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Sacred Heart of Jesus
today I wish to live in You,
in Your grace,
in which I desire at all costs to persevere.
Keep me from sin
and strengthen my will by helping me to keep watch over my senses,
my imagination, and my heart.
Help me to correct my faults which are the source of sin.
I beg You to do this,
O Jesus, through Mary,
Your Immaculate Mother.




Friday of the Eleventh week in Ordinary Time


2nd book of Kings 11:1-4.9-18.20.
When Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, saw that her son was dead, she began to kill off the whole royal family.
But Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash, his son, and spirited him away, along with his nurse, from the bedroom where the princes were about to be slain. She concealed him from Athaliah, and so he did not die.
For six years he remained hidden in the temple of the LORD, while Athaliah ruled the land.
But in the seventh year, Jehoiada summoned the captains of the Carians and of the guards. He had them come to him in the temple of the LORD, exacted from them a sworn commitment, and then showed them the king's son.
The captains did just as Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each one with his men, both those going on duty for the sabbath and those going off duty that week, came to Jehoiada the priest.
He gave the captains King David's spears and shields, which were in the temple of the LORD.
And the guards, with drawn weapons, lined up from the southern to the northern limit of the enclosure, surrounding the altar and the temple on the king's behalf.
Then Jehoiada led out the king's son and put the crown and the insignia upon him. They proclaimed him king and anointed him, clapping their hands and shouting, "Long live the king!"
Athaliah heard the noise made by the people, and appeared before them in the temple of the LORD.
When she saw the king standing by the pillar, as was the custom, and the captains and trumpeters near him, with all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, she tore her garments and cried out, "Treason, treason!"
Then Jehoiada the priest instructed the captains in command of the force: "Bring her outside through the ranks. If anyone follows her," he added, "let him die by the sword." He had given orders that she should not be slain in the temple of the LORD.
She was led out forcibly to the horse gate of the royal palace, where she was put to death.
Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD as one party and the king and the people as the other, by which they would be the LORD'S people; and another covenant, between the king and the people.
Thereupon all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and demolished it. They shattered its altars and images completely, and slew Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars. After appointing a detachment for the temple of the LORD, Jehoiada
All the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet, now that Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the royal palace.

Psalms 132(131):11.12.13-14.17-18.
The LORD swore to David
a firm promise from which he will not withdraw:
"Your own offspring
I will set upon your throne."

"If your sons keep my covenant
and the decrees which I shall teach them,
their sons, too, forever
shall sit upon your throne."

For the LORD has chosen Zion;
He prefers her for his dwelling.
"Zion is my resting place forever;
In her will I dwell, for I prefer her."

"In her will I make a horn to sprout forth for David;
I will place a lamp for my anointed.
his enemies I will clothe with shame,
but upon him my crown shall shine."

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 6:19-23.
Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light;
but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be."







PAULINUS was of a family which boasted of a long line of senators, prefects, and consuls. He was educated with great care, and his genius and eloquence, in prose and verse, were the admiration of St. Jerome and St. Augustine. He had more than doubled his wealth by marriage, and was one of the foremost men of his time. Though he was the chosen friend of Saints, and had a great devotion to St. Felix of Nola, he was still only a catechumen, trying to serve two masters. But God drew him to Himself along the way of sorrows and trials. He received baptism, withdrew into Spain to be alone, and then, in consort with his holy wife, sold all their vast estates in various parts of the empire, distributing their proceeds so prudently that St. Jerome says East and West were filled with his alms. He was then ordained priest, and retired to Nola in Campania. There he rebuilt the Church of St. Felix with great magnificence, and served it night and day, living a life of extreme abstinence and toil. In 409 he was chosen bishop, and for more than thirty years so ruled as to be conspicuous in an age blessed with many great and wise bishops. St. Gregory the Great tells us that when the Vandals of Africa had made a descent on Campania, Paulinus spent all he had in relieving the distress of his people and redeeming them from slavery. At last there came a poor widow; her only son had been carried off by the son-in-law of the Vandal king. " Such as I have I give thee," said the Saint to her; "we will go to Africa, and I will give myself for your son." Having overborne her resistance, they went, and Paulinus was accepted in place of the widow's son and employed as gardener. After a time the king found out, by divine interposition, that his son-in-law's slave was the great Bishop of Nola. He at once set him free, granting him also the freedom of all the townsmen of Nola who were in slavery. One who knew him well says he was meek as Moses, priestlike as Aaron, innocent as Samuel, tender as David, wise as Solomon, apostolic as Peter, loving as John cautious as Thomas, keen-sighted as Stephen, fervent as Apollos. He died A.D. 431.

REFLECTION.—"Go to Campania," writes St. Augustine ; "there study Paulinus, that choice servant of God. With what generosity, with what still greater humility, he has flung from him the burden of this world's grandeurs to take on him the yoke of Christ, and in His service how serene and unobtrusive his life !"








 John Fisher was born at Beverly, in Yorkshire, England.  At the age of twenty-two,  he was ordained a priest at Cambridge.  In 1501 he became the vice-chancelllor and in 1504 the chancelor in England.  He was appointed the bishop of Rochester.  He opposed the spreading of the Protestant faith through his writings which included a work on the Real Presence of the Eucharist, Assertio Septem Sacramentorum which is wrote in 1521.  In 1529. he became the counselor to Queen Catherine of Aragon, who he assisted in opposing King Henry's divorce from Catherine.  For his opposition to King Henry, he was imprisoned in the tower of London, at which time Pope Paul III named him a cardinal in the Catholic Church of England.  After ten months in prison in the tower of England, John was put on trial for opposing the King and was sentenced to death by beheading.  He was joined by Saint Thomas More in their opposition to King Henry's break from the Catholic Church and its teaching.  He was canonized in 1935 by Pope Pius XI.








Thomas was born in London on February 6, 1478 to his father John More, who was a lawyer and a judge.  he attended Oxford University.  He studied law at Lincoln's Inn.  He became a lawyer in 1501 and three years later entered into Parliament.  He entered into a number of important government positions which eventually led him to become the Chancellor of England in 1529.   He was known as a great intellectual and wrote the book, Utopia, along with many other notable works.  He opposed King Henry VIII attempt to divorce his wife as Henry  went around the Catholic Church in order to obtain his divorce.  Thomas More resigned his position as Chancellor and went in exile to his estate in Chelsea isolated from the King's officials.  For his opposition,  King  Henry's men had him sent to the Tower of London on April 17, 1534.  He was there until July 1535, when he was tried and condemned for treason.  He was beheaded on July 6, 1535.  Sir Thomas More's last words were "the King's good servant, but God's first."  Thomas was beatified in 1886 by Pope Leo XIII and was canonized in 1935 by Pope Pius XI.

INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  Ask Saint Thomas More to assist you with your needs today.  Saint Thomas More, pray for (prayer request).




    It has been said that it was not until the beginning of the last century that English historians began to write sympathetically about the Maid of Orleans. But with respect to this, the best loved of all the English Martyrs, there does not seem to have ever been among our “ separated brethren ” a disposition to do anything else than to refer with admiration, and even affection, to the life of the great Lord Chancellor and victim of Henry VIII. Even the mordant Swift classed him as one of “ A sextumvirate to which all the ages of the world cannot add a seventh ! ”2  The cosmopolitan and somewhat cynical circle of Holland House, re-echoed his praise as it came from the pen and occasionally the lips of his great biographer, Sir James Mackintosh. Macaulay and Cobbett regarded the Sage and Martyr of the Tudor reign of Terror as himself a powerful argument for Catholicism, as indeed he is, and his memory, like that of all which is great and unique, does but enhance with time.

    Sir Thomas More was born at Milk Street, Cheapside, London, on 7th February, 1478, the only surviving son of Sir John More, afterwards one of the Judges of the King’s Bench. It is related that the mother of the future Chancellor saw before his birth a sort of vision of her illustrious son, bright with splendour! After a preliminary education at St Anthony’s School, Threadneedle Street, young More went as page of honour to Cardinal Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, the Mazarin-like minister of Henry VII, and one of the builders of that Tudor despotism which was under the next reign to transform the largely free realm of England into a western Sultanate! Before More entered Canterbury College, Oxford (since merged into Christ Church), the “ Red Fox ” of Lambeth Palace had foretold the future distinction of his young servitor. At Oxford, More learned Greek from Thomas Linacre— who in 1517 was to found the College of Physicians. He also perfected himself in Latin, and soon wrote it in the best style of the fast rising “ Ciceronianism,” which was not the least of the literary achievements of the Renaissance. In 1494, More, according to a custom in vogue, entered New Inn as preliminary to becoming a student at Lincoln’s Inn two years later.ฎ The young legal tyro studied hard, and followed all the “ moots ” which then formed part of the forensic curriculum and was called to the Bar before the usual time. He then lectured at Furnival’s Irin and so ! satisfactorily, that he was requested to do so for three years in succession.
1 Declared Blessed by Leo XIII, December 29, 1886.
2 A Voyage to Laputa, chap. vii., end.
3 New Inn was one of the “ ten lesser Inns ” of Chancery, which served as preparatory schools for the Inns of Court up to the end of the sixteenth century. Sir Thomas More, therefore, must have been among the last of the great alumni of these institutions. New Inn was also known as the “ Inn of Our Lady,” from her picture over the entrance. It was a very flourishing place, and was governed by a Treasurer and twelve Ancients, under the general superintendence of the Middle Temple. Like the adjoining Wych Street, it was pulled down about 1900, by the County Council, for the widening of the Strand—an “ improvement ” very dearly bought by the sacrifice of these two picturesque and historical “ bits ” of bygone London!



 The young barrister seems about this time to have passed through a trying experience spiritually, for he seriously thought of relinquishing his profession and becoming a Carthusian. He spent much of his vacation time at the Charterhouse, then under the government of the Saintly Prior Tynbergh. The phase, however, passed, and, in 1505, he married Joan Colte, of Newhall, Essex, by which happy union he had three daughters and one son. Mrs More died in 1509, and very shortly after her death he married again, this time a widow lady, Alice Middleton, seven years older than himself, who, however, proved an excellent wife to him, and a kind stepmother to his young children.

    Meantime More was rapidly rising at the Bar, his practice soon brought him in about ฃ5000 a year in present currency. He found time for visits to the Universities of Paris and Louvain, and for correspondence with European scholars like Erasmus, whose friendship he possessed for life. The great Dutchman dedicated to him his Moriee Encomium (Praise of Folly), a satire on the ecclesiastical abuses of the day, and a sort of learned play on More’s own name and noted love of jesting. The serious side of More’s character, as far as public life was concerned, was shown in 1504, when as Member of Parliament, he strenuously opposed a grant of jฃ 113,000 demanded by the King (Henry VII) for the marriage of his daughter Margaret with the King of Scots, James IV. As His Majesty’s treasury was literally bursting with millions, wrung or cajoled from his subjects in various ways, More’s opposition to this preposterous request was a fine piece of patriotism and it was happily successful. In 1515, More, now Sheriff of London, went to Flanders as representative of the City Merchants in a mercantile dispute with their Hanse towns brethren of the Steel-Yard. It was during this episode that he wrote his Utopia, published in 1516. Though many of the notions represented in the ideal Republic are truly prophetic, much that its author described about religion and other matters must not be taken seriously. The work was originally in Latin and intended only for the learned and mature. It was translated into English by Raphe Robynson, 1551.


 The year that saw the publication of Utopia, may be said to have ended More’s private, and to have commenced his official, life. He becameMaster of Requests, i.e., examiner of petitions to the King, and so had to attend the Royal Household everywhere. He accompanied the King to the gorgeous meeting of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and next year became Under-Treasurer of England. In 1523, he was chosen Speaker of the House of Commons, and again showed his courageous spirit by inducing the House, which still “retained some sparks of independence, to reject a demand for more money for a war with France, though the requisition was made by the imperious Wolsey in person. It was about this time, that Mr Speaker More moved from Crosby Hall in the City, to the pleasant rural suburb of Chelsea, where fields and orchards touched on the Thames, still at this point a sparkling river, and abounding in “ fat and sweet salmons ” and trout!1 More’s home-life at Chelsea with his large family, by this time augmented by sons and daughters-in-law, has been often described, and we seem to view the happy scene, hear the discussions on Plato, Livy, and Cicero, smile at the repartee of the" Fool ”—this latter a great favourite of More’s—not to mention the dry witticisms and Latin epigrams of the great man himself. The King often walked in without ceremony, and though His Majesty would stroll about the garden arm-in-arm with the wisest man in his kingdom, More knew, and once openly said, that if his head could win his sovereign one castle in France, “ it should not fail to serve his turn!

     But learned and delightful as the circle at Chelsea was, it never sank to the mere dilettante level of Strawberry Hill. More, notwithstanding the immense labours of his offices at Court and as Speaker of the Commons, saw the dangers of the day, and. prepared to grapple with them. The religious and civil confusion caused in Germany by the revolt of Luther— a confusion soon to be intensified by the further contradictions of Tyndale, Zwingli and a score of other “ Reformers,” brought him forth as a defender of the traditional Faith of Christendom. His Dialogue, which appeared in 1528, was an able apology against the innovators, while his Confutation—a reply to Tyndale—dealt still more at large with the multifarious heresies which were so soon to undermine the faith of Europe and lay the foundation of much of the present unbelief. The charges of persecution brought against More have been effectively dealt; with by his non-catholic biographers, Mackintosh, Dr Gairdner and 5 Canon Dixon. He did indeed once cause a “ smutty ” urchin to be whipped 1 exactly in the same way and for the same offence that such an offender, would be flogged to-day in almost any of our public schools, and on another occasion he had a semi-crazy, but malignly-cunning man, beaten for a very grave offence in Church.

1 Harrison’s Description of England, 1586, p. 46. The last salmon caught in the metropolitan \ part of the Thames (at London Bridge) was in 1730, though a salmon was found, apparently stranded, in the Mill Pond, Bermondsey, in 1804 ! See History of Bermondsey, by the Rev. J. Canon Bell, late Vicar of All Saints, Bermondsey.

The severe laws against heresy in; full force at that time were not of More’s making. Later on, as Chancellor, he had occasionally to administer them, but as Mr Hutton observes, " he took especial pains—and for some time successfully—to avoid the infliction of the extreme penalty.”1

    The clergy were not unmindful of More’s splendid services to orthodoxy, and “ in the name of their Convocation ” they pressed upon him a handsome pecuniary gift, but Sir Thomas, though far from rich, declined—with the admirable disinterestedness ever characteristic of him— the proffered reward.

    The hateful question of the royal divorce was first sprung upon More by no less a personage than the King himself, with whom in fact the matter originated. In September, 1527, Sir Thomas was at Hampton Court with his Sovereign, when the latter showed him the passages in Leviticus and Deuteronomy against marriage with a, brother’s widow. Though Henry urged the Counsellor whose word carried most weight in his dominions, to give an opinion in his—the King’s—favour, More, with the prudence that never failed him, declined to be rushed into a hasty judgment, but promised to go further into a matter which was already perplexing half the divines and scholars of the Kingdom.2

    The dismissal of Wolsey took place on 19th October, 1529, and three days later the Seals were pressed, or rather thrust, upon Sir Thomas. He cherished no illusions about his splendid preferment, coming as it did as a sort of awful contrast to the sudden and ominous fall of the great Lord Cardinal. As Lord High Chancellor, More opened the Parliament of the Spoliation on 3rd November following, and had also to announce later to the members the opinions of the foreign Universities on the divorce. How many, it is to be wondered, knew at that time of the wholesale corruption and even open violence that had been employed to obtain whatever judgments were favourable to that measure ? Both in Parliament and the Council, More strenuously opposed the bill to abolish the Annates or first-fruits of great benefices to Rome, as also the proposed relaxation of the heresy laws by which measure the King hoped—not to favour Protestants whom he always burnt without mercy—but to embarrass still further and so weaken the authority of the Church. By May, 1532, the situation had become intolerable, and More resigned an exalted dignity which had been none of his seeking, and one which was now evidently intended to be used as an instrument to further the anti-catholic policy of the Crown. As Chancellor, Sir Thomas had dispensed speedy and even-handed justice to rich and poor alike, and during his tenure of office had cleared off all the arrears of his Court.

1 Rev. W. H. Hutton: Sir Thomas More (1895).
2 The biblical prohibitions referred to, relate to marriages that have been consummated, which that of Catharine of Aragon and Prince Arthur had not. It -was apparently on this ground that Julius II granted the dispensation. See Blessed John Fisher, June 22.


    The sudden resignation of such a leading light as Sir Thomas, was felt by the King and his sycophants to be a severe and public censure on their whole conduct, and every expedient was now sought after to discredit the man who represented integrity, ability, and wisdom in the highest degree. Vile charges of corruption in his high office were, with amazing effrontery, brought against the upright judge, whose whole judicial conduct had been a shining example to his own and every future age, and one whose resignation of the Seals had actually left him—owing to loss of income and other emoluments—face to face almost with poverty itself ! But the depths of depravity were reached when Sir Thomas was actually accused of having “ provoked the King ” to write the book on the Seven Sacraments! This' was of course the famous work that had been Henry’s joy and pride till, like Solomon, his heart toas corrupted by loose women—the epoch-making book which had won for him his jealously-guarded title of “ Defender of the Faith ” ! More’s reply to the titled tools of tyranny, Cranmer, Audley, Norfolk, and Cromwell, who had the temerity to upbraid him with his “ offence,” must have crushed even those servile abetters of insolent oppression. After reminding them that he had but revised the work in question and that, too, at the King’s special desire, he went on to observe that he had in fact reminded the Royal Author that the time might come when he (Henry) and the Pope might fall out over political considerations, and that even the Law of Praemunire might be in case. Whereupon the King exclaimed: “ We are so much bounden to the See of Rome, that we cannot do too much honour to it! ” Foiled thus far in every direction, the foes of the Ex-Chancellor now sought to involve him in the Bill of Attainder that was being passed against the “ Holy Maid of Kent ” and her sympathizers. More had, it is true, interviewed “ the Maid,” but had expressed no opinion at the time as to her alleged prophecies, contenting himself with advising her not to meddle with politics. Sir Thomas now took the right and courageous course of demanding to address the House on his own behalf, but as nothing would have been worse for Henry than such a defence and from such a source, the tyrant reluctantly consented to remove the name of the man he now undoubtedly feared, from the murder-measure in course of being obsequiously passed by his puppets. Like Fisher, More had all along seen no insuperable objection to swearing to the succession of Anne Boleyn’s offspring to the Throne. But when after the divorce of Catharine, and the adulterous marriage of the King, he was called upon not only to swear to the Succession, but to repudiate “ any foreign potentate,” Sir Thomas knew that the spiritual authority of the Apostolic See was now being aimed at, and he refused the Oath. Efforts were tried to make it appear that he had assented, but Sir Thomas rejected all compromise, and after four days detention with Benson, the schismatical Abbot of Westminster, he was lodged in the Tower. No stone was left unturned to break down the resolution of the illustrious captive. Even the pleading of his favourite daughter, Margaret, who had taken the Oath—“ as far as lawful ”—and that of his wife, could not force Sir Thomas into a violation of his conscience. In consequence of this, his family was despoiled of its property by the heartless tyrant, so that Lady More had actually to sell her personal belongings to maintain herself as well as her husband, whose prison fees were, as usual then, scandalously high.

    As many even of the servile Council were of opinion that the wording of the Succession Act did not remove the spiritual authority of the pope, a bill was passed through Parliament in 1534 abolishing the papal supremacy in England, and making it high treason to maintain the same. Then followed the Conferences of Cromwell, Audley, etc., with Sir Thomas, all designed to entangle him in his words, so as to make out a case for his trial and execution. On 12th June, 1535, Richard Rich, the Solicitor-General, and “ one of the most odious names in the history of the agel ” had the notorious conversation with More which he, Rich, afterwards perverted and so caused it to be used as the pretext of bringing the Ex-Chancellor to trial on 1st July.1 More appeared in Westminster Hall prematurely old, worn, and grey, thanks to illness and the rigours of a long imprisonment, but despite all these and other disadvantages, made as might be expected, a most able defence. He denounced in withering words the miserable Rich as a perjurer, and when the prearranged verdict of guilty was pronounced, delivered that magnificent address to the Court, the burden of which was that he “ had not read in any approved doctor of the Church that a temporal lord could or ought to be the head of the spirituality.” The affecting interview between Sir Thomas and his daughter Margaret took place as he was being conducted back to the Tower after receiving sentence of death—that death which he had from the first foreseen, and prepared so well for by prayer and meditation in the solitude of his captivity. His execution on Tower Hill in the morning of 6th July was a tragedy such as this or any other country has seldom witnessed, and it alone would be sufficient to cover Henry and his reign with infamy for all time. The news of the judicial murder sent a thrill of horror throughout Europe, and Courts and Academies vied with one another in denouncing Henry as the Nero who had destroyed the Seneca of Christendom! Charles V, who was seldom moved even by tragic occurrences, publicly told the English Ambassador, Sir Thomas Elyot, that rather than have lost such a Counsellor, he would have gladly parted with the fairest city of his dominions! The destruction of Sir Thomas joined to that of Cardinal Fisher, the Monks of the Charterhouse, and other innocent victims, sealed the Tudor Despot as a monster capable of any atrocity—as indeed he was!

1 What Sir Thomas really said was: “ Suppose the Parliament would make a law that God should not be God, would you then say that God were not God ! Rich: “ No, sir, that would I not, sith no Parliament may make any such law ! ” “ No more,” said Sir Thomas (as Rich reported it), “ could the Parliament make the King Supreme Head of the Church ! ”

    In addition to his works already mentioned, Sir Thomas wrote in his captivity, the Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation, and a Treatise on the Passion, unfinished at his death. Apart from his glorious martyrdom, his whole life was as mortified as that of a holy religious, and marked by the tenderest devotion to Our Lord, His Blessed Mother and Holy Church. His invincible humour was that of St Philip Neri, with whom, indeed, he seems to have had much in common, and had the unhappy King not fallen a prey to his own passions, there can be little doubt but that Sir Thomas, Cardinals Fisher and Wolsey, Bishop Tunstall and others of the circle, would have inaugurated that true reform of the English Church from within, which was the guiding principle of the Council of Trent, and one which, as far as this country is concerned, would have prepared the ecclesiastical polity of this nation for the vast changes and complex conditions brought about by the New Learning, and the larger freedom rendered inevitable by that event.

[Life and Writings of Sir Thomas More, by the Rev T. E. Bridgett, C.S.S.R. (London 1891). Memoir by Sidney Lee in the Dictionary of National Biography. Lingard: History, vols. iv. and v. Sir James Mackintosh’s Life of Sir Thomas More, written for Lardners Cabinet Encyclopedia,. a series of separate volumes on various subjects—is a good biography but written from the Whig and Holland House standpoint.]1


More information on Saint Thomas More




JUNE 21th

SAINT ALOYSIUS, the eldest son of Ferdinand Gonzaga, Marquis of Castiglione, was born on the 9th of March, 1568. The first words he pronounced were the holy names of Jesus and Mary. When he was nine years of age he made a vow of perpetual virginity, and by a special grace was ever exempted from temptations against purity. He received his first communion at the hands of St. Charles Borromeo. At an early age he resolved to leave the world, and in a vision was directed by our Blessed Lady to join the Society of Jesus. The Saint's mother rejoiced on learning his determination to become a religious, but his father for three years refused his consent. At length St. Aloysius obtained permission to enter the novitiate on the 25th of November, 1585. He took his vows after two years, and went through the ordinary course of philosophy and theology. He was wont to say he doubted whether without penance grace would continue to make head against nature, which, when not afflicted and chastised, tends gradually to relapse into its old state, losing the habit of suffering acquired by the labor of years. " I am a crooked piece of iron," he said, " and am come into religion to be made straight by the hammer of mortification and penance." During his last year of theology a malignant fever broke out in Rome; the Saint offered himself for the service of the sick, and he was accepted for the dangerous duty. Several of the brothers caught the fever, and Aloysius was of the number. He was brought to the point of death, but recovered, only to fall, however, into slow fever, which carried him off  after three months. He died, repeating the Holy Name, a little after midnight between the 20th and 21st of June on the octave-day of Corpus Christi, being rather more than twenty-three years of age.

REFLECTION.—Cardinal Bellarmine, the Saint's confessor, testified that he had never mortally offended God. Yet he chastised his body rigorously, rose at night to pray, and shed many tears for his sins. Pray that, not having followed his innocence, you may yet imitate his penance.





 [From his life, written in the most authentic manner by F. Ceparius, his master of novices. See also other memoirs collected by Janning, the Bollandist, Junij, t. iv. p. 847, ad p. 1169, and his life in French by F. Orleans.]


A.D. 1591.

ALOYSIUS GONZAGA was son of Ferdinand Gonzaga, prince of the holy empire, and Marquis of Castiglione, removed in the third degree of kindred from the Duke of Mantua. His mother was Martha Tana Santena, daughter of Tanus Santena, lord of Cherry, in Piemont. She was lady of honour to Isabel, the wife of Philip II. of Spain, in whose court the Marquis Gonzaga also lived in great favour. When she understood this nobleman had asked her in marriage both of the king and queen, and of her friends in Italy, being a lady of remarkable piety, she spent her time in fasting and prayer, in order to learn the will of heaven, and to draw down upon herself the divine blessing. The marriage was solemnized in the most devout manner, the parties at the same time performing their devotions for the jubilee. When they left the court and returned into Italy, the marquis was declared chamberlain to his majesty, and general of part of the army in Lombardy, with a grant of several estates. The marchioness made it her earnest petition to God that he would bless her with a son, who should devote himself entirely to his love and service. Our saint was born in the castle of Castiglione, in the diocess of Brescia, on the 9th of March, 1568. William, Duke of Mantua, stood  godfather, and gave him the name of Aloysius. The holy names of Jesus and Mary, with the sign of the cross, and part of the catechism, were the first words which his devout mother taught him as soon as he was able to speak ; and from her example and repeated instructions the deepest sentiments of religion, and the fear of God were impressed upon his tender soul. Even in his infancy he showed an extraordinary tenderness for the poor ; and such was his devotion, that he frequently hid himself in corners, where, after long search, he was always found at his prayers, in which, so amiable was his piety, and so heavenly did his recollection appear, that he seemed to resemble an angel clothed with a human body. His father designing to train him up to the army, in order to give him an inclination to that state, furnished him with little guns, and other weapons, took him to Casal to show him a muster of three thousand Italian foot, and was much delighted to see him carry a little pike, and walk before the ranks. The child stayed there some months, during which time he learned from the officers certain unbecoming words, the meaning of which he did not understand, not being then seven years old. But his tutor hearing him use bad words, chid him for it, and from that time he could never bear the company of any persons who in his hearing ever profaned the holy name of God. This offence, though excusable by his want of age and knowledge, was to him during his whole life a subject of perpetual humiliation, and he never ceased to bewail and accuse himself of it with extreme confusion and compunction. Entering the seventh year of his age, he began to conceive greater sentiments of piety, and from that time he used to date his conversion to God. At that age, being come back to Castiglione, he began to recite every day the office of Our Lady, the seven penitential psalms, and other prayers, which he always said on his knees, and without a cushion—a custom which he  observed all his life. Cardinal Bellarmin, three other confessors, and all who were best acquainted with his interior, declared after his death, their firm persuasion, that he had never offended God mortally in his whole life. He was sick of an ague at Castiglione eighteen months, yet never omitted his task of daily prayers, though he sometimes desired some of his servants to recite them with him.

     When he was recovered, being now eight years old, his father placed him and his younger brother, Ralph, in the polite court of his good friend, Francis of Medicis, Grand Duke of Tuscany, that they might learn the Latin and Tuscan languages; and other exercises suitable to their rank. At Florence the saint made such progress in the science of the saints, that he afterwards used to call that city the mother of his piety. His devotion to the Blessed Virgin was much inflamed by reading a little book of Gaspar Loartes on the mysteries of the Rosary. He at the same time conceived a great esteem for the virtue of holy chastity ; and he received from God so perfect a gift of the same, that in his whole life he never felt the least temptation, either in mind or body, against purity, as Jerom Platus and Cardinal Bellarmin assure us from his own mouth. He cultivated this extraordinary grace by assiduous prayer, universal mortification, and the most watchful flight of all occasions; being well apprized that this virtue is so infinitely tender, that it fades and dies if blown upon by the least vapour; and that it is a bright and clear mirror, which is tarnished with the least breath, and even by the sight. He never looked at any woman, kept his eyes strictly guarded, and generally cast down, would never stay with his mother alone in her chamber; and if she sent any message to him by some lady in her company, he received it, and gave his answer in a few words, with his eyes shut, and his chamber door only half open ; and when bantered on that score, he ascribed such behaviour to his bashfulness. It was owing to his virginal modesty, that he did not know by their faces many ladies among his own relations, with whom be had frequently conversed, and that he was afraid and ashamed to let a footman see so much as his foot uncovered. But humility, which is the mother of all virtues, was in our saint the guardian of his purity. He never spoke to his servants by way of command, but with such modesty that they were ashamed not to obey. He would only say to them, "Pray despatch this or that ; You may do this ;" or, "If it be no trouble, you may do this or that." No novice could practise a more exact and ready obedience than Aloysius set an example of towards all his superiors, especially Francis Tuccius, whom his father had appointed tutor to his sons, and governor of their family at Florence.

    The two young princes had stayed there a little more, than two years, when their father removed them to Mantua, and placed them in the court of the Duke William Gonzaga, who had made him governor of Montserrat. Aloysius left Florence in November, 1579, when he was eleven years and eight months old. He at that time took a resolution to resign to his brother, Ralph, his title to the marquisate at Castiglione, though he had already received the investiture from the emperor. And the ambitious or covetous man is not more greedy of honours or riches than this young prince, from a better principle, appeared desirous to see himself totally disengaged from the ties of the world, by entirely renouncing its false pleasures, which begin with uneasiness, and terminate in remorse, and are no better than real pains covered over with a bewitching varnish. He knew the true delights which virtue brings, which are solid without alloy, and capable of filling the capacity of mans heart ; and these he thirsted after. In the mean time he fell sick of an obstinate retention of  urine of which distemper he cured himself only by the rigorous rules of abstinence which he observed. He took the opportunity of this indisposition to rid himself more than ever of company and business, seldom going abroad, and spending most of his time in reading Surius's Lives of Saints, and other books of piety and devotion. It being the custom in Italy, and other hot climates, to pass the summer months in the country, the marquis sent for his sons from Mantua to Castiglione in that season. Aloysius pursued the same exercises, and the same manner of life in the town, at court, and in the country. The servants who watched him in his chamber saw him employed in prayer many hours together, sometimes prostrate on the ground before a crucifix, or standing up, absorbed in God so as to appear in an ecstasy. When he went down stairs they took notice that at every standing-place he said a Hail Mary. It was in this retirement that his mind was exceedingly enlightened by God, and without the help of any instructor he received an extraordinary gift of mental prayer, to which his great purity of heart and sincere humility disposed his soul. He sometimes passed whole days in contemplating, with inexpressible sweetness and devotion, the admirable dispensations of divine providence in the great mysteries of our redemption, especially the infinite goodness and love of God, his mercy, and other attributes. In this exercise he was not able to contain the spiritual joy of his soul in considering the greatness and goodness of his God, nor to moderate his tears. Falling at last on a little book of Father Canisius, which treated of Meditation; and on certain letters of the Jesuit missionaries in the Indies, he felt a strong inclination to enter the Society of Jesus, and was inflamed with an ardent zeal for the salvation of souls. He began even then to frequent the schools of Christian Doctrine, and to encourage other boys, especially among  the poor, in learning their catechism, and often instructed them himself. So excellently did he then discourse of God as astonished grown persons of learning and abilities. It happened that, in 1580, St. Charles Borromeo came to Brescia in quality of apostolic visitor, and preached there on the feast of Mary Magdalen. No importunities of the marquis or other princes could prevail upon that great saint to visit them at their country seats, or to take up his lodgings any where but with the clergy of the churches where he came. Wherefore Aloysius, being only twelve years old, went to Brescia to receive his blessing. It is incredible how much the good cardinal was taken with the piety and generous sentiments of the young prince. But finding that he had never yet received the holy communion, he exhorted him to prepare himself for that divine sacrament, and to receive it very frequently ; prescribing him rules for his devout preparation, and with regard to many other practices of piety; all which the holy youth constantly observed, remembering ever after with wonderful joy the happiness of having seen so great a saint. He from that time conceived so tender a devotion to the blessed eucharist, that in hearing mass, after the consecration, he often melted into tears, in profound sentiments of love and adoration ; and he frequently received wonderful favours in communicating ; and this holy sacrament became his greatest comfort and joy. The marquis after this carried his whole family to Casal, the residence of his government of Montserrat. There the saint made the convents of the Capuchins and Barnabites the usual places of his resort. He fasted three days a week, Fridays at least, on bread and water, boiled together for his whole dinner; his collation was a little piece of dry bread. On other days his meals were so slender that his life seemed almost a miracle. He secretly thrust a board into his bed to rest on in the night, and rose  at midnight to pray, even in the coldest season of winter, which is very sharp under the Alps. He spent an hour after rising, and two hours before going to bed in private prayer.

    In 1581 his father attended the Empress Mary of Austria, wife to Maximilian II., and sister to Philip II. of Spain, in her journey from Bohemia to Spain, and took with him his three children ; a daughter, named Isabel, who died in Spain, and his two sons, who were both made by King Philip pages to his son James, elder brother to Philip III. Aloysius was then thirteen years and a half old. He continued his studies, but never neglected his long meditations and devotions, which he often performed by stealth in secret corners. Though he every day waited on the Infant of Spain, James, to pay his duty to the empress, he never once looked on the face of that princess, or took notice of her person ; and so great was his guard over all his senses, and so universal his spirit of mortification, that it was a proverb at court, that the young Marquis of Castiglione seemed not to be made of flesh and blood. Whilst he remained in Spain he found great pleasure and benefit in reading Lewis of Granada's excellent book on Mental Prayer. He prescribed himself a daily task of an hour's meditation, which he often prolonged to three, four or five hours. He at length determined to enter into the Society of Jesus, in order to devote himself to the instructing and conducting souls to God; and he was confirmed in this resolution by his confessor, who was one of that Order. When he disclosed it to his parents, his mother rejoiced exceedingly; but his father, in excessive grief and rage, said he would have him scourged naked. "0 that, it would please God," replied, modestly, the holy youth, " to grant me so great a favour as to suffer that for his love." What heightened the father's indignation was a suspicion that this was a contrivance on account of his custom of gaming, by which he had lately lost six hundred crowns in one evening—a vice which his son bitterly deplored, not so much, as he used to say, for the loss of the money, as for the injury done to God. However, the consent of the marquis was at length extorted through the mediation of friends. The Infant, or Prince of Spain, dying of a fever, Aloysius was at liberty, and after two years stay in Spain, returned to Italy, in July, 1584, on board the galleys of the famous John Andrew Doria, whom his Catholic Majesty had lately appointed admiral. His brother travelled in rich apparel, but the saint in a suit of black Flanders serge. In his journey he either conversed on holy things, or entertained himself secretly in his heart with God. As soon as he came to an inn he sought some private little chamber, and fell to prayer on his knees. In visiting religious houses he went first to the church, and prayed some time before the blessed sacrament. When he had arrived at Castiglione, he had new assaults to bear, from the eloquence and authority of a cardinal, many bishops, and eminent men, employed by the Duke of Mantua and his own uncles; yet he remained firm, and brought over some of these ambassadors to his side, so that they pleaded in his favour. But his father flew back from his consent, loaded his son with opprobrious language, and employed him in many distracting secular commissions. The saint had recourse to God by prostrating himself before a crucifix, and re-doubling his severities; till the marquis, no longer able to oppose his design, cordially embraced him, and recommended him to Claudius Aquaviva, general of the Society, who appointed Rome for the place of his novitiate. The father repented again of his consent, and detained his son nine months at Milan, during which time he used the most tender entreaties, and every other method to bring him from his purpose. He again removed him to  Mantua, and thence to Castiglione ; but finding his resolution invincible, left him at liberty, saying to him, "Dear son, your choice is a deep wound in my heart. I ever loved you, as you always deserved. In you I had founded the hopes of my family; but you tell me God calls you another way. Go, therefore, in his name, whither you please, and may his blessing every where attend you." Aloysius, having thanked him, withdrew, that he might not increase his grief by his presence, and betook himself to his prayers. His cession of the marquisate to his brother, Ralph, with the reserve of two thousand crowns in ready money, and four hundred crowns a year for life, was ratified by the emperor, and the writings were delivered at Mantua, in November, 1585. The excessive grief and tears of his subjects and vassals at his departure only drew from him these words : "That he sought nothing but the salvation of his soul, and exhorted them all to the same." Arriving at Rome, he visited the churches and chief places of devotion, then kissed the feet of Pope Sixtus V., and entered his novitiate at St. Andrew's, on the 25th of November, 1585, not being completely eighteen years old. Being conducted to his cell, he entered it as a celestial paradise, in which he was to have no other employment than that of praising God without interruption ; and exulting in his heart, he repeated with the prophet, "This is my rest for ever : here will I dwell, for I have chosen it."

    The saint, in his noviceship, condemned himself as guilty of sloth if he did not in every religious duty surpass in fervour all his companions ; lie respected them all, and he behaved himself towards them as if he had been the last person in the family, and indeed such he always reputed himself. He loved and rejoiced most in the meanest and most contemptible employments. His mortifications, though great, were not so severe as he had practised in the world, because limited by  obedience, which gave a merit to all his actions. He used to say that a religious state in this resembles a ship, in which they sail as fast who sit idle as they who  sweat at the oar in rowing. Yet such was the general mortification of his senses, that he seemed totally inattentive to exterior things, only inasmuch as they regarded God. He never took notice of the difference of villas where he had been, the order of the refectory in which he every day ate, or the rich ornaments of the chapels and altars where he prayed. He seemed entirely inattentive to the taste of what he ate, only he endeavoured to avoid whatever  seemed savoury. He never listened to reports or to discourse about worldly matter ; spoke very little, and never about himself, thinking himself justly deserving to be forgotten by the whole world, and to be made no account of in every thing. He was a capital enemy to any artifice or dissimulation, which he called the bane and canker of Christian simplicity. Nothing gave him so much mortification as the least marks of honour or distinction. It was his delight to carry a wallet through the streets of Rome, begging from door to door, to serve the poor and the hospitals, or to sweep the kitchen, and carry away the filth ; in which actions he usually had before his eyes Christ humbled for us. On holidays he used to catechise the children of poor labourers. He changed his new gilt breviary for an old one, and often did so in his habit and other things. His whole life seemed a continued prayer, and he called holy meditation the short way to Christian perfection. He found in that exercise the greatest spiritual delights, and remained in it on his knees, as if he were motionless, in a posture of wonderful recollection and respect. It is not possible to describe the sweet raptures and abundant tears which often accompanied his devotion, especially in presence of the blessed eucharist, and after communicating. He spent the three first days after communion in thanksgiving for that inestimable favour ; and the three following in languishing aspirations and desires to receive on the Sunday his Saviour, his God, his Physician, his King, and his Spouse ; on the eve of his communion his mind was wholly taken up with the dignity and infinite importance and advantages of that great action, nor could he speak of anything else. Such was the fire of his words whenever he spoke on that mystery of love, that it inflamed all who heard him. He made every day at least four regular visits to pray before the blessed sacrament. The passion of Christ was also a most tender object of his devotion. From his infancy he had chosen the Blessed Virgin for his special patroness and advocate. He had a singular devotion to the holy angels, especially his. angel guardian. In the beginning of his noviceship he was tried by an extreme spiritual dryness and interior desolation of soul; which served perfectly to purify his heart, and was succeeded by the greatest heavenly consolations. He bore the pious death of his father with unshaken constancy, because he considered it and all other events purely in the view of the divine will and providence. It happened six weeks after Alovsius had taken the habit. From the day on which his son had left him to enter the Society, the marquis had entirely devoted himself to the practice of perfect virtue and penance.

    Humility and obedience were the young novice's favourite virtues, and by them he gained a perfect mastery over himself. To appear poor, little, and contemptible was his delight, and he rejoiced to see the last and worst portion in anything fall to his share. He was never known guilty of the least transgression of the rule of silence or any other; and feared to arrive one moment too late at any duty. He would not, without the leave of his master, speak one word even to his kinsman, Cardinal Roborei ; nor would he ever stay with him so long as to fail one minute in any rule.  It happened that the pious and learned Jerom Platus, whilst he was his master of novices, thinking his perpetual application to prayer and study prejudicial to his health, ordered him to spend in conversing with others after dinner, not only the hour allotted for all, but also the half hour longer which is allowed to those who dined at the second table. Father minister, not knowing this order, punished him for it, and obliged him publicly to confess his fault ; which he underwent without offering any excuse. The minister learning afterwards how the matter was, admired very much his silence, but for his greater merit enjoined him another penalty for not telling him the order of a master. The saint bore in silence and the imputation and chastisement of the faults of any others, because this afforded him an opportunity of exercising patience, meekness, and humility. By a habit of continual application of his mind to God, attention at prayer seemed so easy and natural to him, that he told his superior, who put to him that question, that if all the involuntary distractions at his devotions during six months were joined together,  they would not amount to the space of one Hail Mary. His health decaying, he was forbid to meditate or pray, except at regular times. This he found the hardest task of his whole life; so great a struggle did it cost him to resist the impulse with which his heart was carried towards God. For the recovery of his health he was sent to Naples, where he stayed half a year, and then returned to Rome. In that city, after completing his novitiate of two years, he made his religious vows on the 20th of November, 1587, and soon after received minor orders.

    Aloysius had finished his logic whilst page in the Spanish court, and his use of natural philosophy during  his nine months stay at Milan. After this he commenced student in divinity undr Gabriel Vasquez, and other celebrated professors; but a family contest obliged him to interrupt his studies.  His uncle, Horatius Gonzaga, died without issue, and bequeathed by will his estate of Suphurino to the Duke of Mantua.  Ralph, the saint's brother, pleaded that the donation was invalid, the estate being a fief of the empire, which inalienably devolves on the next heir in blood, and he obtained a rescript of the Emperor Maximilian in his favour.  But the duke refused to acquiesce in this sentence; and the Arch-duke Ferdinand, and several other princes, had in vain attempted to reconcile the two cousins.  At length St. Aloysius was sent for to be the mediator of peace.  He had then just finished his second year of divinity, and was at the Jesuits's villa at Frescati during the vacation, when Father Robert Bellarmin brought him an order from the general to repair to Mantua about this affair.  A discreet lay-brother was appointed to be his companion, to whom a charge was given to take care of his health, with an order to Aloysius to obey him as to that particular.  Most edifying were the examples of his profouund humility, mortification, love of poverty, and devotion, and incredible the fruits of his zeal, both on the road and at Mantua, Castiglione, and other places where he went.  Though both parties were exceedingly exasperated, no sooner did this angel of peace appear, than they were perfectly reconciled.  The duke, though before much incensed, was entirely disarmed by the sight and moving discourse of the saint; he readily pardoned and yielded up the estate to the marquis, who as easily consented to bury in oblivion all that had passed, and the two cousins made a sincere and strict alliance and friendship together.  Many others who were at variance, or at law, were in the same manner made friends by the means of the saint's friendly interposing.  No enmity seemed able to withstand the spirit of meekness and charity which his words and whole deportment breathed.  Great numbers were by him  converted from sinful habits, and many brought to a profession of perfect virtue. His brother Ralph had fallen in love with a young gentlewoman, much inferior to him in birth, and had secretly married her before private witnesses, but durst not publish his marriage for fear of offending his uncle, Alphonsus Gonzaga, lord of Castle-Godfrey, whose heir he was to be. The saint represented to him that by such a conduct, notwithstanding his precaution, he offended God by the scandal he gave to his subjects and others, who looked upon his behaviour as criminal. He, moreover, undertook to satisfy his uncle, rnother, and other friends, and thus engaged him publicly to declare his marriage, and the uncle, and others, through the saint's mediation, took no offence at the alliance. Aloysius having happily restored peace among all his relations, and settled them in the practice of true virtue, by the direction of his superiors went to Milan on the 22nd of March, 1590, there to pursue his theological studies. These he accompanied with his usual exercises of devotion, and all virtues, especially humility, to nourish and improve which in his heart, he embraced every kind of humiliation. He often begged to serve in the kitchen and refectory, and it was his delight to draw water for the cook, wash the dishes, cover the table, or sweep the scullery. Whilst he was at Milan one day in his morning prayer, he was favoured with a revelation, that he had only a short time to live. And by this heavenly visitation he found his mind wonderfully changed, and more than ever weaned from all transitory things. This favour he afterwards disclosed at Rome, in great simplicity, to F. Vincent Bruno and others. The general would not suffer him to finish his studies at Milan, but recalled him to Rome in November the same year, to perform there the fourth or last year of his theological course. The saint chose a dark and very small chamber over the staircase in the garret, with one window  in the roof ; nor had he in it any other furniture than a poor bed, a wooden chair, and a little stool to lay his books upon. He appeared even in the schools and cloisters quite absorbed in God, and often at table, or with his companions at re-creation time after dinner, he fell into ecstasies, and appeared unable to contain the excessive heavenly joy with which his soul overflowed. He frequently spoke in raptures on the happiness of dying, the more speedily to enjoy God.

    In 1591, an epidemical distemper swept off great multitudes in Rome. In this public distress the fathers of the Society erected a new hospital, in which the general himself, with other assistants, served the sick. Aloysius obtained by earnest entreaties to be one of this number. He catechised and exhorted the poor patients, washed their feet, made their beds, changed their clothes, and performed with wonderful assiduity and tenderness, the most painful and loathsome offices of the hospital. The distemper being pestilential and contagious, several of these fathers died martyrs of charity, and Aloysius fell sick. It was on the 3rd of March, 1591, that he took to his bed ; at which time he was overwhelmed with excessive joy at the thought that he was called to go to his God. This joy gave him afterwards a scruple whether it was not immoderate ; but his confessor, who was the famous Cardinal Bellarmin, comforted him, saying, that it is not an unusual grace to desire death, not out of impatience, but to be united to God. The pestilential fever in seven days became so violent, that the saint received the viaticum and extreme unction. However, he recovered ; but from the relics of this distemper succeeded an hectic fever, which in three months reduced him to an excessive weakness. He studied to add continual mortifications to the pains of his disease, and rose in the night to pray before a crucifix, till being caught by the infirmarian, he was forbid doing so for the future ; which direction he punctually obeyed. The physicians having ordered him and another sick brother to take a very bitter draught, the other drank it at once with the ordinary helps to qualify the bitterness of the taste; but Aloysius sipped it slowly, and as it were, drop by drop, that he might have the longer and fuller taste of what was mortifying; nor did he give the least sign of perceiving any disagreeable taste.  After speaking with Father Bellarmin on the happiness of speedily enjoying God, he fell into a rapture through excess of inward delights, and it continued almost the whole night, which seemed, to him in the morning, to have been but one moment, as he told Father Bellarmin.  It seems to have been in this ecstasy that he learned he should die on the Octave day of Corpus Christi, which he often clearly foretold.  In thanksgiving for his death being so near, he desired one to recite with him the Te Deum; with which request the other complied.  To another he cried out, his heart exulting with joy, "My father, we go rejoicing!  we go rejoicing!"  He said every evening the seven penitential psalms with another person in great compunction.  On the Octave day he seemed better, and the rector had thoughts of sending him to Frescati.  But he repeated still that he should die before next morning, and he received the viaticum and extreme unction.  At night he was thought to be in no immediate danger, and was left with two brothers to watch by him.  These, about midnight, perceived on a sudden, by a wanness and violent sweat with which he was seized, that he was falling into his agony.  His most usual aspirations during his illness, were the ardent languishings of a soul aspiring to God, extracted from the psalms.  After saying, "Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit," he frequently repeated the holy name of Jesus; with which sacred word he expired a little after midnight, between the 20th and 21st day of June, the Octave of Corpus-Christi that year, 1591, being twenty-three years, three months, and eleven days old, of which he had lived five years and almost seven months in the Society.  He was buried in the Church of the Annunciation, belonging to the Jesuits of the Roman college.  A rich chapel being afterwards built in that church under his name, by the Marquis Scipio Lancelotti, his relics were translated into it.  St. Aloysius was beatified by Gregory XV. in 1621, and canonized by Benedict XIII. in 1726.  Ceparius gives a history of many miracles wrought through the intercession and by the relics of this saint, several being cures of noblemen and eminent prelates.  A much more ample history of his miracles may be read in Janning, the Bollandist, in an Appendix to the life of St. Aloysius.

    When we see a young prince, the darling of his family and country, sacrifice nobility, sovereignty, riches, and pleasures, the more easily to secure the treasure of divine love, and of eternal happiness, how ought we to condemn our own sloth, who live as if heaven were to cost us nothing !






In 976, Sergius, a nobleman of Ravenna, quarrelled with a relation about an estate, and slew him in a duel. His son Romuald,  horrified at his father's crime, entered the Benedictine monastery at Classe, to do a forty days' penance for him. This penance ended in his own vocation to religion. After three years at Classe, Romuald went to live as a hermit near Venice, where he was joined by Peter Urseolus, Duke of Venice, and together they led a most austere life in the midst of assaults from the evil spirits. St. Romuald founded many monasteries, the chief of which was that at Camaldoli, a wild desert place, where he built a church, which he surrounded with a number of separate cells for the solitaries who lived under his rule. His disciples were hence called Camaldolese. He is said to have seen here a vision of a mystic ladder, and his white-clothed monks ascending by it to heaven. Among his first disciples were Sts. Adalbert and Boniface, apostles of Russia, and Sts. John and Benedict of Poland, martyrs for the Faith. He was an intimate friend of the Emperor St. Henry, and was reverenced and consulted by many great men of his time. He once passed seven years in solitude and complete silence. In his youth St. Romuald was much troubled by temptations of the flesh. To escape them he had recourse to hunting, and in the woods first conceived his love for solitude. His father's sin; as we have seen, first prompted him to undertake a forty days' penance in the monastery, which he forthwith made his home. Some bad example of his fellow-monks induced him to leave them, and adopt the solitary mode of life. The penance of Urseolus, who had obtained his power wrongfully, brought him his first disciple; the temptations of the devil compelled him to his severe life and finally; the persecutions of others were the occasion of his settlement at Camaldoli, and the foundation of his   Order. He died, as he had foretold twenty years before, alone, in his monastery of Val Castro, on the 19th of June, 1027.

REFLECTION.—St. Romuald's life teaches us that, if we only follow the impulses of the Holy Spirit, we shall easily find good everywhere, even on the most unlikely occasions. Our own sins, the sins of others, their ill-will against us, or our own mistakes and misfortunes, are equally capable of leading us, with softened hearts, to the feet of God's mercy and love.





 [From his life, written by St. Peter Damian, fifteen years after his death. See also Mugnotii, Eremi Camaldul. descriptio, Romer, an. 1570. Historiarum Camaldulensium, libri iii. auth. Aug. Florentino, in 4to. Florentiae, 1575. Earumdem pars posterior, in 4to. Venetiis, 1579. Dissertationes Camaldulenses, in quibus agitur de institutione Ordinis, state St. Romnaldi, &c. auth. Guidons Grando, ej. Ord. Lucae, 1707. The Lives of the Saints of this Order, in Italian, by Razzi, 1600, and in Latin, by F. Thomas de Minis, in two vols. in 4to. an. 1605, 1606. Annales Camaldulenses Ordinis St. Benedicti, auctoribas Jo. Ben. Mittarelli, abbate, et Ans. Costadoni, presbyteris et monachis a Cong. Camald. Veuetiis, in four vols. fol. of which the fourth is dedicated to Pope Clement XIII. in 1760.]

 A.D. 1027.

ST. ROMUALD, of the family of the dukes of Ravenna, called Honesti, was born in that capital about the year 956. Being brought up in the maxims of the world, in softness and the love of pleasures, he grew every day more and more enslaved to his passions ; yet he often made a resolution of undertaking something remarkable for the honour of God ; and when he went a hunting, if he found an agreeable solitary place in the woods, he would stop in it to pray, and would cry out, " How happy were the ancient hermits, who had such habitations ! With what tranquillity could they serve God, free from the tumult of the world ! " His father, whose name was Sergius, a worldly man; agreed to decide a dispute he had with a relation about an estate by a duel. Romuald was shocked at the criminal design ; but by threats of being disinherited if he refused, was engaged by his father to be present as a spectator : Sergius slew his adversary. Romuald, then twenty years of age, struck with horror at the crime that had been perpetrated, though he had concurred in it no further than by his presence, thought himself, however, obliged to expiate it by a severe course of penance for forty days in the neighbouring Benedictine monastery of Classis, within four miles of Ravenna. He performed great austerities, and prayed and wept almost without intermission. His compunction and fervour made all these exercises seem easy and sweet to him ; and the young nobleman became every day more and more penetrated with the fear and love of God. The good example which he saw, and the discourses of a pious lay-brother, who waited on him, concerning eternity and the contempt of the world, wrought so powerfully upon him, that he petitioned in full chapter to be admitted as a penitent to the religious habit. After some demurs, through their apprehensions of his father's resentment, whose next heir the saint was, his request was granted. He passed seven years in this house in so great fervour and austerity that his example became odious to certain tepid monks, who could not bear such a continual reproach of their sloth. They were more exasperated when his fervour prompted him to reprove their conduct, insomuch that some of the most abandoned formed a design upon his life, the execution of which he prevented by leaving that monastery with the abbot's consent, and retiring into the neighbourhood of Venice, where he put himself under the direction of Marinus, a holy hermit, who there led an austere ascetic life. Under this master, Romuald made great progress in every virtue belonging to a religious state of life.

    Peter Urseoli was then doge of Venice. He had been unjustly raised to that dignity two years before by a faction which had assassinated his predecessor Peter Candiano ; in which conspiracy he is said by some to have been an accomplice : though this is denied by the best Venetian historians. This murder, however, paved the way for his advancement to the sovereignty, which the stings of his conscience would not suffer him quietly to enjoy.

    (1) Sanuti tells us that St. Peter Urseoli, from his cradle, devoted himself with his whole heart to the divine service, and proposed to himself in all his actions the holy will and the greater glory of God. He built in the church of St. Mark a chapel, in which the body of that evangelist was secretly laid, the place being known by very few. Being chosen doge, he refused that dignity for a long time with great obstinacy, but at length suffered himself to be overcome by the importunity of the people. He had held it only two years and eight months, when he retired. Sanuti, Vite de Duchi di Venezia, c. 976. Muratori, Reram Italicar. Scriptores,t. xxii. p. 564.


This put him upon consulting St. Guarinus, a holy abbot of Catalonia, then at Venice, about what he was to do to be saved. The advice of St. Marinus and St. Romuald was also desired. These three unanimously agreed in proposing a monastic state, as affording the best opportunities for expiating his crimes. Urseoli acquiesced, and, under pretence of joining with his family at their villa, where he had ordered a great entertainment, set out privately with St. Guarinus, St. Romuald, and John Gradenigo, a Venetian noble-man of singular piety, and his son-in-law John Moresini, for St. Guarinus's monastery of St. Michael of Cusan, in that part of Catalonia which was then subject to France. Here Urseoli and Gradenigo made their monastic profession: Marinus and Romuald, leaving them under the conduct of Guarinus, retired into a desert near Cusan, and there led an eremitical life. Many flocked to them, and Romuald being made superior, first practised himself what he taught others, joining rigorous fasts, solitude, and continual prayer, with hard manual labour. He had an extraordinary ardour for prayer, which he exceedingly recommended to his disciples, in whom he could not bear to see the least sloth or tepidity with regard to the discharge of this duty ; saying, they had better recite one psalm with fervour, than a hundred with less devotion. His own fasts and mortifications were extremely rigorous, but he was more indulgent to others, and in particular to Urseoli, who had exchanged his monastery for St. Romuald's desert, where he lived under his conduct ; who, persevering in his penitential state, made a most holy end, and is honoured in Venice as a saint, with an office, on the 14th of January : and in the Roman Martyrology, published by Benedict XIV., on the 10th of that month. Romuald, in the beginning of his con-version and retreat from the world, was molested with various temptations. The devil sometimes directly solicited him to vice ; at other times he represented to him what he had forsaken, and that he had left it to ungrateful relations. He would sometimes suggest that what he did could not be agreeable to God ; at other times, that his labours: and difficulties were too heavy for man to bear. These and the like attempts, of the devil he defeated by watching and prayer, in which he passed the whole night ; and the devil strove in vain to divert him from this holy exercise by shaking his whole cell, and threatening to bury him in the ruins. Five years of grievous interior conflicts and buffetings of the enemy wrought in him a great purity of heart, and prepared him for most extraordinary heavenly communications. The conversion of Count Oliver, or Oliban, lord of that territory, added to his spiritual joy. That count, from a voluptuous worldling, and profligate liver, became a sincere penitent, and embraced the order of St. Benedict. He carried great treasures with him to Mount Cassino, but left his estate to his son. The example of Romuald had also such an influence on Sergius, his father, that to make atonement for his past sins and enormities, he had entered the monastery of St. Severus, near Ravenna ; but after some time spent there, he yielded so far to the devil's temptations, as to meditate a return into the world. This was a sore affliction to our saint, and determined him to return to Italy, to dissuade his father from leaving his monastery. But the inhabitants of the country where he lived had such an opinion of his sanctity, that they were resolved not to let him go. They therefore formed a brutish extravagant design to kill him, that they might keep at least his body among them, imagining it would be their protection and safeguard on perilous occasions. The saint being informed of their design, had recourse to  David's stratagem, and feigned himself mad. Upon which the people, losing their high opinion of him, guarded him no longer. Being thus at liberty to execute his design, he set out on his journey to Ravenna, through the south of France. He arrived there in 994, and made use of all the authority his superiority in religion gave him over his father ; and by his exhortations, tears, and prayers, brought him to such an extraordinary degree of compunction and sorrow, as to prevail with him to lay aside all thoughts of leaving his monastery, where he spent the remainder of his days in great fervour, and died with the reputation of sanctity.

    Romuald, having acquitted himself of his duty towards his father, retired into the marsh of Classis, and lived in a cell, remote from all mankind. The devil pursued him here with his former malice, he sometimes overwhelmed his imagination with melancholy, and once scourged him cruelly in his cell. Romuald at length cried out, " Sweetest Jesus, dearest Jesus, why hast thou forsaken me ? hast thou entirely delivered me over to my enemies ?" At that  sweet name the wicked spirits betook themselves to flight, and such an excess of divine sweetness and compunction filled the breast of Romuald, that he melted into tears, and his heart seemed quite dissolved. He sometimes insulted his spiritual enemies, and cried out, " Are all your forces spent? have you no more engines against a poor despicable servant of God ? " Not long after, the monks of Classis chose Romuald for their abbot. The emperor Otho III., who was then at Ravenna, made use of his authority to engage the saint to accept the charge, and went in person to visit him in his cell, where he passed the night lying on the saint's poor bed. But nothing could make Romuald consent, till a synod of bishops then assembled at Ravenna, compelled him to it by threats of excommunication. The saint's inflexible zeal for the punctual observance of  monastic discipline, soon made these monks repent of their choice, which they manifested by their irregular and mutinous behaviour. The saint being of a mild disposition, bore with it for some time, in hopes of bringing them to a right sense of their duty. At. length, finding all his endeavours to reform them ineffectual, he came to a resolution of leaving them, and went to the emperor, then besieging Tivoli, to acquaint him of it ; whom, when he could not prevail upon to accept of his resignation, the saint, in the presence of the Archbishop of Ravenna, threw down his crosier at his feet. This interview proved very happy for Tivoli ; for the emperor, though he had condemned that city to plunder, the inhabitants having rebelled and killed Duke Matholin, their governor, spared it at the intercession of St. Romuald. Otho having also, contrary to his solemn promise upon oath, put one Crescentius, a Roman senator to death, who had been the leader in the rebellion of Tivoli, and made his widow his concubine, he not only performed a severe public penance enjoined him by the saint, as his confessor, but promised, by St. Rornuald's advice, to abdicate his crown and retire into a convent during life ; but this he did not live to perform. The saint's remonstrances had a like salutary effect on Thamn, the emperor's favourite, prime-minister, and accomplice in the treachery before mentioned, who, with several other courtiers, received the religious habit at the hands of St. Romuald, and spent the remainder of his days in retirement and penance. It was a very edifying sight to behold several young princes and noblemen, who a little before had been remarkable for their splendid appearance and sumptuous living, now leading an obscure, solitary, penitential life in humility, penance, fasting, cold, and labour. They prayed, sung psalms, and worked. They all had their several employments : some spun, others knit, others tilled the ground, gaining their  poor livelihood by the sweat of their brow. St. Boniface surpassed all the rest in fervour and mortification. He was the emperor's near relation, and so dear to him that he never called him by any other name than, My soul ! He excelled in music, and in all the liberal arts and sciences, and after having spent many years under the discipline of St. Romuald, was ordained bishop, and commissioned by the pope to preach to the infidels of Russia, whose king he converted by his miracles, but was beheaded by the king's brothers, who were themselves afterwards converted on seeing the miracles wrought on occasion of the martyr's death. Several other monks of St. Romuald's monastery met with the same cruel treatment in Sclavonia, whither they were sent by the pope to preach the gospel.

    St. Romuald built many other monasteries, and continued three years at one he founded near Parenzo, one year in the community to settle it, and two in a neighbouring cell. Here he laboured some time under a spiritual dryness, not being able to shed one tear ; but he ceased not to continue his devotions with greater fervour. At last being in his cell, at those words of the psalmist, "I will give thee understanding, and will instruct thee," he was suddenly visited by God with an extraordinary light and spirit of compunction, which from that time never left him. By a supernatural light, the fruit of prayer, he understood the holy scriptures, and wrote an exposition of the psalms full of admirable unction. He often foretold things to come, and gave directions full of heavenly wisdom to all who came to consult him, especially to his religious who frequently came to ask his advice how to advance in virtue, and how to resist temptations he always sent them back to their cells full of an extraordinary cheerfulness. Through his continual weeping he thought others had a like gift, and often said to his monks, " Do not weep too much ; for it prejudices the sight and the head." It was  his desire, whenever he could conveniently avoid it, not to say mass before a number of people, because he could not refrain from tears in offering that august sacrifice. The contemplation of the Divinity often transported him out of himself ; melting in tears, and burning with love, he would cry out : "Dear Jesus! my dear Jesus! my unspeakable desire ! my joy ! joy of the angels ! sweetness of the saints !" and the like, which he was heard to speak with a jubilation which cannot be expressed. To propagate the honour of God, he resolved, by the advice of the Bishop of Pola and others, to exchange his remote desert, for one where he could better advance his holy institute. The Bishop of Parenzo forbade any boat to carry him off, desiring earnestly to detain him ; but the Bishop of Poly sent one to fetch him. He miraculously calmed a storm at sea, and landed safe at Capreola. Coming to Bifurcum, he found the monks' cells too magnificent, and would lodge in none but that of one Peter, a man of extraordinary austerity, who never would live in a cell larger than four cubits. This Peter admired the saint's spirit of compunction, and said, that when he recited the psalms alternately with him, the holy man used to go out thirty times in a night as if for some necessity, but he saw it was to abandon himself a few moments to spiritual consolation, with which he overflowed at prayer, or to sighs and tears which he was not able to contain. Romuald sent to the counts of the province of Marino, to beg a little ground whereon to build a monastery. They hearing Romuald's name, offered him with joy whatever mountains, woods, or fields he would choose among them. He found the valley of Castro most proper. Exceeding great was the fruit of the blessed man's endeavours, and many put themselves with great fervour under his direction. Sinners, who did not forsake the world entirely, were by him in great multitudes moved to penance, and to distribute great part of their  posessions liberally among the poor. The holy man seemed in the midst of them as a seraph incarnate, burning with heavenly ardours of divine love, and inflaming those who heard him speak. If he travelled, he rode or walked at a distance behind his brethren, reciting psalms, and watering his cheeks almost without ceasing with tears that flowed in great abundance.

    The saint had always burnt with an ardent desire of martyrdom, which was much increased by the glorious crowns of some of his disciples, especially of St. Boniface. At last, not able to contain the ardour of his charity and desire to give his life for his Redeemer, he obtained the pope's license, and set out to preach the gospel in Hungary, in which mission some of his disciples accompanied him. He had procured two of them to be consecrated archbishops by the pope, declining himself the episcopal dignity ; but a violent illness which seized him on his entering Hungary, and returned as often as he attempted to proceed on his intended design, was a plain indication of the will of God in this matter ; so he returned home with seven of his associates. The rest, with the two archbishops, went forward, and preached the faith under the holy king, St. Stephen, suffering much for Christ, but none obtained the crown of martyrdom. Romuaid in his return built some monasteries in Germany, and laboured to reform others ; but this drew on him many persecutions. Yet all, even the great ones of the world, trembled in his presence. He refused to accept either water or wood, without paying for it, from  Raynerius, marquis of Tuscia, because that prince had married the wife of. a relation whom he had killed. Raynerius, though a sovereign, used to say, that neither the emperor nor any mortal on earth could strike him with so much awe as Romuald's presence did : so powerful was the impression which the Holy Ghost, dwelling in his breast, made on the most haughty sinners. Hearing that a certain Venetian had by simony obtained the abbey of Classis, he hastened thither. The unworthy abbot strove to kill him, to preserve his unjust dignity. He often met with the like plots and assaults from several of his own disciples, which procured him the repeated merit, though not the crown, of martyrdom. The pope, having called him to Rome, he wrought there several miracles, built some monasteries in its neighbourhood, and converted innumerable souls to God. Returning from Rome, he made a long stay at Mount Sitria. A young nobleman addicted to impurity, being exasperated at the saint's severe remonstrances, had the impudence to accuse him of a scandalous crime. The monks, by a surprising levity, believed the calumny, enjoined him a most severe penance, forbid him to say mass, and excommunicated him. He bore all with patience and in silence, as  if really he had been guilty, and refrained from going to the altar for six months. In the seventh month he was admonished by God to obey no longer so unjust and irregular a sentence, pronounced without any authority and without grounds. He accordingly said mass again, and with such raptures of devotion, as obliged him to continue long absorbed in ecstasy. He passed seven-years in Sitria, in his cell in strict silence, but his example did the office of his tongue and moved many to penance. In his old age, instead of relaxing, he increased his austerities and fasts. He had three hair-shirts which he now and then changed. He never would admit of the least thing to give a savour to the herbs or meal-gruel on which he supported himself. If any thing was brought him better dressed, he, for the greater self-denial applied it to his nostrils, and said, "Oh, gluttony, gluttony, thou shalt never taste this : perpetual war is declared against thee." His disciples, also were remarkable for their austere lives, went always barefoot, and looked excessive pale with continual fasting. No other drink was known among them but  water, except in sickness. St. Romuald wrought in this place many miraculous cures of the sick. At last, having settled his disciples here in a monastery which he had built for them, he departed for Bifurcum.

    The holy Emperor St. Henry II. who had succeeded Otho III. coming into Italy, and being desirous to see the saint, sent an honourable embassy to him to induce him to come to court. At the earnest request of his disciples he complied, but not without great reluctance on his side. The emperor received him with the greatest marks of honour and esteem, and rising out of his chair, said to him, " I wish my soul was like yours." The saint observed a strict silence the whole time the interview lasted, to the great astonishment of the court. The emperor being convinced that this did not proceed from pride or disdain, but from humility and a desire of being despised, was so far from being offended at it, that it occasioned his conceiving a higher esteem and veneration for him. The next day he received from him whole-some advice in his closet. The German noblemen showed him the greatest respect as he passed through the court, and plucked the very hairs out of his garments for relics, at which he was so much grieved, that he would have immediately gone back if he had not been stopped. The emperor gave him a monastery on Mount Amiatus.

    The most famous of all his monasteries is that of Camaldoli, near Arezzo, in Tuscany, on the frontiers of the ecclesiastical state, thirty miles east from Florence, founded by him about the year 1009. It lies beyond a mountain, very difficult to pass over, the descent from which on the opposite side is almost a direct precipice looking down upon a pleasant large valley, which then belonged to a lord called Maldnli, who gave it the saint, and from him it retained the name Camaldoli. In this place St. Romuald built a monastery, and by the several observances he added to St. Benedict's rule, gave birth to that new order called Camaldoli, in which he united the cenobitic and eremitical life.

    (1) Contracted from Campo Maldeli.

After seeing in a vision his monks mounting up a ladder to heaven all in white he changed their habit from black to white. The hermitage is two short miles distant from the monastery. It is a mountain quite overshaded by a dark wood of fir-trees. In it are seven clear springs of water. The very sight of this solitude in the midst of the forest helps to fill the mind with compunction and a love of heavenly contemplation. On entering it, we meet with a chapel of St. Antony for travellers to pray in before they advance any further. Next are the cells and lodgings for the porters. Somewhat further is the church, which is large, well-built, and richly adorned. Over the door is a clock, which strikes so loud that it may be heard all over the desert. On the left side of the church is the cell in which St. Romuald lived, when he first established these hermits. Their cells, built of stone, have each a little garden walled round. A constant fire is allowed to he kept in every cell on account of the coldness of the air throughout the year : each cell has also a chapel in which they may say mass : they call their superior, major. The whole hermitage is now enclosed with a wall : none are allowed to go out of it ; but they may walk in the woods and alleys within the enclosure at discretion. Every thing is sent them from the monastery in the valley : their food is every day brought to each cell ; and all are supplied with wood and necessaries that they may have no dissipation or hindrance in their contemplation. Many hours of the day are allotted to particular exercises ; and no rain or snow stops any one from meeting in the church to assist at the divine office. They are obliged to strict silence in all public common places; and every' where during their Lents, also on Sundays, Holydays, Fridays, and other days of abstinence,  and always from Complin till prime the next day.

    For a severer solitude, St. Romuald added a third kind of life ; that of a recluse. After a holy life in the hermitage, the superior grants leave to any that ask it, and seem called by God, to live for ever shut up in their cells, never speaking to any one but to the superior when he visits them, and to the brother who brings them necessaries. Their prayers and austerities are doubled, and their fasts more severe and more frequent. St. Romuald condemned himself to this kind of life for several years; and fervent imitators have never since failed in this solitude.

    St. Romuald died in his monastery in the valley of Castro in the marquisate of Ancona. As he was born about the year 956, he must have died seventy years and some months old, not a hundred and twenty, as the present copies of his life have it. The day of his death was the 19th of June ; but his principal feast is appointed by Clement VIII, on the 7th of February, the day of his translation. His body was found entire and uncorrupt five years after his death, and again in 1466. But his tomb being sacrilegiously opened, and his body stolen in 1480, it fell to dust,. in which state it was translated to Fabriano, and there deposited in the great church, all but the remains of one arm, sent to Camaldoli. God has honoured his relics with many miracles. The order of Camaldoli is now divided into five congregations, under so many generals or majors. The life of the hermits is very severe, though something mitigated since the time of St. Romuald. The Cenobites are more like Benedictines, and perhaps were not directly established by St. Romuald, says F. Helyot.

    If we are not called upon to practise the extraordinary austerities of many saints we cannot but confess that we live under an indispensable necessity of leading mortified lives, both in order to fulfil our obligation of doing penance, and to subdue our passions and keep our senses and interior faculties under due command. The appetites of the body are only to be reduced by universal temperance, and assiduous mortification and watchfulness over all the senses. The interior powers of the soul must be restrained, as the imagination, memory, and understanding their proneness to distraction, and the itching curiosity of the mind, must be curbed, and their repugnance to attend to spiritual things corrected by habits of recollection, holy meditation, and prayer. Above all, the will must be rendered supple and pliant by frequent self-denial, which must reach and keep in subjection all its most trifling sallies and inclinations. If any of these, how insignificant so ever they may seem, are not restrained and vanquished, they will prove sufficient often to disturb the quiet of the mind, and betray one into considerable inconveniences, faults, and follies. Great weaknesses are sometimes fed by temptations which seem almost of too little moment to deserve notice: and though these infirmities should not arise to any great height, they always fetter the soul, and are an absolute impediment to her progress toward perfection.






June 19

St. Juliana Falconieri, Virgin

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VI: June.

The Lives of the Saints. 1866.


THE ILLUSTRIOUS family of Falconieri in Italy received great honour from the sanctity of this holy virgin. Her father, Charissimus Falconieri, and his pious lady, Reguardata, were both advanced in years, and seemed to have lost all hopes of issue, when in 1270 they were wonderfully blessed with the birth of our saint. Devoting themselves afterwards solely to the exercises of religion, they built and founded at their own expense the stately church of the Annunciation of our Lady in Florence, which for riches and the elegance of the structure, may at this day be ranked among the wonders of the world. B. Alexius Falconieri, the only brother of Charissimus, and uncle of our saint, was with St. Philip Beniti, one of the seven first propagators and pillars of the Order of Servites, or persons devoted to the service of God under the special patronage of the Virgin Mary. Juliana in her infancy seemed almost to anticipate the ordinary course of nature in the use of reason, by her early piety; and the first words she learned to pronounce were the sacred names, Jesu, Maria. Fervent prayer and mortification chiefly took up her attention at an age which seems usually scarcely capable of any thing serious. Such was her angelical modesty, that she never durst lift up her eyes to look any man in the face; and so great was her horror of sin that the very name of it made her almost fall into a swoon. 1

In the sixteenth year of her age, despising whatever seemed not conducive to virtue, she bid adieu to all worldly thoughts and pleasures, renounced her great estate and fortune, and the better to seek the inestimable jewel of the gospel, she consecrated her virginity to God, and received from the hands of St. Philip Beniti the religious veil of the Mantellatๆ. The religious men among the Servites are called the first Order. St. Philip Beniti constituted his second Order, which is that of the nuns, in favour of certain devout ladies. The Mantellatๆ are a third Order of the Servites, and take their name from a particular kind of short sleeves which they wear, as fittest for their work. They were instituted to serve the sick, and for other offices of charity, and at the beginning were not obliged to strict inclosure. Of this third Order St. Juliana was, under the direction of St. Philip, the first plant; and as she grew up, the great reputation of her prudence and sanctity drawing to her many devout ladies, who desired to follow the same institute, she was obliged to accept the charge of prioress. Though she was the spiritual mother of the rest, she made it her delight and study to serve all her sisters. She often spent whole days in prayer, and frequently received great heavenly favours. She never let slip any opportunity of performing offices of charity towards her neighbours, especially of reconciling enemies, reclaiming sinners, and serving the sick. She sucked the most nauseous ulcers of scorbutic patients and lepers; by which means the sores are cleansed without the knife, or painful pressure of the surgeon’s hand, and a cure rendered more easy. By an imitation of this mortification and charity, do many pious religious persons, who attend the hospitals of the poor, gain an heroic victory over themselves. Saint Juliana practised incredible austerities. In her old age she was afflicted with various painful distempers, which she bore with inexpressible cheerfulness and joy. One thing afflicted her in her last sickness, that she was deprived of the comfort and happiness of uniting her soul with her divine Spouse in the sacrament of the altar, which she was not able to receive by reason that her stomach, by continually vomiting, could not retain any food. The sacred host however was brought into her cell, and there suddenly disappeared out of the hands of the priest. After her death the figure of the host was found imprinted on the left side of her breast; by which prodigy it was judged that Christ had miraculously satisfied her languishing holy desire. She died in her convent at Florence in the year 1340, of her age seventy. Miracles have been frequently effected through her intercession, among which several have been juridically proved. Pope Benedict XIII. enrolled her name among the blessed in 1729. His successor, Clement XII. put the last hand to her canonization. 1 Her Order is propagated in Italy and Austria. See Bonanni’s History of the Founders of Religious Orders, t. 2. Giani, in her life, and Papebroke, in his Appendix, t. 3. Junij. p. 923. 2

Note 1. Bullar, Rom. t. 15, p. 141. [back]





Saints Marcus and Marcellianus, Martyrs

June 18

From the acts of St. Sebastian. See Tillemont, t. 4. Baronius ad an. 286, n. 23, BUTLERS LIVES OF THE SAINTS

A.D. 286.

MARCUS and MARCELLIANUS were twin brothers of an illustrious family in Rome, had been converted to the faith in their youth, and were honourably married. Dioclesian ascended the imperial throne in 284; soon after which the heathens raised tumultuary persecutions, though this emperor had not yet published any new edicts against the church. These martyrs were thrown into prison, and condemned by Chromatius, lieutenant of the prefect of Rome, to be beheaded. Their friends obtained a respite of the execution for thirty days, that they might prevail with them to comply with the judge, and they were removed into the house of Nicostratus the public register. Tranquillinus and Martia, their afflicted heathen parents, in company with their sons’ own wives and their little babes at their breasts, endeavoured to move them by the most tender entreaties and tears. St. Sebastian, an officer of the emperor’s household, coming to Rome soon after their commitment, daily visited and encouraged him. The issue of the conferences was the happy conversion of the father, mother, and wives, also of Nicostratus, and soon after of Chromatius, who set the saints at liberty, and abdicating the magistracy retired into the country. Marcus and Marcellianus were hid by Castulus, a Christian officer of the household, in his apartments in the palace; but they were betrayed by an apostate named Torquatus, and retaken. Fabrian who had succeeded Chromatius, condemned them to be bound to two pillars with their feet nailed to the same. In this posture they remained a day and a night, and on the following day were stabbed with lances, and buried in the Arenarium, since called their cemetery, two miles out of Rome, between the Appian and Ardeatine roads. All the ancient Martyrologies mark their festival on the 18th of June.


Virtue is often false, and in it the true metal is not to be distinguished from dross until persecution has applied the touchstone, and proved the temper. We know not what we are till we have been tried. It costs nothing to say we love God above all things, and to show the courage of martyrs at a distance from the danger; but that love is sincere which has stood the proof. “Persecution shows who is a hireling, and who a true pastor,” says St. Bernard. 1

Note 1. St. Bern. l. de Convers. ad Clericos. c. 22.









[His genuine life has received several interpolations from popular reports of no authority. But Wadding's Annals of his Order furnish us with good memoirs relating to his life and actions. See the judicious notes of the Bollandists, Acta Sanctorum Junii, t. ii. p. 706 ; Ragnaud, t. viii. Mic. Ant. Bibl. Hisp. and Andreich.] [BUTLER'S LIVES OF THE SAINTS.]

DIED:  A.D. 1231.

 ST. ANTONY, though a native, of Lisbon, in Portugal, received his surname from his long residence at Padua, which city is possessed of the treasure of his relics. He was born in 1195, and christened by the name of Ferdinand, which he changed for that of Antony when he entered the Order of St. Francis, out of devotion to the great patriarch of monks, who was the titular saint of the little chapel of his Order in which he took the habit. His father was Martin de Bullones, an officer in the army of Alphonsus I., surnamed El Consultador, who having defeated five kings of the Moors in the battle  of Orique, in 1139, was crowned King of Portugal, and died in 1185.

    (1) Osce ii. 14.

This prince's father, Henry of Burgundy, grandson of Robert, King of France, had begun the conquest of that country, but never took the title of king. The mother of our saint was Mary of Tevera, one of the most accomplished of women. Both his parents were equally distinguished by their nobility and  virtue. They placed their son very young in the community of the canons of the Cathedral of Lisbon, where his rising genius was carefully cultivated, and from his tender years he always advanced both in his knowledge and devotion. At fifteen years of age he entered among the regular canons of St. Austin, near Lisbon ; but not bearing the interruption and distraction which the visits of his friends there gave him, he desired, two years after, to be sent to the convent of the Holy Cross of the same Order at Coimbra, a hundred miles from the former city. The close retirement and the austerity in which he there lived astonished his brethren, whilst he pursued his studies, and read assiduously the holy scriptures and fathers. By his regular method and application, and by his sound and piercing judgment, he made a quick progress, and together with a profound knowledge of theology, acquired a perfect habit of.nervous and convincing eloquence. In the mean time he inflamed his devotion by assiduous prayer and holy meditation, and nourished daily in his soul the strongest sentiments and affections of piety, without which means the heart is left spiritually dry, the usual consequence of studies, whether sacred or profane, unless prayer imparts to them its unction. But the saint was called by God to serve him with greater fervour, and to be the ornament and support of another illustrious rising Order of religious men.

    He had lived at Coimbra near eight years, when Don Pedro, Infant of Portugal, brought over from Morocco the relics of the five Franciscans who had been lately there crowned with martyrdom. Ferdinand was strongly affected at the sight, and conceived an ardent desire to lay down his life for Christ. Shortly after, certain Franciscan friars came to his monastery of the Holy Cross to beg an alms for their community. Ferdinand discovered to them his inclination to embrace their institute, and was by them encouraged to put it in execution. No sooner was this known among the canons, but they endeavoured to dissuade him from such a resolution, and he suffered much from their railleries and bitter reproaches. But he rejoiced in humiliations, and he began by them to learn to overcome himself, and to root out of his heart all lurking poison of pride. Whilst he examined his vocation, and begged the direction of the Holy Ghost, he found his resolution every day to gain new strength from the esteem he conceived for an Order which inspired an eminent spirit of martyrdom, and still enjoyed the direction and living example of its holy founder. Its poverty and austerities had also charms to him. Having therefore obtained the consent of his prior, he received this new habit in 1221, in the little Franciscan convent, dedicated to the great St. Antony, patriarch of the monks, near Coimbra. After some time spent in solitude, prayer, and penitential austerities, burning with, a desire of martyrdom, he obtained leave to go into Africa to preach the gospel to the Moors. He was scarce arrived there, when God; satisfied with the sacrifice of his heart, visited him with a severe fit of illness, which obliged him to return to Spain for the reestablishment of his health. But by contrary winds, the vessel on which he was embarked was driven to Sicily, and touched at Messina, where he was informed that, St. Francis was then holding a general chapter at Assisium. Sick and weak as he was, the desire of seeing the holy founder of his Order carried him to Assisium. When he had seen St. Francis he desired  to cultivate the happiness which he enjoyed in the company of the saint ; and a order to stay nearer his person, offered himself to the provincials and guardians of Italy. St. Francis approved his inclination to renounce his friends and country; but not one of the superiors there assembled would be troubled with him, so compromising and sickly was his aspect; or he took care to conceal his learning end talents, and presented himself only to serve in the kitchen. At last a guardian in the province of Romagna, named Iratiani, took pity of him, and sent him to the hermitage of Mount-Paul, a little solitary convent near Bologna. Antony thought of nothing but of burying himself here in obscurity unknown to the world, joining the sweets of heavenly contemplation with the austerities of a penitential life, and the humiliations of such a state. He never let fall one word which might show his learning, much less any thing of the sublime communications of his soul with God; but listened to every body,and only spoke when obliged, till an accident made him known to the world. 1n assembly of the neighbouring Dominican and Franciscan friars was held at Forli, in which the Dominicans, as strangers, were desired to make an exhortation to the company. They all excused themselves, every one saying that he was not prepared. Then St. Antony's guardian ordered him to speak, and to say whatever the Holy Ghost should put in his mouth. The saint begged to be excused, alleging that he had been only used to wash the dishes in the kitchen, and to sweep the house; but the superior resisting upon his compliance, he spoke with such eloquence, erudition, and unction as astonished the whole company.  He was at that time about twenty-six years old.   

      St. Francis was informed of the discovery of this hidden treasure in his order, and sent him to Vercelli, there to apply himself to the study of theology,  and after a short time to teach the sacred sciences ; yet recommending him to make the assiduous exercise of contemplation and prayer his principal employment, lest his studies should otherwise extinguish in him the spirit of devotion and piety. St. Francis's letter was couched in the following terms : "To my most dear brother Antony, Friar Francis wishes health in Jesus Christ. It seemeth good to me, that you should read sacred theology to " the friars; yet so, that you do not prejudice yourself by too great earnestness in studies ; and be careful that you do not extinguish in yourself or in them the spirit of holy prayer." St. Antony taught divinity some years with great applause at Bologna, Toulouse, Montpellier, and Padua, and was appointed guardian at Limoges. In all these employments he never made use of the general dispensation allowed to professors, of an exemption from any of the regular duties of his community, and he found time to preach assiduously to the people. He at length forsook the schools to apply himself wholly to the functions of a missionary preacher; for he thought the conversion of souls from vice, and the reformation of manners called for his whole attention and zeal. He seemed formed, both by nature and grace, for this most important office. He had a polite address, an easy carriage, and a very pleasing countenance. His voice was strong, clear, and agreeable; he was endowed with a happy memory, and was a complete master of all the arts of persuasion. To his other advantages he added that of the most graceful action and accent, by which he knew how to get into the very souls of his hearers by seizing on their senses, having learned that man has as much of a sensible as of a rational creature. He was perfectly versed in the holy scriptures, had an excellent talent of applying them to the purpose on all occasions, and displayed in a clear light, and with inexpressible energy the genuine sense, and the spirit and marrow of the sacred text. But what made his eloquence most prevailing, and rendered it like a torrent of fire which bore down all before it, was the unction with which he spoke ; for his heart being filled with the warmest and most feeling sentiments of every virtue, he poured these forth with an energy and zeal that seemed irresistible. His words were so many darts, which pierced the hearts of his hearers ; for he had long treasured up by the exercises of humility, silence, mortification, contemplation, and prayer what he afterwards communicated to his hearers ; and his soul was itself all flame before he endeavoured to kindle the fire of divine love in others. Full of a sovereign contempt of the world and himself, and burning with a desire to die for Jesus Christ, and to see his pure love reign in all hearts, he was above the reach of all temptations which could warp his integrity, or make him weaken or disguise the maxims of the gospel, which he announced with equal dignity and zeal to the great ones and the small. The learned admired the loftiness of his thoughts, and the strong images with which he painted the most sublime mysteries, and added an unspeakable dignity to the most obvious and common truths of religion and morality ; yet a natural simplicity rendered all his discourses no less intelligible and easy to the most vulgar understandings. Charity and prudence took off the edge of harshness from his reprehensions, and his very reproofs were not bitter or austere, but amiable and insinuating. Whilst he beat down presumptuous sinners by the terrors of the divine judgments, he at the same time took care to raise and encourage their sinking souls by confidence in divine goodness and mercy. He opposed the fashionable vices and growing heresies of those times with equal vigour and success. The most obstinate heretics and the most hardened sinners threw themselves at his feet, declaring themselves conquered hearing him preach at Rome in 1227, in his surprise, figuratively called him, The Ark of the Covenant, or rich spiritual treasure. The sanctity and severity of his life gave also great weight to his words. Such was the gravity of his countenance and the edifying modesty of his deportment, that he seemed to preach by every action. Having once invited a brother to go out with him to preach, he returned to his convent without making any sermon to the people. His companion asked him why he had not preached. " We have done it," said the saint, " by our modest looks, and by the gravity of our behaviour." The frequent miracles which were performed by him much enhanced the reputation of his eminent sanctity wherever he came. The crowds were every where so great at his sermons that he was often obliged to preach in market-places or fields. He travelled through cities, towns, and villages with an unwearied zeal, and preached in France, Spain, and Italy. When he was one day going to begin his sermon to a most numerous assembly in the fields in France, the sky was on a sudden covered with thick clouds, and violent claps of thunder presaged a dreadful storm. The people began to disperse, and run to the neighbouring city. But the saint encouraged them to stay, and by his prayers obtained that the audience, as if they had been covered with an invisible canopy, felt nothing of the dreadful shower of rain and hail, whilst the neighbouring fields and highways were covered with a deluge.

    The saint was no less admirable in the confessional and in the private direction of souls than in the pulpit. Wherever he came, dissensions and animosities were extinguished, usurers restored their unjust gains, sinners melted into tears at his discourses, and by their sobs often interrupted his sermons, and every one sought his particular advice for the direction of his own conscience and conduct. In Lombardy, for the protection of the oppressed people, he put his life in the hands of one the most furious of tyrants. Ezzelino, native of the marquisate of Treviso, but German extraction, having put himself the head of a party of the Gibellins, Imperialists, made himself master of Verona, Padua, and several other cities in Lombardy, and exercised in them the most horrible tyranny during forty years. He contemned the anathemas of Gregory IX., Innocent IV., and Alexander IV. Hearing that the citizens of Padua had volted from him, he put to death in one day twelve thousand persons of that country. The city of Verona, which was the place of his residence, had lost most its inhabitants, and was filled with his guards, whose terrible armour added fierceness to their savage countenances. The saint, who feared no danger in the cause of God and his neighbour, went boldly to Verona. He found the streets solitary and mournful, and advancing to the palace, desired an audience of the prince. Being introduced into his chamber, he saw him seated on a throne, surrounded, by his troop of murderers, who stood armed, ready to execute his bloody orders the instant they were issued. Antony, no way dismayed, told the tyrant, that his murders, sacrileges, and plunders called to heaven for vengeance upon his head, and that those whom he had slain oppressed were witnesses before God against him. The saint said many things the same purpose, and the guards kited every moment to hear the tyrant command him to be cut to pieces. But their great astonishment, he descended from his throne pale and trembling, and fitting his girdle round his neck for a halter, cast himself at the feet of the humble servant of God, and with many tears begged him to intercede with God for the pardon of his sins. The saint led him up, and gave him suitable advice to do penance. Some time afterwards he sent a great present to St. Antony, which the holy man refused to accept, saying, the only agreeable present the prince could make him would be to restore to the poor what he had unjustly taken from them. Ezzelino seemed for some time to change his conduct, but after the death of the saint, relapsed into his former disorders. At length being taken prisoner by the confederate princes of Lombardy, in 1259, he died distracted in close confinement.

    St. Antony, when invested with several dignities in his Order, was watchful to maintain the primitive spirit and regularity in the houses under his inspection. He saw it almost in its birth exposed to imminent danger, and saved it by his zeal and prudence. St. Francis dying in 1226, brother Elias, a man of a worldly spirit, was chosen general; who abusing his authority, began to introduce several relaxations of the rule, which tended to the ruin of its fundamental constitutions and spirit. He built a church too magnificent for the poverty which the rule required and professed, applied money to his own private use, bought himself a horse, kept servants, ate in his own chamber, and had better fare than the community prepared for him. Most of the provincials and guardians, out of human respects, were gained to his way of thinking; and the rest; who saw that the tendency of such an innovation was to open a door to relaxations which must necessarily extinguish the spirit and glory of the Order, had not courage to speak against it. Only St. Antony and an Englishman, named Adam, boldly opposed and condemned these abuses; but were loaded with injuries and ill-treatment, and only by flight escaped perpetual imprisonment in their cells, which the general, with several provincials, decreed against them as turbulent and seditious men. They addressed themselves to Pope Gregory IX., by whom they were graciously received and heard. His holiness summoned Elias to appear before him at Rome, and having examined into the abuses by him introduced, deposed him from the generalship. Antony was at that time Provincial of Romagna; but took this occasion to extort by importunities license from the pope to resign that post, and also to leave the court, where his holiness earnestly desired to detain him. He retired first to Mount Alverno; thence returned to his convent at Padua, which he had pitched upon for his abode some time before he was Provincial of Romagna, and where he had formerly taught divinity and preached. After his return, he again preached the Lent there with such fruit, that the whole city seemed changed by his sermons. Then it was that he put the last hand to the Latin sermons, which we have, though not as he preached them ; for he diversified them according to circumstances, and spoke as the ardour of his soul directed him. They are no more than general heads or commonplaces, destitute of the ornaments and flowers which he added in speaking.

    When Lent was over, St. Antony being much spent with labour, and his penitential life, finding also his health and strength declining very fast under an inward decay, he desired to give himself some interval between business and eternity. He therefore retired out of town, to a solitary place called Campietro, or Field of Peter, there to attend solely to himself and God, and by fervent prayer to dispose his soul for the enjoyment of God ; for he knew that his earthly pilgrimage was drawing to an end, and that he was then called to receive the reward of his labours. He took with him into his solitude two companions, men of great virtue. His distemper increasing very much upon him, he desired to be carried back to his convent in Padua ; but the crowds of people pressing to kiss the hem of his habit were so great and so trouble-some, that he stopped in the suburbs, and was laid in the chamber of the director of the nuns of Arcela, where, having received  the rites of the church with many tears, he recited the seven penitential psalms, and a hymn in honour of the Blessed Virgin, till he gave up his happy soul to him who had created it for his own great glory, on the 13th of June, 1231, being only thirty-six years old, of which he had lived ten in the Order of St. Francis. At the first news of his departure, the children ran about the streets, crying out, " The saint is dead ! " Innumerable miracles testified his sanctity, and he was immediately canonized by Pope Gregory IX., in 1232, whose bull was dated at Spoletto. That pope had been personally acquainted with the saint, and was a great, admirer of his virtues. Thirty-two years after his death, a stately church was built in Padua for his Order, and his remains were translated into it. The flesh was all consumed except the tongue, which was found incorrupt, red, and as fresh as it was whilst he was living. St. Bonaventare, who was then general of the Order, and present at this ceremony, took it into his hands, and bathing it with his tears, and kissing it with great devotion, said, " 0 blessed tongue, that didst always praise God, and hast been the cause that an infinite number learned to praise Him : now it appears how precious thou art before Him who framed thee to be employed in so excellent and high a function." The tongue is kept in the same church in a most costly case. This is at present a great and famous house of conventual Franciscan friars, which often furnishes the university,  which is certainly to be ranked among the best in Europe, with able professors. The sepulchral monument of the saint in the church is exceeding rich and magnificent; and the basso-relievo with which it is adorned a master-piece of art. The costly lamps which hang before it are the several presents of many cities. The Portuguese likewise honour him with singular veneration.

     On his miracles Papebroke, the Bollandist, may be consulted.1 Pope Gregory I.X. in the bull of his canonization says, " We therefore commanded the said bishop (of Padua), brother Jordan, Prior of St. Bennet's, and brother John, Prior of St. Austin's, a monastery of the Dominicans in Padua, to make diligent scrutiny into the miracles wrought at his sepulchre, and into the merits of his life. Having seen the authentic proofs of the miracles of the aforesaid venerable man, besides what we know ourselves of his holy life and conversation, of which we have had experience, we, by the advice of our brethren, together with all the prelates with us, have enrolled him in the number of the saints." He had said before in the same bull: "St. Antony, residing now in heaven, is honoured on earth by many miracles daily seen at his tomb, of which we are certified by authentic writings."

    Whilst we admire the graces and extra-ordinary gifts with which God was pleased to glorify his servant, we must not forget that he was raised so high only because, by divine grace, through the paths of self-denial and humility, he had learned perfectly to die to himself, and to be nothing in his own eyes. Pride makes our hearts an abomination to God, and puts him at the greatest distance from us. This is the deep wound of our souls, the main-spring of all our passions, the deadly poison of virtue, the fortress of the devil, and the source of all disorders. If we perfectly root out this evil, then will divine grace begin to establish its reign, and display its treasures in our souls.

    (1) T. ii. Junij, p.718.









  Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus came into the Catholic faith through a Catholic sister known as Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690). At the age of 24,  Margaret Mary entered the Visitation convent at Paray-le-Monial in France. She began to have visions of Our Lord and on December 27, 1673, on the Feast of St. John, she began to have visions that lasted for eighteen months. Jesus told her that she was to become his instrument in spreading devotion to his Sacred Heart. While kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lord appeared to her and invited her to "rest a long time on His Divine Breast". Jesus revealed to her the marvels of the love that His Sacred Heart had for mankind.


    Saint Margaret Mary had frequent visions of the  Sacred Heart of Jesus.  According to Saint Margaret Mary, His Divine Heart was "more radiant than the sun and as transparent as crystal," with its adorable wound visible, and as a "furnace" of burning flames.

    In June, 1675: during the feast of Corpus Christi, while praying before Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Monstrance. Our Lord revealed His Heart to her and said  "HERE IS THE HEART THAT HAS SO LOVED MEN AS TO SPARE NOTHING FOR THEM, EXHAUSTING AND CONSUMING ITSELF IN ORDER TO PROVE ITS LOVE FOR THEM; AND IN RETURN I RECEIVE, FROM MOST OF THEM, ONLY INGRATITUDE."

    Jesus asked her to have a special feast established in honor of His Sacred Heart on the Friday after the feast of Corpus Christi.  Jesus asked his followers to receive Holy Communion on that day and to make atonement for the sins of the world by an act of reparation.

    Jesus asked her to have an image made of His Sacred Heart and to have it promoted throughout the world with special promises to those souls who would display His image of His Sacred Heart.

    She consulted with her enlightened spiritual director whom God had given her. On the following Friday, June 21, Father de la Colombiere, her priest-director, and Saint Margaret Mary consecrated themselves to the Sacred Heart. With great sufferings and humiliations, Father de la Colombiere and Saint Margaret Mary made every effort to spread the new devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Lord Jesus revealed to Saint Margaret Mary the following promises to those souls who would honor the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus:

"1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.

"2. I will establish peace in their homes.

"3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.

"4. I will be their secure refuge during life and above all in death.

"5. I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings.

"6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy.

"7. Tepid souls shall grow fervent.

"8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.

"9. I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored.

"10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.

"11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.

"12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the first Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."




Veneration and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Veneration of the Heart of Mary is analogous to worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is, however, necessary to indicate a few differences in this analogy, the better to explain the character of Roman Catholic devotion to the Heart of Mary. Some of these differences are very marked, whereas others are barely perceptible. Devotion to the Heart of Jesus is especially directed to the "Divine Heart" as overflowing with love for humanity, presented as "despised and outraged". In the devotion to the Mary, on the other hand, the attraction is the love of this Heart for Jesus and for God. Its love for humans is not overlooked, but it is not so much in evidence nor so dominant.

A second difference is the nature of the devotion itself. In devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Roman Catholic venerates in a sense of love responding to love. In devotion to the Heart of Mary, study and imitation hold as important a place as love. Love is more the result than the object of the devotion, the object being rather to love God, and Jesus better by uniting themselves to Mary for this purpose and by imitating her virtues. It would also seem that, although in the devotion to the Heart of Mary the heart has an essential part as symbol and sensible object, it does not stand out as prominently as in the devotion to the Heart of Jesus; devotion focuses rather of the thing symbolized, of love, virtues, and sentiments, of Mary's interior life.

 History of devotion

 The history of the devotion to the Heart of Mary is connected on many points with that to the Heart of Jesus. The attention of Christians was early attracted by the love and virtues of the Heart of Mary. The Gospels recount the prophesy delivered to her at Jesus' presentation at the temple: that her heart would be pierced with a sword. This image (the pierced heart) is the most popular representation of the Immaculate Heart. The Gospels further invited attention to Mary's heart with its depictions of Mary at the foot of the cross at Jesus' crucifixion. St. Augustine said of this that Mary was not merely passive at the foot of the cross; "she cooperated through charity in the work of our redemption".

Another Scriptural passage to help in bringing out the devotion was the twice-repeated saying of Saint Luke, that Mary kept all the sayings and doings of Jesus in her heart, that there she might ponder over them and live by them. A few of Mary's sayings, also recorded in the Gospel, particularly the Magnificat (the words Mary is reported to have said to describe the experience of being pregnant with Jesus), disclose new features in Marian psychology. Some of the Church Fathers also throw light upon the psychology of Mary, for instance, Saint Ambrose, when in his commentary on The Gospel of Luke he holds Mary up as the ideal of virginity, and Saint Ephrem, when he poetically sings of the coming of the Magi and the welcome accorded them by the humble mother. Some passages from other books in the Bible are interpreted as referring to Mary, in whom they personify wisdom and her gentle charms. Such are the texts in which wisdom is presented as the mother of lofty love, of fear, of knowledge, and of holy hope. In the New Testament Elizabeth proclaims Mary blessed because she has believed the words of the angel who announced that she would become pregnant with Jesus, although she was still a virgin; the Magnificat is an expression of her humility. In answering the woman of the people, who in order to exalt the son proclaimed the mother blessed, Jesus himself said: "Blessed rather are they that hear the word of God and keep it." The Church Fathers understood this as an invitation to seek in Mary that which had so endeared her to God and caused her to be selected as the mother of Jesus, and found in these words a new reason for praising Mary. St. Leo said that through faith and love she conceived her son spiritually, even before receiving him into her womb, and St. Augustine tells us that she was more blessed in having borne Christ in her heart than in having conceived him in the flesh.

It is only in the twelfth, or towards the end of the eleventh century, that slight indications of a regular devotion are perceived in a sermon by St. Bernard (De duodecim stellis), from which an extract has been taken by the Church and used in the Offices of the Compassion and of the Seven Dolours. Stronger evidences are discernible in the pious meditations on the Ave Maria and the Salve Regina, usually attributed either to St. Anselm of Lucca (d. 1080) or St. Bernard; and also in the large book "De laudibus B. Mariae Virginis" (Douai, 1625) by Richard de Saint-Laurent. Penitentiary of Rouen in the thirteenth century. In St. Mechtilde (d. 1298) and St. Gertrude (d. 1301) the devotion had two earnest adherents. A little earlier it had been included by St. Thomas Becket in the devotion to the joys and sorrows of Mary, by Blessed Hermann (d.1245), one of the first spiritual children of Saint Dominic, in his other devotions to Mary, and somewhat later it appeared in St. Bridget's "Book of Revelations". Johannes Tauler (d. 1361) beholds in Mary the model of a mystical, just as St. Ambrose perceived in her the model of a virginal soul. St. Bernardine of Siena (d.1444) was more absorbed in the contemplation of the virginal heart, and it is from him that the Church has borrowed the lessons of the Second Nocturn for the feast of the Heart of Mary. St. Francis de Sales speaks of the perfections of this heart, the model of love for God, and dedicated to it his "Theotimus".

During this same period one finds occasional mention of devotional practices to the Heart of Mary, e.g. in the "Antidotarium" of Nicolas du Saussay (d.1488), in Julius II, and in the "Pharetra" of Lanspergius. In the second half of the sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth, ascetic authors dwelt upon this devotion at greater length. It was, however, reserved to Saint Jean Eudes (d. 1681) to propagate the devotion, to make it public, and to have a feast celebrated in honor of the Heart of Mary, first at Autumn in 1648 and afterwards in a number of French dioceses. He established several religious societies interested in upholding and promoting the devotion, of which his large book on the Coeur Admirable (Admirable Heart), published in 1681, resembles a summary. Jean Eudes' efforts to secure the approval of an Office and feast failed at Rome, but, notwithstanding this disappointment, the devotion to the Heart of Mary progressed. In 1699 Father Pinamonti (d. 1703) published in Italian a beautiful little work on the Holy Heart of Mary, and in 1725 Pere de Gallifet combined the cause of the Heart of Mary with that of the Heart of Jesus in order to obtain Rome's approbation of the two devotions and the institution of the two feasts. In 1729 his project was defeated, and in 1765 the two causes were separated, to assure the success of the principal one.

In 1799 Pius VI, then in captivity at Florence, granted the Bishop of Palermo the feast of the Most Pure Heart of Mary for some of the churches in his diocese. In 1805 Pius VII made a new concession, thanks to which the feast was soon widely observed. Such was the existing condition when a twofold movement, started in Paris, gave fresh impetus to the devotion. The two factors of this movement were first of all the revelation of the "miraculous medal" in 1830 and all the prodigies that followed, and then the establishment at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of Sinners, which spread rapidly throughout the world and was the source of numberless alleged graces. On July 21, 1855, the Congregation of Rites finally approved the Office and Mass of the Most Pure Heart of Mary without, however, imposing them upon the Universal Church.

During the third apparition at Fatima, Portugal on July 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary said that "God wishes to establish in the world devotion to Her Immaculate Heart" in order to save souls from going into the fires of hell and to bring about world peace. She also asked for the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. On March 25, 1984, Pope John Paul ll fulfilled Our Lady's request when he made the solemn act of consecration of the world and implicitly, Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary before the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Fatima brought to Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican for the momentous occasion. Sister Lucia, (then) the only surviving visionary of Fatima confirmed that the request of Our Lady for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was accepted by Heaven and therefore, was fulfilled. Again on October 8, 2000, Pope John Paul made an act of entrustment of the world to Immaculate Heart of Mary for the new millenium.

For more information see the Catholic Encylopedia for information on
the Immaculate Heart of Mary  at:



Heart of Mary ever Virgin, you are full of grace.
You are the dearest daughter of the heavenly Father,
the tabernacle of the Word made Flesh,
and the beloved home of the Holy Spirit.
You are the wonder and delight of angels,
of saints, and of men.
I offer you my deepest reverence.
With great love and thanksgiving I consecrate myself,
body and soul, to you this day,
and will never take back my word.

You are the marvel of God's creation;
a Virgin's heart, yet a Mother's too,
with a mother's love of Jesus and of men.
Dear Mother, fashion in my heart a child's true love of you.
Fill me with your own bright virtues:
simplicity and innocence,
meekness and courage,
and unfailing devotedness
to Jesus Christ.

Since I belong to you then, holy Mother,
save me from my enemies,
from the world, from Satan, from myself.
Keep me always in your sinless Heart
to make my poor heart more and more
like your Heart and the Heart of Jesus.

Dear, merciful Mother,
look with a mother's love and pity on the poor,
sinful, suffering children of the whole human family.
Our Holy Father Pius XII has consecrated them to your Immaculate Heart.
Do not turn them away.
Remember the cruel pain your heart
suffered for their salvation with Jesus Christ on Calvary.
Save them by His precious Blood.
Draw them out of the darkness and despair
of their sin and misery into the light, peace,
and holiness of the Church.

Then with the angels and saints,
may they join us in singing the everlasting Magnificat of praise,
gratitude, and love to your tender
and Immaculate Heart,
and to the adorable and merciful Heart of Jesus.




[Mention your prayer request]

Lord, have mercy,
Lord, have mercy

Christ, have mercy,
Christ, have mercy

Lord, have mercy,
Lord, have mercy

Holy Mary,
pray for us.

Holy Mother of God,
pray for us.

Most honored of virgins,
pray for us.

Chosen daughter of the Father,
pray for us.

Mother of Christ the King,
pray for us.

Glory of the Holy Spirit,
pray for us.

Virgin daughter of Zion,
pray for us.

Virgin poor and humble,
pray for us.

Virgin gentle and obedient,
pray for us.

Handmaid of the Lord,
pray for us.

Mother of the Lord,
pray for us.

Helper of the Redeemer,
pray for us.

Full of grace,
pray for us.

Fountain of beauty,
pray for us.

Model of virtue,
pray for us.

First fruit of the redemption,
pray for us.

Perfect disciple of Christ,
pray for us.

Untarnished image of the Church,
pray for us.

Woman transformed,
pray for us.

Woman clothed with the sun,
pray for us.

Woman crowned with stars,
pray for us.

Gentle Lady,
pray for us.

Gracious Lady,
pray for us.

Our Lady,
pray for us.

Joy of Israel,
pray for us.

Splendour of the Church,
pray for us.

Pride of the human race,
pray for us.

Advocate of grace,
pray for us.

Minister of holiness,
pray for us.

Champion of God's people,
pray for us.

Queen of love,
pray for us.

Queen of mercy,
pray for us.

Queen of peace,
pray for us.

Queen of angels,
pray for us.

Queen of patriarchs and prophets,
pray for us.

Queen of apostles and martyrs,
pray for us.

Queen of confessors and virgins,
pray for us.

Queen of all saints,
pray for us.

Queen conceived without original sin,
pray for us.

Queen assumed into heaven,
pray for us.

Queen of all the earth,
pray for us.

Queen of heaven,
pray for us.

Queen of the universe,
pray for us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world
have mercy on us.

Father, you have given us the mother of your Son
to be our Queen and Mother.
With the support of her prayers
may we come to share the glory of your children
in the kingdom of heaven.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.






Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, spouse of St. Joseph,
Pray for us.

Saint Joseph, confirmed in grace,
Pray for us.

Saint Joseph, guardian of the Word Incarnate,
Pray for us.

Saint Joseph, favorite of the King of Heaven,
Pray for us.

Saint Joseph, ruler of the family of Jesus,
Pray for us.

Saint Joseph, spouse of the ever-blessed Virgin,
Pray for us.

Saint Joseph, foster father to the Son of God,
Pray for us.

Saint Joseph, example of humility and obedience,
Pray for us.

Saint Joseph, mirror of silence and resignation,
Pray for us.

Saint Joseph, patron of innocence and youth,
Pray for us.

Saint Joseph, exited with Christ into Egypt,
Pray for us.

Saint Joseph, intercessor for the afflicted,
Pray for us.

Saint Joseph, advocate of the humble,
Pray for us.

Saint Joseph, model of every virtue,
Pray for us.

Saint Joseph, honored among men,
Pray for us.

Saint Joseph, in whom is the union of all Christian perfections,
Pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O holy Saint Joseph,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray.

Assist us, O Lord,
we beseech Thee,
by the merits of the spouse
of Thy most holy Mother,
that what our unworthiness cannot obtain,
may be given us by his intercession with Thee,
Who livest and reignest with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end.



O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O thou Saint Joseph, do assist me by thy powerful intercession, and obtain for me from thy divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that, having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers. O Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee, and Jesus asleep in thy arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. Saint Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for me.  Amen!








"At the evening of life, you will be examined in love. Learn to love as God desires to be loved and abandon your own ways of acting."  ---Saint John of the Cross




The father of St. John was discarded by his kindred for marrying a poor orphan, and the Saint, thus born and nurtured in poverty chose it also for his portion. Unable to learn a trade, he became the, servant of the poor in the hospital of Medina, while still pursuing his sacred studies. In 1563, being then twenty-one, he humbly offered himself as a lay-brother to the Carmelite friars, who, however, knowing his talents, had him ordained priest. He would now have exchanged to the severe Carthusian Order, had not St. Teresa, with the instinct of a Saint, persuaded him to remain and help her in the reform of his own Order. Thus he became the first prior of the Barefooted Carmelites. His reform, though approved by the general, was rejected by the elder friars, who condemned the Saint as a fugitive and apostate, and cast him into prison, whence he only escaped, after nine months' suffering, at the risk of his life. Twice again, before his death, he was shamefully persecuted by his brethren, and publicly disgraced. But his complete abandonment by creatures only deepened his interior peace and devout longing for heaven.

Reflection. "Live in the world," said St. John, "as if God and your soul only were in it; so shall your heart be never made captive by any earthly thing."






Treats of how the soul may prepare itself in order to attain in a short time to Divine union. Gives very profitable counsels and instruction, both to beginners and to proficients, that they may know how to disencumber themselves of all that is temporal and not to encumber themselves with the spiritual, and to remain in complete detachment and liberty of spirit, as is necessary for Divine union.


ALL the doctrine whereof I intend to treat in this Ascent of Mount Carmel is included in the following stanzas, and in them is also described the manner of ascending to the summit of the Mount, which is the high estate of perfection which we here call union of the soul with God. And because I must continually base upon them that which I shall say, I have desired to set them down here together, to the end that all the substance of that which is to be written may be seen and comprehended together; although it will be fitting to set down each stanza separately before expounding it, and likewise the lines of each stanza, according as the matter and the exposition require. The poem, then, runs as follows:[65]


Wherein the soul sings of the happy chance which it had in passing through the dark night of faith, in detachment and purgation of itself, to union with the Beloved.

1. On a dark night, Kindled[67] in love with yearnings -- oh, happy chance! -- I went forth without being observed, My house being now at rest.[68]

2. In darkness and secure, By the secret ladder, disguised -- oh, happy chance! -- In darkness and in concealment, My house being now at rest.

3. In the happy night, In secret, when none saw me, Nor I beheld aught, Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart.

4. This light guided me More surely than the light of noonday, To the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting me -- A place where none appeared.

5. Oh, night that guided me, Oh, night more lovely than the dawn, Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover, Lover transformed in the Beloved!

6. Upon my flowery breast, Kept wholly for himself alone, There he stayed sleeping, and I caressed him, And the fanning of the cedars made a breeze.

7. The breeze blew from the turret As I parted his locks; With his gentle hand he wounded my neck And caused all my senses to be suspended.

8. I remained, lost in oblivion;[69] My face I reclined on the Beloved. All ceased and I abandoned myself, Leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.


IN order to expound and describe this dark night, through which the soul passes in order to attain to the Divine light of the perfect union of the love of God, as far as is possible in this life, it would be necessary to have illumination of knowledge and experience other and far greater than mine; for this darkness and these trials, both spiritual and temporal, through which happy souls are wont to pass in order to be able to attain to this high estate of perfection, are so numerous and so profound that neither does human knowledge suffice for the understanding of them, nor experience for the description of them; for only he that passes this way can understand it, and even he cannot describe it.

2. Therefore, in order to say a little about this dark night, I shall trust neither to experience nor to knowledge, since both may fail and deceive; but, while not omitting to make such use as I can of these two things, I shall avail myself, in all that, with the Divine favour, I have to say, or at the least, in that which is most important and dark to the understanding, of Divine Scripture; for, if we guide ourselves by this, we shall be unable to stray, since He Who speaks therein is the Holy Spirit. And if aught I stray, whether through my imperfect understanding of that which is said in it or of matters uncollected with it, it is not my intention to depart from the sound sense and doctrine of our Holy Mother the Catholic Church; for in such a case I submit and resign myself wholly, not only to her command, but to whatever better judgment she may pronounce concerning it.

3. To this end I have been moved, not by any possibility that I see in myself of accomplishing so arduous a task, but by the confidence which I have in the Lord that He will help me to say something to relieve the great necessity which is experienced by many souls, who, when they set out upon the road of virtue, and Our Lord desires to bring them into this dark night that they may pass through it to Divine union, make no progress. At times this is because they have no desire to enter it or to allow themselves to be led into it; at other times, because they understand not themselves and lack competent and alert directors[70] who will guide them to the summit. And so it is sad to see many souls to whom God gives both aptitude and favour with which to make progress (and who, if they would take courage, could attain to this high estate), remaining in an elementary stage[71] of communion with God, for want of will, or knowledge, or because there is none who will lead them in the right path or teach them how to get away from these beginnings. And at length, although Our Lord grants them such favour as to make them to go onward without this hindrance or that, they arrive at their goal very much later, and with greater labour, yet with less merit, because they have not conformed themselves to God, and allowed themselves to be brought freely into the pure and sure road of union. For, although it is true that God is leading them, and that He can lead them without their own help, they will not allow themselves to be led; and thus they make less progress, because they resist Him Who is leading them, and they have less merit, because they apply not their will, and on this account they suffer more. For these are souls who, instead of committing themselves to God and making use of His help, rather hinder God by the indiscretion of their actions or by their resistance; like children who, when their mothers desire to carry them in their arms, start stamping and crying, and insist upon being allowed to walk, with the result that they can make no progress; and, if they advance at all, it is only at the pace of a child.

4. Wherefore, to the end that all, whether beginners or proficients, may know how to commit themselves to God's guidance, when His Majesty desires to lead them onward, we shall give instruction and counsel, by His help, so that they may be able to understand His will, or, at the least, allow Him to lead them. For some confessors and spiritual fathers, having no light and experience concerning these roads, are wont to hinder and harm such souls rather than to help them on the road; they are like the builders of Babel, who, when told to furnish suitable material, gave and applied other very different material, because they understood not the language, and thus nothing was done. Wherefore, it is a difficult and troublesome thing at such seasons for a soul not to understand itself or to find none who understands it. For it will come to pass that God will lead the soul by a most lofty path of dark contemplation and aridity, wherein it seems to be lost, and, being thus full of darkness and trials, constraints and temptations, will meet one who will speak to it like Job's comforters, and say that it is suffering from melancholy, or low spirits, or a morbid disposition, or that it may have some hidden sin, and that it is for this reason that God has forsaken it. Such comforters are wont to declare immediately that that soul must have been very evil, since such things as these are befalling it.

5. And there will likewise be those who tell the soul to retrace its steps, since it is finding no pleasure or consolation in the things of God as it did aforetime. And in this way they double the poor soul's trials; for it may well be that the greatest affliction which it is feeling is that of the knowledge of its own miseries, thinking that it sees itself, more clearly than daylight, to be full of evils and sins, for God gives it that light of knowledge in that night of contemplation, as we shall presently show. And, when the soul finds someone whose opinion agrees with its own, and who says that these things must be due to its own fault, its affliction and trouble increase infinitely and are wont to become more grievous than death. And, not content with this, such confessors, thinking that these things proceed from sin, make these souls go over their lives and cause them to make many general confessions, and crucify them afresh; not understanding that this may quite well not be the time for any of such things, and that their penitents should be left in the state of purgation which God gives them, and be comforted and encouraged to desire it until God be pleased to dispose otherwise; for until that time, no matter what the souls themselves may do and their confessors may say, there is no remedy for them.

6. This, with the Divine favour, we shall consider hereafter, and also how the soul should conduct itself at such a time, and how the confessor must treat it, and what signs there will be whereby it may be known if this is the purgation of the soul; and, in such case, whether it be of sense or of spirit (which is the dark night whereof we speak), and how it may be known if it be melancholy or some other imperfection with respect to sense or to spirit. For there may be some souls who will think, or whose confessors will think, that God is leading them along this road of the dark night of spiritual purgation, whereas they may possibly be suffering only from some of the imperfections aforementioned. And, again, there are many souls who think that they have no aptitude for prayer, when they have very much; and there are others who think that they have much when they have hardly any.

 7. There are other souls who labour and weary themselves to a piteous extent, and yet go backward, seeking profit in that which is not profitable, but is rather a hindrance; and there are still others who, by remaining at rest and in quietness, continue to make great progress. There are others who are hindered and disturbed and make no progress, because of the very consolations and favours that God is granting them in order that they may make progress. And there are many other things on this road that befall those who follow it, both joys and afflictions and hopes and griefs: some proceeding from the spirit of perfection and others from imperfection. Of all these, with the Divine favour, we shall endeavour to say something, so that each soul who reads this may be able to see something of the road that he ought to follow, if he aspire to attain to the summit of this Mount.

8. And, since this introduction relates to the dark night through which the soul must go to God, let not the reader marvel if it seem to him somewhat dark also. This, I believe, will be so at the beginning when he begins to read; but, as he passes on, he will find himself understanding the first part better, since one part will explain another. And then, if he read it a second time, I believe it will seem clearer to him and the instruction will appear sounder. And if any persons find themselves disagreeing with this instruction, it will be due to my ignorance and poor style; for in itself the matter is good and of the first importance. But I think that, even were it written in a more excellent and perfect manner than it is, only the minority would profit by it, for we shall not here set down things that are very moral and delectable[72] for all spiritual persons who desire to travel toward God by pleasant and delectable ways, but solid and substantial instruction, as well suited to one kind of person as to another, if they desire to pass to the detachment of spirit which is here treated.

9. Nor is my principal intent to address all, but rather certain persons of our sacred Order of Mount Carmel of the primitive observance, both friars and nuns -- since they have desired me to do so -- to whom God is granting the favour of setting them on the road to this Mount; who, as they are already detached from the temporal things of this world, will better understand the instruction concerning detachment of spirit.


Wherein is described the nature of dark night and how necessary it is to pass through it to Divine union; and in particular this book describes the dark night of sense, and desire, and the evils which these work in the soul.[73]


Sets down the first stanza. Describes two different nights through which spiritual persons pass, according to the two parts of man, the lower and the higher. Expounds the stanza which follows.


On a dark night, Kindled in love with yearnings -- oh, happy chance! -- I went forth without being observed, My house being now at rest.

IN this first stanzas the soul sings of the happy fortune and chance which it experienced in going forth from all things that are without, and from the desires[74] and imperfections that are in the sensual[75] part of man because of the disordered state of his reason. For the understanding of this it must be known that, for a soul to attain to the state of perfection, it has ordinarily first to pass through two principal kinds of night, which spiritual persons call purgations or purifications of the soul; and here we call them nights, for in both of them the soul journeys, as it were, by night, in darkness.

2. The first night or purgation is of the sensual part of the soul, which is treated in the present stanza, and will be treated in the first part of this book. And the second is of the spiritual part; of this speaks the second stanza, which follows; and of this we shall treat likewise, in the second and the third part,[76] with respect to the activity of the soul; and in the fourth part, with respect to its passitivity.

3. And this first night pertains to beginners, occurring at the time when God begins to bring them into the state of contemplation; in this night the spirit likewise has a part, as we shall say in due course. And the second night, or purification, pertains to those who are already proficient, occurring at the time when God desires to bring them to the state of union with God. And this latter night is a more obscure and dark and terrible purgation, as we shall say afterwards.

 4. Briefly, then, the soul means by this stanza that it went forth (being led by God) for love of Him alone, enkindled in love of Him, upon a dark night, which is the privation and purgation of all its sensual desires, with respect to all outward things of the world and to those which were delectable to its flesh, and likewise with respect to the desires of its will. This all comes to pass in this purgation of sense; for which cause the soul says that it went forth while its house was still at rest;[77] which house is its sensual part, the desires being at rest and asleep in it, as it is to them.[78] For there is no going forth from the pains and afflictions of the secret places of the desires until these be mortified and put to sleep. And this, the soul says, was a happy chance for it -- namely, its going forth without being observed: that is, without any desire of its flesh or any other thing being able to hinder it. And likewise, because it went out by night -- which signifies the privation of all these things wrought in it by God, which privation was night for it.

5. And it was a happy chance that God should lead it into this night, from which there came to it so much good; for of itself the soul would not have succeeded in entering therein, because no man of himself can succeed in voiding himself of all his desires in order to come to God.

6. This is, in brief, the exposition of the stanza; and we shall now have to go through it, line by line, setting down one line after another, and expounding that which pertains to our purpose. And the same method is followed in the other stanzas, as I said in the Prologue[79] -- namely, that each stanza will be set down and expounded, and afterwards each line.



Explains the nature of this dark night through which the soul says that it has passed on the road to union.

On A Dark Night

WE may say that there are three reasons for which this journey[80] made by the soul to union with God is called night. The first has to do with the point from which the soul goes forth, for it has gradually to deprive itself of desire for all the worldly things which it possessed, by denying them to itself;[81] the which denial and deprivation are, as it were, night to all the senses of man. The second reason has to do with the mean,[82] or the road along which the soul must travel to this union -- that is, faith, which is likewise as dark as night to the understanding. The third has to do with the point to which it travels -- namely, God, Who, equally, is dark night to the soul in this life. These three nights must pass through the soul -- or, rather, the soul must pass through them -- in order that it may come to Divine union with God.

2. In the book of the holy Tobias these three kinds of night were shadowed forth by the three nights which, as the angel commanded, were to pass ere the youth Tobias should be united with his bride. In the first he commanded him to burn the heart of the fish in the fire, which signifies the heart that is affectioned to, and set upon, the things of the world; which, in order that one may begin to journey toward God, must be burned and purified from all that is creature, in the fire of the love of God. And in this purgation the devil flees away, for he has power over the soul only when it is attached to things corporeal and temporal.

3. On the second night the angel told him that he would be admitted into the company of the holy patriarchs, who are the fathers of the faith. For, passing through the first night, which is self-privation of all objects of sense, the soul at once enters into the second night, and abides alone in faith to the exclusion, not of charity, but of other knowledge acquired by the understanding, as we shall say hereafter, which is a thing that pertains not to sense.

 4. On the third night the angel told him that he would obtain a blessing, which is God; Who, by means of the second night, which is faith, continually communicates Himself to the soul in such a secret and intimate manner that He becomes another night to the soul, inasmuch as this said communication is far darker than those others, as we shall say presently. And, when this third night is past, which is the complete accomplishment of the communication of God in the spirit, which is ordinarily wrought in great darkness of the soul, there then follows its union with the Bride, which is the Wisdom of God. Even so the angel said likewise to Tobias that, when the third night was past, he should be united with his bride in the fear of the Lord; for, when this fear of God is perfect, love is perfect, and this comes to pass when the transformation of the soul is wrought through its love.

5. These three parts of the night are all one night; but, after the manner of night, it has three parts. For the first part, which is that of sense, is comparable to the beginning of night, the point at which things begin to fade from sight. And the second part, which is faith, is comparable to midnight, which is total darkness. And the third part is like the close of night, which is God, the which part is now near to the light of day. And, that we may understand this the better, we shall treat of each of these reasons separately as we proceed.


Speaks of the first cause of this night, which is that of the privation of the desire in all things, and gives the reason for which it is called night.

WE here describe as night the privation of every kind of pleasure which belongs to the desire; for, even as night is naught but the privation of light, and, consequently, of all objects that can be seen by means of light, whereby the visual faculty remains unoccupied[83] and in darkness, even so likewise the mortification of desire may be called night to the soul. For, when the soul is deprived of the pleasure of its desire in all things, it remains, as it were, unoccupied and in darkness. For even as the visual faculty, by means of light, is nourished and fed by objects which can be seen, and which, when the light is quenched, are not seen, even so, by means of the desire, the soul is nourished and fed by all things wherein it can take pleasure according to its faculties; and, when this also is quenched, or rather, mortified, the soul ceases to feed upon the pleasure of all things, and thus, with respect to its desire, it remains unoccupied and in darkness.

2. Let us take an example from each of the faculties. When the soul deprives its desire of the pleasure of all that can delight the sense of hearing, the soul remains unoccupied and in darkness with respect to this faculty. And, when it deprives itself of the pleasure of all that can please the sense of sight, it remains unoccupied and in darkness with respect to this faculty also. And, when it deprives itself of the pleasure of all the sweetness of perfumes which can give it pleasure through the sense of smell, it remains equally unoccupied and in darkness according to this faculty. And, if it also denies itself the pleasure of all food that can satisfy the palate, the soul likewise remains unoccupied and in darkness. And finally, when the soul mortifies itself with respect to all the delights and pleasures that it can receive from the sense of touch, it remains, in the same way, unoccupied and in darkness with respect to this faculty. So that the soul that has denied and thrust away from itself the pleasures which come from all these things, and has mortified its desire with respect to them, may be said to be, as it were, in the darkness of night, which is naught else than an emptiness within itself of all things.

3. The reason for this is that, as the philosophers say, the soul, as soon as God infuses it into the body, is like a smooth, blank board[84] upon which nothing is painted; and, save for that which it experiences through the senses, nothing is communicated to it, in the course of nature, from any other source. And thus, for as long as it is in the body, it is like one who is in a dark prison and who knows nothing, save what he is able to see through the windows of the said prison; and, if he saw nothing through them, he would see nothing in any other way. And thus the soul, save for that which is communicated to it through the senses, which are the windows of its prison, could acquire nothing, in the course of nature, in any other way.

4. Wherefore, if the soul rejects and denies that which it can receive through the senses, we can quite well say that it remains, as it were, in darkness and empty; since, as appears from what has been said, no light can enter it, in the course of nature, by any other means of illumination than those aforementioned. For, although it is true that the soul cannot help hearing and seeing and smelling and tasting and touching, this is of no greater import, nor, if the soul denies and rejects the object, is it hindered more than if it saw it not, heard it not, etc. Just so a man who desires to shut his eyes will remain in darkness, like the blind man who has not the faculty of sight. And to this purpose David says these words: Pauper sum ego, et in laboribus a indenture mea.[85] Which signifies: I am poor and in labours from my youth. He calls himself poor, although it is clear that he was rich, because his will was not set upon riches, and thus it was as though he were really poor. But if he had not been really poor and had not been so in his will, he would not have been truly poor, for his soul, as far as its desire was concerned, would have been rich and replete. For that reason we call this detachment night to the soul, for we are not treating here of the lack of things, since this implies no detachment on the part of the soul if it has a desire for them; but we are treating of the detachment from them of the taste and desire, for it is this that leaves the soul free and void of them, although it may have them; for it is not the things of this world that either occupy the soul or cause it harm, since they enter it not, but rather the will and desire for them, for it is these that dwell within it.

5. This first kind of night, as we shall say hereafter, belongs to the soul according to its sensual part, which is one of the two parts, whereof we spoke above, through which the soul must pass in order to attain to union. 6. Let us now say how meet it is for the soul to go forth from its house into this dark night of sense, in order to travel to union with God.


Wherein is declared how necessary it is for the soul truly to pass through this dark night of sense, which is mortification of desire, in order that it may journey to union with God.

THE reason for which it is necessary for the soul, in order to attain to Divine union with God, to pass through this dark night of mortification of the desires and denial of pleasures in all things, is because all the affections which it has for creatures are pure darkness in the eyes of God, and, when the soul is clothed in these affections, it has no capacity for being enlightened and possessed by the pure and simple light of God, if it first cast them not from it; for light cannot agree with darkness; since, as Saint John says: Tenebroe eam non comprehenderunt.[86] That is: The darkness could not receive the light.

2. The reason is that two contraries (even as philosophy teaches us) cannot coexist in one person; and that darkness, which is affection set upon the creatures, and light, which is God, are contrary to each other, and have no likeness or accord between one another, even as Saint Paul taught the Corinthians, saying: Quoe conventio luci ad tenebras?[87] That is to say: What communion can there be between light and darkness? Hence it is that the light of Divine union cannot dwell in the soul if these affections first flee not away from it.

 3. In order that we may the better prove what has been said, it must be known that the affection and attachment which the soul has for creatures renders the soul like to these creatures; and, the greater is its affection, the closer is the equality and likeness between them; for love creates a likeness between that which loves and that which is loved. For which reason David, speaking of those who set their affections upon idols, said thus: Similes illis fiant qui faciunt ea: et omnes qui confidunt in eis.[88] Which signifies: Let them that set their heart upon them be like to them. And thus, he that loves a creature becomes as low as that creature, and, in some ways, lower; for love not only makes the lover equal to the object of his love, but even subjects him to it. Hence in the same way it comes to pass that the soul that loves anything else becomes incapable of pure union with God and transformation in Him. For the low estate of the creature is much less capable of union with the high estate of the Creator than is darkness with light. For all things of earth and heaven, compared with God, are nothing, as Jeremias says in these words: Aspexi terram, et ecce vacua erat, et nihil; et coelos, et non erat lux in eis.[89] 'I beheld the earth,' he says, 'and it was void, and it was nothing; and the heavens, and saw that they had no light.' In saying that he beheld the earth void, he means that all its creatures were nothing, and that the earth was nothing likewise. And, in saying that he beheld the heavens and saw no light in them, he says that all the luminaries of heaven, compared with God, are pure darkness. So that in this way all the creatures are nothing; and their affections, we may say, are less than nothing, since they are an impediment to transformation in God and the privation thereof, even as darkness is not only nothing, but less than nothing, since it is privation of light. And even as he that is in darkness comprehends not the light, so the soul that sets its affection upon creatures will be unable to comprehend God; and, until it be purged, it will neither be able to possess Him here below, through pure transformation of love, nor yonder in clear vision. And, for greater clarity, we will now speak in greater detail.

 4. All the being of creation, then, compared with the infinite Being of God, is nothing. And therefore the soul that sets its affection upon the being of creation is likewise nothing in the eyes of God, and less than nothing; for, as we have said, love makes equality and similitude, and even sets the lover below the object of his love. And therefore such a soul will in no wise be able to attain to union with the infinite Being of God; for that which is not can have no communion with that which is. And, coming down in detail to some examples, all the beauty of the creatures, compared with the infinite beauty of God, is the height of deformity[90] even as Solomon says in the Proverbs: Fallax gratia, et vana est pulchritudo.[91] 'Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain.' And thus the soul that is affectioned to the beauty of any creature is the height of deformity in the eyes of God. And therefore this soul that is deformed will be unable to become transformed in beauty, which is God, since deformity cannot attain to beauty; and all the grace and beauty of the creatures, compared with the grace of God, is the height of misery[92] and of uncomeliness. Wherefore the soul that is ravished by the graces and beauties of the creatures has only supreme[93] misery and unattractiveness in the eyes of God; and thus it cannot be capable of the infinite grace and loveliness of God; for that which has no grace is far removed from that which is infinitely gracious; and all the goodness of the creatures of the world, in comparison with the infinite goodness of God, may be described as wickedness. 'For there is naught good, save only God.'[94] And therefore the soul that sets its heart upon the good things of the world is supremely evil in the eyes of God. And, even as wickedness comprehends not goodness, even so such a soul cannot be united with God, Who is supreme goodness.

5. All the wisdom of the world and all human ability, compared with the infinite wisdom of God, are pure and supreme ignorance, even as Saint Paul writes ad Corinthios, saying: Sapientia hujus mundi stultitia est apud Deum.[95] 'The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.' Wherefore any soul that makes account of all its knowledge and ability in order to come to union with the wisdom of God is supremely ignorant in the eyes of God and will remain far removed from that wisdom; for ignorance knows not what wisdom is, even as Saint Paul says that this wisdom seems foolishness to God; since, in the eyes of God, those who consider themselves to be persons with a certain amount of knowledge are very ignorant, so that the Apostle, writing to the Romans, says of them: Dicentes enim se esse sapientes, stulti facti sunt. That is: Professing themselves to be wise, they became foolish.[96] And those alone acquire wisdom of God who are like ignorant children, and, laying aside their knowledge, walk in His service with love. This manner of wisdom Saint Paul taught likewise ad Corinthios: Si quis videtur inter vos sapiens esse in hoc soeculo, stultus fiat ut sit sapiens. Sapientia enim hujus mundi stultitia est apud Deum.[97] That is: If any man among you seem to be wise, let him become ignorant that he may be wise; for the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. So that, in order to come to union with the wisdom of God, the soul has to proceed rather by unknowing than by knowing; and all the dominion and liberty of the world, compared with the liberty and dominion of the Spirit of God, is the most abject[98] slavery, affliction and captivity.

6. Wherefore the soul that is enamoured of prelacy,[99] or of any other such office, and longs for liberty of desire, is considered and treated, in the sight of God, not as a son, but as a base slave and captive, since it has not been willing to accept His holy doctrine, wherein He teaches us that whoso would be greater must be less, and whoso would be less must be greater. And therefore such a soul will be unable to attain to that true liberty of spirit which is attained in His Divine union. For slavery can have no part with liberty; and liberty cannot dwell in a heart that is subject to desires, for this is the heart of a slave; but it dwells in the free man, because he has the heart of a son. It was for this cause that Sara bade her husband Abraham cast out the bondwoman and her son, saying that the son of the bondwoman should not be heir with the son of the free woman.[100]

7. And all the delights and pleasures of the will in all the things of the world, in comparison with all those delights which are God, are supreme affliction, torment and bitterness. And thus he that sets his heart upon them is considered, in the sight of God, as worthy of supreme affliction, torment and bitterness; and thus he will be unable to attain to the delights of the embrace of union with God, since he is worthy of affliction and bitterness. All the wealth and glory of all creation, in comparison with the wealth which is God, is supreme poverty and wretchedness. Thus the soul that loves and possesses creature wealth is supremely poor and wretched in the sight of God, and for that reason will be unable to attain to that wealth and glory which is the state of transformation in God; for that which is miserable and poor is supremely far removed from that which is supremely rich and glorious.

 8. And therefore Divine Wisdom, grieving for such as these, who make themselves vile, low, miserable and poor, because they love the things in this world which seem to them so rich and beautiful, addresses an exclamation to them in the Proverbs, saying: O viri, ad vos clamito, et vox mea ad filios hominum. Intelligite, parvuli, astutiam, et insipientes, animadvertite. Audite quia de rebus magnis locutura sum. And farther on he continues: Mecum sunt divitoe, et gloria, opes superboe et justicia. Melior est fructus meus auro, et lapide pretioso, et genimina mea argento electo. In viis justitioe ambulo, in medio semitarum judicii, ut ditem diligentes me, et thesauros eorum repleam.[101] Which signifies: O ye men, to you I call, and my voice is to the sons of men. Attend, little ones, to subtlety and sagacity; ye that are foolish, take notice. Hear, for I have to speak of great things. With me are riches and glory, high riches and justice. Better is the fruit that ye will find in me than gold and precious stones; and my generation -- namely, that which ye will engender of me in your souls -- is better than choice silver. I walk in the ways of justice, in the midst of the paths of judgment, that I may enrich those that love me and fill their treasures perfectly. -- Herein Divine Wisdom speaks to all those that set their hearts and affections upon anything of the world, according as we have already said. And she calls them 'little ones,' because they make themselves like to that which they love, which is little. And therefore she tells them to be subtle and to take note that she is treating of great things and not of things that are little like themselves. That the great riches and the glory that they love are with her and in her, and not where they think. And that high riches and justice dwell in her; for, although they think the things of this world to be all this, she tells them to take note that her things are better, saying that the fruit that they will find in them will be better for them than gold and precious stones; and that which she engenders in souls is better than the choice silver which they love; by which is understood any kind of affection that can be possessed in this life.


Wherein the aforementioned subject is treated and continued, and it is shown by passages and figures from Holy Scripture how necessary it is for the soul to journey to God through this dark night of the mortification of desire in all things.

FROM what has been said it may be seen in some measure how great a distance there is between all that the creatures are in themselves and that which God is in Himself, and how souls that set their affections upon any of these creatures are at as great a distance as they from God; for, as we have said, love produces equality and likeness. This distance was clearly realized by Saint Augustine, who said in the Sololoquies, speaking with God: 'Miserable man that I am, when will my littleness and imperfection be able to have fellowship with Thy uprightness? Thou indeed art good, and I am evil; Thou art merciful, and I am impious; Thou art holy, I am miserable; Thou art just, I am unjust; Thou art light, I am blind; Thou, life, I, death; Thou, medicine, I, sick; Thou, supreme truth, I, utter vanity.' All this is said by this Saint.[102]

 2. Wherefore, it is supreme ignorance for the soul to think that it will be able to pass to this high estate of union with God if first it void not the desire of all things, natural and supernatural, which may hinder it, according as we shall explain hereafter;[103] for there is the greatest possible distance between these things and that which comes to pass in this estate, which is naught else than transformation in God. For this reason Our Lord, when showing us this path, said through Saint Luke: Qui non renuntiat omnibus quoe possidet, non potest meus esse discipulus.[104] This signifies: He that renounces not all things that he possesses with his will cannot be My disciple. And this is evident; for the doctrine that the Son of God came to teach was contempt for all things, whereby a man might receive as a reward the Spirit of God in himself. For, as long as the soul rejects not all things, it has no capacity to receive the Spirit of God in pure transformation.

3. Of this we have a figure in Exodus, wherein we read that God gave not the children of Israel the food from Heaven, which was manna, until the flour which they had brought from Egypt failed them. By this is signified that first of all it is meet to renounce all things, for this angels' food is not fitting for the palate that would find delight in the food of men. And not only does the soul become incapable of receiving the Divine Spirit when it stays and pastures on other strange pleasures, but those souls greatly offend the Divine Majesty who desire spiritual food and are not content with God alone, but desire rather to intermingle desire and affection for other things. This can likewise be seen in the same book of Holy Scripture,[105] wherein it is said that, not content with that simplest of food, they desired and craved fleshly food.[106] And that Our Lord was greatly wroth that they should desire to intermingle a food that was so base and so coarse with one that was so noble[107] and so simple; which, though it was so, had within itself the sweetness and substance of all foods.[108] Wherefore, while they yet had the morsels in their mouths, as David says likewise: Ira Dei descendit super eos.[109] The wrath of God came down upon them, sending fire from Heaven and consuming many thousands of them; for God held it an unworthy thing that they should have a desire for other food when He had given them food from Heaven.

4. Oh, did spiritual persons but know how much good and what great abundance of spirit they lose through not seeking to raise up their desires above childish things, and how in this simple spiritual food they would find the sweetness of all things, if they desired not to taste those things! But such food gives them no pleasure, for the reason why the children of Israel received not the sweetness of all foods that was contained in the manna was that they would not reserve their desire for it alone. So that they failed to find in the manna all the sweetness and strength that they could wish, not because it was not contained in the manna, but because they desired some other thing. Thus he that will love some other thing together with God of a certainty makes little account of God, for he weighs in the balance against God that which, as we have said, is at the greatest possible distance from God.

5. It is well known by experience that, when the will of a man is affectioned to one thing, he prizes it more than any other; although some other thing may be much better, he takes less pleasure in it. And if he wishes to enjoy both, he is bound to wrong the more important, because he makes an equality between them. Wherefore, since there is naught that equals God, the soul that loves some other thing together with Him, or clings to it, does Him a grievous wrong. And if this is so, what would it be doing if it loved anything more than God?

6. It is this, too, that was denoted by the command of God to Moses that he should ascend the Mount to speak with Him: He commanded him not only to ascend it alone, leaving the children of Israel below, but not even to allow the beasts to feed over against the Mount.[110] By this He signified that the soul that is to ascend this mount of perfection, to commune with God, must not only renounce all things and leave them below, but must not even allow the desires, which are the beasts, to pasture over against this mount -- that is, upon other things which are not purely God, in Whom -- that is, in the state of perfection -- every desire ceases. So he that journeys on the road and makes the ascent to God must needs be habitually careful to quell and mortify the desires; and the greater the speed wherewith a soul does this, the sooner will it reach the end of its journey. Until these be quelled, it cannot reach the end, however much it practise the virtues, since it is unable to attain to perfection in them; for this perfection consists in voiding and stripping and purifying the soul of every desire. Of this we have another very striking figure in Genesis, where we read that, when the patriarch Jacob desired to ascend Mount Bethel, in order to build an altar there to God whereon he should offer Him sacrifice, he first commanded all his people to do three things: one was that they should cast away from them all strange gods; the second, that they should purify themselves; the third, that they should change their garments.[111]

7. By these three things it is signified that any soul that will ascend this mount in order to make of itself an altar whereon it may offer to God the sacrifice of pure love and praise and pure reverence, must, before ascending to the summit of the mount, have done these three things aforementioned perfectly. First, it must cast away all strange gods -- namely, all strange affections and attachments; secondly, it must purify itself of the remnants which the desires aforementioned have left in the soul, by means of the dark night of sense whereof we are speaking, habitually denying them and repenting itself of them; and thirdly, in order to reach the summit of this high mount, it must have changed its garments, which, through its observance of the first two things, God will change for it, from old to new, by giving it a new understanding of God in God, the old human understanding being cast aside; and a new love of God in God, the will being now stripped of all its old desires and human pleasures, and the soul being brought into a new state of knowledge and profound delight, all other old images and forms of knowledge having been cast away, and all that belongs to the old man, which is the aptitude of the natural self, quelled, and the soul clothed with a new supernatural aptitude with respect to all its faculties. So that its operation, which before was human, has become Divine, which is that that is attained in the state of union, wherein the soul becomes naught else than an altar whereon God is adored in praise and love, and God alone is upon it. For this cause God commanded that the altar whereon the Ark of the Covenant was to be laid should be hollow within;[112] so that the soul may understand how completely empty of all things God desires it to be, that it may be an altar worthy of the presence of His Majesty. On this altar it was likewise forbidden that there should be any strange fire, or that its own fire should ever fail; and so essential was this that, because Nadab and Abiu, who were the sons of the High Priest Aaron, offered strange fire upon His Altar, Our Lord was wroth and slew them there before the altar.[113] By this we are to understand that the love of God must never fail in the soul, so that the soul may be a worthy altar, and so that no other love must be mingled with it.

8. God permits not that any other thing should dwell together with Him. Wherefore we read in the First Book the Kings that, when the Philistines put the Ark of the Covenant into the temple where their idol was, the idol was cast down upon the ground at the dawn of each day, and broken to pieces.[114] And He permits and wills that there should be only one desire where He is, which is to keep the law of God perfectly, and to bear upon oneself the Cross of Christ. And thus naught else is said in the Divine Scripture to have been commanded by God to be put in the Ark, where the manna was, save the book of the Law,[115] and the rod Moses,[116] which signifies the Cross. For the soul that aspires naught else than the keeping of the law of the Lord perfectly and the bearing of the Cross of Christ will be a true Ark, containing within itself the true manna, which is God, when that soul attains to a perfect possession within itself of this law and this rod, without any other thing soever.


Wherein are treated two serious evils caused in the soul by the desires, the one evil being privative and the other positive.

IN order that what we have said may be the more clearly and fully understood, it will be well to set down here and state how these desires are the cause of two serious evils in the soul: the one is that they deprive it of the Spirit of God, and the other is that the soul wherein they dwell is wearied, tormented, darkened, defiled and weakened, according to that which is said in Jeremias, Chapter II: Duo mala fecit Populus meus: dereliquerunt fontem aquoe vivoe, et foderunt sibi cisternas, dissipatas, quoe continere non valent aquas. Which signifies: They have forsaken Me, Who am the fountain of living water, and they have hewed them out broken cisterns, that can hold no water.[117] Those two evils -- namely, the privative and the positive -- may be caused by any disordered act of the desire. And, speaking first of all, of the privative, it is clear from the very fact that the soul becomes affectioned to a thing which comes under the head of creature, that the more the desire for that thing fills the soul,[118] the less capacity has the soul for God; inasmuch as two contraries, according to the philosophers, cannot coexist in one person; and further, since, as we said in the fourth chapter, affection for God and affection for creatures are contraries, there cannot be contained within one will affection for creatures and affection for God. For what has the creature to do with the Creator? What has sensual to do with spiritual? Visible with invisible? Temporal with eternal? Food that is heavenly, spiritual and pure with food that is of sense alone and is purely sensual? Christlike poverty of spirit with attachment to aught soever?

2. Wherefore, as in natural generation no form can be introduced unless the preceding, contrary form is first expelled from the subject, which form, while present, is an impediment to the other by reason of the contrariety which the two have between each other; even so, for as long as the soul is subjected to the sensual spirit, the spirit which is pure and spiritual cannot enter it. Wherefore our Saviour said through Saint Matthew: Non est bonum sumere panem filiorum, et mittere canibus.[119] That is: It is not meet to take the children's bread and to cast it to the dogs. And elsewhere, too, he says through the same Evangelist: Nolite sanctum dare canibus.[120] Which signifies: Give not that which is holy to the dogs. In these passages Our Lord compares those who renounce their creature-desires, and prepare themselves to receive the Spirit of God in purity, to the children of God; and those who would have their desire feed upon the creatures, to dogs. For it is given to children to eat with their father at table and from his dish, which is to feed upon His Spirit, and to dogs are given the crumbs which fall from the table.

 3. From this we are to learn that all created things are crumbs that have fallen from the table of God. Wherefore he that feeds ever upon[121] the creatures is rightly called a dog, and therefore the bread is taken from the children, because they desire not to rise above feeding upon the crumbs, which are created things, to the Uncreated Spirit of their Father. Therefore, like dogs, they are ever hungering, and justly so, because the crumbs serve to whet their appetite rather than to satisfy their hunger. And thus David says of them: Famem patientur ut canes, et circuibunt civitatem. Si vero non fuerint saturati, et murmurabunt.[122] Which signifies: They shall suffer hunger like dogs and shall go round about the city, and, if they find not enough to fill them, they shall murmur. For this is the nature of one that has desires, that he is ever discontented and dissatisfied, like one that suffers hunger; for what has the hunger which all the creatures suffer to do with the fullness which is caused by the Spirit of God? Wherefore this fullness that is uncreated cannot enter the soul, if there be not first cast out that other created hunger which belongs to the desire of the soul; for, as we have said two contraries cannot dwell in one person, the which contraries in this case are hunger and fullness.

4. From what has been said it will be seen how much greater is the work of God[123] in the cleansing and the purging of a soul from these contrarieties than in the creating of that soul from nothing. For thee contrarieties, these contrary desires and affections, are more completely opposed to God and offer Him greater resistance than does nothingness; for nothingness resists not at all. And let this suffice with respect to the first of the important evils which are inflicted upon the soul by the desires -- namely, resistance to the Spirit of God -- since much has been said of this above.

5. Let us now speak of the second effect which they cause in the soul. This is of many kinds, because the desires weary the soul and torment and darken it, and defile it and weaken it. Of these five things we shall speak separately, in their turn.

 6. With regard to the first, it is clear that the desires weary and fatigue the soul; for they are like restless and discontented children, who are ever demanding this or that from their mother, and are never contented. And even as one that digs because he covets a treasure is wearied and fatigued, even so is the soul weary and fatigued in order to attain that which its desires demand of it; and although in the end it may attain it, it is still weary, because it is never satisfied; for, after all, the cisterns which it is digging are broken, and cannot hold water to satisfy thirst. And thus, as Isaias says: Lassus adhuc sitit, et anima ejus vacua est.[124] Which signifies: His desire is empty. And the soul that has desires is wearied and fatigued; for it is like a man that is sick of a fever, who finds himself no better until the fever leaves him, and whose thirst increases with every moment. For, as is said in the Book of Job: Cum satiatus fuerit, arctabitur, oestuabit, et omnis dolor irruet super eum.[125] Which signifies: When he has satisfied his desire, he will be the more oppressed and straitened; the heat of desire hath increased in his soul and thus every sorrow will fall upon him. The soul is wearied and fatigued by its desires, because it is wounded and moved and disturbed by them as is water by the winds; in just the same way they disturb it, allowing it not to rest in any place or in any thing soever. And of such a soul says Isaias: Cor impii quasi mare fervens.[126] 'The heart of the wicked man is like the sea when it rages.' And he is a wicked man that conquers not his desires. The soul that would fain satisfy its desires grows wearied and fatigued; for it is like one that, being an hungered, opens his mouth that he may sate himself with wind, whereupon, instead of being satisfied, his craving becomes greater, for the wind is no food for him. To this purpose said Jeremias: In desiderio animoe sum attraxit ventum amoris sui.[127] As though he were to say: In the desire of his will he snuffed up the wind of his affection. And he then tries to describe the aridity wherein such a soul remains, and warns it, saying: Prohibe pedem tuum a nuditate, et guttur tuum a siti.[128] Which signifies: Keep thy foot (that is, thy thought) from being bare and thy throat from thirst (that is to say, thy will from the indulgence of the desire which causes greater dryness); and, even as the lover is wearied and fatigued upon the day of his hopes, when his attempt has proved to be vain, so the soul is wearied and fatigued by all its desires and by indulgence in them, since they all cause it greater emptiness and hunger; for, as is often said, desire is like the fire, which increases as wood is thrown upon it, and which, when it has consumed the wood, must needs die.

7. And in this regard it is still worse with desire; for the fire goes down when the wood is consumed, but desire, though it increases when fuel is added to it, decreases not correspondingly when the fuel is consumed; on the contrary, instead of going down, as does the fire when its fuel is consumed, it grows weak through weariness, for its hunger is increased and its food diminished. And of this Isaias speaks, saying: Declinabit ad dexteram, et esuriet: et comedet ad sinistram, et non saturabitur.[129] This signifies: He shall turn to the right hand, and shall be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and shall not be filled. For they that mortify not their desires, when they 'turn,' justly see the fullness of the sweetness of spirit of those who are at the right hand of God, which fullness is not granted to themselves; and justly, too, when they eat on the left hand,[130] by which is meant the satisfaction of their desire with some creature comfort, they are not filled, for, leaving aside that which alone can satisfy, they feed on that which causes them greater hunger. It is clear, then, that the desires weary and fatigue the soul.


CHAPTER VII Wherein is shown how the desires torment the soul. This is proved likewise by comparisons and quotations.




BOOK I Wherein is described the nature of dark night and how necessary it is to pass through it to Divine union; and in particular this book describes the dark night of sense, and desire, and the evils which these work in the soul.
CHAPTER I  Sets down the first stanza. Describes two different nights through which spiritual persons pass, according to the two parts of man, the lower and the higher. Expounds the stanza which follows.
CHAPTER II  Explains the nature of this dark night through which the soul says that it has passed on the road to union.
CHAPTER III Speaks of the first cause of this night, which is that of the privation of the desire in all things, and gives the reason for which it is called night.
CHAPTER IV Wherein is declared how necessary it is for the soul truly to pass through this dark night of sense, which is mortification of desire, in order that it may journey to union with God.
CHAPTER V Wherein the aforementioned subject is treated and continued, and it is shown by passages and figures from Holy Scripture how necessary it is for the soul to journey to God through this dark night of the mortification of desire in all things.
CHAPTER VI Wherein are treated two serious evils caused in the soul by the desires, the one evil being privative and the other positive.
CHAPTER VII Wherein is shown how the desires torment the soul. This is proved likewise by comparisons and quotations.
CHAPTER VIII Wherein is shown how the desires darken and blind the soul.
CHAPTER IX Wherein is described how the desires defile the soul. This is proved by comparisons and quotations from Holy Scripture.
CHAPTER X Wherein is described how the desires weaken the soul in virtue and make it lukewarm.
CHAPTER XI Wherein it is proved necessary that the soul that would attain to Divine union should be free from desires, however slight they be.
CHAPTER XII Which treats of the answer to another question, explaining what the desires are that suffice to cause the evils aforementioned in the soul.
CHAPTER XIII Wherein is described the manner and way which the soul must follow in order to enter this night of sense.
CHAPTER XIV Wherein is expounded the second line of the stanza
CHAPTER XV Wherein are expounded the remaining lines of the aforementioned stanza.









O good Jesus, Word of the Eternal Father, 
Convert me.

O good Jesus, Son of Mary,
Make me her child.

O good Jesus, My Master,  
Teach me. 

O good Jesus, Prince of peace, 
Give me peace.

O good Jesus, my Refuge,
Receive me.

O good Jesus, my Pastor,
Feed my soul.

O good Jesus, Model of patience,  
Comfort me. 

O good Jesus, meek and humble of heart, 
Make my heart like unto Thine.

O good Jesus, my Redeemer, 
Save me.

O good Jesus, my God and my All,  
Possess me. 

O good Jesus, the true Way, 
Direct me.

O good Jesus, Eternal Truth,  
Instruct me. 

O good Jesus, Life of the blessed, 
Make me live in Thee.

O good Jesus, my Support,
Strengthen me.

O good Jesus, my Justice,
Justify me.

O good Jesus, my Mediator,
Reconcile me to Thy Father.

O good Jesus, Physician of my soul,
Heal me.

O good Jesus, my Judge,
Absolve me.

O good Jesus, my King,
Govern me.

O good Jesus, my Sanctification,  
Sanctify me. 

O good Jesus, Abyss of goodness, 
Pardon me.

O good Jesus, Living Bread from Heaven,  
Satiate me. 

O good Jesus, the Father of the prodigal, 
Receive me.

O good Jesus, Joy of my soul,  
Refresh me. 

O good Jesus, my Helper, 
Assist me.

O good Jesus, Magnet of love,  
Attract me. 

O good Jesus, my Protector, 
Defend me.

O good Jesus, my Hope,  
Sustain me. 

O good Jesus, Object of my love, 
Make me love Thee.

O good Jesus, Fountain of life,  
Cleanse me. 

O good Jesus, my Propitiation, 
Purify me.

O good Jesus, my Last End,
Let me obtain Thee.

O good Jesus, my Glory,
Glorify me.


V. Jesus, hear my prayer.
R. Jesus, graciously hear me.

Let Us Pray

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who hast said,
"Ask and you shall receive,
seek and you shall find,
knock and it shall be opened unto you,"
mercifully attend to our supplications,
and grant us the gift of Thy Divine charity,
that we may ever love Thee with our whole hearts,
and may never cease from praising Thee,
Who livest and reignest world without end.

R. Amen.









Lord, have mercy on us 
Christ, have mercy on us 

Lord, have mercy on us 
Christ, hear us 

Christ, graciously hear us 

God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us 
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us 

God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us 
Holy Mary,  pray for us 

St. Joseph, pray for us 
Blessed offspring of David, pray for us 
Light of patriarchs, pray for us 
Spouse of the mother of God, pray for us 
Chaste custodian of the Blessed Virgin, pray for us 
Guardian of the Son of God, pray for us 
Defender of Christ, pray for us 
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us 
O Joseph, most just, pray for us 
O Joseph, most chaste, pray for us 
O Joseph, most prudent, pray for us 
O Joseph, most forceful, pray for us 
O Joseph, most obedient, pray for us 
O Joseph, most faithful, pray for us 
Mirror of patience, pray for us 
Lover of poverty, pray for us 
Model of laborers, pray for us 
Patriarch of the home, pray for us 
Protector of virgins, pray for us 
Strength of the family, pray for us 
Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us 
Hope of the sick, pray for us 
Patron of the dying, pray for us 
Terror of demons, pray for us 
Protector of the church, pray for us 

Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, forgive us O Lord 
Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world,  hear us O Lord 
Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. 

Let us pray 

Lord Jesus, through the merits of the devoted spouse 
of your most holy Mother, help us, we beseech thee, 
that what of ourselves we cannot obtain, 
may be granted through the intercession 
of the Most Holy Patriarch, Saint Joseph. 
You who reign with God, the Father, 
in the unity of the Holy Spirit now and forever.




















O Great Mary,
pray for us.

O Mary, greatest of Maries,
pray for us.

O Greatest of women,
pray for us.

O Queen of angels,
pray for us.

O Mistress of the heavens,
pray for us.

O Woman full and replete with the grace of the Holy Spirit,
pray for us.

O Blessed and most blessed,
pray for us.

O Mother of Eternal Glory,
pray for us.

O Mother of the heavenly and earthly Church,
pray for us.

O Mother of Love and Indulgence,
pray for us.

O Mother of the Golden Heights,
pray for us.

O Honor of the sky,
pray for us.

O Sign of tranquillity,
pray for us.

O Gate of Heaven,
pray for us.

O Golden Vessel,
pray for us.

O Couch of Love and Mercy,
pray for us.

O Temple of Divinity,
pray for us.

O Beauty of virgins,
pray for us.

O Mistress of the tribes,
pray for us.

O Fountain of gardens,
pray for us.

O Cleansing of sins,
pray for us.

O Purifying of souls,
pray for us.

O Mother of orphans,
pray for us.

O Breast of infants,
pray for us.

O Solace of the wretched,
pray for us.

O Star of the sea,
pray for us.

O Handmaid of the Lord,
pray for us.

O Mother of Christ,
pray for us.

O Resort of the Lord,
pray for us.

O Graceful like the dove,
pray for us.

O Serene like the moon,
pray for us.

O Resplendent like the sun,
pray for us.

O Cancelling Eve's disgrace,
pray for us.

O Regeneration of life,
pray for us.

O Beauty of women,
pray for us.

O Leader of virgins,
pray for us.

O Garden Enclosed,
pray for us.

O Fountain sealed up,
pray for us.

O Mother of God,
pray for us.

O Perpetual Virgin,
pray for us.

O Holy Virgin,
pray for us.

O Prudent Virgin,
pray for us.

O Serene Virgin,
pray for us.

O Chaste Virgin,
pray for us.

O Temple of the Living God,
pray for us.

O Royal Throne of the Eternal King,
pray for us.

O Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit,
pray for us.

O Virgin of the Root of Jesse,
pray for us.

O Cedar of Mount Lebanon,
pray for us.

O Cypress of Mount Sion,
pray for us.

O Crimson Rose of the Land of Jacob,
pray for us.

O Blooming like the palm tree,
pray for us.

O Fruitful like the olive tree,
pray for us.

O Glorious Son-bearer,
pray for us.

O Light of Nazareth,
pray for us.

O Glory of Jerusalem,
pray for us.

O Beauty of the world,
pray for us.

O Noblest-Born of the Christian flock,
pray for us.

O Queen of Life,
pray for us.

O Ladder of Heaven,
pray for us.








Over 800 years ago Christians were being captured and sold into slavery by the thousands, and nobody knew what to do about it. Then, in the year 1198, a man had an idea. St. John of Matha founded the Trinitarians to go to the slave markets, buy the Christian slaves and set them free. To carry out this plan, the Trinitarians needed large amounts of money. So, they placed their fund-raising efforts under the patronage of Mary. They were so successful at that, over the centuries, the Trinitarians were able to free thousands and thousands of people and to return them safely home. In gratitude for her miraculous assistance, St. John of Matha honored Mary with the title of "Our Lady of Good Remedy." Devotion to Mary under this ancient title is widely known in Europe and Latin America, and the Church celebrates her feast day on October 8. Our Lady of Good Remedy is often depicted as the Virgin Mary handing a bag of money to St. John of Matha. When in need - for whatever reason, but especially where you have had difficulty obtaining help - invoke the aid of Our Lady of Good Remedy, and you will surely experience the power of her intercession.


(We ask the Virgin Mary to bring end to all abortion.)

O QUEEN OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, Most Holy Virgin, we venerate thee. Thou art the beloved Daughter of the Most High God, the chosen Mother of the Incarnate Word, the Immaculate Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the Sacred Vessel of the Most Holy Trinity. O Mother of the Divine Redeemer, who under the title of Our Lady of Good Remedy comes to the aid of all who call upon thee, extend thy maternal protection to us. We depend on thee, Dear Mother, as helpless and needy children depend on a tender and caring mother.

Hail, Mary....

O LADY OF GOOD REMEDY, source of unfailing help, grant that we may draw from thy treasury of graces in our time of need.
Touch the hearts of sinners, that they may seek reconciliation and forgiveness. Bring comfort to the afflicted and the lonely; help the poor and the hopeless; aid the sick and the suffering. May they be healed in body and strengthened in spirit to endure their sufferings with patient resignation and Christian fortitude.

Hail, Mary....

DEAR LADY OF GOOD REMEDY, source of unfailing help, thy compassionate heart knows a remedy for every affliction and misery we encounter in life. Help me with thy prayers and intercession to find a remedy for my problems and needs, especially for... (Indicate your special intentions here).
On my part, O loving Mother, I pledge myself to a more intensely Christian lifestyle, to a more careful observance of the laws of God, to be more conscientious in fulfilling the obligations of my state in life, and to strive to be a source of healing in this broken world of ours.
Dear Lady of Good Remedy, be ever present to me, and through thy intercession, may I enjoy health of body and peace of mind, and grow stronger in the faith and in the love of thy Son, Jesus.

Hail, Mary.....

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of Good Remedy,
R. That we may deepen our dedication to thy Son, and make the world alive with His Spirit.





















JohnCrossImage.jpg (9797 bytes)


December 14th

The father of St. John was discarded by his kindred for marrying a poor orphan, and the Saint, thus born and nurtured in poverty chose it also for his portion. Unable to learn a trade, he became the, servant of the poor in the hospital of Medina, while still pursuing his sacred studies. In 1563, being then twenty-one, he humbly offered himself as a lay-brother to the Carmelite friars, who, however, knowing his talents, had him ordained priest. He would now have exchanged to the severe Carthusian Order, had not St. Teresa, with the instinct of a Saint, persuaded him to remain and help her in the reform of his own Order. Thus he became the first prior of the Barefooted Carmelites. His reform, though approved by the general, was rejected by the elder friars, who condemned the Saint as a fugitive and apostate, and cast him into prison, whence he only escaped, after nine months' suffering, at the risk of his life. Twice again, before his death, he was shamefully persecuted by his brethren, and publicly disgraced. But his complete abandonment by creatures only deepened his interior peace and devout longing for heaven.

Reflection. "Live in the world," said St. John, "as if God and your soul only were in it; so shall your heart be never made captive by any earthly thing."

INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  Saint John of the Cross, please pray for [state your prayer request.]

For more information see the works of St. John of the Cross.







PETER, while still a youth, left his home at Alcantara in Spain, and entered a convent of Discalced Franciscans. He rose quickly to high posts in the Order, but his thirst for penance was still unappeased, and in 1539, being then forty years old, he founded the first convent of the "Strict Observance." The cells of the friars resembled graves rather than dwelling-places. That of St. Peter himself was four feet and a half in length, so that he could never lie down ; he ate but once in three days; his sackcloth habit and a cloak were his only garments, and he never covered his head or feet. In the bitter winter he would open the door and window of his cell that, by closing them again, he might experience some sensation of warmth. Amongst those whom he trained to perfection was St. Teresa. He read her soul, approved of her spirit of prayer, and strengthened her to carry out her reforms. St. Peter died, with great joy, kneeling in prayer, October 18th, 1562, at the age of sixty-three.

REFLECTION.-If men do not go about barefoot now, nor under-go sharp penances, as St. Peter did, there are many ways of trampling on the world; and our Lord teaches them when He finds the necessary courage.



INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  Saint Teresa of Avila said concerning Saint Peter of Alcantara that, "The Lord once told me that no one should ask Him for anything in his name and not be heard."

Saint Peter of Alcantara, please pray for us today [state your prayer request.]








                                             THE SECRET OF THE ROSARY











Our Lady of the Rosary
Nuestra Se๑ora del Santisimo Rosario by Damiแn Domingo
Our Lady of Victory, Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Major shrine Our Lady of Victory Basilica,
Basilica of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, Paris
Feast October 7
Attributes Blessed Virgin Mary, Infant Jesus, crown, rosary
Patronage Rosary, Roman Catholic Diocese of Malaga, Toledo, Rosario, Santa Fe, Melilla, Trujillo, Cแceres, Colombia, Manizales, Puyo, Pastaza, North Carolina, Bohol, Guatemala, Surigao del Norte, Manila, Quezon City, West Virginia, Sese๑a, Ontํgola, Olํas del Rey, Montearag๓n, Toledo, Lagartera, Huerta de Valdecarแbanos, Brenes


Our Lady of the Rosary

Our Lady of the Rosary, also known as Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in relation to the Rosary. The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is on October 7, the anniversary of the decisive victory of the combined Christian fleet in 1571 at the Battle of Lepanto, defeating an Ottoman fleet off western Greece. It was formerly sometimes known as the Feast of Our Lady of Victory.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

According to Dominican tradition, in 1214, St. Dominic was in Prouille, France attempting to convert the Albigensians back to the Catholic faith. The young priest had little success until one day he received a vision of the Blessed Virgin, who gave him the Rosary as a tool against heretics.[1] While Mary's giving the rosary to St. Dominic is generally acknowledged as a legend, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of St. Dominic, including the 15th century priest and teacher, Alanus de Rupe.[2]

On December 3, 1836, Fr. Charles El้onor des Genettes had an interior locution directing him to dedicate the parish of Our Lady of Victory to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.[3]

On October 13, 1917, Our Lady of Fatima told the shepherd children, "I am the Lady of the Rosary".[4]

In 1987, during the civil war with the anti-clerical Sandinista government in Nicaragua, sacristan Bernardo Martinez reported seeing an apparition of Our Lady who urged him to pray the rosary and work for peace. One of the appearances was in the parish church of Our Lady of Victories near Cuapa.





GOD does not abandon to mere chance any of His handiworks; by His providence He is everywhere present; not a hair falls from the head of a sparrow to the ground without His knowledge. Not content, however, with yielding such familiar help in all things, not content with affording that existence which He communicates and perpetuates through every living being, He has charged His angels with the ministry of watching and safeguarding every one of His creatures that behold not His face. Kingdoms have their angels assigned to them, and men have their angels; these latter it is whom religion designates as the Holy Guardian Angels, Our Lord says in the Gospel, "Beware lest ye scandalize any of these little ones, for their angels in heaven see the face of my Father." The existence of Guardian Angels is, hence, a dogma of the Christian faith : this being so, what ought not our respect be for that sure and holy intelligence that is ever present at our side; and how great should our solicitude be, lest, by any act of ours, we offend those eyes which are ever bent upon us in all our ways !

REFLECTION.-Ah! let us not give occasion, in the language of Holy Scripture, to the angels of peace to weep bitterly.

INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  Today, thank your guardian angel for his work in which he always strives to keep us close to Jesus.  Ask you guardian angel to guide your steps in the upcoming days, weeks, months and years.











Evangelization: Religious Minorities in Asia

That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practise their faith in full freedom.



Universal: Say “No” to Corruption

That those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption.



Evangelization: Formation in Spiritual Discernment

That the Church may appreciate the urgency of formation in spiritual discernment, both on the personal and communitarian levels.



Universal: For Those who have Responsibility in Economic Matters

That economists may have the courage to reject any economy of exclusion and know how to open new paths.



Evangelization: The Mission of the Laity

That the lay faithful may fulfil their specific mission, by responding with creativity to the challenges that face the world today.



Universal: Social Networks

That social networks may work towards that inclusiveness which respects others for their differences.



Evangelization: Priests and their Pastoral Ministry

That priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.



Universal: The treasure of Families

That any far-reaching decisions of economists and politicians may protect the family as one of the treasures of humanity.



Universal: Young People in Africa

That young people in Africa may have access to education and work in their own countries.



Evangelization: The Mission of Religious

That consecrated religious men and women may bestir themselves, and be present among the

poor, the marginalized, and those who have no voice.



Universal: In the Service of Peace

That the language of love and dialogue may always prevail over the language of conflict.



Evangelization: In the Service of the Transmission of Faith

That people, who are involved in the service and transmission of faith, may find, in their

dialogue with culture, a language suited to the conditions of the present time.


Vatican, 13 February 2017









Queen of Heaven and earth,
most Holy Virgin,
we venerate thee.
Thou art the beloved daughter
of the Most High God,
the chosen mother of the
Incarnate Word,
the immaculate spouse of
the Holy Spirit,
the sacred vessel of the
 Most Holy Trinity.
O Mother of the Divine Redeemer,
who under the title of
Our Lady of Good Remedy
comes to the aid of all
who call upon thee,
extend thy maternal protection to us.
We depend on thee,
dear Mother,
as helpless and needy children
depend on a tender and caring mother.

Pray the Hail Mary...

O Lady of Good Remedy,
source of unfailing help,
grant that we may draw
from thy treasury of graces
in our time of need.
Touch the hearts of sinners,
that they may seek
reconciliation and forgiveness.
Bring comfort to
the afflicted and the lonely;
help the poor and the hopeless;
aid the sick and the suffering.
May they be healed in body
and strengthened in spirit
to endure their sufferings
with patient resignation
and Christian fortitude.

Pray the Hail Mary...

Dear Lady of Good Remedy,
source of unfailing help,
thy compassionate heart knows a remedy
for every affliction and misery
we encounter in life.
Help me with thy prayers and intercession
to find a remedy for my problems and needs,
especially for...

(Mention your personal intention)

On my part,
O loving Mother,
I pledge myself to a more intensely Christian lifestyle,
to a more careful observance of the laws of God,
to be more conscientious
in fulfilling the obligations of my state in life,
and to strive to be a source of healing
in this broken world of ours.

Dear Lady of Good Remedy,
be ever present to me,
and through thy intercession,
may I enjoy health of body and peace of mind,
and grow stronger in the faith
and in the love of thy Son, Jesus.

Pray the Hail Mary...

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of Good Remedy,
R. That we may deepen our dedication to thy Son,
and make the world alive with His Spirit.




Unfailing Novena To The Virgin Mary Untier of Knots

Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots

Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine love and immense mercy that exists in your heart, cast your compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exist in my life. You know very well how desperate I am, my pain, and how I am bound by these knots. Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of the knots in the lives of his children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life. No one, not even the Evil One himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands there is no knot that cannot be undone. Powerful Mother, by your grace and intercessory power with Your Son and My Liberator, Jesus, take into your hands today this knot.

[Mention your request here]

I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once for all. You are my hope. O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my destitution, and, with Christ, the freedom from my chains. Hear my plea. Keep me, guide me, protect me, o safe refuge!

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.







Pray hard for him.  If you have time now please say one Hail Mary and One Glory Be for him now. Pray that he would do God's will while working as President for our country.  That he would protect the unborn, help the poor and keep peace throughout this world.





Each standard size cross-mark  represents 50,000 people killed.  The smaller cross-marks represent less than 50,000 deaths.   The war casualties represent all American combat-related deaths.  Statistics from 1982 World Almanac.
REVOLUTIONARY WAR                    25,324    †
CIVIL WAR                                          496,332    ††††††††††
WORLD WAR I                                   116,708    †††
WORLD WAR II                                  407,316    †††††††††
KOREAN WAR                                     54,246   ††
VIETNAM WAR                                     58,655   ††     

 WAR ON UNBORN CHILDREN      OVER  59,440,015  
...since abortion was legalized in 1973

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††









These promises were given by the Blessed Mother to Saint Dominic and Blessed Alan.

 1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the rosary, shall receive signal graces.

2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the rosary.

3. The rosary shall be a powerful armour against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.

4. It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.

5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the rosary, shall not perish.

6. Whoever shall recite the rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.

7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.

8. Those who are faithful to recite the rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plentitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.

9. I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the rosary.

10. The faithful children of the rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in heaven.

11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the rosary.

12. All those who propagate the holy rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.

13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.

14. All who recite the rosary are my sons, and brothers of my only Son Jesus Christ.

15. Devotion of my rosary is a great sign of predestination.


THE SECRET OF THE ROSARY(by Saint Louis De Montfort)


Graces Derived from Going to Mass
(Note:  Assisting at Mass simply means attending Mass.  By attending a Mass Catholics are actually assisting in Mass.) 

THE FOLLOWING IS FROM THE PIETA PRAYER BOOKLET, Published in U.S.A. by  MLOR Corporation, 1186 Burlington Drive, Hickory Corners, MI  49060-9330:

1. The Mass is Calvary continued.

2. Every Mass is worth as much as the sacrifice of our Lord's life, sufferings and death.

3. Holy Mass is the most powerful atonement for your sins.

4. At the hour of death the Masses you have heard will be your greatest consolation.

5. Every Mass will go with you to judgment and plead for pardon.

6. At Mass you can diminish more or less temporal punishment due to your sins, according to your fervor.

7. Assisting devoutly at Holy Mass you render to the sacred humanity of Our Lord the greatest homage.

8. He supplies for many of your negligences and omissions.

9. He forgives the venial sins which you have not confessed.  The power of Satan over you is diminished.

10. You afford the souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief.

11. One Mass heard during life will be of more benefit to you than many heard for you after your death.

12. You are preserved from dangers and misfortunes which otherwise might have befallen you.  You shorten your Purgatory.

13. Every Mass wins for you a higher degree of glory in Heaven.

14. You receive the priest's blessing which Our Lord ratifies in Heaven.

15. You kneel amidst a multitude of holy angels, who are present at the adorable Sacrifice with reverential awe.

16. You are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.

In eternity, we shall fully realize that it was certainly worthwhile to have assisted at Holy Mass daily.  PRAY FOR PRIESTS THAT THEY MAY OFFER THE MASS WITH HOLY LOVE AND REVERENCE.



"WHY Should I Go To Mass Every Day?"

"The Mass is the most perfect form of prayer!"

For each Mass we hear with devotion, Our Lord sends a saint to comfort us at death.  (revelation of Christ to St. Gertrude the great).

Padre Pio, the stigmatic priest, said, the world could exist more easily without the sun than without the Mass.

The Cure'd' Ars, St. Jean Vianney said, if we knew the value of the Mass we would die of joy.

A great doctor of the Church, St. Anselm, declares that a single Mass offered for oneself during life may be worth more than a thousand celebrated for the same intention after death.  St. Leonard of Port Maurice supports this statement by saying that one Mass before death may be more profitable than  many after it.

"The Holy Mass would be of greater profit if people had it offered in their lifetime, rather than having it celebrated for the relief of their souls after death."  (Pope Benedict XV).

Once, St. Teresa was overwhelmed with God's Goodness and asked Our Lord, "How can I thank you?"  Our Lord replied, "ATTEND ONE MASS".




 Saint Louis De Montfort stresses that people should give there hearts and wills to Jesus through Mary and that by doing this a soul will be able to soar toward God.  See Saint Louis's book True Devotion To Mary. Saint Louis warns of the devil's great ability to deceive souls, including souls of saints:

"Because the devils, who are skillful thieves, wish to surprise us unawares, and to strip us.  They watch day and night for the favorable moment.  For that end they go round about us incessantly to devour us and to snatch from us in one moment, all the graces and merits we have gained for many years.   Their malice, their experience, their stratagems and their number ought to make us fear this misfortune immensely, especially when we see how many persons fuller of grace than we are, richer in virtues, better founded in experience and far higher exalted in sanctity, have been surprised, robbed and unhappily pillaged.  Ah!  How many cedars of Lebanon, how many stars of the firmament, have we not seen fall miserably, and in the twinkling of an eye lose all their height and their brightness!  Whence comes that sad and curious change?  It was not for want of grace, which is wanting to no man; but it was for want of humility.  They thought themselves capable of guarding their own treasures.  They trusted in themselves, relied upon themselves.  They thought their house secure enough, and their coffers strong enough, to keep the precious treasure of grace.  It is because of that scarcely perceptible reliance upon themselves, though all the while it seemed to them that they were relying only on the grace of God, that the most just Lord permitted them to be robbed by leaving them to themselves.  Alas!  If they had but known the admirable devotion which I will unfold presently, they would have confided their treasure to a Virgin powerful and faithful, who would have kept it for them as if it had been her own possession; nay, who would have even taken it as an obligation of justice on herself to preserve it for them".



Holy Mary, my Queen and sovereign Lady, I give you myself, trusting in your fidelity and your protection. I surrender myself entirely to your motherly tenderness, my body, my soul, all that I am, all that I possess,  for the whole of this day, my life,  and especially at the hour of my death. I entrust to you once more all my hopes, all my consolations, all my anxieties, all my troubles, my life, my dying breath, so that by your prayers and merits, I may have, in all I do, one only goal, your good pleasure and the holy will of your Son.  Amen!



The Chaplet of St. Michael

One day, Saint Michael the Archangel appeared to Antonia d'Astonac, a most devout Servant of God and told her that he wished to be honoured by nine salutations corresponding to the nine Choirs of Angels, which should consist of one Our Father and three Hail Marys in honour of each of the Angelic Choirs.

Promises of St. Michael

"Whoever would practice this devotion in his honour would have, when approaching the Holy Table, an escort of nine angels chosen from each of the nine Choirs. In addition, for the daily recital of these nine salutations, he promised his continual assistance and that all the holy angels during life, and after death deliverance from Purgatory for themselves and all their relations."




The Chaplet of St. Michael

O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father, etc.

[Say one Our Father and three Hail Marys after each of the following nine salutations in honor of the nine Choirs of Angels]



1. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of perfect charity.

2. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim may the Lord grant us the grace to leave the ways of sin and run in the paths of Christian perfection.

3. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere spirit of humility.

4. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominations may the Lord give us grace to govern our senses and overcome any unruly passions.

5. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues may the Lord preserve us from evil and falling into temptation. Amen.

6. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers may the Lord protect our souls against the snares and temptations of the devil.

7. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities may God fill our souls with a true spirit of obedience. Amen.

8. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels may the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all good works in order that we may attain the glory of Heaven.

9. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life and conducted in the life to come to Heaven.

Say one Our Father in honor of each of the following leading Angels: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael and our Guardian Angel.


Concluding prayers:

O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, you who shine with excellence and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, who turn to you with confidence and enable us by your gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.

Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ, that we may be made worthy of His promises.

Almighty and Everlasting God, Who, by a prodigy of goodness and a merciful desire for the salvation of all men, has appointed the most glorious Archangel St. Michael Prince of Your Church, make us worthy, we ask You, to be delivered from all our enemies, that none of them may harass us at the hour of death, but that we may be conducted by him into Your Presence.This we ask through the merits of Jesus Christ Our Lord.    Amen.




Welcome to this Catholic Spiritual Direction Web Site.   It is the intention of this site to lead people to a closer relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit through the promotion of prayer and Christian teaching which will enable Christians to adhere to the straight and narrow path Jesus speaks of in the Gospels. Included in these web pages are the Douay-Rheims Bible and the works of Saint John of the Cross, Thomas a Kempis and Saint Louis de Montfort, Saint Teresa of Avila, and the works of other saints of the Catholic faith, all of whose teachings on spiritual direction have been followed by priests, ministers, clergymen, Popes and Saints. These teachings adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church. This site is dedicated to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (Biography) (1774-1824) Mystic, Stigmatist, Prophet, and Great Visionary, a saintly Augustinian nun from Flamske, Germany. Her highly descriptive visions of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, The Sorrowful Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, are presented here. In time more works from the Saints of the Catholic Church will be added to these pages.



When difficulties come to us at work or at home it important to pray your way through these difficulties.  At work, it could be trouble with a supervisor or a co-worker, with the result that misery is brought into our lives.  Or at home a wife or a husband, or a child or a relative may be causing you trouble.  It is important to pray your way through these difficulties.  The different forms of prayers listed above, the Rosary, the Chaplet of Saint Michael, the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Holy Mass, can move God to assist us with the things the bother us the most during our lives.  Try these prayers, they work. 

 And sometimes, it takes the prayers of others to help change the current situations that are going on in our lives.   On the following web page, there are several prayer groups that will pray for yours needs; this a great tool against our daily problems and against the assaults of demons.  Sometimes it takes the prayers of many people to change things.



From the Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila , Chapter 31. 1562 A.D.

"From long experience I have learned that there is nothing like holy water to put devils to flight and prevent them from coming back again. They also flee from the Cross, but return; so holy water must have great virtue. For my own part, whenever I take it, my soul feels a particular and most notable consolation. In fact, it is quite usual for me to be conscious of a refreshment which I cannot possibly describe, resembling an inward joy which comforts my whole soul. This is not fancy, or something which has happened to me only once it has happened again and again and I have observed it most attentively. It is let us say, as if someone very hot and thirsty were to drink from a jug of cold water: he would feel the refreshment throughout his body. I often reflect on the great importance of everything ordained by the Church and it makes me very happy to find that those words of the Church are so powerful that they impart their power to the water and make it so very different from water which has not been blessed."

The Catholic Church around the world uses Holy Water in every church to make the church a fortress against the demons which assault men and women.  The Holy Water is usually situated near every entrance to the church for people to use to anoint themselves with the Sign of the Cross.  When an individual puts on Holy Water any demons present will flee.  Catholics should put Holy Water in containers and place them in their homes and their offices; by doing so they make their homes and offices fortresses against the demons which are always lurking about.  Catholics should also consider carrying the Holy Water in small containers in their pockets to ward off demonic attacks during each day.



"because they include a movement of reverence for God and Divine things; and in this way a bishop's blessing, the sprinkling of holy water, any sacramental anointing, a prayer said in a dedicated church, and anything else of the kind, conduce to the remission of venial sins."  Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica









Saint John XXIII, you spent your life deeply immersed in the truths of the Catholic Faith.  You led us by your great example of sacrifice and love as you successively led millions to love Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Church. 

We now ask for your intercession for those who are troubled and in need:

  Saint John XXIII, please pray for the Holy Catholic Church and for the following prayer request:
[state your prayer request.]



SEE:  EWTN  Biography on Pope John Paul II


O Blessed Trinity, we thank you
for having graced the Church with
Saint John Paul II and for allowing
the tenderness of your fatherly care,
the glory of the Cross of Christ
and the splendor of the Spirit of love
to shine through him.

Trusting fully in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of
Jesus the Good Shepherd.
He has shown us that holiness
is the necessary measure of ordinary
Christian life and is the way of
achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession,


and according to your will,
the graces we implore,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Prayer of Saint Catherine of Siena
for Physical and Spiritual Healing

PRECIOUS BLOOD, ocean of divine mercy:
Flow upon us!
Precious Blood, most pure offering:
Procure us every grace!
Precious Blood, hope and refuge of sinners:
Atone for us!
Precious Blood, delight of holy souls:
Draw us! Amen.


Are you sick or do you know someone who is ill.  Say the  prayer above for them everyday.  Also, there is greater power of prayer when many people are praying for the sick.  Ask many fellow Catholics to join in prayer with you for the sick.  You can send prayer requests to Catholic Groups that will join you in prayer at: