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                          Pope John Paul II

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Exonerating God


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Today's Martyrology


The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: A Primer for Clueless Catholics

for Celebrating the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

DO NOT DO at Mass what you would not do were you standing at the foot of Christ hanging on the Cross before you.

DO at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass what you would do were you standing at the foot of Christ hanging on the Cross — for at Holy Mass you are at the crucifixion of Christ on the Cross, really and truly. Had you closed your eyes for a moment while standing before Christ on the Cross, you would be where you are this day at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

DO what you would have done. DO NOT DO
what you would never have done.

This is the proper disposition of the soul at every single Mass.



New Series:

"From a Monastery Garden"

A Consecrated and Cloistered Nun in a Monastery Garden

Reflections on our Life in Christ through the Heart of a Consecrated and Cloistered Nun

Every so often, we will bring you reflections from a Consecrated and Cloistered Nun which help us to see our way forward though difficult — and even wonderful — occasions in our lives. She is the Bride of Christ — We suggest that you listen to her carefully. It may be the very reason that you have come to this page ... although you could not have possibly foreseen it — but God did.

Dear Little Hearts,

Let us impart blessings one to another. A blessing is so infrequently encountered these days ... and yet it is a practice at the heart of Holy Mother the Church and of Catholic families for over 2000 years! In this holy gesture made with the Sign of the Cross, we invoke God Himself when we bless another, and implore all His gifts and protection — so needed in these days of persecution: the persecution of the Church, of Christians throughout the world, and of Christ Himself.

Especially dear to us in cloistered life is the Blessing of Saint Colette, which we share with you below:


I pray that the Blessed Holy Spirit will always keep you in his holy grace and lead you at last to eternal glory.
Saint Colette
May the Father in his Mercy,
the Son, by his holy Passion,
and the Holy Spirit, the fountain of peace, sweetness, love and all consolation
come down upon you and remain with you always."

                                                                         (The Blessing of Saint Colette)

In humility and love in the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

Sister MM



Dear Little Hearts,

However Colette was well aware that she now needed to pass through a legitimate process with the Church. In order to realise this call to reform the Franciscan Order she needed to be dispensed from her vow of enclosure at the Abbey anchorage. Colette then proclaimed, “I have been ordered by a higher authority to break down this door (the door of the anchorage) but I have no authority to come out”.

Obedience was a vow that Colette always cherished, and was to later recommend it to her sisters,

“Above all other virtues I recommend to you obedience”.

So Colette would do nothing without the blessing of the Church.

The decision was made, Colette must go to the Pope himself and ask permission to enter the Second Franciscan Order, the Poor Clares, with the purpose of reforming it and renewing its fervour. But first of all, Colette needed an annulment of her vow of enclosure.

Colette committed to paper this statement.

Saint Colette writing

 “As soon as the dispensation is granted, we must go directly to the Holy Father and lay everything before him. It seems to me the best thing that your Ladyship and Father Henri should do is take this document straight to Cardinal De Chalant yourselves. We will get much quicker action of your Ladyship is there in person”

 So Friar Henri De Baume, Baroness de Brissay and her entourage set out on the journey to Paris to see the Papal Legate. Cardinal de Chalant received them warmly and he agreed, then directing the Bishop of Amiens to send one of his vicars to Corbie to examine Colette’s motives for wishing to be dispensed from her vow. The result was very favourable , the examiner was well satisfied, obtaining the legates authority he gave Colette her dispensation.

 But where there is the presence of a crown, there is also the Cross, and all these events were not without deep pain and suffering.

The People of Corbie were indignant and upset at the thought of ‘their’ recluse leaving them and showed their disapproval. More painful to Colette was the fact that the Abbot of the Benedictine Abbey of San Pierre, Dom Raoul De Raye whom Colette regarded as a father figure, and who had taken on her guardianship when Colette’s father Robert Boellet died would have nothing more to do with her and sadly the two never met again.

But ... such is the cost of discipleship!

NEXT: Off to see the Pope!

In humility and love in the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

Sister MM

 Boston Catholic Journal


"What is Holiness?"

Holiness — sanctity — is simply the conformity of the will to the will of God.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen on the Law of Love If you listen to no other homily on being a Catholic and your obligation to love God and your neighbor ... listen   to this: The Law of Love by Venerable Servant of God Fulton Sheen


Complete Roman Martyrology in English

The Complete Martyrology in


for Daily Reflection

Semen est sanguis Christianorum— The blood of Christians is the seed [of the Church], Tertullian, Apologeticum, 50



Tuesday September 16th in the Year of Grace 2014

Season after Pentecost

This Day, the Sixteenth Day of September

The Saints Cornelius and Cyprian, Pontiffs and martyrs, whose birthday is the 14th of this month.

At Chalcedon, the birthday of St. Euphemia, virgin and martyr, under the emperor Diocletian and the proconsul Priscus. For faith in our Lord she was subjected to tortures, imprisonment, blows, the torment of the wheel, fire, the crushing weight of stones, the teeth of beasts, scourging with rods, the cutting of sharp saws, burning pans, all of which she survived. But when she was again exposed to the beasts in the amphitheatre, praying to our Lord to receive her spirit, one of the animals having inflicted a bite on her sacred body, whilst the rest licked her feet, she yielded her unspotted soul to God.

At Rome, the holy martyrs Lucia, noble matron, and Geminian, who were subjected to most grievous afflictions and a long time tortured, by the command of the emperor Diocletian. Finally, being put to the sword, they obtained the glorious victory of martyrdom.

Also, at Rome, at a place on the Flaminian road, ten miles from the city, the holy martyrs Abundius, priest, and Abundantius, deacon, whom the emperor Diocletian caused to be struck with the sword, together with Marcian, an illustrious man, and his son John, whom they had raised from the dead.

At Heraclea, in Thrace, St. Sebastiana, martyr, under the emperor Domitian and the governor Sergius. Being brought to the faith of Christ by the blessed Apostle Paul, she was tormented in various ways and finally beheaded.

At Cordova, the holy martyrs Rogellus and Servideus, who were decapitated, after their hands and feet had been cut off.

In Scotland, St. Ninian, bishop and confessor.

In England, St. Editha, virgin, daughter of the English King Edgar, who was consecrated to God in a monastery from her tender years, whence she may be said to have been ignorant of the world rather than to have forsaken it.

And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

Omnes sancti Mártyres, oráte pro nobis. ("All ye Holy Martyrs, pray for us", from the Litaniae Sanctorum, the Litany of the Saints)

Response: Thanks be to God.


Roman Martyrology by Month


Why the Martyrs Matter

Each day
we bring you a calendar, a list really, of the holy Martyrs who had suffered and died for Christ, for His Bride the Church, and for our holy Catholic Faith; men and women for whom — and well they knew — their Profession of Faith would cost them their lives.

They could have repudiated all three (Christ, Church, and Catholic Faith) and kept their lives for a short time longer (even the lapsi only postponed their death — and at so great a cost!).1

What would motivate men, women, even children and entire families to willingly undergo the most evil and painfully devised tortures; to suffer death rather than denial?

Why did they not renounce their Catholic Faith when the first flame licked at their feet, after the first eye was plucked out, or after they were “baptized” in mockery by boiling water or molten lead poured over their heads? Why did they not flee to offer incense to the pagan gods since such a ritual concession would be merely perfunctory, having been done, after all, under duress, exacted by the compulsion of the state? What is a little burned incense and a few words uttered without conviction, compared to your own life and the lives of those you love? Surely God knows that you are merely placating the state with empty gestures …

Did they love their wives, husbands, children — their mothers, fathers and friends less than we do? Did they value their own lives less? Were they less sensitive to pain than we are? In a word, what did they possess that we do not?

Nothing. They possessed what we ourselves are given in the Sacrament of Confirmation — but cleaved to it in far greater measure than we do: Faith and faithfulness; fortitude and valor, uncompromising belief in the invincible reality of God, of life eternal in Him for the faithful, of damnation everlasting apart from Him for the unfaithful; of the ephemerality of this passing world and all within it, and lives lived in total accord with that adamant belief.

We are the Martyrs to come. What made them so will make us so. What they suffered we will suffer. What they died for, we will die for. If only we will! For most us, life will be a bloodless martyrdom, a suffering for Christ, for the sake of Christ, for the sake of the Church in a thousand ways outside the arena. The road to Heaven is lined on both sides with Crosses, and upon the Crosses people, people who suffered unknown to the world, but known to God. Loveless marriages. Injustices on all sides. Poverty. Illness. Old age. Dependency. They are the cruciform! Those whose lives became Crosses because they would not flee God, the Church, the call to, the demand for, holiness in the most ordinary things of life made extraordinary through the grace of God. The Martyrology we celebrate each day is just a vignette, a small, immeasurably small sampling of the martyrdom that has been the lives of countless men and women whom Christ and the Angels know, but whom the world does not know.

“Exemplum enim dedi vobis”, Christ said to His Apostles 2. “I have given you an example.” And His Martyrs give one to us — and that is why the Martyrs matter.

Joseph Mary del Campos
Editor, Boston Catholic Journal

Note: We suggest that you explore our newly edited and revised "De SS. Martyrum Cruciatibus — The Torments and Tortures of the Christian Martyrs" for an in-depth historical account of the sufferings of the Martyrs.



by J. Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore

THE ROMAN MARTYROLOGY is an official and accredited record, on the pages of which are set forth in simple and brief, but impressive words, the glorious deeds of the Soldiers of Christ in all ages of the Church; of the illustrious Heroes and Heroines of the Cross, whom her solemn verdict has beatified or canonized. In making up this long roll of honor, the Church has been actuated by that instinctive wisdom with which the Spirit of God, who abides in her and teaches her all truth, has endowed her, and which permeates through and guides all her actions. She is the Spouse of Christ, without spot or wrinkle or blemish, wholly glorious and undefiled, whom He loved, for whom He died, and to whom He promised the Spirit of Truth, to comfort her in her dreary pilgrimage through this valley of tears, and to abide with her forever. She is one with Him in Spirit and in love, she is subject to Him in all things; she loves what He loves, she teaches and practices what He commands.

If the world has its "Legions of Honor," why should not also the Church of the Living God, the pillar and the ground of the truth? If men who have been stained with blood, and women who have been tainted with vice, have had their memory consecrated in prose and in verse, and monuments erected to their memory, because they exhibited extraordinary talents, achieved great success, or were, to a greater or less extent, benefactors of their race in the temporal order, which passeth away, why should not the true Heroes and Heroines of Jesus, who, imitating His example, have overcome themselves, risen superior to and trampled upon the world, have aspired, in all their thoughts, words, and actions, to a heavenly crown, and have moreover labored with disinterested zeal and self-forgetting love for the good of their fellow-men, have their memories likewise consecrated and embalmed in the minds and hearts of the people of God? If time have its heroes, why should not eternity; if man, why should not God? "Thy friends, O Lord, are exceedingly honored; their principality is exceedingly exalted." Whom His Father so dearly loved, the world crucified; whom the world neglects, despises, and crucifies, God, through His Church, exceedingly honors and exalts. Their praises are sung forth, with jubilation of heart, in the Church of God for ages on ages.

The wisdom of the Church of God in honoring her Saints is equaled only by the great utility of the practice thus consecrated. The Saints are not merely heroes; they are models. Christ lived in them, and Christ yet speaks through them. They were the living temples of the Holy Ghost, in whose mortal bodies dwelt all the riches of His wisdom and grace. They were in life consecrated human exemplars of divine excellence and perfection. Their example still appeals to our minds and to our hearts, more eloquently even than did their words to the men of their own generation, while they were in the tabernacle of the flesh. Though dead, they still speak. Their relics are instinct with sanctity, and through them they continue to breathe forth the sweet odor of Christ. The immortality into which they have entered still lingers in their bones, and seems to breathe in their mortal remains. As many an ardent, spirit has been induced to rush to the cannon's mouth by reading the exploits of earthly heroes, so many a generous Christian soul has been fired with heavenly ardor, and been impelled to rush to the crown of martyrdom, by reading the lives and heroic achievements of the Saints and Martyrs of Christ. Example, in its silent appeal, is more potent in its influence on the human heart and conduct than are words in their most eloquent utterances.

The Church knows and feels all this, in the Spirit of God with whom she is replenished ; and hence she sets forth, with holy joy and exultant hope, her bright and ever-increasing Calendar of Sanctity of just men and women made perfect and rendered glorious, under her unearthly and sublime teachings. In reading this roll of consecrated holiness, our instinctive conclusion is, precisely that which the great soul of St. Augustine reached at the very crisis of his life, the moment of his conversion "If other men like me have attained to such sanctity, why not I? Shall the poor, the afflicted, the despised of the World, bear away the palm of victory, the crown of immortality, while I lie buried in my sloth and dead in my sins, and thus lose the brilliant and glorious mansion already prepared for me in heaven? Shall all the gifts, which God has lavished upon me, be ingloriously spent and foolishly wasted, in the petty contest for this world's evanescent honors and riches, while the poor and contemned lay up treasures in heaven, and secure the prize of immortal glory? Shall others be the friends of God, whom He delights to honor, while I alone remain His enemy, and an alien from His blessed Kingdom?"

It is a consoling evidence of progress in the spiritual life in this country to find the Martyrology here published, for the first time, in English, and thereby made accessible, in its rich treasures of Sanctity, to all classes of our population. It will prove highly edifying and useful, not only to the members of our numerous religious Communities of both sexes, but also to the laity generally. Every day has here its record of Sanctity; and there is scarcely a Christian, no matter how lowly or how much occupied, who may not be able to daily peruse, with faith and with great profit, the brief page of each day's models of Holiness. These belong to all classes and callings of life; from the throne to the hovel, from the Pontiff to the lowest cleric, from the philosopher to the peasant, from the busy walks of life to the dreary wastes of the desert.

Let all, then, procure and read daily the appropriate portions of this Martyrology. Its daily and pious perusal will console us in affliction, will animate us in despondency, will make our souls glow with the love of God in coldness, and will lift up our minds and hearts from this dull and ever-changing earth to the bright and everlasting mansions prepared for us in Heaven!

Imprimatur,  J. Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop Baltimore, Maryland 1916

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1   The Lapsi were early Catholics who renounced the Faith and either sacrificed to the Roman gods by edict from the emperor, or offered incense to them to escape Imperial persecution and death, and who later returned to the Faith when persecution subsided. However, Christ warns us, “Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.” (St. Matthew 10.3-33)

2 St. John 13.15


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 "Scio opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum"  
"I know your works ... that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name."
(Apocalypse 3.8)

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