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, December 25, 2020

Monthly Message from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: December 25th, 2020

The Monthly Message:
   "Dear Children!  I am carrying to you little Jesus who brings you peace, Him who is the past, present and future of your existence.  Little children, do not permit for your faith and hope in a better future to be extinguished, because you are chosen to be witnesses of hope in every situation.  That is why I am here with Jesus that He may bless you with His peace.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

A special message received by Jacov Colo during his annual apparition on Christmas Day:
   "Dear Children!  Also today Jesus is here beside you, even when you think that you are alone and that light does not exist in your life.  He is here and has never left you or distanced Himself from you.  The light of His birth illuminates this world and your life.  His Heart is always open towards you, to receive your every pain, every trial, fear and need.  His arms are extended towards you, that as a father, He may embrace you and tell you how important you are for Him, how much He loves you and cares for His children.  Children, is your heart open towards Jesus?  Have you completely surrendered your life into His hands?  Have you accepted Jesus as your father, to whom you can always turn and in Him find consolation and everything you need to live true faith?  That is why, my children, surrender your hearts to Jesus and permit Him to begin to rule your lives, because only in this way, will you accept the present and be able to face the world in which you live today.  With Jesus, every fear, suffering and pain disappear, because your heart accepts His will and everything that comes into your life.  Jesus will give you the faith to accept everything and nothing will distance you from Him -- because He firmly holds you by the hand and does not permit for you to distance and lose yourselves in difficult moments -- because He has become the Lord of your life.  I bless you with my motherly blessing."

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Saint of the Month - December 2020: Saint Paola Elisabetta Cerioli

St. Paola Elisabetta Cerioli
A Charitable Mother to Many
Feast: December 24th

Our December Saint is another female Founder and she hails from a large noble family of Soncino, Italy.   She was born on January 28, 1816 and, because of precarious health (she had a lifelong heart condition), was baptized just a few days later on February 2nd as Costanza Honorata Cerioli.  In her childhood, the future Saint was educated by Visitandine Nuns and was endowed with an innate sensitivity to the needs of the poor and infirm.

At the tender age of 19, Constanza's parents accepted on her behalf an offer of marriage from a Gaetano Busecchi, the wealthy widower of the late Countess Maria Teresa Tassis.  The suitor was 40 years their daughter's senior and, despite her initial resistance, Constanza relented to pressure and was married to Gaetano on April 30, 1835.  The reluctant new bride could only pray and trust that it was all part of God's master plan for her.

The marriage was awkward, at first, but Constanza learned to sincerely love her husband despite their vast age difference and his set ways.  She submitted herself completely to her marital duties and Gaetano, on his part, loved her back.  In fact, the couple had four children of which three died in infancy.  In January 1854, her last surviving son - Carlo - was also taken from her at the youthful age of 16.  A few days before his passing, the boy made a thoughtful attempt to comfort his grieving mother by stating to her: "Mamma, don't cry.  The Lord will give you other children."  It was a statement that later proved to be highly prophetic.

Less than a year after losing Carlo, Constanza's husband followed their son to the grave on December 25, 1854, leaving our Saint a widow at 38-years-old.  Grieving and lonely over her successive losses, she found solace in her Catholic Faith; having inherited Gaetano's palazzo and wealth and, inspired by the Gospel precepts, she resolved to use her resources for the good of others.

St. Paola Elisabetta desired her Sisters to
imitate the virtues of the Holy Family.

Contrary to the expectations of her family and friends, Constanza did not remarry.  Instead, she pronounced private vows of chastity and adopted two orphans before launching various charitable endeavors that included opening her home to the sick and the poor, and establishing a free girl's school in rural Comonte di Seriate in Bergamo.  Costanza was assisted in her mission by a small group of dedicated female collaborators and they were enthusiastically supported by their local Bishop.

Beginning in late 1857, the next seven years was a period of rapid development and expansion for the group's ministry...

  + December 8th, 1857 - the Feast of the Immaculate Conception:  Costanza and her companions established themselves as the "Institute of the Sisters of the Holy Family"

  + January 23, 1858:  Costanza takes the religious name of "Paola Elisabetta"

  + July 8, 1858:  Mother Paola Elisabetta and her companions were solemnly clothed in their new institute's habit

  + January 23, 1859:  The foundress and the first five Sisters of the Holy Family made their temporary religious profession

  + June 27, 1862:  The Institute of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Camonte received the formal decree of approval from Mons. Speranza, Bishop of Bergamo

  + November 4, 1863:  The male branch of the Holy Family was established in Cremona

Under the protective patronage of St. Joseph, head of the Holy Family, to whom Mother Paola Elisabetta was especially devoted, her work thrived and spread to other regions of Italy; more schools were opened, along with homes for charitable services and evangelization.  As her dear son, Carlo, had predicted, the once lonely widow had indeed become the mother of other children... lots of them!

On December 24, 1865, the foundress unexpectedly died at the age of 49 in Comonte.  Mother Paola Elisabetta's personal sanctity and legacy of selfless giving ensured she was not forgotten by the many people she impressed in her lifetime; the Diocese of Bergamo opened her Cause for Canonization in February 1902, which culminated in the Church declaring her a Saint on May 16, 2004.

Above:  The holy remains of St. Paola Elisabetta.
Below:  A relic of the Saint's clothing
in this ministry's care.

Today, the Saint's bodily relic is conserved and venerated in a church dedicated to her honor in Bergamo, Italy.

St. Paola Elisabetta Cerioli,
pray for us!

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Who is like God!

Last week I had another vivid dream - a striking one - which both terrified and inspired me. I felt there was an urgent, underlying message in it for everyone and, after mulling over it for several days, I decided to post about it, at least part of it...

In my dream, I saw a group of "beings" - a massive army, more like - who seemed to be completely made of light; standing together in an endless space also comprised of light.  One, in particular, caught my attention - despite his brilliant "aura", I was somehow able to make out most of his features: he looked to be about 18 to 20 years old; handsome with thick, long light blond hair; a golden diadem with a blue triangular centerpiece rested on his forehead... and he was dressed in a dazzling white robe.

Despite his youthful appearance, I felt an immense POWER emanating from this person; his force was further manifested, via light that seemed to illuminate him from the inside out.  It was so intense, it shown from his eyes and mouth like a glow whenever he blinked and opened his mouth.  Because of this internal light, I could not discern the color of his eyes.

I wondered to myself who this being could be but it was only after he spoke that I was firmly convinced of his identity - focusing his piercing gaze at something at a distance beyond me, he shouted with a deep booming voice, tinged with indignation:


I knew then it was St. Michael, the Archangel... and I was like "WOW!"; impressed and in complete awe over his persona... and his splendor seemed to increase even more immediately after he spoke!

By appearance I would never have guessed it was the archangel because the being I saw did not resemble anything like the traditional images of St. Michael we're used to seeing with armor, a sword, wings (curiously, I didn't see any), and dark wavy hair, etc.  It made me even more intrigued.

I'll end the dream narrative here... but, personally, I have a sense of what all the imagery was intended to convey - it was a challenge - a battlecry - directed at the enemies of God, as well as, a foreshadowing of a dramatic escalation of the ongoing spiritual war between Good and Evil, which I'll leave to the reader to discern, or to dismiss.  Either way, it doesn't matter to me what others think.  I've already decided on my response to all of this - whatever happens, I stand with St. Michael.

... so fast forward to today.  I'm still quite taken by this entire experience and had to put something down on paper because I don't want to forget it.  The drawing below is the result of a 7 hour effort to record, as close as possible, what I recall... although, honestly, it doesn't do any justice to the real deal.  But how can one ever put on paper a creature made of light?  Anyway, for obvious reasons, I chose to title this latest artwork of mine, "Who Is Like God".

Dream, vision, or mere imagination, something in me has changed concerning St. Michael.  I feel as though I caught a small glimpse of the magnitude of his role as leader of the Heavenly Army.  As I stated earlier - this archangel has power - undescribable POWER - and, we, the People of God, should feel assured and happy that we have him and all the other Holy Angels fighting on OUR side against diabolic forces seen and unseen.  They/We will win one day.

Lastly, here's a passage from Scripture that came to my attention, and it's surprisingly accurate.  Are we living in this "time"?

"At that time there shall arise Michael,
the great prince, guardian of your people;
it shall be a time unsurpassed in distress
since the nation began until that time.  At
that time your people shall escape, everyone
who is found written in the book.  Many of
those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall
awake; some to everlasting life, others to
reproach and everlasting disgrace.  But
those with insight shall shine brightly like
the splendor of the firmament, and those
who lead the many to justice shall be
like the stars forever."

Daniel 12:1-3

So now, when I pray the St. Michael Prayer each day, I do so with a newfound devotion and respect for St. Michael; deeply personal.  He rightfully deserves the veneration and respect the Church has shown him for centuries.  St. Michael, pray for us!

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in
the day of battle.  Be our safeguard against the
wickedness and snares of the devil and, do
thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the
power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the
evil spirits who prowl through the world
seeking the ruin of souls.  Amen.

+ +  UPDATE: AUGUST 2021  + +

In response to this dream and a prior manifestation from St. Michael, this ministry has established a prayer group under his patronage - the Cohort of St. Michael the Archangel - with the specific purpose of combating evil in this world.  For more information concerning the new group, click here.

Stand with St. Michael!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Monthly Message from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: November 25th, 2020

  “Dear Children!  This is a time of love, warmth, prayer and joy. Pray, little children, for little Jesus to be born in your hearts.  Open your hearts to Jesus who gives Himself to each of you.  God sent me to be joy and hope in this time, and I am saying to you: Without little Jesus you do not have the tenderness or the feeling of Heaven which is hidden in the Newborn.  Therefore, little children, work on yourselves.  By reading the Sacred Scripture you will discover Jesus' birth and joy, as in the first days which Medjugorje gave to mankind.  History will be truth which, also today, is being repeated in you and around you.  Work on and build peace through the Sacrament of Confession.  Reconcile with God, little children, and you will see miracles around you.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Monday, November 2, 2020

The Lady in a Red Dress: Recalling a Visit from a Poor Soul...

Today is the Feast of All Souls.  I love how our Church designates special days of the year to remember and celebrate important truths of our Faith... and today is one of them. We recall - together, as the universal Church - our beloved deceased and pray for them to rest in peace, just in case they haven't yet attained the direct presence of God in the afterlife. Given the significance of the Feast, I am today sharing another personal story to encourage prayer for the Poor Souls; to testify to the value of our prayers for them and how we certainly make a positive difference for the souls we pray for.  This experience happened over 25 years ago and I swear to the truth of it...

I once knew a lady who I called "Auntie Mary"; she was the cousin of a close friend of mine. Auntie Mary was a pleasantly plump woman in her late 40s with wavy shoulder-length hair, a lovely smile, and a jovial personality. To make a long story short, she was diagnosed with cancer, which quickly spread throughout her body. The chemo therapy she went through did nothing for her except make her sicker and she also lost all her thick dark hair. Within a year her cancer was terminal and it was apparent she was in constant pain as the disease progressed.

Often, when I went to visit my friend, I took some time to sit with Auntie Mary to chat and pray with her, especially when her pain was intense.  She liked it when I did that.

It wasn't long before Auntie Mary was in the hospital dying. My friend gave me a call requesting that I come to the hospital, asap, as Auntie Mary was asking for me. There, I found her in distress and when she heard my voice, she called out to me repeating over and over, "Peter, I'm scared... Peter, I'm scared."  She had already gone blind.

I sat down beside her and placed into her hand a plastic statuette of Our Lady of Fatima that I had brought with me.  It was somewhat of a risk because Auntie Mary was a lapsed Catholic who had joined the Jehovah's Witnesses years before, but she wasn't die-hard about practicing it... so I held her hand in mine and gently encouraged her to ask our Blessed Mother for the grace of a peaceful death.  I also reminded her of God's unconditional love for her and his Divine Mercy. We spent several minutes in prayer before I had to leave Auntie Mary's side to allow family members to bid her farewell.  I left the statue in her hand.

Fast forward three days - I got word from my friend that Auntie Mary had passed away. My friend also returned the statuette to me and told me Auntie Mary had died clutching the Marian image in her hand; she never let it go. I recall being happy to learn that the Blessed Virgin had somehow touched Auntie Mary and I offered prayers for her peaceful repose.  What happened next was remarkable and completely unexpected...

A drawing representing the lady
in red from my dream.

Several days after Auntie Mary died, I had a very vivid dream: I saw a lovely woman standing in the midst of what appeared to be a burnt forest - the surrounding was gloomy with smoke, ashes covered the ground, and charred trees were all over the place (somewhat like the photo at the very top). In contrast, the lady stood out wearing a red, fitted Chinese-style dress and she had very long luxurious hair that fell loosely down to her back side. She smiled brightly at me and with a familiarity that I didn't understand at first. It was only after staring at her for a while that it finally dawned on me that she was actually Auntie Mary... but looking much more youthful and leaner! As if she had been waiting for my recognition, she then silently beckoned to me with a hand before turning around to walk through a path in the devastation.  I followed. 

I don't recall how long we walked or how far we went but I did notice that, as we kept moving forward, the surrounding landscape gradually changed - grass and other greenery started sprouting up along side us with more and more healthy trees. Eventually the dead landscape was completely replaced by a beautiful lush forest and we ended up in a clearing where a small grassy mound was at the center. I can still visualize the warm sunbeams shining down brightly unto the mound through an opening in the upper foliage. The place evoked a deep sense of peace and calm. 

Auntie Mary walked to the top of the mound and, in a manner most graceful, she sat herself on the grass before laying down on her right side, facing me with her hands joined together under her cheek. Taking one last look at me, she smiled again and seemed to fall into a peaceful sleep atop the cool grass.   I then awoke from my own sleep.

After praying and seriously meditating about the meaning of my dream, I came to the conclusion that Auntie Mary was saved and was either undergoing her personal Purgatory or, perhaps had even completed it, as symbolized by her gradual transition from a dark, devasted forest to another one of grand beauty and serenity where she eventually found rest.  Whatever the case, I was happy for her because I knew how much she had suffered at the end.

The reality of my experience was validated a couple of weeks later at Auntie Mary's funeral. I took the initiative to speak with "Grandma Joseph" (Auntie Mary's mother) to tell her about my dream. I told her how I saw Auntie Mary with long hair - longer than what I ever saw her with; how she appeared slimmer and healthy; happy and peaceful... wearing the unusual red dress. Grandma Joseph choked up with emotion before revealing to me that her daughter, in her youth, was admired by many for her long beautiful hair that went down past her back... in addition, she had a favorite dress she wore regularly - a red, knee-length Chinese dress!

Needless to say, I was blown away by what I learned from Grandma Joseph. I knew then, for certain, it was indeed Auntie Mary in my dream and, although she never said a word, I understood she came to personally let me know she was in a good place, as well as, to express her gratitude for the prayers offered on her behalf. I was also convicted that the Church is correct about an intermediate spiritual state or place of purification for the faithfully departed, and our prayers really do have the power to relieve them.

A painting that reminds me of the forest
scene in my dream.

So please - pray, pray, pray for your beloved dead.  Plead the Lord's Divine Mercy upon them.  There are countless Poor Souls eagerly awaiting our prayers right now.  With a simple prayer such as the one below one can make a big difference to a soul in need - pray it often:

Grant unto them, O Lord, eternal rest;
let Your perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.  Amen.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Saint of the Month - November 2020: Sr. Josepha of Jesus Lindmayr

The Servant of God
Sr. Josepha of Jesus
(a.k.a. Maria Anna Lindmayr)

Once again it's November, the month especially dedicated by Holy Mother Church to the remembrance of the Poor Souls ... and today I am happy to feature a holy Carmelite who had a great devotion to them.  She isn't officially a Saint yet, but her Cause for Canonization was opened by her diocese, which speaks well of the worthiness of her character.

A painting of Maria Anna Lindmayer,
the future Sr. Josepha of Jesus.

Born on September 9, 1657, Maria Anna's father was Franz Lindmayr, a valet to the Duke of Bayern-Leuchtenberg, and her mother was named Eva Maria.  Together, the Lindmayrs had 15 children who the couple raised in a strict Catholic upbringing.  This daughter, in particular, was extraordinarily gifted in spirit from her early childhood - so much so, that she was reportedly favored with an apparition of the Blessed Virgin at just 8-years-old!

At 12 Maria Anna was introduced to the Church's teaching about the Poor Souls, whose sufferings tugged at her heart.  She maintained a life-long devotion to them, offering prayers and intense voluntary sacrifices on their behalf (more will be shared about her devotion to the Holy Souls further down in this post).

Now despite her childhood piety and experiences, Maria Anna did not decisively surrender herself to Christ until age 15 when, through the influence of her Carmelite confessor, she began discerning the Lord's will for her life.  Her commitment to belong solely to God was solidified during a deep conversion experience after having made a general confession.  A few years later she attempted to enter three local convents but was unsuccessful due to chronic poor health.  Returning home each time, she plunged herself into a regimen of deep prayer, self-mortification, and extreme penances (she secretly wore a spiked belt next to her skin and habitually fasted).  At about the same time mystical graces resurfaced and escalated in her life, which included apparitions of Jesus and other heavenly personages, and the Sacred Stigmata.

On July 16, 1687, Maria Anna became a Carmelite Tertiary and was clothed in the Order's Brown Scapular.  She continued living as a consecrated laywoman, running her household and caring for her younger siblings, while heavily involved in the building of a church in Munich honoring the Holy Trinity; she had prophetically encouraged the citizens to construct the church to ward off a plague and the encroachment of an ongoing war, which it effectively did.

In October 1711, at the mature age of 54, Anna Maria was finally admitted into a newly established Discalced Carmelite cloister that was built next to the church she helped to raise; her profession took place on May 1713 under the religious name of Sr. Josepha of Jesus.  There, in Carmel, she was first appointed the infirmarian but was elected to the 3-year post of Prioress in 1716 and 1719... then named Novice-Mistress, beginning in 1722 (Lindmayr was actually elected to a third term as Prioress but declined the office, allowing herself to be persuaded to take charge of training the novices instead).

Sr. Josepha prayed constantly for
the Poor Souls in Purgatory.

Going back to her devotion to the Poor Souls, Sr. Josepha reportedly had mystical, personal contact with them and even visited Purgatory on several occasions.  Fortunately, she left behind detailed written accounts of her experiences, which are full of profound insights into Purgatory and the state of the souls in purification. Cited below are just a few excerpts from her writings:

  "It was also revealed to me that to the Holy Souls, one hour seems longer than twenty years of extreme suffering on this earth. I also understood that even if we could arrange for them to get out of Purgatory and to go to Heaven, although not completely purified, the Holy Souls would rather stay until judgment day than appear before God even with the smallest stain... Oh yes, we can indeed call them 'holy', the Holy Souls of Purgatory, since they are full of love for God. They burn more with the love of God and the desire to be with Him who is so good and to rejoice in His presence. This fire of love burns them more than the fire of punishment."

And here's more..

  "Another time, I saw Purgatory as a prison of fire, as a place where the fire is frightening. All the fires of the world united could not compare to it, and the Poor Souls were plunged into it like sparks. They are so numerous that my eyes could not embrace at a glance the entire multitude, so vast it is."


  "To give an idea of the vast number of these Poor Souls, God made me see Purgatory in the form of an anthill. I asked why the Souls were shown to me in this way. I was given to understand that an anthill has a outer cover so we cannot actually see the great number of ants inside. But if we stir it with a stick, or if we put smoke to it, the ants will come out by the thousands. I realized from this that there were in Purgatory, many, many Souls hidden from our eyes, as in a covered anthill as I had just seen... He was using me, as it were, as the end of a stick to stir up the anthill, for me to see in Purgatory the hidden crowd of Souls that we think are already in Heaven."

It goes without saying, deeply moved by what she witnessed in visions, Sr. Josepha responded generously to the plight of the Faithful Departed by offering countless sacrifices and extraordinary mystical sufferings for their release.  The souls, in turn, had great confidence in the effectiveness of her prayer - with God's express permission, they appeared to her with uncommon frequency and, at times, even gently pulled on her cloak to get her attention, so eager were they to obtain relief!

Towards the end of her illustrious life the "Saint of Munich" lost her sight and suffered from a lingering illness.  The Servant of God died peacefully at aged 69 on December 6, 1726.

A painting of Sr. Josepha of Jesus in death.

The year following her passing, Josepha's Cause for Canonization was initiated by her Bishop.  However, it remains stalled up to the present day.  A contributing factor is the suppression of her convent and the forced eviction of the Carmelites in 1802 by the anti-clerical government that came into power. Furthermore, in 1803, the mystic's grave was secretly opened by the Munich police and her bones, along with the remains of other deceased nuns, were sacrilegiously buried in an unmarked pit.  Thus, sadly, the bodily relics of this holy nun are presently lost to the world.

Please join this ministry in praying for the revival and continued progress of Sr. Josepha of Jesus's Cause ... and let us seriously take her message about the Holy Souls to heart.  In union with her prayer from Heaven and other Faithful in the Church, let us pray: Dear God, grant unto the Poor Souls eternal rest and peace.  Let perpetual light shine upon them.  Amen.

“It is a holy and wholesome
thought to pray for the dead, that
they may be freed from sins.”

- 2 Mach. 12:46

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Monthly Message from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: October 25th, 2020

  “Dear Children, at this time, I am calling you to return to God and to prayer. Invoke the help of all the Saints, for them to be an example and a help to you. Satan is strong and is fighting to draw all the more hearts to himself. he wants war and hatred. That is why I am with you for this long, to lead you to the way of salvation, to Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Little children, return to the love for God and He will be your strength and refuge.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Saint of the Month - October 2020: Saint Gerard Majella

St. Gerard Majella
Patron of Expectant Mothers
Feast: October 16th

St. Gerard Majella died a little over 250 years ago at the age of 29, and lived all his brief life in southern Italy. Yet, today, he is honored the world over as a popular figure in Catholic devotion, especially among expectant women... but who was St. Gerard, and how and why did he come to be associated with such an unlikely patronage for a male Saint?  Read on to learn more...

From a worldly point of view, there was nothing about Gerard that was outwardly impressive - he came from a poor family; was described as scrawny; suffered from chronic poor health; was an introvert who maintained habitual silence and kept a low profile.  But from a spiritual perspective, this humble man was not just a Saint, but he was truly a GREAT Saint.  He was so lofty in spirit, God bestowed on him a long list of spiritual gifts, some of which will be described below.

Born on April 6, 1726, Gerard lost his father while still a child, which forced him to begin working early to help support his mother and six siblings.  He trained as a tailor and set up shop in his hometown of Muro, near Naples.  Whatever income he made, he kept almost nothing for his personal use - first he provided for his family then gave the rest to the needy and to his local parish as alms for the Poor Souls.  When not working, Gerard spent his spare time in charitable endeavors, as well as, in hours of prayer before the tabernacle. His outward piety inspired admiration from many of his neighbors, while to some others he was just the village's resident oddity.

Eventually discerning the call of God, our Saint applied with the Franciscan Capuchins who declined to accept him because of his frail health. After missionaries from the Redemptorist Congregation visited Muro, he requested to join them but received the same negative response.  This time around, though, he refused to accept the decision.  Instead, he hounded the Redemptorists for their acceptance to the point of annoying them, and they asked his mother to intervene by locking him up for the duration of their mission; she discovered him missing from his bedroom one morning where he left a note stating: "I'm going to become a saint".  The youth had run away to follow the Redemptorists, who reluctantly accepted him as a lay brother in the face of his determination.  The year was 1749.

Judged incapable of holding any significant position within the congregation, his superiors shuffled Gerard amongst various Redemptorist monasteries and assigned him the lowliest and most difficult jobs - cook, gardener, doorman, janitor, and the community's alms beggar ‐ which he happily performed.  The latter task gave him the opportunity to form a close affinity with the locals - mainly peasant folk - to whom he endeared himself by his innate kindness and charitable disposition.  They came to revere him as a genuine holy man, especially since God's favor with him became increasingly manifest through outward signs and wonders...

St. Gerard was witnessed on multiple
occasions rising into the air during prayer
or in the presence of holy images.

Among Gerard's rich array of spiritual gifts were the following:

+ Bilocation - on many occasions he was witnessed at two places at once.  A common scenario cited is how he was frequently seen praying before the Blessed Sacrament in various chapels around town, or visiting certain individuals on important business... but his religious brethren would later vouch that, at the very same time Gerard was seen, he was actually in their midst; actively performing his monastery chores.

+ Ecstasies - this altered state of profound absorption in the special presence of the Divine was a common phenomena in the life of St. Gerard.  It was particularly noted while he prayed before the tabernacle or before holy images such as those of the Blessed Virgin.  He would "disconnect" from his surroundings and remain motionless for hours at a time, while in ecstasy.

Levitation - this wonder was another grace that was well-documented in the life of the Saint.  Their occurrences were usually triggered by the sight of holy images and accompanied by ecstasy.  To cite just one such example, during Good Friday in 1753, a highly venerated painting of Christ Crucified was processed into a church where Gerard was waiting with a crowd of parishioners.  As soon as the portrait of Jesus came into his view, he was overwhelmed with love and mysteriously lifted several feet into the air, in joyous exultation, and in plain sight of all the worshippers present.

+ Odor of Sanctity - the Saint, in his lifetime, emanated a sweet aroma from his person, which was particularly perceptible when Gerard was ill because if his inability to disguise the fragrance.  The strong perfume also clung to his personal belongings so one could find your way to his cell in the monastery by following the delightful "scent trail" that emanated from him and his few possessions.

+ Prophecy - on countless occasions, Gerard clearly displayed the charism of infused knowledge and the forecasting of future events.  A notable example involved a student named, Pietro Blasucci, who the Saint informed would one day become a Superior General of the Redemptorists.  This was fulfilled in 1793 - 40 years after the Saint uttered the prediction!

Another of Gerard's prophecies that was fulfilled after he died was accompanied with a healing, another of his God-given gifts.  While leaving the home of a benefactor, he dropped his handkerchief, unawares, which his host's young daughter rushed to return to him.  Rather than taking it, Gerard looked intently at the girl and said, "Keep it.  It will serve you someday."  From that day forward, the youngster preserved the handkerchief as a treasured relic.

Saint Gerard and Saint Alphonsus | St gerard, St gerard majella, Catholic  saints
St. Gerard and St. Alphonsus Liguori
knew each other in life and held each other
in the highest regard.

Years later, when the girl had grown and married, and expecting a child, she experienced complications during the birth that threatened both her and the baby's life.  Suddenly remembering Gerard's words, she asked for the handkerchief and laid it over her belly while invoking his intercession.  No sooner had she done so when the pain immediately stopped and the infant was delivered safely.  News spread about the miracle and other pregnant women in the town began borrowing the handkerchief to ensure their own safe deliveries.  It was this specific event that directly led the Faithful to popularly acclaim Gerard as the Patron of Expectant Mothers.

I could go on and on about Gerard's reported miracles but there's just too many of them to narrate in a single, short blog.  I'll conclude this segment on his wonders by adding that this Saint also multiplied food, walked on water, and raised at least one dead person to life.  So he wasn't just an exceptional reflection of Christ in virtue, but also in miraculous deeds!

Circa 1753, Gerard's irreproachable life was called into question by an event that's often narrated about him.  A certain Neria Caggiano accused the Saint of sexual impropriety with another woman.  Rather than defending himself, Gerard maintained silence in apparent imitation of Christ's meekness and submission to his accusers.  St. Alphonsus Liguori (d. 1787), the founder of the Redemptorists, summoned him to respond to the charges, but because of the Saint's refusal to speak, Alphonsus understably banned him from public ministry and Holy Communion.  For a time, his congregation and admirers treated him with suspicion, to which the Saint also quietly submitted... but he was vindicated not long after when his accuser confessed it had all been a lie.  This unfortunate matter only served to validate Gerard's extraordinary conformity to Christ's life and he was held in higher esteem than before, including by St Alphonsus.

Our Saint's death came on October 16, 1755, in Materdomini, after succumbing to tuberculosis.  He had predicted to his superiors and his physician six months prior that he would contract the disease and die from it on the exact day he expired.  But Gerard's wonders did not cease with his passing - healings were reported at his tomb, which was later opened and his bones discovered to be oozing an oily manna that also effected cures!

St. Gerard Majella was declared a Saint in 1904 by Pope St. Pius X.  His relics are conserved in a spectacular sanctuary dedicated to his honor in Materdomini.  May he pray for our personal needs and the needs of the entire Church.

Tomb of St. Gerard
The tomb-shrine of St. Gerard in his
 dedicated sanctuary at Materdomini, Italy
(note the many thanksgiving plaques on the
wall testifying to the Saint's power).

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Monthly Message from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: September 25th, 2020

  "Dear children! I am with you for so long because God is great in His love and in my presence. I am calling you, little children: return to God and to prayer. May the measure of your [way of] living be love and do not forget, little children, that prayer and fasting work miracles in you and around you. May everything you do be for the glory of God, and then Heaven will fill your heart with joy and you will feel that God loves you and is sending me to save you and the earth on which you live. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Revisiting the Fatima Message

With the recent mainstream release of the movie, "Fatima", this past August 28th, there seems to be a providential reemphasis on the 1917 Marian apparitions in Fatima, Portugal.  I must admit that I didn't wholeheartedly enjoy the movie because of how the Blessed Virgin's apparitions were inaccurately portrayed, but I was happy that the movie could at least serve to potentially lead those new to Fatima to want to know more; to want to learn the message in detail, which continues to be important and relevant even in our own times.  Click here for more info on the Fatima movie.

With the above being stated, I'm sharing another usual experience I recently had that I believe has a direct connection to the Fatima Message.  In short, on the morning of Wednesday, 9/16/2020, during a time of intermittent personal prayer and spiritual reflection, I was surprised by another visual manifestation of our Holy Mother in the sky above my home - I immediately recognized her as Our Lady of Fatima!

After observing the image for several moments, I fumbled through unlocking my cellphone and managed to snap a photo before Our Lady faded from view - see below.

The figure of the Blessed Virgin can be
seen in the sky above the roof (outlined in
the slide deck on the right).

I then prayed for discernment concerning this occurrence and was later enlightened that Our Lady was silently drawing attention to the message she delivered at Fatima - that we live her words.  In essence, if we aren't already doing so, she is encouraging all of us to start ⁰ these now...

  • personally convert our lives over to God's will
  • pray the Rosary daily for others to convert
  • pray against against Communism and Socialism, which our Lady once referred to as the "errors" of Russia that has now infected the entire world
  • have a devotion to Mary's Immaculate Heart, which is our shelter and comfort during turbulent times, such as now

For Our Lady to manifest herself in such an extraordinary manner, to someone as unworthy as me, just goes to show that there's a sense of urgency to it all.  This is why I decided to act and post about this experience; about the Message of Fatima... and if I failed to say something about it, I'd be disobedient and irresponsible, especially since the Virgin of Fatima also prophesied dire consequences for the world if we failed to act on her words.

So I share and let the readers discern, but my hope is that more people will respond positively to the message of Fatima.  Research the message online, if needed... or watch the new Fatima movie (or see "The 13th Day" movie instead) - one may just realize how important and critical Fatima is for the times we live in now.

Our Lady of Fatima,
pray for us!

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Saint of the Month - September 2020: Blessed Maria Maddalena of the Passion

Bl. Maria Maddalena Starace
Bl. Maria Maddalena
of the Passion
A Woman of Prayer & Action
Memorial: September 5th

September's Saint of the Month was born Costanza Starace on September 5, 1845, in the seaside commune of Castellammare di Stabia in Naples, Italy.  She was the eldest of six children born to an affluent family in the region.  Apparently, deeply pious from a young age, she entered a certain monastery at just 12-years-old but was discharged two years later due to chronic illness.  Her health remained so poor it prevented her from ever resuming a cloistered religious vocation.

Undeterred by the setback, Costanza continued to live a life consecrated to God as a “home nun”, which was somewhat common during that time in Italy among highly devout laywomen.  She pronounced private vows of perpetual chastity and from her family home she prayed, sacrificed, and performed works of charity amongst her neighbors.

Bl. Costanza Starace
Another photo of Bl. Maria Maddalena
of the Passion, Foundress

Costanza eventually affiliated herself with the Servants of Mary (the “Servites”) in 1865 by becoming a tertiary and was given special permission by the local bishop - Francesco Saverio Petagna - to wear the Order’s full habit; she was professed into the tertiary order in June 1867.  As her personal holiness continued to impress others, she was elected to lead the Pious Union of the Daughters of Mary, a Servite-affiliated association dedicated to Christian education.  With the paternal support of her bishop, Costanza expanded the group’s work to include sheltering women and children in distress, caring for orphans, and ministering to the infirm.

By 1871, Constanza’s initiatives with the pious union were so successful, Bishop Petagna, appointed her as the superior of a congregation she was inspired to establish - the Compassionist Sisters Servants of Mary.  With the birth of this new ministry, Costanza became Mother Maria Maddalena of the Passion.  Despite continuing health issues, the untiring foundress skillfully guided her spiritual daughters, via her wise counsel and active faith example.  Working together, their apostolate soon spread beyond Castellammare di Stabia into neighboring regions in southern Italy.

Tomb - Bl. Maria Maddalena Starace
The tomb-Shrine of Bl. Maria Maddalena
in the chapel of her congregation

Already considered a saint by the general public during her lifetime, it was not widely known that Mo. Maria Maddalena was also the recipient of extraordinary signal graces.  The foundress was, in fact, a genuine mystic-soul who experienced ecstasies and bore on her body the wounds of the Sacred Stigmata, which periodically opened and bled on the Fridays of Lent.  On several occasions, she was also the target of diabolic physical attacks in apparent retaliation for her sanctity and resulting good works.  In her humility, Mo. Maria Maddalena attempted to hide the unusual phenomena that surrounded her but to no avail, especially when it came to the stigmatic sufferings; her closest associates testified to the truth of her mystical gifts.

After an illustrious life spent in heroic faith and generosity, this Italian foundress entered into her eternal reward on December 13th, 1921 in her home town.  The Church officially recognized her exceptional holiness during a beatification ceremony held in the co-Cathedral of Castellammare di Stabia on April 15, 2003.  May the Lord see fit to grant the Faithful her speedy Canonization – Bl. Maria Maddalena of the Passion, pray for us!

"When you cannot speak to man
of God, speak to God of man."

~ Words of Bl. Maria Maddalena

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Monthly Message from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: August 25th, 2020

   "Dear children! This is a time of grace. I am with you and anew am calling you, little children: return to God and to prayer until prayer will be a joy for you. Little children, you do not have a future or peace until your life begins with a personal conversion and a change to the good. Evil will cease and peace will begin to reign in your hearts and in the world. Therefore, little children, pray, pray, pray. I am with you and intercede before my Son Jesus for each of you.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Saint of the Month - August 2020: Irving Houle

The Servant of God
Irving C. Houle
Mystic, Healer, & Lay-Evangelist

Irving Houle, also known under the pseudonym "Francis", was an American layman; a devoted husband and father; a faithful Catholic; a renowned healer; and a victim-soul who bore the wounds of Christ on his hands and mystically suffered the Passion. He was born in Michigan on December 27th, 1925, where he also died fairly recently in 2009. Houle's life is currently being reviewed by the Church for possible Sainthood.

According to the official promoters of his Cause for Canonization, Irving was born to a large devout Catholic family from Wilson, Michigan. As a 6-year-old youngster he had a near-fatal accident after he was thrown off a galloping horse, causing him broken ribs and a punctured lung. An aunt, who was a Franciscan nun, was enlisted to pray for the boy who subsequently made a remarkable recovery.  Irving later reported to his mother that he witnessed the appearance of a "beautiful man" dressed in a "white bathrobe" during the night, who blessed the badly injured child (later confirmed to be Jesus by Houle).

Perhaps because of his experience, Irving developed a prayerful and penitential spirit from his early youth; a strong attraction to Mass and his family's routine prayer time practiced in the Houle home.

During his teen years Irving's family relocated to Escanaba, Michigan, where he attended the local high school. He occupied his time with sports, as well as, daily Mass attendance. After graduating in 1942, he enlisted in the Army and fought in World War II, after which he married his wife, Gail, in November 1948; their marriage lasted for 60 years (until Irving's passing) and produced five children.

To support his growing family, Irving held jobs in retail, manufacturing, and finally as a plant manager at Engineered Machine Products. Relatives and colleagues recall his dedication to family, his kindness, sense of humor, and consistent practice of the Catholic Faith. Houle was a member of the Knights of Columbus and, after he retired, was a daily Communicant; prayed the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet daily; and frequently practiced the Stations of the Cross. Otherwise, life was relatively routine and normal for Irving... until Lent of 1993.

Irving, in ecstasy during one of his nightly
sufferings of the Passion of Christ.

On Good Friday, 1993, Irving's life took an amazing turn - he was revisited by the Lord who commissioned him to "touch my children". At the same time, the Stigmata in his hands developed, which caused him constant pain (only these wounds remained visible while he also felt the pain of the others). Soon after receiving the sacred wounds, Irving began experiencing the Passion of Christ every night from midnight to 3:00AM for the last 16 years of his life. It was later revealed to him that these hours were the time of the day when sin was most prevalent and his recurring ordeal was in atonement for transgressions and for the conversion of sinners. Apparitions and messages from the Blessed Virgin Mary were also reported to have occurred with this mystic.

"You will continue to suffer.  This is all for
conversions; many, many will be saved."

- Words of Jesus to Irving

In addition to the nightly expiatory sufferings, Houle fulfilled the Lord's request to him by praying over thousands of people during special prayer services and other events permitted by his local bishop. It was often reported that Irving's hands emanated a strong warmth and floral scent whenever he prayed and laid hands on people, and countless cures and notable spiritual conversions resulted. It should also be emphasized that he never took payment for his services and he deflected praises directed to him by saying such words as “Jesus is the one who heals”.

"Your hands are my Son’s hands.
Continue to evangelize.  Bring back
many to the Sacrament of Penance
and to celebrate the Eucharist."

- Words of Our Lady to Irving

Irving Houle died at Marquette General Hospital on January 3rd, 2009; he was 83-years-old. His Cause for Canonization was opened by the Diocese of Marquette in November 2018, which designates this American layman as a Servant of God. Upon learning the news, Gail Houle paid tribute to her late husband, saying: "Irving is my saint and this is well deserved."

Irving Houle praying and laying hands
on the Faithful.

For those interested in learning more about the life and spirituality of Irving Houle... or how to support his Cause for Canonization, click here to be redirected to the official website of the promoters of his Cause.

Bro. Irving, pray for us
and for all America!