27 November: The Story of St Catherine Laboure & The Miraculous Medal… 

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 held the statue in her arms and leaned her head against the Madonna, the servant heard the child say: “Now, dear Blessed Mother, now 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 Daughters 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 Daughter 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 has 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.   

First Apparition
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 colour 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 trans-pierced 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 inundating 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.

In 1841, the most remarkable miracle occured – the conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne, a wealthy Jewish banker and lawyer and also a blasphemer and hater of Catholicism. 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.

Conclusion
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 Daughters of Charity in The Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, 140 Rue du Bac in Paris.   Source

Comment: 

Share your stories about the miraculous medal, answers to prayers and favourite devotions, novenas etc.  

And a very happy Feast of the Miraculous Medal to one and all…   

Pope Francis: “I’ve Saved Medjugorje!”

Email from a reader this morning….

CDF does its job and says Medjugorje is false, and according to this report Pope Francis over-ruled that and ‘saved’ Medjugorje. Sadly, it has a ring of truth about it. 

Ed: if you agree that the following report “has a ring of truth about it”  tell us! 

From Gloria TV

Chiara Amirante, founder of the Roman aid organization Nuovi Orizzonti, told a crowd on November 1 during a visit in Medjugorie that she recently talked one hour with Pope Francis about the alleged Bosnian place of apparitions, and that she had “the blessing of the Pope” to speak about what was said. According to Amirante Francis told her:

“Chiara, look, it’s I who saved Medjugorje because the Commission of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, had already said, based on many news also false ones that Medjugorje is all false. So it’s I who then saved Medjugorje, it’s I who sent [Archbishop] Hoser because I believe – what I also said in the press conference [on the flight from Fatima to Rome in May 2017] – that the fruits are many and unequivocal.

You can say that I have Medjugorje at heart, and that I did not realise that that statement [about Our Lady who speak too much in Medjugorie] which I said as a personal opinion but which also was based in a wrong information, did have such an strong impact.

So you can say that I have Medjugorje at heart, very at heart and that I am moving ahead with my delegate Hoser, precisely to preserve everything that is beautiful in Medjugorje.”  Source 

October: Month of the Holy Rosary – How to Meditate on the Mysteries…

 

Comment:

Share your tips on how to pray the Rosary well.  And any stories you wish to share about the power of the Rosary are most welcome!

Let’s remember, too, to pray for the repose of the soul of Father Nicholas Gruner, in this  month of the Rosary.  Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.  May he rest in peace. Amen. 

Clergy/Hierarchy Abuse Scandal: UK Braced As English Cardinal Implicated

Extracts below from LifeSiteNews bombshell report:  Pope blocked investigation of abuse allegations against cardinal who helped elect him

Pope Francis embracing Cardinal, Murphy-O’Connor

September 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis told Cardinal Gerhard Müller in 2013 to stop investigating abuse allegations against British Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, according to a highly-placed Vatican source who spoke to Marco Tossati [well-known Italian journalist and Vatican expert.] Murphy-O’Connor, as a member of the “Sankt [St.] Gallen mafia,” played a pivotal role in getting Jorge Bergoglio elected Pope in 2013.

A source from England with inside knowledge of the case told LifeSiteNews that a woman alleges the cardinal had himself been involved in abusing her when she was 13 or 14 years old and that she was the reason for the investigation by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

Tosatti had previously revealed what he learned in September 2013 from a high-ranking Vatican source – “an extremely good source, who was then in the government of the Curia,” and he adds that his source has “learned [it] from those directly concerned.” – that Cardinal Müller, then Prefect of the CDF, was interrupted by the Pope while saying Mass at the Church of Santa Monica (next to the CDF building) for a small group of German students. But now Tosatti reveals that the reason for the interruption was to demand that an investigation into Cardinal O’Connor be halted.

As Tosatti puts it in an article for First Things last year: His secretary joined him at the altar: “The pope wants to speak to you.” “Did you tell him I am celebrating Mass?” asked Müller. “Yes,” said the secretary, “but he says he does not mind—he wants to talk to you all the same.” The cardinal went to the sacristy. The pope, in a very bad mood, gave him some orders about a dossier concerning one of his friends, a cardinal.

After hearing this story as related by Marco Tosatti, LifeSiteNews reached out to a reliable source from England who is very well informed about exactly that same lady who had been accusing the English cardinal. According to this English source, the lady has never gone public with her charges. But she has been in contact with Church authorities for about 15 years now, without ever having received a thorough investigation of her claims. This lady is already an acknowledged abuse victim, having received a settlement from the Archdiocese. She had been abused, when she was 13 or 14 years of age, by Father Michael Hill.

The pedophile Father Hill was imprisoned for five years in 2002 for abusing three minor children between 10 and 14. He had previously been imprisoned, in 1997, also for abusing children. He is thought to have attacked about 30 boys between his ordination in 1960 and the late 1980s. As The Guardian put it at the time: “His case is particularly notorious because the church’s leader, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, gave him a post despite warnings that he had abused young boys.” Hill had been moved to different parishes, in spite of the ongoing complaints of parents. Finally he underwent therapy in the 1980s.

The lady who accused Murphy-O’Connor himself of abuse, claims that when Hill abused her in the late 1960s, there were several other priests present and involved. She claims that Murphy-O’Connor was among them. She, who then lived in what is now the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, had entered in the early 2000s into an agreement with the Diocese and received £40,000 payment for the abuse of Father Hill.

Murphy-O’Connor had been the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton from 1977 until 2000, when he was appointed Archbishop of Westminster. He was also a member of the Sankt Gallen Group that tried to get Jorge Bergoglio elected, first in the 2005 conclave, and then again in 2013.

The story of the female victim of abuse is a story of delayed justice and denial of due process. Since she now lives in the Diocese of Portsmouth, she started to express her accusations to Church officials there. But sometime between 2009 and 2010, she also contacted the Archdiocese of Westminster with her allegations. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who has been Archbishop of Westminster since 2009 – and thus the successor of Murphy-O’Connor – refused to investigate the matter.

When Murphy-O’Connor was asked, in 2010, by Pope Benedict XVI to be the head of the Apostolic Visitation to Ireland in order to examine the abuse crisis there, people in the Diocese of Portsmouth were concerned that the abuse allegations against Murphy-O’Connor would then come to light and destroy the credibility of the Apostolic Visitation.

Similar to McCarrick, Murphy-O’Connor is known to have later speciously shown himself to the public as being a hardliner with regard to abuse cases. “Roman Catholic (sic)  bishops found to be flouting the new guidelines on child protection will be held to account, or expected to resign,” is the headline of a 2003 article quoting Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. However, as with the McCarrick case in the U.S., the truth is now gaining upon the Church’s hierarchy that has been evasively looking the other way.

In England, there is currently a government-commissioned independent investigation into all sex abuse cases in society, to include those in the Catholic Church. This investigation has the legal power to compel the production of evidence. For this investigation, a so-called “Truth Project” has been set up, whereby victims of sexual abuse of minors may now come and relate their story.

Our source tells us this female victim may have contacted that same Truth Project, since several weeks ago, the investigators requested the Archdiocese of Westminster the release of all the files pertaining to allegations against Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor.

It would be important now that four dioceses release their files to the Truth Project concerning this woman’s case: Arundel and Brighton; Westminster; Portsmouth, and Northampton (which submitted the case to the CDF, together with Portsmouth). Bishop John Arnold (now of Salford), who was at the time involved in refusing to investigate the case in Westminster, should also release his files.

Thus, as it seems, the Catholic Church is now sitting upon a ticking time bomb. And on top of that time bomb sits Pope Francis.

This report was consciously published on September 24, the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham – Patroness of the Catholic Church in England – and on the day of the beginning of the English bishops’ Ad Limina visit to Rome.  [Emphases added].   Source – to read entire report click here

Comment: 

There’s really nothing to add to the above report except to note that, as we have said for years in our newsletter, when bishops cover up or make excuses for  priests causing scandal, in various ways – as did our Cardinal O’Brien RIP in response to our reports and letters about dissident Edinburgh clergy attacking the Faith and morals in newspapers and through the broadcasting media – there has to be a reason. And the reason – we frequently hinted – has to be something very serious.

So, nobody should be surprised at these latest revelations. I’ve never written to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor but I have written to other members of the English (Scottish and Irish) Hierarchy, all to no avail.  We’re watching, therefore, with interest as this latest scandal unfolds, and can’t help but wonder if our observations will prove accurate in other cases… both north and south of the border and across the Irish Sea.  Will we find even more chickens coming home to roost?  Let’s watch and pray, especially for the Consecration of Russia, because, until that happens, these scandals will continue and worsen.  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!  

Pope Francis: is it spiritual blindness or sheer idiocy that prevents him from seeing the need to ACT… NOW?! 

Comment invited…    

Happy Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption

Wishing all our bloggers and readers a very happy Feast of the Assumption. Feel free to share your favourite prayers, hymns, stories – even your favourite jokes, of the good clean fun variety – to celebrate the Feast. But first, click here to read Munificentissimus Deus – the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XII defining the dogma of the Assumption in 1950.   “We never give more honour to Jesus than when we honour his Mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek – Jesus, her Son.”
–Saint Louis Marie de Montfort

Medjugorje Fanatics Attack Bishop Perić – calling him “Satan Incarnate”…

Extracts below From the Athanasius of Mostar to Henryk of Medjugorje

Introduction

A news item was published recently in several media reports that the retired bishop of Warsawa-Praga and archbishop ad personam Henryk Hoser, embarked upon his assignment as the Apostolic Visitor for Medjugorje. The very information itself has caused a lot of reactions in the virtual world. Once again, the battlefield has been opened between those who hold the Medjugorje apparitions as absolute and those who consider them unbelievable. When along with this news, another item was published that the Bishop of Mostar-Duvno, Ratko Perić, [pictured left] as the bishop on whose territory the parish of Medjugorje is located, received archbishop Hoser and Luigi Pezzuto, the Apostolic Nuncio to Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that on this occasion he expressed his respect for the Holy See’s decision, he offered archbishop Hoser his cooperation and wished him God’s abundant assistance in fulfilling his mission, he then reiterated clearly and unequivocally what has been the constant position of the Diocesan Chancery of Mostar – that he does not consider any “apparition”, any “message”, any “secret” and any “parchment” as authentic, including the first seven or ten days of the so-called apparitions, the reactions turned into open insults and hostility.

The Queen of Peace or the Queen of Unrest

Even just a quick look at the comments made on a few of the most popular portals, both secular and religious, leads one to conclude that there is very little decentness and objectivity in them, and instead a lot of sarcasm, bitterness and gross insults. On the secularist side, the tones generally range from ridicule to the denigration of all sides, which can be understood regarding the approach and credentials of those commenting. Yet it is very sad to observe how on the so-called religious portals, as well as on official and personal profiles on the social networks, the largest number of commentators-believers present scandalously rude insults. In this regard, what is particularly sad is the way the advocates of the Medjugorje apparitions, those who readily refer to the Medjugorje Gospa (ie. Our Lady) as Mother and Queen of Peace, are so full of unrest and such intolerance, that one’s blood freezes in one’s veins due to their attacks against bishop Perić, in wishing that he would croak, to accusations that he is a KGB agent, a hardened materialist and nonbeliever, even going as far to claim that he is Satan incarnate…

We ask ourselves the question: how can one properly understand the decision of the Holy See to appoint an apostolic visitor and thereby, probably, completely relieve bishop Perić of his jurisdiction over the parish of Medjugorje? Even though the mandate of archbishop Hoser has been provided by the Holy See, and although it is exclusively of a pastoral character, we do not believe that with this appointment, bishop Perić is left with any authority for administering that parish but that it has, de facto, become a parish under the jurisdiction of the Holy See. This might itself seem unfair to bishop Perić, even as a sign of his downgrading and a reflection of incompetence, but it really does not have to be so.
Before we discuss what we mean by this, we would like to say a few words about Bishop Ratko Perić himself, and how we see his role in the context of the Medjugorje phenomenon.

The role of Bishop Perić within the Medjugorje phenomenon

Bishop Perić and his closest associates, as well as his predecessor, bishop Žanić and his associates, have done a great deal to reveal the lies of Medjugorje, though very slowly. While there are still a far greater number of those who unquestionably accept the Medjugorje apparitions as credible, one should not ignore the fact that many are asking more and more questions and coming to one of two conclusions: that they are a simple manipulation or that it is not a question of the apparition of Our Lady, but of an apparition of the Devil, as “Fra” Bože would say. However, this time not in the person of bishop Perić, but of “the One who divides” from head to toe.
In this light, the role of bishop Perić, and his closest associates are praiseworthy, because they have shown incredible strength and faithfulness in the defense of orthodoxy, while the sacrifices and insults they have had to bear and keep on bearing, confirm their level of concern in defending the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje, who is spreading unrest all around her. For us then, as we have already mentioned in a previous text, bishop Perić, due to his clarity and strength, is similar to St. Athanasius, who in defense of true faith, had to flee into exile five times due to the attacks of the Arian heretics of his time. Or even more beautifully, the title of “Athanasius of Mostar” belongs to him, as was attributed to him for the same reasons by the President of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Želimir Puljić.
Read the entire article here…

Comment 

There is no shortage of evidence to prove that Medjugorje is a non-apparition, whether a deliberate hoax or a diabolical phenomenon, who knows, but the worry is that it is taking people away from Fatima.  It’s been argued that the Fatima Message – and pilgrimages/events at that shrine – is being diminished and even ignored, due to the drive to promote Medjugorje.  What do you think?  And how did you vote in the poll?