A wonderful conversion through the intercession of St. Philomena the Wonder Worker

This story comes from Sydney, Australia.  It is related by the mother of the boy, who is the recipient of the favour.

When one of our teenage sons began drinking heavily, smoking pot and being involved with a heavy metal rock band, my husband and I decided to give him over to the care of Saint Philomena, who we had heard was a patron saint of youth and a wonder worker.  We had heard her story and had been impressed by the many miracles which had been attributed to her intercession.

We prayed a novena and went to our first Mass in her honour.  As the Saturday night binges progressed to the whole weekend and then to week nights we decided to pray the novena continuously, imploring Saint Philomena desperately as our son’s condition continued to worsen. By this stage he would come home from work and prowl around restlessly until the phone rang and then he was out again. His pores oozed the sweet/stale smell of beer continuously.

Usually he was very gentle – even when he was drunk, but he became more agitated, blaming us for filling him with all the “God stuff” as he was growing up.  This occurred on the Saturday night of the August Mass in honour of Saint Philomena. The week that followed was very distressing.  He went off to work on the Friday at 5am as usual and I was surprised when he came home at 1.15 p.m. – his usual home time on Fridays, but lately he had gone straight to the pub and we were lucky to see him all weekend.  My son came out of his room and put a broken CD into the bin. I was again surprised and so had a look at the title of the CD. He had dozens of heavy metal CDs. It was named “Diabolos Music.” I said, as I had often said, that means Devil’s music and that it was dangerous.  Usually he would laugh if off, but this time he said “I know mum.”

He brought out the printed lyrics of the song and said that the words to this song kept going through his mind and that he felt that he was going mad, but that he was at peace now. I was almost too scared to ask him why? how?  when? I just asked if he had called on God and he said “Yes.”  At work that morning he had experienced an overwhelming sense of peace and love. A feeling of great burden had lifted off him.  He felt the presence of a woman.  He looked around but there was no one there.

My son still had the music filling his head – so I gave him a much better tape to listen to. When his mate rang that night, before he left, he asked us to pray for him and said that he would not be

late. After a couple of Rosaries and Divine Mercy Chaplets, we were disappointed as the night wore on, because our son did not turn up.  Finally around 2 to 3am he came in.  My husband hurried out and I started another Rosary – hoping that my husband wouldn’t ruin the obvious start that my son had made.  When my husband finally came back to bed a few hours later, he said that they had been talking and praying the Rosary together.

My son had waited back to make sure that his friends got home safely. He wanted to go and tell them about his experience. They were not interested and as he listened to them, all he would hear was “hate” in their talk. That morning August the 15th was the feast of the Assumption.  He went to the Sacrament of Confession and afterwards he shed many tears.  Our eyes were also filled with tears of joy. He went to three of the four Masses that weekend and did so for many months after.

He has never drunk alcohol, smoked pot, nor has he listened to heavy metal rock music since that time.  He threw out all his CDs and heavy metal T-shirts.  His conversion was sudden. We felt that it was miraculous. He now has a great love for Jesus and Mary, for Saint Philomena, the Pope and for the Catholic Church.

Looking back now we can see the strong spiritual battle that was going on for him in those last few weeks.  He even said a couple of times that he was tempted to go and kill someone.  We continue to pray the novena to Saint Philomena for our son for his continuing conversion and thanksgiving and “with joy in our hearts, we will bless God who is admirable in His Saints.” Our son attended the World Youth Day in Rome.  (M.W.)

Editor’s note: This conversion took place in the late nineties and is still going strong today.

This is one of the many story in my book entitled: Help from Heaven (Answers to Prayer), which can be read free on-line by clicking here.

Please pop over and have a look.  I promise that you will not be dissappointed.

Help the Holy Souls in Purgatory and read inspiring testimonies of their  powerful intercession for their benefactors

and then teach this devotion to others, so that they will pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory as well.

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A pilgrimage to Italy and France (with a London extension) for people in Australia in May, 2010

Pilgrimage to Italy and France

(Package tour BBQD00515)

Day 1 – Saturday 15 May – Rome, Italy

After arrival check into your hotel. At 6 pm, meet your tour director, then enjoy this evening’s welcome dinner with wine at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 2 – Sunday 16th of May – Rome

Attend the weekly general audience of the pope (subject to availability).  This afternoon, visit St Paul Outside the walls and the catacombs.  During the persecutions, the catacombs were used as places of refuge for the celebration of the Eucharist. Next, visit St John Lateran Basilica and the Holy Stairs, which were brought from Jerusalem to Rome around 326 AD by St Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, and consists of 28 white marble steps. As a favourite of pilgrims everywhere, these steps may only be ascended on the knees, then, visit the impressive St Mary Major Basilica. (B)

Day 3 – Monday 17th of May – Rome

This morning, enjoy a guided visit of the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel, world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and the Last Judgment. Continue to monumental St Peter’s Square and Basilica. Cross the Tiber River and visit the Colosseum, one of the New 7 wonders of the world, and the Roman Forum where Roman legions marched in triumph (B)

Day 4 – Tuesday 18th of May – Rome – Mugnano Del Cardinale – Naples

Visit the Abbey of Montecassino, the first of the Benedictine monasteries founded by St Benedict around 529 Ad, and its museum. Then, continue south to the small town of Mugnano Del Cardinale to visit the sanctuary of Saint Philomena. Spend time here before spending your night in Italy’s most colourful city, Naples. (B)

Day 5 – Wed 19th of May – Naples – San Giovanni Rotondo.

Journey to Italy’s eastern coast and San Giovanni Rotondo, home to the beloved St Padre Pio.  Enjoy time at leisure this afternoon.  (B, D)

Day 6 – Thursday 20th of May – San Giovanni Rotondo. Excursion to Monte Sant’Angelo

Visit the Friary of Padro Pio, including his tomb, cell, confessional and the old church where he received the stigmata. Also visit the new church. Afterwards, visit the nearby shrine of Monte Sant’Angelo, one of Christendom’s most celebrated shrines and where St Michael the Archangel appeared in 490 AD, 492 AD and 1656 (B, D)

Day 7 – Friday, May 21 – San Giovanni Rotondo – Lanciano – Cascia – Assisi

Visit Lanciano and the church that is home to an 8th Century Eucharistic Miracle. Afterwards, visit the Basilica of St Rita of Cascia. Arrive at the hilltop village of Assisi, home of St Francis and St Clare. (B, D)

Day 8 – Sunday, May 23 – Assisi – Siena – Florence

Celebrate Mass this morning followed by a guided walking tour of Assisi. Visit the Basilicas of St Francis and St Clare. See the crucifix that spoke to St Francis.  Also visit the St Mary of the Angels Basilica and the  Portiuncula. On the way to Florence, stop in Siena and visit the Sanctuary of St Catherine and the Basilica of St Dominic.  (B,D)

Day 9 – Sunday, May 23 – Florence

Your walking tour with a local guide features a visit to the Academy of Fine Arts to see Michelangelo’s David, the Cathedral and Giotto’s Bell Tower. Balance of the day is at leisure. (B)

Day 10 – Monday, May 24 – Florence – Padua – Venice

Depart for Padua and visit the Basilica of St Anthony to see the tomb and reliquaries of this miracle-working saint and patron of lost and stolen articles. Journey on to Venice, one of the world’s most romantic cities. Enter by private boat and meet your local guide. Visit St Mark’s Square and its Basilica and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)

Day 11 – Tuesday, May 25 – Venice – Turin

First to nearby Vicenza for the included sightseeing which will take in the main highlights and inside visit of the famous Teatro Olimpico. Then continue on to Turin, home of the Shroud of Turin. (B)

Day 12 – Wednesday, May 26 – Turin – Lyon, France

Spend the morning visiting the Turin Cathedral where the Shroud of Turin is housed and can be viewed. Then cross the border and enter France. Spend the night in Lyon a UNESCO world heritage site. (B)

Day 13 – Thursday, May 28 – Lyon – Nevers

Continue your journey to Paray-le-Monial, home of the chapel of the apparitions and where Jesus revealed his Sacred Heart to St Margaret Mary Alacoque. Also, visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Arrive in Nevers. (B, D)

Day 14 – Friday, May 28 – Nevers – Avignon

Visit St Gildard in Nevers, where St Bernadette spent her life as a nun. See the beautiful incorrupt body of St Bernadette. Retrace your journey south and visit the St John Vianney Shrine. See the saint’s incorrupt body, walk through his home, and explore the church, where he preached and heard Confessions. Continue around Lyon and arrive in Avignon for overnight. (B)

Day 15 – Saturday, May 29 – Avignon – Carcassone – Lourdes

Enjoy a walk through this pretty town where the papacy resided in the 14th century. Head to Carcassonne, a medieval town and UNESCO world heritage site. Finish your day in Lourdes, one of the world’s most famous places of pilgrimage. Visit the grotto where the Virgin Mary appeared to St Bernadette in 1858 (B, D)

Day 16 – Sunday, May 30 – Lourdes

Your walking tour with a local guide includes visits to Our Lady of Lourdes shrine and St Bernadette’s birthplace and family home. You may wish to bathe in the healing waters or attend the ‘Blessing of the Sick.’ Also, you may wish to join this evening’s Rosary and candlelight procession. (B)

Day 17 – Monday, May 31 – Lourdes – Bordeaux

Skirt the sandy dunes and swamps of the Landes region in Gascony on the way to Bordeaux. An orientation tour on arrival acquaints you with this historic port. (B)

Day 18 – Tuesday, June 1 – Bordeaux – Paris

Travel through the Grand Champagne wine growing area, north through Saintes. Take the comfortable Autoroute L’Aquitaine for a short stop in Tours. Pass the castles of Amboise and Chaumont for an afternoon arrival in Paris. (B)

Day 19 – Wednesday, June 2 – Paris

One full day to explore the city that’s known throughout the world for its fashions, art and museums, delicious food and joie de vivre. Included sightseeing with a local expert of many of the best known Parisian sights: La Sorbonne, Arc de Triomphe, Opera, Madeleine, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramid near the Louvre, the Invalides and the Champs Elysees. Optional excursions are also available. Celebrate the success of your tour with an optional French farewell dinner. (B)

Day 20 – Thursday, June 3 – Paris

Your tour ends this morning after breakfast with a group transfer to the airport for your homebound flight. (B)

Pilgrimage to Italy and France with London Extension.

(BBOD00515)

Day 1 – Saturday 15 May – Rome, Italy

After arrival check into your hotel. At 6 pm, meet your tour director, then enjoy this evening’s welcome dinner with wine at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 2 – Sunday 16th of May – Rome

Attend the weekly general audience of the pope (subject to availability).  This afternoon, visit St Paul Outside the walls and the catacombs.  During the persecutions, the catacombs were used as places of refuge for the celebration of the Eucharist. Next, visit St John Lateran Basilica and the Holy Stairs, which were brought from Jerusalem to Rome around 326 AD by St Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, and consists of 28 white marble steps. As a favourite of pilgrims everywhere, these steps may only be ascended on the knees, then, visit the impressive St Mary Major Basilica. (B)

Day 3 – Monday 17th of May – Rome

This morning, enjoy a guided visit of the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel, world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and the Last Judgment. Continue to monumental St Peter’s Square and Basilica. Cross the Tiber River and visit the Colosseum, one of the New 7 wonders of the world, and the Roman Forum where Roman legions marched in triumph (B)

Day 4 – Tuesday 18th of May – Rome – Mugnano Del Cardinale – Naples

Visit the Abbey of Montecassino, the first of the Benedictine monasteries founded by St Benedict around 529 Ad, and its museum. Then, continue south to the small town of Mugnano Del Cardinale to visit the sanctuary of Saint Philomena. Spend time here before spending your night in Italy’s most colourful city, Naples. (B)

Day 5 – Wed 19th of May – Naples – San Giovanni Rotondo.

Journey to Italy’s eastern coast and San Giovanni Rotondo, home to the beloved St Padre Pio.  Enjoy time at leisure this afternoon.  (B, D)

Day 6 – Thursday 20th of May – San Giovanni Rotondo. Excursion to Monte Sant’Angelo

Visit the Friary of Padro Pio, including his tomb, cell, confessional and the old church where he received the stigmata. Also visit the new church. Afterwards, visit the nearby shrine of Monte Sant’Angelo, one of Christendom’s most celebrated shrines and where St Michael the Archangel appeared in 490 AD, 492 AD and 1656 (B, D)

Day 7 – Friday, May 21 – San Giovanni Rotondo – Lanciano – Cascia – Assisi

Visit Lanciano and the church that is home to an 8th Century Eucharistic Miracle. Afterwards, visit the Basilica of St Rita of Cascia. Arrive at the hilltop village of Assisi, home of St Francis and St Clare. (B, D)

Day 8 – Sunday, May 23 – Assisi – Siena – Florence

Celebrate Mass this morning followed by a guided walking tour of Assisi. Visit the Basilicas of St Francis and St Clare. See the crucifix that spoke to St Francis.  Also visit the St Mary of the Angels Basilica and the Portiuncula. On the way to Florence, stop in Siena and visit the Sanctuary of St Catherine and the Basilica of St Dominic.  (B, D)

Day 9 – Sunday, May 23 – Florence

Your walking tour with a local guide features a visit to the Academy of Fine Arts to see Michelangelo’s David, the Cathedral and Giotto’s Bell Tower. Balance of the day is at leisure. (B)

Day 10 – Monday, May 24 – Florence – Padua – Venice

Depart for Padua and visit the Basilica of St Anthony to see the tomb and reliquaries of this miracle-working saint and patron of lost and stolen articles. Journey on to Venice, one of the world’s most romantic cities. Enter by private boat and meet your local guide. Visit St Mark’s Square and its Basilica and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)

Day 11 – Tuesday, May 25 – Venice – Turin

First to nearby Vicenza for the included sightseeing which will take in the main highlights and inside visit of the famous Teatro Olimpico. Then continue on to Turin, home of the Shroud of Turin. (B)

Day 12 – Wednesday, May 26 – Turin – Lyon, France

Spend the morning visiting the Turin Cathedral where the Shroud of Turin is housed and can be viewed. Then cross the border and enter France. Spend the night in Lyon a UNESCO world heritage site. (B)

Day 13 – Thursday, May 28 – Lyon – Nevers

Continue your journey to Paray-le-Monial, home of the chapel of the apparitions and where Jesus revealed his Sacred Heart to St Margaret Mary Alacoque. Also, visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Arrive in Nevers. (B, D)

Day 14 – Friday, May 28 – Nevers – Avignon

Visit St Gildard in Nevers, where St Bernadette spent her life as a nun. See the beautiful incorrupt body of St Bernadette. Retrace your journey south and visit the St John Vianney Shrine. See the saint’s incorrupt body, walk through his home, and explore the church, where he preached and heard Confessions. Continue around Lyon and arrive in Avignon for overnight. (B)

Day 15 – Saturday, May 29 – Avignon – Carcassone – Lourdes

Enjoy a walk through this pretty town where the papacy resided in the 14th century. Head to Carcassonne, a medieval town and UNESCO world heritage site. Finish your day in Lourdes, one of the world’s most famous places of pilgrimage. Visit the grotto where the Virgin Mary appeared to St Bernadette in 1858 (B, D)

Day 16 – Sunday, May 30 – Lourdes

Your walking tour with a local guide includes visits to Our Lady of Lourdes shrine and St Bernadette’s birthplace and family home. You may wish to bathe in the healing waters or attend the ‘Blessing of the Sick.’ Also, you may wish to join this evening’s Rosary and candlelight procession. (B)

Day 17 – Monday, May 31 – Lourdes – Bordeaux

Skirt the sandy dunes and swamps of the Landes region in Gascony on the way to Bordeaux. An orientation tour on arrival acquaints you with this historic port. (B)

Day 18 – Tuesday, June 1 – Bordeaux – Paris

Travel through the Grand Champagne wine growing area, north through Saintes. Take the comfortable Autoroute L’Aquitaine for a short stop in Tours. Pass the castles of Amboise and Chaumont for an afternoon arrival in Paris. (B)

Day 19 – Wednesday, June 2 – Paris

One full day to explore the city that’s known throughout the world for its fashions, art and museums, delicious food and joie de vivre. Included sightseeing with a local expert of many of the best known Parisian sights: La Sorbonne, Arc de Triomphe, Opera, Madeleine, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramid near the Louvre, the Invalides and the Champs Elysees. Optional excursions are also available. Celebrate the success of your tour with an optional French farewell dinner. (B)

Day 20 – Thursday, June 3, Paris – London

Drive through the French countryside by way of the fast autoroute to Calaise. Board your ferry for the UK and travel through the lush English countryside to London for the next two nights. (B)

Day 21 – Friday, June 4 – London

Morning sightseeing with a local guide includes all the famous landmarks: Knightsbridge with Harrods, the houses of parliament and Big Ben beside the River Thames, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.  The morning’s highlights are a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral and the ceremonial pageantry of the Changing of the Guard, if held.  The afternoon  is free for you to sightsee on your own or join an optional excursion to the Tower of London with its fabulous Crown Jewels. Tonight, we recommend our optional Taste of London excursion with dinner followed by a guided illuminations cruise on the River Thames. (B)

Day 22 – Saturday, June 5 – London

Your tour ends this morning after breakfast with a group transfer to the airport for your homebound fight. (B)

The prices of these two pilgrimages will reduce a fair bit, if there are thirty or more people.

For full details including pricing:

Contact: Felicity Tunhavasana (group organiser)

Mobile phone number 0412 437335

Email:    felicitastunhavasana@yahoo.com.au

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

PictureofstLawrence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

The miraculous picture of Our Lady of Good Counsel at the monastery of New Norcia, Western Australia

There is a miraculous picture of Our Lady of Good Counsel at the monastery of New Norcia in Western Australia. This painting was given to the Benedictines in 1845 by Saint Vincent Pallotti, when they were leaving Rome to start missions in Western Australia. In December, 1847 a terrible bushfire was ranging and threatened to destroy the monastery.  The picture was placed against the standing corn in front of the fire. As soon as the sacred image of Mary was placed before the raging fire, the wind blew  in the opposite direction, carrying the flames away from the Mission where everything was already burned black. The fire soon died away. The native people who witnessed this were amazed. On another occasion the mourners in a funeral procession were in danger of perishing because bushfires had hemmed them in on all sides. Dom Salvado seeing this in the distance, got the picture from the church and ran with it toward the fire area and prayed to Our Lady to save the people.  The wind changed direction and the danger passed.

Painting of the Holy Souls in Purgatory

purgatory

In the left hand corner of this picture is depicted the souls in Purgatory.  (Note the angel in blue, who is pulling a soul out of Purgatory to take it to heaven). This painting is in a chapel in Rome, Italy.

Our Lord dictated the following prayer to St Gertrude the Great to release many souls from Purgatory each time it is said.
Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great.
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son,  Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family.   Amen.

Our Lord dictated the following prayer to St Gertrude the Great to release many souls from Purgatory each time it is said.

Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son,  Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family.   Amen.

A cappuccino culture shock

In Australia a cappuccino is a large cup of frothy milky coffee, which I am very fond of. I thought cappuccinos in Italy would be even better. On my first day in Italy I ordered a cappuccino at a café and I was brought a little white pot with a covering over it. That must be the milk I thought, then I waited for what seemed like an eternity for the coffee. Finally I lifted the cover of the little pot and it had strong black coffee in it. It was a real culture shock.