NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local diocese, who professes faith and loyalty to the Church. This ministry - my "little work" - is strictly a personal expression of that faith and loyalty, and not an officially recognized ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu.

~ Peter, Ministry Administrator

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Saint of the Month - June 2024: Blessed Maria Candida of the Eucharist

[The following biography was adapted from the Vatican's website
for the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints]

Bl. Maria Candida of the Eucharist
The "Apostle of Communion"
Memorial: June 12th

Maria Barba’s family home was in Palermo, Sicily.  However, Pietro Barba’s work as a Judge in the Appeal Court took the family briefly to Catanzaro in Italy and it was there that Maria was born on January 16, 1884.  The deeply-religious family returned to Palermo when she was two-years-old.

At 15, Maria felt called to Religious Life but her family strongly opposed this; she had to wait for twenty years before she could fulfill her calling.  During these years of waiting she suffered interiorly but showed a remarkable strength of spirit and fidelity to her calling, unusual in one so young.  Her trials were to last until she entered the Teresian Carmel in Ragusa on September 25, 1919.  During this time she was sustained by a special devotion to the Eucharist, in which she saw the mystery of the sacramental presence of God in the world, the concrete symbol of His infinite love of humanity, and the reason for our trust in His promises.

Her love for the Eucharist was evident from the very beginning.  "When I was still a child she testified, and before I was old enough to receive Jesus in Communion, I used to rush to the front door to greet my mother when she returned from Mass.  There I stood on tiptoe to reach up to her and cried, “I want God too!”.  My mother would bend down and softly breathe on my lips; I immediately left her, and placing my hands across my chest, full of joy and faith, jumping for joy I would keep repeating: “I have received God too!  I have received God too!”"  These are signs of a vocation, for one who is called by God’s free and gratuitous will as a gift for the Church.

From the age of 10, when she made her First Holy Communion, her great joy was to be able to receive Communion.  From then on, to be deprived of Holy Communion was for her "a great and painful cross".  In fact, after the death of her mother in 1914 , she could only rarely receive Communion, so as to not offend her brothers who would not allow her to go out on her own.

The tomb of Bl. Maria Candida in Ragusa 

When Maria finally entered the Ragusa Carmel at age 35 she took the name Maria Candida of the Eucharist, which in certain aspects was prophetic.  She said that she wanted "to keep Jesus company in the Eucharist for as long as possible."  The nun prolonged the time of her adoration, especially every Thursday, when from eleven to midnight she would be before the tabernacle.  The Eucharist dominated her entire spiritual life, not so much for the devotion, as for the fundamental effect it had on her spiritual relationship with God.  It was the Eucharist that gave her the strength to consecrate herself as a victim soul to God in November 1927.

Maria Candida fully developed what she herself was to describe as her "vocation for the Eucharist", helped by Carmelite spirituality, to which she was attracted after reading Story of a Soul by St. Therese the Little Flower.  The pages in which St Teresa of Avila describes her own particular devotion to the Eucharist are well known.  It was in the Eucharist that the saintly Foundress experienced the mystery of the humanity of Christ.

In 1924, Sr. Candida was elected Prioress, a position in which she was to remain, except for a brief period, until 1947.  She established in her community a profound love for the Rule of St. Teresa of Jesus.  She was directly responsible for the expansion of Carmel in Sicily, making a new foundation in Syracuse and helping to secure the return of the male branch of the Order.

On the Feast of Corpus Christi during the Holy Year of 1933, Mother Candida began to write what was to become her little masterpiece, entitled "The Eucharist, true jewel of Eucharistic Spirituality".  It is a long and profound meditation on the Eucharist, which had as its goal a record of her own personal experiences and her deepening theological reflections on those same experiences.

She saw all the dimensions of Christian life summed up in the Eucharist:

  • Firstly, Faith: "O my Beloved Sacrament, I see you, I believe in you! ... O Holy Faith.  Contemplate with ever greater faith our Dear Lord in the Sacrament: live with Him who comes to us every day".

  • Secondly, Hope: "O, My Divine Eucharist, my dear Hope, all our hope is in You ... Ever since I was a baby my hope in the Holy Eucharist has been strong".

  • Thirdly, Charity: "My Jesus, how I love You!  There is within my heart an enormous love for You, O Sacramental Love ... How great is the love of God made bread for our souls, who become a prisoner for me!"

As Prioress, Mother Candida, acquired from the Eucharist a deep understanding of the three religious vows which can be seen in a life that is intensely eucharistic.  Not only their full expression but also a concrete way of living, a kind of deep asceticism and a progressive conformity to the only model of every person's consecration, Jesus Christ who died and rose again for us.

A photo of the Beata's body taken during her
wake in the Carmel of Ragusa.

The model of a eucharistic life is, of course, the Virgin Mary, who carried the Son of God in her womb and who continues to give birth to him in the souls of his disciples. "I want to be like Mary" she wrote in one of the most intense and profound pages of The Eucharist, "to be Mary for Jesus, to take the place of His Mother. When I receive Jesus in Communion Mary is always present. I want to receive Jesus from her hands, she must make me one with Him. I cannot separate Mary from Jesus. Hail, O Body born of Mary. Hail Mary, dawn of the Eucharist!"

For Mother Maria Candida the Eucharist is a school, it is food and an encounter with God, a coming together of hearts, a school of virtue and wisdom.  "Heaven itself does not contain more.  God, that unique treasure is here!  Really, yes really: my God is my everything ... I ask my Jesus to be a guardian of all the tabernacles of the world, until the end of time".

After she endured months of painful suffering from liver cancer, the Lord called Mother Maria Candida to Himself on June 12, 1949.  It was the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity.  Hallelujah!

Bl. Maria Candida, pray for us!

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Monthly Message of the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: May 2024

  "Dear children!  In this time of grace, I am calling you to prayer with the heart.  Little children, create prayer groups where you will encourage each other to the good and grow in joy.

  Little children, you are still far away.  That is why continue to convert anew and choose the way of holiness and hope so that God may give you peace in abundance.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Another interesting photo ...

Here's another unusual photo this blogger would like to share.  Believe it or not - it's actually one of several photos I snapped of last night's full moon.

The moon was so big - so extraordinarily bright in the Honolulu sky - I went outside after I finished my Rosary Prayer to see if there was something unusual going on, perhaps a repeat of the "Epiphany Moon" experience I had back in 2012.  I stood outside for a while but there wasn't anything remarkable to see other than the moon's exceptional beauty and luminosity.

I did, however, snap about 6 photos of the moon ... but not before I said something to this effect, "Lord, if there's something you want to say, show me."  Then I went back into the house.  Later, when I reviewed the photos I was amazed to discover two noteworthy ones among the group ...


I showed the photos to my prayer group members today and asked them if they recognized anything in it - they all discerned the image of a Host and a Chalice like I did.  It's an uncanny resemblance, but I also believe the photo represents Jesus saying something to us: clearly, He is drawing our attention to the Blessed Sacrament ... to His True Presence in the Eucharist.

Coincidentally, the US is in the midst of a bishop-sponsored "National Eucharistic Revival" and a "Eucharistic Congress" is coming to Indianapolis in July 2024; it makes the Lord's intent highly relevant.  In fact, this is the second time this author has inadvertently snapped a photo mysteriously showing the Eucharist in the sky.  Come to think of it, the previous time was back in August 2023 (see here) shortly after the National Eucharistic Revival was launched.  More so, I surmise that Jesus wants more focus on the Eucharist and the Revival/Congress will certainly help in a BIG way.  It's a prophetic event and no doubt about it - abundant and much-needed graces will descend upon the Church in America, our country, and on the rest of the world!

In the meantime, let us continue to pay more and more attention to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, which we are being invited to do.  In these dark times we now live in - the Eucharist continues to be our beacon of Hope and Strength; a direct lifeline to God.  All praises be to Jesus!

For more information about the
National Eucharistic Revival, click here.