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Thursday, November 13th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Luke 17:20-25.


Thursday of the Thirty-second week in Ordinary Time

13 November 2014

Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come.

GOSPEL BY JOHN

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 17:20-25. 

Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed,
and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.”
Then he said to his disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.
There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ (or) ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit.
For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be (in his day).
But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.

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Thursday of the Thirty-second week in Ordinary Time

13 November 2014

Saints of the day

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin and Foundress (1850-1917) –

Memorial

1 Santa_Francesca_Saverio_Cabrini_ESAINT FRANCES XAVIER CABRINI
Virgin and Foundress
(1850-1917)

        Frances Cabrini was born and baptized on 15 July 1850 in Sant’Angelo Lodigiano in northern Italy, to a family rich in faith and piety. Early in life she began her journey as a disciple of the Lord, who led her to the heights of sanctity in mysterious and unforeseen ways. 

        The turning-point in her life was entering the “House of Providence” in Codogno, where tribulations and difficulties strengthened her missionary fervour and her resolve to dedicate herself totally to the Lord. She received the religious habit, and while keeping the name Frances, later added Xavier to it in memory of the great Jesuit missionary and patron of the missions. Thanks to the encouragement and support of Bishop Domenico Maria Gelmini of Lodi, Sr Frances Xavier left the “House of Providence” with seven companions to found your institute in an old Franciscan monastery. First called the “Salesian Missionaries of the Sacred Heart” , they received diocesan approval in 1881.

        Pope Leo XIII asked her to care for poor Italian immigrants  Mother Cabrini asked her sisters for evangelical obedience, mortification, renunciation, vigilance of the heart and interior silence as necessary virtues for conforming their lives to Christ and for fostering and living their missionary desires. Vocations surprisingly blossomed and the institute rapidly expanded in Lombardy and beyond the region, with the opening of the first house in Rome and papal approval of the “Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus” on 12 March 1888, scarcely eight years after their foundation. 

        The famous words of Pope Leo XIII to your foundress, “Not to the East, but to the West”, are well known. She longed to go to China, but his words gave new energy and direction to her missionary zeal. The invitation of the Vicar of Christ directed her towards the masses of immigrants who, at the end of the 1800s, were crossing the ocean in large numbers to the United States of America, often in conditions of extreme poverty. 

        From that moment on, Mother Cabrini’s tireless apostolic work was more and more inspired by her desire to bring salvation to all, and in a hurry. She used to say: “The Heart of Jesus does things in such a hurry that I can barely keep up with him”. With a group of sisters she left for New York on the first of many voyages in which, as a messenger of hope, she would achieve ever new goals in her tireless apostolate: Nicaragua, Brazil and Argentina, in addition to France, Spain and England. 

        Armed with remarkable boldness, she started schools, hospitals and orphanages from nothing for the masses of the poor who ventured into the new world in search of work. Not knowing the language and lacking the wherewithal to find a respectable place in American society, they were often victims of the unscrupulous. Her motherly heart, which gave her no peace, reached out to them everywhere: in hovels, prisons and mines. Never intimidated by toil or distance, Mother Cabrini traveled from New York to New Jersey, from Pennsylvania to Illinois, from California to Louisiana and Colorado. Even today in the United States, where she is still familiarly called “Mother Cabrini”, there is a surprisingly deep devotion to someone who, while loving her country of origin, wanted to take American citizenship. 

        She was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1938, just 21 years after her death in Chicago on 22 December 1917, and was canonized in 1946 by Pope Pius XII. In the Holy Year of 1950, he proclaimed her patroness of immigrants: this little woman who, by defending the dignity of those forced to live far from their country, had became an indomitable peacemaker. 

(Message of John Paul II to the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart on 150th anniversary of Mother Cabrini’s birth)

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini was the first United States citizen to be canonized.

© Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2014

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Thursday of the Thirty-second week in Ordinary Time

13 November 2014

Saints of the day

St. Agostina Livia Pietrantoni,

Virgin (1864-1894)

1 St AGOSTINA untitled

Saint Agostina Livia Pietrantoni
(1864-1894)
Virgin
Congregation of the Sisters of the Charity
of Saint Jeanne-Antide Thouret

A land… a family

        “Once there was, and there still is, but with a new face now, a village named Pozzaglia. In the Sabina hills… and there was a blessed house, a cosy little nest filled with childrens’ voices, amongst which that of Olivia who was later called Livia and was to take the name of Agostina in the religious life.”

        The very short life of Sister Agostina, which inspired Paul VI, the Pope who beatified her, to relate it in extraordinarily poetical terms, began and unfolded itself: “simple, transparent, pure, loving…but ended sorrowfully and tragically… or rather symbolically.”

        27th March 1864. Livia was born and baptized in the little village of Pozzaglia Sabina, at an altitude of 800 meters in the beautiful area which is bordered geographically by Rieti, Orvinio, Tivoli. She was the second of 11 children! Her parents, Francesco Pietrantoni and Caterina Costantini, were farmers and worked their small plot of land along with a few added plots which they leased. Livia’s childhood and youth were imbued with the values of an honest, hard-working and religious family, in the blessed house in which “all were careful to do good and where they often prayed”. This period was marked especially by the wisdom of Uncle Domenico who was a real patriarch.

        At the age of 4 Livia received the Sacrament of Confirmation, and around 1876 she received her first Holy Communion, certainly with an extraordinary awareness, judging by the life of prayer, generosity and sacrifice which followed it. Very early on, in the large family in which everyone seemed to be a beneficiary to her time and help, she learned from her mother Caterina the thoughtfulness and maternal gestures which she showed with such gentleness towards her many younger brothers and sisters. She worked in the fields and looked after the animals… Therefore, she barely experienced childrens’ games… or school which she attended very irregularly, but from which she drew great benefit to the point of earning the title of “teacher” from her classmates.

Work and… pride

        At the age of 7, along with other children, she began “to work”, transporting by the thousand, sacks of stones and sand for constructing the road from Orvinio to Poggio Moiano. At the age of 12 she left with other young “seasonal workers” who were going to Tivoli during the winter months for the olive harvest. Precociously wise, Livia took on the moral and religious responsibility for her young companions. She supported them in this tough work far from their families, and proudly and courageously stood up to the arrogant and unscrupulous “bosses.”

Vocation and detachment

        Through her wisdom, her respect for others, her generosity, her beauty, Livia was a young attractive woman… and several young men in the village had their eyes on her. Their admiring looks did not escape mother Caterina’s notice and she dreamed of marrying her daughter well. Yet what did Livia think? What was the secret of her heart? Why did she not make a choice? Why did she not make up her mind? “Malle daring by the voice which spoke to her inwardly, the voice of her vocation, she surrendered; it was Christ who would be her Beloved, Christ, her Spouse.” To these in her family or in the village who attempted to dissuade her by saying she was running away from hard work, Livia replied: “I wish to choose a Congregation in which there is work both day and night.” Everyone was certain that these words were genuine. A first trip to Rome in the company of her Uncle Fra Matteo ended in bitter disillusionment; they refused to accept her.

        However, a few months later, the Mother General of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Jeanne-Antide Thouret, let her know that she was expecting her at the Generalate. Livia understood that this time she was saying farewell for ever. With emotion she took leave of the village people, all the loved corners of her land, her favourite prayer places, the parish and the Virgin of Rifolta; she kissed her parents goodbye, received on her knees the blessing of Uncle Domenico, “kissed the door of her house, traced the sign of the cross on it and left hurriedly…”

Formation and mission

        23rd March 1886. Livia was 22 when she arrived in Rome at Via S. Maria in Cosmedin. A few months as a postulant and novice were enough to prove that the young girl had the makings of a Sister of Charity, that is of a “servant of the poor”, in the tradition of Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Jeanne-Antide. Indeed, Livia brought to the Convent a particularly solid human potential inherited from her family which guaranteed its success. When she received the religious habit and was given the name of Sister Agostina, she had the premonition that it fell to her to become the saint bearing this name. For Indeed she had not heard of any Saint Agostina!

        Sister Agostina was sent to the Hospital of Santo Spirito where 700 years of glorious history had led it to be called “the school of Christian charity.” In the wake of the saints who had preceded her, amongst whom were Charles Borromeo, Joseph Casalanz, John Bosco, Camillus de Lellis, Sister Agostina made her personal contribution and in this place of suffering gave expression to charity to the point of heroism.

Silence, prayer and goodness

        The atmosphere in the hospital was hostile to religion. The Roman question poisoned peoples’ minds. The Capuchin fathers were driven out, the Crucifix and all other religious signs were forbidden. The hospital even wanted to send the sisters away but was afraid of becoming unpopular. Instead their lives were made “impossible” and they were forbidden to speak of God.

But Sister Agostina did not need her mouth in order to “cry out for God” and no gag was able to prevent her life from proclaiming the Gospel! First in the childrens’ ward and later in the tuberculosis ward, a place of despair and death, where she caught the mortal contagion of which she was miraculously healed, she showed a total dedication and an extraordinary concern for each sick person, above all for the most difficult, violent and obscene ones like “Romanelli.”

        In secret, in a small hidden corner she had found for herself to reside, in the hospital, Sister Agostina commended them all to the Virgin and promised her many more vigils and greater sacrifices in order to obtain the grace of the conversion of the most stubborn ones. How many times she offered Joseph Romanelli to Our Lady! He was the worst of them all, the most vulgar and insolent, especially towards Sister Agostina, who was more and more attentive towards him and welcomed his blind mother with great kindness when she carne to visit him. He was capable of anything and everyone had had enough of him. When, after the umpteenth provocation at the expense of the women working in the laundry, the Director expelled him, from the hospital, he sought a target for his fury and poor Agostina was the victim he picked. ‘I will kill you with my own hands.” “Sister Agostina, you only Nave a month to 1ive!,” were the threats which he had sent to her several times in little notes.

        Romanelli was not joking, in fact, and Sister Agostina put no limits either on her generosity for the Lord… She was prepared to pay the price of love with her own life, without fleeing or placing any blame. …When Romanelli caught her unawares and struck her before she could escape, that 13th November 1894, her lips uttered nothing but invocations to the Virgin Mary and words of forgiveness.

© Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2014

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Thursday of the Thirty-second week in Ordinary Time

13 November 2014

Saints of the day

St. Stanislaus Kostka (1551-1568)

1 ST STANISLAUS untitled

SAINT STANISLAS KOSTKA
(1551-1568)

        St. Stanislas was of a noble Polish family. At the age of fourteen he went with his elder brother Paul to the Jesuits’ College at Vienna; and though Stanislas was ever bright and sweet-tempered, his austerities were felt as a reproach by Paul, who shamefully maltreated him. This ill-usage and his own penances brought on a dangerous illness, and, being in a Lutheran house, he was unable to send for a priest. He now remembered  to have read of his patroness, St. Barbara, that she never permitted her clients to die without the Holy Viaticum: he devoutly appealed to her aid, and she appeared with two angels, who gave him the Sacred Host. .

        He was cured of this illness by our Lady herself, and was bidden by her to enter the Society of Jesus. To avoid his father’s opposition, he was obliged to fly from Vienna; and, having proved his constancy by cheerfully performing the most menial offices, he was admitted to the novitiate at Rome. There he lived for ten short months marked by a rare piety, obedience, and devotion to his institute.

        He died, as he had prayed to die, on the feast of the Assumption, 1568, at the age of seventeen.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2014

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