Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Feast of the Holy Family

Prayer to the Holy Family
Lord Jesus Christ, who,
being made subject to Mary and Joseph,
didst consecrate domestic life by Thine ineffable virtues;
grant that we,
with the assistance of both,
may be taught by the example of Thy holy Family
and may attain to its everlasting fellowship.
Who livest and reignest, world without end.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Our Lady of Bistrica

The miraculous statue of the Blessed Virgin & the Christ Child that is enshrined in the city of Marija Bistrica in central Croatia is known as Our Lady of Bistrica, Queen of Croatia. The statue of late Gothic design is the work of an anonymous artist. The statue was first placed in the ancient shrine in Vinski Vrh in 1499. When the Turks advanced on the town, the frightened villagers buried the statue in Marija Bistrica for safekeeping. In 1588 it was rediscovered and given a place of honor. After a short time, it was then walled into the church and discovered for the second time in 1685. The statue is the beloved symbol of the Croation people and is revered as Queen of Croatia. She is considered a Black Madonna, and in 1923 the church was designated a minor basilica. It was also during this year that the Archbishop of Zagreb placed golden crowns upon the heads of the Madonna & Child. The Shrine of Our Lady of Bistrica honored on October 3, 1998, when Pope John Paul II visited the Shrine.

Prayer to the Mother of God of Bistrica
Mother of God of Bistrica, you have chosen in your motherly goodness in our Croatian Zagorje the place, after yourself Marija Bistrica. Here your sore-active statue is revered. Here the sanctum in you is your children with your mercy covers. Here you cure the spiritual and bodily wounds of the earthly silent sufferers and fulfil the wishes that which turn full trust to you. You know all my spiritual and bodily needs. To you as mother of Christ and my mother I have decided to come to open to you my heart and to confide you with my wishes. You, mother of Christ and my mother who has never rejected somebody in her goodness hears me generously. Amen

This Author Needs Your Help!!!

Hi Everyone & blessings to you All,
I don't really want to ask this, but it's bothering me. I have been in the process of writing a book for the past year on the apparition of the Blessed Virgin at Pontmain, France on January 17 1871. Well, this is a relativley unknown apparition in the United States, let me tell you. There are barely any publications on her, but I'm finding things that are helping. I'm pretty sure it's going to be TAN that is going to publish this book. I'm asking if ANYONE out there has any images from books/ Holy Cards of Our Lady of Pontmain. I've found the information for the book, now I just need to have some nice images for it. Please, please, someone help me! Please leave me a comment or email me at
Thank You All so much, I hope you understand what I'm trying to say.
God Bless,

Friday, December 28, 2007

Your Mother Loves You!

"If only you knew how much I loved you, you'd cry tears of joy."
-Our Lady in her apparitions at Medjugorje.

The Light of the World has Come!

In the twenty-fourth day of the month of December; In the year five-thousand one-hundred and ninety-nine from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth; In the year two-thousand nine-hundred and fifty-seven from the flood; In the year two-thousand and fifty-one from the birth of Abraham; In the year one-thousand five-hundred and ten from the going forth of the people of Israel out of Egypt under Moses; In the year one-thousand and thirty-two from the anointing of David as king; In the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel; In the one-hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad; In the year seven-hundred and fifty-two from the foundation of the city of Rome; In the forty-second year of the reign of the Emperor Octavian Augustus; In the sixth age of the world, while the whole earth was at peace —JESUS CHRIST eternal God and the Son of the eternal Father, willing to consecrate the world by His gracious coming, having been conceived of the Holy Ghost, and the nine months of His conception being now accomplished, (all kneel) was born in Bethlehem of Judah of the Virgin Mary, made man. The birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the flesh.
-From the Roman Martyrology's entry for Christmas day.
This Holy Card was used with kind permission from a good friend. :)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas to Everyone!

I'm going to be gone on a trip until the twenty sixth, so to everyone out there:
Let us all joyfully celebrate Christ's birth!

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent!

Almighty and loving God, soon the whole world will celebrate the birth of your Son, Jesus. Even as we rejoice in our remembrance of his birth at Bethlehem, we find greater comfort in his promise to come again.May our preparations for this wondrous season remain with us, increase in us, and become as much a part of us as our breathing and our heartbeat. Then may we say,"Come, Lord Jesus, we are ready."Amen.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Our Lady of Montserrat

On the mountain named Montserrat, near Barcelona, in the Catalonia region of Spain, a church now contains a 'miracle- working' statue of the Madonna and Child known as La Moreneta, that is: the dark little one. Legend relates that the miraculous image was first known as La Jerosolimitana (the native of Jerusalem), since it is believed to have been carved in that city during the early days of the church. Another account, seemingly well-attested, indicates that the image was moved to Montserrat in 718, to avoid the danger posed by invading Saracens. The image disappears from the historical record at this point, to reappear in a legend holding that shepherds found the lost statue under supernatural guidance in 890: While tending their flocks that night the shepherds were amazed to see lights and to hear singing coming from the mountain. When this was repeated, the shepherds reported the situation to their priest, who investigated. When the priest also heard the singing and saw the mysterious lights, he informed the Bishop, and he also witnessed the phenomenon. The statue of Our Lady was discovered in a cave and was brought out and placed in a small church that was soon erected.However, the statue presently kept at the Montserrat shrine appears to have been introduced in the twelfth or thirteenth century. Its Romanesque style is consistent with this estimate. Beyond general style, the genre of the statue is certainly that of an 'enthroned virgin', typical of the earliest icons of Mary. On the negative side, Montserrat is located in Spain, not in France where St. Bernard of Clairvaux and others produced well-known commentaries on the Canticles. Perhaps the image was created black to represent some esoteric religious symbolism. Ean Begg notes that the Shrine of Montserrat is among the best candidates for former sanctuaries for the Holy Grail. Further, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries esoteric Christian sects proliferated, though not primarily in Spain. Again, these are correlations, not proofs. Perhaps Cruz is right:
the dark color of Our Lady of Montserrat is attributed to the innumerable candles and lamps that have burned day and night before the image. In any case, certain facts may not be disputed. The statue has always been considered one of the most celebrated images in Spain. However, like Our Lady of Einsiedeln in Switzerland, its popularity is limited to a regional rather than a universal scope. Also, the shrine has received innumerable pilgrims over the years, currently at the rate of at least one million per year. This multitude includes secular and ecclesial rulers as well as a number of canonized Saints. The most notable of these was St. Ignatius of Loyola, who laid down his sword and embarked on his religious mission "after spending a night praying before the image", a miracle in the order of grace.

Our Lady of Ostra Brama

The history of Our Lady of the Dawn, who is also known as Our Lady of Ostra Brama, begins in 1386. In that year prince Jagellon of Lithuania married the Polish princess Jadwiga. She was the first to introduce Catholic practices in the Russian Orthodox kingdom. Even though the Orthodox of Lithuania venerated the Virgin in their liturgy and prayers, they were unfamiliar with the intensity of the Polish love and devotion for Mary. However, when it was first introduced by princes Jadwiga, the people of Lithuania welcomed it with open arms. Early in the fifteenth century, the new city walls of Vilnius were built. Above each of the gates the people of the town placed an image of the Blessed Virgin. About a century later, Carmelites took over one of the parish churches in the vicinity of the southeastern gate of the town. In the Lithuanian language this gate was commonly known as 'Auros Vartai' (the gate of dawn). The Polish speaking population knew it as 'Ostra Brama' (the sharp gate). The Carmelites are known for their special dedication to the Mother of Jesus. They took special care of the image that was placed above the gate near their church. When the army of Moscow set fire to the city of Vilnius in 1655, most of the town was destroyed in a fire that lasted seventeen days. However, the image above the Ostra Brama gate survived without any damage. This strongly encouraged the people’s devotion toward it and attracted many pilgrims from outside. Early in the eighteenth century there was yet another fire in Wilna. When the image survived once again, the Carmelite fathers built a special shrine chapel for it above the gate in 1706. Since that year, people come to this chapel daily to recite the litany of Loreto before the image. There are several things about the Virgin of the Gate of Dawn worth noting. One of the most unusual aspects are the crossed hands. In similar icons where Mary is depicted without the Child Jesus, she is normally in an oran position, the attitude of prayer, with arms and hands extended upward or towards Christ. Unusual too are the relatively large robe and veil. Since early Byzantine times, the Virgin has been depicted covered by a flowing floor length robe with a veil showing her hands, face, neck, and sometimes a small part of one ear. In the Ostra Brama icon though, the robe is unusually large. It can be said that the iconography of the image of Our Lady of Ostra Brama is Western, but with strong Eastern Orthodox influences. This is quite common in the Eastern European region, where there is often no clear division between Catholic and Orthodox Christian art. In 1927, after the renovation of the painting and the chapel, a formal ceremony was held in front of the Cathedral of Vilnius in which the icon was crowned. By a special command of Pope Pius XI, it was also given the title 'Mater Misericordiae' (Mother of Mercy). The chapel was renovated in 1931-1932. Since 1936 the Carmelites have been taking care of the shrine chapel again. During the Second World War, the Archbishop of Vilnius decided that the miraculous picture should stay in the town. During the Russian communist occupation of Lithuania the chapel of Ostra Brama remained open. The Mother of Mercy was a powerful symbol in the struggle for Polish and Lithuanian independence. Our Lady of Ostra Brama (Vilnius), Pray for Us!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Our Lady of Siluva, Queen of Lithuania

The people who view this blog seem to like hearing about the different apparitions/titles of our Blessed Mother. I will try now as much as I can to do these kinds of posts. Thanks.
The Blessed Mother comes in a time of need.
In the late 16th century, the Protestants began a following in Lithuania. All property of the Catholic church was either stolen or sold. When the church of Siluva was threatened in 1570, the parish priest decided to collect some of the church's most treasured articles, including the beautiful picture of the Madonna & Child that hung over the Main Altar. He then placed everything in a metal trunk and buried it under a large rock near the church. Shortly later, the church was confiscated by the Protestants. Everything that was Catholic was gone. The beloved picture of the Blessed Mother was gone, too, as far as anyone knew. The poor Catholics in Siluva thought that all hope was lost. But shortly the Blessed Mother herself would come to visit them.
The year was 1608. It was a warm, sunny summer day. Only a few shepherds stayed out in the heat and watched their flocks. As far as the shepherds knew, they were the only ones in the field that day-until they spotted a beautiful young woman standing on a large rock, holding a beautiful child, crying as though someone had just died. One of the youngsters was so startled that he ran straight to the Calvinist teacher of the village, Mikola Fiera, who said it was "the devil trying to lead followers away from the Calvinist faith." News of the apparition spread like wildfire throughout Siluva. The next day, the devout and the curious gathered around the large rock. Suddenly, there was a flash of light, and before them stood the mysterious woman holding the child. She had her head in her right hand, weeping bitterly. No one spoke. No one knew who she was. Shocked by the apparition, the teacher ventured forward and asked "Why are you weeping, dear lady?" The woman stopped crying and lifted her head. She spoke in broken sentences, "Formerly in this place, my Son was adored & honored, but now all that the people do is seed and cultivate the land." Saying this, the woman and the child disappeared in a flash of light. The crowd was shocked. The venerable Catholics of the village knew in their hearts that the Blessed Virgin & the Christ Child had just appeared to them. The Calvinists tried to argue about the apparition, but the people knew that they were wrong. A short time later, the Calvinist teacher mysteriously left the village and never came back.
News of the apparition reached the Bishop, who promptly sent representitives to Siluva to investigate. A certain blind man in the village remembered the old parish priest who had buried all of the precious articles of the former Catholic church under the large rock-the rock upon which the Blessed Virgin stood. The blind man's sight was restored when he showed the Bishop's representitives the spot. The chest was pulled out from under it, and inside was found the portrait of Our Lady and Jesus, totally undamaged. After many years, the land was returned to the Catholic Church, and the faith was once again restored there. The image of Our Lady under the rock became known as "Our Lady of Siluva," and is now enshrined in the grand basilica. She is the patroness of Lithuania.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Notre Dame de Belloch (history,anyone?)

I've always been intrigued by this particular image of Our Lady since I "discovered" her almost two summers ago. It is a statue classified as a Black Madonna in Dorres, France, in a little village called "Belloch." (or Belloc) She is of an Oriental origin, and was found in the 11th century. She is known as Notre Dame de Belloch. If anyone, and I mean anyone, has any information at allabout this peculiar statue of the Blessed Mother & Christ, please, please, leave a comment. I'm desperate for information! Thanks!

Deana Novakowski 1958-2007

In the early morning of December 19, Deana Novakowski passed into eternal life and finally saw the face of Our Lord. She is now at peace and is happy after fighting cancer for the past seven years. Mrs. Novakowski was a much loved and respected colleague, educator, friend and mentor who gave 17 years of service to Northview High School and our community in her role as a guidance counselor. Funeral arrangements are set for 11:00 am on Friday, December 21, at St. Jude Catholic Church in Grand Rapids, MI. Thanks for all of your prayers and kind words. Mrs. "Nova" as we called her is now happily enjoying the company of Our Lord, His Holy Mother & all of the Angels & Saints. God Bless her for everything that she has done! She will be surely missed!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Our Lady of Pellevoisin & the White Scapular

In 1876 the Blessed Virgin appeared, only seven years after her apparition at Pontmain, France, to a sickly servant in Pellevoisin, France. Estelle Faguette, the visionary, was born in 1843. At the beginning of the year 1876, she lay dying at the age of 33 of pulmonary tuberculosis. She was also suffering peritonitis and an abdominal tumor. On 10 February, 1876, her doctor told her she had only a few hours to live. She then gave up. She was going to die & that was that.
But not if the Blessed Mother could help it.
The first apparition of Mary occurred during the night of 14 February, 1876, Estelle was awakened to see the horrible black shape of a demon at the foot of her bed. Frightened, she screamed, but was astonished to see Our Lady standing next to her bed. Our Lady angrily asked the demon what he was doing there, & immediatly it left. Our Lady then lovingly looked upon Estelle and told her to fear nothing, for she was the Queen of Heaven. Our Lady then asked if she was willing to suffer for five more days in honor of Our Lord's five Holy Wounds. On Saturday, she would either be dead or cured. The next night, Estelle was once more awakened by the horrible demon, but Our Lady once again rebuked him. She spoke, saying," Be not afraid, for I am here. My Son is showing His mercy to you. He will let you live, & you will be cured on Saturday."
To be continued...check back tommorrow!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Please Pray for Deana Novakowski

"My first reaction was 'I can't do this.' But if Mrs. Novakowski can go through all that she's gone through, how can I not give back?"
-Northview High School senior Lauren Wernstrom, on hearing she will be singing in the choir at Deana Novakowski's funeral Mass.

Last Monday, Northview High School was informed that one of the school's favorite guidance counselors was dying. Deana Novakowski, who has been fighting ovarian cancer for the past seven years, decided to have the feeding tube keeping her alive removed on December 4. She is expected to pass into eternal life within days. The news today was that she is sleeping all of the time and not doing much else. The Northview Community is soon going to be passing into a rough time. Please keep Mrs. Novakowski in your prayers! She has made peace with God and is ready to go. She has been fighting a long battle, and has decided that there is a better place waiting for her. Please ask God to give her family comfort, as she is expected to pass away before Christmas. Also ask God to welcome her with open arms into heaven. She will be deeply missed by the faculty & staff of Northview High School. Her funeral is planned to be at St. Jude Catholic Church, Grand Rapids. Please pray for Deana Novakowski & her family!

Prayer of Passing for Mrs. Deana Novakowski

God of power and mercy, you have made death itself the gateway to eternal life. Look with love on Deana, and make her one with Your Son in His suffering and death, that, sealed with the blood of Christ, Deana may come before you free from sin. Amen.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Santo Cristo de Limpias

When entering the sixteenth-century Church of St. Peter, attention is immediately captured by the beautiful life-size figure of the crucified Savior located above the main altar. Arranged on either side of the crucifix, and somewhat below it, are larger-than-life size figures of the Sorrowful Mother and St. John the Apostle. Believed to have been the work of Pedro de Mena, who died in 1693, the crucifix was given to the church by Don Diego de la Piedra Secadura, who had been born at Limpias in 1716. The crucifix is a meditation on the sufferings of Our Lord and is thought to portray the Crucified in the final moments of His agony. Measuring six feet tall, the corpus is clothed with a loin cloth that is held in place with a rope. The feet are one atop the other and are pierced with a single nail. The index and middle fingers of both pierced hands are extended as though giving a final blessing. The face of Our Lord is of a particular beauty, with it's eyes of china looking towards Heaven so that, for the most part, only the whites of the eyes are visible. The first recorded miracle involving this crucifix took place in 1914, five years before the grand miracles of 1919. The recipient of the favor was Don Antonio Lopez, a monk belonging to the Order of the Pauline Fathers who conducted a college in Limpas. his entire account reads as follows: One day in the month of August, 1914, I went into the parish church of Limpias, by order of my friend D. Gregorio Bringas, to fix the electric light over the high altar. In order to work more comfortably I put two large cases on the altar, an on them a ladder, the ends of which I leaned against the wall that serves as a background to the figure of the Crucified One.
After I had worked for two hours, in order to rest myself a little I began to clean the figure so that it could be seen more clearly. My head was on a level with the Head of Christ, and at a distance of only a couple of feet from it. It was a lovely day and through the window in the sanctuary a flood of light streamed into the church and lit up the whole altar. As I was gazing at the crucifix with the closest attention, I noticed with astonishment that Our Lord's eyes were gradually closing, and for five minutes I saw them quite closed. Overwhelmed with fright at such an unexpected spectacle, I could still hardly quite believe what I saw, and was about to come down from the ladder. Notwithstanding, my bewilderment was so great that my strength suddenly failed me; I lost my balance, fainted, and fell from the ladder onto the edge of the altar itself and down the steps into the sanctuary. Another Miracle was when Archpriest D. Eduardo Miqueli was celebrating Holy Mass, both missionaries were occupied in the confessional. Fr. Agatangelo, however, delivered the day's sermon based on the words "My son, give me thy heart." (pro.23:26). While he was speaking, a girl of about 12 entered the confessional of Fr. Jalon and told him the eyes of Christ on the cross were closed. Thinking that her claim was a product of her imagination, the priest ignored her claim until other children also came to him with the same message. After the parish priest was called from the sacristy and was told the eyes of the Crucified were opening and closing and that the figure was turning His gaze from side to side, he, too, fell on his knees to pray. But his prayer was soon interrupted by many of the people who declared that the figures was perspiring. Fr. Jalon climbed up and saw that the perspiration covered the figures neck and chest. after touching the neck he looked upon his fingers that were wet with the fluid. As verification of what had taken place, he showed his moistened fingers to the congregation. Fr. Agatangelo later saw the miracle several times when he prayed alone in the church at night. Another apparition took place on Palm Sunday, April 13, 1919, when two prominent men of Limpas approached the altar. Speaking of hallucination and mass hysteria as they looked upon the crucifix, one of them suddenly pointed upward and feel to his knees, crying for mercy and proclaiming his belief in the miracle. On Easter Sunday April 20, in the presence of a group of nuns know as the Daughter of the Cross who conducted a girls school in Limpas. They saw the eyes and lips of Santo Cristo move. Rev. Baron Von Kleist reports that: Many said the Savior looked at them; at some in a kindly manner, and at others gravely, and at yet others with a penetrating and stern glance. Many of them saw tears in His eyes; others noticed that drops of blood ram down from the temples pierced by the crown of thorns; some saw froth on His lips and sweat on His body; others again saw how He turned His eyes from side to side, and let His gaze pass over the whole assembly of people; or how; at the Benediction, He made a movement of the eyes as if giving the bless; how at the same time He moved the thorn- crowned head from on side to the other. Others had the impression that a deep, submissive sigh was wrested from His breast, some believed they saw Him whisper-in short, the most varied manifestations were observed on this crucifix. One of the first to declare his experience to the secular press was the well-known and highly respected D. Adolf Arenaza. His testimony was published May 5, 1919 in the newspaper La Gazeta del Norte, which was published in Bilbao. He reported that he joined a procession going to Limpas in order to visit the crucifix. While looking through his field-glasses he saw the movement of the eyes four times. He further stated that it could not have been and effect of the light nor and hallucination, since people saw the miracles from all parts of the church. He then asked, "Does Our Lord really move His eyes... I am rather of the opinion that He really does move them, for I have seen it myself." Several albums are found in the sacristy of the church of the Limpias. these contain well over 8,000 testimonies of people who had seen the wonderful apparitions. Of these 2,500 were sworn on oath. The first Bishop to be favored with an apparition was Don Manuel Ruiz y Rodriguez of Cuba, who went to Limpas following a visit to Rome. After returning home he composed a detailed pastoral letter to the members of his diocese in which he told of the miraculous crucifix. He disclosed that he had seen the figure close and open the mouth, how it moved it's head from one side to the other how the face took on an expression of Death. Later he again saw the mouth move. "He shut it very slowly but opened it quickly... the closing of the mouth was slow until one lip touched the other. Finally a report made by a medical student D. Heriberto de la Villa which was published in the paper Del Pueblo Astur on July 8, 1919. Little by little the breast and face became dark blue, the eyes move to the right then the left, upwards and down, the mouth somewhat open, as if He was having breathing difficulty. I also noticed that above the left eyebrow a wound formed, out of which a drop of blood flowed over His eyebrow, and remained stationary by the eye-lids. I believe it is my duty to swear upon oath what I had seen, and I did so in the sacristy of the church.
Concluding with a brief report made by a journalist. After watching the movement of the eyes and mouth he stated: I could perceive two movements of the jawbone, as if He were saying two syllables with His lips. I shut my eyes quite tight and asked myself: "What will He have said?" The answer was not long in coming, for in my innermost self I clearly heard the significant and blessed words, "Love Me!"
Perhaps that is why Our Lord performed so many wonders for eyes of believers and unbelievers. At Limpas He demonstrated the agony of His death and the extent of His love for us, not only to evoke sentiments of pity and repentance, but also to ask, no, to plead with us to love Him in return.
(Taken from the book "Miraculous Images of Our Lord" By Joan Carroll Cruz.)

La Virgen de Coromoto

When the Spaniards arrived in the region of Guanare in Venezuela around 1591, a group of indians from the Coromoto tribe decided to abandon their village and flee towards the Tucupido River because they did not want to have anything to do with the white men. Fifty years later, the tribe of indians had not listened to the missionaries, and lived near the Spaniards in peace. One morning in the year 1651, the Coromoto chief & his wife were near the river when they experienced a celestial vision: floating above the water was a beautiful young woman smiling lovingly at them, carrying a small, equally beautiful child in her arms. She spoke in a sweet voice, and commanded that they "leave the forest with their people and go to the white men in order to receive the water on their heads so they would be able to enter heaven." Deeply impressed by the beautiful Lady, the chief and his tribe entered the Spanish village and were taught the Catholic faith. The chief, though, didn't like the new way of life, so he returned to his hut in the Coromoto village. The Lady appeared once again to the chief in his hut, surrounded by an aura that filled his hut with light. She smiled sweetly and asked him once more to go back to the missionaries to be converted, but the chief refused. Annoyed, he tried to throw the beautiful woman out of his hut, but did not succeed. He then threatened her, saying he would use his weapons on her. Still smiling more beautiful than ever, the Lady approached the chief, who stretched out his hands to catch her. Immediatly, the woman was gone. The chief rubbed his eyes and realized that something was in his hand. It was a small picture of the Lady and the Child she was holding, seated on a throne. And the beautiful smile was on her face. The Coromoto chief and his tribe were at once converted, and later realized that the beautiful woman was the Blessed Virgin, and that the child she was holding was the Infant Jesus. On October 7, 1944, Pope Pius XII declared Our Lady of Coromoto "Patroness of Venezuela." The small picture (which in reality is an ancient Holy Card) is still preserved to this day. She has three different feastdays: February 2nd & September 8 & 11th.
For more information, please visit
Image from one of the Holy Cards in my collection.

Mary & Joseph: The Perfect Couple

I've had this image for a long time. I can't remember where I found it, but every time I look at it, I can't help but think, "God made a wonderful couple to be Jesus' parents." Jesus, the Son of God, was made to be under the care and influence of Joseph & Mary. He humbled Himself and listened to everything they said and taught him. All Catholic couples across the globe should try and be like Joseph & Mary, God's perfect couple.

Nuestra Senora de Chiquinquirá (Our Lady of the Rosary)

Alonso de Narvaez, a Spanish painter, did a portrait of the Virgin of the Rosary on a rustic cloth woven by Indians. To paint in tempera he used pigments taken from the soil and herb and flower juices of the region. Since the cloth was nearly square (44 inches high and 49 inches wide), to fill in the space the artist added next to the Virgin the figures of St. Anthony of Padua and St. Andrew, apostle. These were the patrons saints respectively of the Spanish colonist who had commissioned the painting and the monk who had ordered it. In 1562 the portrait was placed in a chapel with a straw roof that leaked, and in a short time the humidity, air and sun, had so damaged the painting that it was impossible to recognize what it was. In 1577 the damaged painting was moved to Chiquinquirá and left abandoned in a room that had formerly been the family oratory. Eight years later, Maria Ramos, a pious woman from Seville, cleaned and straightened out the modest chapel and placed in it the faded canvas that had once had Mary's image. Tradition has it that the prodigy took place on Friday, December 26, 1586. The image which this woman had so desired to contemplate stood out again, having recovered its colors and brightness. The instantaneous process of restoration gradually closed the scratches and holes in the cloth, overlaying them with color and light. The Virgin of the Rosary in the center of the painting is about a meter high; she is looking towards the left as if to call attention to the nearly naked Child in her arms. The image has a serene countenance with a delicate smile which radiates sweetness. Both her face and the Child's are light colored. The Child has a little brightly colored bird tied to his thumb and a small rosary hangs from his left hand. Our Lady leans over a half moon in a position suggesting that she is about to start walking. A white toque covers her head and her rose colored robe is covered by a sky blue cape. With the little finger of her left hand she holds a rosary which hangs in front of her, and in her right hand she has a queenly scepter. The painting still shows traces of its former damage; the figures seem vague, but at a distance they acquire relief and color. For 300 years the painting of the Virgin of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá was unprotected, and thousands of pious objects were touched annually against the frail cotton cloth, some times with rods or canes in order to reach it, which should have destroyed it. Since 1897 a thick glass protects the picture from severe weather conditions and the pilgrims' fervent excesses. Pius VII declared Our Lady of Chiquinquirá patroness of Colombia and granted her her own liturgy. "La Chinita", as her people call her, was canonically crowned in 1915, and in 1927 her sanctuary was declared a Basilica.

(Information taken from
(The first image is of my Holy Card of the Virgin of Chiquinquira, made by Cromo NB)

The Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday)

Today is the Third Sunday of Advent, the week when the pink candle on the Advent wreath is lit.
Almighty and loving God, your son has taught us the way to live as your children. We were blessed in our baptisms with special gifts and graces, and still there are times when we find it hard to be all that we should be.We ask for an increased awareness of the needs of others and for the courage to stand up for those who can not stand up for themselves. Please, God, help us to so live in your grace that all who know us will know you and your love. Amen.
(Advent prayer from The Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids' website.)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

St. Anne de Beaupre

Saint Anne, I have come to honour you and to call upon you in this blessed Shrine of Beaupré. Here, pilgrims have often felt some of the fruits of your goodness, power, and intercession. Like every true pilgrim, I also have favours to ask of you. I know that you will be as good to me as you have been, in the past, to thousands of others who have come to implore you in this Shrine. Saint Anne, you know the grace of which I stand most in need at the present moment, the special favour for which I have undertaken this pilgrimage. Hear my prayer. I entrust to your care, all of my material and spiritual needs. I commend my family, my country, the Church, and the whole world to you. Keep me faithful to Christ and His Church and one day, escort me into the Father’s Eternal Home.

For More information on the Shrine of St. Anne & the Miraculous Statue, please visit:
(Picture from

The Good Shepherd

Like a Shepherd, He feeds His flock, & gathers the lambs in His Arms. Holding them carefully close to his heart, leading them home.

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

God of power and mercy,you blessed the Americas at Tepeyac with the presence of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. May her prayers help all men and women to accept each other as brothers and sisters. Through your justice present in our hearts may Your peace reign in the world.We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Poor Souls in Purgatory

The Poor Souls in Purgatory are seperated from the vision of God because they need to make satisfaction for the sins they committed during their lifetime on earth. They are suffering in fire worse than any earthly fire to expiate the temporal punishment due to their sins. The souls in purgatory are helpless and must rely on the prayers, good works, and Masses offered on their behalf by the faithful in the Church on earth to relieve their suffering. It is a spiritual work of mercy & charity for the faithful on earth to pray for the poor souls, especially through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which hastens their entrance into heaven. The poor souls are holy souls who will one day be perfectly purified to enter into the holy presence of God and who will not forget to pray for those who relieve their suffering. Through the worthy reception of the sacraments and penance, the faithful can shorten or avoid time in purgatory. As members of the Body of Christ, the holy souls long for the glory of heaven that will unite them forever to the Bridegroom of their souls.

O gentle Heart of Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament, ever consumed with burning love for the poor captive souls in purgatory, have mercy on them. Be not severe in Your judgments, but let some drops of Your Precious Blood fall upon the flames. And, merciful Savior, send your angels to conduct them to a place of refreshment, light and peace. Amen.
It is also said that every Saturday morning, the Blessed Mother herself journeys down to Purgatory & brings souls back to heaven with her. What a wonderful thought!

Saint Mary the Greek (Santa Maria Greca)

Today we travel across the Atlantic Ocean to Italy, where in the countryside town of Corato there is a miraculous portrait of the Blessed Mother with her Divine Son.

It was April of the year 1656 when a tremendous pestilence infested the city of Naples, with so much force that in the following May the city remained almost completely uninhabited, to the extent that grass began to grow on some of the streets. This mortal infection spread from the city of Naples to all the kingdom with equal fury and force, and with equal slaughter. Even the region of Puglie remained desolated, and great was the terror which dominated the souls of the populations. Between the end of June and the beginning of July of the same year, the devastating epidemic came to strike also our city of Corato, infesting it in such a way that in a few days several hundreds of victims were counted. As soon as a blackish area, called bubbone, appeared on any part of the body, a fever immediately came, so burning that in a few hours the poor patient was reduced to a horrid cadaver. In vain the science of medicine tried to prescribe cures; in fact, doctors themselves were among the first victims. So, since there was no possibility of any human aid in such sorrowful anguish, the people, terrified, recurred to the intercession of their Protector Saints, and mainly to that of Most Holy Mary. In the meantime many people, and most especially the elderly, knew that according to tradition there was a prodigious image of the Most Holy Virgin in the vault of one of the twenty-five towers which crowned the walls of Corato, and, specifically, the tower which looked to South-west. Many thought that if that image were exposed to public veneration and homage of the faithful during such great calamity, the town would have been freed from the terrible chastisement. As the news spread out, a crowd of people thronged around the mentioned tower. An opening was made. The humid and dark vault or cave could hardly be seen, which was not connected with either the ground level or the near street. The anxiety to see and venerate the sacred liberating Image, and the fear, among few, to precipitate into the vault, held some people back, attracted others, or pushed others away, according to their different feelings. But all were debating on what to do in order to find the Image, so greatly longed for, and therefore expose it to the veneration of the community.
At that moment the pious and erudite Priest, Don Francesco Lojodice, called Saccone, passed by. He was one of the people who had been elected to provide for the needs of the town during the period of the deadly scourge. In seeing so much people being gathered, he exhorted them to leave, both because the crowding of people in those calamities is always a new and greater reason for contagion, and because he feared the arising of superstition and error, which usually spread among common people in these painful circumstances, finally, because he feared that some accidents might occur. Therefore, he tried to lead the great number of people away from the entrance of the cave. However, he spoke and explained his reasons in vain, because nobody moved from there. On the contrary, holding lamps at the entrance of the cave, all pleaded the Virgin for pity and mercy with loud cries. In order to eliminate the danger of falling into the cave, Don Francesco had the entrance widened. Then, he himself went down on a ladder and with a torch. However, as much as he tried to be diligently attentive, he could see no Image, but only a little window with some traces of an ancient painting, from which no figure appeared. The little window is clearly the one that can be seen still now on the original altar.
But who can ever penetrate into the admirable and inscrutable ways which the Divine Goodness uses when It wants to manifest Itself to the creatures, either by offering Its gifts, or by relieving the afflicted and troubled mankind? So, prey to many thoughts and different feelings, the pious Priest Lojodice came out of the vault feeling a change and a restlessness within himself which he did not know how to explain. In order to be freed from so much uncertainty and perplexity, through prayer he recurred to God, the Provider of holy advice. At the dawn of July 17, 1656, while Don Francesco was humbly recollected in prayer, he had a special vision. The Most Holy Virgin appeared to him shining with light, and with the same features which can be seen today in the Picture representing the Greek Madonna. With majesty and love, She said to him: "Courage, my beloved one, console these afflicted people. They will be soon freed from the tremendous chastisement of the anger of God, if the cave which you know will be dedicated to my honor and to my veneration." Immediately after, the vision disappeared, leaving the good Priest in great peace and consolation. Don Francesco, the fortunate one chosen by Mary, hurriedly went to Trani in order to relate the event to his Archbishop, Monsignor Tommaso Sarria, a Spanish Dominican. He did this in order to be more reassured on the truthfulness of the apparition, submitting it to the judgment of his legitimate Superior, since it is possible that, in these extraordinary things, there might be diabolical deceit and suggestion; and also to obtain permission to transform that cave into a public Oratory, and open it for public veneration.
Having been completely reassured by the illustrious Prelate on the fact that everything was a work of God, and having received wide authority to implement what he had asked, Don Francesco could think about nothing but to fulfill the desire and command of the Most Holy Virgin. On the following day, July 18, the third Saturday of the month, early in the morning, Father Lojodoce was already in the vault together with several workers. Some were intent in widening and securing the entrance of the vault, some in cleaning it from rubble and soil; some were carefully leveling the ground; some were painting the walls; some began to raise an altar. In very little time, all contributed to transform that dark and gloomy cave into a decent Oratory. In the meantime, having given the necessary dispositions to everyone, Don Francesco intended to implement his dominant thought: to have the Image of the Madonna painted on a walnut board. He called a painter and orderd the painting to him, explaining the him the details of the figure which had to be reproduced, just as the one which had appeared to himself. But for as many different drawings and sketches as the artist presented to him, not even one corresponded to the one which he had requested, or better, to the one which he had seen in the vision. At about midday, various people, among them the painter, returned to their homes, while Don Francesco and many other people, animated by unlimited confidence that the Great Virgin would have accomplished the work, had recourse to Her with vivid faith, begging Her in fervent and unanimous prayer. As the fervent prayer was rising up to Heaven, the abundance of the divine mercy descended from the Throne of God. Oh, prodigy! Oh, astonishment! Oh, truly maternal mercy of Mary! A harmonious sound of a little bell was heard, not only in the vault, but also outside, in the whole neighborhood. It was so sweet as to astonish all those who heard it. In the midst of so much surprise, a new surprise was added: a cry of joy, which strongly shook all those who were present, was emitted by a devoted woman, Beatrice dell’Oglio, who, pointing out at the board, exclaimed: "Here is Mary, here is Mary!" This lady used to be blind, and all knew her as such; but as soon as the Image of Mary, which we venerate under the title of Saint Mary the Greek, miraculously appeared, painted on the walnut board which had been prepared by the painter, she gained back her sight, being the first to point out at the prodigious Image.
As the pious Priest was shaken from his recollection by that cry, he saw the Image, miraculously painted, and he recognized it as perfectly identical to the one which he had admired in the vision. Moved and exultant with joy, he too cried out: "She is the One, She is the One! The Image that appeared to me in the vision." And with tears in his eyes, he kept repeating more and more loudly: "She is the One, She is the One!" A great crowd immediately rushed up, and all fell on their knees before the Sacred Image, with tears in their eyes. Trembling with emotion, they began to joyously praise and thank the Virgin. Some of them, with irrepressible affection, began to place loving and respectful kisses on that venerable board; others, considering themselves unworthy, humbly and respectfully kissed the ground. Some said, like the old Saint Simeon, that they were content to die after having seen such great prodigy with their eyes. Some others recognized the mercy of the Lord which had spared them from the slaughter of the plague, giving them the chance to admire such a marvelous prodigy. Moved as they were, all promised persevering veneration and filial devotion to this tender and loving Mother and Queen.
And She really proved Herself to be a Mother of our fathers, because, from that day on, not only did the terrible infection cease completely, which had claimed many victims, but many patients who had been attacked by the disease, soon improved and were healed. The deaths ceased to the extent that (according to the tradition of our fathers) in the following August our city was completely freed, thanks to the special favor of our Mother Mary, while other neighboring towns were still frighteningly terrified and desolated. In fact, among them, Andria, which is seven miles away from Corato, was reduced to a third of its population, since about fourteen thousand people died. It was freed only in January of the following year, 1657, after making a vow to Saint Sebastian, the martyr.

History taken from:
Images from:

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Golden Arrow

Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus is the work of making reparation for the blasphemies committed against God's Divine Majesty. The devotion was made known through Sr. Mary of St. Peter, a Carmelite Nun, who was born on October 4, 1816, in Rennes, France. She joined the Carmelites in 1839 and was inspired with the spirit of sacrifice and zeal for the salvation of souls. She was devoted to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and to the Sacred Infancy of Jesus, desiring to be His "little donkey." In 1843, Our Lord appeared to her & gave her the Golden Arrow Prayer of reparation and revealed in 1845 that devotion to His Holy Face is the external object of adoration in the work of reparation for the blasphemies and outrages inflicted against His divinity, His Holy Name and His Church. By offering the Holy Face to the Father, God's anger is appeased, sinners are converted and the Divine image is restored in souls. Sr. Mary of St. Peter died on July 8, 1848, and Pope Leo XIII established the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face in 1885. Since then, the devotional life of St. Therese & the evidence of the Shroud of Turin have helped to revive the great devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in heaven, on earth and under the earth by all creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar. Amen.

Holy Face Prayer
Eternal Father, we offer You the Holy Face of Jesus, covered with blood, sweat, dust and spittle, in reparation for the crimes of communists, blasphemers, and for the profaners of the Holy Name and of the Holy Day of Sunday. Amen.
Let us all faithfully practice this beautiful devotion given to us from Our Lord himself.

St. John of the Cross, Carmelite Mystic & Doctor of the Church

Today is the feastday of St. John of the Cross (d. 1591) He was literally St. Teresa of Avila's partner in the reformation of the Discalced Carmelites. For more information about St. John of the Cross, go to

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Relics of St. Lucy

I just discovered these pictures of St. Lucy's relics. She is not considered an incorrupt Saint, but her body is venerated in the Shrine bearing her name in Syracuse. I remember hearing that there was some debate over which city "owned" her relics, and that a few years back they were stolen from the church but later found. What ever the history may be, St. Lucy's relics are venerated by countless devotees from all over the world.

St. Wilgefortis: Legend or Real-Life Bearded Lady?

Being Catholic and reading up on many of the Church's Saints, you find a few who stick out. One of these Saints is St. Wilgefortis. According to legend, she was one of the septuplet children of the King of Portugal. She was promised in marriage to the King of Sicily, but of course, she was a Christian and it violated her vow of chastity. So, one late night, she prayed and begged God to disfigure herself and make her unsightly in the King's eyes. God listened to her prayers and the next morning she awoke-to the shock of all-with a beard! Word reached the King of Sicily, and when Wilgefortis' father found out, he became furious. He condemned her to death and she was nailed to a cross and died a martyr's death. She is also known as St. Liberata in Italy & St. Uncumber in France. She was the Patroness of difficult marriages. She was officially removed from the Church Calender & her cult was supressed in 1969. So, technically, she is no longer a Saint of the Catholic Church, but you can't help but wonder....maybe this really happened.

St. Lucy, Virgin & Martyr

Today is the feastday of St. Lucy, a martyr from Syracuse, Sicily, who was born in the third century. She was a wealthy young Christian of Greek ancestry who vowed her entire life to Christ at an early age. Lucy's mother, Eutychia, was cured of a terminal illness when Lucy journeyed with her to the tomb of the famous martyr, St. Agatha. Lucy had a vision of the Saint, who told her that one day she would die a martyr's death and join her in heaven. Lucy was pursued by a wealthy pagan named Paschasius, who denounced her as a Christian after she rejected him. The governor of Sicily sentenced her to forced prostitution, and when this failed, the governor ordered her to death. She was tortured, and according to legend, her eyes were gouged out. (Other sources claim that an admirer repeatedly commented on the beauty of Lucy's eyes, so she gouged them out herself and sent them on a platter to the man.) The governor even attempted to have her burned at the stake, but it failed. She was eventually stabbed in the throat and died immediatley. St. Lucy died in Sicily in 304. She is also mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. She is the patroness the blind, eye afflictions, throat infections and Syracuse, Sicily.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today is the feastday of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Americas and the Unborn. The second most visited shrine in the world after the Vatican can be found a few miles north of Mexico City in an area called La Villa de Guadalupe. High on the wall of the circular basilica hangs a nearly 500-year old tilma or cloak, mysteriously imprinted with the image of a dark-skinned woman clad in a star-spangled blue veil. She is Our Lady of Guadalupe. On Saturday, December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a recently widowed and childless local Indian who was one of the Spanish missionaries first converts, was on his way to Saturday Mass when he heard singing as he approached the base of the hill known as Tepeyac. The singing was very beautiful and Juan decided to investigate. Suddenly to his amazement, he heard a voice saying to him "Juanito, Juan Dieguito" the terms a mother would use to her child.
When he reached the top of the hill, he saw 'a most beautiful lady' with garments that shone like the sun. This beautiful lady told Juan Diego that she was "the ever virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God" and told him that she wanted a church built where she stood. She directed Juan to go to the local bishop, Bishop Zumarraga, and tell him to erect a temple on that plain. Heedless of the obvious difficulties, and of his previous errands, Juan immediately set off for Mexico City to do what the Lady asked.
A simple peasant appearing at the bishop's office was a cause for some skepticism, and Juan had a lengthy wait. Finally Juan was able to tell the bishop what he had seen and what the "Lady from Heaven" had requested. The bishop listened to the request but appeared not to believe the story Juan told him. Juan returned to the site where Our Lady had appeared to him. She was at the same place that evening and Juan told her about his visit to the bishop. She sent him back to try again. She appeared again on Sunday evening to get the bishop's answer. Bishop Zumarraga had not immediately believed the peasant messenger; having cross-questioned him and had him watched, he finally bade him ask a sign of the lady who said she was the mother of the true God. Again Juan met Our Lady and again he related the details of his visit. Mary asked Juan to return the following day and he would be entrusted with a sign for the bishop. Juan did not return the next day, as the Lady requested, he stayed home to nurse his dying uncle instead. A few days later, on December 12, 1531, passing by the hill, Our Lady again appeared to Juan and asked why he had not obeyed her request. Distressed, Juan explained about his uncle and she gently told him, not to worry that his uncle was healed. At that moment, miles away, a beautiful woman appeared to the sick man and bade him get up. He was immediately healed. The Lady then told him to go to the top of the hill where they had first met, to cut the various flowers he found growing there and bring them back to her. Juan did as he was told despite the fact that he didn't expect to find any flowers because the soil was rocky and near frozen in the winter cold. But there were roses in abundance. He gathered as many as he could, put them in his tilma, and brought them back to the Blessed Virgin who handled them before returning them to the tilma. She told Juan to unfold his mantle in the bishop's presence and let the flowers fall. This would be a sufficient sign to convince the bishop of the true identity of the "Lady from Heaven". At Juan's third visit, he was beginning to be considered somewhat of a nuisance. Again he had a lengthy wait. Eventually he was allowed to see the bishop. Juan knelt, relayed all the information Mary had told him, and opened his tilma. The roses spilled out, but the sign to the bishop was actually a "portrait" of Our Lady divinely imprinted on the fabric of Juan's tilma. At the sight of this, the bishop fell to his knees imploring Our Lady for forgiveness for ever doubting her wishes and for not immediately fulfilling her request. At once, he began plans for the temple she had requested and soon the Church in honor of the Queen of Tepeyac was erected on the plain she had specified. Today, millions of pilgrims visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, & on her feastday, December 12, throngs of pilgrims dance and have festivals in her honor.
Some great sites on Our Lady of Guadalupe:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Basilica of Guadalupe

Tomorrow is the Feastday of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Empress of the Americas!!!

Mary, the Immaculate Conception

"God desired that the Virginity of Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, be so perfect, complete, and all-encompassing that even the manner of her Immaculate Conception and her Holy Birth were required by God to be entirely Virginal, occurring solely and entirely by a miracle of God, and not in the usual way."

Our Lady of the Highest Grace- Nuestra Senora de Altagracia

The History of Our Lady of the Highest Grace
Patroness of the Dominican Republic
Legend says that the pious daughter of a rich merchant asked him to bring her back a portrait of Nuestra Senora de Altagracia from Santo Domingo, but no one had heard of any such image with the title. The merchant, staying overnight at a friend's house in Higuey, described his problem as they ate dinner. An older man with a white beard who had been listening to the conversation approached the merchant, and, unrolling a painting from his bundle, announced "This is the painting you are looking for, Our Lady of the Highest Grace." The merchant was stunned. They let the man stay with them overnight, but at dawn when they went to check on him, he was gone. The merchant's daughter was very pleased when she recieved the painting she asked for. The 16th century painting shows the Blessed Virgin at the Nativity, adoring her infant son lying on a pallet of straw. St. Joseph is on Our Lady's right, sheltering the flame of a candle, symbolic of his role of sheltering the Holy Family. The Star of Bethlehem shines brightly on Mary's left. The miraculous painting is now venerated in the grand Basilica in Higuey, Dominican Republic. Pope John Paul II graced the shrine with his presence on January 25, 1979, when he placed a gold & silver tiara on Our Lady's head. Her feast day is January 21, and on this day there are all-night vigils, masses, singing, dancing, and festivals.
For more information on the Patroness of the Domincan Republic, visit, or read the beautiful book "The Other Faces of Mary" by Ann Ball.


Welcome to my new blog! I am a junior in high school and am planning on entering the seminary in less than a year and a half. I love our Catholic faith and am especially devoted to the Blessed Virgin under her title Our Lady of Guadalupe. Enjoy my new blog, and I will try everyday to post something to help deepen your faith.