January 16, 2019

Blessed Maria Bolognesi; Mystic, Stigmatist, Visionary, and Victim of the Demonic

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson
Blessed Maria Bolognesi   en.wikipedia.org

On October 21, 1924, an out-of-wedlock child was born and given the name, Maria. At the time, Maria was not assigned a surname. That was because her birth father, (himself an illegitimate child) refused to wed Maria’s mother and left her. Fortunately for Maria, the most influential person in young girl’s life would be her grandma, Cornetto Cesira. She taught Maria all she could about God and Jesus and religion. Five years later, Maria’s mom married Giuseppe Bolognesi, and Maria was given her step-father's’name

When Maria was eight-years-old, she and her mom contracted meningitis. Her mom was close to death from the dreaded illness. Maria, who had begun to recover,  was preparing for her First Holy Communion. The nun that was teaching her told her that Jesus would grant her a wish if she asked Him. She wished her mom would get better and she fully recovered from the disease.

Filled with emotion and love for Jesus, Maria made her First Communion on May 22, 1932. In her diary they found written; “I cried with joy. Finally, my little heart also carries Eucharistic Jesus. I asked for so many, many graces: to love everyone, even my enemies. I came home, other families would have lunch at their homes, but at my home, there was nothing to eat, but still, I was so so happy.”

From June 21, 1940, to April 1, 1942, Maria exhibited strange behavior, and many have attested this was due to demonic possession. She could not approach church buildings or any other religious buildings. Holy water was repulsive to her. Once, as she arrived at the bridge that spanned the river leading to the church, people with her saw her skirt being pulled from behind as Maria fought to move forward. There was no wind blowing at the time, yet she could not move forward.

Maria also began sweating blood, suffered from pneumonia, ophthalmia (extreme dryness of the eyes and loss of tears), pinworms, anemia, vomiting, sciatica, chronic laryngitis, and rheumatism. She also developed heart problems. Doctors were completely baffled by the number of afflictions the teenager was experiencing. Although suffering greatly she gave it over to Jesus, sharing herself with Him.

Maria received her first vision of Jesus Christ during Holy Week of 1942. It was Holy Thursday, April 2, when He appeared to her and gave her three rings with five rubies, the rings representing the Trinity, and the rubies representing His five wounds. Jesus promised her she would learn how to read and that her mother would repent of her sins and return to the church. On April 11, with the permission of her spiritual advisor, Father Bassiano Paiato, she began wearing the black habit.

Besides having to endure much pain and suffering throughout the 1940s, Maria also had those who began ridiculing her and mocking her “made-up” visions. Among them were different clergy. On March 5, 1948, three criminals attacked her and beat her, tied her up, gagged her and left her bleeding in the snow. Because of some of the ridicule that had been heaped upon this servant of Jesus, the police at first did not believe her and accused her of “faking” the attack to garner attention. They were quickly proved wrong, and all charges against her were absolved.

Toward the end of the 1940s, Maria began to suffer from arthritis, colitis, developed appendicitis, and almost became blind. She would be taken to Rovigo and Padua for treatment and while there, would assist taking care of the orphans and visit the sick in the hospitals. On January 25, 1954, a wound opened up on her right hand. It was the beginning of the stigmata appearing on Maria. In August of 1954, the wounds appeared on Maria’s feet and on Good Friday, 1955, she received the wound on her left side. The time was exactly 3 p.m.

Maria Bolognesi suffered from serious physical ailments her entire life. Jesus appeared to her at different times showing her Heaven several times and, in November of 1957, both  Heaven and Purgatory. Her first heart attack occurred in 1971. It is said the Padre Pio, even after his passing in 1968, would appear to her in bilocation whenever she stayed in Rovigo. On January 30, 1980, Maria Bolognesi passed away.

Maria was beatified on May 2, 2013. Pope Francis was quoted as saying, "Blessed Maria Bolognesi spent her life in service to others, especially the poor and sick, enduring great suffering in profound union with the passion of Christ. We give thanks to God for her testimony to the Gospel!”

Blessed Maria Bolognesi, please pray for us.

                                       copyright©LarryPeterson 2018

January 11, 2019

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal; widowed with four small children she founded the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary

 St. Jane Frances de Chantal     www.catholicculture.org
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson 

Jane Frances de Chantal was born into an upper-class family in  Dijon, France, in 1572. Her dad was the president of the Parliament of Burgundy, and the family was well connected. Jane’s mom died when she was only 18 months of age, and her upbringing was taken over by her dad.

Under the watchful and loving care of her dad, Jane developed into a woman of true beauty and grace.  One attribute of Jane’s that stood out from the time she was a child was her desire to help others.

Jane married the Baron de Chantal when she was 21. She and her husband were completely in love with each other, but tragedy struck during their seventh year of marriage. In 1601, the Baron was killed while practicing shooting with friends. The Baroness de Chantal, only 28 years old and the mother of four young children had become an accidental, heart-broken widow.

Because of estate issues, and wanting to protect her children’s rights to the property involved, Jane was forced to move in with her father-in-law in Mothelon. He was ruled over by a nasty and wicked servant and quickly Jane and her children were the servants of the servant.  Jane took a vow of chastity and prayed to God to send someone to help guide her on her journey forward. A short time later she had a vision of the spiritual director that God was going to send her.

During Lent of 1604, Jane visited her hometown of Dijon. While attending Mass, she thought she recognized the celebrant, and when he stepped up to preach she was sure of it; it was the spiritual guide that God had shown her in her vision. After Mass, she went to meet him and placed herself under his guidance. His name was Bishop Francis de Sales. They became close friends.

Jane informed the future saint that she wanted to become a nun, but Francis asked her to wait for a time. She took a vow to stay unmarried and to obey her director. After a period of three more years, Francis de Sales told Jane of his plan to start an institute of women, and it would be unlike all others. His dream was to create a haven for women that were rejected everywhere else.

Age, health, or deformity, would not be a reason to stop someone from joining. Also, there would be no cloister, and these sisters could partake in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It was a monumental ambition by Francis de Sales. The women that joined this new order would be called the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary or the Visitation Nuns. That was because they were to practice the virtues the Blessed Virgin exemplified at the Visitation; meekness and humility.

With the help of her father and brother (who was married to the sister of Francis de Sales), Jane made solid arrangements for the well-being and future of her children. She then left for Annecy. On Trinity Sunday, June 6, 1610, the Congregation of the Visitation was canonically established at Annecy.

When St. Francis de Sales died in 1622 there were already 13 convents for Visitation Sisters. When Jane Frances de Chantal died in 1641, there were 86. Also, after Francis de sales died his dear friend, Vincent de Paul became Jane’s confessor and remained with her until her death.

Jane Francis de Chantal was beatified on November 21, 1751, by Pope Benedict XIV and canonized on July 16, 1767, by Pope Clement XIII. There were already 164 convents in existence at this time. Today, the Visitation Sisters are spread all over the world from Portugal to Korea to Ireland,  Germany, and England.  In the United States, there are ten monasteries.

Some of the noted Visitation sisters include St. Margaret Mary Alocoque and Servant of God; Leone Martin, St. Terese’s sister. In 2010,  Pope Benedict XVI granted a plenary indulgence to anyone who makes a visit and prays at a Visitation Monastery.

Up until 2001, her feast day was on December 12.  Then it was changed to August 12. She is invoked as the patron of widows, forgotten people, and parents seperated form their children.

Saint Jane Francis de Chantal, please pray for us.
        
©Larry Peterson 2019



January 4, 2019

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat; The Preemie Who Grew Up to Change the World

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

It was December 12, 1779 and Madame Fouffe Barat was seven months pregnant with her third child. She had been sleeping comfortably when screams and the smell of smoke awoke her. She sat up and saw the flames outside her window. They were coming from her neighbor's house.  The sudden trauma of what was happening caused the frightened woman to begin early labor. Consequently, her daughter, Madeline Sophie Barat. was born two months premature. The fire did not touch the Barat home.

Madeline Sophie was so tiny and frail they had her baptized as soon as the church opened that morning. Her godparents had already been chosen but there was no time to send a message to them. Instead, they had a woman on her way to Mass, Louise-Sophie Cedor, and Madeline's older brother, Louis, age 11, stand in as godparents. And so it was for the beginning of Madeline's life. A quick journey from terror to sanctifying grace, a journey she would never remember which was the beginning of a life that would be remembered by many.

St. Madeline Sophie Barat   catholic.org
Madeline's family had been in in the Burgundy area for generations. Her dad was a wine-cooper (someone who made wooden barrels for wine) and the family was well provided for. He was a respected craftsman practicing a trade that was highly regarded with much history behind it.

Madeline's brother, Louis, had a brilliant mind and by the age of nine had decided to become a priest. His parents believed in their boy and hired a tutor to help him study at home. When he was 16 he was able to begin his studies for the priesthood. However, he was too young to be ordained so he returned home to bide his time until he was 21 and could return to the seminary.

Madeline was still a young child and Louis decided to educate her. His lessons for his little sister included, Latin, Greek,  history, science and math. Madeline was receiving an education that most young girls of that time could only have dreamed about. However, the onset of the French Revolution in 1789, changed everything. When the Pope condemned the new French Constitution, Louis St. madelin Sophie baratrejected his loyalty oath to the "state". He was arrested in and spent three years in prison. Only through the intervention of a close friend was he able to get out of jail and evade the guillotine.

Louis, now an ordained priest, moved to Paris and took Madeline with him. By the time Madeline was 18 years old she had received an education from her brilliant brother that far surpassed anything she might have obtained anywhere else. Since she and Louis had to live in a 'safe house", she also learned to work with her hands. She  became an excellent embroidress and seamstress to help support them. But God's ever watchful eye had been on Madeline since her birth. Bigger things would need her attention.

Madeline had originally planned to join the Carmelites. But the trauma of the French Revolution led her in a different direction. She decided she wanted to make known the "love of God as made known in the Heart of Christ". She also wanted to direct her attention to all young women, rich and poor alike.

highly educated, determined yet filled with a great humility, Madeline Sophie Barat founded the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The women joining her new order would be trained to teach young women the faith as taught by Holy Mother Church.The year was 1800 and Madeline was only 20 years old. She became Mother Madeline and by the age of 23 was elevated to the position of  Superior General of the order, a position she would hold for the next 65 years.

Mother Madeline's natural leadership skills and her affinity for all people would be the catalyst for the rapid growth of the order and success of the schools.  Mother  Madeline and her fledgling order of nuns began growing and spreading rapidly. Madeline's quest was for the restoration of christian life in France and she believed it could be accomplished through the education of young women.

The Society of the Sacred Heart had opened their first school in Amiens in northern France in 1801. There followed a school for the poor of the town and  further growth happened much quicker than ever expected. Before long the order was doing work within all of Europe. As the order and the schools it ran expanded, Mother Madeline grew also. She was transformed by all the different women joining her Society and her natural way with folks became pronounced where she even inspired  those having brief encounters with her.

In 1826 Mother Madeline received papal approval of her order. The order grew to 105 houses in many countries. St. Rose Pillippine Duchesne , (who had joined the order in 1804) and four of her followers brought the Society to the United States in 1818. Today there are over 2500 members in provinces in 41 countries around theworld. The mission is the same; to reveal the love of God to the world through the sacred Heart of His Son.

Mother Madeline Sofie Barat died in Paris, France on May 25, 1865. She was 85 years old. St. Madeline was quoted as saying,  "Be humble, be simple, bring joy to others." St. Madeline practiced what she preached

Madeline Sofie Barat was beatified by Pope St. Pius X in 1908 and canonized a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1925.

St. Madeline Barat, please pray for us.


                                  ©Copyright Larry Peterson 2019All Rights Reserved