August 22, 2019

Our Lady, Health of the Sick: Honoring Mary as the Ideal Model for Care of all People

Blessed Virgin Mary                        en-wikipedia.org
 IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


It was in December of 1531 when  Juan Diego, alone on Tepeyac Hill (in the area which is now called Guadalupe),  was praying to the Blessed Mother asking if she could cure a sick relative. Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego and said this to him, "Do not worry about this illness or about any other misfortune. Am I, your Mother, not here at your side? Are you not protected by my shadow? Am I not your safety?"


We celebrated the great feast of The Queenship of Mary on August 22nd. This feast is so important that there are those who believe it should be declared a Holy Day of Obligation replacing the Assumption celebrated on August 15. What is not so celebrated and well known is the feast day that follows. It is always held on the Saturday before the last Sunday in August. This feast day is known as Our Lady, Health of the Sick.

If we stop to think about it, we can quickly see that our Blessed Mother stands out in the gospel readings as someone who was always there to help others. She gives herself over starting at the Annunciation. A teenager, she is asked to be a mother to the Son of God. She said to the Angel Gabriel, “but I know not man.” She understood the ramifications of what she was accepting. But she embraced God’s calling willingly not worrying about herself.

Next, it is on to her cousin Elizabeth’s house. Why? To assist her aging cousin in giving birth to her child. Mary must have stayed for about six months before leaving for home. Unselfishly, she stayed until Elizabeth was healthy enough to take care of baby John, by herself. Mary would have been almost six months pregnant when she returned home.

Classic artwork always depicts Mary’s parents, St. Joachim and St. Ann, as loving parents who took wonderful care of their special child. It is not written in the gospels, but it is safe to assume that Mary was with them when they were old, caring for them and even being with them as they passed on to their waiting reward.

We see her and her Son, Jesus, sitting with St. Joseph as he is old and dying. St. Joseph, the Patron of the Dying, has his true love by his side wiping his brow, wetting his lips, keeping vigil, and not leaving her husband’s side until his time is done. There are those that believe that it was these actions which first brought her to be called, “Health of the Sick.”

A true Angel of Mercy, Mary’s greatest challenge, and heartbreak came as she had to watch her Son, who was immune to sickness and death, willingly allow Himself to be whipped, beaten, crowned with thorns, mocked and ridiculed. Then she had to follow Him, bloodied, and battered, as He carried His cross to Calvary. She watched Him die and held His blood-soaked, lifeless body in her arms before he was buried.

Jesus gave his Mother to all of us as He lay dying on the cross. Mary gave her all to Him and, as our Mother, will do so for us. This is why she is called Our Lady, Health of the Sick.”

The magnificent Stabat Mater (translated means Sorrowful Mother), was written to describe the pain and suffering Mary had to endure during her Son’s crucifixion and death.  What follows are the first two and the next to last verses of the Stabat Mater. They are quite poignant and frame the entire hymn. The link above will give the entire hymn, considered among the top seven hymns ever written.

At the Cross, her station keeping
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her Son to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.
Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
be Thy Mother my defense,
be Thy Cross my victory;

As She said to Juan Diego at Guadalupe, 1500 years later,  Am I, your Mother, not here at your side? Are you not protected by my shadow? Am I not your safety?"

Our Lady, Health of the Sick; Please pray for us.

copyright©Larry Peterson2018

August 19, 2019

Saint Paschal of Baylon…Pope Leo XIII proclaimed him the Seraph (Angel) of the Eucharist

St. Paschal Baylon                                       en.wikipedia.org
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


On May 16,1540, a baby boy was born to Martin and Elizabeth Baylon in the Kingdom of Aragon, located in Spain. This day also happened to be the Feast of Pentecost. Since the people in Spain refer to the Feast of Pentecost as the Pasch (Passover) of the Holy Ghost., his parents named their new son, Paschal.

Paschal’s parents were poor tenant farmers and, while only a young boy, Paschal began working in the fields and tending to the sheep. His regimen of work was seemingly never-ending, and he rarely took part in the activities of other kids his age.
 However, he possessed an obvious spirituality that was noticeable to others, and the other boys would come to him for advice and requests for him to settle their quarrels. Paschal had innate wisdom that was marveled at by all who came to know him.

The boy was unable to go to school, so he carried a notebook with him when he was working. He would ask other kids and even strangers going by to show him different letters and how to use them. He took his tidbits of information to heart and literally taught himself how to read. Soon his favorite books were those about his Lord.

When Paschal was working in the fields, he always fell to his knees when he heard the bells ringing during the Consecration.  He was not only rich in piety and virtue, but he was also quite humble. It was just the way he was and people who knew him could not help but notice.

Paschal had always harbored a deep desire to enter religious life. Now and then he even wondered if that might ever happen. He had been offered spots in several richly endowed monasteries, and some prodded him to enter the priesthood. He had said, “, “I was born poor and am resolved to die in poverty and penance.”

His quest for simplicity came to fruition when, in 1564, he was able to enter the Franciscan Monastery of the Friars Minor at Monteforte. It was located in Orito, Spain and those who were there lived a no-frills, austere existence. It was what Paschal had hoped and prayed.for. The young man professed his vows at the monastery on February 2, 1565.

St. Paschal was frequently found before the tabernacle, at times even prostate with his arms outstretched. The humble brother, who had taught himself to read and had no known education possessed a deep knowledge and insight into the mysteries and teachings of the faith. Learned men marveled at him, and most figured he was guided by the Holy Spirit. He was so knowledgeable that during the height of the Calvinist heresies he was chosen to travel to France to defend the Church’s teaching on the Real Presence.

Once God even demonstrated the high esteem he had for Paschal by using the Blessed  Sacrament. Paschal was out in the field tending his flock. When he heard the bells ringing, signaling the Consecration was taking place, he immediately knelt down. As he did the Blessed Sacrament appeared before him in the monstrance. Incredibly,  it was held aloft by angels hovering above. Others saw this and were in awe. Word spread quickly about the miraculous Brother Paschal and his visions, which became more frequent.

Brother Paschal Baylon passed away on May 17, 1592. The custom of the time was for the deceased to be placed on an open stretcher in the church. This was done, and when the Consecrated Host was elevated at his requiem Mass, Paschal’s body sat up, and bowed to the Sacred Host. It remained like that and repeated the bow as the chalice with the Precious Blood was elevated.  Then Paschal’s body lay back down. Witnesses to this miraculous event also testified that his eyes were open watching the priest during the entire Consecration.

Paschal Baylon was beatified by Pope Paul V in 1618, and he was canonized a saint by Pope Alexander VIII on October 16, 1690. He is the patron of all Eucharistic Congresses and Eucharistic Associations. Paintings of St. Paschal usually are shown with him in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament which was the greatest love in his life.
Saint Paschal Baylon, please pray for us.




 copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

August 14, 2019

Prior to Mary’s Assumption, did she actually die? What is the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God?

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary                                           www.wikiart.org         
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII, writing and speaking ex-cathedra, solemnly defined in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, the dogma that  “the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of  her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” We know this as the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is a Holy Day of Obligation.

The sidebar to this solemn definition is the fact that it does not address the question of whether or not Mary physically died before being assumed. All the document says is, “having completed the course of her earthly life."

Interestingly,  we are not bound to a definitive answer. However, the  Feast of The Dormition (Sleep)  of the Mother of God is a major feast in the Eastern Catholic Churches and in the Armenian Apostolic Church. They celebrate the feast on August 15. So, did Mary actually die first before being assumed? Did she simply fall asleep?  Is it possible that she was buried?

We Roman Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Assumption on August 15. Does the Roman Catholic Church accept or reject the Dormition of the Mother of God?  Two of our greatest popes accept it. Venerable Pope Pius XII refers to Mary’s death at least five times while Pope St. John Paul II stated  Mary experienced natural death before her Assumption into Heaven. Lastly, let us go to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 966) which gives us these words from the Byzantine Liturgy:

“In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition, you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.”

What follows is this beautiful testimony from the early Church. This example is from the sixth century and gives us insight into what Christians believed in the ancient church about Mary’s Dormition and Assumption:

“The course of this life having been completed by Blessed Mary, when now she would be called from the world, all the Apostles came together from their various regions to her house. And when they had heard that she was about to be taken from the world, they kept watch together with her. And behold, the Lord Jesus came with His angels, and taking her soul, He gave it over to angel Michael and withdrew.

At daybreak, however, the Apostles took up her body on a bier and placed it in a tomb; and they guarded it, expecting the Lord to come. And behold, again the Lord stood by them; and the holy body having been received, he commanded that it be taken in a cloud into paradise: where now, rejoined to the soul, [Mary] rejoices with the Lord’s chosen ones, and is the enjoyment of the good of an eternity that will never end.” (Saint Gregory of Tours, Bishop; A. D.595-A.D. 594); Eight Books of Miracles; A.D. 575-593;

We must remember that the Ascension of Jesus was accomplished through Jesus’ own power as God. The Assumption of The Blessed Mother was done for her by the Power of God, not under her own power. It is also said that Mary’s death lasted forty hours, the same as her Son’s and that during that time her soul visited the souls in Purgatory to release some and comfort others.

No matter what actually transpired so long ago we know that Our Blessed Mother was taken into heaven body and soul after passing from this life. Once more, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 967):

By her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to His Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the model of faith and charity. Thus she is a “preeminent and wholly unique member of the Church”; indeed, she is the “exemplary realization” of the Church.

As people of Faith, the recognition of the splendor and importance of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary can take your breath away.


copyright©Larry Peterson 2019 

August 6, 2019

A Summer snowstorm resulted in the First Church ever built in honor of the Blessed Mother

Basilica of St. Mary Major                               en.wikipedia.org
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


This is about the first church ever built for Our Lady. Today it is called the Basilica of St. Mary Major (LatinBasilica Sanctae Mariae Maioris). It did not start out that way.

I have a pre-Vatican II, St. Joseph Daily Missal which I use for reference.  Its Liturgical Calendar lists  August 5, as the Dedication of the Church of Our Lady of the Snows. If you look in the current 2019  Missalette, you will note that August 5 has the optional memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major. The name change occurred in 1969 when the General Roman Calendar was revised. It is actually the same feast with a different name.

Historically, (part of which is considered legend) the story goes like this:

There was a patrician man named John, and he and his wife were a devout Christian couple but had not been blessed with children. They did, however, possess a large tract of land. They went to see the
Pope, whose name was Liberius. He was the 29th successor to St. Peter and had just been elevated to the Papacy. They told the Pope that they had decided to donate their worldly goods to the Mother of God. They asked him what he thought about that idea. The Holy Father told them to pray and ask the Blessed Mother for a sign to help them decide.

The couple did as the Pope suggested and during the night of August 4th and into the morning of August 5th, 352 A.D., snow fell on the largest of the Seven Hills of Rome; the one known as the Esquiline Hill. This is where John’s land was located. Even though it was during the stifling heat of summer, the snow did not melt.

The snow landed, making an outline on the ground. The same night Our Lady appeared to John and his wife and also to Pope Liberius. She told them she wanted a church built in her honor on the property. The church would be built on the outline laid out by the snow. The land was owned by John.  He and his wife happily donated the land to be used for the church as requested by the Mother of God. The Holy Father joyfully accepted.

It is a rare occurrence for snow to fall in Rome in winter, no less in mid-summer. The Pope, along with John and his wife, explained to the gathering crowds what had happened. The news spread like wildfire, and soon the people were chanting, over and over, “Our Lady of the Snows!”  “Our Lady of the Snows!”

Pope Liberius ordered that a church be built in Mary’s honor on the site. Work began but was not completed until a century later, under Pope Sixtus III (432-440). Its dedication coincided with the ending of the Council of Ephesus of  431 when Mary was officially declared to be the Mother of God. The finished church was called the Church of Our Lady of the Snows. It was also called the Church of St. Mary of the Crib because it was said that pieces from the crib Our Lord was placed in when he was born were kept in the church.

History tells us that Pope Gregory the Great led the first procession carrying an image of Our Lady from the Church of Our Lady of the Snows to the Church of St. Peter in the year 597 to ask for prayers for the people of Rome who were being decimated by the Black Plague. It is written that St. Michael the Archangel appeared and the plague ended. Over the centuries many other miracles have been attributed to interactions with the church.

It was Pope St. Pius V who inserted the feast day of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Snows into the General Roman Calendar in 1568. It remained there until 1969 when, because of
ambiguities in the 4th-century historical accounts of the “summer snowfall,” the feast day was officially changed to the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

Over the centuries many churches have been dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows. There are over 152 in Italy alone. There is the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois and other places in the United States and around the world.

Lastly, on August 5 of each year, upon the conclusion of the Solemn Mass celebrated at the Basilica in Rome, the people commemorate the miraculous snowfall of  352.A.D. by having a shower of white rose petals dropped from the dome of the Chapel of Our Lady. It must be a beautiful sight to behold.


copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

July 21, 2019

Meet the "Apostle of the Abandoned"; St. John Baptist de Rossi

St. John Baptist de Rossi                fair use
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

John Baptist de Rossi was born on February 22, 1698, in Genoa. His mother and father were quite poor in material goods but were rich in virtue and love of their neighbor(s). John was the youngest of four children, and even during his formative years not only exhibited obvious compassion and love for people but also had an above average intelligence. When he was ten years old, his parents allowed him to leave home with close friends of the family to pursue his education

Three years later, John’s father died. His older cousin, Lorenzo de Rossi, allowed John to come to live with him in Rome. Lorenzo was the canon at St. Mary’s in Cosmedin and was able to get his nephew admitted to the Collegium Romanum under the guidance of the Jesuits. John quickly became a model student studying diligently and performing his required duties. At the same time, he was always pious and humble.

The young man also began studying philosophy and theology at the Dominican College of St. Thomas. It was during this time that, while at Mass, John passed out. It was discovered that he had an epileptic seizure. The illness caused him to miss many classes, and sometimes, the fatigue was so pronounced he could barely move. For the rest of his life, dealing with this affliction would be a constant challenge for him.

Even so, while in school, he became a member of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin and led the members in the readings and organized visits to the sick in hospitals, feeding the poor and the homeless, and performing other works of mercy. This was what  John Rossi loved most of all; helping the poor, homeless,  and downtrodden.

John Baptist de Rossi desperately wanted to become a priest, but his epilepsy was a constant enemy trying to stop him. Ordination to the priesthood was rarely granted to someone in John’s condition. Afterall, the life of a priest was incredibly demanding and time-consuming  But he worked so hard and studied so diligently that he was given a dispensation. On March 8, 1721, John Baptist de Rossi, was ordained a priest.

As a priest, he worked in Rome, caring for the homeless who wandered the streets of the city. He tended to the needs of the sick and assisted in helping find a hospice for homeless women. He aided prisoners, helped workers, and literally touched thousands of needy people—the sick, the homeless, prostitutes, transient cattle drivers who came to market in Rome, and other rough sorts.  By day he devoted himself to the sick poor in Rome’s hospitals. By night he ministered to street people at a refuge. He did this for over forty years.
In 1738, Father John became very sick with an unknown illness. He was sent to a place called Civita Castellana, a days journey from Rome. The bishop there insisted that he hear confessions. John had done his best to avoid hearing confessions. He had a deep-seated fear that he might have a seizure and wanted to avoid that happening while in a confessional. The bishop, knowing of his knowledge and morality, insisted. In fact, the bishop gave him permission to hear confession in any church in Rome.
Father John Rossi began hearing confessions every day, mostly from the poor in the hospitals and on the streets. Before long he was preaching in churches, chapels, convents, hospitals, barracks, and prisons. He became known as the Apostle of the Abandoned and was called the second St. Philip Neri.
Sometime in 1763, paralysis began to slowly attack Father John. Finally, all his hard labor while fighting epilepsy caught up to him. He died on May 23, 1764.
Father John was buried at the Church of Trinita de Pellegrini under the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Miracles followed his passing, but because of political upheaval in Europe, beatification was put on hold. Finally, on May 13, 1860, Pope Pius IX, beatified Father John. On December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Leo XIII canonized Father John Baptist de Rossini, a saint
One final note:  Caregivers can look to John Baptist as a model. Before he would speak to a dying person about salvation, he did all he could to relieve their suffering. No service for the sick, no matter how deadly or repulsive their condition was, deterred him from offering assistance and consolation to them.
Saint John Baptist de Rossi, please pray for us.
Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

June 8, 2019

PENTECOST SUNDAY--2019


IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson



The HOLY SPIRIT is here--Invite HIM in

The Holy Spirit          www.lovethispic.com

June 1, 2019

Do You Have a Devotion to Our Lady of Cana?

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

 By Larry Peterson
Wedding Feast at Cana/Our Lady of Cana    courtesy insidethevatican.com

Devotion to Mary is not spiritual etiquette; it is a requirement of the Christian life.


We all know about the Wedding Feast at  Cana and how Jesus, at the request of His Mom, performed His first public miracle here. However, I had never heard it called the Feast of Our Lady of Cana.

There are only four instances in the Bible where Mary speaks: first, at the Annunciation; second, at the Visitation; third, when she and Joseph find their twelve-year-old son teaching in the temple; and finally, at the Wedding Feast at Cana. This the only time in the entire New Testament when Mary speaks to her son as an adult.

In the Gospel according to John: Chapter 2: 3-5; it reads as follows: When the wine ran short the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever He tells you.”

I had never really thought about the significance of the Wedding Feast at Cana. Learning more about this suddenly made me realize I had never fully understood the magnitude and importance of this particular interaction between the Blessed Virgin Mary and her only Son, the God-Man. This was an incredible moment that happened in the Salvation story.

Christ, The Redeemer and King of the Universe, defers to His mom. She did not even have to discuss with Him what she had asked Him. She simply told Him what the situation was and then, without responding to His question,  told the stewards to do whatever He told them.

He acquiesced to her request and they followed His orders. Imagine that; The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, honors, without question, a simple peasant woman, who had been given the ultimate tribute of giving Him human life.

The Wedding Feast at Cana and the Feast of Our Lady of Cana are completely intertwined. They show us how closely linked together are the Son of God and His earthly Mom. Without her there is no Him. Without Him there is no Salvation. The pathway to Jesus is through Mary. No one who ever existed was ever as close to Jesus as was Mary. Mary is the way for us to get to know Jesus.

It is very significant that Jesus’ first miracle took place at a wedding. He was there with His Mom. She asked Him for His help. Was this not all about family and the importance of marriage? St. Joseph had already passed, so it was Jesus and Mary representing their own family. The bride and groom had just been joined together as a new family. Mary wanted to help the new family and bring them some joy on their wedding day. Jesus helped her to do so. Since she was given to all of us as our Mother too, does it not follow that she will always be there for each of us no matter what we may need. She will talk to Jesus for us.

For those of you who feel called to the married life maybe you might get together and offer Our Lady of Cana and her Son,  Jesus, an invitation to your wedding. On your wedding day, even if you cannot see them, they will be there, guaranteed. If you are already married, ask them over for a simple dinner some evening. They will be there also. Bottom line—keep them in your lives. Just ask Our Lady of Cana to pray for you and you will always be in good hands.

Finally, January 6 is traditionally known as the Epiphany or “Little Christmas.” In 2010 , January 6,  was also shared with  St. Andre Bessette.  No matter, this date is still listed as the Feast of Our Lady of Cana and can be found on the Marian Calendar, in the listings of Roman Catholic Saints and among the many Titles of Mary that are listed in encyclopedias. When and where this title was bestowed on Our Lady is still unclear.

Our Lady of Cana, please pray for us all, especially all our families

                                     Copyright©LarryPeterson 2018


May 28, 2019

I was "Isadored" by Two Catholics and a Hebrew; It was Great*

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME 

by Larry Peterson

I had always thought that the name, Isidore, was primarily a Hebrew/Jewish name. I never knew a Catholic/Christian named Isidore. In fact,when my cousin, Vicki, discovered our mysterious, missing grandfather several years ago his name turned out to be  Isidore. It proved my point; Isidore Schul was a Hebrew man from Krakow. (Yes, we are part Hebrew and some of our relatives perished in the Holocaust. But that is a story for another day). This is about the name, Isidore.

But--I was wrong about the name. All had to do was discover a saint I had never heard of. That saint's name  is Isidore. St. Isidore the Farmer and he was named after St. Isidore of Seville who is a Doctor of the Church. Just like that I had discovered two Catholic Isidores. I had been simultaneously "Isadored" by a Hebrew and two Catholics. It was great.

I'm sure many of you have heard of St. Isidore(s). Since I never had it was a bit of fun tying the Hebrew aspect of the name to a Catholic saint. It fit all the times I have mentioned how we Catholic/Christians are all rooted in Judaism. So onward to St. Isidore the Farmer. (One Isidore at a time is enough).

Isidore was born in Madrid to peasant farmers in the year 1070. He was named and christened after  Archbishop Isidore of Seville who held that post for over three decades and would one day become St Isidore of Seville. Isidore's mom and dad were quite poor and before long Isidore had a hoe in his hand and was working the soil.
Isidore the Farmer 6'5" tall

A wealthy landowner from Madrid, Juan de Vergas, brought Isidore into his employ. Isidore was still a boy and little did anyone ever think that the "boy" would work on that estate for the rest of his life. But that is what happened.

Isidore was deeply religious and got up extra early every morning to go to Mass. As a young man Isidore met Maria de la Cabeza and they fell deeply in love. Maria was as devout and as generous as her new husband and they were married. They immediately set a wonderful example for married Catholics. They both had a genuine love for the poor and  many times did without so others could eat.

Isidore and Maria had a son and they named him, Illan. Legend has it that when Illan was a toddler, he fell into a deep well and there was no way to get him out. Isidore and Maria knelt together and joined hands in prayer and the well slowly filled lifting Illan to the top so he could be saved.His mom and dad believed God had  given them a miracle to save their son. In thanksgiving for the miracle they vowed to remain celibate for  the rest of their lives. They were truly people of great faith because when  Illan died not long after, they never doubted God for a moment or went back on their vows.

People told stories of how Maria always  always had food on the stove for those in need. She knew that most everyday Isidore would bring home any hungry person he came across. One time he brought home more people than they had food for. Maria told her husband that there was nothing left, He told her to check the pot again. When she went back and looked it was full. She fed all the people he had brought home with him.

Isidore died on May 15 (also his feast day), 1130. He was canonized a saint on March 12, 1622 by Pope Gregory XV. He is the patron saint of farmers and laborers. St. Isidore was canonized along with four other well known saints: St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis Xavier and St. Philip Neri. St. Isidore is a part of the group known in Spain as the "Five Saints". One final noteworthy thing about St. Isidore; he was six feet five inches tall and his body has been found to be incorrupt.

After Isidore's death, Maria became a hermit and many miracles were attributed to her also. She was beatified in 1697. In Spain they call her "Santa Maria de las Cabeza" even though she has yet to be officially canonized.

We ask all of these saints to pray for us.

*This article appeared in Aleteia on May 15, 2017

                                 ©Copyright Larry Peterson 2017 All Rights Reserved.

                                           

May 25, 2019

This Blessed Mother statue was carved by an Angel; Our Lady of Liesse aka Our Lady of Joy

Our Lady of Liesse aka Our Lady of Joy                          americaneedsfatima.blogspot.com


IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


During the time of the Crusades, it happened that one day, three of the Knights of St. John were caught in an ambush and captured by the Saracens. The three prisoners were brothers and happened to be from the highly regarded family of Eppes in northern France. They were all loyal and true to the faith, a trait that would be immediately tested.

The men were taken to Cairo and brought before the Sultan. The Sultan thought he could convert them to Islam by offering them lavish gifts, but that proved to be an effort in futility. The Sultan angered at their obstinance,  threw them into prison. The three men were then subjected to all kinds of torture and hardships, including starvation. It did not matter; they refused to waiver.

Exasperated at his failure to convert the men to Islam, the Sultan tried another approach. He sent his beautiful daughter, Princess Ismeria, to try and win them over.  

Princess Ismeria knew the cruel death that awaited the three Knights if they did not give in to her father. However, when she would try to coax them with promises of riches and high positions, they would quote scripture to her. She began to weaken, and then they told her of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They told her that the Virgin Mary’s image was enough to capture every heart, convincing it to love her.”

Princess Ismeria, curious about this beautiful image, asked the brothers to create an image of this Divine Mother so she could see what she looked like. She gave them wood, brushes, paints, and all the necessary tools to make such an image. Then she went away.

The brothers, having no idea how to make a statue,  fell into a deep sleep. As they slept an angel, sent by the Virgin Mary, came and carved a statue of the Madonna with a face that was filled with kindness and love. Soon after finishing, a brilliant light awoke the three young men.. When they saw the figure, they immediately knelt before it and began to pray.

Early the next morning, Princess Ismeria arrived and saw the statue. She was astonished and fell at the foot of the icon. She began pleading with the Virgin Mary to make her Christian through Baptism. That night, as the princess slept, the Blessed Mother appeared to her in a dream and told her that the three knights would escape from Egypt and take her to France with them

When Ismeria awoke she rushed to the tower and found the big doors opened. She led the knights out of the fortress, giving them their freedom. They made their way to the banks of the Nile, and a boatman was waiting to it take them across. When they reached the other side, the man vanished. He had been an angel sent by Our Lady.

As evening approached, the four travelers sought out some shelter to rest for the night. Exhausted from their long day’s journey, they quickly fell asleep. When they awoke, they discovered that they were in another place. Confused, they asked a traveler where they were. He told them they were in Picardy, which was near  Eppes. They all knelt in prayer, realizing that another miracle had occurred, bringing them to safety.

They had carried the statue from Cairo and began walking toward their villa in Eppes. As they neared the villa, the statue became so heavy they could not move it. They were in the town of Liesse, and they immediately knew that this was the place Our Lady wanted her statue to stay.

The three brother Knights of St. John were greeted with great jubilation by their relatives and friends. They were all fascinated by Princess Ismeria, who renounced her former life. The Bishop of Leon baptized her and gave her the name of Mary. Her prayers had been answered. The people built a church to receive the Statue of Our Lady of Liesse.

As time went by, the church took on the name of the statue and then the entire region. Eventually, the Basilica of Notre Dame de Liesse also became known as Our Lady of Liesse and Our Lady of Joy. Pilgrims come from all over the world to see the statue, and there is an annual pilgrimage to the Basilica on Whit Monday (the day after Pentecost). The Feast day is December 2.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019