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Laurence was born of noble parentage in Venice in 1381. His father having died when Laurence was still very young, his mother was left a widow at a very young age indeed.

Rejecting any thoughts of remarrying, she resolutely turned her attention to her own sanctification and her young children’s early training in the practice of virtue.

In this she was aided by Laurence’s innate attraction to all that pertained to God, an inclination of soul he demonstrated from his most tender years. Devoting herself to her children and to works of charity, fasting, assiduous prayer and her own mortification, the young widow was nevertheless perturbed by the extreme severity with which her son treated his body and the continual application of his mind to the exercises of religion.

In his nineteenth year, she endeavored to divert him from this course by arranging a marriage for him. However, having consulted a reliable spiritual director, prayed earnestly and humbly for light and guidance, and tested his own resolve in the matter, Laurence fled secretly to the monastery of St. George in Alga, on an island situated a mile from Venice.

Here, even his superiors in this austere congregation judged it necessary to mitigate the rigor of his penances as Laurence at nineteen easily surpassed all his religious brethren in his fasts and prayerful vigils.

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1406, and much against his will, he was chosen general of the Order, which he governed with exemplary prudence and sanctity. The first thing in which he labored to ground his religious brothers was a profound and sincere humility by which the soul places entire confidence in God alone, the only source of the soul’s strength.

In the year 1433 Pope Eugenius IV obliged Laurence to quit his cloister by appointing him to the episcopal see of Venice. His wisdom, goodness and charity drew crowds of people to him and his humility dissolved all forms of contention and disagreement even among the most proud. The salutary affect of his discourses and example worked as effectively among his people as it had in the confines of his cloister with his brethren: he animated the tepid, filled the presumptuous with a holy fear, raised the fearful to confidence, and inflamed the fervor of all.

On one occasion, overcome by admiration for his sanctity, Pope Eugenius IV saluted Laurence as “the ornament of bishops.” His successor, Nicholas V, in consideration of his sanctity and virtue, transferred the patriarchal dignity from the see of Grado to that of Venice in 1451, making Laurence the first Patriarch of Venice.

Notwithstanding the dignity this would confer upon the commonwealth of Venice, the Venetian Senate contested it, only embracing it after the bishop personally pleaded with the senators to reject the honor, attesting his willingness to put aside the weight of the office he had carried unworthily for eighteen years rather than to feel his burden increased by the additional dignity.

His pure humility and charity so strongly affected the whole senate that the Doge himself was not able to refrain from tears, and he entreated Laurence to desist from raising any obstacle to the pope’s decree. The installation of the new patriarch was subsequently celebrated with great joy by the entire city.

Laurence died in 1455 at the age of seventy-four. Before his death, he personally gave blessings to all those who had come to visit him in his illness. Canonized in 1690, St. Laurence is also revered for his great works on mystical contemplation.

 


 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for September 23, 2019

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine wil...

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September 23

 

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine will.
Adore and bless it,
especially in the things which are the hardest for you.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Offering himself as a victim for the end of the war, Padre P...

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St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Francesco was born in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887. His parents, Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppa Di Nunzio, were peasant farmers, but they recognized their son was close to God. When he was only five years old, he solemnly consecrated himself to Jesus. It is said he often spoke with Our Lord, Our Lady and his guardian angel, who defended him against attacks by the devil. He joined the Capuchin Franciscans at the age of fifteen, and took the name Pio with his religious vows. After seven years of study he was ordained to the priesthood in 1910.

During the same month he was ordained, Padre Pio was praying in the chapel when Our Lord and His Blessed Mother appeared and gave him the Stigmata. However, the wounds soon faded and then disappeared. “I do want to suffer, even to die of suffering,” Padre Pio told Our Lady, “but all in secret." Soon after, he experienced the first of his spiritual ecstasies.

Pio was in the military for a short time, but was discharged due to poor health. Upon his return to the monastery, he became a spiritual director. He had five rules for spiritual growth: weekly confession, daily Communion, spiritual reading, meditation, and examination of conscience. He often advised, "Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry."

In July of 1918, Padre Pio received the visible Stigmata, the five wounds of Christ (hands, feet and side), after offering himself as a victim for the end of the war. By 1933, the holy priest was recognized by the Church and by 1934 had attracted thousands of pilgrims that attended his masses and frequented his confessional.

On September 23, 1968, Padre Pio said his final Mass, renewed his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and died in his cell after suffering from grave physical decline. Before his death, Padre Pio orchestrated and oversaw the building of the “House for the Alleviation of Suffering,” a 350-bed medical and religious center.

He was canonized on June 16, 2002 by Pope John Paul II. An estimated 300,000 people attended the canonization ceremony.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs F...

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The Power of a Picture

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. “This is a picture of Her.” The woman gasped. “I know that picture! It inspired a conversion.” She then asked excitedly, “Do you have a minute to hear the story?” 

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As Mr. Ferraz listened, he learned that the woman, Maria Vegra, had a 22-year old son who had recently passed away after three weeks in the hospital due to a fatal injury received in a car accident. While in the hospital, a priest would visit him every day to administer Holy Communion. The priest consistently offered the sacrament to the neighboring patient of Maria’s son, another young man who was also in critical condition. The young man would say, “No. I don’t believe in God.” But the priest continued to offer salvation. “Let me hear your confession and give you Holy Communion and Last Rights,” the priest said, “it will save your soul and get you to heaven.” Time after time, the young man stubbornly refused.

During the weeks of hospitalization and fruitless medical treatments, Maria had taken her son a picture of Our Lady of Fatima a friend had given her from an America Needs Fatima mailing.

She knew Our Lady’s watchful gaze would give her son peace in his last days. The day after she placed Our Lady’s picture at the foot of her son’s bed, she heard the voice of his stubborn neighbor: “please,” he said, “bring the picture closer to me. I want to look at the Lady.” 

Surprised but willing, Maria placed the picture in the middle of the two suffering men. 

After three days of letting the nearby picture of Our Lady touch his heart as he gazed into Her eyes, the suffering patient relented. “Please,” he called out, “bring me the priest. I want to receive the sacraments.”

A few days later, the young man died a Catholic. With a simple picture of Our Lady of Fatima, God touched a heart and saved a soul. 

 By Catherine Ferdinand

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“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. 

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