Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ. -- Saint Augustine of Hippo from “The City of God

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Saint John of God



John de Dios was born of a humble couple in the year 1495, though his parents were devout they were also poor. The young John was very taken with stories of adventures far from his native land of Portugal so from a young age John decided to run away from home and explore the excitements of the wider world. This would bring much sorrow to his parents most especially his mother who died not long after John left home, but she was comforted when an Angel appeared to her and told her that though her son would suffer adversity he would lead a good and holy life. John's mother then died a peaceful death.

Upon running away it didn't take John long to have regrets over his actions, for John at first did not find the expected excitement and instead worked as a shepherd in the fields of Spain. Through his hard work he was able to gain the trust of his employer who offered John his daughter to marry, but John declined the offer, as he felt God calling him to another direction entirely. Once he refused the offer of marriage John felt a little uncomfortable so he stowed away in the middle of the night and decided to join the Spanish army in their fight against France. John roamed about for many years not really knowing what to do with his life as he served in the army, and though he was a good soldier and joined in with the antics of his fellow soldiers in the end it failed to deliver the fulfillment that he longed for. Because of Johns inner wranglings his fellow compatriots became annoyed and so tricked John into leaving his post thereby angering the authorities and John subsequently was discharged from serving with them.

Through this internal dialogue within himself John would prove himself to be no ordinary man as he repented deeply of the wrongs he had done in his life most especially the pain he had caused his parents. He decided that he would put things right between himself and his parents and so returned to his native homeland. Upon arriving though John was sorrowful unto death when he discovered that both of his parents had died during his absence this truly tore at the heart of this repentant man and he wept profusely that it was now too late to make amends to his parents. Once again this got John thinking and he decided right there and then to never let an opportunity to do good pass him by, he may have let down his parents, his former employer and the army but John would not let down God.

He returned to work as a shepherd for a short time and it was when he heard of the war with the Moslems that once again John's impetuous heart was set afire and he decided to join those who were opposing this mighty army of the Moors. Once he reached the port of Gibraltar where he had indented to take a ship to Africa he came upon a wealthy family who also had need to leave the area immediately, without too much forethought John decided on the spur of the moment that he would instead become the servant to Count DaSilva. Unfortunately the Count died and the DaSilva family were able to return to Spain. John also returned to Spain, thinking himself a failure yet again.

John's whole life seemed to be one misadventure after another, as he tried to find some meaning to his life by jumping from one thing to another only to find that this was not what he was seeking. It was not so much that he was selfish as in he could not pinpoint the direction for which he felt an internal restlessness and so seemed to flit from one occupation to another in a frenzy of activity in order to fill the emptiness he felt within his soul. This did not make John a bad man nor a flighty one it made him a restless one with no place to call home.

It was while he was at Granada that he heard a sermon delivered by John of Avila, this stirred his heart deeply so much so that through his outward display of his intense feeling of grief over his past sins, John soon found himself locked within an insane asylum. He was visited by John of Avila and finding him to be sane John of Avila instructed John to behave himself and to do something with his life rather than meander on his meaningless trail. This truth truly struck home with John and he promised then and there to do all he could to serve God and the poor.

Upon his release from prison John began collecting all he could for the poor of the area in Granada. This particular work appealed to John in that he also empathized with all he met and did not judge those who found themselves in difficult circumstances. John knew that his own past behaviour did not bare closer scrutiny and though he knew God had forgiven him still he compassionated with those who did not yet understand the deep mercy of God's Love. Johns deep love for the poor was never in doubt and when he heard that a terrible fire had broken out in a nearby hospital John immediately left to do all he could to assist in saving those from the burnt out wreckage. Once he arrived though John was stunned to see many spectators just standing around as they watch the inmates burn, John did not lack courage so he raced into the burning building to save as many lives as he could. This time his impetuous nature not only worked for him it also saved lives.

There were many instances that changed Johns life most especially when he aided a poor beggar who had collapsed and as he bent to kiss the feet of the poor beggar it was here that John noticed he had nail marks driven into his feet. John was full of awe and knelt at the feet of his Lord and Savior. John was to come to the aid of many of the poor and his friends, one especially who had accidentally fallen into a raging river, John with no thought for his own safety jumped in and saved his friends life. It was through this accident that John would become critically ill as he caught pneumonia.

Though John's beginnings seemed to be one long accident after another as he tried desperately to 'fit in' John finally found his calling to serve God through the poor. John found the meaning of his existance through the love of God, and therefore he strove to serve God the rest of his remaining days.

John de Dios died in 1550.

Saint John of God was canonized in 1690 by Pope Alexander VIII.

Some Quotes

"If we look forward to receiving God's mercy, we can never fail to do good so long as we have the strength. For is we share with the poor, out of love for God, whatever he has given to us, we shall receive according to his promise a hundredfold in eternal happiness. What a fine profit, what a blessed reward! With outstretched arms he begs us to turn toward him, to weep for our sins, and to become the servants of love, first for ourselves, then for our neighbors. Just as water extinguishes a fire, so love wipes away sin."

"I work here on borrowed money, a prisoner for the sake of Jesus Christ. And often my debts are so pressing that I dare not go out of the house for fear of being seized by my creditors. Whenever I see so many poor brothers and neighbors of mine suffering beyond their strength and overwhelmed with so many physical or mental ills which I cannot alleviate, then I become exceedingly sorrowful; but I trust in Christ, who knows my heart. And so I say, "Woe to the man who trusts in men rather than in Christ."

"God is Gracious"

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Blessed Ivan Merz


Saints

Ivan Merz was born in the year 1896 in Bosnia. Like every young person Ivan attended school in a society that tended towards the more liberal way of thinking where great literature was extolled over the Churches Teachings. This did not deter the young Ivan who not only loved his Faith but tried his utmost to live it everyday.

This was the standout point with Ivan, unlike many of his contemporaries Ivan's focus was on God and living to please God by prayerfully doing His Will. This meant a great deal of self discipline as Ivan distanced himself from those who led loose lives with equally loose morals.

Ivan chose instead to concentrate on his education and attended the University of Vienna with the hope that he would be able to pass on his own love of the Catholic Church to a younger generation. Ivan's love of the Church was so fierce and so devout that he could not imagine a world where people could be happy without God, so began his longing to evangelize the Catholic Church to all he met and all he would come to meet.

Though Ivan did not feel a calling to become a Priest he did decide after much prayer to make a vow of chastity so that he could concentrate on spreading the Faith that he loves so well and so passionately. Ivan truly is a wonderful example of how a young man can live in the world without becoming corrupted by it nor of living in the world.

As in all things though what we plan does not always turn out exactly how we would wish, this was so with Ivan with the commencement of the First World War. A horrific war with devastating consequences for many families and for the world as a whole, it would also deeply impact Ivan's own life, and lead him ever deeper into prayer and trusting in God alone.

During this most brutal war the Italian soldiers were poorly equipped with some of the fighting in the mountainous regions. It led to much bloodshed and loss of life and through it all Ivan was able to maintain his Faith even if at times he felt himself in the pits of hell due to the suffering and devastation he witnessed. Though the First World War would become known as 'the war to end all wars' unfortunately history does not bear this out, but Ivan would not see the brutality of yet another World conflict.

Upon the finish of the First World War, Ivan returned to resume his studies and took a course on Literature whereupon he completed his studies in Paris in 1922. He then studied Philosophy specializing in the Liturgy and the influence of French literature within the Liturgy itself. Ivan undertook this course of study so he could help young people gain a new love and reverence for the Liturgical elements in the Mass and the deeper meaning within the Mass, so as to impress upon young minds the essentialness of the Liturgy in Catholic Worship.

During this time Ivan also started several groups for young people in order to teach and instruct them on the Faith one of these groups being, "League of Young Croatian Catholics". Through his in-depth and private studies of documents within the Magisterium, Ivan hoped to renew the love of young people towards the Catholic Church and to influence them to give their obedience to the Vicar of Christ and the Magisterium. This young man truly was an inspiration to many he met as he sought to convey his own passion for the Church to those who needed to hear that God can be found within the One Holy and Apostolic Catholic Church.

Through all this activity Ivan never lost track of prayer and devoted many hours in silent prayer in spiritual communion with the Triune Spirit, after all it was the source of Ivan's strength, for no good work for the Church has ever been accomplished without a deep and devout prayer life. Though Ivan would suffer the ridicule of some and the insults of others he did not allow this to affect his Faith or his peace of heart. This was a young man who's soul was immersed in the love of God which knew no bounds as he offered up these sufferings to our Lord and Savior. Ivan simply wished to spread the love of God to all and the joy he had found in the embrace of the Catholic Church.

Ivan would be spared the pain of having to endure yet another world war and also the pain of watching his own country erupt in civil war. Though Ivan suffered and endured much pain he was spared this searing affliction of his own war torn country.

Ivan Merz died in 1928.

Blessed Ivan Merz was Beatified in 2003 by Pope John Paul II.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Saint Raphael Kalinowski



Joseph Kalinowski was born in the year 1835 in the town of Vilna Poland. He was fortunate in that his parents were well educated, and his father Andrew Kalinowski, was a professor of mathematics. Coming from such a background, it was no surprise that Joseph excelled at his studies and won prizes for his gift of learning.

Even though the young Joseph received a head start in life in that his parents were well educated and prosperous, he also had the great fortune that both his parents were devout Catholics and raised their son with a deep love for the Church and for prayer. Still the political situation of his country was unsettling and would not leave the Kalinowski family unscathed.

In order to further his education and his prospects, Joseph chose to attend the Academy of Military Engineering in Russia, mainly because many Polish universities had been closed due to the Russian invasion of his homeland. It was not a happy situation and many of his fellow Poles were becoming disaffected with the Russian regime, so while this hot bed of insurrection grew, Joseph concentrated on his studies.

Joseph graduated in 1857 and as a lieutenant in the Russian Engineering Corp he worked on designing a railway line between Kursk and Odessa. Though this meant separation from his family which made Joseph homesick, still he concentrated on the task at hand, despite the vastness of the landscape. It was during these almost solitary months that Joseph grew to love this aloneness where he could commune with God as best he could under the circumstances. Joseph grew to love this solitude of heart and mind which perhaps laid the foundation for his future life. This sojourn though was to be interrupted when Joseph was recalled by the Russian authorities and transferred to the fortress at Litovsk, where he received a promotion to Captain. Though he was pleased with this promotion Joseph was not so pleased to see how Russia was oppressing his own people and the Catholic Church. It was here that he decided to run a Catholic Sunday school in order to teach the fundamentals of the Faith to the youth, at times Joseph even bought the materials needed out of his own wages.

The Polish people though were a tough and uncompromising nation and they soon became disillusioned with the force of the Russian government dictating how they should live and what they could believe, and an uprising quickly developed. Though Joseph knew that they were outnumbered and out armed, his love for his native country came first, and he joined the uprising where he was named as minister for war in the area of Vilna. He took this post on the understanding that he would not accept nor condone the death penalty on anyone. Though Joseph loved his country he loved God first!

In all despotic leaderships they usually persecute the intellectuals first, so was the case with the young Joseph Kalinowski where upon their defeat, the Russians had taken particular notice of this young mans adeptness and his love for his Faith. So it was that in 1864 the Russians arrested Joseph and sentenced him to death which they later commuted to a ten year sentence of hard labor.

For his own people and the peoples of Russia, Siberia was a place of dread where only the toughest made it through its harsh landscape and unforgiving and bitter cold. It was here where Joseph with countless others were sent as they walked their way to Siberia which took 9 months of torture as many succumbed on the way. It was also here that Joseph's strength of character came forth as many looked to him to uplift them in their own agonies. Joseph's profound love of God and the instructions he had received as a child from his loving parents shone forth as he became a beacon of light in a horrific situation. During this time he befriended the Priest who he helped by teaching the children of his fellow prisoners Catechism as they were prepared to receive their first Communion. Through this experience Joseph became more aware of where God was calling him and his heart opened to the thought of the Priesthood, as he continued to assist his fellow prisoners.

Upon his release in 1873 and returning to his native country Joseph found to his sadness that many Religious Orders had been disbanded on orders of the Russian government. This did not deter Joseph and he set off for France where he could study to become a Priest. It was in France that he became a Tutor to prominent and distinguished families and where he taught the young Prince Augusto Czartoryski who went on to join the Salesian Order of St. John Bosco.

Though Joseph loved to teach the Faith to young hearts, still he longed to become a Priest himself and this was to be answered when he joined the Carmelite Order in Austria and chose the religious name Brother Raphael, he was Ordained into the Priesthood in the year 1882, his joy was complete.

Father Raphael returned to his native country to try and help his oppressed people and to bring alive the spirit of Carmel, he also had a deep love for the Sacrament of Penance and encouraged all peoples to empty their hearts of sin and open them to the Light of Christ. It was through the example of Father Raphael that many embraced the ideal of Carmel and so the seeds were planted to be reaped at a later date as the Order of Carmel gained prominence.

Due to the many hours he spent in the Sacrament of Penance, Father Raphael earned the title that the people gave him as "martyr of the confessional." This most holy Priest did not mind the time he spent in freeing souls of the darkness of sin as they embraced and were renewed with the Light of Christ through the Sacraments of the Church.

Through imprisonment and torture this great man never once wavered in his Faith and through his efforts the Order of Carmel would flourish once again in Poland.

Father Raphael Kalinowski died in the year 1907.

Saint Raphael Kalinowski was canonized in 1991 by Pope John Paul II.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Saint Julie Billiart



Julie Billiart was born into tempestuous times as France tinkered on the brink of revolution and civil decline. As it was in 1751 Julie was born into a devout family who loved their Catholic Faith and their country.

Julie was to become acquainted with the piquancy of life when several of her beloved siblings died at young ages which brought great suffering to the Billiart family, this suffering seemed to strengthen the Faith that held this loving family together. This studious young girl loved to study and had a great intellectual curiosity about her Faith and the world around her, which enabled her to excel in her studies and impressed her parish Priest. Due much to her maturity of nature her Priest allowed Julie to receive her first Communion at a very young age before the accepted norm which was 13 years old. When she was only 16 years old Julie gained employment in order to help with the family finances as difficulties arise in the family. Within the bosom of her family Julie was known to be a loving and compassionate girl who tried her best to help out when things needed to be done.

Julie's disposition was such that many admired her ability to work harder than anyone else in order to help her parents look after her family. What impressed many people was Julie's selflessness and gentle compassion to all irrespective of their backgrounds. This young girl who had made a private promise to God to maintain a chaste life became renowned for her prayerfulness and kindly nature. So it came as a surprise that when an extraordinary violent incident occurred within her own family it was to change Julies life forever.

France was quickly heading down the road of insurrection as many had become disaffected with their government and also the Church which some of the more political elements used to try and persecute the Catholic Church within France. This revolutionary terrorism would strike at the heart of the Billiart home when an assassin's bullet missed Julies father by only inches. This was such a shock to Julie that it affected her nerves in a very bad way and she was confined to bed, unable to work or to do anything at all. Though this terrible incident affected her nervous disposition still Julie strove by her prayers to help her family and her beloved France.

It was during this time that Julie's spiritual life gained ground and she grew in wisdom so much so that many came to seek her advice about various situations in their own lives. Though Julie was struck down with this mysterious ailment she did not allow it to embitter her but rather became even more prayerful and turned directly to God for her solace. Even Priest's sought out her wisdom to help them in their arduous vocation most especially during these dangerous years.

Then came one of Julie's biggest dreads her beloved France rose up and so began the infamous French Revolution which would also persecute her beloved Catholic Church. Though the leaders of the revolution tried to destroy the Catholic Church they did not succeed and their own attempts at a 'quasi church' met with disdain from the faithful! This persecution also led this courageous lady into hiding as she was paralyzed, and unable to defend herself for she would not submit to this 'quasi church' and allied herself totally with the Roman Catholic Church and to the Pontiff!

Julie would travel to various places including a short stay in Compiegne the scene of a terrible massacre of some heroic Carmelite Nuns. Julie then moved on to Amiens and in 1794 she stayed with the Vicomtesse Francoise de Bourdon after the terrorist revolutionaries had done their worst.

Julie's presence brought much comfort to the Vicomtesse who had been lucky to escape execution by the revolutionaries! Everybody was affected by this truly horrendous persecution of the wealthy classes, the Church and all those who opposed the revolutionaries reign of terror. Everyone was in a state of nervous tension as France endured the persecutors hatred and many of the faithful were forced to go underground in order to receive the Sacraments of the Church. While Julie stayed with Vicomtesse de Bourdon Mass was often held secretly within her home as Julie continued with her strong prayer life as France and its people were in grave need of God's Mercy and protection.

It was here that the first beginnings of a new Religious Order came to be as many in the area were drawn to Julie's particular strong devotion to prayer and her Faith. It was also here that a very holy Priest would visit and through his prayerful novena which Julie also prayed with him, she was cured of her paralysis, such is the power of prayer.

Through the intervention of Father Varin and with approval of the Bishop of Amiens a school would be opened to help aid the poor children many of whom had been orphaned during the terror of the French revolutionaries. It was also at this time that Julie Billiart took her Vows to join the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame. The emphasis with Julie's Order was education of the young many of whom were abandoned by their parents or were made orphans because of the revolution.

As the reputation of the Sisters of Notre Dame grew for its excellent instruction and care of the young, more Houses were opened under the Rule of the Order. This Rule would turn into an open dispute when a Priest decided to try and impose his own rules which had a different Charism than what Mother Julie Billiart had intended but rather than become embroiled in arguments, Mother Julie chose instead to leave Amiens and begin in Ghent.

Mother Julie Billiart's Order grew as its reputation became widely known and admired. The personality of Mother Julie also played an important part as many could see her obvious piety and holiness with an inherent cheerfulness, there was nothing dour in Mother in Mother Julie. This made her loved and admired by one and all.

Though Mother Julie worked hard the effort to maintain the charism of her Order and its standards of excellence led her to neglect her own health. Mother Julie became ill and with her usual patience she bore all with peace of heart and tranquility.

Mother Julie Billiart died in the year 1816.

Saint Julie Billiart was canonized in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Saint Louis Marie de Montfort



Louis Marie Grignon was born in the year 1673 in the town of Montfort, France to very devout parents Jean Baptiste and Jeanne Grignon. The young Louis spent much of his infancy on the family farm near the town of Montfort, where he helped out with the chores and became an eager learner of the stories told him of heroic Saints but most especially on stories involving the Blessed Mother.

From a very young age Louis showed extraordinary love for the Mother of God and longed to be her servant through the Church. Louis was also very different from many of his contemporaries as he loved to pray much and to offer little sufferings to God in the silence of his heart. He was not so much introspective as involved with God from his infancy, he grasped quickly the fundamentals of the spiritual life even as a young child which caused many to comment on his maturity and wisdom.

At the age of 12 years he left his farm and entered the Jesuit College of St Thomas Becket in Rennes where he excelled in his studies. It was also during this time of instruction and learning that Louis heart became touched by those who were living in impoverished circumstances. Though Louis was a very prayerful young boy he was not whimsical so he set about trying to alleviate and help the sufferings of the poor who were in his neighborhood as best he could in a practical manner.

Due to his studious and serious nature Louis caught the attention of a benefactor and through his help the young man was able to bring to fruition his longing to become a Priest, so Louis left to study at the prestigious Seminary of Saint Sulpice.

His parents were very proud of their erstwhile son and showered him with gifts before he embarked on his journey to Paris, during the journey Louis gave most of these gifts to the poor. Upon arriving though at Saint Sulpice Louis found that he did not have the required amount of money to board there, but undeterred Louis began living in boarding houses so as to continue his studies. Though Louis was very intelligent and his piety was noted by all, he was not elitist in nature and respected all people from various backgrounds, whether Prince or pauper Louis treated all with equality.

Following the practices that was thriving in his era Louis also began to practice severe acts of penance so much so that it would endanger his health, and lead to a spending a short time in hospital recuperating. Upon being released from hospital and still not in the best of health Louis very fortunately was offered a place within the Saint Sulpice.

This school was to alight a fierce love for the Blessed Mother that stayed with Louis for the rest of his life and though at times some of the aspects of Saint Sulpice could be stifling Louis chose instead not to become complacent in his studies nor in his private life as he continued to work hard and to also help the poor. Louis great love was to learn everything he could without becoming opinionated, to become knowledgeable about the Faith without falling into pride, to reach out to the poor without playing lord bountiful. Louis in essence longed for authenticity in everything!

It was in 1700 that Louis dream was fulfilled and he was Ordained into the Priesthood and his first Mass very aptly was at the altar of the Blessed Virgin in the Church that was in the grounds of Saint Sulpice.

Father Louis was sent to Saint Clement in Nantes as Priest. Filled with a zealous love of God and our Lady Louis would become frustrated that others did not necessarily share this same zeal and fire for God and Church. He longed for the mission field where he could preach to his hearts content and most especially spread the devotion and love he felt for our Blessed Mother. This love would set Louis on a course that not even he could have predicted, but of course this lay in the future.

It was in meeting Mme de Montespan a woman of dubious reputation who upon repenting of her loose lifestyle had completely renounced her life of sin for a life spent in loving God and her neighbour, through service to the poor. Through the intervention of Mme de Montespan Father Louis would become chaplain to the Hospital General where the homeless were housed in terrible conditions, Father Louis compassion was aroused as he saw the terrible conditions and abject poverty of the inmates and set about trying to rectify their terrible plight. As Louis was not one for compromising when things needed to be done he became disliked by those in authority at the hospital, being a practical man at heart Father Louis could not see how treating the inmates could benefit either them or the authorities. Unfortunately those in positions of authority decided they had enough of this meddling Priest and so Father Louis had to take his leave.

This unwillingness to compromise would lead Father Louis into troubled waters as upon arriving in Paris he offered his assistance to the chaplains at the Salpetriere which had been founded by St. Vincent de Paul. Through misunderstandings Father Louis was forced to leave this work and then found himself undergoing a short period where even his friends found him difficult which led to friction and soon Louis found himself friendless in a very large city.

During these difficult months Louis was led deeper and deeper into prayer as he reflected on the life of Christ and the Blessed Mother. It is thought that the beginnings of his book 'The Love of Eternal Wisdom' was begun during this difficult period. This time away gave Louis the time he needed to reflect on God's Will for his life and how he can fulfill his mission to serve God through the poor.

It was here that the poor intervened for many had come to love this very holy Priest and it was upon their request that Father Louis with the approval of the Bishop returned to the 'Hospital General' where he became Director and had the authority to see through his reforms to help make conditions more acceptable and more comfortable for the poorest of the poor. Through his hard work Father Louis would inspire many who came to know him and watch him at work with the poor who he loved without patronising them. Two of these would be young women who felt called to the Religious life, one was Marie Louise Trichet and Catherine Brunet these two ladies joined this very holy Priest in his mission to alleviate the sufferings of the poor and give them their due dignity. Later both women would become the first Sisters of the 'Daughters of Wisdom'.

Once again though Father Louis would be met with resistance as his reforms took affect and once again Father Louis was asked to leave the 'Hospital General'. So began another foray to try and spread the zeal he felt towards love of God and in living the Gospels in daily life. It seems Father Louis love of God was the problem as many other Priests became jealous of his obvious charisma and ability to lead others back to the Church.

Father Louis was at a loss he did not know which direction to take next as all doors seemed closed to him, but not the door of Rome and so Father Louis set off to see the Pope himself! He took this step not out of ego or self pity but as a step to find direction to where truly God Willed for him to be, and so he sought a meeting with the Pope.

After speaking with Pope Clement XI, where he confided his longing to be a missionary the Pope decided that Father Louis would serve France better by staying and so he made Louis Apostolic Missionary.

Upon returning to France and after a short retreat Father Louis met Father Leuduger a Priest who was held in very high esteem. During the following months Father Louis spent his time preaching to various dioceses about the need for more and more missionary workers even to his former home, Montfort. Through his efforts a soup kitchen was started up for Louis recognised that if his own people were suffering how could they help the rest of the world and stand by as their own communities went hungry?

Once again though Father Louis came into conflict as his inability to compromise forced him to leave the work started by Father Leuduger. Louis found he dealt better with people on a one to one basis and not as statistics, he loved the interaction of dealing with people from all walks of life without any feeling of condescension. So Louis continued forth in Montfort where he lived in a small community of two other men. Through all these troubles the one consistent fact is that though some had problems with Father Louis including his fellow Priests it became very evident that Louis had the heart of the poor who never forgot the love that this holy Priest gave them as he treated one and all as his betters. Put simply Father Louis was loved by the poor of each area he had worked in. Some spoke affectionately of this devout Priest as "the good Father from Montfort".

All through his life as a Priest it would be peppered with 'instances' as his fellow Priests became jealous of Louis ability to reach out and touch the heart of the people for love of God. It was through his love of the people that Father Louis began the enterprise of erecting a large monument to remind people of Jesus love for them on the Cross at Calvary. He began construction of the monument at Pontchateau with high hopes as people rallied around to see this awesome monument erected to honour Christ's suffering on the Cross at Calvary. It was here too though that once again jealousy raised its ugly head and Father Louis was told to stop construction on orders of the King the Bishop then refused to give his blessing and the whole project was called to a grinding halt.

One can stop and admire the sheer perseverance of this amazing man where no matter what he tried to do or how successful he was nothing he touched seemed to come to fruition not because Louis was flighty but because of the petty jealousies and rivalries of others. What is outstanding is the lack of bitterness shown by Father Louis who never uttered a critical word or spoke out of favour, and he never allowed any of this to stop him from preaching God's Word to those who needed to hear it. This was an extraordinary man amongst ordinary folk, who seemed to set off the wrath of his fellow Priests and some in authority and yet the poor embraced and loved him. Wherever Father Louis traveled and preached many came back to the Church while others embraced the Faith and were baptized into the Catholic Church just from listening to this holy and also totally honest Priest who only had their best interests at heart and was able to convey just how much God loved each one of His children.

During the last years of Father Louis life even though he still preached to whoever was willing to listen to him, he also did his most productive work when writing his thoughts into books which are still considered spiritual classics and are a treasure to the Catholic Church, to this very day.

Father Louis, overcame the jealousy of others, the pain of seeing his work destroyed. He endured the animosity of those in authority while retaining the love of the poorest of the poor. He overcame petty rivalries by keeping his eyes focused on spreading the Good News to all who would listen. He began soup kitchens to feed the poor, and established free schools for those who were to poor to educate their children. He began a new Order called 'Daughters of Wisdom' with the help of his two friends Marie Louise Trichet and Catherine Brunet. He even suffered attempts on his life with equanimity and compassion for his attackers.

Father Louis Marie de Montfort was a man amongst men and a Saint amongst Saints!

Father Louis Marie de Montfort died in the year 1716.

Saint Louis de Montfort was canonized in the year 1947 by Pope Pius XII.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.
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