But in the crown of Mary,
There lies a wondrous gem,
As Queen of all the Angels,
Which Mary shares with them;
“No sin hath e’er defiled thee,”
So doth our faith proclaim:
When wicked men blaspheme thee,
I’ll love and bless thy name.

(Fr. J. Wyze 1825-1898)

Is The “Catholic Women of the Year” Award… er… “Catholic”?

Our Lady of Sorrows2The four CATHOLIC WOMEN OF THE YEAR for 2015 have now been chosen.

In a tradition dating back over 40 years, Catholic women are chosen from among nominations sent in from across England and Wales. The choice is made by secret ballot by a committee made up of representatives of various Catholic groups and organisations. The aim is to honour the “unsung heroines” of the Church and to celebrate the service they give.

This year’s Catholic Women of the Year Luncheon will be held on Friday October 23rd, at the Thistle Hotel at London’s Marble Arch, and the speaker will be Father Alexander Sherbrook, of St Patrick’s, Soho.

The four Catholic Women of the Year 2015 are:

Mary-Jane Butler, founder and organiser of WORK,  “Widows and Orphans in Rural Kenya”. She established this charity almost single-handed and it is now helping  over 500 widows and orphans,  and running six schools and two rural health centres.  A current project involves obtaining tools and equipment so that women can obtain jobs and support themselves while also completing their studies.  Mary-Jane spends part of each year in Kenya and while at home in Devon works as a spiritual director for the diocese of Plymouth. Her nominating letter described her as “one of the most dedicated people I have ever met”.

Dr Margaret Ann “Maggie” Burgess, founder of the charity “Promise Nepal” which raises funds to help people suffering from leprosy in Nepal. Herself a qualified nurse specialising in tropical medicine, she was a regular traveller to Nepal over several years and met leprosy sufferers in Kathmandu. Struck by their plight, she pledged herself to help them and has since founded a series of roadside clinics treating some 200 patients a day, plus a 15-bed hospital, outpatient clinic, school, and training centre. People who are receiving care and treatment are also given opportunities to train for work so that they can live full lives and care for themselves and their families, in a society where they are often treated as outcasts. In addition, “Promise Nepal” has helped clinics in remote places, providing access roads, clean water, showers, ambulances, and more.

Monica Cleaver organises and leads youth work in her London parish  (Our Lady of Dolours, Hendon including involvement in the nationwide “Flame” project. She runs the First Communion and Confirmation classes, and started a faith group which now meets regularly. She also took on the organisation of a befriending scheme for lonely and housebound people, and travels regularly with sick and handicapped people to Lourdes as a helper. Her nominating letter described her as a “well liked and loved parishioner, involved in everything.  She is always approachable.  Without her, our parish would struggle!”

Yolanda Fletcher, sacristan, Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, and all-round helper in her local parish in Wales. On St David’s Day she bakes Welsh cakes which she distributes to parishioners and also takes round to local neighbours especially the housebound, and at Christmas does the same with a batch of over 100 mince pies. Each week she cares for several elderly and frail people, visiting them, taking them Holy Communion and also offering friendship and conversation. She has served as sacristan for over 12 years and this involves cleaning and tidying the church and taking responsibility for preparations for Mass and all special events. Her nominating letter said “Her life is absorbed with genuine Christian love – she is always thinking of others”.   Source


This particular award doesn’t sit comfortably with me at all. And it’s not (just!) because I’m never nominated… 😀

I suppose it’s partly because I think to myself: who wants to hear those terrible wordsyou have had your reward” when their time comes to plead for a place in Heaven. Then again, I’d better not scupper my chances of a future nomination by being too dogmatic about the whole thing. So, you tell me – IS the “Catholic Women of the Year” award “Catholic” – or not?

What IS Being A Catholic In Practice?

The video, having been deleted by YouTube, is available to view here

OR, you can read Mrs Cornelia Ferreira’s talk here if you prefer, or make notes from the text after viewing her talk in the video.


I found myself in conversation with a Catholic lady earlier today, who reacted with surprise to a number of my comments about contemporary life.  She disagreed with the idea that family life had been corrupted by the feminist movement,  appeared never to have heard of feminism, asking me to define this movement. Click here 

She remained silently disapproving on the themes which I identified as evidence of the damage caused by the feminist movement (broken families, working mothers) and, when the conversation moved on to the importance of avoiding scandal, she shook her head at the very notion of “a dangerous occasion of sin.”   She rightly said that we mustn’t be prudish, we’re not Amish etc., and I wholeheartedly agree. 

It is no exaggeration, however, to say that this lady and I disagreed on just about everything else; she firmly believes that  nothing – “no movement, no ism, nothing that is not sin” –  is connected to the Church, and therefore has nothing to do with our everyday lives. 

I have always believed that everything, but everything, is connected to my Catholic life. Still, the above acquaintance clearly disagrees.  What do YOU think?  

“As for the Sacrament of Matrimony… it will be attacked and deeply profaned… The Catholic spirit will rapidly decay; the precious light of the Faith will gradually be extinguished… Added to this will be the effects of secular education, which will be one reason for the dearth of priestly and religious vocations.

“The Sacrament of Holy Orders will be ridiculed, oppressed, and despised… The Devil will try to persecute the ministers of the Lord in every possible way; he will labor with cruel and subtle astuteness to deviate them from the spirit of their vocation and will corrupt many of them. These depraved priests, who will scandalize the Christian people, will make the hatred of bad Catholics and the enemies of the Catholic and Apostolic Church fall upon all priests…

“Further, in these unhappy times, there will be unbridled luxury, which will ensnare the rest into sin and conquer innumerable frivolous souls, who will be lost. Innocence will almost no longer be found in children, nor modesty in women. In this supreme moment of need of the Church, the one who should speak will fall silent.”  (Our Lady of Good Success, Quito, Ecuador, on the Church in the 20th century…)