Forever grateful

One of my all-time wishes came true this year.  On April 29, Steven took me to the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus in Chicago; and I made three discoveries: The shrine is actually part of St. Pius V, the church altar changed since I was last there, and St. Jude’s first-class relic is on display.

First visit

I’d never been to Chicago until Christmas break from school, 2003.

The second of our two granddaughters had been dismissed from the hospital just hours before my arrival.  Kylie was so small compared to her older sister at that age that her tiny fingers reminded me of a doll’s hands.  Yet she was alert, observant, communicative in her own quiet way, and beautiful.  Riding in her car seat beside me she focused on me as if she’d known me from birth, October 29, 2003; but we were seeing each other for the very first time.

Acacia-Darling was nine-and-a-half, so I hadn’t been around a little one in some time.  I’d forgotten how resilient babies are, that one can change their diapers without breaking them and that they’re up at all hours of the night just because.  Yet I managed to care for Kylie at night and spent a lot of time being grateful for the opportunity to hold this very special promise of hope for the future.

Then, two nights before my departure to Texas, Kylie wailed so inconsolably for such a long time that she was taken to the hospital again.

I felt terrible when her parents returned home without her in the morning.  Concerned that I wouldn’t be there to take care of her at the hospital, I felt compelled to do something.

“Take me to the nearest church, preferably one dedicated to St. Jude,” I told Kylie’s parents.  I’d attended Mass at two different churches in Naperville, a suburb of Chicago; but I wanted one where I’d feel super close to St. Jude.  I’d never been in Chicago before, but I suddenly remembered the shrine.  “Take me to the St. Jude shrine,”
I insisted, even though none of us knew where it was.

Oh, what a place!

I knew I was home when I saw the encased statue of the Holy Infant of Prague.  I walked around and dialogued with God.  I knew everything would be all right with Kylie, that we’d get good news when we got back to the hospital.

As things turned out, Kylie spent another two weeks at the hospital.  Quite an agonizing time for me, being that I couldn’t be there to sing, tell her stories, or try to distract her from the constant pain.  To make matters worse, she was hospitalized a third time, although, thankfully, for just one week.  But she’s fine now, this precious, resilient child with the strong, operatic voice and the golden brown, flyaway macaroni hair.

Which shrine?

After my visit to Chicago I continued to receive separate mailings from both the National Shrine of St. Jude and the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus, but I never made the distinction between the two.  I never stopped to wonder which of the two shrines I’d visited.  All that mattered was that I’d prayed at the shrine and St. Jude had worked his wonders on Kylie’s behalf, the same as always for my kids.

However, on October 24, 2009, the reality of the two St. Jude shrines came to light when I posted Kylie’s story on my blog.  I wanted to include the link to the shrine’s website so that interested others could access the site but—  Uh-oh.  Which of the two shrines did I visit?  How could I have missed the name of the church?  How could I have been so oblivious all those years?

I wondered if I’d taken photos that I could compare to those posted online.  I vaguely recalled taking a few but found none.  Maybe I’d imagined doing that?  Still, I was sure of one thing: I’d seen the encased statue of the Holy Infant of Prague in the back of the church that morning.

After problem solving for a while, I emailed the Dominicans.  Then, after waiting a few days, I contacted the Claretians at the national shrine.

Friday, November 27, 2009 11:11 AM

Hello!

I’d like to know, please, which of the two Chicago shrines to St. Jude has an encased statue of the Holy Infant of Prague?

Thanks sooo much!

Mystery solved

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 9:21 AM

Dear Deli,

Thank you for your email, [as] the Claretians are always grateful to hear from you who share our devotion to St. Jude.

The encased statue of the Holy Infant of Prague is not at the National Shrine of St. Jude.

None of the St. Jude Shrines in the United States are affiliated with each other.  The National Shrine of St. Jude in Chicago, Illinois, founded by the Claretians, is the only St. Jude Shrine with the title “National Shrine” since it is the original or “Mother” Shrine of devotion to St. Jude in the United States.

I encourage you to visit the National Shrine of St. Jude website again soon.  Please know that the Claretians pray with and for you each day.  May God bless you.

Father Mark Brummel, C.M.F.
Director, St. Jude League

I was so excited that I told Steven, “I don’t know when or how, but one of these days I’m going back to the Dominican shrine.  I want to sit and visit for a while and take lots of photos.  I want to see the Infant again.”

Sneak peek

On November 16, 2011, I had my wish.  Well, sort of.

In my search for photos of St. Thérèse, I found a double-bagged stash of two dozen photo packets hidden in one of the closets.  Among them?  The photos from our morning visit to the shrine, January 5, 2004.

How I longed to be there!

           

           

Second visit

Almost eight-and-a-half years passed between visits to Chicago, but what a glorious experience at St. Pius V the second time around!

Nine-fifteen Spanish Mass was extraordinary!  The singing was uplifting!  The babies offered up to God, literally, along with the gifts at the altar had us near tears!  And, oh, the devotions!

To get a better view of everything, especially the shrines of the Holy Infant, St. Jude, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, respectively, we sat along the back left center aisle, which is how I noticed something puzzling.

My big surprise

During Mass the practice of approaching St. Jude’s shrine and praying for a few moments before stepping up onto the alcove intrigued me even though no one else seemed to notice.  What were these folks doing standing to the right of the altar?  Why was it so important that it couldn’t wait until after Mass?

These individuals pressed their hands up to something as they stood heads bowed, lost in thought.  Why?  What was so special about that wall?

I turned to Steven and whispered, “I keep seeing people go up to touch the shrine’s right wall.  I have to know what’s there!  While I take photos of the church after Mass, please check it out and tell me.”

Well, surprise, surprise.

My first time at the church I’d missed one of the very best parts: the first-class relic at the shrine.  The remains of St. Jude’s arm!  Oh, my gosh!  Had it not been for St. Jude’s faithful during Mass I would’ve missed seeing the relic for the second time, and I never would’ve known any better.  Wow!

At that moment I thought of Kylie…  My first time at St. Pius V, I walked around the church as I prayed to God and all his angels and saints.  I stood, tears in check, before St. Jude— my daughter and her husband, nonbelievers, watching my every move, hurrying me wordlessly.  I never saw the sign at the altar with the arrow pointing to the arm relic of St. Jude Thaddeus on the right.

I’d been so desperate for Kylie’s miracle that just being near St. Jude had been good enough.  But I’d also found comfort in seeing the Holy Infant, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Anthony, St. Thérèse, St. Anne, and San Martin de Porres.

           

               

               

Forever grateful

Until our second visit to the shrine I’d never realized that I’ve had my very own, very personal connections to St. Pius V through St. Jude because of the kids and grandkids.

Kylie’s story transcends time, place, and emotion.  Just remembering makes my eyes water and, before long, rivers stream down my face.  What parent wants a child to hurt?  I would gladly have traded places with Kylie, but all I could do was pray— and walk in faith— that her suffering would be short-lived and that she’d never have to endure such misery again.

Acacia-Darling, now eighteen, has a green candle lit among the many at the massive round table before St Jude.

Enjoy God’s infinite blessings!  Love, hope, & faith… Lon

Yet our children are estranged from us, so we keep them close in thought and prayer.  One day things may change.  But, until then, the St. Jude shrine at St. Pius V keeps our hope for better days vibrantly alive.

We have so much to be grateful for!  Our family.  Our friends.  Folks we meet here and there.  Our faith.  Building community within God’s kingdom is what life is all about.

We give thanks and praise to God for all our comings and goings, and we’re forever grateful to St. Jude for all his intercessions.

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Plaque at the shrine

Relic of St. Jude Thaddeus…  Apostle and martyr, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, patron of hopeless causes

This holy relic is that of an arm of the great St. Jude.  Many spiritual blessings and graces have been granted to those who have prayed asking St. Jude to intercede on their behalf to our blessed Lord for spiritual or physical healing.

“Where there is prayer, there is hope.”  St. Jude, pray for us.

History of the relic…  After his martyrdom, the body of St. Jude was buried temporarily in Mesopotamia and then given a permanent interment in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome with the other apostles.  His forearm was encased in a silver reliquary and located for many centuries in Armenia.  At the beginning of the 18th century, Armenian Dominican missionaries left Armenia because of the Moslem persecution and brought the relic to Smyrna, Turkey.

The relic was then given to the Provincial of the St. Peter Martyr Province of Turin, Italy.  In 1949, it was presented to the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great for its Dominican Shrine of St. Pius V where the devotion of St. Jude was flourishing, particularly since the time of the Great Depression.

This plaque has been given as a personal testimony from a patron of
St. Jude whose family has received marvelous healing through this relic.

Prayers

For peace…  Dear St. Jude, we honor you as an apostle of Christ, a herald of the prince of peace.  You remained faithful to your calling and died a martyr before being reunited with Christ in glory.

Please look down with compassion upon our turbulent world.  Intercede before the throne of grace that the present global turmoil may give way to peace and harmony among all nations.

May we live at peace with one another and serve the Lord Jesus as messengers of his peace as you did.  Amen.

St. Jude, disciple of Jesus, pray for us.  May we become the persons our savior wants us to be.

St. Jude, reigning with Christ in glory, pray for us.  May we bring forth fruit to life everlasting.

St. Jude, advocate of hopeless cases, pray for us.  Remind us that we can conquer evil through Christ who loves us.

For tomorrow…  St. Jude, you are with me in all that is new.  May your path of hope be mine in the days ahead.

I promise in faith to share your hope with others, to forgive as I am forgiven by my Father in heaven, and to show sympathy and kindness at every opportunity.

Guide me, St. Jude, so that I will begin each new day with gratitude on my lips, with truth on my mind, and with hope in my heart.

Challenge me, St. Jude, so that I will end each day reflecting on my actions and motivations so that I will grow in faith, love, and hope.  Amen.

Hopeless cases…  Most holy apostle, Saint Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of hopeless cases….  Pray for me; I am so helpless and alone.  Make use, I implore you, of that particular privilege given to you to bring visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of.

Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly… and that I may praise God with you and all the elect forever.

I promise, O blessed Saint Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to honor you always as my special and powerful patron and, gratefully, to encourage devotion to you.  Amen.

SPV61513-96Impossible cases…  Glorious Saint Jude, with faith in your goodness we ask your help today.  As one of Christ’s chosen apostles, you remain a pillar and foundation of his church on earth.  You are counted, we know, among the elders who always stand before God’s throne.

From your place of glory we know that you do not forget the needs and difficulties of Christ’s little ones here, still struggling, like me on the way home to God.  In particular, I invoke your help with this great problem….  Please intercede for us, gracious Saint Jude, and be with us in our daily toil and in all our necessities.  Amen.

Sharing Christ with others…  St. Jude, apostle and preacher of the good news of Jesus Christ, we thank God for choosing you for this glorious mission.  You saw Jesus face to face, walked and talked with him, and served him without counting the cost.

Pray for us, blessed preacher of the good news that makes even bad news bearable.  May Christ be the center of our lives.  May we welcome every opportunity to share him with others.  This we ask through your powerful intercession.  Amen.

Contact information

St. Jude prayers one and five are from Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598.  Prayer two is from the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus, P.O. Box 8095, Chicago, IL 60608-0095.  Prayers three and four are from Favorite Patron Saints (The Leaflet Missal Company, n. d., pp. 20-21).

July 23, 2013

Lord Jesus, thank you for reaching out your hand to me.  I offer my hands to you.  Use them to reach out to my spiritual family (the Word among us, July/August 2013, p. 42).

November 16, 2013

Father, in your great kindness you have made me your child.  You know the desires of my heart, and you know what’s best for me and for those I love.  Hear my prayer.  Show me what I can do to bring your kingdom into clearer focus in this situation (the Word among us, November 2013, p. 37).

December 17, 2013

Father, I am amazed that you have called me into your family.  I trust that you have a gracious plan for my life and my family, even if I can’t see it right now.  Lord, I trust in you! (the Word among us, Advent 2013, p. 35).

March 7, 2014

“Stand fast in the faith and love one another, and do not let our sufferings be a stumbling block to you” (St. Perpetua).

June 11, 2014

“If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes” (St. Clement of Alexandria).

August 17, 2015

Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

November 2, 2015

“The saints assure us that turning to the Lord in our sorrows and placing our hopes in him can give us strength here and now and help prepare us for a future of new life and joy” (Fr. Joseph Esper, More Saintly Solutions).

January 7, 2016

“May the God of love and peace set your heart at rest” (St. Raymond of Peñafort).

August 10, 2016

“Those are patient who would rather bear evils without inflicting them, than inflict them without bearing them” (St. Augustine).

November 26, 2016

“The struggle ends when gratitude begins” (Neale Donald).

March 14, 2017

My hope is not that things will go as I planned, but that the Lord will make himself known, in the faces of my loved ones, in the unexpected joys of family life that pop up right in the middle of our messy chaos, in the ways he provides for me and shows me his tender care in the most detailed ways (Colleen C. Mitchell in Who Does He Say You Are?).

May 7, 2017

There is no closer bond than the one which gratefulness celebrates, the bond between giver and thanksgiver.  Everything is a gift.  Grateful living is a celebration of the universal give-and-take of life, a limitless “yes” to belonging (Brother David Steindl-Rast in The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life).

Links of interest…  Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus…  How to pray for your adult children…  Lessons from the reform papacy of St. Pius V (more)…  Pope to Dominicans: Your good works give glory to God…  Praying while waiting…  Sacred Chicago…  St. Jude: chaplet (printable; photo) / novenas (in Spanish, too) / prayers…  St. Pius V: church / directory / parish / shrine

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Connected tangents…  Finding St. Rita…  Holy Cross Church…  Lady of Sorrows…  October novena…  One prayer…  Prayer power…  Promise of hope…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Si quaeris miracula…  St. Anthony Claret…  St. Jude novena (Dominican)…  St. Jude Shrine (Claretian)…  St. Jude Shrine (Corpus Christi, TX)…  Sweet Jesus…  Twelfth

Finding St. Rita

MPBC52210-2

Early this morning, I received a timely response from the very personable Deacon Sebastian Landagan regarding one of the statues at the St. Jude Shrine, which is part of Most Precious Blood Church (MPBC) in Corpus Christi, TX.

Burning question

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 10:47 AM

We had such a wonderful, memorable time at your church that I eagerly await the day we can be there again….

Thanks to Steven calling David Castillo about a stone cross…, David extended an invitation we just couldn’t pass up.  And there we were, making more memories, meeting sweet folks like you.

To me, it’s all about building community within God’s kingdom.

On that note, I’ve been alternating between Squawking Chicken Mode and Octopus Mode, so I haven’t yet gotten around to writing a post on our experience at MPBC on June 30.  Still, that’s the plan, especially since I now have more photos of your church.  Woohoo!

Which brings me to a burning question.  I was revisiting the photos I took at the St. Jude Shrine, and I’m not sure about one of the statues….  I’ve attached the photo in case you have time to enlighten me.  I know St. Rita holds the cross, and St. Teresa is in the church.  But I’m stumped on this other one.

Saturday, August 11, 2012 9:38 AM

The statue you were not sure about is St. Clare of Assisi.  It is said that when an army of Frederick II was pillaging the valley of Spoleto, an ancient city in Perugia, Italy, some of the soldiers placed a ladder against the convent wall to try to overtake the convent.  St. Clare asked to be carried to a window; and, holding the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament in sight of the enemies, she prostrated herself before the Eucharist.  Her prayer was heard, and the enemy panicked and fled in terror.

Saturday, August 11, 2012 9:48 AM

Oh, my goodness.  What a wonderful… unexpected… story from you this beautiful morning!

Thanks so much!  I’ll be sure to include your anecdote on my blog.

I hope your weekend is peaceful, productive, and fulfilling!

God bless you most abundantly.  And thank you for all you do for all of us, Deacon Sebastian!

       

       

       

St. Clare

Of course, I couldn’t leave the story there.  Nooo!  Not I.  I had to find out more so, naturally, I went into search-and-find mode again.

I decided to add Deacon Sebastian’s story to my “words to ponder” page along with a photo of St. Clare; but the more I read online, the more intrigued I was.  I couldn’t stop.

Then, boink!  A title bopped me hard on the head.

Died on this day.  St. Clare of Assisi died on this day in 1253.

I looked at the date on the web page, blinked, and then checked the date in the lower righthand corner of my computer screen.

“Oh, my gosh!” I blurted to Steven.  “Today is St. Clare’s feast day!  I have to do more.”

I hadn’t intended to spend the whole day writing.  I’d had my heart set on beading Franciscan Crowns, reading the epilogue in Exile’s Return (Feist, 2005), baking bread, and just-plain doing my own thing today.

Why, oh, why, oh, why would I do this to myself?

Then, just like that, I succumbed to the moment.

This is what God wants, and I’m fine with it.

Sooo, “knowing how way leads on to way” (Frost, 1915), I proceeded to get my act together, recalling our memorable visit to Most Precious Blood Church recently.

Six new statues

June 30, David Castillo, whom I’d met at the St. Jude Shrine two years before, invited Steven not only to Saturday evening Mass, but also to the lay ministers’ potluck afterwards.

“We have six new statues that you’d be interested in photographing,” David told me gleefully when Steven passed me the telephone.  “Four are in the shrine, two more in the church.  Come early and join us for the rosary before Mass.”

St. Jude’s again

Of course, Steven insisted on dropping by the shrine first.

        

       

“Oh, my gosh!  So much has changed since I was last here in June 2010!  It’s as if Father Bob read my blog and knew that I wanted my very own photos of St. Peregrine and St. Rita!  Just wait till I share the photos with Tia!  Her father will be so happy!”

Tia’s dad

Then I recounted the story of Tia Bordes, whose comments on my “St. Jude Shrine” post sent me into search-and-find mode that day, but whose desire to find St. Rita burned deep within my heart.  How I longed to help her!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 3:59 PM

Could anyone give me the address of the St Jude Shrine in Corpus Christi, please?  It would make me and my father so happy to go there for a visit.  Thank you, and God bless you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 4:35 PM

Dear Tia, your question reminded me of my first time looking for the St. Jude Shrine, which is easy to miss unless you know that the shrine is the golden domed part of Most Precious Blood Church.

You can get to it easily either from SPID or, if you’re like me and prefer to avoid the traffic, take one of the back roads.  MPBC52210-6I drove west on Holly, turned left on Weber, and then right on Saratoga.  The church was about a mile or so down the road on my right.

I don’t know which direction you’ll be traveling, but it should be very easy to locate.  Just remember to look for a BIG CHURCH.  The gold dome will let you know you’re there.  That’s the roof over the foyer where you’ll find St. Jude.

The shrine’s a beautiful, quiet place, perfect for contemplation; so enjoy your time there!

P.S.  Here’s the address: 3502 Saratoga Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78415; and phone number: 361.854.3800.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 4:02 PM

I also would like to know if there is a church devoted to St. Rita in Corpus Christi.  Thank you for your help, and bless you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 4:54 PM

I checked the diocesan website and the internet for St. Rita Church and found none in the Corpus Christi (CC) area.

I also emailed a few friends in the CC area, and they wrote that the closest St. Rita Church is in Dallas.  Alas, that’s too far, although Mary Ellen did send a link you might be interested in.

As for devotions to St. Rita?  None of us knows of a church that honors her with special prayers in the area, but you’ve inspired me to learn more to share later.  So thanks!

Five, not four

I had no idea which statues I’d find at the shrine ’cause David had mercilessly dangled the carrot and wouldn’t let the cat out of the bag.

“If you want to find out, you have to show up,” he’d laughingly teased.

Entering the shrine, I couldn’t believe how much had changed in two years… and there were five, not four, new statues waiting to have their pictures taken.

Finding St. Rita

I stepped over to the first statue and burst into OMG mode when I read the name plate.

“Finally!  St. Rita!  Oh, my gosh!  Tia will be sooo happy!  I’ll email her tomorrow, so she can bring her dad.”

Sunday, July 1, 2012 7:12 PM

We were at Most Precious Blood Church for evening Mass yesterday, and guess what we discovered at the St. Jude Shrine?

A statue of St. Rita!!!

Yes!  I immediately thought of you.

“I’m so happy for Tia!” I told Steven.  “Just wait till I tell her!  Or maybe she’s been here since Father Bob ordered the beautiful new statues for both the shrine and the church?  I’m not sure, but she’s going to be delighted if she hasn’t visited the shrine in a while.”

Sooo, I hope you and your dad visit the shrine soon!

Saturday evening my wishes came true.  Not only did I return to Most Precious Blood Church and the St. Jude Shrine with Steven in tow, but I also discovered the saints I’d been waiting a long time to photograph.

And I found St. Rita for Tia’s dad.

Prayers to St. Clare

Chaplet…  Glorious St. Clare of Assisi, we honor you for the unfailing faith that made you reject all earthly pleasures, and renounce all of your possessions.  We honor you for your life of extreme poverty and austerity, and for your prayer and penance on behalf of your nuns and the town of Assisi.  Grant us dear lady, the same faith, humility, and charity that you have shown toward God and your community.  Amen.

Pray three Our Father’s, three Hail Mary’s, and three Glory be’s.

(The chaplet: brown beads with a cross and a medal on opposite ends)

For healing…  O blessed St. Clare, your life shines like a beacon and casts its light down the ages of the Church to guide the way of Christ.   Look with compassion on the poor and humble who call on you for help.  As you bow before your Eucharistic Lord in heaven, speak to Him of my afflicted body and my broken spirit.  Ask Him to heal me and to wash away my sins in his precious blood.

Great servant of Christ, remember the needs of my family and all those I pray for.  Defend us from everything that would threaten our holy Catholic faith.  Hear the cry of the poor and make it a song of intercession, rising from your poor heart to the Eucharistic heart of Jesus, our healer, our savior, and our lord.  Amen.

Petition…  O, glorious St. Clare!  God has given you the power of working miracles continually and the favor of answering the prayers of those who invoke your assistance in misfortune, anxiety, and distress.  We beseech you, obtain from Jesus through Mary, his blessed mother, what we beg of you so fervently and hopefully… mention your petition… if it be for the greater honor and glory of God and for the good of our souls.  Amen.

Prayers to St. Rita

Chaplet…  O holy St. Rita, exemplary Augustinian Sister, we honor you for your devotion to the passion of Christ.  Although your early life was filled with disappointment, frustration, and unceasing tragedy, you never lost faith and trust in God.  For this you are the patroness of the impossible, and our inspiration and advocate in desperate circumstances.

Pray three Our Father’s, three Hail Mary’s, and three Glory be’s.

(The chaplet: blue beads with a cross and a medal on opposite ends)

Patroness of impossible causes…  Dear Rita, wife and widow, you suffered a long illness with patience because of your great love for God.  Your inspiration has prompted us to pray as you did; and we now invoke you for help, full of confidence in your powerful intercession.

Come now to our aid for the relief and cure of this great problem….

To God all things are possible.  May this blessing be a source of glory to the Lord.  Teach us to understand that God’s love surpasses everything.

Through your intercession may we be comforted in our sorrows.  May we find that peace which only Christ can give; and, if it be God’s holy will that our sufferings should continue, we pray that we will be able to bear them with courage and faith.

Dear St. Rita, do not abandon us.  Pray with us until we obtain the blessings we ask in this time of great need.  Amen.

Petition…  Holy Patroness of those in need, St. Rita, so humble, pure and patient, whose pleadings with thy Divine Spouse are irresistible, obtain for me from the crucified Christ my request….  Be kind to me, for the greater glory of God, and I promise to honor you and sing your praises forever.

Oh, glorious St. Rita, who miraculously participated in the sorrowful passion of our lord, Jesus Christ, obtain for me the grace to suffer with resignation the troubles of this life, and protect me in all my needs.  Amen.

August 11, 2014

We become what we love, and who we love shapes what we become.  If we love things, we become a thing.  If we love nothing, we become nothing.  Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ; rather, it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation.  This means we are to become vessels of God´s compassionate love for others (St. Clare of Assisi).

September 4, 2014

“Love that does not know of suffering is not worthy of the name” (St. Clare).

November 25, 2014

Glorious St. Catherine, virgin and martyr, help me to imitate your love of purity.  Give me strength and courage in fighting off the temptations of the world and evil desires.  Help me to love God with my whole heart and serve him faithfully.  O St. Catherine, through your glorious martyrdom for the love of Christ, help me to be loyal to my faith and my God as long as I live.  Amen.

March 11, 2015

“Love God, serve God; everything is in that” (St. Clare).

August 11, 2015

What you hold may you always hold.  What you do may you always do and never abandon.  But with swift pace, light step, unswerving feet so that even your steps stir up no dust may you go forward securely, joyfully, and swiftly on the path of prudent happiness (St. Clare).

August 11, 2016

“Love that cannot suffer is not worthy of that name” (St. Clare).

February 6, 2017

“Lean on your Beloved because the soul who abandons themselves in the hands of Jesus in all they do is carried in his arms” (St. Clare).

Links of interest…  Capuchin Poor Clares: Our Lady of the Angels (blog) / St. Joseph & St. Rita (about / email)…  Franciscan prayers / requests…  Most Precious Blood Church: address & map / parishes online / website…  The road not taken (Frost, 1915)…  St. Clare: about / book / chaplet / companions in prayer / don’t bring eggs (article) / enlightened one / for healing / patroness / profile / prayer requests / prayers / successor…  St. Rita: about / biography / chaplet / feast day (May 22) / forty-six miracles / growing in holiness / hope for the impossible / lessonslife / miracle / monastery (Alamo, TX) / national shrine / novena / patroness / prayers / profile / rose legend / story (YouTube)…

WP posts…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Budding relationships…  Clarisas cookies…  In good time…  Making meaning…  October novena…  Powerful intercessor…  Prayer power…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Seven dwelling places…  Slice of heaven…  St. Anthony Claret…  St. Jude novena…  St. Jude Shrine (Chicago)…  St. Jude Shrine (Corpus Christi)…  Teresa of Avila

Budding relationships

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Growing up, I knew about God, Jesus, Joseph, and Mary but not really about the saints.

Maybe I was supposed to learn about them on my own?

Other than developing a lifelong personal relationship with St. Jude and St. Anthony, I didn’t delve into the lives of the other saints until I created our church website, May 2008.

Jesus, son of God and son of Mary, bless our family.  Graciously inspire in us the unity, peace, and mutual love that you found in your own family in the little town of Nazareth. 

Mary, mother of Jesus and our mother, nourish our family with your faith and your love.  Keep us close to your son, Jesus, in all our sorrows and joys. 

Joseph, foster-father to Jesus, guardian and spouse of Mary, keep our family safe from harm.  Help us in all times of discouragement or anxiety. 

Holy family of Nazareth, make our family one with you.  Help us to be instruments of peace.  Grant that love, strengthened by grace, may prove mightier than all the weaknesses and trials through which our families sometimes pass.  May we always have God at the center of our hearts and homes until we are all one family, happy and at peace in our true home with you.  Amen.

St. Martin of Tours

As a child I often wondered about the picture high up on the wall above the front door.  Since we didn’t have photos of anyone on the walls of our house, I always thought that the man over the door had to have been someone special. 

But why was he slashing his red cloak in two? 

Never mind that he was atop his horse as a barely clothed man sat on the ground below.  I just didn’t get it.

Who was he? 

Although I never thought to ask about him then, I now know a bit more about St. Martin of Tours, as he’s “one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian saints… a spiritual bridge across Europe… a patron saint of soldiers and horses” (Wikipedia, 2011).

Lord God of hosts, you clothed your servant, Martin, the soldier, with the spirit of sacrifice and set him as a bishop in your Church to be a defender of the Catholic faith.  Give us grace to follow in his holy steps that at the last we may be found clothed with righteousness in the dwellings of peace.  Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.  Amen.

St. Jude Thaddeus

When I was nine or so, mom heard about a church in Pharr, TX that had an outdoor shrine devoted to St. Jude; so off we went after work one evening.

I still vividly recall mom’s fascination with St. Jude.

“Look.  He has only one horn left to show that his evil gave way to good,” Mom said.  “St. Jude betrayed Jesus, but God’s unconditional love transformed him.  Now he’s the saint of impossible causes.”

Even at my young age the story didn’t make sense.

One horn?  How can that be?

By the time the topic of St. Jude’s horn came up again, I was an adult who’d learned that Judas Iscariot is sometimes mistaken for St. Jude Thaddeus and vice versa.  Additionally, “Saint Jude is depicted with a tongue of fire over his head to signify that with the other apostles he was present at Pentecost” (Eparchy of St. Maron, 2008).

I gently shared this information with mom but she didn’t quite believe me, and I was fine with that.

What matters is that I’ve come to know St. Jude as a powerful intercessor.  One I call on only when I’m facing a truly exasperating dilemma beyond my problem solving capability, as with the kids and/or grandkids.

St. Jude, through prayer you praised God for the wonderful works of Jesus.  You asked God for the strength to meet the challenges of your apostolate.  You put your trust in God’s mercy, believing firmly that God loved you and understood your joys and sorrows, your hopes and fears, and your triumphs and failures.  You understood that nothing is impossible for God.  We ask you to pray for us now before the Most High so that we, too, might be filled with God’s saving power, understand God’s will for us, and faithfully place ourselves in God’s loving hands.  Amen.

St. Anthony

On the other hand, my unfaltering companion since age thirteen has been St. Anthony.

Always patient, loving, kind, and willing to help, St. Anthony’s devotion to the Holy Infant has inspired me not only to look for the Infant whenever we visit a church for the first time, but also to return occasionally to familiar churches… St. Paul the Apostle Church in Flour Bluff and the Cathedral in Corpus Christi, TX… where the Holy Infant is venerated.  “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Mt. 6:21).

O Holy St. Anthony, your deep faith in Jesus Christ comforted your heart, especially during times of trial and distress.  Help me to grow in faith, so I may experience peace of mind and heart in my present needs.  (State request.)  Free me from undue anxiety, needless worry, and burdensome fears.  Grant me sure confidence; unfailing trust in God’s loving mercy, and daily serenity.  Amen. 

St. Thérèse

Over the years, too, I’ve learned that it’s not uncommon for St. Anthony to be displayed near St. Thérèse, since they’re both closely affiliated with the Holy Infant.  The church in Budapest, Hungary, for instance, has the two saints facing each other from opposite sides of the center aisle as one enters the seating area.

St. Thérèse, teach us how to open our heart without reserve to the Holy Spirit.  Help us to seek and find God’s will not only in the crises and choices, but also in the joys and disappointments of our lives.  Gain for us the grace to do God’s will with courage and untroubled hearts so that we can radiate joy and  gladness like yours in the service of our Lord.  Amen.

Moreover, parishes I’ve frequented that honor St. Anthony, St. Thérèse, and the Holy Infant include Sacred Heart Church and the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville, TX; Sts. Cyril & Methodius Church in Corpus Christi, TX; St. Pius V in Chicago, IL; and two churches that Segy and I visited in Gyor, Hungary and Prague, Czech Republic.

                    

                    

                    

Budding relationships

Of course, had Segy and I not been parishioners at Sacred Heart, I never would’ve made the connection between St. Anthony and St. Thérèse, much less traveled to Europe to see the original Infant Jesus statue at Our Lady of Victory Church in Prague.

Divine Infant Jesus, I know you love me and would never leave me.  I thank you for your close presence in my life.  Miraculous Infant, I believe in your promise of peace, blessings, and freedom from want.  I place every need and care in your hands.  Lord Jesus, may I always trust in your generous mercy and love.  I want to honor and praise you now and forever.  Amen.

The way I see it, God’s master plan for me has included not only a heartfelt devotion to the Holy Infant, but also budding relationships with his beloved saints who are always ready, willing, and able to intercede for us any time we choose to call on them.

November 1, 2012

“When we commemorate the saints, we are inflamed with another yearning: That Christ, our life, may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux).

November 11, 2014

“Allow me, brothers, to look toward heaven rather than at the earth so that my spirit may set on the right course when the time comes for me to go on my journey to the Lord”
(St. Martin of Tours).

October 31, 2015

“The saints have not all started well, but they have all finished well” (St. John Vianney).

November 1, 2015

“On the feasts of the saints, consider their virtues and beseech God to deign to adorn you with them” (St. Teresa of Ávila).

November 11, 2015

“O God, who sees that we exist by no power of our own, mercifully grant that, by the intercession of blessed Martin, your confessor and bishop, we be strengthened against all adversities”(Unknown source, n. d.).

March 19, 2016

If we falter, let us turn to Holy Mary, who loves us and teaches us how to pray; and to St. Joseph, our father and lord, whom we venerate so much.  In this world he was the one who was closest to the Mother of God and, after Mary, to her Divine Son.  Together they will bring our weakness to Jesus so that he may turn it into strength (St. Josemaría Escrivá).

October 30, 2016

“Each generation is converted by the saint who contradicts it most” (G. K. Chesterton).

November 11, 2016

Lord, if your people need me, I will not refuse the work.  Your will be done (St. Martin of Tours).

April 13, 2017

The calendar of saints should remind us of the unreliability of appearances.  Theirs is a greatness grander than size, and a prominence more cogent than popularity (Rev. George W. Rutler in Hints of Heaven).

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St. Joseph Church – Port Aransas, TX

Links of interest…  Apostles, major saints, & feast days…  Artist John McCoy paints the saints for Michigan parish…  Church of Our Lady of Victory…  Does praying to the saints mean they’re gods…  Four soon-to-be saints…  Friendship with the saints / with Christ Jesus…  Four saints who weren’t consecrated religious…  Holy Week & Judas…  Introducing the saints to your children…  Jesus, Mary, & the saints…  Living the motto of the saints…  Love that lies beneath…  November 1st: All Saints & 2nd: All Souls / communion / solemnity…  Patron saint of missing socks, pray for us…  Prayer to the saints: One in the body…  Sainthood isn’t for the strong…  Saints: better than superheroes / crises / ever wonder how a saint is made / for Pentecost / friendship / overcoming boredom / patron saint list / still being made / teach us how to trust God / who is a saint / why we love the saints…  Society of the Little Flower…  Stories, traditions keep devotions to the saints alive…  St. Anthony: about (more) / biography / devotions / mail deliveries (S.A.G.) / miracles & traditions / shrine / wonder worker…  St. Jude Thaddeus: tongue of fire / who he is…  St. Martin of Tours: about / feast (Nov 11) / history / monk / novenapatron saint / prayers / profile…  St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus & the Holy Face: 1873-1897 / about / Carmelite / celestial roses / centenary / chaplet / history / inspiration / invocation / life / oblation / feast (Oct 1st) / little way / novena / petitions / prayer (YouTube) / relic / story (YouTube)…  Story of a soul (1898; free): audio / ebook…  There is still no patron saint for pizza…  With confidence & trust

WP posts…  Beautiful sacred space…  Connected tangents…  Disquieting moments…  Heart of hearts…  Heart’s desire…  Kindred acorns…  May flowers…  Noon visit…  A real church…  Si quaeris miracula…  St. Anthony…  St. Anthony Claret…  St. Jude novena  Sweet Jesus…  Venerable Margaret

St. Monica

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A few days ago, I received a letter with a couple of prayer cards from Father Robert at Franciscan Mission Associates.

Tried but true

St. Jude looks more striking than ever in rich earthen tones, I thought.  But St. Monica? 

What a weathered look!  Yet she’s beautiful despite her sadness.

I read St. Monica’s prayer card and set it aside, but her expression stayed with me.

I know that look firsthand.

Model of patience

In today’s Daily Inspiration, Father Joseph Fogarty, OP focused on St. Monica, too.

St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, was a model of patience.  She bore with her husband, Patricius, who had a violent temper, and with her son, Augustine, who lived for [fifteen] years with a woman companion.

Monica managed to live happily with Patricius, despite his defects.  He was baptized in 370.  Her son, Augustine, was baptized in 387.  She patiently prayed both toward full communion with the community of believers.

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Unconditional love

One of my favorite readings came to mind.

Love is patient, love is kind.  It… does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury… but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

St. Monica

Ever faithful to God and her family, St. Monica bore her crosses with patience.  In this respect, she reminds me of St. Helena, who also overcame great adversity.

Resilient, courageous, both women are role models to emulate in good times and bad.

St. Monica’s feast day is August 27; St. Helena’s, August 18.

Prayers

Model of motherly love…  O glorious St. Monica, greatly admired among mothers, I feel particularly [drawn] to you who gave such an example of motherly love.

Who could understand better than you the anxieties and fears of a mother worrying about the eternal salvation of her children?  You endured all, since… St. Augustine is the fruit of your womb and… the fruit of your tears.  For this reason I am greatly convinced that… with the sanctity of your life and the perseverance of your prayers, you are not only [a great model] of Christian [motherhood, but also] a singular protector.  Obtain for me the grace to imitate your graces faithfully.

May my children avoid those errors and failures you disapproved of… in your son.  And, if it should happen that they, too, should fall, grant me the grace to obtain (this request…) with my prayers… as perfect a conversion as you were able to obtain for your son.  Amen.

Novena…  Dear Saint Monica, you were once the mournful mother of a prodigal son.  Your faithfulness to prayer brought you and your son so close to God that you are now with him in eternity.  By your intercession and God’s grace, your son St. Augustine became a great and venerable saint of the Church. Please take my request to God with the same fervor and persistence with which you prayed for your own son.  (Mention your intentions here.)

With your needs, worries and anxieties, you threw yourself on the mercy and providence of God.  Through sorrow and pain, you constantly devoted yourself to God.  Pray for me that I might join you in such a deep faith in God’s goodness and mercy.  Above all, dear Saint Monica, pray for me that I may, like your son, turn from my sin and become a great saint for the glory of God.  Amen.

Patron of parents…  St. Monica, patron of Christian mothers, we entrust to your protection the children whose names you can read in our hearts.  Pray for them that they may be granted strength to combat weakness, victory over temptations, guidance to resolve their doubts, and success in all their undertakings.

May they enjoy health of mind and body, see beauty and worth in all created things, and serve the Lord with firm faith, joyful hope, and enduring love.  Amen.

Petition…  Dear St. Monica, once the sorrowing mother of a wayward son, be pleased to present our petitions to the Lord God of heaven and earth.  Look down upon our anxieties and needs, and intercede for us as you did so fervently for Augustine.

We have full confidence that your prayers will gain a favorable hearing in heaven.  Mother of a sinner turned saint, obtain for us patience, perseverance, and total trust in God’s perfect timing.  In his appointed hour, in his merciful way, may God respond to [our] prayers.  (State your petition.)  Amen.

                 

                  

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Contact information

Except for the novena, the prayers to St. Monica are from Favorite Patron Saints (The Leaflet Missal Company, n. d., pp. 18-19); the leaflets, from Father Primo at Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

August 31, 2011

Another of my favorite readings, which goes hand in hand with love and forgiveness, is good for all time, too.

Love-aFor a brief moment I abandoned you; but with great tenderness, I will take you back.  In an outburst of wrath, for a moment, I hid my face from you; but with enduring love I take pity on you… so I have sworn not to be angry with you or to rebuke you.  Though the mountains leave their place and the hills be shaken, my love shall never leave you (Isaiah 54:7-10).

November 4, 2012

“Lord, show me the treasures you have placed in all the people around me— especially those I find hardest to love!” (the Word among us, November 2012, p. 23).

April 3, 2013

Lord, lift the veil that keeps me from seeing how precious people are in your eyes.  Help me to see your love for every person, and give me the compassion and the courage to extend your love to them (the Word among us, April 2013, p.23).

April 4, 2013

Jesus, touch my heart and shape my mind with your word!  Teach me, Lord, so I can stand firm in your truth no matter what happens (the Word among us, p. 24).

May 21, 2013

Lord, give me your eyes that I may see my neighbors as you see them.  Give me your heart that I may love them with your love (the Word among us, May 2013, p. 40).

June 6, 2013

“Jesus, help me to reach out to those who are searching for you” (the Word among us, June 2013, p. 26).

June 18, 2013

Father, help me to remember that my enemies are your friends.  I bring their needs before you now (the Word among us, p. 38).

July 20, 2013

Thank you, Lord, that I don’t have to qualify for your mercy.  Let this awareness help me to love you more— and to love others as you have loved me (the Word among us, July/August 2013, p. 39).

August 12, 2013

Jesus, thank you for you patience with me.  Help me to be patient with other people.  Teach me to focus on loving them instead of correcting them.  I trust you to work out the details (the Word among us, p. 62).

August 14, 2013

“Jesus, help me to exercise the power to forgive and to reconcile; to set free and to pronounce blessings on myself, my family, my friends, and even my enemies” (the Word among us, p. 64).

August 21, 2013

“Father, help me be just as generous as you are with all who are joining you in the vineyard” (the Word among us, p. 71).

August 23, 2013

“Lord, teach me to love all of the people you put around me with all my heart” (the Word among us, p. 73).

October 20, 2013

Lord, guide my footsteps and strengthen me for the challenges that I will face in your name.  Thank you for loving me so much that you give me the honor to do your will on earth (the Word among us, October 2013, p. 40).

October 31, 2013

Jesus, thank you for loving me even when I turned away from you.  Bring everyone— even those who seem far away from you— into your embrace (the Word among us, p. 51).

November 3, 2013

Lord, fill me with your love.  Help me look at the people around me the way you look at me (the Word among us, November 2013, p. 24).

November 9, 2013

Lord, help me recognize all the goodness and knowledge that you have already given me.  Help me use these gifts to grow into the person that you want me to become (the Word among us, p. 29).

November 29, 2013

The modern poet Danny Siegel translates a rebbe’s proverb that tells us…

If you will always assume [that] the person sitting next to you is the messiah waiting for some human kindness, you will soon learn to weigh your words and watch your hands.  And if he so chooses not to reveal himself in your time, it will not matter (Dosick, 1995, p. 50).

December 29, 2013

“Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pt. 4:8).

So put on love!  Love knows it’s not perfect yet, so it makes allowances for other people’s mistakes and forgives their wrongs.  Love knows its understanding is limited, so it looks upon other people with respect and tries to learn from them.  Love knows the world is full of hurtful words and deeds, so it tries to make the home a haven of kindness and gentleness.  Love realizes that growth takes time, so it practices patience.  Love gratefully welcomes and treasures every family member, looking for the good in them, however deeply it may be buried (the Word among us, Advent 2013, p. 47).

April 20, 2014

Resurrectio Domini, spes nostra!  The resurrection of the Lord is our hope! (St. Augustine).

July 23, 2014

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

August 9, 2014

When night comes and retrospect shows that everything was patchwork and much that one had planned left undone, when so many things rouse shame and regret, then take all as is, lay it in God’s hands, and offer it up to him.  In this way we will be able to rest in him, actually to rest, and to begin the new day like a new life (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross / Edith Stein; translation, 1987).

August 28, 2014

“Let us understand that God is a physician and that suffering is a medicine for salvation, not a punishment for damnation” (St. Augustine).

November 19, 2014

I beg you, join with me in love.  Run with me in faith.  Let us yearn for our heavenly home. Let us sigh for it.  Let us realize that we are strangers here below (St. Augustine).

November 26, 2014

“To know whom to avoid is a great means of saving our souls” (St. Thomas Aquinas).

December 20, 2014

“Endeavor to be patient in bearing the defects and infirmities of others of whatever kind, for you also have many things which others must bear with” (Thomas à Kempis).

January 16, 2015

“As our body cannot live without nourishment, so our soul cannot spiritually be kept alive without prayer” (St. Augustine)

February 25, 2015

I will not live an instant that I do not live in love.  Whomever loves does all things without suffering or, suffering, loves his suffering (St. Augustine).

March 13, 2015

“All our striving in this life consists in healing the eye of the heart in order to see God”
(St. Augustine).

August 27, 2015

If you desire to be truly Christian wives and mothers, fix your gaze on
St. Monica.  Read her life and you will there see the care she bestowed on her Augustine and find much to console you (St. Francis de Sales).

March 7, 2016

“Let us pray for peace, and let us bring it about starting in our own homes” (Pope Francis).

January 5, 2017

Though God hates sin more than any other thing, he loves us poor miserable sinners.  He ardently desires the welfare of our souls as if his own happiness dependent on it (St. John Neumann).

March 9, 2017

Pope Francis reminds us that prayer is the best way to overcome blind spots in our attitudes toward others.  He doesn’t say it will be easy. But neither does he let us off the hook.  If we search our hearts, we know that we’ve all been guilty of that desire to hold someone accountable long after we think we’ve forgiven him or her (Diane M. Houdek in The Hope of Lent).

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Lost Mine Trail – Big Bend National Park, TX

Links of interest…  Augustine of Hippo: apostolic letter (JPII) / author / bishop & doctor / book on prayer /  confessions (more) / doctor of grace (more) / for all seasons / memorial (Aug 28) / on the Beatitudes / prayers / prodigal son / raised to new life / seeking God / son of tears / thinking faith / why study his works…  Edith Stein essays: book / spirituality of the Christian woman…  Five saints who didn’t get along with their families…  Franciscan: Mission Associates / prayer book / prayers / sisters…  Living Judaism (Dosick)…  Mary, our Lady of Consolation (more)…  St. Monica: about (more) / all in God’s timebook review (book) / chaplet / feast (more) / heroic faith & patience / life / memorial (more) / model of Christian motherhood / mother (of Augustine of Hippo – more – more) / parents’ helper / patron saint (more – more) / perseverance in hopein prayerin service / prayers (litany – novena – readings)…  God turns sinners into saints…  Pallottines: devotions / prayer network (join) / shrine…  Thirst for heaven…  the Word among us

WP page…  Steven’s looking-glass

WP posts…  At long last…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Forever grateful…  Gifts…  Lady of sorrows…  Making meaning…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  My Franciscan Crown…   Morning exchanges…  One prayer…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Soulful

Holy relics

On Valentine’s Day 2009, Junebug and Gary (left) and the lovely Ning and Sam joined us for a special dinner.  And, as usual, “the gang”— our family through Why Catholic? at St. Paul’s in Flour Bluff— had a fantabulous time!

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Junebug’s prompting

That evening Junebug excitedly told us about visiting a chapel with the Legion of Mary.  She didn’t recall its name or much else other than having been (and still is) in awe of all the relics there.  “You just have to go see it!  It’s such a special place!” Junebug remarked, adding that she’d never known about relics until then.

“I know just what you mean!” I said.  “I didn’t know anything about relics until I received mine from Father Roderick.  And I treasured them until I gave them away.  Thanks so much for telling me about the chapel!  I’ll have to visit to take photos for my blog.”

Elusive treasure

Junebug’s exuberant insistence that I “visit the chapel out by the Lexington” stayed with me until May of last year.  That’s when, in driving around trying to locate it, I accidentally stumbled across the small, well-kept chapel on the corner of who knows where in the vicinity of the USS Lexington.

Yet, within moments my joy downgraded a couple of degrees.  Our Lady Star by the Sea was locked, and no one was at its adjacent office.

To further dampen my enthusiasm, I’d forgotten my Coolpix; so I had to rely on my antiquated cell phone to photograph the chapel’s exterior.  Not a good idea at all, I found out later, ’cause I couldn’t email the photos to my Yahoo account.

Still, things worked out fine.  I learned the name of the chapel and its location, so the visit wasn’t a total loss.

Now it’s just a matter of attending weekend Mass, Saturday at five-thirty or Sunday at nine, so I can finally see the relics that catapulted Junebug into OMG mode.

Shared keepsakes

StA-relic72210aLike Junebug, I’d never known about holy relics until— surprise, surprise— I received two third-class St. Anthony relics in the mail from Father Roderick, head of Franciscan Mission Associates (FMA) at the time.

A relic is an object or a personal item of religious significance, carefully preserved with an air of veneration as a tangible memorial….  A third-class relic is any object that is touched to a first- or second-class relic.  StA-relic72210bMost third-class relics are small pieces of cloth (Wikipedia, 2011).

“Relics refer to the body tissues of saints, items worn or used by them, and things that have come in contact with the originals” (Father James G. Ward, CM in the Association of the Miraculous Medal Bulletin, October 2010, p. 3).

The veneration of relics, most strictly the material remains of a saint or holy person after his death, has a long tradition in the Catholic Church….  St. Thomas Aquinas would explain that the relics “excite to love.”  It is really the saint who is being honored, and the relic assists the giving of that honor through both a visible sign and a physical link with the saint (St. Anthony Shrine, 2009).

I treasured my two St. Anthony relics but eventually gave them away to a couple of acquaintances whose life stories were filled with such despair that I thought the relics would give them hope.

By then Father Robert had become director of FMA, so I wrote him a letter requesting another relic and— wouldn’t you know it— he sent two that I carried with me, knowing I’d give them away as well.

St. Anthony chaplets

August, 2010, I gifted my two relics to Sabrina (left) and Ruth (right) with a note in the St. Anthony booklet that I created specially for them.

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Segy, our youngest, has always said, “The best gifts are those I want so very badly to keep but give away instead.”

In 1998, I wrote to Father Robert at Franciscan Mission Associates.

In 1985, Father Roderick sent me two St. Anthony relics.  But, over the years, as I met others in great need, I gave them away.  And now that I don’t have one, I feel empty.  So may I please have another relic?

And I was surprised, just as I’d been the first time, to receive not one but two.  But, even though I’ve treasured my two relics all this time, I’ve always wondered when the time would come that I’d have to part with them again as before.

Looking through my Companion Prayers booklet on July 22nd, I suddenly took note of the St. Anthony chaplet prayers and the Miraculous Responsory for the first time.  I’d added the latter to my “St. Anthony” post, but it just hadn’t registered till that moment.

I decided to customize a chaplet just right for me and attach not a regular medal, but the St. Anthony relic I’d carried around all these years.

Then I had an epiphany.

Since I had a second relic still in its original little bag I thought, Ruth and Sabrina!  I’ll bead three identical chaplets, place the relics on theirs, and use a different St. Anthony medal on mine.  I’ll write to Father Robert again and request another relic for my chaplet.  Hopefully, he’ll send two.

Sooo…  On Tuesday, July 23rd, I began using the chaplets.  I’ve taken turns with each one so that, when you pray on your own, you’ll know I’m praying with you, too.

Heart’s desire

FMA8410aI have to admit that it was very difficult to part with my last two
St. Anthony relics.  In fact, that’s what kept me from beading the chaplets sooner.  God knew how I felt, though.

Right when I was having serious qualms about giving them away, I received a perfectly timed relic prayer card in the mail from FMA.

In the days that followed I internalized what I’ve experienced before: God always knows and provides just what we need (Matthew 6:8).

Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to him.  That is all the doing you have to worry about (St. Jane Frances de Chantal).

Holy relics

How amazing that, since finding Our Lady Star by the Sea and gifting my St. Anthony relics, I’ve become aware of other holy relics: St. Elizabeth Seton’s at Sacred Heart Church in Nacogdoches, Venerable Margaret Parigot’s on Sister’s prayer card from the Flower of Carmel Monastery in Australia, St. Peregrine’s through Father Ralph at Stella Maris in Lamar, and Venerable Julia Navarrete’s through Sister Maxie at the Missionary Daughters’ Solemn Place of Prayer in Kingsville.  Then, as a very special gift from the Anthonians in November, I received a seventy-five minute video commemorating the exhibition of St. Anthony’s remains at the Basilica in Padua, Italy.

So I have to wonder…

Has parting with my treasured St. Anthony relics helped me find more along the way?

            

               

           

May 13, 2011

Joyfully, I received Venerable Father Casey’s relic badge, which I showed Junebug at Michael’s Confirmation.  I’ll be ordering another to surprise her with, as I think it’ll make her day.

       

September 13, 2011

Wow!  How amazing is it to find right here on my computer desk exactly what I’ve wanted for months?  To think that I’ve had St. Jude’s relic for a very long time and didn’t even know it till this morning.

Will wonders never cease!

October 4, 2011

I just received a letter from Franciscan Mission Associates in time for All Souls Day.  Father Primo has replaced Father Robert, who served for the past fifteen years.  I guess it’s time to write that letter I’ve been putting off and wish Father Robert well on the next chapter in his book of life.

       

If you’d like to request a St. Anthony relic, contact Franciscan Mission Associates at P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

January 21, 2012

Steven and I drove to Stella Maris for the second time, and we arrived early enough to converse with Father Ralph before evening Mass.  I asked if he had his St. Peregrine first-class relic, and he did!  What a thrilling experience to hold it and pray for his intercession.

               

January 22, 2012

I went by Mary Ellen’s house to drop off both her St. Anthony relic chaplet and her Child Jesus chaplet, and she showed me the third-class relic she has of the nun who founded the Incarnate Word Order.  I didn’t have my camera with me, so I’ll take a photo another time.

April 8, 2012

I finally got the chance to take the photos of Mary Ellen’s third-class relic of Venerable Jeanne Chézard de Matel (1596-1670), foundress of the Incarnate Word (IWBS) Order.

Oh, happy day!

     

April 29, 2012

“Be careful what you wish for” certainly comes to mind, only in a good way this time.

On revisiting the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus at St. Pius V in Chicago, I discovered a treasure overlooked in the past.  St. Jude’s first-class relic!  His arm!

               

July 2, 2012

What unexpected surprises!  St. Teresa of Avila relics from Sister in Australia!

               

September 29, 2012

From Sister, timely St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus treasures received for October 1st!

               

January 13, 2013

Steven and I visited the Tepeyac Shrine in San Antonio for the second time and discovered that the Grotto Sanctuary has a first-class relic: Part of St. Eugene de Mazenod’s heart!

SA11313-67        SA11313-113        SA11313-1

February 10, 2013

??????????This morning Steven fell out as a Knight of Columbus participating in the veneration of José Sánchez del Río’s first-class relic at Immaculate Conception Church in Taft, TX.  Ten o’clock Mass was followed, first, by a procession around the neighborhood and then by visits to the front of the altar to spend one-on-one time in prayer with the relic.

Worth noting is that Joselito died eighty-five years ago today.

June 14-16, 2013

When Steven learned that Father Mario from the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy would be in Rockford, IL, he quickly made plans for us to attend Mass and the veneration of St. Anthony’s first-class relics at St. Anthony of Padua Church.  And we had a phenomenal time!

Father Mario captivated all of us with wonderful stories about St. Anthony and gifted many present with relics touched to St. Anthony’s tongue.  In the photo on the left, the reliquary in the forefront holds tissue from inside St. Anthony’s cheek; the one on the altar, part of his floating rib.

Before Father Mario retired for the evening, he did something totally unexpected: He blessed Steven and me with the small reliquary!

We were so taken with Father Mario that I wanted to bring him home with us, but he has places to go and people to see.  Building community within God’s kingdom is what traveling with St. Anthony is all about, so they’re off to Great Britain next.

SAP61413s-56        StA73113b        StA73113a

The following morning, despite the pounding rain and the heavy traffic, we made our way back to Chicago where we not only spent time at the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude at St. Pius V (like last year), but also visited the Claretian National Shrine of St. Jude at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

 ??????????        ??????????        OLG61513-19

Then we drove to Detroit where we attended nine o’clock Mass at St. Bonaventure Church on Sunday and delighted in the Solanus Casey Center the entire day.

SBC61713s-13      ??????????      SBC61613-108a

What an extraordinary experience!

July 1, 2013

Oh, happy day!  St. Pio’s relic!  Thank you, Sister dearest!

StPio7113-1a    StPio7113-1c    StPio7113-1b    StPio7113-1d

November 21, 2013

Surprise, surprise!  In today’s mail, I received a treasure trove from our niece.

Found this [tiny, old envelope].  Thought of you.  Not sure what it is, but you will know.  Love you.  Sue

Um, yes!  Not one, but two relic badges of then Servant of God, now Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos who needs only one more step to reach sainthood.

After a brief period of parish ministry in Detroit, Michigan, he was assigned in 1866 to the Redemptorist community in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Here also, as pastor of the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption, he was known as a pastor who was joyously available to his faithful and singularly concerned for the poorest and the most abandoned.  However, his ministry in New Orleans was destined to be brief. In September of that year, exhausted from visiting and caring for victims of yellow fever, he contracted the disease.  After several weeks, he died on October 4, 1867, at the age of forty-eight years and nine months (Wikipedia, 2013).

FXS112113-2a        FXS112113-2b

March 28, 2014

Hip hip hooray!  An unexpected St. Anthony relic from the Anthonians!

Anth32814a        Anth32814b

April 18, 2014

Thanks to Diana at Franciscan Mission Associates for expeditiously sending me not just the lovely relic for Sid’s St. Anthony chaplet, but also the prayer card!  Sidney Davis, whom we met at the Solanus Casey Center last week, loved his priceless treasures!

FMA-H62a        FMA-H62b        FMA41814a        FMA41814b

May 24, 2014

Thanks to Father Thomas Franks, OFM-Cap for St. Pio’s precious relic!  The Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcina is located at the Church of St. John the Baptist in New York City.  (The address is on “Credits” page.) 

SJB52414-2a        SJB52414-1b        SJB52414-2b

October 11, 2014

Thanks again, Father Tom, for the wonderful relic cards from St. Pio’s shrine!

SJBC10114a    SJBC10114b      SJBC10814a    SJBC10814b

November 9, 2015

“For even now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, whether by his sacraments or by the prayers or relics of his saints” (St. Augustine).

Links of interest…  Legion of Mary…  Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish: diocese page / parishes online…  Relics: about (chapelmore) / altar of (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton) / badge (Venerable Solanus Casey) / feast (more) / first-class / four categories / holy / how to venerateincorruptibles (how can a corpse be incorruptible – saints) / more than I thought I’d ever know (blog post) / of the past & the present / priest martyrs of Mexico / process of beatification & canonization / remains / sacred artifacts / saints / what is…  St. Anthony: basilica (virtual tour) / bones a guide to the living / relics (on display in Padua)…  St. Paul the Apostle Church: facebook / website…  Why Catholic

WP posts…  St. Anthony of Padua: Saint of miracles / Si quaeris miracula…  St. Eugene de Mazenod: Heart of hearts / Memory lane…  St. Elizabeth Seton: Right at home…  St. José Sánchez del Río: Honoring Joselito…  St. Jude: Forever grateful / October novenaSt. Anthony Claret / St. Jude novena…  St. Peregrine: Healing service / Memorable as ever / Powerful intercessor / Prayers and blessings / Saintly connections / Stella Maris / St. Peregrine relic…  St. Teresa of Avila: Gift of love / Seven dwelling places…  St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus: Budding relationships…  Venerable Father Casey: Capuchin church stations / God’s master plan / Mercy and justice / Solano, Solanus, Solani / St. Bonaventure Church…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Venerable Julia Navarrete (of the thorns of the Sacred Heart)…  Venerable Margaret (of the Blessed Sacrament)

St. Jude novena

Today I received a beautiful pamphlet from the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus informing me of its scheduled novena.

The shrine has held an extra special place in my heart since January 2004, when I went there to pray for our baby granddaughter, Kylie, who’d been hospitalized for the second time since her birth, October 29, 2003.

If you have a special petition in mind, the Dominican shrine is a perfect place to frequent… either online, through mailed requests, or in person.

           

                

March 1, 2011 

Besides its user-friendly website, the Dominican shrine, through its mailings, offers anointing oil, prayer candles, novenas, perpetual memberships, and so much more. 

For instance, we requested that a memorial candle be lit for Acacia-Darling, our oldest grandchild, and then received this lovely card.

Displayed atop the bookshelf next to my workspace, the card’s universal message is one of unconditional love and commitment, for “where there’s prayer, there’s hope”
(Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus, n. d.).

May 6, 2011 

Father Robert at the shrine sent his St Jude prayer today.

“If you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it to you” (John 16:23).

With unbounded faith in the power and efficacy of the intercession of
St. Jude, you are urged to pray that God will grant you what He deems good for you. 

O loving and dear St. Jude, look aside from my unworthiness and look on to the mercy and love of Jesus.  Please take to God’s heart my prayerful intentions. 

St. Jude, my saintly protector, I promise that I will encourage others to seek your aid and that I will do all I can to tell others how great and good you are to those who need and implore your help.  With faith and with hope, I place myself in your hands.  Amen.

May 9, 2011

The shrine sent this healing prayer today.

Remember, the pain will pass.  Your brokenness will heal.  The sun will rise again in your soul.  Peace will come.  You will survive.

You are never alone.  God walks with you.  God holds you tenderly and close.  God’s grace will sustain you. 

You are loved.

Amen.

May 27, 2011

Father Robert explains the solemn novena.

After the ascension of Jesus, the apostles returned… to an upper room [in Jerusalem] where “they all devoted themselves single-mindedly to prayer, along with some women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and his brothers”
(Acts 1:14).

The Catholic tradition of praying novenas has its roots in the earliest days of the Church.  Whether a novena is made solemnly in a particular church or shrine or in the privacy of one’s home, we never pray alone, for we are always united with the communion of saints when we pray.  It is not necessary to be physically present in order to enjoy and benefit from our solemn novena.  There is no limit to God’s presence, and prayer knows no limit in distance and time.  Therefore, the many “friends of St. Jude” scattered around the country can participate as partners in the novena….

May 28, 2011

Father Robert prays for our collective needs.

For those we love, for the needs of the world that it will be a better place in which to live, and for all people that they will have proper human conditions in which to live.

Let us pray.  

We thank you, Lord, for all the gifts you have given us this day… for the needs of all those in our Church who minister to us that they may lead holy lives… for world leaders that they may govern with integrity, safeguarding the rights of all persons, and provide for the needs of their people… for those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit that the healing touch of God will help them… and, particularly, for all caregivers, hospice workers, medical research people, and those who are terminally ill… and, finally, for those who have died that they might enjoy light, happiness and peace in the joy of heaven forever.  Amen.

September 30, 2011

Steven mailed my letter (part of a bound booklet) to Father Robert, OP at the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus in Chicago.

October 17, 2011

What a heartwarming response from Father Robert today!

April 29, 2012

This chilly Sunday morning, Steven and I attended nine-thirty Spanish Mass in South Chicago. 

What joy for me to finally return there!  What an unexpected realization to discover that the St. Jude shrine is actually part of St. Pius V Church.  What an incredible experience for us to celebrate Mass so uniquely.

One of the highlights was seeing Acacia-Darling’s green candle among so many within St. Jude’s shrine.  How heartwarming to know that she’s in St. Jude’s care!  But the singular most amazing discovery was finding what I’d missed during my brief first visit there— St. Jude’s first-class relic!

November 29, 2015

“I have never gone out to mingle with the world without losing something of myself”
(St. Albert the Great).

       

               

Links of interest…  Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus…  OP Central: Bridge between Sundays & videos…  Pope to Dominicans: Your good works give glory to God…  St. Jude: chaplet (printable; photo) / novenas (in Spanish, too) / prayers

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Finding St. Rita…  Forever grateful…  Lady of Sorrows…  October novena…  Prayer power…  Promise of hope…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Si quaeris miracula…  St. Anthony Claret…  St. Jude Shrine (Claretians)…  St. Jude Shrine (Corpus Christi, TX)…  Sweet Jesus

Si quaeris miracula

Miracles.  Everyone needs them at one time or another.  Big ones, small ones, they happen every day.  But, if we’re not looking, we fail to see them.

Awareness

Have you ever bought something— a car, for instance— that you thought no one else had in a particular color?  Then, the more you drove your car, the more you noticed others like it?

FMA8410aThat’s the way it is with miracles.

When you acknowledge one, your awareness grows; and, before long, you begin to notice the miracles happening all around.  The more you talk about them, the more you’re asked to be a prayer partner for healing, justice, employment, peace of mind, and other concerns that cause great distress in everyday life.

United prayer

Again I tell you, if two of you join your voices on earth to pray for anything whatsoever, it shall be granted you by my Father in heaven.  Where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst (Mt. 18:
19-20).

Intercessory power

FMA8410bThe beauty of united prayer is that we don’t have to be together in one specific place.  We can support the cause from wherever we happen to be, at whatever time we happen to pray.  Moreover, we can tap experts in the field— our saints— for their intercessory power.

My two all-time favorites are St. Jude and St. Anthony, although I call on the former only when there’s a serious dilemma regarding our kids or grandkids.  St. Anthony, on the other hand, is a lifelong friend with whom I dialogue throughout the day.  I call on him anytime someone needs a favor and especially when I’ve lost something.

St. Anthony chaplet

Sometimes, too, St. Anthony helps me find treasures I didn’t even know were missing— like the chaplet prayers and the miraculous responsory that I serendipitously discovered just recently.

This prayerful devotion is said in honor of the thirteen favors mentioned in the Miraculous Responsory.  Pray an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory be after each of the thirteen favors and conclude with the Miraculous Responsory 

  1. Most gracious St. Anthony, keep me from sin and enable me to persevere in good.
  2. Great St. Anthony, keep whatever is uncharitable far from me.
  3. Dear St. Anthony, make mine a true, lasting, and vibrant faith.
  4. Good St. Anthony, banish from my heart all that would cloud God’s love.
  5. St. Anthony, encouraged by your gentleness, help me to grow in genuine conversion of heart.
  6. St. Anthony, heal me and obtain for me true love of God and health of mind and soul.
  7. St. Anthony, with my guardian angel, guide me though the perils of this life and keep me safe.
  8. St. Anthony, protect me from the devil’s temptations and obtain for me God’s help.
  9. St. Anthony, healer of the sick, preserve my life and grant me blessings of good health.
  10. Saint of miracles, finder of lost things, help me to discover what is truly important in my life.
  11. St. Anthony, my helper and friend of God, be my defense and security in times of doubt.
  12. St. Anthony and friend of God, I ask your intercession at God’s throne for divine grace.
  13. St. Anthony, I join with you now and with the whole company of heaven in praising the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.  Amen.

Miraculous Responsory

Also known as Si Quaeris Miracula, this prayer is sung regularly at St. Anthony’s basilica in Padua and Tuesdays throughout the world.

If then you ask for miracles,
Death, error, all calamities,
Leprosy and demons fly,
And health succeeds infirmities.

The sea obeys and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs do you restore;
While treasures lost are found again,
When young and old your aid implore.

All dangers vanish at your prayer,
??????????And direst need does quickly flee;
Let those who know your power proclaim,
Let Paduans say, “These are of thee.”

To Father, Son, may glory be
And Holy Spirit, eternally.

Pray for us, blessed Anthony.
Make us worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

Lord God, may the votive commemoration of blessed Anthony, your confessor and doctor, be a source of joy for your people.  May they always be strengthened with his spiritual assistance and deserve eternal rewards.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Litany of the lost

Lord have mercy.  Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.  Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.  Lord have mercy.

For those of us who have lost…

Our health…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Our peace of mind…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Our housing…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Our financial security…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
A loved one…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Our dreams…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Our talents…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Our initial zeal…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Our sobriety…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Our faith…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Our self-respect…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Our perspective…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Our innocence…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Our independence…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Peace within our families…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Civil peace…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Our trust in others…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Our virtue…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
Our home…  St. Anthony, pray for us.
(Add your own particular loss…  St. Anthony, pray for us.)

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

Let us pray.

All loving God, you have given us St. Anthony, the patron of the lost, as an intercessor of those who are in need of your mercy.  Listen to his voice as he calls out to you on our behalf and grant those things which will help us to grow in your love.  We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Nine days of prayer

FMA-R24-13-a    FMA-R24-13-b    FMA-R24-13-c    FMA-R24-13-d    FMA-B30R-a

FMA-B30R-b    FMA-B30R-1    FMA-B30R-2    FMA-B30R-3    FMA-B30R-4

FMA-B30R-5    FMA-B30R-6    FMA-B30R-7    FMA-B30R-8    FMA-B30R-9

FMA-B30R-10    FMA-B30R-11    FMA-B30R-12    FMA-B30R-c    FMA-B30R-d

Thirteen Tuesdays

This set of prayers can be recited anytime even though the devotion is a March through June tradition concluding on or before St. Anthony’s feast day, June 13th.

StAnthony-13a      StAnthony-13b      StAnthony-13c      StAnthony-13d      StAnthony-13e      StAnthony-13f

Contact information

The Nine Days of Prayers leaflets are from Franciscan Mission Associates (FMA), P.O. Box 598, Mount Vernon, NY 10551-0598.  Thirteen Tuesdays is from The Franciscans, St. Anthony’s Guild, 4 Jersey Street, East Rutherford, NJ 07073-1012.

May 31, 2011 

Although my prayer book (Companions of St. Anthony,
n. d.) credits St. Bonaventure with the Miraculous Responsory, Wikiquote attributes the prayer to Julian of Speyer, who composed the sequence circa 1235 (The Raccolta, 1807, p. 531; Benziger Brothers, 1952).

November 9, 2015

“For even now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, whether by his sacraments or by the prayers or relics of his saints” (St. Augustine).

Links of interest…  American Catholic…  Do you need a miracle in your life…  Father Peter Mary Rookey’s miracle prayer (YouTube)…  Franciscan Mission Associates: prayer requests / quarterly newsletter / seasonal devotions…  He dwells among us…  Help from heaven…  Messenger of St. Anthony…  Miracles & evangelization…  Nine Tuesdays devotion…  Si quaeris miracula…  St. Anthony: about (more) / “ark of the covenant” (index / more) / biography / glorious feast day / mail deliveries (S.A.G.) / miracles & traditions / shrine / wonder worker…  St. Anthony’s Guild: devotions / ecards / prayer requests / prayers…  St. Bonaventure…  Why pray novenas…  YouTube: Hymn to St. Anthony of Padua (composed by Father Ike Carpio, OFM+; sung by Brother Ariel Manga, OFM) / Si quaeris miracula (sung by Padre Maurizio nella Basilica di San Francesco a Bologna)…

WP posts…   Budding relationships…  Franciscan experience…  Holy relics…  Making meaning…  My Franciscan Crown…  Prayer…  Promise of hope…  Saint of miracles…  Soulful…  St. Anthony…  St. Anthony chaplets…  St. Anthony Claret…  St. Felix…  St. Jude novena…  Tony’s big day…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies