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Saint Pope John Paul II

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pope Saint John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus II; Italian: Giovanni Paolo II; Polish: Jan Paweł II), born Karol Józef Wojtyła[a] (Polish: [ˈkarɔl ˈjuzɛv vɔjˈtɨwa];[b] 18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005), was Pope from 1978 to 2005. He is widely known to Catholics as Saint John Paul the Great, especially in the names of institutions.[3][4][5]

He was elected by the second Papal conclave of 1978, which was called after Pope John Paul I, who had been elected in August after the death of Pope Paul VI, died after thirty-three days. Cardinal Wojtyła was elected on the third day of the conclave and adopted his predecessor's name in tribute to him.[6][7] John Paul II is recognised as helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe.[8] John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. He upheld the Church's teachings on such matters as artificial contraception and the ordination of women, but also supported the Church's Second Vatican Council and its reforms.

He was one of the most travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonised 483 saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries. By the time of his death, he had named most of the College of Cardinals, consecrated or co-consecrated a large number of the world's bishops, and ordained many priests.[9] A key goal of his papacy was to transform and reposition the Catholic Church. His wish was "to place his Church at the heart of a new religious alliance that would bring together Jews, Muslims and Christians in a great religious armada".[10][11]

He was the second longest-serving pope in modern history after Pope Pius IX, who served for nearly 32 years from 1846 to 1878. Born in Poland, John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope since the Dutch Pope Adrian VI, who served from 1522 to 1523. John Paul II's cause for canonisation commenced in 2005 one month after his death with the traditional five-year waiting period waived. On 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed Venerable by his successor Pope Benedict XVI and was beatified on 1 May 2011 (Divine Mercy Sunday) after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints attributed one miracle to his intercession, the healing of a French nun from Parkinson's disease. A second miracle attributed to John Paul II's intercession was approved on 2 July 2013, and confirmed by Pope Francis two days later (two miracles must be attributed to a person's intercession to be declared a saint). John Paul II was canonised on 27 April 2014 (again Divine Mercy Sunday), together with Pope John XXIII.[12] On 11 September 2014, Pope Francis added John Paul II's optional memorial feast day to the worldwide General Roman Calendar of saints, in response to worldwide requests.[13] It is traditional to celebrate saints' feast days on the anniversary of their deaths, but that of John Paul II (22 October) is celebrated on the anniversary of his papal inauguration.[14][15]


INTERCESSORY PRAYER: Saint John Paul II, you spent you whole pontificate speaking out against abortion.  We need your help for the upcoming election, intercede for the United States to bring us a Prolife President. 

Please state your own personal prayer request [Mention your prayer to Saint John Paul II.]

Pope Saint
John Paul II
John Paul II on 12 August 1993 in Denver, Colorado
John Paul II in 1993
Papacy began 16 October 1978
Papacy ended 2 April 2005
Predecessor John Paul I
Successor Benedict XVI
Ordination 1 November 1946
by Adam Stefan Sapieha
Consecration 28 September 1958
by Eugeniusz Baziak
Created Cardinal 26 June 1967
by Paul VI
Personal details
Birth name Karol Józef Wojtyła
Born 18 May 1920
Wadowice, Republic of Poland
Died 2 April 2005 (aged 84)
Apostolic Palace, Vatican City
Nationality Polish (with Vatican citizenship)
Denomination Catholic (Latin Church)
Previous post
Motto Totus Tuus
(Totally yours)
Signature {{{signature_alt}}}
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Feast day 22 October
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 1 May 2011
St. Peter's Square, Vatican City
by Pope Benedict XVI
Canonized 27 April 2014
St. Peter's Square, Vatican City
by Pope Francis
Other popes named John Paul
Papal styles of
Pope John Paul II
John paul 2 coa.svg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father
Posthumous style Saint

Early life

The wedding portrait of John Paul II's parents, Emilia and Karol Wojtyła Snr

Karol Józef Wojtyła was born in the Polish town of Wadowice.[16][17] He was the youngest of three children born to Karol Wojtyła (1879–1941), an ethnic Pole,[18] and Emilia Kaczorowska (1884–1929), whose mother's maiden surname was Scholz.[19] Emilia, who was a schoolteacher, died in childbirth in 1929[20] when Wojtyła was eight years old.[21] His elder sister Olga had died before his birth, but he was close to his brother Edmund, nicknamed Mundek, who was 13 years his senior. Edmund's work as a physician eventually led to his death from scarlet fever, a loss that affected Wojtyła deeply.[18][21]

As a boy, Wojtyła was athletic, often playing football as goalkeeper.[22] During his childhood, Wojtyła had contact with Wadowice's large Jewish community.[23] School football games were often organised between teams of Jews and Catholics, and Wojtyła often played on the Jewish side.[18][22] "I remember that at least a third of my classmates at elementary school in Wadowice were Jews. At elementary school there were fewer. With some I was on very friendly terms. And what struck me about some of them was their Polish patriotism."[24]

In mid-1938, Wojtyła and his father left Wadowice and moved to Kraków, where he enrolled at the Jagiellonian University. While studying such topics as philology and various languages, he worked as a volunteer librarian and was required to participate in compulsory military training in the Academic Legion, but he refused to fire a weapon. He performed with various theatrical groups and worked as a playwright.[25] During this time, his talent for language blossomed, and he learned as many as 12 foreign languages — Polish, Latin, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, German, Ukrainian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovak and Esperanto,[26] nine of which he used extensively as pope.

In 1939, Nazi German occupation forces closed the university after invading Poland.[16] Able-bodied males were required to work, so from 1940 to 1944 Wojtyła variously worked as a messenger for a restaurant, a manual labourer in a limestone quarry and for the Solvay chemical factory, to avoid deportation to Germany.[17][25] In 1940 he was struck by a tram, suffering a fractured skull. The same year he was hit by a lorry in a quarry, which left him with one shoulder higher than the other and a permanent stoop.[27] His father, a former Austro-Hungarian non-commissioned officer and later officer in the Polish Army, died of a heart attack in 1941,[19] leaving Wojtyła as the immediate family's only surviving member.[18][20][28] "I was not at my mother's death, I was not at my brother's death, I was not at my father's death," he said, reflecting on these times of his life, nearly forty years later, "At twenty, I had already lost all the people I loved."[28]

The tomb of the parents of John Paul II at Rakowicki Cemetery in Kraków, Poland

After his father's death, he started thinking seriously about the priesthood.[29] In October 1942, while the war continued, he knocked on the door of the Bishop's Palace in Kraków and asked to study for the priesthood.[29] Soon after, he began courses in the clandestine underground seminary run by the Archbishop of Kraków, Adam Stefan Cardinal Sapieha. On 29 February 1944, Wojtyła was hit by a German truck. German Wehrmacht officers tended to him and sent him to a hospital. He spent two weeks there recovering from a severe concussion and a shoulder injury. It seemed to him that this accident and his survival was a confirmation of his vocation. On 6 August 1944, a day known as 'Black Sunday',[30] the Gestapo rounded up young men in Kraków to curtail the uprising there, [30] similar to the recent uprising in Warsaw.[31][32] Wojtyła escaped by hiding in the basement of his uncle's house at 10 Tyniecka Street, while the German troops searched above.[29][31][32] More than eight thousand men and boys were taken that day, while Wojtyła escaped to the Archbishop's Palace,[29][30][31] where he remained until after the Germans had left.[18][29][31]

On the night of 17 January 1945, the Germans fled the city, and the students reclaimed the ruined seminary. Wojtyła and another seminarian volunteered for the task of clearing away piles of frozen excrement from the toilets.[33] Wojtyła also helped a 14-year-old Jewish refugee girl named Edith Zierer,[34] who had escaped from a Nazi labour camp in Częstochowa.[34] Edith had collapsed on a railway platform, so Wojtyła carried her to a train and stayed with her throughout the journey to Kraków. Edith credits Wojtyła with saving her life that day.[35][36][37] B'nai B'rith and other authorities have said that Wojtyła helped protect many other Polish Jews from the Nazis. During the Nazi occupation of Poland, a Jewish family sent its son, Stanley Berger, to be hidden by a Gentile Polish family. Berger's biological Jewish parents died during the Holocaust, and after the war Berger's new Christian parents asked a young Polish priest named Karol Wojtyła, the future Pope John Paul II, to baptise the boy. The future pope refused, claiming that the child should be raised in the Jewish faith of his birth parents and nation, not as a Catholic.[38] In September 2003, Emmanuelle Pacifici, the head of Italy's Jewish community, proposed that John Paul II receive the medal of a Righteous Among the Nations for saving a two-year-old Jewish boy by giving him to a Gentile Polish family to be hidden in 1942, when Karol Wojtyła was just a seminarian. After the war, this boy's Christian adopted parents asked the future Pope John Paul II to baptise the boy, yet once again he refused, as with Berger. After the war, Karol Wojtyła did everything he could to ensure that this Jewish boy he saved leave Poland to be raised by his Jewish relatives in the United States.[39] In April 2005, shortly after John Paul II's death, the Israeli government created a commission to honour the legacy of John Paul II. One of the proposed ways of honouring him was to give him the medal of the Righteous Among the Nations.[40] In Wojtyła's last book, Memory and Identity, he described the 12 years of the Nazi régime as 'bestiality',[41] quoting from the Polish theologian and philosopher Konstanty Michalski.[42]


After finishing his studies at the seminary in Kraków, Wojtyła was ordained as a priest on All Saints' Day, 1 November 1946,[20] by the Archbishop of Kraków, Cardinal Sapieha.[17][43][44] Sapieha sent Wojtyła to Rome's Pontifical International Athenaeum Angelicum, the future Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum to study under the French Dominican Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange beginning on 26 November 1946. Wojtyła earned a licence in July 1947, passed his doctoral exam on 14 June 1948, and successfully defended his doctoral thesis titled Doctrina de fide apud S. Ioannem a Cruce (The Doctrine of Faith in St. John of the Cross) in philosophy on 19 June 1948.[45] The Angelicum preserves the original copy of Wojtyła's typewritten thesis.[46] Among other courses at the Angelicum, Wojtyła studied Hebrew with the Dutch Dominican Peter G. Duncker, author of the Compendium grammaticae linguae hebraicae biblicae.[47]

According to Wojtyła's schoolmate the future Austrian Cardinal Alfons Stickler, in 1947 during his sojourn at the Angelicum Wojtyła visited Padre Pio, who heard his confession and told him that one day he would ascend to "the highest post in the Church".[48] Cardinal Stickler added that Wojtyła believed that the prophecy was fulfilled when he became a Cardinal.[49]

Wojtyła returned to Poland in the summer of 1948 for his first pastoral assignment in the village of Niegowić, fifteen miles (24 kilometres) from Kraków, at the Church of the Assumption. He arrived at Niegowić at harvest time, where his first action was to kneel and kiss the ground.[50] He repeated this gesture, which he adapted from the French saint Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney,[50] throughout his papacy.

In March 1949, Wojtyła was transferred to the parish of Saint Florian in Kraków. He taught ethics at Jagiellonian University and subsequently at the Catholic University of Lublin. While teaching, he gathered a group of about 20 young people, who began to call themselves Rodzinka, the "little family". They met for prayer, philosophical discussion, and to help the blind and sick. The group eventually grew to approximately 200 participants, and their activities expanded to include annual skiing and kayaking trips.[51]

In 1953, Wojtyła's habilitation thesis was accepted by the Faculty of Theology at the Jagiellonian University. In 1954, he earned a Doctorate in Sacred Theology,[52] evaluating the feasibility of a Catholic ethic based on the ethical system of the phenomenologist Max Scheler with a dissertation titled "Reevaluation of the possibility of founding a Catholic ethic on the ethical system of Max Scheler"[53] (Ocena możliwości zbudowania etyki chrześcijańskiej przy założeniach systemu Maksa Schelera).[54] Scheler was a German philosopher who founded a broad philosophical movement that emphasised the study of conscious experience. However, the Communist authorities abolished the Faculty of Theology at the Jagellonian University, thereby preventing him from receiving the degree until 1957.[44] Wojtyła developed a theological approach that combined traditional Catholic Thomism with the ideas of personalism, a philosophical approach deriving from phenomenology, which was popular among Catholic intellectuals in Kraków during Wojtyła's intellectual development. He translated Scheler's Formalism and the Ethics of Substantive Values.[55]

During this period, Wojtyła wrote a series of articles in Kraków's Catholic newspaper, Tygodnik Powszechny ("Universal Weekly"), dealing with contemporary church issues.[56] He focused on creating original literary work during his first dozen years as a priest. War, life under Communism, and his pastoral responsibilities all fed his poetry and plays. Wojtyła published his work under two pseudonyms—Andrzej Jawień and Stanisław Andrzej Gruda[25][56]—to distinguish his literary from his religious writings (under his own name), and also so that his literary works would be considered on their merits.[25][56] In 1960, Wojtyła published the influential theological book Love and Responsibility, a defence of traditional Church teachings on marriage from a new philosophical standpoint.[25][57]

While a priest in Kraków, groups of students regularly joined Wojtyła for hiking, skiing, bicycling, camping and kayaking, accompanied by prayer, outdoor Masses and theological discussions. In Stalinist-era Poland, it was not permitted for priests to travel with groups of students. Father Wojtyła asked his younger companions to call him "Wujek" (Polish for "Uncle") to prevent outsiders from deducing he was a priest. The nickname gained popularity among his followers. In 1958, when Wojtyła was named auxiliary bishop of Kraków, his acquaintances expressed concern that this would cause him to change. Wojtyła responded to his friends, "Wujek will remain Wujek," and he continued to live a simple life, shunning the trappings that came with his position as Bishop. This beloved nickname stayed with Wojtyła for his entire life and continues to be affectionately used, particularly by the Polish people.[58][59]

Bishop and Cardinal

Where John Paul II once lived as priest and bishop on Kanonicza Street, Kraków (now an Archdiocese Museum)

On 4 July 1958,[44] while Wojtyła was on a kayaking holiday in the lakes region of northern Poland, Pope Pius XII appointed him as the Auxiliary Bishop of Kraków. He was then summoned to Warsaw to meet the Primate of Poland, Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński, who informed him of his appointment.[60][61] He agreed to serve as Auxiliary Bishop to Kraków's Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak, and he received episcopal consecration (as Titular Bishop of Ombi) on 28 September 1958. Baziak was the principal consecrator. Principal co-consecrators were Bishop Boleslaw Kominek (Titular Bishop of Sophene and Vågå, auxiliary of the Catholic Archdiocese of Wrocław, and future Cardinal and Archbishop of Wrocław) and then-Auxiliary Bishop Franciszek Jop of the Catholic Diocese of Sandomierz (Titular Bishop of Daulia; later Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Wrocław and then Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Opole).[44] At the age of 38, Wojtyła became the youngest bishop in Poland. Baziak died in June 1962 and on 16 July Wojtyła was selected as Vicar Capitular (temporary administrator) of the Archdiocese until an Archbishop could be appointed.[16][17]

In October 1962, Wojtyła took part in the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965),[16][44] where he made contributions to two of its most historic and influential products, the Decree on Religious Freedom (in Latin, Dignitatis humanae) and the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et spes).[44] Wojtyła and the Polish bishops contributed a draft text to the Council for Gaudium et spes. According to the historian John W. O'Malley, the draft text Gaudium et spes that Wojtyła and the Polish delegation sent "had some influence on the version that was sent to the council fathers that summer but was not accepted as the base text".[62] According to John F. Crosby, as pope, John Paul II used the words of Gaudium et spes later to introduce his own views on the nature of the human person in relation to God: man is "the only creature on earth that God has wanted for its own sake", but man "can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself".[63]

He also participated in the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops.[16][17] On 13 January 1964, Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of Kraków.[64] On 26 June 1967, Paul VI announced Archbishop Karol Wojtyła's promotion to the Sacred College of Cardinals.[44][64] Wojtyła was named Cardinal-Priest of the titulus of San Cesareo in Palatio.

In 1967, he was instrumental in formulating the encyclical Humanae vitae, which dealt with the same issues that forbid abortion and artificial birth control.[44][65][66]

In 1970, according to a contemporary witness, Cardinal Wojtyła was against the distribution of a letter around Kraków, stating that the Polish Episcopate was preparing for the 50th anniversary of the Polish–Soviet War.

In 1973 Cardinal Wojtyła met philosopher Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, the wife of Hendrik S. Houthakker, Professor of Economy at Stanford University and Harvard University, and member of President Nixon's Council of Economic Advisers[67][68][69] Tymieniecka collaborated with Wojtyła on a number of proects including an English translation of Wojtyła's book „Osoba i czyn” (Person and Act). Person and Act, one of Pope John Paul II's foremost literary works, was initially written in Polish.[68] Tymieniecka produced the English-language version.[68] The two of them corresponded over the years, and grew to be good friends.[68][70] When Wojtyła visited New England, USA in summer 1976, Tymieniecka put him up as a guest in her family home.[68][70] Wojtyła enjoyed his holiday in Pomfret, Vermont kayaking and enjoying as he had done in his beloved Poland.[68][70][61] Photos of the two friends on holiday together; skiing, camping and picnicking, show Cardinal Wojtyła in his shorts, in his most relaxed state.[68][69][70]

During Wojtyła's visits to Pomfret, Tymieniecka also organised his meeting with the American Cardinals through connections of her husband. These same Cardinals would be the ones who would give him most support at his soon-to-be election to the papacy[71]

Election to the papacy

The newly elected Pope John Paul II stands on the balcony at St. Peter's Basilica on 16 October 1978 in Vatican City.
The coat of arms of Pope John Paul II displaying the Marian Cross with the letter M signifying the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus

In August 1978, following the death of Pope Paul VI, Cardinal Wojtyła voted in the Papal conclave, which elected Pope John Paul I. John Paul I died after only 33 days as pope, triggering another conclave.[17][44][72]

The second conclave of 1978 started on 14 October, ten days after the funeral. It was split between two strong candidates for the papacy: Giuseppe Cardinal Siri, the conservative Archbishop of Genoa, and the liberal Archbishop of Florence, Giovanni Cardinal Benelli, a close friend of John Paul I.[73]

Supporters of Benelli were confident that he would be elected, and in early ballots, Benelli came within nine votes of success.[73] However, both men faced sufficient opposition for neither to be likely to prevail. Giovanni Colombo, the Archbishop of Milan was considered as a compromise candidate among the Italian cardinal-electors, but when he started to receive votes, he announced that, if elected, he would decline to accept the papacy.[74] Franz Cardinal König, Archbishop of Vienna, suggested to his fellow electors another compromise candidate: the Polish Cardinal Karol Józef Wojtyła.[73] Wojtyła won on the eighth ballot on the third day (16 October) with, according to the Italian press, 99 votes from the 111 participating electors.

Also among those cardinals who rallied behind Wojtyła were supporters of Giuseppe Siri, Stefan Wyszyński, most of the American cardinals (led by John Krol), and other moderate cardinals. He accepted his election with these words: "With obedience in faith to Christ, my Lord, and with trust in the Mother of Christ and the Church, in spite of great difficulties, I accept.[75][76]" The pope, in tribute to his immediate predecessor, then took the regnal name of John Paul II,[44][73] also in honour of the late Pope Paul VI, and the traditional white smoke informed the crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square that a pope had been chosen. There had been rumours that the new pope wished to be known as Pope Stanislaus I in honour of the Polish saint of the name, but was convinced by the cardinals that it was not a Roman name.[72] When the new pontiff appeared on the balcony, he broke tradition by addressing the gathered crowd:[75]

Dear brothers and sisters, we are saddened at the death of our beloved Pope John Paul I, and so the cardinals have called for a new bishop of Rome. They called him from a faraway land—far and yet always close because of our communion in faith and Christian traditions. I was afraid to accept that responsibility, yet I do so in a spirit of obedience to the Lord and total faithfulness to Mary, our most Holy Mother. I am speaking to you in your—no, our Italian language. If I make a mistake, please 'corrict' me ....[77][75][78][79][deliberately mispronouncing the word 'correct']

Wojtyła became the 264th pope according to the chronological list of popes, the first non-Italian in 455 years.[80] At only 58 years of age, he was the youngest pope since Pope Pius IX in 1846, who was 54.[44] Like his predecessor, John Paul II dispensed with the traditional Papal coronation and instead received ecclesiastical investiture with a simplified Papal inauguration on 22 October 1978. During his inauguration, when the cardinals were to kneel before him to take their vows and kiss his ring, he stood up as the Polish prelate Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński knelt down, stopped him from kissing the ring, and simply hugged him.[81]

Pastoral trips

A statue of Pope John Paul II with an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, near the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City; the statue was made entirely of metal keys donated by the Mexican people[82]

During his pontificate, Pope John Paul II made trips to 129 countries,[83] travelling more than 1,100,000 kilometres (680,000 mi) while doing so. He consistently attracted large crowds, some among the largest ever assembled in human history, such as the Manila World Youth Day, which gathered up to four million people, the largest Papal gathering ever, according to the Vatican.[84][85] John Paul II's earliest official visits were to the Dominican Republic and Mexico in January 1979.[86] While some of his trips (such as to the United States and the Holy Land) were to places previously visited by Pope Paul VI, John Paul II became the first pope to visit the White House in October 1979, where he was greeted warmly by then-President Jimmy Carter. He was the first pope ever to visit several countries in one year, starting in 1979 with Mexico[87] and Ireland.[88] He was the first reigning pope to travel to the United Kingdom, in 1982, where he met Queen Elizabeth II, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. While in Britain he also visited Canterbury Cathedral and knelt in prayer with Robert Runcie, the Archbishop of Canterbury, at the spot where Thomas à Becket had been killed,[89] as well as holding several large-scale open air masses, including one at Wembley Stadium, which was attended by some 80,000 people.[90]

He travelled to Haiti in 1983, where he spoke in Creole to thousands of impoverished Catholics gathered to greet him at the airport. His message, "things must change in Haiti," referring to the disparity between the wealthy and the poor, was met with thunderous applause.[91] In 2000, he was the first modern pope to visit Egypt,[92] where he met with the Coptic pope, Pope Shenouda III[92] and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria.[92] He was the first Catholic pope to visit and pray in an Islamic mosque, in Damascus, Syria, in 2001. He visited the Umayyad Mosque, a former Christian church where John the Baptist is believed to be interred,[93] where he made a speech calling for Muslims, Christians and Jews to live together.[93]

On 15 January 1995, during the X World Youth Day, he offered Mass to an estimated crowd of between five and seven million in Luneta Park,[85] Manila, Philippines, which was considered to be the largest single gathering in Christian history.[85] In March 2000, while visiting Jerusalem, John Paul became the first pope in history to visit and pray at the Western Wall.[94][95] In September 2001, amid post-11 September concerns, he travelled to Kazakhstan, with an audience largely consisting of Muslims, and to Armenia, to participate in the celebration of 1,700 years of Armenian Christianity.[96]

In June 1979, Pope John Paul II travelled to Poland where ecstatic crowds constantly surrounded him.[97] This first papal trip to Poland uplifted the nation's spirit and sparked the formation of the Solidarity movement in 1980, which later brought freedom and human rights to his troubled homeland.[65] Poland's Communist leaders intended to use the pope's visit to show the people that although the pope was Polish it did not alter their capacity to govern, oppress, and distribute the goods of society. They also hoped that if the pope abided by the rules they set, that the Polish people would see his example and follow them as well. If the pope's visit inspired a riot, the Communist leaders of Poland were prepared to crush the uprising and blame the suffering on the pope.[98]

"The pope won that struggle by transcending politics. His was what Joseph Nye calls 'soft power' — the power of attraction and repulsion. He began with an enormous advantage, and exploited it to the utmost: He headed the one institution that stood for the polar opposite of the Communist way of life that the Polish people hated. He was a Pole, but beyond the regime's reach. By identifying with him, Poles would have the chance to cleanse themselves of the compromises they had to make to live under the regime. And so they came to him by the millions. They listened. He told them to be good, not to compromise themselves, to stick by one another, to be fearless, and that God is the only source of goodness, the only standard of conduct. 'Be not afraid,' he said. Millions shouted in response, 'We want God! We want God! We want God!' The regime cowered. Had the Pope chosen to turn his soft power into the hard variety, the regime might have been drowned in blood. Instead, the Pope simply led the Polish people to desert their rulers by affirming solidarity with one another. The Communists managed to hold on as despots a decade longer. But as political leaders, they were finished. Visiting his native Poland in 1979, Pope John Paul II struck what turned out to be a mortal blow to its Communist regime, to the Soviet Empire, [and] ultimately to Communism."[98]

According to John Lewis Gaddis, one of the most influential historians of the Cold War, the trip led to the formation of Solidarity and would begin the process of Communism's demise in Eastern Europe:

When Pope John Paul II kissed the ground at the Warsaw airport he began the process by which Communism in Poland—and ultimately elsewhere in Europe—would come to an end.[99]

On later trips to Poland, he gave tacit support to the Solidarity organisation.[65] These visits reinforced this message and contributed to the collapse of East European Communism that took place between 1989/1990 with the reintroduction of democracy in Poland, and which then spread through Eastern Europe (1990–1991) and South-Eastern Europe (1990–1992).[78][83][97][100][101]


A 1980 photo of John Paul II in Rome, Italy

As pope, John Paul II wrote 14 papal encyclicals and taught about sexuality in what is referred as the "Theology of the Body". Some key elements of his strategy to "reposition the Catholic Church" were encyclicals such as Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Reconciliatio et paenitentia and Redemptoris Mater. In his At the beginning of the new millennium (Novo Millennio Ineunte), he emphasised the importance of "starting afresh from Christ": "No, we shall not be saved by a formula but by a Person." In The Splendour of the Truth (Veritatis Splendor), he emphasised the dependence of man on God and His Law ("Without the Creator, the creature disappears") and the "dependence of freedom on the truth". He warned that man "giving himself over to relativism and scepticism, goes off in search of an illusory freedom apart from truth itself". In Fides et Ratio (On the Relationship between Faith and Reason) John Paul promoted a renewed interest in philosophy and an autonomous pursuit of truth in theological matters. Drawing on many different sources (such as Thomism), he described the mutually supporting relationship between faith and reason, and emphasised that theologians should focus on that relationship. John Paul II wrote extensively about workers and the social doctrine of the Church, which he discussed in three encyclicals: Laborem exercens, Sollicitudo rei socialis, and Centesimus annus. Through his encyclicals and many Apostolic Letters and Exhortations, John Paul II talked about the dignity of women and the importance of the family for the future of humanity.[65] Other encyclicals include The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae) and Ut Unum Sint (That They May Be One). Though critics accused him of inflexibility in explicitly re-asserting Catholic moral teachings against abortion and euthanasia that have been in place for well over a thousand years, he urged a more nuanced view of capital punishment.[65] In his second encyclical Dives in misericordia he stressed that divine mercy is the greatest feature of God, needed especially in modern times.

Moral stances

During a visit to Germany, 1980

John Paul II was considered a conservative on doctrine and issues relating to human sexual reproduction and the ordination of women.[102]

While the pope was visiting the United States of America he said, "All human life, from the moments of conception and through all subsequent stages, is sacred."[103]

A series of 129 lectures given by John Paul II during his Wednesday audiences in Rome between September 1979 and November 1984 were later compiled and published as a single work titled Theology of the Body, an extended meditation on human sexuality. He extended it to the condemnation of abortion, euthanasia and virtually all capital punishment,[104] calling them all a part of the "culture of death" that is pervasive in the modern world. He campaigned for world debt forgiveness and social justice.[65][102] He coined the term "social mortgage", which related that all private property had a social dimension, namely, that "the goods of this are originally meant for all."[105] In 2000, he publicly endorsed the Jubilee 2000 campaign on African debt relief fronted by Irish rock stars Bob Geldof and Bono, once famously interrupting a U2 recording session by telephoning the studio and asking to speak to Bono.[106]

Pope John Paul II, who was present and very influential at the 1962–65 Second Vatican Council, affirmed the teachings of that Council and did much to implement them. Nevertheless, his critics often wished that he would embrace the so-called "progressive" agenda that some hoped would evolve as a result of the Council. In fact, the Council did not advocate "progressive" changes in these areas; for example, they still condemned abortion as an unspeakable crime. Pope John Paul II continued to declare that contraception, abortion, and homosexual acts were gravely sinful, and, with Joseph Ratzinger (future Pope Benedict XVI), opposed liberation theology.

Following the Church's exaltation of the marital act of sexual intercourse between a baptised man and woman within sacramental marriage as proper and exclusive to the sacrament of marriage, John Paul II believed that it was, in every instance, profaned by contraception, abortion, divorce followed by a 'second' marriage, and by homosexual acts. In 1994, John Paul II asserted the Church's lack of authority to ordain women to the priesthood, stating that without such authority ordination is not legitimately compatible with fidelity to Christ. This was also deemed a repudiation of calls to break with the constant tradition of the Church by ordaining women to the priesthood.[107] In addition, John Paul II chose not to end the discipline of mandatory priestly celibacy, although in a small number of unusual circumstances, he did allow certain married clergymen of other Christian traditions who later became Catholic to be ordained as Catholic priests.

Apartheid in South Africa

Pope John Paul II was an outspoken opponent of apartheid in South Africa. In 1985, while visiting the Netherlands, he gave an impassioned speech condemning apartheid at the International Court of Justice, proclaiming that "No system of apartheid or separate development will ever be acceptable as a model for the relations between peoples or races."[108] In September 1988, Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to ten Southern African countries, including those bordering South Africa, while demonstratively avoiding South Africa. During his visit to Zimbabwe, John Paul II called for economic sanctions against South Africa's government.[109] After John Paul II's death, both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu praised the pope for defending human rights and condemning economic injustice.[110]

Capital punishment

Pope John Paul II was an outspoken opponent of the death penalty, although previous popes had accepted the practice. At a papal mass in St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States he said:

A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary.[111]

During that visit, John Paul II convinced the then governor of Missouri, Mel Carnahan, to reduce the death sentence of convicted murderer Darrell J. Mease to life imprisonment without parole.[112] John Paul II's other attempts to reduce the sentence of death-row inmates were unsuccessful. In 1983, John Paul II visited Guatemala and unsuccessfully asked the country's president, Efraín Ríos Montt, to reduce the sentence for six left-wing guerrillas sentenced to death.[113]

In 2002, John Paul II again traveled to Guatemala. At that time, Guatemala was one of only two countries in Latin America (the other being Cuba) to apply capital punishment. John Paul II asked the Guatemalan president, Alfonso Portillo, for a moratorium on executions.[114]

European Union

Pope John Paul II pushed for a reference to Europe's Christian cultural roots in the draft of the European Constitution. In his 2003 apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Europa, John Paul II wrote that he "fully (respected) the secular nature of (European) institutions". However, he wanted the EU Constitution to enshrine religious rights, including acknowledging the rights of religious groups to organise freely, recognise the specific identity of each denomination and allow for a "structured dialogue" between each religious community and the EU, and extend across the European Union the legal status enjoyed by religious institutions in individual member states. "I wish once more to appeal to those drawing up the future European Constitutional Treaty so that it will include a reference to the religion and in particular to the Christian heritage of Europe," John Paul II said. The pope's desire for a reference to Europe's Christian identity in the Constitution was supported by non-Catholic representatives of the Church of England and Orthodox Churches from Russia, Romania, and Greece.[115] John Paul II's demand to include a reference to Europe's Christian roots in the European Constitution was supported by some non-Christians, such as Joseph Weiler, a practising Orthodox Jew and renowned constitutional lawyer, who said that the Constitution's lack of a reference to Christianity was not a "demonstration of neutrality," but, rather, "a Jacobin attitude".[116]

At the same time, however, John Paul II was an enthusiastic supporter of European integration; in particular, he supported his native Poland's entry into the bloc. On 19 May 2003, three weeks before a referendum was held in Poland on EU membership, the Polish pope addressed his compatriots and urged them to vote for Poland's EU membership at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City State. While some conservative, Catholic politicians in Poland opposed EU membership, John Paul II said:

I know that there are many in opposition to integration. I appreciate their concern about maintaining the cultural and religious identity of our nation. However, I must emphasise that Poland has always been an important part of Europe. Europe needs Poland. The Church in Europe needs the Poles' testimony of faith. Poland needs Europe.[117]

The Polish pope compared Poland's entry into the EU to the Union of Lublin, which was signed in 1564 and united the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania into one nation and created an elective monarchy.[118]


On 22 October 1996, in a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences plenary session at the Vatican, John Paul II said of evolution that "this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favour of this theory." John Paul II's embrace of evolution was enthusiastically praised by American paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould,[119] with whom he had an audience in 1984.[120]

Although generally accepting the theory of evolution, John Paul II made one major exception—the human soul. "If the human body has its origin in living material which pre-exists it, the spiritual soul is immediately created by God."[121][122][123]

Iraq War

In 2003 John Paul II criticised the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, saying in his State of the World address "No to war! War is not always inevitable. It is always a defeat for humanity."[124] He sent Pío Cardinal Laghi, the former Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to the United States, to talk with George W. Bush, the American President, to express opposition to the war. John Paul II said that it was up to the United Nations to solve the international conflict through diplomacy and that a unilateral aggression is a crime against peace and a violation of international law. The pope's opposition to the Iraq War led to him being a candidate to win the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, which was ultimately awarded to Iranian attorney/judge and noted human rights advocate, Shirin Ebadi.[125][126]

Liberation theology

In 1984 and 1986, through Cardinal Ratzinger (future Pope Benedict XVI) as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, John Paul II officially condemned aspects of liberation theology, which had many followers in South America. Visiting Europe, Óscar Romero unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a Vatican condemnation of El Salvador's regime, for violations of human rights and its support of death squads. In his travel to Managua, Nicaragua, in 1983, John Paul II harshly condemned what he dubbed the "popular Church"[127] (i.e. "ecclesial base communities" supported by the CELAM), and the Nicaraguan clergy's tendencies to support the leftist Sandinistas, reminding the clergy of their duties of obedience to the Holy See.[127] During that visit Ernesto Cardenal, a priest and minister in the Sandinista government, knelt to kiss his hand. John Paul withdrew it, wagged his finger in Cardenal's face, and told him, "You must straighten out your position with the church."[128]

Organised crime

Pope John Paul II was the first pontiff to actively fight against Mafia violence in Southern Italy. In 1993, during a pilgrimage to Agrigento, Sicily, he appealed to the Mafiosi: "I say to those responsible: 'Convert! One day, the judgment of God will arrive!'" In 1994, John Paul II visited Catania and told victims of Mafia violence to "rise up and cloak yourself in light and justice!"[129] In 1995, the Mafia bombed two historical churches in Rome. Some believed that this was the mob's vendetta against the pope for his denounciations of organised crime.[130]

Persian Gulf War

Between 1990 and 1991, a 34-nation coalition led by the United States waged a war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq, which had invaded and annexed Kuwait. Pope John Paul II was a staunch opponent of the Gulf War. Throughout the conflict, he appealed to the international community to stop the war, and after it was over led diplomatic initiatives to negotiate peace in the Middle East.[131] In his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus, John Paul II harshly condemned the conflict:

No, never again war, which destroys the lives of innocent people, teaches how to kill, throws into upheaval even the lives of those who do the killing and leaves behind a trail of resentment and hatred, thus making it all the more difficult to find a just solution of the very problems which provoked the war.[132]

In April 1991, during his Urbi et Orbi Sunday message at St. Peter's Basilica, John Paul II called for the international community to "lend an ear" to "the long-ignored aspirations of oppressed peoples". He specifically named the Kurds, a people who were fighting a civil war against Saddam Hussein's troops in Iraq, as one such people, and referred to the war as a "darkness menacing the earth". During this time, the Vatican had expressed its frustration with the international ignoring of the pope's calls for peace in the Middle East.[133]







The eighty-one years of this Saint's life were modelled on the Passion of Jesus Christ. In his childhood, when praying in church, a heavy bench fell on his foot, but the boy took no notice of the bleeding wound, and spoke of it as "a rose sent from God." A few years later, the vision of a scourge with "love" written on its lashes assured him that his thirst for penance would be satisfied. In the hope of dying for the Faith, he enlisted in a crusade against the Turks; but a voice from the Tabernacle warned him that he was to serve Christ alone, and that he should found a congregation in His honor. At the command of his bishop he began while a layman to preach the Passion, and a series of crosses tried the reality of his vocation. All his first companions, save his brother, deserted him; the Sovereign Pontiff refused him an audience; and it was only after a delay of seventeen years that the Papal approbation was obtained, and the first house of the Passionists was opened on Monte Argentario, the spot which our Lady had pointed out. St. Paul chose as the badge of his Order a heart with three nails, in memory of the sufferings of Jesus, but for himself he invented a more secret and durable sign. Moved by the same holy impulse as Blessed Henry Suso, St. Jane Frances, and other Saints, he branded on his side the Holy Name, and its characters were found there after death. His heart beat with a supernatural palpitation, which was especially vehement on Fridays, and the heat at times was so intense as to scorch his shirt in the region of his heart. Through fifty years of incessant bodily pain, and amidst all his trials, Paul read the love of Jesus everywhere, and would cry out to the flowers and grass, "Oh! be quiet, be quiet," as if they were reproaching him with in-gratitude. He died whilst the Passion was being read to him, and so passed with Jesus from the cross to glory.

INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  Ask Saint Paul of the Cross to intercede with for your needs today.









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.


SAINT TERESA OF AVILA SAID ABOUT SAINT PETER OF ALCANTARA:  "Our Lord told me once that men should ask nothing in his name, wherein he would not hear them.—I have recommended many things to him, that he might beg them of our Lord, and I have always found them granted."


Saint Peter of Alcantara’s Story  [https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-peter-of-alcantara/]

Peter was a contemporary of well-known 16th-century Spanish saints, including Ignatius of Loyola and John of the Cross. He served as confessor to Saint Teresa of Avila. Church reform was a major issue in Peter’s day, and he directed most of his energies toward that end. His death came one year before the Council of Trent ended.

Born into a noble family (his father was the governor of Alcantara in Spain), Peter studied law at Salamanca University and, at 16, joined the so-called Observant Franciscans (also known as the discalced friars). While he practiced many penances, he also demonstrated abilities which were soon recognized. He was named the superior of a new house even before his ordination as a priest, he was elected provincial at the age of 39, and he was a very successful preacher. Still, he was not above washing dishes and cutting wood for the friars. He did not seek attention; indeed, he preferred solitude.

Peter’s penitential side was evident when it came to food and clothing. It is said that he slept only 90 minutes each night. While others talked about Church reform, Peter’s reform began with himself. His patience was so great that a proverb arose: “To bear such an insult one must have the patience of Peter of Alcantara.”

In 1554, Peter, having received permission, formed a group of Franciscans who followed the Rule of St. Francis with even greater rigor. These friars were known as Alcantarines. Some of the Spanish friars who came to North and South America in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were members of this group. At the end of the 19th century, the Alcantarines were joined with other Observant friars to form the Order of Friars Minor.

As spiritual director to Saint Teresa, Peter encouraged her in promoting the Carmelite reform. His preaching brought many people to religious life, especially to the Secular Franciscan Order, the friars and the Poor Clares.

He was canonized in 1669.

More from Butler's Lives of the Saints: http://www.bartleby.com/210/10/191.html







When a child of seven years, Teresa ran away from her home at Avila in Spain, in the hope of being martyred by the Moors. Being brought back and asked the reason of her flight, she replied, "I want to see God, and I must die before I can see Him." She then began with her brother to build a hermitage in the garden, and was often heard repeating "Forever, forever." Some years later she became a Carmelite nun. Frivolous conversations checked her progress towards perfection, but at last, in her thirty-first year, she gave herself wholly to God. A vision showed her the very place in hell to which her own light faults would have led her; and she lived ever after in the deepest distrust of self. She was called to reform her Order, favored with distinct commands from our Lord, and her heart was pierced with divine love; but she dreaded nothing so much as delusion, and to the last acted only under obedience to her confessors, which both made her strong and kept her safe. She died on October 4th, 1582.  She was canonized in 1622 and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on September 27, 1970 by Pope Paul VI.

 REFLECTION.—" After all I die a child of the Church." These were the Saint's last words. They teach us the lesson of her life —to trust in humble, childlike obedience to our spiritual guides as the surest means of salvation.

INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  Ask Saint Teresa to increase our desire to love and obey God.  Ask Saint Teresa to intercede for your spiritual needs today.


Saint Teresa's Vision of the demons:

The following are some of her accounts taken from her Collected Works:

Volume 1 of The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Chapter 38, parts 23 & 24 & 25:

23. "Once, while approaching to receive Communion, I saw with my soul's eyes more clearly than with my bodily eyes two devils whose appearance was abominable. It seems to me their horns were wrapped around the poor priests's throat, and in the host that was going to be given to me I saw my Lord with the majesty I mentioned placed in the priest's hands, which were clearly seen to be His offender's; and I understood that that soul was in mortal sin. What would it be my Lord, to see Your beauty in the midst of such abominable figures? They were as though frightened and terrified in Your presence, for it seems they would have very eagerly fled had You allowed them. This vision caused me such great disturbance I don't know how I was able to receive Communion, and I was left with a great fear, thinking that if the vision had been from God, His Majesty would not have permitted me to see the evil that was in that soul. The Lord Himself told me to pray for him and that He had permitted it so that I might understand the power of the words of consecration and how God does not fail to be present, however evil the priest who recites them, and that I might see His great goodness since He places Himself in those hands of His enemy, and all out of love for me and for everyone. I understood well how much more priests are obliged to be good than are others, how deplorable a thing it is to receive this most Blessed Sacrament unworthily, and how much the devil is lord over the soul in mortal sin. It did me a great deal of good and brought me deep understanding of what I owed God. May He be blessed forever and ever.

24. At another time something else happened to me that frightened me very much. I was at a place where a certain person died who for many years had lived a wicked life, from what I knew. But he had been sick for two years, and in some things it seems he had made amends. He died without confession, but nevertheless it didn't seem to me he would be condemned. While the body was being wrapped in its shroud, I saw many devils take that body; and it seemed they were playing with it and punishing it. This terrified me, for with large hooks they were dragging it from one devil to the other. Since I saw it buried with the honor and ceremonies accorded to all, I reflected on the goodness of God, how He did not want that soul to be defamed, but wanted the fact that it was His enemy to be concealed.

25. I was half stupefied from what I had seen. During the whole ceremony I didn't see another devil. Afterward when they put the body in the grave, there was such a multitude of them inside ready to take it that I was frantic at the sight of it, and there was need for no small amount of courage to conceal this. I reflected on what they would do to the soul when they had such dominion over the unfortunate body. May it please the Lord that what I have seen -a thing so frightful!-will be seen by all those who are in such an evil state; I think it would prove a powerful help toward their living a good life. All of this gives me greater knowledge of what I owe God and of what He freed me from. I was very frightened until I spoke about it to my confessor, wondering if it was an illusion caused by the devil to defame that soul. Although it wasn't considered to be the soul of someone with a very deep Christian spirit. Truly since the vision was not an illusion, it frightens me every time I think of it."

The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Volume 1, Chapter 31, parts: 1-11 :

Chapter 31

Deals with some exterior temptations and representations of the devil and the torments he inflicted on her. Treats also of some matters very beneficial for advising persons who journey on the path of perfection.

1. Now that I've mentioned some interior, secret temptations and disturbances the devil caused me, I want to tell about others he caused almost publicly and in which one could not be mistaken that he was the source.

2. I was once in an oratory, and he appeared to me in an abominable form at my left side. Because he spoke to me, I looked particularly at his mouth-which was frightening. It seemed that a great flame, all bright without shadow, came forth from his body. He told me in a terrifying way that I had really freed myself from his hands but that he would catch me with them again. I was struck with great fear and blessed myself as best I could; he disappeared, but returned right away. This happened to me twice. I didn't know what to do. There was some holy water there, and I threw it in that direction; he never returned again.

3. Another time I was tormented for five hours with such terrible interior and exterior pains and disturbance that it didn't seem to me I could suffer them any longer. The sisters who were with me were frightened and didn't know what to do, nor did I know how to help myself. When bodily pains and sickness become intolerable I have the custom of making interior acts of supplication to the Lord as best I can, that if His Majesty be served by my doing so He might give me patience and I might remain in this state until the end of the world. Well, since I was suffering so severely this time, I was helping myself through these acts and resolutions so as to be able to bear it. The Lord wanted me to understand it was the devil because I saw beside me a black, very abominable little creature, snarling like one in despair that where he had tried to gain he had lost. When I saw him I laughed to myself and was not afraid. There were some sisters there with me who were unable to help nor did they know of any remedy for so much torment; without being able to resist, I was striking myself hard on the body, head, and arms. What was worse was the interior disturbance, for I wasn't able to feel calm of any sort. I didn't dare ask for holy water lest I frighten them and they come to understand what the trouble was.

4. I often experience that there is nothing the devils flee from more-without returning-than holy water. They also flee from the cross, but they return. The power of holy water must be great. For me there is a particular and very noticeable consolation my soul experiences upon taking it. Without a doubt my soul feels ordinarily a refreshment I wouldn't know how to explain, like an interior delight that comforts it entirely. This isn't some fancy or something that has happened to me only once, but something that has happened often and that I've observed carefully. Let us say the relief is like that coming to a person, very hot and thirsty, when he drinks a jar of cold water; it would seem that he felt the refreshment all over. I consider everything ordained by the Church to be important, and I rejoice to see the power of those words recited over the water so that its difference from unblessed water becomes so great.

5. Well, since the torment didn't stop, I said: "If you wouldn't laugh, I'd ask for holy water." They brought it to me and sprinkled some on me, but it didn't help. I threw some toward where the devil was, and instantly he went away and all the illness left me as if it were taken away by hand, except that I remained weary as though I had been badly beaten with a stick. It did me a lot of good to reflect upon what he will do to the soul he possesses as his own if even when the soul and body don't belong to him, he causes so much harm-when the Lord permits. It made me again eager to be freed from such dreadful company.

6. Another time, not long ago, the same thing happened to me; although it didn't last as long, and I was alone. I called for holy water, and those who entered after the devil had already gone (for they were two nuns well worthy of belief, who would by no means tell a lie) smelled a foul stench like that of brimstone. I didn't smell it. It so lingered that one could notice it.

Another time I was in the choir, and there came upon me a strong impulse toward recollection. I left the choir so that the others wouldn't notice, although all of them heard the striking of loud blows near the place where I was; I heard some coarse words next to me as though the devils were plotting something, although I didn't understand anything nor did I have any fear. It happened, almost every time, when the Lord granted me the favor of persuading some soul to advance in perfection.

7. It is certain that what I shall now tell happened to me. (And there are many witnesses to this, especially the one who is now my confessor since he saw it written in a letter; without my telling him who the person was to whom the letter belonged, he knew very well who it was.)

A person came to me who had been in mortal sin for two and a half years. It was one of the most abominable I've heard of, and in all this time he hadn't confessed or made amends; and he was saying Mass. Although he was confessing other sins, of this one he asked how he could confess something so ugly. He had a great desire to give it up, but he wasn't able to help himself. He made me feel great pity, and my seeing that he offended God in such a way caused me deep sorrow. I promised him I would beg God very much to liberate him and that I would beg God very much to liberate him and that I would get others better than myself to do the same, and I wrote to him through a certain person he told me I could give the letters to. And so it happened that after receiving the first letter he went to confession. For God desired (through the many very holy persons to whose prayers I recommended him) to grant this soul that mercy; and I, although miserable, did what I could with great care. He wrote to me that he was so much better that for days he had not fallen into the sin, but that the torment the temptation gave him was so intense it seemed from what he suffered he was in hell; he asked me to commend him to God. I in turn recommended him to my sisters through whose prayers the Lord must have granted me this favor, for they took the matter very much to heart. No one could guess who the person was. I begged His Majesty to mitigate those torments and temptations and that those devils would come to afflict me, provided that I would not offend the Lord in anything. As a result, for a month I suffered severe torments; it was during this time that these two things I mentioned happened.

8. The Lord was pleased that they leave him; this he wrote to me, for I told hm what I was going through during that month. His soul was fortified, and he was left completely free. He didn't have enough of thanking God and me as though I had done anything. But the reputation I had from the fact that the Lord granted me favors benefitted him. He said that when he found himself very distressed he read my letters, and the temptation left him. He was very impressed by what I had suffered and how he had been freed. Even I was amazed, and I would have suffered many more years to see that soul free. May the Lord be praised for everything, for the prayer of those who serve Him (as I believe do these sisters in this house) can do much. But since I sought these prayers, the devils must have been more angry with me; and the Lord on account of my sins permitted this.

9. Also one night during this time I thought they were choking me; after much holy water had been sprinkled around, I saw a great multitude of them go by, as though they were being thrown down a precipice. There are so many times that these cursed creatures torment me, and so little is the fear I now have of them, seeing that they cannot stir unless the Lord allows them, that I would tire your Reverence and tire myself if I told about all these instances.

10. May what was said be of help that the true servant of God might pay no attention to the scarecrows the devils set up in order to cause fear. We should know that each time we pay no attention to them they are weakened and the soul gains much more mastery. Some great benefit always remains, which I won't go into so as not to enlarge. I shall only mention what happened to me on the night of All Souls: while I was in the oratory after having recited a nocturn and while saying some very devotional prayers that come at the end, a devil appeared on the book so that I couldn't finish the prayer. I blessed myself, and he went away. When I began again to recite the prayers, he returned. I believe it was three times I began, and until I threw holy water at him I couldn't finish. I saw that some souls left purgatory at that instant; little must have been lacking to their freedom, and I wondered if he had aimed at preventing this.

A few times I've seen him in physical form, but many times with no physical form-as for instance in the vision mentioned above in which without seeing any form one knows he is there.

11. I also want to tell the following because it frightened me a lot: one day on the feast of the Trinity, being in the choir of a certain monastery and in rapture, I saw a great battle of devils against angels. I couldn't understand what that vision meant. In less than fifteen days it became easily understandable on account of a certain conflict that arose between people of prayer and many who were not, and a lot of harm was done in the house in which it took place. It was a battle that lasted a long time and caused much disquiet.

At other times I saw a large multitude of devils around me, and it seemed that a great brightness encircled me, and this prevented them from reaching me. I understood that God was watching over me so that they could not get to me in order to make me offend Him. From what I sometimes saw in myself, I understood that it was a true vision. The fact is that now I have understood so well the little bit of power he has provided I'm not against God, that I have almost no fear . The powers of devils are nothing if these devils do not find souls cowardly and surrendered to them: it is with such souls that they show their power. Sometime, in the temptations I already mentioned, it seemed to me that all the vanities and weaknesses of the past were again awakening within me; I had really to commend myself to God. At once the torment came of thinking that since those thoughts arose in me the favors I experienced must all be from the devil. It seemed to me that there shouldn't have been even the first stirrings of a bad thought in one who was receiving so many favors from the Lord. But then my confessor put me at peace.


See more of Saint Teresa's works










                                             THE SECRET OF THE ROSARY




Our Lady of the Rosary

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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.

Visions of Our Lady of the Rosary

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 Eléonor 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.





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)







The honored name of the Virgin Mary, which is said to mean "star of the sea," is most fitting for the Virgin Mother. She may well be compared to a star; for, as a star beams forth its rays without any diminution of its own luster, so too the Virgin gave birth to a Son with no loss to her virginity. The departing rays do not lessen the star's brightness, nor Mary's Son her inviolate maidenhood. She is, therefore, that noble star risen from Jacob and raised by nature above this great and wide sea. She shines with merits, she enlightens with her example. You, all you who are cast about upon the sea of temporalities in storms and tempests more than you walk on solid land, do not turn your eyes away from the brightness of this star. Think of Mary, call upon Mary, so that you may experience for yourself how fittingly it was said, "And the Virgin's name was Mary." -- Pope Innocent XI ordered the feast of this most holy name, which had already been honored with a special rite in some parts of the Christian world, to be celebrated each year by the universal Church as a perpetual memorial of the great blessing of that signal victory won at Vienna in Austria over the cruel Turkish tyrant who had been grinding down the Christian people in 1683.

(From Matins of the feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary)


Ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to assist you with your special needs today. 



Litany of the Holy Name of Mary
For private use only.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Son of Mary, hear us.
Son of Mary, graciously hear us.

Heavenly Father, of Whom Mary is the Daughter,
Have mercy on us.
Eternal Word, of Whom Mary is the Mother,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, of Whom Mary is the spouse,
Have mercy on us.
Divine Trinity, of Whom Mary is the Handmaid,
Have mercy on us.
Mary , Mother of the Living God, pray for us.
Mary, daughter of the Light Eternal, pray for us.
Mary, our light, etc.
Mary, our sister,
Mary, flower of Jesse,
Mary , issue of kings,
Mary, chief work of God,
Mary, the beloved of God,
Mary, Immaculate Virgin,
Mary, all fair,
Mary, light in darkness,
Mary, our sure rest,
Mary, house of God,
Mary, sanctuary of the Lord,
Mary, altar of the Divinity,
Mary, Virgin Mother,
Mary, embracing thy Infant God,
Mary, reposing with Eternal Wisdom,
Mary, ocean of bitterness,
Mary, Star of the Sea,
Mary, suffering with thine only Son,
Mary, pierced with a sword of sorrow,
Mary, torn with a cruel wound,
Mary, sorrowful even to death ,
Mary, bereft of all consolation,
Mary, submissive to the law of God,
Mary, standing by the Cross of Jesus,
Mary, Our Lady,
Mary, Our Queen,
Mary, Queen of glory ,
Mary, glory of the Church Triumphant,
Mary, Blessed Queen,
Mary, advocate of the Church Militant,
Mary, Queen of Mercy,
Mary, consoler of the Church Suffering,
Mary, exalted above the Angels,
Mary, crowned with twelve stars,
Mary, fair as the moon,
Mary, bright as the sun,
Mary, distinguished above all,
Mary, seated at the right hand of Jesus,
Mary, our hope,
Mary, our sweetness,
Mary, glory of Jerusalem ,
Mary, joy of Israel,
Mary, honor of our people,
Mary, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception,
Mary, Our Lady of the Assumption,
Mary, Our Lady of Loreto,
Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes,
Mary, Our Lady of Fatima,
Mary, Our Lady of Czestochowa,
Mary, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal,
Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
Mary, Our Lady of the Angels,
Mary, Our Lady of Dolors,
Mary, Our Lady of Mercy,
Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary,
Mary, Our Lady of Victory ,
Mary, Our Lady of La Trappe,
Mary, Our Lady of Divine Providence,
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord Jesus.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord Jesus.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us, O Lord Jesus.
Son of Mary , hear us.
Son of Mary, graciously hear us.
V. I will declare thy name unto my brethren.
R. I will praise thee in the assembly of the faithful.

Let Us Pray.

O Almighty God, Who beholdest Thy servants earnestly desirous
of placing themselves under the shadow of the name and protection
of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, vouchsafe, we beseech Thee,
that by her charitable intercession, we may be delivered from all
evil on earth, and may arrive at everlasting joys in Heaven,
through Jesus Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.







Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C

Book of Sirach 35:12-14.16-18.
The LORD is a God of justice, who knows no favorites.
Though not unduly partial toward the weak, yet he hears the cry of the oppressed.
He is not deaf to the wail of the orphan, nor to the widow when she pours out her complaint;
He who serves God willingly is heard; his petition reaches the heavens.
The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal,
Nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds, judges justly and affirms the right, and the Lord will not delay.

Psalms 34(33):2-3.17-18.19.23.

R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.

The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.

Second Letter to Timothy 4:6-8.16-18.
Beloved: I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.
At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them!
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was rescued from the lion's mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 18:9-14.
Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.
"Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity--greedy, dishonest, adulterous--or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.'
But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, 'O God, be merciful to me a sinner.'
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."


Commentary of the day : Saint Bernard
"The publican...would not even raise his eyes to heaven"




SOURCE:  http://www.evangeliumtagfuertag.org/main.phpbr



Introduction to the Devout Life

Saint Francis of Sales Bishop and Prince of Geneva



It is needful to put away all Inclination for Useless and Dangerous Things.

SPORTS, balls, plays, festivities, pomps, are not in themselves evil, but rather indifferent matters, capable of being used for good or ill; but nevertheless they are dangerous, and it is still more dangerous to take great delight in them. Therefore, my daughter, I say that although it is lawful to amuse yourself, to dance, dress, feast, and see seemly plays,--at the same time, if you are much addicted to these things, they will hinder your devotion, and become extremely hurtful and dangerous to you. The harm lies, not in doing them, but in the degree to which you care for them. It is a pity to sow the seed of vain and foolish tastes in the soil of your heart, taking up the place of better things, and hindering the soul from cultivating good dispositions.

    It was thus that the Nazarites of old abstained not merely from all intoxicating liquors, but from grapes fresh or dried, and from vinegar, not because these were intoxicating, but because they might excite the desire for fermented liquors. Just so, while I do not forbid the use of these dangerous pleasures, I say that you cannot take an excessive delight in them without their telling upon your devotion. When the stag has waxed fat he hides himself amid the thicket, conscious that his fleetness is impaired should he be in need to fly: and so the human heart which is cumbered with useless, superfluous, dangerous clingings becomes incapacitated for that earnest following after God which is the true life of devotion. No one
blames children for running after butterflies, because they are children, but is it not ridiculous and pitiful to see full-grown men eager about such worthless trifles as the worldly amusements before named, which are likely to throw them
off their balance and disturb their spiritual life? Therefore, dear child, I would have you cleanse your heart from all such tastes, remembering that while the acts themselves are not necessarily incompatible with a devout life, all delight in them must be harmful.


All Evil Inclinations must be purged away.

FURTHERMORE, my daughter, we have certain natural inclinations, which are not strictly speaking either mortal or venial sins, but rather imperfections; and the acts in which they take shape, failings and deficiencies. Thus S. Jerome
says that S. Paula had so strong a tendency to excessive sorrow, that when she lost her husband and children she nearly died of grief: that was not a sin, but an imperfection, since it did not depend upon her wish and will.

     Some people are naturally easy, some oppositions; some are indisposed to accept other men's opinions, some naturally disposed to be cross, some to be affectionate--in short, there is hardly any one in whom some such imperfections do not exist. Now, although they be natural and instinctive in each person, they may be remedied and corrected, or even eradicated, by cultivating the reverse disposition. And this, my child, must be done. Gardeners have found how to make the bitter
almond tree bear sweet fruit, by grafting the juice of the latter upon it, why should we not purge out our perverse dispositions and infuse such as are good? There is no disposition so good but it may be made bad by dint of vicious
habits, and neither is there any natural disposition so perverse but that it may be conquered and overcome by God's Grace primarily, and then by our earnest diligent endeavour.

     I shall therefore now proceed to give you counsels and suggest practices by which you may purify your soul from all dangerous affections and imperfections, and from all tendencies to venial sin, thereby strengthening yourself more and more against mortal sin. May God give you grace to use them.


Main Page for Introduction to the Devout Life: /p>











How this devotion started?  

To show us the mission granted to the Virgin Mary by Her Son, an artist Johann Melchior Georg Schmittdner painted Mary Undoer of Knots with great grace. Since 1700, his painting has been venerated in the Church of St. Peter in Perlack, Augsburg, Germany. It was originally inspired by a meditation of Saint Irenaeus (Bishop of Lyon and martyred in 202) based on the parallel made by Saint Paul between Adam and Christ. Saint Irenaeus, in turn, made a comparison between Eve and Mary, saying:“Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it”.

But what are these knots?
There are the problems and struggles we face for which we do not see any solution … knots of discord in your family, lack of understanding between parents and children, disrespect, violence, the knots of deep hurts between husband and wife, the absence of peace and joy at home. There are also the knots of anguish and despair of separated couples, the dissolution of the family, the knots of a drug addict son or daughter, sick or separated from home or God, knots of alcoholism, the practice of abortion, depression, unemployment, fear, solitude…Ah, the knots of our life! How they suffocate the soul, beat us down and betray the heart’s joy and separate us from God.

Day after day, more and more Christians kneel to pray to Her as soon as they meet the Mother of the Fair Love.  Many families have become reconciled! Many diseases have been healed! Many spouses have returned to the Church! Many jobs have been given! Many conversions have taken place! Many Catholics have been on their knees praying and giving thanks for graces received from our sweet Mother. For that reason, Mary Who undoes the knots, Who was chosen by God to crush the evil with Her feet, comes to us to reveal Herself. She comes to provide jobs, good health, to reconcile families, because She wants to undo the knots of our sins which dominate our lives, so that – as sons of the King – we can receive the promises reserved for us from eternity. She comes with promises of victory, peace, blessings and reconciliation.

Then, free from our knots – filled with happiness, we can be a testimony of the Divine Power in this world, like pieces of God’s heart or small bottles of perfume exhaling mercy and love to our neighbor. Like ambassador of Jesus Christ and the Virgin of the fair love, we can rescue those who cry without any consolation, those who are lonely, tied with knots, who have no God, no Father nor Mother.

Mother of the Rising Sun, Immaculate, our Advocate, Helper in moments of affliction, Mother of God and made by Him our Mother, this is how Mary, Undoer of Knots is presented. Above all, She comes as the Queen of Mercy, the one who knows all about us, who has compassion for us and hurries to rescue us, praying for each one of us to Her beloved Jesus.

(source: http://www.maryundoerofknots.com/history.htm)




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...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




(Approved by Pope St. Pius X in 1909.)


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, 
pray for us.
St. Joseph, 
pray for us. 
Renowned offspring of David, 
pray for us. 
Light of Patriarchs, 
pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, 
pray for us.
Chaste guardian of the Virgin, 
pray for us.
Foster father of the Son of God, 
pray for us.
Diligent protector of Christ, 
pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, 
pray for us.
Joseph most just, 
pray for us.
Joseph most chaste, 
pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, 
pray for us.
Joseph most strong, 
pray for us.
Joseph, most obedient, 
pray for us. 
Joseph most faithful, 
pray for us. 
Mirror of patience, 
pray for us. 
Lover of poverty, 
pray for us. 
Model of artisans, 
pray for us. 
Glory of home life, 
pray for us. 
Guardian of virgins, 
pray for us. 
Pillar of families, 
pray for us. 
Solace of the wretched, 
pray for us. 
Hope of the sick, 
pray for us. 
Patron of the dying, 
pray for us. 
Terror of the demons, 
pray for us. 
Protector of Holy Church, 
pray for us. 
Lamb of God, 
who takes away the sins of the world, 
spare us, O Lord. 
Lamb of God, 
who takes away the sins of the world, 
graciously hear us, O Lord. 
Lamb of God, 
who takes away the sins of the world, 
have mercy on us. 
V. He made him the lord of his household. 
R. And prince over all his possessions. 
Let us pray;

O God, in Your ineffable providence
You were pleased to choose Blessed Joseph 
to be the spouse of Your most holy Mother, 
grant, we beg You, 
that we may be worthy to have him 
for our intercessor in heaven 
whom on earth we venerate as our Protector; 
You who lives and reigns forever and ever.

(Approved by Pope St. Pius X in 1909.)



World's Most Famous Brain Surgeon: Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger "was trying to eliminate black people"

Ben Carson was asked this week about Obama’s support of Planned Parenthood. “You wonder if he actually knows the history of Planned Parenthood and Margaret Sanger, who was trying to eliminate black people,” Carson replied. “That was the whole purpose of it.” That is obviously political hyperbole. But founder Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist, who constantly talked about the need to keep “inferior” types from breeding, even if she did not specify the nature of their inferiority. “[We should] apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.” “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.” 

SEE:  BLACK GENOCIDE SITE:  http://blackgenocide.org/home.html
"Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America. 78% of their clinics are in minority communities. Blacks make up 12% of the population, but 35% of the abortions in America."




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        


 OVER   57,762,169   
...since abortion was legalized in 1973



Began January 20, 1993
Ended January 20, 2001 




10 Times Hillary Clinton Revealed How Extreme She is on Abortion



Hillary Clinton Supports Unlimited Abortions Up to Birth, No Limits Even in the 9th Month



Hillary Clinton supports Planned Parenthood for selling baby parts for profit



In March 2013, Clinton said, "I support marriage for lesbian and gay couples.  I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law embedded in a broader effort to advance equality and opportunity for LGBT Americans and all Americans."  


During the second debate with Donald Trump concerning who Hillary Clinton would pick to be on the Supreme Court,  Hillary Clinton said she wanted a justice that would continue to support the abortion decision of Roe vs. Wade which would allow millions of abortions to occur over the next four years.  She also said she wanted a justice that would support Gay Marriage.  Obviously, if elected, Hillary would continue the ruining of American as Obama did over the past years.  Millions of souls would be led into committing mortal sin.

In the third debate against Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, indicated in her responses that she wanted Justices on the Supreme Court that would allow abortion through 9 months, including the day before they were to be born.


Donald Trump said he would nominate a justice like Supreme Court Justice Scalia who recently passed.  Justice Scalia always voted against abortion and gay marriage.  Trump said he wanted Roe vs. Wade to be reversed and the decision on abortion would go back to each individual state. 


The Fifth Commandment is:

  "You shall not kill." Exodus 20:1–17,


This commandment  from the Bible is for all Christians and all non-Christians.  God commands us personally not to commit murder and he commands nations not to murder.  When a person votes for a pro-choice candidate they violate the Fifth Commandment, that is they commit murder by their vote, by their act of will.  But, in order for this to be a sin, they would have to be fully conscience that their vote for a pro-abortion candidate will bring about the murder of the lives of unborn children. 


Saint Thomas Aquinas in his work Summa Theologica, [IIa IIae], Question 64, says  "6. It is never lawful, even by public authority , to kill an innocent person, no matter what benefit may accrue to the community from his death.", Source:  A Tour of the Summa, Msgr. Paul J. Glenn

An individual does not have to be actively involved in the act of a murder in order to be guilty of that murder.  Adolph Hitler did not personally kill 6 million Jews, but by his orders, his act of will, he is guilty of the murder of millions of Jewish people and also the murder of millions of Europeans, Russians, American and Canadians and for  people from  other countries.  Because Hitler gave his consent to the murders and his soldiers followed his orders, he is personally responsible for those millions of murders.

When a person votes for a pro-choice candidate, they become responsible for the one million babies that die each year in our country.  They become an accomplice to murder.  And Our Lord will hold them accountable for this on Judgment Day

When a person votes for a pro-choice candidate, knowing that the result of that official being elected into office would mean that many unborn children will die, that voter becomes an accessory to murder.

Here are the Catholic Ten Commandments:

  1. I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.
  2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  3. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
  4. Honor your father and your mother.
  5. You shall not kill.
  6. You shall not commit adultery.
  7. You shall not steal.
  8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.



* Ask God to give him the wisdom to do and say the things that are mostly pleasing to the Almighty regarding all issues, political, governmental and moral in regards to governing the United States.

Trump said on abortion funding, "Public funding of abortion providers is an insult to people of conscience at the least and affront to good governance at best."

He has told us that abortion should be outlawed, that Roe vs. Wade should be overturned.  He recognizes the value of unborn children.  He wants to be ban abortions: 



The Difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on Abortion are Actually Huge.

On Gay Marriage:  Republican presdential front-runner Donald Trump said if he's elected, he would "stongly consider" appointing judges to the U.S. Supreme Court that would overturn last year's ruling that same-sex marriage is legal across the country. 



Pray hard for him.  If you have time now please say one Hail Mary and One Glory Be for him now.





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 à Kempis and Saint Louis de Montfort, 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

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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:    http://www.jesus-passion.com/catholic_groups_that_will_pray_for_you.htm














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