continued: A Model Catholic Wife and Mother: Anna-Maria Taïgi

A Model Catholic Wife and Mother:

Anna-Maria Taïgi (1769-1837)

  (continued) 

  By Dom Bernard Maréchaux, O.S.B.

  Published in Le Sel de la terre 62, Autumn 2007

Patience for any trial

Testimony of Domenico Taigi, her husband

Fairly frequently, I would return home in a bad mood. She had the talent of calming me. She knew well when to be silent, but she also knew even better how to speak and when she should do so.”

Another witness reported:

Fairly often, Domenico would return home in a bad mood after a day of squabbles among his fellow servants; but he always found in Anna-Maria the consolations that he needed. She always studied him so as to better understand his tastes and to please them, and his sorrows so as to lighten them. As soon as he arrived at the door, she sensed if he was in distress and she would pleasantly say, “Is it true that you had many stresses today? Yes, it is so! Well, then, do sit down and rest freely because here everything is going well 1.”

She arranged that her little family would have various innocent pastimes. Most often it was to attend an event at a church in the city; other times it was to enjoy the country. On such occasions, Anna-Maria would relax her austerity a little so as to take part in the communal enjoyments. Once on a certain Friday, she allowed herself to take a bit of food between her meals. She was corrected from above for her indulgence.

But there were certain boundaries over which she should not transgress:

When her son found a bride, and her daughter became engaged, after all the relevant information was gathered and the parental consents granted, Anna-Maria did not want the engagement to be longer than one month. She insisted that the youths not be together except in her sight, and the religious ceremonies concluded with a simple family meal.

We like to show our blessed governing her family in the traditional Catholic principles that foster mutual love and nourish respect. Her home was a thus little paradise. Prayers were said together in a little oratory where she would spend part of her nights in prayer, or where sometimes Mass was celebrated.

To raise and care for a family with seven children was always a difficult task when supported only by resources earned by Domenico’s daily labor. In his service to the Chigi household that often kept him until late in the evenings, Domenico earned only the equivalent of 25 euros ($33) each month. Anna-Maria supplemented this very modest wage by her own personal labors undertaken during what would have been her times of rest.

There were complications. The mother and father of this saintly woman ended up under her oversight: she had to feed and care for them for several years, and the condition of her father required particularly burdensome and even unpleasant duties. Also, since the Chigi family left Rome during the French occupation, Domenico lost his income for a time. And a dreadful famine was declared in Rome. Squeezed on all sides, Anna-Maria did not lose heart. She learned how to make women’s corsets and shoes, which she would spend part of her nights doing. God came to her aid in ways that can be considered miraculous.

After her mother and father passed away in bona pace [good peace], Anna-Maria was able to breathe easier. But then we see that her daughter Sofia became a widow and came back home with six little children. The great heart of our blessed opened up to these innocent ones and she adopted them without hesitation. Sofia already knew the apostolic charity of her mother, but this admiration was to grow as she saw even more of Anna-Maria’s energy and confidence in God.

While poverty reigned in the household, so too did peace. The daughter-in-law of Anna-Maria, the wife of Camillo, who lived for a while in the Taigi home, had a particularly difficult character. The saintly woman endured these difficulties with an angelic patience.

We do not want to omit any of the character traits that show through in Anna-Maria’s actions, and so by uniting everything we can reconstruct a portrait that is worthy of the “Strong Woman of Solomon.” Here indeed was a great woman. And since Anna-Maria was from humbler conditions 2, this is the only difference that distinguishes the one woman from the other.

We will see that women of the highest rank and people in the Roman court all had relationships with the wife of the Chigi servant. Anna-Maria was able to obtain assistance for them in their times of distress. She made nothing of it. She distributed supernatural assistance all around her, and even miracles; she never accepted what was offered to her in exchange. It was not pride. It was simply the application of the Gospel maxim: what you have received freely, give freely. She pushed the enforcement of this even to scrupulosity.

Model of Mothers-in-law

Domenico relates:

My wife always made peace reign, a heavenly peace in the family even though we were numerous, of different characters, and especially when Camillo my son came to live with us during the first years of his marriage. Our daughter-in-law had a very difficult personality. She wanted to command things, but the servant of God knew very well how to make everyone happy. Even if I were to speak of everything, it would not be sufficient.”

Fr. Bessieres comments:

Model of spouses and mothers, here now is also the model for mothers-in-law! Can this masterpiece even be imagined? Anna-Maria imposed peace, under the rainbow of Noah, where to the right were situated spouses and in-laws, a daughter-in-law and two tribes of children, seven on one side and six on the other 3!”

The Contemplative and the Mysterious Sun

On the foundation of this humble life as wife and mother of a family, God was pleased to construct a spiritual palace of magnificent proportions. After her renouncement of the vanities of the world, there blossomed in Anna-Maria all the gifts and graces from above, her profound recollection, intimacy with God, ease of ecstasy, and her exercise of heroic virtues. And God crowned his heavenly generosity with a truly extraordinary favor: he took up His abode in a mysterious sun and so appeared in this way to the eyes of His servant who enjoyed the continuous presence of her Lord by this means for the duration of 47 years. Let us enter into some of the details of this phenomenon that we can say is unique in the lives of the saints.

It was in the early days of the conversion of the servant of God that this remarkable phenomenon manifested itself. She was in her oratory when the mysterious sun appeared before her eyes of flesh. It was the same size as the sun that shines on us every day. It was in flames, with its disk of a matte gold. Little by little, and following Anna-Maria’s progress in the spiritual life, it became increasingly resplendent — so much so that during the last period of her life it shone as seven suns. This sunburst did not overwhelm her view, even when she had a nearly lost eye that could not endure light.

The sun in itself contained representations that gave her mystical meanings. In its upper portion was a thick and tangled crown of thorns, and on each side a very long and harsh thorn was situated. These 2 thorns, appearing like 2 sticks, crossed into the lower part of the disk. Within the sun’s middle section, and a little to the right, a divinely beautiful woman was seated: from her forehead a double ray of light mounted up to heaven. Her feet rested toward the left on the edge of the sun. The images and smoke that rose out of the earth were propelled with force outside the disk. Sometimes symbolic figures passed before her without obscuring the disk.

According to plausible interpretations of theologians, the solar disk represented the Incarnate Word; the seated woman represented Eternal Wisdom; the thorns and crossed sticks represented the Sacrifice of the cross to which the Word-made-Flesh submitted.

The marvel was that the sun reflected for the eyes of Anna-Maria all the events that were happening in the entire world: plots of secret societies, conspiracies in the process of being carried out, wars, deaths of famous people, floods and cataclysms. Our Blessed Anna-Maria announced these before anyone could have had any natural knowledge. Weeks later, news of the events would arrive, and never was the clairvoyance of our seer incorrect. But still more remarkable was this: she read consciences with an absolute confidence; she knew the eternal fate of souls after their deaths and she followed them whether they were in heaven, purgatory or hell. With views of the present she joined prophetic announcements of the future; other times it was events from the past that took on life before her eyes and thus did she inform Pius VII of a particular incident from his childhood. In a word, the book of divine knowledge opened for her in this mysterious sun: as saints see everything in God, she saw everything in this mirror.

In the presence of such a constant and ongoing phenomenon, our dear blessed held herself as annihilated: Who could thus endure such a spectacle? Of herself, the servant of God never dared to raise her eyes to the disk-sun. It was necessary that she be urged to do so by a strong interior inspiration or her charity for the needs of another that constrained her. The Savior evidently proposed that she make of herself a victim. When she saw a deluge of evils ready to converge upon the Church, she offered herself to prevent this. When she saw a soul on the edge of its eternal damnation, she immolated herself to save it.

She had wanted to keep silence regarding all the heavenly favors of which she was the recipient, but as an obedient daughter she had to open herself to her confessor, who himself consulted with high ecclesiastic dignitaries. These men recognized the veracity of the information given by Anna-Maria concerning events that were outside the realm of normal knowledge. They determined that her phenomena was useful for the Church and for souls. They permitted that the humble woman was consulted, and they themselves consulted her. Numerous times she had to give heavenly warnings and to reveal divine secrets. It became very clear that she had become a victim and her life henceforth was a martyrdom.

And while the sorrow caused by the view of her mystical sun was severe enough to make her a victim, this was not all of her martyrdom. The devil, furious that his plans were revealed by a poor woman, rushed upon her with a veritable rage. He struck her cruelly, as he had done previously with St. Frances of Rome. She submitted to the most woeful maladies and to the most complicated infirmities. She had an eye that suffered as if it had been pierced by a thorn; she felt the stench of the sins of the world; she tasted in her mouth an intolerable bitterness. At any given moment, she was assailed with temptations against the faith; deprived of all sweetness and consolation, surrounded by darkness, and thus consigned to a hell-like imprisonment. She endured these spiritual trials, worse than death, with an invincible patience.

The devil tried to induce her to thoughts of despair; Anna-Maria wondered tearfully whether she would be saved. But here Our Lord intervened: He gave the most formal of assurances to his beloved victim.

The evil spirit raised up evil people to overwhelm her with calumnies, which came back upon the evildoers themselves. Our Lord declared that He would send upon them the injuries that were hurled against His servant and that He would punish them severely and even mercilessly in this world and in the next. And, in fact, these people became insane or were reduced to poverty and died sadly. It was only due to the strength of Anna-Maria’s self-immolation that several of these were rescued from their eternal damnation.

Those on the contrary who showed her sympathy obtained graces of conversion or advancement in the ways of God.

Apparitions, Gift of Miracles

The portrait of our Blessed’s sufferings that we have outlined has been frightening. One wonders how a human being could have endured an entire lifetime thus tortured in all her members, both body and soul. But among those who are familiar with the lives of the saints, one is certainly aware that ineffable consolations alternate with heartbreaking sufferings, and that if at times a saint has been lowered to the depths of hell’s entrance, they are also sometimes lifted up to the threshold of heaven. And even more than this, something humanly impossible happens wherein there develops a coexistence within the saints between their ravishments of divine intimacy and their violent sufferings. And this was true of Anna-Maria.

Her spirit did not cleave to the earth, but was always ready to fly away. In thousands of small incidents, she perceived the indications of the goodness of God that are poured out upon all His creatures but which carnal people do not recognize. The song of a bird, the perfume of a flower, the breath of a light breeze could be sufficient to send her into an ecstasy. And even more so would a circumstance of the life of Jesus Christ or an interior touch of the Holy Spirit. And these ecstasies would occur everywhere: in her home, or during meals, in the streets of the city, or in churches. She would say to Jesus, “Leave me be, as I am a mother of a family!”

From time to time our Blessed heard heavenly voices. The Madonna spoke to her from the apse of the Ara-Coeli Church (Santa Maria in Ara-Coeli, Rome). The Child Jesus appeared to her (in the church with this title) in great beauty, in a Host, and said to her: “I am the flower of the fields, I am the lily of the valley. And I am totally yours.” At Sant’Andrea della Valle Church, the Savior revealed Himself to her amidst a resplendent light and with a majestic mantle. Her Holy Communions were typically accompanied by raptures of ecstasy; and when she was in a church she was able to “feel” where the Eucharist was located.

One apparition of our Savior that is notable among all others occurred when she lived on the “via del Sdrucciolo” near the Chigi palace. Anna-Maria was gravely ill and during the night people feared for her life. Toward dawn, Jesus appeared such as is typically attributed to Him as the Nazarene: with a violet garb and with a magnificent blue mantle with folds and layers. He was as imposing as a king, but tender as a spouse. He took Anna-Maria’s right hand in His and held it tightly for a long time He told her that He was taking her as His spouse and that he was bestowing upon her hands the gift to cure sick people. When He disappeared – He Whose grace and beauty ravish hearts – Anna-Maria experienced a great sadness and let out a loud cry. People ran near to her bed, but she reassured everyone and announced that she was cured. She got up, washed and went about her ordinary business.

One time she saw the globe of the earth as if surrounded by flames that threatened to consume it. On one side, Jesus on the Cross poured out streams of blood; the Virgin was at His feet, weeping and casting aside her mantle, calling out to Heaven on behalf of sinners and offering the Blood of her divine Son to appease the wrath of God. Anna-Maria melted into tears and supplications, and God pardoned.

Nevertheless, miracles burst forth from contact with the hand of this humble woman. We will relate but a few of these marvels only, and one among many worked upon her granddaughter Pepina, which were in reality numberless. Anna-Maria never wanted to receive anything from the sick that she cured.

The conversions brought about by her prayer and by her intervention were actually even still more surprising. Some freemasons or carbonari came back to God and made honorable amends because the Servant of God took an interest in them; likewise, devoted priests consoled the Church by their return. In general, her prayers for a soul, supported by her penances, obtained their effect; however in the cases of souls who had abused the mercy of God, she could not prevent the divine just judgments from falling upon such sinners.

Deeply Involved in the Life of the Church

From her conversion in 1790 until her death in 1837, by means of her miraculous sun, Anna-Maria was deeply involved with the life of the Church. She entered into relationships with important people in the Roman Court, and through them she was known by the pontiffs who reigned on the chair of Peter in her lifetime. For example, Cardinal Pedicini would consult with her. This prince of the Church introduced her process of beatification.

Our humble blessed predicted point by point the details of the return of Pius VII (prisoner in Savone) to Rome during a time when nothing could have foretold such a happy event. She recalled to him a detail of his childhood that only God could have revealed to her, and she predicted his noble death.

She prayed for the successor of Pope Pius VII, Leo XII. She announced the former pope’s death and saw the state of his soul as a beautiful diamond when it departed this world, already in light but still imperfectly purified. She foretold the short reign of Pius VIII. When he was ill, she declared that he would recover but then fall ill again and then quickly die. She then announced the elevation to the papacy of Maur Cardinal Cappellari, who took the name of Gregory XVI. She had the greatest veneration for him and sent several communications regarding the dangers that were threatening the Church.

During this time period, there was a particular group of holy people in Rome: the blessed (and now Saint) Gaspar de Bufalo; Mgr. Strambi, Passionist bishop of Macerata; Msgr Menocchio, Sacristan of His Holiness; Dom (Saint) Vincenzo Palloti, and Felix de Montefiascone, Capuchin. Anna-Maria was involved with all of these and when they came to visit, her sun shone with an extraordinary brilliance. She saw brother Felix rise straight up to Heaven; she saw Mgr. Strambi do likewise after a period in purgatory.

It was given to her to unmask several falsely pious people who sought to acquire a reputation for holiness. She was not surprised to see souls being lost that people thought were on the road to salvations — priests, ecclesiastic dignitaries, religious sisters and brothers – as they had forgotten that it is not the religious habit that saves, but humility, charity, and fidelity to God.

On one occasion, two priests were discussing in her presence their thoughts on the number of the elect. One asserted that the number was great, while the other maintained that according to the words of Our Lord Himself (Mt.7:13) it was a small number. Both men had recourse to our blessed and asked her to consult her sun. God then gave her to know the fate of the souls who had died in the last 24 hours: very few, not even ten, went straight to heaven; a certain number went to purgatory; and the rest all fell into hell like flakes of snow. Assuredly this is terrible and is due to the perversion of ideas and the general corruption of morals everywhere, in spite of the advances that a merciful God extends.

Nevertheless, there were some consoling aspects in Anna-Maria’s revelations. She saw, for example, how God takes a fatherly care of the souls that He wants to save, helping provide occasions for them to do good works, or drawing them little by little in the way of penance and salvation. Alms given to the poor or pardon granted to an enemy can be decisive in determining the balance of the scales of divine judgments.

In sum, Anna-Maria’s revelations drawn from the mysterious sun could penetrate a soul with a profound fear of God – the fear that is so necessary to Catholic life. Likewise, the visions could excite souls to a true vigilance over themselves, and to a great humility because people would see that deficiencies in uprightness and purity of intention were severely punished in purgatory. Lastly, the revelations convey confidence when we see all the astounding favors with which the humble and loving Anna-Maria was blessed by God, the efficacy that He gave to her prayers and immolations, and the great number of souls whose salvation was due to her. Oh, God, please give us similar saints!

Death and Beatification of Anna-Maria

She died of a chest inflammation on June 9, 1837, after announcing her death several days previously and having endured with the greatest patience the pains of a malady that lasted seven months. An order from Heaven prohibited meat, and she became bedridden on October 24, 1836. She was not, however, deprived of Holy Communion, as Mass was celebrated each day in her domestic chapel. Pope Gregory XVI permitted her to receive Communion without any Eucharistic fast. The Monday before her death, after receiving both Holy Communion and a Heavenly apparition, she announced clearly that she would die on the Friday of that week.

It is impossible to convey the expression of happiness that shone on her face. She asked for her husband, thanked him for his solicitude, and had with him a final and private conversation. She called for her children, exhorted them to fidelity to God, devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and daily recitation of the Rosary together. Lastly, after blessing her children and bidding her final goodbye to her husband, she recollected herself so that she could think solely of Heaven.

Her sickness worsened in the following days and she received Viaticum and Extreme Unction. A Trinitarian Father gave her the indulgences of his Order, as she was a tertiary. And although she suffered horribly, God permitted that she was abandoned by everyone during the three last hours of her agony. It was not until the very last moment that two priests came running to recite the prayers for the dying. She died during an invocation to the Precious Blood of Jesus, at 12:30 am.

The death of this holy woman made for a sensation in Rome. No one was indifferent, from the average man all the way to the sovereign pontiff. On instructions from Gregory XVI, Cardinal Odesalchi had Anna-Maria buried in a special section of the Agro Verano, the great cemetery in Rome near Saint Lawrence Outside the Walls. The coffin was sealed and the tomb was marked with an inscription in marble.

Miracles exploded through her intercession. Introduction of her cause took place under Pius IX, January 8, 1863. In 1865 the body of the servant of God was found to be incorrupt and transported to Blessed Mary of Peace. It was then buried in the church of the Trinitarians at Saint Chrysogonus. Pius X proclaimed her heroic virtues on May 4, 1906 and the two miracles required for beatification were approved by Benedict XV on January 8, 1919. The beatification took place at Saint Peter’s on May 20, 1920, Feast of the Holy Trinity.

Our Lord had said to Anna-Maria: “I have chosen to place you among the ranks of the martyrs.” Likewise, He said: “I have destined that you be known throughout the entire world as an example of penance and as the model of married women.” The humble woman was confused to have to repeat such words to her confessor, to whom she was obliged to tell everything. But today, these words have been proven true.

Annex:

Anna Maria Taigi (1769-1837) and Napoléon (1769-1821)

Napoleon and Anna Maria Taigi never met. Yet Providence has established mysterious bonds between them – links of opposition, but also intercession and compensation – throughout their lives:

*Both were born the same year (1769), both of Tuscan parents.

*Since 1790 (she and Napoleon are 21 years old), Anna Maria Taigi is favored with the mysterious sun, in which she can follow the progress of the French Revolution, but also the rise of the young Bonaparte, who is appointed general at 24 and commander-in-chief of the Army of Italy at 26 years.

* 1798: On the orders of Napoleon, and thanks to his brother Joseph, the Roman Republic is proclaimed. Pope Pius VI was kidnapped by Massena and imprisoned in Vienna, then in Valencia – where he died in 1799. From Rome, Anna Maria follows and describes his agony. But she also announces the coup d’etat on Brumaire 18: Bonaparte will reopen France to the priests. The concordat of 1801 will allow the renewal of French Catholicism.

* Austerlitz (1805), Iena (1806), Eylau (1807): the mysterious sun shows in real time – or even in advance – to the eyes of Anna Maria the fresco of the events of the world. She sees the successive victories of the Emperor, and, at the same time, the Masonic convents, the mass graves of Europe, where thousands of soldiers die without priests, Spain on fire, the Church administered by the Emperor like a regiment, daily crushed, open to schism, bishops prone to resistance, imprisoned, the Pope threatened… And a voice repeats to Anna Maria: You must fulfill in your flesh what is lacking in my passion, for my Church and my vicar.

* February 2, 1808: the troops of Napoleon occupy Rome and point their artillery on the Quirinal where Pius VII lives. The Papal States are united to the Empire, the pope is arrested and incarcerated. Anna Maria long since announced these events and their unfolding. God explained to her that he left the ungodly free to act, but that he would stop them at the moment when they thought they were about to triumph, provided that she, on her part, satisfied his justice. As soon as she sees in her sun the threats that Napoleon makes to the Church, she reminds God of her promise and offers herself to suffer “so that the arms of the impious are broken and their power dispersed.”

* 1809: While Napoleon wins the Battle of Wagram, Pius VII, thrown into a locked carriage, is dragged from Florence to Turin, then from Turin to France, from where it is brought back to Savona, and finally to Fontainebleau, where he seems to be dying. For five years Anna Taigi followed his tribulations hour by hour and informed the cardinals about them. But she also predicts his deliverance. Our Lord explains to her: “For what purpose have I raised up Napoleon? – He is the minister of my anger to punish the iniquity of the wicked and to humble the proud. An impious one destroys other ungodly people.” Napoleon himself declared, on his part: “I feel myself pushed towards a goal that I do not know. When I have reached it, as soon as I am no longer useful, then an atom will be enough to knock me down.” Anna Taigi announces from the beginning that the pope’s captivity will last five years. She describes in advance to Cardinal Pedicini and Bishop Natali the future campaign of Russia, the abdication of the emperor, and the return of Pius VII to Rome.

* 1814: Anna Taigi predicts a year in advance that Pius VII will officiate in St. Peter’s Basilica on the day of Pentecost 1814. This is fulfilled literally. On April 4, Napoleon signed his abdication at Fontainebleau in the same palace where he imprisoned Pius VII. May 24, 1814, is the triumphal entry of the Pope into the Eternal City.

* May 5, 1821: Napoleon dies in Sainte-Hélène. The news will not arrive in Rome until two and a half months later, but on the very day of her death, Anna Taigi describes it to Msgr. Natali. She sees the exile’s bed, arrangements, to­mb, ceremonies, funeral, and destiny in eternity.

* February 1st, 1836: Letizia Bonaparte, mother of Napoleon, dies in Rome, where she took refuge. The funeral takes place in the church Santa Maria in Via Lata, right in front of the house of Anna Taigi. She will have her mass of burial in the same church, a year later (June 11, 1837). During her last four years, Anna Maria met Napoleon’s uncle, Cardinal Fesch, several times. It is not known whether he echoed their conversations in passing this judgment on the fallen emperor: “God did not break him; he humbled him, and this is the way of salvation.”

Translated by Mrs M.F.

1 — – Cited by Albert Bessieres, SJ, Blessed Anna-Maria Taigi, Mother of a Family. Paris, DCB, 1936, p. 79, 84-86.

2 — In fact, Anna-Maria held a certain “rank.” Her husband was a servant, but in a princely home. He wanted his wife herself to have a servant girl that she would treat as a child of the house. This brought embarrassment for Anna-Maria.

3 — Albert Bessieres, SJ, Blessed Anna-Maria Taigi, Mother of a Family, p. 85.

A Model Catholic Wife and Mother: Anna-Maria Taïgi

A Model Catholic Wife and Mother:

Anna-Maria Taïgi (1769-1837)

  By Dom Bernard Maréchaux, O.S.B.

  Published in Le Sel de la terre 62, Autumn 2007

Anne Marie Taigi is known above all for the mysterious sun by which God gave her to see contemporary events, especially freemasonic intrigues. In a Rome victimized by subversion, she would warn the pope (for example, when the Carbonari 1 wanted to assassinate him) or particular cardinals that they should avoid this or that visit or outing. Consulted by Msgr. Natali concerning the audiences that Leo XII (1823-1829) was to grant, she would respond with confidence: “You may receive such a one; but stay away from this other; and be on guard about this one,” etc. Miraculously instructed concerning the dangers that were threatening the Church, she gave valuable counsels to Gregory XVI (who condemned the first manifestation of “liberal Catholicism.”)

But the marvelous must not hide the most important: it is particularly through her conversion and life as a wife and mother of a family that Our Lord has established Anna-Maria Taigi as a model for others. (“I have destined you to be known to the entire world as an example of penance and as the model for married women.”) We will thus accord particular attention to these two features of Anna-Maria in the essay which follows 2.

All those who must speak about God to their children or neighbors can ask Anna Maria Taïgi for this grace, because her husband described her talent as follows: “She spoke of God without becoming wearisome.”

Birth and Early Life

Anna Maria was born in Siena (which is in the region of Tuscany, Italy) on May 29, 1769. She was baptized the very next day with the names Anna-Maria Antonia Gesualda. Her father, Luigi Giannetti Masi, was a pharmacist. He fell into complete financial ruin when Anna-Maria was only six years old, and so relocated his family to Rome, where he and his wife were taken on as domestic servants in well-to-do homes. Their journey (on foot) advanced very slowly, and it was thus that Anna-Maria found herself from early childhood carried along by what a poet might call “the sorrowful wind of poverty (il vento doloroso delle poverta)”

Born in Siena, Anna-Maria Taïgi can be associated with the group of Siena mystics, especially the virgin St. Catherine. She is not unworthy to be compared with the saint by the greatness of her sanctity, the heroism of her martyrdom of love, by the supernatural gifts with which she was clothed, or by her role as a victim and mediator before the Roman Court and sovereign pontiffs in Rome where she lived and died, as did St. Catherine. The same Siennese blood, renamed by its sweetness “sangue dolce” (the expression of St. Catherine) coursed in both women’s veins; the same impassioned love of Christ embraced the hearts of the virgin and this humble woman.

The parents of Anna-Maria were Catholics. Once arrived in Rome, they placed their child with religious sisters, who prepared her for her first Holy Communion and Confirmation, and then had her apprenticed with honest women to learn domestic tasks. She then became a housemaid where she was exposed to the greatest of worldly dangers, but God protected her naiveté. Her intelligence and vivacity were hardly ordinary, and vanity and love of adornments occupied the thoughts of her young head. She did not have bad intentions, but who knows where this dangerous path might have led?

But Domenico Taigi, a domestic at the princely home of the Chigis, asked her hand in marriage – and she agreed. He was a man without much refinement, but an honest and a serious Catholic. Anna-Maria was 21 years old when the two were married.

Conversion

After her marriage, Anna-Maria continued for a little while with her life of entertainments and worldliness. This was pleasing to her husband who was proud of his young, elegant and well placed wife, but displeasing to God who put an inexpressible disquiet in her soul even though she did not deviate from her duties. Our Lord had designs of lofty and eternal mercy on Anna-Maria, and so on the designated day, the divine hunter of souls captured her in His net with a beautiful blend of authority and extreme sweetness.

The following is an account of Anna-Maria’s conversion as stated in the official proceedings of her beatification:

Anna-Maria went to Saint Peter’s in worldly attire. A Servite religious, Father Angelo (Verandi), upon meeting her, heard a heavenly voice: “Take good notice of this woman. I will confide her to your care, and you will work for her transformation. She will sanctify herself, for I have chosen her to become a saint.” In effect, Anna-Maria, not able to resist the disquiet in her heart, had resolved to go to confession and change her life.

She entered Saint Peter’s and drawing near to a confessional said to the confessor who was in it, “Behold at your feet a poor sinner.” The confessor dismissed her with harshness saying “Go! You are not my penitent.” This response discouraged the poor woman and she made an incomplete confession. Although she left troubled, she made the resolution to entirely renounce for God all her vanities and the resulting offenses.

But she wanted to have recourse to the Sacrament of Penance again, and so this time she went to church of St. Marcellus. Upon entering, she saw a priest in the confessional and without knowing who he was, she took her place in the confession line. It was again Father Angelo, and he recognized her. When it was her turn in the confessional he said to her with graciousness, “You have finally fallen into my hands.” He told her of the words that he had heard in Saint Peter’s, and encouraged her with a great charity and evangelical sweetness to make a full conversion.

Anna-Maria did not hesitate henceforward to give herself totally to God; with the consent of her husband, she divested herself of all her worldly attire and clothed herself in a simple, coarse dress. She embraced with ardor the most extraordinary penances, such that her confessor had to moderate what she was doing. She wept torrents of tears over her faults; hair shirts, disciplines, fasting and other mortification became her delight. So as to create a barrier between herself and the world she asked her husband for permission to wear the habit of the Third Order of the Most Holy Trinity. Domenico agreed 3, but on the condition that she not neglect any of her duties as a wife and mother; and in fact she did remain wholly faithful.

So now we have seen the account of our Blessed’s conversion. At this point there is an observation that we believe to be well founded: the crisis of vanity is crucial for women. At a decisive moment, every woman must answer the question whether to choose the world with its vain “joys,” or Jesus crucified with the renouncements that this entails. If, at the feet of her crucifix, she sacrifices her taste for vain adornments, she will walk with great strides along the Christian path, even to the highest summits. If, however, she imagines an impossible union between God and the world, she will be restless in her conscience, peace will elude her, the Sacraments will lose their savor, she will be exposed to illusion and sin, and even her salvation in peril.

Anna-Maria gave herself to God with a complete generosity, trampling on the vain attractions of this world. From the very start, she rivaled the most experienced of saints.

Thirst for Penance

The thirst for penance of this humble woman was insatiable. She pursued it in everything, allowing nature no comfort or respite.

The instruments of penance that were used in cloisters were familiar to her, but she subordinated their use to the judgments of her confessor – upon whom she depended in all things, knowing that nothing has value in the spiritual life except through obedience.

But a mortified soul is able to mortify itself in everything it does. Serving at table for her husband and children, Anna-Maria reserved for herself the scraps – and even food that was spoiled. When the weather was very hot, she drank very little or not at all. (And to endure the torment of thirst in Rome is a penance worse than the pain of hair shirts or iron chains!) Sometimes one of her children would notice that her lips were not wet on her glass, and would cry out: “Papa, mama is not drinking!” And then at the directive from her husband, Anna-Maria would drink a little bit.

She arranged things so that she could undertake what can be called the “Roman devotions.” This was not only the Scala Sancta (quite well known to Roman pilgrims) where she climbed these special steps on her knees, but also the great stone staircase of the Ara-Coeli. Anna-Maria would visit the various crucifixes that were venerated in the churches of Rome, notably that which was in St. Paul Outside the Walls. She made the tour of “Seven Basilicas,” which was a long journey under a hot sun and a midst waves of dust. Upon entering the doors of St. Paul’s, she would remove her shoes and not put them back on until she returned into the city. The way of the cross at the Coliseum was also quite familiar to her. Those who have undertaken such penitential practices will appreciate these heroic mortifications of the servant of God.

All of these devotions were only a portion of the penances that she undertook. Can you see her with her face prostrate and touching the ground, shedding tears and sobbing? Anna-Maria thus lamented her sins. See how she afflicted herself! She would strike her head and face on the ground to the point of bleeding from her mouth. This is similar to what St. Francis of Rome would do: for an idle word she would strike her mouth with blows of her fist until blood flowed. Such penances were forbidden to Anna-Maria, but what a penitential spirit did she not manifest as she chastised herself in so many ways!

The saints display a strong realization of the magnitude of sin. Is it the same with us?

Mother of a Family

It is important to recognize that the foundation of Anna-Maria’s great sanctity was her constant and unceasing carrying out of her daily duties as wife and mother, all elevated by her great love of God.

Concerning all this, we have the testimony of her husband Domenico Taigi from her process of beatification. A good Catholic, and a man of duty, Domenico knew nothing of mystical states. While Anna-Maria was often carried away in ecstasies (in spite of herself) by the strong power of the Spirit of Our Lord, Domenico thought that she suffered from some kind of sleeping sickness. Later, of course, he recognized such things as actions of God.

He was, moreover, aware of the great virtue of his wife and presented a testimony that reveals a profound emotion. He knew that she was very humble, sweet and patient; that she displayed a true spirit of religion, a great modesty in her conduct, and such wisdom and mastery of herself such that he could not but admire her without reserve.

Anna-Maria had seven children, four boys and three girls: Camillo, Alessandro, Luigi, Pietro, Aria, Sofia and Margharita. Three died at a young age. Only two daughters outlived their mother: Maria who never married and Sofia who became a widow with six children. Camillo had died at 42 years of age, and Alessandro at 35.

Domenico related that his saintly wife suspended her mortifications during all of her pregnancies, and took every precaution required of human prudence. She nursed all of her children and said that she could not understand how any mother could be indifferent to this duty. She formed her children in the ways of prayer; she taught them the first elements of religion.

She watched over the modesty of her little children with an extreme attention. Not only did the children have separate beds, but the beds all had curtains.

She never failed in her duty to correct her children, and she would not endure any fits of passion. She did not allow her children to be hit upon the head.

She neglected nothing so that her beloved little ones would have a solid religious instruction; she saw to it that her young daughters received Holy Communion every week, and her sons three times per month. These were the maximums allowed during the time period when Anna-Maria lived.

We also see that on one occasion Anna-Maria imposed a fast upon one of her not-so-young daughters for a fault that she had committed. This was not a very ordinary punishment!

Patience for Any Trial

Testimony concerning Domenico Taigi by his daughter Sofia:

My father was pious and serious as much as could be desired, but with a fiery, demanding temperament that was both arrogant and extravagant – which was quite a marvel. Upon returning home, he would whistle or knock. We had to thus run to let him in, at the risk of hurting ourselves. In fact, on two occasions my sister Mariuccia fell to the ground due to dashing too quickly, and one of these times she was holding our 5-month old baby sister in her arms. If he (Domenico) did not find everything to his liking he flew into a rage even to the point of seizing the tablecloth off of the dinner table and throwing everything in the air even though our meal was fully set out! Everything had to be ready at the precise moment, the soup had to be hot in the serving bowl, and the chairs in place. The same requirements he demanded for his clothing and for everything.”

Nevertheless, Domenico gave the following witness concerning his wife:

“I lived with this blessed soul for about 48 years. There was never a word of disgust, nor any contention. We lived in a continual peace like paradise. Her great tact was such that there was never any serious conflict between us. She knew how to charitably reprimand, and I owe to her the correction of several of my faults. She made her admonitions with an incomparable charity. All of her ways were of such a charm that they irresistibly compelled everyone to please her for the good of the family…

If she saw that someone was troubled or upset she would say nothing. She would wait until the person was calm and then with all humility and sweetness she would help the person to reflect. And while such altercations were rare, my poor wife was so prudent that as soon as she perceived any conflict, whether it was a matter of an old mother or a daughter-in-law, she hastened to defuse the dispute with a magnanimity that established a greater peace and harmony than had been there previously.”

(To be continued)

1 — Masonic sect.

2 — This essay was published in 1924 at Mesnil-Saint-Loup (France) under the title “Blessed Anna-Maria Taïgi of Rome, Mother of a Family.” Dom Maréchaux introduced this work with the following: “I have drawn everything I have written here from the most authentic sources, namely from the depositions given under oath for the beatification of Anna-Maria, large portions of which were published in the collection entitled Analecta Juris Pontificii (54th, 60th and 62nd editions).”

3 — The permission Anna-Maria received to dress with an austere simplicity, and then to adopt the religious habit of the Third Order Trinitarians, is worthy of a special comment. Domenico liked it that his wife was elegant, but then he consented to have his wife appear almost as an indigent. Is this not an indication that the love of adornment comes from the woman and that she is responsible for it, although she may hide behind the (false) idea that it is her husband who wants it?

Saint Vincent Ferrer

Saint Vincent Ferrer

  Model for Times of Crisis

   After the scandals given by Pope Francis

In 1973, to fortify the faithful against the scandals that Pope Paul VI inflicted on them, Fr. Calmel O.P. invoked “the friar preacher who without a doubt, of all the saints, worked the most directly for the papacy”.

With pope Francis, it is more than ever a topical question.

**

Angel of Judgement, legate a latere Christi, deposing a Pope 1 after endless patience, saint Vincent Ferrer (1350-1419) is also the intrepid missionary, full of benignity, brimming with wonders and miracles, who proclaimed the Gospel to large crowds of Catholic people. He carried in his apostle’s heart not only the Supreme Pontiff—so enigmatic, so obstinate, so hard—but also the whole flock of Jesus-Christ, the multitude of helpless common people, the « turba magna ex omnibus tribubus et populis et linguis » – the huge crowd of every tribe and people and tongue (Ap. 5:9).

Saint Vincent understood that the primary concern of the vicar of Christ was not, far from it, to loyally serve the holy Church. The Pope valued, above all, his dark will for power. But if, at least among the faithful, a fervent catholic life could be revived in the Church – the concern for living in conformity with the dogmas, and the sacraments received from the apostolic tradition – if a pure and vehement breath of conversion and prayer finally surges upon this languishing and desolate Christianity, then without a doubt a vicar of Christ could finally come who would be truly humble, have a Christian awareness of his preeminent duty, and concern himself with fulfilling it at best in the spirit of the Sovereign Priest. If the catholic people regains a life in accordance with apostolic tradition, then it will become impossible for the vicar of Jesus Christ, when he acts toward maintaining and defending this Tradition, to fall into some too deep errors, to let himself tend toward a certain complicity with lying. It will become necessary that, without delay, a good pope and perhaps a saintly Pope succeeds the bad and lost Pope. […]

The more we need a holy pope, the more we need to begin to put our life, with the grace of God and by adhering to Tradition, in the footsteps of the saints.

Then the Lord Jesus will eventually give the flock the visible shepherd whom He will have endeavored to make worthy. We must not add our particular negligence to the inadequacy or defection of the head. May the apostolic Tradition be at least living in the heart of the faithful even if, for the moment, it is languishing in the heart and the decisions of him who is responsible at the level of the Church. Then certainly the Lord will be merciful.

It is also necessary, for that purpose, that our interior life refers not to the Pope but to Jesus Christ. Our interior life, which obviously includes the truths of revelation regarding the Pope, should refer purely to the Sovereign Priest, to our God and Savior Jesus-Christ, so as to overcome the scandals that come to the Church through the Pope. This is saint Vincent Ferrer’s perennial lesson in apocalyptic times of one of the major deficiencies of the Roman pontiff.

(Fr Roger-Thomas Calmel O.P., « On the Church and the Pope in all times and in our times », in Itinéraires 173 (May 1973), pp. 22-41. Text reproduced in Le Sel de la terre 12b – special issue on Father Calmel – pp. 179-181.)

Translation by A. A.

1 — Benedict XIII, at the time of the Great Schism. Saint Vincent was convinced that Benedict XIII was the legitimate Pope, and he became his confessor. After some years, he realized that he was not. We don’t want to tell here that Pope Francis is not legitimate. It’s not up to us to judge.

Homage to Saint Vincent Ferrer

Homage to Saint Vincent Ferrer

   Great prophet of the Last Judgment

(1350-1419)

For the six-hundredth anniversary of his return to God

Commentary on the texts of the Mass of Saint Vincent Ferrer on April 5th,

in the Dominican Missal

by Father Mortier O.P.

Introit:

In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth, and filled him with the Spirit of wisdom and understanding. — He clothed him with a robe of glory. — He heaped upon him a treasure of joy and gladness.

Collect:

O God, who granted that multitudes of the Gentiles should come to the knowledge of Your name through the wondrous preaching of blessed Vincent, Your confessor; grant, we beseech You, that him whom he foretold on earth as the judge to come, we may be worthy to have as our rewarder in heaven.

Vincent Ferrer “opened his mouth in the Church”, but he opened it under the inspiration of God, prophetically. He is the great prophet of the Last Judgment. To understand this unique mission, it is necessary to put oneself in the situation of Saint Vincent, in the midst of the calamities, terrifying for the faith, which produced the Western Schism. The Christian peoples no longer knew who was the legitimate Head of the Church. There were two, three Popes, who were fighting over the tiara. Who was Peter’s successor, the authentic Vicar of Jesus Christ? The unity of the Church was in danger.

Kings, cardinals, and saints were actively engaged in returning to this unity. But the reality was terrifying for the faith and Christian discipline. The Western Schism appears as one of the most painful and threatening calamities that has weighed on the Church’s destiny. As such, the schism is a devastating prophecy of the end of the world.

God prophesies by deeds and by words. And the supreme calamity of the end of the world is prefigured, announced by previous world calamities, as the capture and destruction of Jerusalem, which dispersed the Jewish people; as fall of the Roman Empire allowed the barbarians to transform the nations, so the Western Schism endangered the Church herself, symbol of the antichrist at the end of time…

Vincent appears during the most acute period of this schism, when everything seems hopeless. He enters into this prophecy; he is part of it; it is incarnated, so to speak, in him. And that is why Vincent preaches to all the coming of the sovereign Judge. Fear God, he says, for the hour of his judgment has come. Still a prophetic hour, but so threatening that the people, terrified by the emphases of the man of God, massively converted. One heard Vincent, followed him, and saw throughout Europe this “Company” which did not leave him, eager to hear him. That is why Vincent also converted to the faith so many Jews, whose return to the true Messiah added one more aspect to the prophecy of the Last Judgment.

The liturgy, too, officially consecrates this extraordinary mission of Saint Vincent Ferrer.

Epistle:

Reading from the Book of the Apocalypse of the apostle St. John, ch. 14:6-7:

In those days, I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell upon the earth and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people, saying with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him honor, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made the heaven and the earth, the sea and fountains of waters.

One day St. Vincent was preaching before a multitude in Salamanca; he depicted the Last Judgment and quoted these words of the Angel, when suddenly he stopped. An intimate, divine light overcame his intelligence; he became conscious of himself; and in a loud voice, with the assurance of the supernatural revelation which dominated him, he exclaimed, “I myself am the Angel seen by St. John”. The affirmation was bold. There were murmurs; the crowd became turbulent. Vincent, strong from the received light, does not retreat. A woman had died in a neighboring house, and the corpse being brought over, he said: “Arise and declare to this crowd whether or not I am the Angel who must preach to everyone the Judgment Day. — Father, you are this Angel”. The corpse had risen; he had spoken.

The Church has authenticated this providential mission both in the bull of Saint Vincent’s canonization and in the liturgy.

Gradual:

The mouth of the just man shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgment. — The law of his God is in his heart, and his steps shall not be supplanted.

Tract:

He shone in his days as the morning star in the midst of a cloud, and as the full moon. — And as the sun when it shines, so did he shine in the temple of God. — And as the rainbow appearing in the cloudy sky, and as the flower of roses in the springtime. — And as the lilies that are on the brink of the water, and as the sweet-smelling frankincense in summertime. — As a bright fire, and frankincense burning in the fire. — As a massive vessel of gold, adorned with every precious stone.”

In Paschal time.Alleluia, alleluia! O glorious father Vincent, famous son of the Order of Dominic, pour forth your prayers to the sovereign judge for all the nations who are devoted to you..”

Gospel:

You are the salt of the earth, etc.” from the common of Doctors in the Roman Rite.

Offertory:

You have given him his heart’s desire, O Lord, and have not withheld from him the request of his lips; You have set on his head a crown of precious stones.”

Secret:

We offer to You, O Lord, these gifts of our love; and that they may be at once pleasing to You and helpful to us, may the blessed Vincent, Your confessor whom Your gifts made glorious before the world, become our devoted advocate with Your loving kindness.”

Communion:

To Vincent [to him that overcometh] I will give (Vincenti dabo) to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of my God.”

Vincenti dabo… There is a play on words with the name of Vincent, which English cannot render.

Postcommunion:

Filled with these divine gifts, we beseech You, O Lord, that through the glorious merits of blessed Vincent, Your confessor, we may taste the desired fruits of this saving victim”.

Fear the Lord, for his Judgment is near. The hour is coming, it sounds around us all the time. It reaches our neighbor: today for me, tomorrow for you! A personal but irrevocable judgment of which the supreme, universal, public one will only be its solemn confirmation. The book of our life, from which not one syllable is lost, will be opened before us, in the full light of truth. What will we have written on these pages? Our conscience itself will read and make the judgment. For at the Judgment of God we are, in short, under the implacable light of truth, its own judge. One sees oneself to the depths, at a glance, and one pronounces the sentence himself: worthy of God or unworthy. Everything is there. Worthy of God by His mercy which will have saved us, purified at least for the most part, the rest for Purgatory; but even with Purgatory, it is certain salvation, the eternal possession of God assured.

And then there is the other sentence, the awful one, the one where one says to oneself: I am lost!

Lost by my fault, because we see with cruel certainty that we are lost by one’s own fault. There, no remission. By one’s own weight, one goes down instead of going up; we descend into the eternal abyss. And each of us, often at the time when one least thinks of it, appears at the Judgment of God: Fear the Lord, for the hour of his judgment comes.

After twenty years of this incredible apostolate, to complete in his person the expressive figure of the end of time, on Wednesday, April 5, 1419, Vincent Ferrer died in Vannes, Brittany, France, the West of the world at that time. His death, like his life, retains the prophetic character of his mission.

(Fr. Mortier O.P., La Liturgie dominicaine ; Lille/Bruges, DDB, 1923, tome VII, p. 184 sq.)

(Translation of the Mass parts from the 1959 /Saint Dominic Missal: Latin ­– English)

Translation by A. A.

Letter from the Dominicans of Avrillé No.32: September 2019

Letter from the Dominicans of Avrillé

No. 32: September 2019

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Profession before Fr. Prior (August 14th)



Fioretti of St. Vincent Ferrer

Even though he preached for hours, St. Vincent never tired the faithful. He frequently put them at ease with anecdotes, little stories, comparisons to nature, and even jokes! “Squash,” he said, justifying this practice, “are delicate and delicious, but in order to prevent them from burning and sticking to the pot, it’s necessary, if you want to cook them well, to keep stirring them with a spoon!”

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The unjust innkeeper

One day an innkeeper asked St. Vincent to preach on the obligation of paying debts, because several clients were behind in their bills. “Alright, I’ll explain how much those who retain the goods of others are guilty; but first, show me the wine you sell.” Once the innkeeper brought out a bottle, St. Vincent had him pour it into his scapular, which he held out in the form of a bowl. The water passed through, and the wine stayed in the scapular: a lot of water, and very little wine…!

“St. Vincent’s water”

A very loquacious woman, on bad terms with her irascible husband, asked St. Vincent for advice on how to “convert him.” “If you want to put an end to your quarrels, go to the porter of our convent and ask him to give you some water from the well in the middle of the cloister. When your husband comes home, put some of this water in your mouth right away, without swallowing, and you’ll see your husband become as gentle as a lamb.”

The woman did as she was told, and when her husband came home grumbling, she took a mouthful of the “miraculous” water. Her husband, seeing that his wife kept her peace without talking back, calmed down himself and thanked God for having changed her heart — and closed her mouth. The same scene repeated itself several times, always with the same happy success. At the end, the woman came to thank St. Vincent, who explained: “The real remedy was not the water from the well, but silence. In the future, keep silent, and you’ll live in peace.”

The hermit and the sack of gold

St. Vincent recounted the story of a saintly hermit who was walking to town one day when he came across a burse of gold coins. He fled immediately, crying out: “Death and tragedy!” A few onlookers asked what he saw, but his only answer was: “There, by the tree — flee while you can!” However, they didn’t take his advice, and taking the gold pieces, they went into town, got drunk and ended up killing each other in a violent dispute.

Community Chronicle

May 24th: Mr. Jean-Claude Marchon, benefactor of the community, passes away at the age of 91. Mr. Marchon gave up a comfortable apartment in Paris to come and spend his last years doing penance in our Friary. His good humor and edifying example will be sorely missed. (On the 29th: Solemn High Requiem Mass, and burial in the Friary’s cemetery.) R.I.P.

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May 26th: Fr. Marie-Dominique is at the Loncheray with the youth group “Friends of the Sacred Heart,” to prepare for their summer camp.

June 2nd: “Solemn Communion” ceremony and public profession of Faith for 6 young ladies of the parish (4 from the school St. Rose of Lima).

The same day, Fathers Marie-Dominique and Hyacinthe-Marie are in Paris for the Third Order.

June 8th-10th: Fr. Marie-Laurent and Br. Michel-Marie represent the Friary at the annual Pentecost pilgrimage of the Combat for the Faith, at the Puy-en-Velay. After the pilgrimage, Bishop Zendejas pays a visit to the Friary on his way back to the U.S.

June 19th: Solemn High Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart celebrated by Fr. Angelico in celebration of the 10th anniversary of his ordination.

June 20th: Fr. Marie-Dominique is in Riddes, Switzerland, at Fr. Epiney’s parish for the 25th anniversary of the ordination of his vicar, Fr. Grenon. Fr. Epiney is a legendary figure in the Fight for Catholic Tradition; it was he who received Archbishop Lefebvre in his parish for the foundation of the seminary of Écône. He has stood firm in his fidelity to the combat of the Archbishop, even at the price of now being ostracized by the superiors of the Society of St. Pius X.

June 23rd: Corpus Christi procession with the presence of Bishop Faure, and presided by Fr. Dominique Rousseau, who recently joined the Combat for the Faith.

June 26th-28th: Exams for the seminarians and our clerical brothers.

July 1st-6th: Fathers Marie-Dominique, Hyacinthe-Marie, and Fr. Ballini preach a retreat at the Friary for 22 men.

July 3rd: Fathers Prior and Louis-Marie, accompanied by Br. Alain, are at the Villeneuve (priory of Fr. Pivert) for a formation session for the “Friends of the Sacred Heart.”

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General Chapter of the Knights of Our Lady, held this year in the Friary’s library

July 12th-15th: The Knights of Our Lady hold their 26th annual General Chapter at the Friary. This year they celebrated the 30th anniversary of the restoration of their traditional observance.

July 14th: Fr. Prior and Br. Augustin-Marie are at Saumur for a doctrinal session for a group of tertiaries.

The second half of July: As every summer, several Fathers and Brothers are busy with camps: Fathers Angelico and Hyacinthe-Marie, with Br. Agostinho at the Lion-d’Angers for Our Lady of Fatima’s Youth Group (elementary boys and girls), and the “Valliant Souls” (adolescent girls); Fr. Terence (joined later by Fr. Angelico) and Brothers Alain and Augustin-Marie in Dordogne (near the famous sanctuary of Rocamadour), with the Cadets of the Sacred Heart. Despite the heat wave, the children all went home happy, and hopefully a few steps closer to God.

July 17th: Outing in Tours for the novitiate, with a guided visit by our Greek professor, Mr. Trouillet.

July 20th: The Friary hosts the marriage of a former student of Saint Thomas Aquinas Boys’ school; Fr. Louis-Marie has the honor of celebrating and receiving the vows.

July 22nd-27th: Fathers François-Marie, Marie-Laurent, and Fr. Picot preach a retreat at the Friary for 32 women.

July 23rd-27th: Fr. Prior is in Lourdes visiting Fr. de Mérode.

August 2nd: For our table reading, we read the Friary chronicles for July-August-September 1979, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of our definitive installation here at the Friary of La Haye-aux-Bonshommes. Fond memories for the most senior members of the community, and fascinating discoveries for the younger members (many of which were not even born at the time)!

August 4th-12th: Our annual retreat was preached this year by Fr. Morgan, who inspired us with the example of Bl. Dominic Barberi (1792-1849), the Italian Passionist priest who was responsible for a wide movement of conversion to the Catholic Church in England in the 19th century.

August 14th: Vigil of the Assumption: Solemn High Mass, during which our postulant Emmanuel receives the habit of lay brother, and a new name: Brother John. The ceremony also included the first profession of Brothers Pie-Marie and Marie-Thomas, who will now start their philosophy and theology classes with the other clerical brothers.

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August 15th: Annual Assumption procession, with a large crowd of faithful from all parts of Western France: a big difference from the 6 faithful present for the first procession 40 years ago, when the Fathers just arrived!

August 22nd: Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and 25th anniversary of the perpetual vows of Brother Martin. This day is also the 25th anniversary of the profession of our very first tertiary: Sr. Catherine (Miss Ruth McQuillan, Scotland). Ad multos annos!

News from our worksites

Other than a few small maintenance projects and the preparation of a Calvary mount, we don’t have much to announce. Please pray that we may finally obtain the authorization for the construction of the new parish hall with cafeterias for our schools. The lack of space has reached a critical point.

Crisis in the Church

In 2017, The Conference of French Bishops published the latest statistics concerning the Church in France. Compared to the statistics from 1990 (let alone those from before Vat II!), they show clearly that the crisis in the Church is still raging.

1990 2015
Baptisms 472,130 262,314
Confirmations 91,281 43,627
Marriages 141,146 55,854
Priests 32,267 16,830*
Religious (female) 52,507 29,183
Religious (male) 10,652 5,490

*10 000 of which are over 65 years old…

What’s more, we have to ask ourselves what kind of formation does this “little rest” have? How many of these souls have actually kept the Catholic Faith?

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Clama ne cesses! Cry out, never cease!

(arms of St Vincent Ferrer)

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Consecration to the Most Holy Virgin

Consecration to the Most Holy Virgin

General ideas about the True Devotion or Holy Slavery to Jesus through Mary

According to Saint Lewis-Mary Grignion-de-Montfort

By Fr Gabriel DENIS

1) What is the purpose of this devotion?

The purpose of this devotion is to establish the absolute reign of the Blessed Virgin in our hearts, in order to make prevail in them the perfectly incarnated Wisdom, Jesus, Christ the King:

If, then, we establish solid devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only to establish more perfectly devotion to Jesus Christ, and to provide an easy and secure means for finding Jesus Christ. If devotion to Our Lady removed us from Jesus Christ, we should have to reject it as an illusion of the devil; but so far from this being the case, devotion to Our Lady is, on the contrary, necessary for us, as I have already shown, and will show still further hereafter, as a means of finding Jesus Christ perfectly, of loving Him tenderly, and of serving Him faithfully” (Saint Lewis-Mary Grignion-de-Montfort).

2) What does this devotion consist of?

It consists of:

1) giving yourself entirely to the Blessed Virgin to be wholly with Jesus Christ through her;

2) to live habitually and always in a complete, whole, and perfect dependence of her will, following the example of the Son of God in Nazareth.

3) Why dedicate yourself to the Blessed Virgin?

We thus devote ourselves to the Blessed Virgin:

1) to imitate the dependence of Jesus who, in order to save us, wanted to be subject to Mary for thirty years;

2) to recognize the rights of the Holy Virgin, who, being Mother of God, has power over all creatures;

3) to receive more graces, because with Mary being in charge of applying to us the merits of the Redemption, we will be all the more favored, living more subject and more united to the divine Mother.

4) How should you give your whole self and practice this absolute dependence to the Most Holy Virgin?

We must choose a remarkable day to give her, in an act of solemn consecration:

1) our body ;

2) our soul;

3) our earthly goods;

4) our spiritual goods ;

5) all the value of our good past, present and future deeds.

By virtue of this consecration and to live habitually in her dependence, we must do all our actions through Her, with Her, in Her and for Her, so that we always look at Her as acting together with us, and to destine to Her all the good that we can do.

5) What does it mean to act through Mary, with Mary, in Mary and for Mary?

— To act “through Mary” is never to go to our Lord without going through Her, to let yourself be led in all things by Her spirit;

— “with Mary” is to take the Holy Virgin as the model of all that one has to do, and endeavor to imitate Her;

— “in Mary” is staying within the beautiful Heart of Mary with complacency, remaining in peace, relying on Her with confidence, taking refuge in Her, and losing yourself without reservation;

— “for Mary” is doing all actions for Her, for Her profit and glory, in order to do them more surely for the glory of God.

6) How does this consecration differ from those that are made on the occasion of Baptism and in the Congregations of the Children of Mary?

On the occasion of Baptism and in the Congregations of Children of Mary, one is placed under the protection of the Blessed Virgin, as a child under the tutelage of his mother, or as someone poor under the protection of someone rich, in order to have a greater part of their kindness, favors, and love; but one does not sacrifice, for that, neither the value of one’s acts, nor the liberty to rely on yourself.

Here, on the contrary, by giving everything entirely to the Blessed Virgin, for no longer do we belong to ourselves, we abandon at the same time all the rights we naturally have from our good works. She can, therefore, dispose of them as She wills, as She deems fit, without intending anything but the honor of living in her dependence as slaves by love, in order to be by it slaves of Jesus; hence this title given by the Blessed Father Montfort to this devotion: Slavery of Jesus in Mary.

7) In what sense should we consider this abandonment of all our rights to the Blessed Virgin?

To clearly understand the answer to this question, it must be remembered that each of our works, made in a state of grace and by reasons of faith contains:

1) a satisfactory (atoning) or impetratory (begging) value that we can communicate to others, and which serves, to compensate for the penalty due to sin or to obtain some benefit particular;

2) a meritorious value which is our own, that we do not share with anyone, and which brings to our soul an increase of graces and merits.

Now, by this voluntary abandonment we make of all our rights, the Blessed Virgin becomes absolute headmistress: 1) of all of the satisfactory (atoning) and impetratory (begging) value of our good works, so She can apply them how She wants, as She pleases, according to the greatest glory of God;

2) of all their meritorious value, that is, to say of the graces of our merits. But because these graces and those merits of our own are incommunicable, She will want to guard them preciously, like a beautiful and rich treasure, to grant us enjoyment at the great day of eternity.

8) How can we help our parents, friends, and benefactors, both alive and deceased, if we are not free to dispose the value of our good works in favor of who we want?

Far from opposing that we come to the aid of those who are dear to us, or who commend themselves to us, this devotion authorizes us, on the contrary, to pray for them with more confidence than ever:

Just as well as a rich person,” says the saint of Montfort, “who, wanting to show his esteem for a great prince, gives his entire fortune to him. Would not that man have greater confidence in asking the prince to help one of his friends who needed assistance? Indeed the prince would only be too happy to have such an opportunity of proving his gratitude to one who had sacrificed all that he possessed to enrich him, thereby impoverishing himself to do him honour. The same must be said of our Lord and our Lady.

For those consecrated as slaves, it is of their kindness and power never to be outdone in gratitude.

While the application of our good works does not depend anymore on our will, Jesus and Mary “will assist, of our humble and submissive commendation, of our small spiritual merit, or by other ways, our parents, friends and benefactors” alive and dead, when they will be in need. It is even a duty of justice and charity that they will recognize and fulfill better than us.

9) What are the main benefits we find for ourselves in the slavery of Jesus in Mary?

We, being stripped of all that we have to give it to the Most Holy Virgin, are right to believe:

1) That the good Mother, having accepted our offering, is obliged at the same time to consider us always as her good, to protect us and defend us against our enemies, to give us the ways of salvation, and to obtain for us all of the graces we need in life;

2) That our good works, passing by her hands before arriving at God, are purified, augmented, embellished with its virtues, and presented by Herself to Jesus Christ, they will be favorably welcomed, and thus make them more meritorious in His eyes:

3) That, being shown to be generous and selfless, parting with our own goods to put them back in Her hands, she acquits our debts towards God in this life and will not permit that we stay a long time to suffer in Purgatory after our death.

Also, in the slavery of Jesus through Mary, a fervent, animated soul of special love for the Most Holy Virgin, arrives more surely and more promptly to a perfect sanctification than by any other spiritual way. “Show me a new road to go to Jesus Christ,” says the saint of Montfort, “pave it with all the merits of the saints, adorn it with their heroic virtues, illuminate and enhance it with the splendor and beauty of the angels, have all the angels and saints there to guide and protect those who wish to follow it. Give me such a road and truly, truly, I boldly say, and I am telling the truth, that instead of this road, perfect though it be, I would still choose the immaculate way of Mary. It is a way, a road without stain or spot, without original sin or actual sin, without shadow or darkness.”

10) What are the obligations of this devotion?

To be a slave to Jesus in Mary:

1) We must have made our consecration;

2) By virtue of this consecration, one must seek to live according to her spirit, that is to say, in union with Mary.

The act of consecration is a contract that always lasts unless it is formally retracted. The saint of Montfort asks us to renew it frequently, even if it is brief.

To help us do our consecration well and to live united with Mary, he also shows us a few particular external and internal practices.

11) Does this devotion oblige under pain of sin?

It does not oblige under pain of sin, but one could find in their negligence a lack of conformity to grace. It is a great medium of salvation and of perfection that we must neither despise should nor neglect.

12) What are the external practices of this devotion?

These practices are:

1) To prepare for the consecration in offering to God, for thirty days, one’s prayers, meditations and good works, with intention and in following way: twelve days to purge the spirit of the world, six days to get the knowledge of oneself, six days to get to know the Blessed Virgin, and six days to get to know Jesus Christ. This preparation completed, the consecration is done pronouncing the formula composed by the saint of Montfort himself 1;

2) To renew each year the act of consecration, after preparing for three weeks in the same way as the first time. This preparation can coincide with the month of May; it would be an excellent exercise for the month of Mary;

3) To make a small offering to the Holy Virgin, the day of the first consecration and the day of the renovation, as a mark of universal dependency towards Mary;

4) To recite every day some prayer in honor of the Most Holy Virgin; for example, the Magnificat, a chaplet, or the Holy Rosary, especially the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin, praying three times one Pater, four Aves, and 1 Glory Be.

5) To devoutly celebrate the Feasts of the Blessed Virgin, particularly the Annunciation, the main festival of the present devotion.

13) What are the interior practices?

These practices are:

1) Offering to Our Lord Jesus Christ, every morning, by the hands of his Holy Mother, all of our thoughts, desires, words, and actions, by pronouncing these words or other similar ones: “I am all yours, and all that I have, I offer to you, my kind Jesus, by Mary, your Most Holy Mother” or “I give myself up, I give myself entirely to you, my dear Mother.”

2) To live all day in union with Mary, seeking to act everywhere and always through Her, with Her, in Her, and for Her, as it was explained above (fifth question). For this, in the course of the day, do all works habitually with this thought: “My good mother, act in me…speak in me…work in me.” All this is to be done peacefully, gently, without effort, without restraint, but also with fidelity and perseverance.

14) What are the fruits of this devotion?

Souls who know how to enter the spirit of this devotion are happy, a thousand times happy. They find their consolation invoking and blessing Mary as their powerful Queen; their pleasure to obey their dear Headmistress without delay. They discover in contemplation of her virtues a ravishing beauty and, in the imitation of her, strength and incomparable joy. They live in their Mother’s company with the trust and abandonment of a child. They draw from the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin (becoming for them the conduit of all graces) such a great abundance of goods that they withdraw fast from sin to live fully according to God. It is Jesus and Mary who reign in their hearts and they do not delay not to reign there perfectly.

God alone!

Translation by J.F.

1 — You will find it in his « Treatise of the true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary ».

Continuing the Battle of Saint Pius X

Continuing the Battle of Saint Pius X

Sermon given at the Dominican Monastery of La Haye-aux-Bonshommes Avrillé (France)

My Dear Brethren,

Today, the Church makes us celebrate the feast of Saint Pius X.

Let us remember the exceptional destiny of a small child from the countryside, who became priest, pastor, canon at Treviso, Bishop at Mantua, Cardinal, Patriarch of Venice, then Pope; a Pope whose “pontificate shone like in the Golden Ages of Church according to the expression of Pope Pius XII 1.

Divine Providence placed a saint on the seat of Peter, at the dawn of a century that would see, on the occasion of two world wars, the installation of communism, and then globalism into this world; and where the Church, infiltrated by her enemies, would know the gravest crisis of her history.

It is thus valuable to recall the teachings of this saint, to guide us in the present times. It is not for nothing that Msgr. Lefebvre wanted to make him the celestial patron of his work of restoring the priesthood, and of the battle that we lead today for the Church.

By nature, no one sweeter, more amiable than he, no one more a friend of peace, no one more paternal. […] [But] in front of the unavoidable attacks against God and the Church, he knew how to rise up like a giant in all his majesty, […] making the powers of the earth tremble and retreat, reassuring the hesitant and galvanizing the timid 2.

Restoring all things in Christ

He set the tone in his first encyclical:

Who can fail to see that society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deep-rooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction? You understand, Venerable Brethren, what this disease is – apostasy from God.

And as might be expected we find extinguished among the majority of men all respect for the Eternal God, and no regard paid in the manifestations of public and private life to the Supreme Will – nay, every effort and every artifice is used to destroy utterly the memory and the knowledge of God 3.

A century later, how relevant this is! He continues:

When all this is considered there is good reason to fear lest this great perversity may be as it were a foretaste, and perhaps the beginning of those evils which are reserved for the last days.

To combat the evil at its root, Saint Pius X sees only one solution: to restore all things in Christ. It will become his motto and essential agenda of his pontificate.

We proclaim that We have no other program in the Supreme Pontificate but that “of restoring all things in Christ” (Ephes. i., 10), so that “Christ may be all and in all” (Coloss. 3, 2). […]

We shall never, however much we exert ourselves, succeed in calling men back to the majesty and empire of God, except by means of Jesus Christ. “No one,” the Apostle admonishes us, “can lay other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ” (I. Cor 3, 2) 4.

This is why Pius X will vigorously condemn the separation of Church and State in France and will forcefully defend the liberty of the Church in face of the plundering French government 5.

Obviously, more than a century later, the evil is so deep and the entire world is so much in the grips of Freemasonry that any purely human means cannot reverse the course of things, it is necessary to be realist.

But let us not be discouraged! The pope continues:

The victory will ever be with God […] We believe and expect with unshakable faith. But this does not prevent us also, according to the measure given to each, from exerting ourselves to hasten the work of God – and not merely by praying assiduously […] but, more important still, by affirming both by word and deed and in the light of day, God’s supreme dominion over man and all things, so that His right to command and His authority may be fully realized and respected 6.

Battling Modernism

But what do we see today, after the latest Council?

The popes travel the world preaching the rights of man; since the Council, the Vatican has demanded that the last remaining Catholic States not mention in their constitutions that the Catholic religion is the State religion and to give the same rights to all the religions. In no speech is it understood that Our Lord is the only Savior of men and societies. Such a silence, if one thinks about it, is hardly believable.

Msgr. Lefebvre could write:

This is our opposition [to Rome today], and this is what cannot be understood. Our Lord came to reign. They say no, and we say yes with all the popes [before the Council] 7.

How did we get there?

Well! The good God rose up a saint at the beginning of the 20th century to enlighten and warn us in advance. This is the great encyclical of Pius X on the doctrines of the modernists: Pascendi Dominici Gregis, 8 September 1907.

Saint Pius X had the lucidity to see, and the courage to say, that the evil is not only in civil society, but that it is also in the Church, which is much worse:

The partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear. […] Though they express astonishment themselves, no one can justly be surprised that We number such men among the enemies of the Church 8.

And Saint Pius X analyzed the entire modernist system.

It is not possible to explain the details of the whole encyclical here 9.

What is necessary to understand is that modernism completely destroys the faith.

Faith, as you know, is a gift from God received at baptism, which makes us hold as true all that Our Lord has revealed to us, and which he teaches us through His Church, when she speaks infallibly. This is what we recite in the act of faith:

My God, I firmly believe all the truths that you have revealed and that you teach us by your Church, because you cannot be deceived nor deceive us.

What is it for the modernists? What is faith for them? Saint Pius X says that for the modernists :

Human reason is […] incapable of lifting itself up to God, and of recognising His existence, even by means of visible things. (§6)

Faith […] consists [only, for them] in a sentiment which originates from a need of the divine (§7)

The divine reality [existence of God], for the Modernists […] [is found] In the experience of the individual. (§14)

What is to prevent such experiences from being met within every religion? […] And with what right will Modernists deny the truth of an experience affirmed by a follower of Islam? With what right can they claim true experiences for Catholics alone? Indeed Modernists do not deny but actually admit, some confusedly, others in the most open manner, that all religions are true. (§14)

This is today’s ecumenism. And it is what Masonry seeks for extending its global government, precursor of the antichrist. One cannot find anything more opposed to the motto of St. Pius X: « To restore all things in Christ! »

Of course the Catholic life is not something purely intellectual. A certain “experience” of God is found in it. Catholic life is a life of friendship with Our Lord, through the virtue of charity, the action of the Holy Ghost, and His seven gifts. All this makes our faith a living faith.

But when religious experience is not guided by the faith, if it is entirely reduced to sentiment, to individual conscience, the door is open to all deviations and heresies:

[Modernism is] the synthesis of all heresies (§39).

[It leads to] the annihilation of all religion, – atheism (§39).

Modernism was clearly condemned by Saint Pius X. The pope even took strict measures to remove the modernists from positions of responsibility.

But they refused to submit, continued to work underground, and three years later the pope will find:

They have not ceased to attract followers, either, by forming a clandestine group; by these means, they inject in the very veins of the Christian Republic the virus of their doctrine, by editing books and publishing articles in anonymity or with pseudonyms 10.

And they held the power at the Second Vatican Council.

Continuing the fight of Saint Pius X

Well! It is necessary to continue the fight of Saint Pius X, which is simply the fight of twenty centuries of Church; it is the only combat that has the assurance of victory, as the holy pope reminds us.

Studying and disseminating Catholic doctrine

It is first necessary to save the faith, which is disappearing today.

Saint Pius X has constantly insisted on the necessity of disseminating Catholic doctrine, encouraging the study of St. Thomas Aquinas; adding to the Catechism of the Council of Trent a simplified catechism in the form of questions and answers, which is extremely deep and luminous, now called the Catechism of Saint Pius X.

He asked the bishops to found schools of religion for the youth in the cities, and he asked the priests to institute congregations of Christian doctrine in the parishes. He insisted that, in their sermons, priests should make the Council of Trent known 11.

Pius XII calls Saint Pius X “the pope of Catholic doctrine12.

In this spirit, it is necessary that the faithful today implement a program of readings for the year, fixing each week a time for religious reading, alone or as a family; or organize a doctrinal group to study doctrine with other faithful, under the guidance of a priest.

Living the Mass

Then we must focus our life on the Mass.

Regnavit a ligno, Deus : God reigns by the cross.

At Calvary, Our Lord has definitively conquered sin, the devil, and the world. Holy Mass, renewing the Sacrifice of Calvary, extends the victory and reign of Our Lord over our countries. Christendom was built around the altar of the Sacrifice.

Saint Pius X therefore wanted to establish his fight for Christ the King on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Holy Eucharist.

Pius XII calls Saint Pius X “the Pope of the Holy Eucharist in our time13:

— he restored the dignity of worship, “primary and indispensable source of the true Catholic spirit14;

— he reestablished frequent and daily communion in the Church, “much desired by Jesus Christ and by the Catholic Church15;

— he allowed little children to receive holy communion early, as soon as they can “distinguish the Eucharistic Bread from ordinary bread16.

The modernists destroyed the mass: it is the ecumenical mass of Paul VI. Divine Providence raised up Archbishop Lefebvre to give us Mass of all ages. Let us live the holy Mass, now that it has been returned to us. Let us read about the Mass; if we are living not far from a traditional chapel, let us try to go to Mass on weekdays, at least sometimes; let us prepare the evening before Sundays, by reading the texts of the Sunday Mass, and make a good thanksgiving after Holy Communion, at least spiritually if we cannot attend Mass (we will have the same spiritual fruit).

Making Our Lord reign amongst us

Finally, Saint Pius X exhorts us to work for the restoration of all things in Christ by word and deed, study the doctrine of Christ the King, make it known around us, and constitute strongholds of resistance where Our Lord may reign: our soul, our families, our traditional parish communities, and wherever we can influence.

**

As a conclusion, let make ours the prayer of the Church in the collect of the Mass for the feast of saint Pius X:

O God Who, for the defense of the Catholic faith and the restoration of all things in Christ, filled St. Pius, the Supreme Pontiff, with heavenly wisdom and apostolic fearlessness, mercifully grant that, by following his teachings and examples, we may receive Your eternal rewards. Amen.

1 — Pius XII, Allocution for the beatification of Saint Pius X , 3 June 1951 (AAS 43 pp. 471).

2 — Pius XII , Ibid. p. 472

  1. 3 — Saint Pius X, encyclical E Supremi Apostolatus, 4 October 1903, §3 and §4.

  1. 4— Saint Pius X, Ibid. §4 and §8.

  1. 5— One can refer to his encyclical Vehementer nos, 11 February 1906.

  1. 6— Saint Pius X, encyclical E Supremi Apostolatus, §7.

  1. 7— Mgr Lefebvre, L’Église infiltrée par le modernisme, Éditions Fideliter, 1993, p. 70.

  1. 8— Saint Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, 8 September 1907, §2 and §3.

  1. 9Le Sel de la terre 93 (été 2015) published a complete analysis of this encyclical by Msgr Richard Williamson (pp. 71-87). One can also read the Catechism on Modernism by Fr. Jean-Baptiste Lemius, O.M.I., published in 1907 with a letter of commendation by Cardinal Merry del Val. The French edition was happily reprinted by Éditions Delacroix in 2003.

10— Saint Pius X, Motu Proprio Sacrorum Antistitum, 1 September 1910 [English translation]

11 — Encyclical Acerbo Nimis, 15 april 1905, on the teaching of catholic doctrine.

12 — Pius XII, Allocution for the beatification of saint Pius X, ibid.

13 — Pius XII, Allocution for the beatification of saint Pius X, ibid.

14 — Saint Pius X, Motu Proprio Tra Le Sollecitudini on Sacred Music, 22 november 1903.

15 — Saint Pius X, Decree De Quotidiana SS. Eucharistiae sumptione, 20 december 1905.

16 — Saint Pius X, Decree Quam Singulari, 8 august 1910.

Letter from the Dominicans of Avrillé No. 31: May 2019

Letter from the Dominicans of Avrillé

No. 31: May 2019

St Vincent Ferrer

2019: Year of St. Vincent Ferrer

St. Vincent Ferrer: 1350-1419

The apostolate of St. Vincent Ferrer was as international as the Dominican Order itself. Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Switzerland (some even say England, but proof is lacking)… received his visit, and all of Europe felt the power of his message.

He traveled on foot – or, at the end of his life, riding on a donkey – accompanied by a group of confessors and a flock of penitents who would follow for a time the preacher that converted them. Arriving in town, he would kneel down on the ground, not wanting to penetrate any further into the city without imploring for it the divine blessing. After which, the mission commenced.

He himself would rise each morning at 2 o’clock, in order to recite the Breviary and say his private prayers. A few hours later, the mission would start with a Solemn High Mass, celebrated by St. Vincent, with deacon, sub-deacon, and a highly-trained schola — with musical instruments! The saint placed great importance on the beauty of the liturgy, which for him was the first way to preach.

The Mass was generally celebrated outdoors, as no church could contain the crowds of faithful. Next came the sermon, which easily lasted three hours (sometimes longer), the blessing of the sick (and the resulting miracles), and the reconciliation of enemies.

The Angel of the Last Judgment

In the eyes of the faithful, Saint Vincent Ferrer was above all — as he said himself — the “Angel of the Last Judgment”, he who came to cry out to the world: “Fear God, and give Him glory, for the hour of His judgment is come” (Apoc. 14:7). Born in 1350, two years after the start of the terrible bubonic plague that decimated Europe, he preached to a Christendom ravaged by the Hundred Years War, natural catastrophes (such as the earthquakes shaking even St. John Lateran and St. Peter’s), and the Great Western Schism. If that wasn’t the end of the world, it was at least a striking prefiguration. Throughout Church history, just as there have regularly been precursors of the Antichrist, God has sent precursors of the intrepid preachers who will be his direct adversaries at the end of the world.

A hundred years ago, the review La Vie spirituelle underlined the significance of St. Vincent’s mission, for his epoch and ours:

God gave him the mission to speak to all the people of Europe, to repeat during 30 years, without tiring, the importance of salvation, the blinding light of the final judgment, the eternity of Hell. […] The whole of St. Vincent’s preaching consists in boldly confronting his listeners with the most frightening and the most certain of all realities: Hell is the punishment for sin. Unless you convert, you will all perish.

The Angel of the Judgment is thus [always] a “Saint for today”.

The Problem of Evil

If God exists, where does evil come from? This is a common objection, but which actually turns against atheism and leads to religion.

And yet, evil exists, doesn’t it? Evil (for example, deafness, blindness…) does not have its own proper existence: it’s an absence, a lack, a disorder, that doesn’t exist all by itself, but only in something else that it damages. Evil is a privation of being — a privation of the normal order.

What does that prove? A privation does not have a proper cause. The shadow of a tree (privation of light) is not positively produced by the tree (which only limits the action of the Sun), and much less by the Sun itself! In a way, one could say that evil is to God what shadows are to the Sun.

But if God is all-powerful, what could limit His action? God, being all-powerful, is free to manifest His goodness as He wishes. Instead of an egalitarian universe (with millions of identical beings), His wisdom preferred a diversified creation, reflecting His goodness in a multiple fashion (in varying degrees). In this hierarchy, certain beings cast shadows on others: animals eat other animals, which eat plants, which assimilate minerals, etc. Each creature, with its limits, contributes to the general order of things.

Doesn’t the presence of evil inside humanity itself (wars, crimes, injustice…) argue against the existence of God? False notes in a concert do not in any way rule out the existence of the symphony, nor the existence of a composer. It’s actually the opposite which is true: it would be impossible to discern the false notes if the melody and harmony of the whole did not exist. Similarly, the presence of evil in the world does not in any way raise doubts as to the existence of God: to the contrary, we could not discern what is evil without having first recognized a general order of the universe.

Evil remains a scandal! Evil is a scandal for those who are more or less pantheistic (thinking that the universe itself is God), or who adore Mankind. The imperfections of our world prove first and foremost that the world is not God; it is not the Supreme Being, and so we must therefore search for something higher. Every man has a thirst for happiness which cannot be completely satisfied by things here below. This is just one more proof of the existence of God: true happiness is over and above this world!

But if God is good, couldn’t he eliminate all evil? Evil will always be a mystery for our limited human reason. We can understand that evil is permitted by God for a greater good, but it remains difficult to discern what this greater good actually is. The mystery of evil calls upon other mysteries which alone can shed light upon it: the mystery of eternal life (our life on earth is only a temporary trial, before our real life), the mystery of final judgment (one day, everyone must render an account of their actions), the mystery of original sin (man used his liberty to “thwart” God’s plan), and the mystery of Jesus Christ, who made reparation for sin in a manner even more beautiful than if sin had never existed (God’s goodness is revealed better by Jesus taking on human nature in order to make reparation and suffer in our place). To all those who suffer and are tempted to revolt, only Jesus (who suffered even more, but who leads us to happiness), provides the true answer.

Community Chronicle

January 31st: Mrs. Miriam CARROLL (Sr. Claire Gambacorta t.o.p.) passed away in Kansas, fortified by the sacraments of the Church and assisted by her fellow tertiaries. According to the constitutions of the Third Order and her personal wishes, she was buried wearing the Dominican habit.

Mirriam Carroll (coffin)

February 1st: At Montagnac-la-Crempse (Périgord), Fathers Marie-Dominique and Angelico represent the community at the funeral services for Mother Marie-Emmanuel, the first Prioress of the contemplative Dominican sisters of Avrillé.

February 9th: Brothers Michel-Marie and Augustin-Marie receive the tonsure during a Pontifical High Mass celebrated by Bishop Zendejas. Several seminarians receive the cassock, tonsure and minor orders on the same occasion.

February 10th: The Third Order Fraternity of “Saint Dominic and Saint Francis” (which gathered together all our tertiaries of Southeastern France) having become too big, Fathers Angelico and Marie-Laurent preside the erection of a new Fraternity for our tertiaries of Auvergne: the Fraternity “Saint Vincent Ferrer.” The fledgling Fraternity will be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on May 5th, feast of St. Pius V.

February 17th: Third Order meeting for Fathers Marie-Dominique and Hyacinthe-Marie at “Saint Joseph’s Domain” (Convent of the Sisters of Mary Coredemptrix, near Rennes, Brittany).

March 9th/10th: Weekend recollection for the faithful near Bordeaux, with Fathers Marie-Laurent and Hyacinthe-Marie.

March 17th: Annual pilgrimage in honor of St. Joseph for the families of St. Philomena School, with Fathers François-Marie and Angelico. Fathers Marie-Dominique and Hyacinthe-Marie are in Chartres for a conference, then to Paris for the Third Order.

March 30th/31st: For the 600th anniversary of St. Vincent Ferrer’s entry into Heaven, Father Louis-Marie leads a group of tertiaries on a pilgrimage to his tomb in Vannes (Brittany).

March 24th: Arrival of Bishop Thomas Aquinas, who will stay several weeks in France.

March 28th: Father Prior is in Rennes (Brittany), where Bishop Thomas Aquinas presides over the ceremony of the final vows of Sr. Marie-Liesse, and the temporary vows of Sister Marie-Joseph (Sisters of Mary Coredemptrix).

March 30th-April 6th: Annual pilgrimage to Rome for the graduating class of St. Thomas Aquinas Boys’ School, accompanied by Fr. Marie-Dominique.

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Death of St. Vincent at Vannes (Brittany)

News from our worksites

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In order to have a spotless church in time for Holy Week and Easter, a 5-day cleaning operation, under the di­rection of our Br. An­dré-Joseph, was ac­complished in late Feb­ruary. The height of the vaulted ceiling and the fragility of the murals (dating from the 14th century) made it neces­sary to rent a crane for the delicate procedure.

church cleaning 2

The construction permit for the future Parish Hall was rejected due to a change in zoning laws… The architect is now revising the blue prints in conformity with the new requirements, and we’re hoping to get the project under way in 2020. We’re also counting on your prayers to remove all the administrative and financial obstacles!

Crisis in the Church

February 4th, 2019: “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom.” (Declaration on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.)

March 30th, 2019: Rabat, Morocco: the Pope visits the “Mohamed IV Institute for the Formation of Muslim Preachers,” thereby giving formal encouragement to spread a false religion fiercely opposed to Our Lord!

To send a donation:

YOU MAY USE PAYPAL (ON OUR WEBSITE), OR SEND TO:

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Dominicans of Avrillé, Inc.
P.O. Box 23, Newman Lake, WA. 99025

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Association of St. Dominic

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Saskatoon (SK) S7K OB8 Canada

Please include a note, and specify:

acc. #40-91531

In the U.K.:

Association of St. Dominic

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For more information :

Couvent de la Haye-aux-Bonshommes

49240 Avrillé, France

crucifixion-saint dominic

Sermon of His Excellency Bp. Gerardo Zendejas given in Avrillé (France) for the Consecration of the Holy Oils and Chrismal Mass of the Holy Thursday

Sermon of His Excellency Bp. Gerardo Zendejas

given in Avrillé (France)

for the Consecration of the Holy Oils

and Chrismal Mass of the Holy Thursday

April 18, 2019

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Dear Rev. Prior, Priests, Brothers and Religious,

My Dear Brethren,

As Catholics, we believe that there are four marks in the Catholic Church: One, HOLY, Catholic and Apostolic. Needless to say that Catholic Church has the power to produce saints. This is the mark of sanctity. Absolutely God sends his grace from above as source of holiness. For that purpose Our Lord Jesus Christ has instituted seven sacraments in order to be a common way of sanctification, prefigured under the Mosaic Law and accomplished under the Law of the Gospel by the true and unique Messiah – our Lord Jesus Christ

A sacrament is a visible sign instituted by Jesus Christ in order to give grace, which we need for the eternal salvation of our soul. Taking human nature into account, Our Lord linked an invisible grace, for example to be child of God by adoption, to visible a sign – like water – when is used for Baptism. In other words, man stands in need of perceptible outward signs so that can realize and communicate spiritual realities. In a way, sacraments are symbols, however they signify what they perform.

Catholic Tradition has transmitted that there are three essential elements in a sacrament: matter, form and intention. Certainly, there is an immemorial use of OIL in the administration of some sacraments. For instance, it is essential to use Holy Chrism (a mix between Olive Oil and Balsam) in the administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation. Concerning the administration of sacraments in preserving their substance, Traditional teaching including the common teaching of the Church and theologians, have transmitted those matter, form and intention, and have religiously expressed them in prayers and gestures by the Roman Ritual or Eastern Liturgical Rites. Indeed, after SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL THESE RITES WERE MODIFIED. Why?

Here are some dates of modification:

1968 a new rite of priestly Ordination

1969 a New Mass

1969 a new rite of Baptism

1969 a new rite of Matrimony

1971 a new rite of Confirmation

1972 a new rite of Extreme Unction

1973 a new rite of Penance

1988 a new rite of exorcism, etc..

So, in 1970 there was installed a new matter for the holy Oils, not only enforcing a different kind of oil, but also granting the fact of blessed oils instead of consecrating them.

The new Rites – in general – do relativize the essential intention in administering Sacraments because undermine the truths of Catholic Faith. For instance, OLIVE OIL from Apostolic times was considered as the proper unique matter. The Ritual for the consecration of Holy Oils, which we are going to use in a few minutes, expresses during the preface that the olive oil was chosen among other trees for the signification of tree of peace and light – arbor pacis et lucis. It says that Noah had received some leaves of Olive tree, as signal of peace from God after the Deluge; also how Our Lord – praying in the Garden of Olives – willed to sanctify those olive trees in order to sanctify us when we offer ourselves to God, in particular when a person gives oneself to God in priestly or in religious life. In fact, for purpose of validity in administering the Sacrament of Confirmation the holy Chrism is essentially needed to be from olive oil mixed with balsam.

Otherwise, on December 3, 1970 the Congregation of Rites authorized the use of other vegetable oils in the administration of Sacraments, approved by Pope Paul VI. In addition, in canon 847 the new Canon Law (1983) reads: “In administering the sacraments in which holy oils must be used, the minister must use pressed olives OR OTHER PLANTS….. consecrated or BLESSED by a bishop.”

Nevertheless, the Congregation of Rites gave no reason to justify that something that has always been understood as INVALID (other kind of oil), later had suddenly considered to be VALID and enforceable. If Catholic Tradition has always refused to change the essential elements of the sacraments, it is because Jesus Christ has instituted them.

After Vatican II, very many priests had been erroneously indoctrinated through their preparatory years of formation, so that they could deliberately be weak in learning Tradition, and strong in Modernism. Their Novus Ordo modified ways in considering the sacraments, not only affect the priests’ believing but also the faithful’s beliefs in presiding community celebrations or interacting in social functions. Due to constant defects and excesses, the new Rites of sacraments are projecting a different way of believing.

That is the reason why Archbishop Lefebvre wisely RESISTED these innovations in order to preserve our Faith and the grace of God, so that the four marks of the Church could be preserved but in particular that one of Sanctity, for the Greater glory of God and the eternal salvation of many souls.

Let’s thank to Our Lord, during this ceremony, for the institution of the sacraments on Holy Thursday – the Holy Eucharist and Holy Orders because He also wanted to consecrate the ministers of the sacraments. That’s why He consecrated the first bishops in order to preach the Gospel throughout the world with its Traditions. We therefore should pray for the fidelity of Traditional Bishops, in spite that some of them want to play the betrayal role of Judas Iscariot.

In concluding, more than ever let’s thank to Notre Dame de Paris for having sent the French Prelate, Archbishop Lefebvre, to preserve our Catholic Episcopacy, and Catholic priesthood, in using the Traditional Rite of Sacraments, particularly that one of consecration of Holy Oils for their validity.

As the statue of Notre Dame remained safe after and in spite of last Monday burning fire, the Archbishop’s stands for Tradition shall remain safe in spite of the burning fire of Vatican II destructive innovations. Therefore, let’s once again thank to Notre Dame of Paris for remaining at the traditional main Altar in the Cathedral after last Monday burning fire, either way if it was provoked by accident or by incident, God knows. But what we really know is that in spite of such fire and smoke, Our Lady wanted to remain at the foot of her beloved Son’s cross, enhanced by Royal Crowns in Paris, as A TESTIMONY that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Mystical Body of Christ. The Catholic Church will not be destroyed, and Notre Dame of Paris Cathedral shall be restored. Absolutely, the Mother of God encourages us to keep the Deposit of the Faith transmitting the mystery of the Redemption, in spite of Vatican II diabolical confusion. The Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ is always prevailing because He is True God, True Man and True King!!!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, AMEN

Personal Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

PERSONAL CONSECRATION TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

Imprimatur of Bp J.C. Chamont Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal

November 16, 1940

1. Importance of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart

Three Classes of Souls

Rest a little, Christian soul, from the bustle of life, and give ear to the words of love which the Heart of Jesus speaks to you, that God of love and mercy whose only care is for your good.

Tell Me, are you happy? Are you contented? Is your heart at peace? Do you enjoy the unruffled depths of ocean?

Perhaps you are to be numbered among those unhappy souls who weep because at every step they take they find themselves in sin: who, like doves with their wings clogged with mud, fail to soar up to the clear blue sky. Or perhaps you are making your way but slowly along the steep and narrow path of virtue, weighed down by cold torpor or that wasting disease of the spirit called tepidity. Or perhaps you are one of those who are neither sinners nor tepid, but whose downcast features reflect discouragement within because, like eagles with clipped wings, they spend their whole life rising into the air only to fall back to earth discouraged, or, like travelers journeying along a boundless stretch of shifting sands, they lose heart at the sight of such little progress achieved after so many years of weary travel. What compassion I have for all these poor souls! And how many indeed they are!

A Great Remedy

But just listen now to those consoling words I have confided to My most intimate friends. For I desire them to be, as it were, silvered conduits or electric cables carrying the grace and light of My loving Heart out to the world.

The treasures of grace and blessings which this Sacred Heart contains are infinite. I do not know of any devotion in the spiritual life better suited to raise a soul in a short time to the highest perfection and to make it taste the real sweetness to be found in the service of Jesus Christ 1.”

I do not know, my dear child, if you understand the meaning of devotion to the Sacred

Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of which I speak to you. It produces fruit and a great change in all those who consecrate themselves to it and practice it with fervor 2.”

By means of this devotion to the Sacred Heart, people in the world will find all the helps necessary to their state of life, peace in their families, relief in their labors, the blessing of heaven on all their undertakings, consolation in their troubles; and it is precisely in this Sacred Heart that they will find a haven of refuge during their whole life and particularly at the hour of death.

“How sweet it is to die after having had a tender and constant devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus! 3

“See to it, above all, that religious embrace this devotion, for they will derive from it such help that no other means will be necessary to reestablish primitive fervor and the most exact observance in the least observant communities, and to raise to the summit of perfection those communities which live in the most perfect observance 4.”

One Friday, during Holy Communion, He spoke these words to His unworthy servant, if she is not mistaken: ‘I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that its all-powerful love will grant to all those who go to Communion on the First Fridays of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die in its disfavor nor without receiving their sacraments, My Divine Heart being their assured refuge at that last moment’ 5.

Our glorious protector, St. Michael, accompanied by a countless host of angelic spirits, assured me anew that the cause of the Sacred Heart was entrusted to him as one of the most important enterprises for the glory of God and the utility of the Church that has ever taken place in the world during the whole course of the centuries. This mystery hidden for centuries, this sacrament manifested anew to the world, this design from all eternity in favor of all people, now revealed to the Church, is, so to speak, one of those which arrest the attention of God, ever careful for our good and the glory of the Savior6.”

I seem to see interiorly that light, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that adorable sun which sheds down its rays on earth sparingly at first, then in greater abundance, and finally illuminating with them the whole earth. And He said to me: ‘By the splendor of this light peoples and nations will be illuminated, and by its heat they will be made warm.’ 7

Tell me now, My child, if, after having read these lines, you do not feel the persuasion coming over you that devotion to the Sacred Heart is something really extraordinary in the world. Yes, it is, indeed, and if you still have any lingering doubts, then make a careful study of the question for yourself and you will soon gain conviction. It is this personal conviction I desire in all My faithful, most of all in My priests and religious: not that they should believe just because they have heard of it, but rather that they should discover it from personal experience. By this means alone will they become convinced, and only they who are convinced will do great things. If only you were one of these, convinced through and through of the power and greatness of My Heart!

Two Kinds of Devotion

My most precious gems lie hidden at the bottom of the coffer, because there are many who have not yet noticed them. This divine devotion is like a vein of gold running through the field of the Church. Those layers of the ground which are usually exploited lie on the surface and can thus be easily discovered and turned to advantage. For example, who is unaware of the value of Holy Communion on the First Fridays of the month, or the value of the consecration of the family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Or who has not from time to time assisted at some feast in My honor? Or who has not become a member of some confraternity and performed its simple devotional exercises? All these are like travelers who pass over a vein of gold, stir up the earth a little, gather a few grains of the precious metal, and then continue on their way. It is only the few who set themselves to delve deeply into the mine; only the few become miners by profession.

2. Consecration

CONSECRATION is the fundamental practice of devotion to My Sacred Heart. How often, though, it becomes a mere matter of routine! Many pious souls make their consecration every day, reciting it from their prayer books and yet, when all is said and done, they are not really consecrated; they do not make the consecration, but merely recite it; they are reciters of consecrations.

Listen, then, and I shall tell you in what the full consecration consists, as I have explained it Myself to My most intimate friends, and as they have taught it in their writings and confirmed it by their example.

a) A Pact

The consecration can be reduced to a pact, in the sense in which I proposed it to My first apostle in Spain, Bernardo de Hoyos, and previously in similar terms to St. Margaret Mary: “Take care of My honor and My interests, and My Heart will make this pact with you, too.” As absolute Lord I could indeed demand this without submitting to any conditions; but I prefer to make a friendly bargain with My children.

Will you not then conclude this pact with Me? Have no fear lest you may be the loser by it. I am so kind and beneficent in My dealings with creatures that one would think I was a dupe. Moreover, it is not a pact which will bind you under sin of any sort, for I do not like obligations which stifle!

I want love, peace and generosity not fear or anguish of conscience.

The pact contains two clauses, one binding Me, the other binding you. My part is to care for you and your interests, and your part is to care for Me and Mine. Is that not a beautiful pact?

b) First Part of the Consecration

Let us begin with My part. I shall take care of you and your interests. For that, it is necessary for you to leave absolutely everything in the hands of My Divine Providence: your soul, your body, your life, your health, your family, your business, and in a word — everything. I wish to arrange all that concerns you according to My good pleasure, and for that I require a free hand. So, too, you must hand over to Me all the keys of your house, that I may come in and go out at will.

You must not be keeping an eye on Me and what I do, nor demand any account from Me, even though you may not perceive the reason for My actions in your affairs, and yes, even though at times this may seem to be to your detriment. If at times you may have to grope your way blindly on, then you will have the consolation of knowing that you are in safe hands.

When you hand everything over to My keeping, you must not want to have everything arranged according to your wishes; that would be imposing conditions on Me and seeking your own interests; but rather I must arrange everything in a way that seems best to Me as King and Lord. I must have complete liberty of action even though I may foresee that My plans will at times cause you pain.

You see only the present; but I see the future. You see, as it were, through a microscope, while I see through a powerful, long range telescope.

Hence solutions which seem very suitable for the present may turn out quite disastrous in the long run. There will be occasions, too, when I shall deliberately permit the upset of your plans in order to test your faith and trust, and to increase your merit.

I do not mean by all this, however, that you are to surrender yourself to a sort of fatalistic quietism and simply neglect all spiritual affairs. You must take as a fundamental guiding principle those words of the Gospel which read: “When you have done all you have been commanded to do, say, ‘We are useless servants. We have done no more than our duty.’”(Lk. 17:10).

In everything you must make just as much effort as if success depended on you alone, and then say to me with humble trust: “Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, in my weakness I have done all that I can; the rest depends on You. I leave it to Your Providence.” When you have prayed thus, set aside all uneasiness and enjoy the still peace of a lake on a quiet autumn evening.

* What is to be offered up?

As I have just said, you must hand over to Me everything with absolutely no exceptions. Those who make an exception trust Me little.

Your soul

Place your soul in My Hands: your salvation, your degree of glory in Heaven, your progress in virtue, your faults, your passions, your wants, everything. There are persons who are always worried, fearful, and discouraged in the spiritual life. If this is the result of mortal sin, then it is as it should be. The state of mortal sin is indeed so wretched that no matter what the cost you must leave it, for it makes you My enemy. Make a big effort, come hurrying to Me with all speed, and I shall assist you. Go to confession often, every week if possible, for that is an excellent remedy. Moreover, if you have a sincere desire to amend your life, great faults are not an obstacle to consecrating yourself to Me. For the consecration itself will be a capital means of extricating yourself from that state.

There is another class of people who do not sin mortally, but nevertheless are always gloomy and downcast because they feel they are making no spiritual progress. Now, I do not approve of that. In this matter, too, one must do everything possible as far as human weakness allows, and leave the rest in My hands. Heaven is a beautiful garden which must be complete with every variety of plant. Not all can be cypresses or lilies or carnations. There must also be thyme!

Offer yourself then for this place. All this perturbation, those worries and anxieties, in persons who do not sin seriously proceed from their seeing their own honor more than Mine. Virtue and perfection have a double aspect: that of being for your own good, and that of being for Mine. You must strive after them earnestly but peacefully, because they are for My good. For have we not already agreed that you are to surrender all your interests, in so far as they are yours, to Me? For the rest, you must not forget that I shall accomplish the work of your perfection much better than you would yourself.

Your body

I shall also take care of your health and life. These, too, you must entrust to Me. I know what is best for you; you do not. Take the ordinary means to preserve or restore your health. Lay aside all groundless fear and anxiety, and leave the rest to Me. Persuade yourself that it is not doctors or medicine alone that bring a cure for sickness, but it comes to you from My hands.

Your family

Parents, wife and husband, children, brothers and sisters, relatives. There are persons who find no difficulty in offering themselves to Me but who balk at confiding to Me some member of their family for whom they have a special affection. As though I would simply abscond with everything that was entrusted to My Goodness! That is indeed a poor idea to entertain of Me.

These people say sometimes that they have no difficulty themselves in suffering, but that they cannot bear to see their loved ones suffer. They think that consecration to Me and immediate suffering for all those connected with them are one and the same thing. I wonder where they get that idea from? A genuine and sincere consecration has the effect of alleviating the crosses which all must carry in this world.

Temporal goods

Possessions, business, career, occupation, employment, home. I do not require souls who love Me to give up all these things, unless I have called them to the religious life. On the contrary, they must take proper care of them since these goods constitute part of the obligation of their state. I only ask them to hand everything over to Me, to take every reasonable means to ensure success, and to leave the result to Me without worry or anxiety.

Spiritual goods

You know that in every act of virtue you perform in the state of grace, and also in all the prayers which will be offered up for the repose of your soul after death, there is a certain portion which you can renounce in favor of others either living or dead. I want you to make Me a complete gift of this portion to distribute as I wish. I know better than you on which persons the establishment of My Kingdom depends most. I also know those who are in most need of help, and those in whom your merits will produce the best results. Thus I shall be enabled to lay this portion out to better advantage. This free gift of yours does not, of course, prevent you from offering up prayers for certain people as obedience, charity or piety may demand on occasion.

You must surrender to Me with full confidence everything you possess, for Me to dispose of as I wish; and although I do not wish you to make this consecration from motives of self- interest, yet you will find that on the whole your affairs will turn out better, although sometimes indeed I shall test your confidence and permit results to fall short of your expectations. Your concerns will prosper in proportion to the zeal you show in promoting My interests. The more you think of Me, the more will I think of you. The more you occupy yourself with My interests, the more will I occupy Myself with your interests. The greater care you take of My affairs, the greater shall I take of yours. But, My child, do try to be less self-interested. There are persons who think of nothing but themselves: their spiritual world is a planetary system in which they occupy the solar position; and everything else, including My interests, are minor planets circling around them. That is a bad astronomical system in which the ego is the hub of the universe.

c) Second Part of the Consecration

This now brings us to the second part of the consecration: “You will care for My honor and My interests.” That is the most important part for you, because it is, properly speaking, your side of the pact. The preceding was Mine and if I asked you to give Me everything, it was in order to get rid of any obstacle which might hinder the fulfillment of My part. Your side of the pact is the care of My spiritual interests. You must throw yourself, heart and soul, into the task of promoting these so that your zeal may be the gauge of your love.

Do you know what My interests are? I have only one: souls. They are My interests, My treasures, My love. I seek, as I told My servant Margaret, “to establish the Kingdom of My Love in all Hearts,” My Kingdom has not yet come. Externally it has spread to a certain extent among Catholic peoples, but that deep interior Kingdom by which My love and My wishes will be the true law and rule of conduct for souls has, alas, only spread but little in people’s hearts. It is not through lack of soil. Numerous souls are prepared for My Kingdom and their number goes on increasing from day to day. But there is a lack of apostles. Give me a heart magnetized by My Divine Heart and you will see how soon other souls will become magnetized in their turn.

Ways of Apostolate

How easy it is to be My apostle. No sex, no age, no state in life, is excluded. There are many ways of doing the work:

Prayer

That is, to be constantly petitioning heaven for the spread of My Kingdom, to ask it of My Father, of Myself, of My holy Mother, of My saints; to ask in the church, at home, in the street, during your daily work: “Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom come.” That is the aspiration which must be on your lips the whole day long. Repeat it, then, twenty, fifty, a hundred, two hundred times a day until it has become a habit with you. Seek out ways and means of keeping it before your mind. Who cannot be an apostle in this way? How really wonderful is this apostolate of ejaculatory prayers!

Give me a number of souls constantly shooting these little arrows up to heaven and tell Me if they will not meet with success! It is the little droplets of water which evaporate, go up into the air, form the clouds in the sky and then pour down again as the rain fertilizing the earth.

Sacrifice

In the first place the passive sacrifice of acceptance. How many inconveniences, troubles and sorrows — sometimes small, sometimes great — come your way every day as they came also to Me, to My holy Mother, and to My saints.

If you could bear all this in silence, with patience, even with joy if possible, and offer it all up that I may reign, what a rich apostolate you would be practicing. The Cross is of supreme value: that is why it costs so much. Alas! How many crosses are wasted by people, and they are such precious gems. Then, there is the active sacrifice of self-denial. Try to acquire the habit of constantly overcoming yourself in small things. That is an excellent practice of the spiritual life. You are walking along the street and feel an urgent desire to have a look at such and such an object; then don’t look at it. You would like to taste such and such a delicacy; then don’t taste it. You are innocently accused of some small thing or other, and silence will not cause any evil of great moment; then keep silent. And so forth in similar cases, offering everything so that I may reign. If you feel urged to it by your generosity, you could also undertake even greater penances. You see what magnificent scope there is here for the apostolate! And an apostolate such as this works wonders.

Daily Occupations

Some people say they cannot work for the Kingdom of Christ because they are always too busy; as if the very duties of their state and walk in life could not be converted into works of the apostolate by being accomplished well! Everything depends on the intention with which it is done. The very same piece of wood may be used as fuel for a fire, or as material for a sacred picture to be placed on the altar. During your daily round of work, strive to raise your eyes frequently to Me, to take pleasure in doing everything well for love of Me, so that your works may thus become golden coins which you set aside to My credit for the establishment of My kingdom on earth. You must also strive, but quietly, to become holier and holier every day. For the holier you are, the more efficacious will your works be for My glory.

Exterior Apostolate

Sometimes you could further some enterprise of My Divine Heart as, for example, by recommending this or that practice of the devotion to those with whom you come into frequent contact. You might be able to persuade them to consecrate themselves to Me as you have done yourself. You may find it hard to talk about the subject; then why not pass on a pamphlet or little booklet? Try to spread such literature, either by distributing it yourself, or else by bringing it to the notice of others.

There are, then, countless ways possible of working for the spread of My Kingdom. If you remain inactive, then you cannot plead lack of equipment as an excuse. There is not a moment of the day in which you cannot do something that I may reign. It is very easy to be My apostle, and what a wonderful calling! Your whole life will be suffused and illuminated by a noble ideal!

Every work of the day will be stamped with the seal of apostleship, of the great apostleship of love. Every work will be converted into the gold of charity. What a consolation it will be at the hour of death to look back on five, ten, twenty years, or even more, of 365 days each, all spent in this way.

Reparation

Do you wish to love Me really and truly? Love includes two things: procuring for loved ones all the good they lack, and freeing them from the evil which oppresses them. By means of the apostolate you procure Me for the good, you give Me souls; by reparation, you free Me from the evil, you wash My Divine Heart clear of the stains which have been inflicted on it by sin. Yes indeed, and injury may be removed by giving Me satisfaction. And how much could you not give Me, not only for your own sins, but also for the innumerable sins committed every day! I do not wish to burden you with many practices; the same prayers, sacrifices, daily works, and enthusiastic communication which are excellent ways of apostolate, are also very useful for reparation if done with this intention: “That You may reign, forgive us our trespasses – – that You may reign in reparation for the times we have offended You.” These are aspirations which should always be on our lips. My life had a two-fold purpose in the world: that of the Apostle to establish the Kingdom of God, and that of the Priest and Victim to expiate the sins of all. I should like you to fulfill both, too. By devotion to My Sacred Heart, I hope to make everyone into an exact copy of Myself, into a small Redeemer. What a sublime and wonderful thing for you!

3. Conclusion

Courage, then, and forward march! Thousands of others with the same flesh and blood as yours have done it. Choose a feast day, the first that comes. In the meantime, prepare yourself by quietly reading over these ideas. When the appointed day comes, go to confession, receive Holy Communion devoutly, and then make your consecration to Me; for you could not find a better moment than when I am in your heart. It is very necessary, though, that the consecration should be complete; that it should constitute a whole program of life. Hence, to make it easier for you, there is an Act of Consecration included below which contains everything essential. You are not bound to anything under pain of sin, even venial. I want a big heart, generosity and love. I only ask you to do what you can: and who is there who cannot do this?

And do not forget to renew it daily at home or in the church; for this daily renewal is very important. If you do not renew it, it will quickly slip from your mind; if you do renew it, then you will end up fulfilling it. Choose this holy way with decision and determination and you will soon feel a warm stream of new, life-giving blood flowing through your veins.

In conclusion, two pieces of advice. Firstly, do not forget Me in the Tabernacle. Honor paid to my image is certainly very pleasing to Me, but My own Person is of far more value than the image. The Eucharist is in a special manner My sacrament, for it is the sacrament of love.

I should like you to receive Me often, and, if possible, to pay Me visits during the day. You have no idea how I reward these friendly calls! Secondly, you might be able to find a little time during the course of the day to read and think over something about devotion to My Sacred Heart. Thus, day-by-day, the seeds of this divine devotion will be taking deeper root in your heart.

Act of Consecration

O QUEEN OF HEAVEN, most loving Mother, I (Name) though full of weakness and quite unworthy, yet encouraged by the gracious invitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, desire to consecrate myself entirely to Him. Conscious of my own unworthiness and inconstancy, I desire to offer everything through your maternal hands and with child-like trust in your loving care, and I look to you to assist me in the fulfillment of my resolutions.

MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS, King of love and goodness, full of recognition for Your favors, freely and with all my soul do I accept this pact between You and me. I shall care for Your interests, and You will care for mine. You know indeed that You will gain less by it than 1. I wish everything of mine to be Yours, and place everything in Your hands: my soul, my eternal salvation, my freedom, my interior progress, my wants, my body, my life and my health. I place in your hands, the small number of my good works I am able to perform, or which others will offer up for me during my life or after my death, if they can be of service to You. I also place in your hands my family, my possessions, my work, so that You may be King of all that is mine and may dispose of everything according to Your pleasure. I, for my part, will do my best in all these affairs, but I shall rest contented with whatever Your loving Heart decides in my regard, difficult though it may be.

In return, I ask that the time still left to me not be wasted. I desire to do something big, something really big, that You may reign in the world; by my prayer and aspirations, by my daily tasks, by the suffering which I accept here and now, by my little acts of self-denial, I desire that every moment of my life may be spent in propagating and establishing Your divine Kingdom. May Your seal be on everything I do until the end of my allotted time, and then may my last breath be spent in words of love for Your most Sacred Heart.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom Come!

May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep by the Blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus Our Lord, furnish you with all that is good, that you may do His will. May He carry out in you what is pleasing to Him through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Heb.13:20-21)

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You!

1 — Msgr. Gauthey: Vie et œuvres de S. Marguerite-Marie, Paris, 1920,

3rd ed., Vol.II, p. 627.

2 — Msgr. Gauthey, Ibid.., letter 50, p.324.

3 — Msgr. Gauthey, Ibid.., letter 141.

4 — Msgr. Gauthey, Ibid.., part 2, letter 141.

5 — Msgr. Gauthey, Ibid, letter 86, p. 397.

6 — Uriarte, Vida del P. Hogos. Part 3, ch.l, p.251, 2nd ed.

7 — Chasle: Sœur Marie du Divin Coeur, ch. XI, p.359.