A wedding veil for St Philomena!

I had a church sized statue of St Philomena in storage. When I came to the shed that the statue was kept in there was a nice surprise.  Spiders had spun St Philomena a wonderful wedding veil !  It had a long train and also went over her face down to the floor.  The statue could be seen through the veil. It was a great sight. The veil was spun over the crown of roses on the statue’s head. I only wish that I had taken a picture of it.

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St Lawrence the martyr and deacon of Rome (Feast day, August 10)

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Lawrence was born in Osca (Huesca), a Spanish city, in the first half of the 3rd century. He came to Rome,  the centre of Christianity. He was noted for his piety, his charity in favour of the poor people and for his behaviour and integrity. 

On account of his endowments, Pope Sixtus II named him Deacon of the Church.  He had to superintend the administration of goods, accept donations, look after them and provide for the needy, orphans and widows. 

On account of these duties, Lawrence was one of the most well-known personages of the early Roman Christianity, and one of the most venerated martyrs, so much so, that his memory was preserved by many churches and chapels built in his honour. 

History tells us that Lawrence was captured by the soldiers of the Emperor Valerian, on the 6th of August, 258 in the catacombs of St. Callixtus together with Pope Sixtus II and other deacons.  While the Pontiff with the other deacons suffered martyrdom, Lawrence was set apart, so as to extort from him the treasures of the Church.  It is related that when the emperor Valerian commanded him to hand over the treasures of the Church, Lawrence  brought to him the poor and the sick people and said: “Here are the treasures of the Church”. 

Afterwards Lawrence was taken into custody by the Centurion Hippolytus who confined him in the dungeon of his palace located on Urbana Street where the Church of S. Lorenzo in Fonte is located. 

In this dark damp narrow place there was a prisoner named Lucillus who was blind.  Lawrence comforted his fellow prisoner, encouraged him, catechized him in the doctrine of Christ and used a spring of water gushing out from the ground to baptize him.  After the baptism Lucillus recovered his sight. The centurion Hippolytus often used to visit his prisoners; and having ascertained the prodigious event and more over struck by the serenity and the meekness of the prisoners illuminated by God’s grace he became a Christian, receiving baptism from Lawrence. 

Afterwards Hippolytus being recognized as a Christian was tied to the tails of horses and dragged along on stones and brambles until he died. Lawrence was burnt alive on a grill in a place not too far from the site of the prison and his ashes were placed in the Verano graveyard in the Saint Ciriaca catacomb.  St. Lawrence’s martyrdom is dated in the Roman martyrology, on the August 10, 258 A.D. 

As a reminder of these events three churches were built in Rome which are still in existence.  St. Lawrence in Fonte (site of the prison), St Lawrence in Panisperna (the place of the martyrdom) and St. Lawrence in Verano (site of the burial). 

Click here to read a poem on the life of St Lawrence

Click here to learn about the powerful intercession of the Holy Souls in Purgatory for their benefactors and ways to help them.

St John Vianney

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Our parish of St John Vianney displays his relic on his feast day.

Favours from the saints: A bad case of laryngitis (Saint Blaise)

Each month I used to meet with a friend.  We attended Mass at the cathedral and then had lunch at the shopping centre afterwards. On one of these occasions my friend showed up with a very severe case of laryngitis.  She told me that she had been in this state for a few weeks. I introduced her to the priest.  He gave her a blessing in honour of Saint Blaise the patron saint of throats.  I jokingly remarked to her, “You should be all fixed up now because Father has blessed you.”  We went into the church. A few minutes later the Mass began.  I was amazed to hear my friend singing the hymn in her full strength soprano voice. 

Saint Blaise is the saint who is invoked for protection against throat problems. On his feast day (February 3),  there is a special blessing.  The priest takes two candles which are held in a crossed position and places them upon the throat of the person to be blessed and invokes Saint Blaise to protect the person from throat troubles.

This story is from my book: Help from heaven (Answers to prayer), which can be read free on-line here. 

Today is the 100th anniversary of the death of Blessed Mary MacKillop and also her feast day.

Today is the one hundredth anniversary of the death of Blessed Mary MacKillop of Australia and it is also her feast day.

She was a much misunderstood woman who suffered greatly at the hands of the clergy particularly the bishops.  Blessed Mary MacKillop was unjustly accused of so much, for example, each month she suffered great pain for a couple of days and had to stay in bed on these occasions.  There were no suitable pain killers in those days, so the doctor suggested that she take a tablespoon of brandy to dull the pain. Another nun even measured it out and administered it to her.  Despite this she was accused of being an alcoholic!  She was pronounced “excommunicated” by a bishop when she was just asking for a clarification of his words. This was actually an invalid action on the part of the bishop and was fixed up when he was dying. There is heaps to say about Blessed Mary MacKillop and I can also relate some great stories about her intercession. Do yourself a favour and read the story of her life.

A method of meditating on the Rosary

This article outlines one particular method of saying the Rosary. It is not necessarily the best one; however it may be a valuable aid to some people. The Rosary consists of two parts.  The first part; is the actual prayers; The Our Father, The Hail Mary, The Gloria, etc. The second part is meditation upon the mysteries of the Rosary. At the Catholic secondary school that I attended; once a month, all the teachers and students would recite the Rosary in the church before Mass. I do not recall even one class lesson being given to us on how to say the Rosary. My family also recited the Rosary during the Christmas season. When I married, I learned from my husband that you had to meditate on the mysteries while saying the prayers of the Rosary. This came as a great surprise to me. Actually it was more like a shock. I kept asking myself why didn’t the Catholic schools that I attended tell me about this. To be fair they did teach me the catechism.
The business of meditation while saying the prayers of the Rosary; conjured up visions of something like juggling balls in one hand and playing the piano with the other hand.  It was hard for me to imagine how you could do both of them at the same time. I also looked upon the business of meditation as something for mystics who lived in caves in the desert. Meditation didn’t seem to be anything remotely connected with me.
After the initial shock wore off, I started to learn how to meditate on the mysteries, while saying the vocal prayers.  The first stage of this process was the use of books which contained ten scriptural verses for each decade of the Rosary. My eyes slowly scanned each scriptural verse, while I said the vocal prayers (Hail Marys) etc. This method felt somewhat artificial and mechanical, but at least I was combining both the meditation and the prayers at the same time. When the scriptural verses were partly memorised, I did not use the books anymore.  The “walking stick” was thrown away.  The verses went through my mind, while saying the prayers vocally. Pictures from books, depicting the decades were also utilised. The next stage was that as well as scriptural verses going through my mind; the pictures that I had seen in the books were also visualised. I closed my eyes and literally could see these scenes as though they were in the room. These scenes filled up the whole area that I was viewing. All of this was in colour.
The vocal prayers receded into the background, like background music that is played softly, while you are eating dinner and talking in the restaurant. The meditation came to the forefront. As well as visualising scenes from the actual decades (such as the Archangel Gabriel appearing to Mary), for variety I added at the beginning of each decade, a visual image of either the Sacred Heart of Jesus, or the Divine Mercy and at the end of each decade an image of Mary as she appeared to Saint Catherine Laboure in the Miraculous Medal vision, which depicts Mary distributing graces, as rays coming from her hands. Studying the pictures on holy cards was useful in helping me to visualise these images.
By the time that this stage was reached it was a great deal easier for me to say Rosaries even when I was very tired. A good way to keep up your motivation to say the Rosary is to make a 54 day rosary novena for a special intention.  It is amazing how this will keep you going when your motivation to say the Rosary is running on low.
The method described above also can be employed when saying other chaplets: such as The Little Chaplet of the Holy Infant Jesus and the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. In the Infant Jesus Chaplet, you can visualise a picture of the Infant Jesus of Prague. In the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy you can mediate on the Divine Mercy picture and also visualise Saint Faustina having a vision of the angel who is about to carry out God’s just punishment on a particular part of the world, and the angel becoming helpless in carrying this out as Saint Faustina prayed the words of the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy.  There are many other appropriate scenes which you can visualise while saying the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy.
Some benefits of meditating on the Rosary.
Meditation on the Rosary puts before our minds, the true purpose of our lives and also keeps us focused on where we hope to spend our eternity (heaven). It counteracts the blatant messages in the media, which seek to corrupt our behaviour and get us interested in things like, money making, pleasure seeking and many immoral practices. The thoughts in our minds will greatly influence the choices that we make in how we live our lives.  Saying the Rosary will tilt the balance heavily to the side of making good moral choices. It is well known that people sometimes act out criminal activities, even murders and robberies that they have seen in movies.  It is because these things occupy their minds, because they had been viewing them and thinking about them. On the other end of the scale, if your mind is filled with images from Rosary meditations: such as Mary going to visit her elderly relative Elizabeth to help her, you will be more inclined to practice the virtue of charity. If you like the method that has been offered of saying the Rosary try it. When you are familiar with the method modify it to your own special needs. It is like learning any other skill. First you learn the basics and then you adapt it as your ability develops. Meditation on the Rosary prevents it from being a mechanical repetition of vocal prayers. If you learnt the art of meditation on the Rosary, and then attempted to just say the prayers again, without meditation, you would find it a very dry and tedious exercise.
Meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary helps lift our minds out of the bog of everyday things that we see and experience, to things eternal that we cannot see.  We are reminded that the here and now is not all that there is. Meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary stops our mind from focusing too much on the unimportant.
Rosary beads
Rosary beads help you to keep track of where you are up to in the Rosary and give a soothing feeling as you move the beads through your fingers. It is best to have one pair of Rosary beads for use at home and one pair to keep in your handbag or pocket.  Seeing your Rosary beads will remind you to say the Rosary.  If you do not have a pair of Rosary beads with you, remember that you have ten fingers to pray the Rosary with. There are occasions when a one-decade set of Rosary beads comes in handy. One decade Rosaries are sometimes made into rings and bracelets.  (On my First Holy Communion day, I was given a bracelet made with pearls that had the beads for five decades. It has a small silver coloured crucifix.  I don’t think that they are available anymore.) Remember to get a priest to bless your Rosary beads.

rosary_beads_number_3

This article outlines one particular method of saying the Rosary. It is not necessarily the best one; however it may be a valuable aid to some people. The Rosary consists of two parts.  The first part; is the actual prayers; The Our Father, The Hail Mary, The Gloria, etc. The second part is meditation upon the mysteries of the Rosary. At the Catholic secondary school that I attended; once a month, all the teachers and students would recite the Rosary in the church before Mass. I do not recall even one class lesson being given to us on how to say the Rosary. My family also recited the Rosary during the Christmas season. When I married, I learned from my husband that you had to meditate on the mysteries while saying the prayers of the Rosary. This came as a great surprise to me. Actually it was more like a shock. I kept asking myself why didn’t the Catholic schools that I attended tell me about this. To be fair they did teach me the catechism.

The business of meditation while saying the prayers of the Rosary; conjured up visions of something like juggling balls in one hand and playing the piano with the other hand.  It was hard for me to imagine how you could do both of them at the same time. I also looked upon the business of meditation as something for mystics who lived in caves in the desert. Meditation didn’t seem to be anything remotely connected with me.

After the initial shock wore off, I started to learn how to meditate on the mysteries, while saying the vocal prayers.  The first stage of this process was the use of books which contained ten scriptural verses for each decade of the Rosary. My eyes slowly scanned each scriptural verse, while I said the vocal prayers (Hail Marys) etc. This method felt somewhat artificial and mechanical, but at least I was combining both the meditation and the prayers at the same time. When the scriptural verses were partly memorised, I did not use the books anymore.  The “walking stick” was thrown away.  The verses went through my mind, while saying the prayers vocally. Pictures from books, depicting the decades were also utilised. The next stage was that as well as scriptural verses going through my mind; the pictures that I had seen in the books were also visualised. I closed my eyes and literally could see these scenes as though they were in the room. These scenes filled up the whole area that I was viewing. All of this was in colour.

The vocal prayers receded into the background, like background music that is played softly, while you are eating dinner and talking in the restaurant. The meditation came to the forefront. As well as visualising scenes from the actual decades (such as the Archangel Gabriel appearing to Mary), for variety I added at the beginning of each decade, a visual image of either the Sacred Heart of Jesus, or the Divine Mercy and at the end of each decade an image of Mary as she appeared to Saint Catherine Laboure in the Miraculous Medal vision, which depicts Mary distributing graces, as rays coming from her hands. Studying the pictures on holy cards was useful in helping me to visualise these images.

By the time that this stage was reached it was a great deal easier for me to say Rosaries even when I was very tired. A good way to keep up your motivation to say the Rosary is to make a 54 day rosary novena for a special intention.  It is amazing how this will keep you going when your motivation to say the Rosary is running on low.

The method described above also can be employed when saying other chaplets: such as The Little Chaplet of the Holy Infant Jesus and the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. In the Infant Jesus Chaplet, you can visualise a picture of the Infant Jesus of Prague. In the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy you can mediate on the Divine Mercy picture and also visualise Saint Faustina having a vision of the angel who is about to carry out God’s just punishment on a particular part of the world, and the angel becoming helpless in carrying this out as Saint Faustina prayed the words of the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy.  There are many other appropriate scenes which you can visualise while saying the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy.

Some benefits of meditating on the Rosary.

Meditation on the Rosary puts before our minds, the true purpose of our lives and also keeps us focused on where we hope to spend our eternity (heaven). It counteracts the blatant messages in the media, which seek to corrupt our behaviour and get us interested in things like, money making, pleasure seeking and many immoral practices. The thoughts in our minds will greatly influence the choices that we make in how we live our lives.  Saying the Rosary will tilt the balance heavily to the side of making good moral choices. It is well known that people sometimes act out criminal activities, even murders and robberies that they have seen in movies.  It is because these things occupy their minds, because they had been viewing them and thinking about them. On the other end of the scale, if your mind is filled with images from Rosary meditations: such as Mary going to visit her elderly relative Elizabeth to help her, you will be more inclined to practice the virtue of charity. If you like the method that has been offered of saying the Rosary try it. When you are familiar with the method modify it to your own special needs. It is like learning any other skill. First you learn the basics and then you adapt it as your ability develops. Meditation on the Rosary prevents it from being a mechanical repetition of vocal prayers. If you learnt the art of meditation on the Rosary, and then attempted to just say the prayers again, without meditation, you would find it a very dry and tedious exercise.

Meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary helps lift our minds out of the bog of everyday things that we see and experience, to things eternal that we cannot see.  We are reminded that the here and now is not all that there is. Meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary stops our mind from focusing too much on the unimportant.

Rosary beads

Rosary beads help you to keep track of where you are up to in the Rosary and give a soothing feeling as you move the beads through your fingers. It is best to have one pair of Rosary beads for use at home and one pair to keep in your handbag or pocket.  Seeing your Rosary beads will remind you to say the Rosary.  If you do not have a pair of Rosary beads with you, remember that you have ten fingers to pray the Rosary with. There are occasions when a one-decade set of Rosary beads comes in handy. One decade Rosaries are sometimes made into rings and bracelets.  (On my First Holy Communion day, I was given a bracelet made with pearls that had the beads for five decades. It has a small silver coloured crucifix.  I don’t think that they are available anymore.) Remember to get a priest to bless your Rosary beads.

Audio tapes, Video Tapes and CD’s

Audio tapes, video tapes and CD’s on the Rosary might be useful aids in some cases to assist with meditation on the Mysteries.

This article is an extract from my book: Help from Heaven (Answers to prayer), which can be read free on-line here.

If you would like to join a Living Rosary, click here for more information

Favours granted through the intercession of Saint Mary of the Cross (Mary MacKillop of Australia) Feast day August 8.

Prayers to find a good spouse

A lady in the USA asked for a petition to be placed at the shrine of Blessed Mary MacKillop in Australia.  One at the petitions was for her 28 year old daughter Lyn to find a good husband. A few days after the petition was placed at Blessed Mary Mackillop’s tomb, Lyn’s mother received a telephone call from a man that Lyn had dated eight years ago. Lyn and her former boyfriend went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, in France to pray there to discern God’s will for their lives.  They have since married. Another of the mother’s petitions to Blessed Mary MacKillop was also answered.  Her son decided to give up living with his girlfriend.  They started to attend Mass regularly and also began making preparations to marry.

Blessed Mary MacKillop “fixes” a microwave oven

I had arranged to go on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Blessed Mary MacKillop at North Sydney.  On the morning that I was due to go I discovered that my microwave oven had stopped working. When I went to the shrine I prayed for many important petitions.  I also mentioned to Blessed Mary, the little matter of my microwave oven. When I arrived home I tried my microwave oven again.  It was still not working.  After this I slammed the oven door very hard and the microwave started working!  It seems that the only thing that was wrong was that there was a fault in the closing mechanism of the door. The microwave oven was not fully closing. It only appeared to be fully closed.

These stories are in my book Help from heaven (Answers to prayer) which can be read free-online by pressing here.