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

Friday, March 1, 2024

Saint of the Month - March 2024: Blessed Giustina Bezzoli Francucci

Bl. Giustina Bezzoli Francucci
An Enemy of Demons
Memorial: March 12th

Our featured holy person for March 2024 is Bl. Giustina Bezzoli Francucci.  Born in Arezzo, Italy, circa 1237, she was a woman of noble birth who was apparently touched by the Holy Spirit from a very young age.  Biographers report that, as a child, she displayed pious and penitential tendencies that were exceptionally mature for her age.  For example, she preferred praying in solitude rather playing with other youngsters, and she often skipped meals in favor of giving her food to the poor.

At just 12-years-old, Giustina disclosed her desire to enter religious life to her family, but was met with intense opposition from both her father and paternal uncle.  A serious illness then struck her father, which caused him to reconsider, granting her leave to follow-through with her plan to become a nun.

Giustina chose the Benedictine Monastery of San Marco, where she entered at 13.  Upon crossing the threshold, a dove alighted on her head, indicating the special presence of the Holy Spirit upon her.  Once inside, she cast aside her fine clothing to wear the coarse habit of the sisters; the only personal belonging from the outside world that she kept was a crucifix, which she treasured all her life.  

As a young nun, by all accounts, she was a model religious who impressed her companions with her faithful adherence to the Benedictine Rule, her humility, and obedience to her superiors.

The incorrupt body of Bl. Giustina
enshrined in Florence, Italy.

Four years after Giustina’s entry, war forced the Sisters of San Marco to merge with the Benedictine community in the nearby Monastery of All Saints, where the Beata’s stay was short-lived.  At their new home, word came to her of a holy hermitess named Lucia, who had taken up a solitary life of contemplation amongst the ruins of a remote abandoned castle in Civitella.  Inspired, Giustina obtained necessary permission from her Bishop to become a recluse, herself, and was welcomed by Lucia.

In the woods, the two women quickly became solid friends and lived a spiritual regimen of poverty and austerity.  They lived off the land and spent their days in prayer and meditation; signal graces were granted by our Lord to the pair.  For example, packs of wolves roamed the area, but the protection of their angelic guardians kept the two anchorites free from their attacks.

After a few years of peaceful coexistence, Lucia fell ill and was lovingly cared for by her companion. She died after a year, leaving Giustina alone in their tiny hermitage … but the Beata persevered in her voluntary isolation, adding extreme mortifications to her spiritual exercises in her desire to conform closely to Christ Crucified: she wrapped an iron chain around her waist; wore a hair-shirt under her outer clothing; and regularly used a flagrum.  Ecstasies and visits from her Divine Spouse were sublime consolations that sustained her in her difficult mode of life.

Giustina remained 35 years in the castle ruins before her rigorous lifestyle took a toll on her health – her eyesight began failing, which prompted her to return to the Monastery of All Saints where the Benedictines welcomed her back with open arms, given her fame of sanctity.

A closer view of Bl. Giustina's face.

The Blessed lived her last 20 years completely blind but still in fruitful ministry.  Her charisms of effecting cures and working miracles became well-known in the region, attracting pilgrims to her monastery ... and it was also noted that to be in her presence was enough to cast out demons from the possessed!  Such was the great power of the Holy Spirit working through her.

By the time she died on March 12, 1319, Giustina was already revered as a local Saint.  Cures occurred at her grave, on which a lily sprouted after her burial ... and spontaneous exorcisms of possessed individuals continued to occur.  Her body, discovered incorrupt 10 years after her passing, was initially enshrined in the Arezzo monastery, but was later transferred in 1968 to the Benedictine Monastery of Santa Maria del Fiore in Lapo, Florence.  It remains there, today, in a simple glass-sided shrine for the public to venerate.

Bl. Giustina Bezzoli Francucci's cultus was recognized and approved in January 1891 by Pope Leo XIII, effectively Beatifying her.  Presently, a second "official" miracle is still needed for her Cause to advance to Sainthood.  Let us pray for it.

Bl. Giustina Bezzoli,
advocate against evil spirits,
pray for us!

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Coming to Hawaii in March 2024!

Oahu Residents, mark your calendars ...

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners ... spread the effect
of grace of thy Flame of Love over all of
humanity ... now and at the hour of
our deaths.  Amen.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

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

  "Dear Children!  Pray and renew your heart so that the good which you have sown may bear the fruit of joy and oneness with God.  Darnel has seized many hearts and they have become unfruitful*; that is why, you little children, be light, love and my outstretched hands in this world, which yearns for God Who is love.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

* NOTE:  "Darnel" is a type of weed.