Tag Archives: Mother mary

Our Lady safeguards our success through these times

In these bewildering days when even the most devout are confounded by circumstances and sense that society – even the Church – is careening out of control, it is comforting to know what Our Lady said centuries ago specifically about these times.

Christine Valentine-Owsik

In the early 17th century, a Conceptionist nun in Quito, Ecuador – now known as Venerable Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres – received seven apparitions from the Blessed Mother which describe precisely our present turmoil. The apparitions of Our Lady of Good Success were approved by the bishop of Quito then and many bishops since, yet most modern Catholics have not heard of them until now.

Beginning with her message to Mother Marianna in 1610, Our Lady said: “… from the end of the 19th century [until] after the middle of the 20th century … the passions will erupt and there will be a total corruption of customs, for Satan will reign almost completely by means of Masonic sects. They will focus on children … to sustain this general corruption.”

Our Lady warned that all seven sacraments would be attacked, and difficult to obtain. “Seldom will [children] receive … Baptism and Confirmation. As for Penance, [children] will confess only while attending Catholic schools, which the devil will do his utmost to destroy by means of persons in authority.” She said Holy Communion would be profaned, and sacrileges would abound. Extreme Unction [Sacrament of the Sick] would be little esteemed among Catholics, and many would die “without receiving this sustenance for the final journey.” She said “Masonry would enact iniquitous laws [to] do away with the Sacrament of Matrimony, “making it easy for everyone to live in sin, and encouraging procreation of illegitimate children born without the blessing of the Church.”

“The effects of secular education … will [accelerate] the death of priestly and religious vocations,” she said. “The Sacrament of Holy Orders will be ridiculed, oppressed, and despised, for in this sacrament, the Church of God and even God Himself is scorned and despised since He is represented in His priests.”

Then she describes priestly persecution. “The Devil will … persecute [priests] in every possible way; he will labor with cruel and subtle astuteness to deviate them from … their vocation and will corrupt many of them. These depraved priests, who will scandalize the Christian people, will make the hatred of bad Catholics and the enemies of the Roman Catholic Church fall upon all priests. This apparent triumph of Satan will bring enormous suffering to the good Pastors of the Church.” She said the priests left to uphold the Church will be “like firm columns, will remain unswerving, and will confront everything with a spirit of humility …”.

Finally, when evil will seem to have prevailed, she said “this will mark the arrival of my hour, when I in a marvelous way, will dethrone the proud and cursed Satan, trampling him under my feet and fettering him in the infernal abyss. Thus, the Church … will be finally free of his cruel tyranny.”

CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK is Legatus magazine’s editor.

The Brown Scapular…a gift from our Heavenly Mother

As I write this column in early April, the COVID-19 pandemic looms front and center in all of our lives. While I cannot know what the state of affairs will be when this is published, I am compelled to begin here. This crisis has been like nothing any of us have experienced in our lifetime, and in a real sense has brought our world to a grinding halt… and hopefully to our knees (in prayer). We are being forced to stop and among other things to face our mortality. And while this is not necessarily a comfortable place, it is an opportunity for us as Catholics (and Legatus members) to live our faith! I am reminded of Pope St. John Paul II’s continuous exhortation, “Be Not Afraid!” As Catholics, we know we are not living for this world, but for eternity. I know things are extraordinarily tough right now, and may likely get worse before they get better, but time and again God has told us not to be afraid because He is with us! So, whether it be in our families, businesses or communities, let us be not afraid, trust in God and keep moving forward…

Tom Monaghan

For centuries the Church has set aside the month of May to honor Mary. So I thought it would be appropriate this month to write about a Marian devotion that is meaningful to me. A recent experience prompted me to think about the brown scapular I wear. To make a long story short, I had taken my scapular off and forgot to put it back on, and then left it in Florida when traveling to Michigan. I realized how bare I felt without it, and how much I take it for granted. I began wearing one when I was in the orphanage, all the boys did. I do not think I wore it while in the Marine Corps, but I have worn one for most of my life…certainly for the last 40 – 50 years. 

I realized that many people may not be familiar with this popular Catholic devotion. In terms of its history, the brown scapular is from the Carmelites and it dates back to 1251 when Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite. The tradition states that she handed him a brown scapular and promised him that whoever dies wearing this scapular will not suffer eternal fire. (I encourage you to read more about its history and other aspects of this devotion.) Of course, we know that the scapular is not a good luck charm, but one of the many sacramentals that the Church has given us, a sacred sign from the Church used to sanctify us and symbolize something going on in our hearts. Those who devoutly wear it renew their commitment to live in faith and devotion, and to place themselves under our Lord’s protection through His mother.

The brown scapular symbolizes salvation, protection against all dangers, and peace. How fitting during this current crisis we are facing.

Our Lady, Health of the Sick…Pray for us!

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder, chairman and CEO.

A Holy Mother models and encourages heroism

I was raised in a home with a mother who desired sainthood, but unless I was paying attention, I didn’t notice. I’m remembering now, for what it’s worth, that I don’t recall her ever purchasing an item of clothing for herself. She loved the Catholic Faith of her childhood, her priests, her family, and jigsaw puzzles; that’s about it. And wouldn’t you know it, right after the last of her eight children, John, left home, Judy Wells died too young from cancer.

If a single snapshot is able to capture the image of a lifetime, it would be this of Mom: I would occasionally walk unannounced into my parents’ bedroom to find her in the afternoon’s half-light, kneeling alone by her bed, praying the Holy Rosary. She’d look up with hesitant eyes that told distinctly different stories: her self-consciousness at being caught in the raw nakedness of prayer, and her hope that I’d kneel beside her. The openhearted look hangs forever in my mind like a warm remembrance.

Mom was certainly as guileless and meek a person as I’ll ever know, but her love for truth carried her to places most others don’t venture. She knocked on neighbors’ doors, asking fallen-away Catholics if they wanted to join her family for Sunday Mass. She hand-wrote tender, pleading letters to encourage shackingup couples to separate and renew chaste relationships. She worked for decades as a counselor at Mary’s Center, a tiny, poorly funded pregnancy center in a tough area of town, where she continually encouraged calloused women to cast their ringed eyes beyond the veil and into the bright hallelujah of their babies’ tiny heartbeat. If walking the unseen sacrificial path of small daily trials marked the identity of her motherhood, it was the rosary that kept pointing her back into those disregarded places.

More than two dozen priests processed down the aisle at Judy Wells’ funeral, wanting to offer their gratitude for her esteem for their priesthood. I think these priests realized that Mom – like our Blessed Mother – expected only heroism from them. In a stunning visual of Marian ferocity, [our priest] Monsignor Esseff shared with me a mental picture of Mary as related to a priest’s relentlessly heroic duty owed as an alter Christus; it was the same picture Mom could have given me…

…“Mary is relentless with me,” he said. “…I see her on the ground taking me into her arms at the Fourth Station, and I’m already completely beat and broken. …she looks down at me and says, ‘Your Father said, “You go and die.” You better do that, son – you undo it.’ And she helps me up so I can move forward with the cross. That’s who Mary is to my priesthood. …I can’t be a priest without this relationship with Mary.”

Excerpt from Kevin Wells’ book, The Priests We Need to Save the Church (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2019), from Chapter 7, “The Blessed Mother,” pp. 101-104 .

KEVIN WELLS, former Major League Baseball writer and award-winning journalist, is an active evangelist who speaks on Catholic topics. He is president of the Monsignor Thomas Wells Society for Vocations, and his work with youth earned him the James Cardinal Hickey National Figure Award from the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. He lives in Millersville, MD with his wife and children.

Visiting the Holy House of Mary in Italy

The simple stone house in which the Virgin Mary was born, where she received the invitaton of an angel at the Annunciation, and lived with the Holy Family, is believed to be in the small coastal town of Loreto in central Italy’s Le Marche region. To the marvel of scientists, the House disappeared from Nazareth, miraculously moved to Croatia, and then later to three different spots in Italy in a way that defies human explanation.

According to historians, after 13 centuries in Nazareth, on May 10, 1291, the house of the Holy Family disappeared overnight, completely undetected, confounding the community. It is believed to have been carried by angels first to the town of Trsat, an area in modern-day Croatia. It baffled the townspeople there on how a house could simply appear overnight. It is remarkable that just three years later, Muslims invaded the land around Nazareth and ransacked everything. Surely the house would have been destroyed.

 Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (September 8, 1774 – February 9, 1824) reported that among her mystical experiences was a recurring vision of the Holy House carried over the sea by seven angels. Historical, scientific, and archeological evidence attests that there is no other logical explanation.

 Four Stops

Father Donald Calloway, vocation director for the Marians of the Immaculate Conception and author of five books on the rosary, visited the House of Loreto four years ago. “You get a sense of this being an extraordinary relic and that you are in a very holy place,” he said in an interview with Legatus magazine. “It’s almost overwhelming, like a spiritual generator.”

Father Calloway wrote about the House of Loreto in his newest book Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father. He explained the path it took before its last resting place in Loreto. The house’s first stop was in Trsat, Croatia. Villagers were amazed that it had no foundation. After three years, it disappeared again on December 10, 1294, leaving only an outline of the spot it had occupied. To this day, a monument marks that spot.

From there it was taken across the Adriatic Sea to the town of Ascoli Piceno, Italy. It was there for only eight months, as robbers had begun stealing from the pilgrims. In August 1295, the house disappeared yet again and reappeared on a hill outside Ascoli Piceno. But the two brothers who owned the land fought over ownership and also exploited tourists for financial gain. So near the end of December 1295, the Holy House was taken to its final location in Loreto.

The History

A year after the house appeared in Loreto, the Catholic Church appointed 16 envoys to investigate. They visited Loreto, Croatia, and Nazareth. At all locations, the measurements of the house were exactly the same with absolutely no discrepancies. In 1469, the Basilica della Santa Casa (Basilica of the Holy House) was built over the Holy House where it still stands today, attracting approximately four million pilgrims annually.

Many saints have visited both before and after it moved. Biographers of Saint Francis of Assisi wrote that he visited the house in 1220 in Nazareth, and Saint Louis, King of France, visited it on the feast of the Annunciation in 1251. Other saints that visited include Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Charles Borromeo, Saint Francis Borgia, Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, and Saint Therese of Lisieux.

An inscription from the 16th century on the eastern façade of the Basilica reads: “Christian pilgrim, you have before your eyes the Holy House of Loreto, venerable throughout the world on account of the Divine mysteries accomplished in it and the glorious miracles herein wrought. It is here that most holy Mary, Mother of God was born, here that she was saluted by the Angel, here that the eternal Word of God was made Flesh….”

Scientific Evidence

A scientific study undertaken by Professor Giorgio Nicolini was presented at a conference organized by the “Amici del Timone” Cultural Center in Staggia Senese, Italy on April 24, 2015. His talk was titled “The Story of the Incredible Move of the House of Mary of Nazareth to Loreto.”

Nicolini pointed out the impossibility of transporting the house over sea completely restored, given the poor technological resources of the time. He cited the existence of many documents and eyewitness accounts and noted that the chemical composition of the house’s stones, wood, and mortar are unique to the region of Nazareth and non-existent in all of Italy.

Detractors have claimed that a wealthy family had dismantled the house and transported it brick by brick at the request of the Crusaders, then rebuilt the house in Loreto. “Such an operation, with the transportation conditions of the 13th century, would have been a more miraculous feat than the angelic translation,” Nicolini said.

Last year, Pope Francis became one of almost 50 popes who have visited or written about the House. He prayed at an altar built into the house on the feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 2019. Then in October, he designated December 10 on the universal calendar as the feast of Our Lady of Loreto. The decree stated that this new feast day “will help all people, especially families, youth and religious to imitate the virtues of the perfect disciple of the Gospel, the Virgin Mother, who, in conceiving the head of the Church also accepted us as her own.”

PATTI ARMSTRONG is a Legatus magazine contributing writer.

Our Lady’s Wardrobe

Anthony DeStefano
Sophia Institute Press, 40 pages

 

Here’s a unique way to teach young children about Mary, the mother of Jesus: through her clothing. Our Lady’s Wardrobe takes the child through events in Mary’s life, particular mysteries of the rosary, and several of Mary’s more prominent apparitions around the world. The illustrations by Juliana Kolesova are strikingly beautiful, truly colorful and exquisite, and Anthony DeStefano’s simple verses express the story of each Marian scene portrayed. There’s even a word of encouragement to make use of Mary’s sacramentals. It’s an ideal gift book for your young children and grandchildren, one that is sure to enhance their love and appreciation for our Blessed Mother.

 

Order: Amazon

Imploring Our Mother’s healing touch – and mediation

Nancy Foytik of Reedsville, WI, was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, and it had metastasized into both lungs. Doctors gave her a grim prognosis. After one round of chemotherapy, Foytik and her family decided to visit the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in the town of Champion, not far from Green Bay, in 2012.

“We didn’t have any hope. We went there for guidance,” she wept while telling her story on NBC’s Today last year. Yet after praying to the Virgin Mary there, “We just knew when I walked out of the chapel that day I was going to be cured… I can’t explain it other than that. I didn’t hear the words, but I felt them, that said ‘you’re going to be okay.’”

Surgeons removed a softball-sized tumor from her colon and smaller tumors from her right lung. When they performed a third surgery, they found the tumors in her left lung had disappeared. Foytik has been cancer-free ever since.

“I was an active Catholic,” she said. “I prayed, but I never prayed to Mary as much as I did to God. Mary was just the one I needed to go to at that time.”

What makes a miracle?

Foytik said she and her family never used the word “miracle” to describe her experience. Many Catholics, however, claim that their healings — whether physical, emotional, or spiritual — occurred through Mary’s intercession.

Often these healings are associated with Marian pilgrimage sites such as Our Lady of Good Help, the only Church-approved apparition site in the United States. Healings and conversions have been reported from there dating nearly to the time the Virgin Mary first appeared to young Adele Brise in 1859.

Perhaps the best-known of these shrines is Our Lady of Lourdes in France, where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858, one year prior to the Wisconsin apparition. Although more than 7,000 healings have been claimed at Lourdes, the Church has officially recognized just 70 of them. That’s largely because such miracles, like the miraculous healings investigated in causes for canonization, undergo painstaking scrutiny to ensure there is no natural explanation.

“For a cure to be considered a true miracle at Lourdes or at the Consulta Romana in the Vatican’s examination of intercessory miracles to be used for sainthood causes, it must pass the very old and strict ‘Lambertini criteria’ named for Prospero Lambertini, an Italian cardinal who later became Pope Benedict XIV, who was born in 1675,” explained Michael O’Neill, author of the 2015 book Exploring the Miraculous and host of “The Miracle Hunter” program on Relevant Radio. “The healing must be of a serious condition not liable to go away on its own, instantaneous, complete, and lasting — normally at least 10 years.

“Most difficult of all in our modern age,” he added, “there can be no medical treatment that relates to the cure.”

In 2018, the Church officially recognized the 70th miracle of healing to have taken place at Lourdes. It involved Sister Bernadette Moriau, a French nun who visited there in 2008. For 28 years she had suffered spinal complications that caused disabilities requiring use of a wheelchair. She regularly took prescription morphine to ease her pain.

After receiving a blessing for the sick at the shrine, Sister Moriau felt a warm, relaxing surge of well-being throughout her body. “I returned to my room and there, a voice told me to ‘take off your braces,’” she later recalled.

Not only could she move, but she immediately was able to walk away from her wheelchair, leg braces, and painkillers — and felt so good she took a three-mile walk the next day

As with many credible healing claims at the shrine, Sister Moriau’s case was referred to the International Medical Committee of Lourdes. Their painstaking research found no scientific explanation. After approval from the bishop of Sister Moriau’s home diocese, the healing received official recognition. It was the first miracle declared there since 2013.

 To Jesus through Mary

Healings are also commonly reported at sites of alleged apparitions that lack official sanction, including Medjugorje, in Bosnia-Herezegovina, where Mary is said to been appearing to visionaries since 1981.

In 1999, Artie Boyle of Hingham, MA, was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma. Not long after undergoing surgery to remove his diseased kidney, Boyle was told the cancer had metastasized aggressively to his lungs. “Renal cell carcinoma was definitely going to kill me,” he writes in his book, Six Months to Live.

The following year, Boyle traveled to Medjugorje with two close friends. There on Cross Mountain, rosary in hand, he felt an intense pain in his lung. Convinced he had been healed, he called his wife and asked her to make an appointment for a CT scan before his scheduled surgery to remove one of his diseased lungs. Upon returning home, the scan revealed his cancer was gone. Not only that, he and his friends had each experienced profound spiritual healings in Medjugorje.

 “The graces received, the prayers answered, and the miracles witnessed are vivid proof to us of [Mary’s] intervention and of the generous response of her Son,” writes Boyle, now a development officer for the Archdiocese of Boston.

Sometimes the apparent healings do not happen by way of pilgrimage, but when Mary answers prayers of intercessions — or simply touches someone’s spirit out of the blue.

Leo de Bondt was raised a Protestant in the Netherlands. At 25, he married into the Catholic Church, but he lost all faith in God after his three-year-old daughter died of leukemia in 1972.

Fifteen years later, he saw a photo depicting Our Lady of the Miracle, a painting in the Basilica of St. Andrea delle Fratte in Rome. It depicts a 19th-century apparition of Mary to a virulently anti- Catholic Jewish man which brought about his immediate conversion. De Bondt was deeply moved by the image and the story behind it.

“It was from that moment that my life changed completely,” he remembered. The Virgin Mary “brought me back to Christ. It was she who called this man who had lived as an atheist for 15 years. I became Catholic again, but this time as I had never been, while discovering the wonder of the Catholic faith.”

De Bondt, who has founded a website dedicated to spreading devotion to the Blessed Mother, says of his reversion to Catholicism: “I hated the Church until Mary called me.”

Power of the Rosary

Catholic evangelist and author Kathleen Beckman tells of how Mary’s intercession turned her son’s life around.

The younger of her two boys was going through a rough time. “I could see the spirit of the world trying to pull him away from our family and take him into a dark world,” Beckman related in a blog post. She began to pray the rosary daily “for our son to be delivered away from all the bad influences and temptations that were pulling him down. I prayed the Glorious Mysteries because I was interceding for my son’s resurrection.”

She continued for a year with no visible results. When her older son returned home from study in Europe, however, things changed unexpectedly. The big brother assessed the situation, wrote his troubled sibling a long and affirming letter, and read it to him. The transformation in the younger son was dramatic and immediate.

“At the end of that day, our son was healed and delivered,” said Beckman. “It was the power of a brother’s love that overcame the power of evil that had a grip on our son…. [But] I have no doubt my son’s healing and deliverance was the fruit of the one-year novena of the Holy Rosary.”

Mark Miravalle, the Saint John Paul II Chair of Mariology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, believes Mary always stands ready to strengthen and heal us.

“Where there is suffering and sickness, there is the Mother, hovering in wait to mediate graces of consolation, healing, and courage, all in conformity to the perfect and generous will of the Heavenly Father,” Miravalle said. “She waits only for our fiat in faith, to be freely welcomed into our homes, into our hearts … to bring to each one of us extraordinary healing graces of the Crucified Christ.”

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.