Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of the ‘Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary’

Visitation of Blessed Virgin Mary‘Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary’ Image: —Daily Gospel

(Franciscan Media) This is a fairly late Feast, going back only to the 13th or 14th century, it was established widely throughout the Church to pray for unity. The present date of celebration was set in 1969 in order to follow the ‘Annunciation of the Lord’ (25 March) and precede the ‘Nativity of John the Baptist’ (24 June)

Like most Feasts of Mary, it is closely connected with Jesus and His saving work. The more visible actors in the drama — See: Luke 1:39-45 are Mary and Elizabeth however, Jesus and John the Baptist steal the scene in a hidden way. Jesus makes John leap with joy–the joy of Messianic Salvation. Elizabeth in turn is filled with the Holy Spirit and addresses words of praise to Mary, words that echo down through the ages.

It is helpful to be reminded of, that we do not have a Journalist account of this meeting, rather Luke, speaking for the Church, gives a powerful Poet’s rendition of the scene.

Elizabeth’s praise of Mary as ‘the Mother of My Lord’ can be viewed as the earliest Church’s devotion to Mary. As with all authentic devotion to Mary, Elizabeth’s (the Church’s) words first praise God for what God has done through Mary, only secondly, does Elizabeth praise Mary for trusting God’s words.

Then comes the Magnificat –See: Luke 1:46-55 here Mary herself (like the Church) traces all of her greatness to God.

More here from American Catholic here from USCCB & here from EWTN

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Joan of Arc

Saint Joan of ArcSaint Joan of Arc (1412-1431) Image Courtesy: Women of Grace

(Franciscan Media) Born in France Domermy, Joan was one of five children in a fairly well to do peasant family.

From the age of 10 according to Catholic News Agency Joan experienced visions (later identified as the Saint’s Michael the Archangel, Catherine of Alexandria & Margaret of Antioch) telling her to go to the King of France and help him reconquer his kingdom from the invading forces of England and Burgundy.

Overcoming opposition, together with  convincing members of the Royal Court and the Church, Joan was put in charge of a small army, she charged into battle bearing a banner which bore the names of ‘Jesus’ and ‘Mary’ as well as the symbol of the Holy Spirit.

Due to Joan’s leadership and trust in God, she was able to raise the siege of Orleans in 1429 and her army went on to win a series of battles and the King was able to enter Rheims and was crowned with Joan at his side.

Joan was however captured near Compiegne the following year, was sold to England and subsequently, placed on trial for heresy and witchcraft.

Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvais presided over Joan’s trial and Cardinal Henry Beaufort interrogated her at trial for which she was found guilty and condemned to death.

On this date in 1431, Joan was burned at the stake in France Rouen, she was but 19 years old.

It wasn’t until 30 yrs after Joan’s trial and execution that her case was again heard and this time, Joan was exonerated.

Joan of Arc was Beatified in 1905 by Pope Saint Pius X and Canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV

Saint Joan of Arc stands alone in history. Many Women have found sanctity in the cathedral, some have shown bravery in battle but no other ever trained herself to holiness in a Soldiers camp and surely no female Saint ever died at the stake, condemned by an ecclesiastical tribunal as a witch and a heretic.

More here from EWTN and here from American Catholic

After 90 Executions So Far This Year Saudi Arabia Seeks to Head UN Human Rights Council


(WaPo) In a country that allows executions for smuggling narcotics to sorcery, Saudi Arabia has executed at least 89 people (Amnesty Intl reports that Saudi Arabia has carried out its 90th execution so far this year, equally the number of people executed during all of 2014) If current trends keep up Saudi Executioners may have their busiest year in quite some time.

Is it just me or isn’t it rather peculiar that an Islamic country with a horrible human rights record and which is setting a grisly pace in executions so far this year, is seeking to head the United Nations Human Rights Council?

More here from The Independent

Related: Saudi’s Gave ‘Clinton Foundation’ Millions for Weapons –WFB

Human Rights Activist Challenges Hillary to Stop Taking Islamist Money

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, Founder Society of the Sacred Heart

Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat

Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat
Image: Liste Intl

(Franciscan Media) Born in France in the little Burgundian town of Joigny, Sophie received an extensive education thank to her brother Louis, 11 yrs older than her and designated her Godfather at Baptism.

Louis a seminarian decided that his youngest sister Sophie would like him learn Latin, Greek, History, Physics and Mathematics–always without interruption and with a minimum of companionship. By the age of 15, Sophie was well educated in the scriptures, receiving a thorough exposure of the Bible, the teachings of the Church Fathers and theology. Despite the oppressive regime in study Louis imposed, his little sister thrived and developed a genuine love of learning.

Meanwhile, this was the time of the French Revolution, Sophie went to Paris initially considered becoming a Carmelite according Phil Kilroy author of ‘Madeleine Sophie Barat — A Life’ however Sophie’s own experiences of Revolutionary violence in Joigny and Paris, led young Sophie on a different path.

In 1800 Sophie founded the ‘Society of the Sacred Heart’ whose purpose was to make known the love of God revealed in the Heart of Christ and take part in the restoration of Christian life in France, through the education of young Women both rich and poor alike.

The ‘Society of the Sacred Heart’ rapidly expanded within Europe and beyond. — At the same time, Sophie also grew, transformed by her experience as a leader and friend to many Women who would join the organization.

In 1826 the ‘Society of the Sacred Heart’ received formal Papal approval–by then, Sophie had served as Superior at a number of Convents from the age of 23 until her death in 1865 after being stricken with paralysis.

Sophie was Beatified in 1908 by Pope Saint Pius X and Canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI

Today the ‘Society of the Sacred Heart’ has more than 2,200 members in 41 countries educating both girls and boys. Members of the Society are known as ‘Religious of the Sacred Heart’ (“RSCJ” for Religieuses du Sacre-Coeur de Jesus) and its mission is:

  • To Reveal to the Wold a God who loves us.
  • To educate children to be a source of transformation in their world.

More here from American Catholic and here from RSCJ

Nixon & Hillary — Thought Of The Day

Nixon v HillaryJust Sayin’  –Image Courtesy: American Strong@Facebook

H/T: Donna Hess Missal

Is There Anything More Precious Than a Human Life?

Pray to End AbortionJesus said, “Let the Children Come To Me and Do Not Hinder Them,
For to Such Belongs the Kingdom of Heaven.” —Matthew 19:14

  • IPraytoEndAbortion “A great prayer for life is urgently
    needed, a prayer that will rise up throughout the world.”
    Pope Saint John Paul II

H/T: Esmeralda Kiczak@Twitter

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of Venerable Pierre Toussaint

Venerable Pierre Toussaint

Pierre Toussaint (1766-1853)
Image: Info Catolica

(Franciscan Media) Born a slave in Haiti, Pierre’s Master Jean Berard taught him to read and write according to SQPN and when Berard moved to New York in 1787 he took Pierre together with his youngest sister Rosalie.

Pierre apprenticed with a leading hairdresser, learning the trade very quickly and would one day, very successfully work in the homes of some very wealthy ladies in NYC — When Berard passed away, Pierre stayed on to care for his ailing widow, he was freed from slavery when Madame Berard passed away in 1807

Subsequently working for himself, Pierre became quite wealthy and later fell in love with Marie Rose Juliette whose freedom he purchased and then the two were married. The young couple later adopted Euphemie, his orphaned niece.

Pierre attended daily Mass at St. Peter’s Church on Barclay Street, the same parish that Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (04 January, Feast Day) attended.

Very benevolent and charitable, Pierre donated to various organizations assisting others in need without regard to race, Pierre and his wife Marie, opened their home to orphans, educated them and would care for abandoned individuals suffering from Yellow Fever. — Later, urged to retire and enjoy his wealth, Pierre responded:

“I have enough for myself but if I stop working,
I have not enough for others.”

To his final days, Pierre worked tirelessly to help anyone who needed it, he passed away at the age of 87 in NYC — In 1996 Pierre was declared Venerable by Pope Saint John Paul II 

More here from American Catholic and here from Loyola Press

New ISIS Recruitment Propaganda Guide Ends With Disturbing Message for the West

ISIS Guide(Center for Security Policy) Abu Rumaysah, a British Jihadist that fled the UK to join ISIS in Syria has released an e-book guide (pictured) targeting Western recruits and compares territories under the Islamic genocidal Jihadist Caliphate to a ‘plush holiday resort.’

When describing the food, Rumaysah writes: “If you thought you would be living on stale bread and septic water then erase that culinary fib from your mind. The great thing about food in the Caliphate is its freshness. You can be sure that the vegetables your crunch down on, basked gloriously in the sunshine before reaching your dinner plate and what about the olive groves? Yes there are plenty of them and the pickles are rich oils that spring them beat anything from your locals Tescos.”

Rumaysah boasts of education offered in the Caliphate: “There are no classes promoting homosexuality, evolution, music, drama, interfaith and the rest of the rubbish taught in non-Muslim schools. You(r) child’s delicate mind is well and truly protected in the Caliphate,” — Subsequently claiming, “Despite the strict curriculum, the Caliphate ‘screams diversity’ and has become a ‘magnet for talent…If you thought London or New York was cosmopolitan then wait until you step foot in the Islamic State because it screams diversity.”

There is however no mention to the sex-slave markets, beheading children, genocide for being Gay, dismemberment, stoning, together with other acts of violence and tyranny widely reported  in Iraq and Syria.

The guide ends with a chilling message for the West: “When we descend on the streets of London, Paris and Washington the taste will be far bitter because not only will we spill your blood but we will demolish your statues, erase your history and most painfully, convert your children who will then go on to champion our name and curse their forefathers.” 

H/T: Frank Gaffney

White House Press Secy Josh Earnest Rational for Iraq Ramadi Defeat: Their Lack of Diversity

Josh EarnestObama Administration Press Clown Josh Earnest
Image: Tom T.@Twitter

(Keith Koffler) White House Press Secy Josh Earnest on Tuesday exculpated Obama’s Iraq strategy and instead blamed Iraqi leaders failure to integrate their armed forces for the dramatic loss of Ramadi to ISIS.

Josh Earnest said: What we have indicated all along is that it will require a multi-sectarian force to succeed against ISIL and the reason for that is Iraq is a very diverse country and they’re going to need every element of their diversity to counter this specific threat.


H/T: Weasel Zippers

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Augustine of Canterbury

St. Augustine of CantenburySt. Augustine of Canterbury
Image: Longbows & Rosary Beads

(EWTN) When Pope Gregory began to plan for the evangelism of England, the land was still largely pagan although in the Southwest, there were remnants of earlier missionary efforts. To lead this important mission, Pope Gregory chose Augustine–Nothing much is known of him until the year 596 when with a party of 40 Benedictine Monks, he set out Northwards from Rome according to Franciscan Media to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons in England.

Upon reaching Provence, the Monks accompanying Augustine grew fearful of the dangers that lay ahead, alarming stories were being told of the ferocity of the Pagans and the hazards of crossing the treacherous waters of the English Channel.

Augustine subsequently returned to Rome and to Pope Gregory only to be assured by him that the fears of the Monks were groundless–Augustine again set out. This time the group crossed the English Channel and landed in the territory of Kent, ruled by King Ethelbert, a pagan married to a Christian, Bertha Ethelbert who received them kindly and set up a residence for them in Canterbury.

After King Ethelbert listened carefully to the Monks teaching, he gave them permission to evangelize his subjects–One year later on Pentecost in 597 King Ethelbert converted and was baptized.

Subsequent to this promising start, Augustine returned to Provence to be consecrated Bishop in France and then returned to Canterbury where he set up his See.

Now a Bishop,  in 603 Augustine constructed a Church and Monastery on property given by King Ethelbert–these structures formed the nucleus for the metropolitan cathedral–they were destroyed by fire in 1067 and the present cathedral begun by Lanfranc in 1070 stands on its site. As the Christian faith spread, additional Sees were established at London and Rochester.

Work was often slow and Bishop Augustine did not always meet with success. Attempts to reconcile the Anglo-Saxon Christians with the Briton Christians (who had been driven into Western England by the Anglo-Saxon invaders) ended in dismal failure.

While the Briton Christians were sound in fundamental doctrine, Bishop Augustine failed to convince them to give up certain Celtic customs at variance with Rome and to forget their bitterness with the Anglo-Saxon Christians.

Laboring patiently, Bishop Augustine wisely heeded the missionary principles–quite enlightened for his time, suggested by Pope Gregory:

  • Purify rather than destroy pagan temples and customs;
  • Allow pagan rites and festivals be transformed into Christian Feasts;
  • Retain local customs as far as possible.

Bishop Augustine’s last years were spent in spreading and consolidating the Christian faith in the short eight years since his arrival, which would eventually bear great fruit, leaving the continuation of his work to others long after his death in 604 — Bishop Augustine of Canterbury can truly be called the ‘Apostle of England’ for which he is the Patron Saint.

More here from EWTN and here from American Catholic