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DAILY QUOTE for March 5, 2015

Everything is grace; everything is the direct effect of o...

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March 5

 

Everything is grace; everything
is the direct effect of our Father’s love.
Everything is grace because everything is God’s gift.
Whatever be the character of life or its unexpected events
– to the heart that loves, all is well.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. John Joseph of the Cross

During a period of great aridity in his life he was conso...

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St. John Joseph of the Cross

On August 15, 1654 on the island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples, a little boy was born to an exemplary, well-to-do couple, Joseph and Laura Calosirto. Baptized the same day, the new arrival was given the name of Carlo Caetano. One of seven boys, five of which were to enter religion, Carlo gave early signs of seeking sanctity, which his family recognized and respected.

At sixteen Carlo had a talk with the superior of the Franciscan Monastery of Santa Lucia del Monte in Naples.  Discerning a great vocation, the superior received him despite his youth. The new novice did not disappoint his superiors to the point that at age twenty-one, and not yet a priest, he was appointed superior of a new monastery in Piedmont.

Though he wished to remain a deacon like his founder, St. Francis of Assisi, his superiors insisted that he be ordained, and so he was in 1677. Despite his youth and innocence he proved to be an exceptional, insightful confessor.

Fr. John Joseph spent his life in the service of his order at times as superior, at times as novice master, always a loving, balanced and wise director of souls.

At one period of great aridity in his life he was consoled by a vision of a departed brother who reassured him as to his condition. After this incident, Fr. John Joseph began to demonstrate the powers of a wonder worker, with miraculous cures and the multiplication of food for the house. His fame spread so quickly that when he returned to Ischia to visit his dying mother, his town acclaimed him as a saint.

In 1722, Fr. John Joseph was the wise and tactful arbiter in a great conflict that arose regarding the management of his order.

Warned of his death, he talked freely of it to those about him but continued to carry out his duties. On March 1, 1734 he had an apoplectic seizure and died five days later. Almost immediately his tomb became a place of pilgrimage. He was canonized in 1839.

WEEKLY STORY

Holding Hands with The “Gate of Heaven”

Of all the invocations to our Lady, Gate of Heaven is one...

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Holding Hands with The “Gate of Heaven”


Of all the invocations to our Lady, Gate of Heaven is one of the most beautiful. This title gained a new meaning for me when I arrived for a Fatima home visit at the house of Dominique McGuire and found her in tears. Her mother, Marie Jeannine Michel, a native from Haiti, had suffered a massive heart attack the day before and was now dying. I was more than happy to take the statue to visit her at Rex Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was painfully clear, when we arrived in the Intensive Care Unit, that this poor soul was reaching the end. Over the next couple of hours we prayed numerous rosaries, litanies and the prayers for the dying by her bedside. We also struggled to provide the dying women with all the spiritual assistance we could.

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As we prayed, the attending nurse, who happened to be Catholic, kept calling local Churches to find a priest who would administer last rites. Whenever she entered the room to care for Mrs. Michel she would join in the responses to the Hail Mary. Overwhelmed by the scene, she exclaimed, “I hope when I am dying someone will bring the statue to visit me and pray the rosary.”

Moments before the priest arrived, Dominique asked me if I had an extra scapular for her mother. I did not. As the priest administered the last rites I scurried from the room in search of this precious sacramental, only to find I was the only person wearing one. Mrs. Michel was in much more need of it than me, so with the help of a doctor we temporarily removed her oxygen mask and placed my scapular around the dying woman’s neck. Dominique then took her Miraculous Medal and pinned it on to the scapular.

The most moving part of this visit occurred when Mrs. Michel opened her eyes and showed signs she wanted to speak. When they removed the oxygen mask, Dominique told her mother, in their native tongue, that “Momma Mary” was in the room. Since Mrs. Michel seemed to be already looking into eternity, with a type of “fog of death” in her gaze, I carried the statue over next to her bed. Surprisingly she reached up and took hold of our Lady’s hands and held on for some moments. The oxygen mask was then replaced as the nurse administered morphine to deaden the pain she was experiencing. Mrs. Michel died at 6:00 AM the following morning with Dominique praying beside her bed.

While the America Needs Fatima home visitation program is a very rewarding apostolate, nothing on earth compares to the satisfaction of a visit like this. A person going through such a moving ordeal, however, could naturally ask, “Was there something more we could have done?” In the case of Mrs. Michel, the answer is a resounding no. She received the last rites of Holy Mother Church, was clothed in the brown Scapular, and was almost continuously surrounded by the melodious sound of the Angelic Salutation. Hours before she passed into eternity, Mrs. Michel also had the grace to hold hands with She who truly is the Gate of Heaven.

By: Norman Fulkerson

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Of all the invocations to our Lady, Gate of Heaven is one of the most beautiful. This title had a new meaning for me when I arrived for a Fatima home visit at the house of Dominique McGuire and found her in tears.

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