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


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

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


 
 
  “Dear Children!  With joy I am calling all of you, little children, who have responded to my call: be joy and peace.  Witness with your lives Heaven, which I am bringing to you.  It is time, little children, that you be a reflection of my love for all those who do not love and whose hearts hatred has conquered.  Do not forget: I am with you and intercede for all of you before my Son Jesus, that He may give you His peace.  Thank you for having responded to my call.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Saint of the Month - August 2021: Madre Passitea Crogi


The Servant of God
Madre Passitea Crogi
A Franciscan Mystic & Foundress

Today's "saint" is another obscure one - a Franciscan nun - whose Cause for Canonization has not successfully concluded yet... but, just because she isn't officially enrolled in the Calendar of Saints, it doesn't necessarily mean her reputation for holiness isn't valid or her life isn't worth knowing.  Hence, today's blog in which this ministry is pleased to introduce Passitea Crogi.

Passitea was born on September 13, 1564 in Siena, Italy; just several feet from the home where St. Catherine of Siena (d. 1380) was born and raised.  In her infancy, an unidentified ailment resulted in Passitea becoming blind and deaf.  At the age of three, her unfortunate condition was relieved when a mysterious "stranger" came to the Crogi Family's doorstep with "medicine" that completely cured her.  This unusual turn of events marked the start of a series of mystical occurrences that marked this Servant of God's life and even through her death.

Another significant incident reported from Passitea's childhood involved a wooden crucifix, carved by her father who was an artist.  The father had thrown the crucifix onto a stack of firewood after he was dissatisfied with how it turned-out.  The young Passitea providentially came upon the discarded image, retrieved it, after which the corpus miraculously came to life and spoke to her - our Lord invited the girl to consecrate herself to him, via sacrifices and voluntary penances in reparation for sin; she accepted and, from that day on, despite being a mere child, she began a spiritual regimen that would humble most adults.

Emulating St. Catherine of Siena, Passitea performed voluntary mortification such as strict fasting, using instruments of penance, and spending a great deal of time in prayer; she also visited the sick and gave whatever she could to the poor.  When older, she started a charitable center in the Church of the Holy Spirit, where homeless women sheltered and abandoned babies and orphans were cared for.

Passitea was content with her mode of life but her parents grew more and more concerned seeing their daughter spiritually mature - as with most girls of her rank and time, the plan was to marry her off to a suitable family... but the maiden strongly resisted, wanting instead to belong only to Jesus; seeing she couldn't be persuaded, Passitea was eventually left alone.

Similar to other gifted woman in the history of the Church, who possessed profound faith and mystical sensitivity, God's special favor began to manifest and increase in Passitea's life.  For example, she often made visits to Siena's deplorable prison to feed the inmates.  The guards noticed how she somehow managed to feed the entire population of prisoners with just a small pot of soup!  Furthermore, one day, after praying before a large crucifix in the chapel of St. Sebastian, she returned home with bleeding wounds in her hands and feet - the Stigmata of Jesus!  Rumors of her good deeds and visible wonders could not be contained, and the budding mystic was soon respected as a living saint.

The crucifix before which Madre Passitea received the
wounds of the Stigmata. 

In 1590, after both her parents died, Passitea attempted to establish a Franciscan Capuchin monastery in Siena, but her bishop opposed the idea, citing the number of cloisters already in their city.  The aspiring foundress and her companions went on with their public ministry until they were invited to Florence in 1597 by the Medici clan, who were among the most powerful ruling families in all Italy.  There, Passitea developed a life-long friendship with Maria de Medici and became her trusted confidant and advisor.  In turn, Maria funded the establishment of the Florentine Capuchins in 1598; Passitea was appointed its Abbess.

When a new Bishop came to power in Siena, word of the immense good the foundress was doing in Florence reached his ears, prompting him to offer her property for a new monastery, if only she'd return home.  The Abbess gladly accepted and was welcomed in 1600 by an enthusiastic crowd. 

Two years later, in 1602, Maria de Medici - now the Queen of France - invited her friend to Paris.  Madre Passitea, in consideration of the generosity shown her by her former benefactor, traveled to France to see Maria.  During her stay in the royal court, she left the management and ongoing renovation of the Siena monastery to one of her senior nuns... but on occasions when her counsel was needed on important matters, the Abbess would inexplicably appear in Siena to give the much-needed advice; it was then apparent that she was gifted with Bilocation!  

In 1609, at another behest of Maria de Medici, Madre Passitea again traveled to France, but she left in dismay not long after due to the intrigue and controversies that filled the French Court.  She never returned despite repeated invitations from the Queen.  Instead, she focused on the running and expansion of her thriving Capuchin houses... and, in fact, established at least two more monasteries with the help of nobility in Piombino (1610) and Santa Fiora (1612).  She was also a counselor to many of the noble families in the cities where her foundations were located.

The Abbess' reputation for sanctity continued to spread, especially since reports of her mystical gifts leaked beyond the monastery walls.  Besides the Stigmata, which were visible and bled periodically, her prayers often resulted in cures and other divine favors... and she Levitated too - sometimes in full view of others!  One notable occasion involved a stay in the home of the Duchess Sforza during the founding of the Santa Fiora monastery - while in the company of her hostess and other prominent citizens, she was surprised by an ecstasy and rose into the air to the height of a man.  The Duchess was so impressed, she ordered an attestation drafted and notarized, which was signed by all those who witnessed the miracle.

Still, on another occasion, one of Passitea's nuns, named Sr. Francesca, testified that she once observed the Abbess elevated in mid-air, "three arms" high - for about three hours - and surrounded by a brilliant aura of light.  Such were the remarkable signs that accompanied the mystical life of this practical and wise administrator, and worthy role-model of a nun.

Madre Passitea died in the odor of sanctity at midnight on May 13, 1615 in Siena - when news of her passing was announced, all the city rushed to the monastery to venerate her remains on which the Stigmata were clearly seen on her limbs.  Prior to her body being interred, the decision was made to examine the foundress' heart, given that she claimed to have experienced the sublime gift of the "mystical exchange of hearts" with Christ - Jesus allegedly removed her heart and replaced it with his very own.  Church authorities were likely curious as to what they would find on the organ but, according to the autopsy report, when the Abbess' chest was opened, the inner cavity where the heart should've been was empty!  So did she really possess the Lord's heart... and did Jesus take it back now that she no longer needed it?  It's one of those mysteries for which the answer is simply reserved for the next life.

The Cause for Canonization of Passitea Crogi was opened not long after her death, but it stalled beginning in 1628, after the Archbishop who initiated it died.  Other circumstances arose, which for one reason or another, prevented the Cause from advancing; it remains dormant to this day.  Fortunately, the memory of this holy nun is kept alive in the cities where her Capuchin foundations are still in existence, particularly in Santa Fiora, which still publicly parades the miraculous crucifix that spoke to the young Passitea.

The Siena Monastery, on the other hand, is reported to possess not just the bones of their founder, but also glass viles filled with her dried blood.  The blood was secretly collected while the mystic was undergoing her Passion Ecstasies and bleeding from the Stigmata.  On special feast days of the Church, and on dates connected to the life of Madre Passitea, the dark crusty particles of blood would inexplicably liquify and resume a life-like appearance and consistency.  Yet another enigma connected with this mystic!

A relic of Madre Passitea's habit, gifted to this ministry by the
Capuchin nuns of Siena, Italy.

It's this writer's personal opinion that this Servant of God is among those countless holy souls who are true Saints, but just unrecognized.  Until the Church officially pronounces a negative judgment concerning her case, please join this ministry in praying for Madre Passitea's Canonization.