Disclaimer

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


Sunday, January 9, 2022

To the Holy Trinity...



O Lord,
Holy and Omnipotent Triune God
- the Living Flame of Divine Love -
descend into the hearts of all people!
May You, who knows all; sees all;
and judges all, in Your infinite mercy,
purify us, sanctify us, and save us.
Amen.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Saint of the Month - January 2022: Blessed Benedetta Bianchi Porro


Bl. Benedetta Bianchi Porro
The White Rose of Sirmione
Memorial: January  23rd

Today’s Saint of the Month was a beautiful, modern laywoman who spent the latter years of her life sick on a bed; young and so full of life, she was trapped in her own body, which will be explained further down.  Normally, a life like hers would have been consigned to obscurity, but Benedetta Bianchi Porro was a LIGHT – one of those “lamps” spoken of in Scripture… and it’s apparent God wants her light to be seen, because the Church declared her Blessed in 2019.

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a
place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand, so that those
who come in may see the light.”

~ Luke 11:33

Born on August 8, 1936, in Dovadola, Italy, Benedetta was the second child of six in a pious family.  Her personal trials commenced at just 3-months old when she contracted polio, which left her walking with a slight limp after she recovered.  The illness was followed by several years of having to wear an uncomfortable back brace to ensure her spine developed correctly.

A precocious child, Benedetta started recording her thoughts and experiences in a diary, starting at age 5.  Several entries she made give evidence of her exuberance for life, even at such a tender age – among the early pages she wrote: “The universe is enchanting!  It is great to be alive!”

A photo of Bl. Benedetta as a child. 

In 1942, Benedetta’s family relocated to Sirmione where things were relatively happy for her until her thirteenth year when the first signs of another serious malady manifested - she was in school one day and couldn’t hear some of the things her teacher was saying.  It was partial hearing loss but she eventually went totally deaf as an adult.  Despite her disability, Benedetta was an excellent student, while at the same time she began developing a spirit of prayer and devotion.  Her outward piety was so apparent, it made a strong impression on others – enough for some to call her a saint, which she loathed.  Thus, her light was kindled.

“Suffering throws us into the arms of God.”

At around 18, Benedetta managed to get herself into the Milan University’s medical program in which she did exceptionally well.  However, her hearing worsened and her eyesight began deteriorating, which were both aggravated by an increasing loss of sensation and mobility in her limbs.  In 1957, she learned enough to self-diagnose herself as having Von Recklinghausen Disease, a rare condition that caused small tumors to form on nerves throughout the body.  Doctors confirmed Benedetta’s assessment and she was forced to give up her dream of becoming a doctor just a few months shy of graduating from med-school.  It goes without saying it was a devastating blow to her.

In the next few years Benedetta underwent several medical procedures in an attempt to slow the progress of the disease, but they only made things worse.  In fact, a 1958 operation to her head left half her face paralyzed, while another surgery in August 1959 caused paralysis of her legs, leaving her wheelchair bound.  It wouldn’t be accurate to say Benedetta’s faith was rock solid during this difficult period of her life because it wasn't - it was severely tested.  She wrote of experiencing spiritual "dryness" but she managed to get through it with the support of her family and certain devout friends.

“I know my illness well and I don’t complain about it.
I’m only concerned to transform it into a treasure.”

Desperate for any help, Benedetta’s family took her to Lourdes in May 1962, where they hoped she would be blessed with a miraculous healing… but no outward grace was perceived.  Instead, the blessing given was an interior one for Benedetta - she was flooded with deep peace and strength needed to surrender herself completely to God’s will; she began to see her plight as a vocation and gift rather than a misfortune.  Some even speculate she actually saw Our Lady at the Holy Grotto while a paralyzed woman beside her named, Maria, was simultaneously cured.  Moments before the healing Benedetta mysteriously cried out, Maria, the Madonna is here, looking at you!  Speak to her - the Madonna!”  So did Benedetta experience a Marian apparition?  Her own words are compelling, but she never elaborated on it.  Whatever the case, she was thrilled over Maria's miracle without showing any trace of envy.

Once back at home, Benedetta resumed her personal ministry of reaching out to others, which she started doing after she left med-school.  She wrote many encouraging letters to friends, priests and religious, strangers, as well as, received visitors.   At first, her close friends came by with the aim of trying to console her… but they eventually realized that it was the patient who gave them solace, via the attention and affection she bestowed; through her prayers and caring words; and through the tangible joy and peace she radiated.   In turn, these friends introduced others to Benedetta and word spread about her until the invalid’s bed was surrounded almost daily by friends and strangers, alike – her light was shining brighter now and definitely attracting and warming souls.

Benedetta, as an invalid, receives the Eucharist.

A third disasterous operation was performed on her in February 1963 – Benedetta came out of it blind. Considering her other health issues, a friend described her as practically “buried alive”.  Fortunately, her left hand remained functional so she could still communicate with her family, via sign language – she spelled-out words to them and they did the same into her palm.  With this latest cross to bear, Benedetta’s aura of peace was said to be even more profound, as she continued meeting with people and dictating letters with the help of her faithful mother, Elsa.

“The Lord gives himself to us so that we
can give him to other people.”

In June 1963, another Lourdes trip took place and, again, no outward healing, but Benedetta wasn’t expecting a miracle.  In fact, she told a priest at the shrine, “I don’t need a cure.  I’ve got faith and that’s enough.  I’ve come for other people.”  She left Lourdes peacefully confirmed in her total surrender to the Lord.

At this point, it should be noted that there is strong evidence God granted Benedetta remarkable spiritual gifts, mainly the charism of reading hearts.  Many testimonies report how during group conversations going on in her room, she always knew when there was a pause in the talking for her to seamlessly join in rather than interrupt a person speaking.  Furthermore, she addressed peoples’ specific concerns before they had a chance to speak them, even turning her head or gesturing with her good hand in the direction of the appropriate individuals; all, while not being able to hear or see anyone.

My days are not easy.  They are hard.
But sweet because Jesus is with me, with my
sufferings, and He gives me His sweetness in
my loneliness and light in the darkness.

At other times, she also seemed to see events happening at a distance or foresaw things yet to occur – her mother gave an example: Elsa came upon Benedetta one evening in a state of obvious distress.  When the mother pressed her as to what was wrong, her daughter replied somberly, “Pray, Mama, pray. Don’t sleep. This isn’t a night for sleeping.”  The next day news arrived of a large dam that breached in another town during the prior night, consequently causing a flood that tragically took many lives.

Benedetta’s last years of life were both mundane yet extraordinary.  Mundane in the sense that her life carried on the same way every day – typically, she received Holy Communion, which her priest brought to her; met with people who sought her advice and prayers; dictated letters; and then she prayed when she was alone... but she was extraordinary in the way how – despite her circumstances – she was able to bring about healing or some form of comfort into the minds, hearts, and souls of many people.

“First in an armchair, now in the bed
which is my only living space I have discovered
wisdom which is greater than that of men. I
have discovered that God exists and is love,
faithfulness, joy, certainly until the end of
time and beyond.”

Shortly before she passed on January 23 1964, Benedetta had premonitions of her impending death.  Just a few months earlier, on November 1, 1963, she dreamt she visited her family’s vault in the cemetery and saw in it a large, luminous white rose.  The night before she passed, she said to her nurse, “Tomorrow I will die, Emilia.  Stay close to my mother.”  The next morning Elsa, looking out the window, was surprised to see a frost-covered rose bush in their garden, and on it was a single white rose blooming out of season.  The mother mentioned the unusual bloom to Benedetta who replied, “That is a sweet sign.” before slipping into prayer.  Not long after she took a sudden turn for the worse and coughed up blood before dying rather quickly that same day, as she had foretold.

Bl. Benedetta's ornate sarcophagus in Dovadola, Italy.

Benedetta was only 27-years-old when she entered into her eternal rest.  Those who came to see her body after news of her death broke, were amazed by the unearthly beauty of her face, and the tangible sense of holiness present in the room.  Given her reputation for sanctity, a popular cultus almost immediately sprang up around her memory and Benedetta’s tomb in the Church of St. Andrew in Dovadola became a place of pilgrimage.

Today, Bl. Benedetta Bianchi Porro, the "white rose of Sirmione", continues to inspire.  The truth is - we all undergo challenges in different forms and levels, but Benedetta's faith-example clearly reminds us that our personal trials do not have to be all about misery; there's an option: if we allow God, He can transform our sufferings into JOY and GRACE for ourselves and for others.  Consequently, the Church raised Benedetta up through Beatification - as a beacon of hope for all the world to see - on September 14, 2019.

Please join this ministry in praying for her speedy Canonization.

“Keep calm and pray.  The Lord often
sends us what we want when we’ve resigned
ourselves to giving it up.”

~ Words of Bl. Benedetta

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Monthly Message of the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: December 25th, 2021



Monthly Message, given through Marija Pavlovic Lunetti:
  “Dear children!  Today I am carrying my Son Jesus to you, for Him to give you His peace.  Little children, without peace you do not have a future or blessing; therefore return to prayer, because the fruit of prayer is joy and faith, without which you cannot live.  Today’s blessing which we give you, carry to your families and enrich all those whom you meet, that they may feel the grace which you are receiving.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”


Special Message, given through Jacov Colo (during his annual apparition):
  "Dear children, you are, and you are called, 'children of God'.  If only your hearts would feel that immeasurable love which God has for you, your hearts would adore and give thanks to Him at every instant of your life.  Therefore, little children, today, on this day of grace, open your hearts and implore the Lord for the gift of faith; so that you could truly become worthy of the name 'children of God' who, with a pure heart, give thanks to and honor their Heavenly Father.  I am beside you and am blessing you with my motherly blessing."