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June 14, 2010  Online Issue #4

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June 2010

 

This Issue:
 

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos

 

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Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga arrives in Paradise

He went among the ill, bathing them with love and compassion. An angel of mercy, he was very often responsible for bringing them closer to Jesus, preparing them to meet their Savior. He tended them, placing cold cloths on their feverish foreheads, cleaning them, gently washing their pain-wracked bodies. He made their beds, cleaned out their bed pans. No job too menial, too trivial, to him they were Jesus and he had an opportunity to soothe Jesus’ Wounds, as he could not while He was alive. In this way, by soothing their wounds, these “the least of His children,” he was in his small way soothing the Wounds of his Lord. As was expected, the Jesuit priests, aiding the sick and dying, also fell victims to the plague and Aloysius nursing them, caught the death-threatening disease.

Aloysius, believing that this was the end and he was dying, was filled with joy. This was what the prophecy meant; this was how and when he was to die; he was soon to be with his Jesus! Anxious to be on his way, he received his Viaticum and was anointed. His delight was all too premature. To the amazement of everyone, especially his own, he recovered. But the epidemic left its scars; a low fever further crippled him; he was reduced to an invalid barely able to lift his head. He went from bad to worse. Three months after having been afflicted, he was confined to his bed. At night, when he could muster enough strength, he would rise from bed, and he would worship his Lord on the Crucifix. He would painfully shuffle from holy picture to holy picture, kissing our Blessed Mother, all the Angels and the Saints depicted. Then, braced between the bed and wall, he knelt and prayed, for as long as his strength held up.

Paradise his dream, he humbly asked his confessor and spiritual director, if it was possible that anyone could go directly to God in Heaven, without passing through Purgatory. St. Robert Bellarmine assured him it was not only possible, but knowing him the way that he did, it was altogether feasible that he, Aloysius would receive that Grace from God. With that, Aloysius fell into a deep ecstasy that lasted through the night. It was during this ecstasy, he was to learn that he would die on the octave of Corpus Christi, the Feast Day of the Body and Blood of Christ, Jesus in the Eucharist Whom he so passionately loved. On each of the eight days Aloysius would intone the Te Deum, in thanksgiving to the Lord for deeming it His Will that Aloysius would soon see Him.

Those with him, would at times hear him recite, “I rejoiced when they said to me: We will go into the house of the Lord.” At other times, he would say, “We are going, gladly, gladly!” On the eighth day of the octave, he looked so much better, they spoke of sending him to the town of Frascati. But to their dismay, he pleaded to receive Viaticum, as he tried to make them understand he would die before the morning sun. They reluctantly complied with his wishes. When his provincial came into his room to see how he was doing, Aloysius joyfully greeted him with, “We are going, Father; we are going.” To which the provincial asked, “Where?” Aloysius replied, “To Heaven.” The provincial, seeing the great improvement in Aloysius said, “Listen to the young man. He speaks of going to Heaven, as we speak of going to Frascati.”

Evening came. As Aloysius was looking so well and definitely out of danger, they left him with just a couple of Jesuits to watch over him. All the rest were relieved of their watch and sent to bed. But at Aloysius’ insistence, St. Robert Bellarmine intoned the prayers for the dying. The little soldier of Christ lay still, breaking the silence with his occasional whispering, “Into Thy Hands.” No one believed he was dying, until he suddenly turned for the worse. It was between eleven and twelve o’clock at night, when they noticed his labored breathing. He began to sink deeper and deeper into the

The relics of St. Aloysius lie under the altar in the Lancelotti Chapel of the Church of St. Ignatius in Rome, where they can still be venerated. Miracles began to happen immediately. In so short a time, the virtue and piety, the holiness of this young man who lived his life with an eye on eternity, spread to all parts of Italy, the rest of Europe and then across the sea to the United States. Living a holy life on earth, he received the key to eternal life with his Savior.

A word to the young and the not-so-young, Pray to St. Aloysius for purity. He will bring you to Sainthood.

 

 

Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos

We have just released a one hour dvd on the life of Blessed Seelos. See article below.

Francis Xavier Seelos

Family, we must be the most blessed servants of the Lord on this earth.  He allows us to experience the most beautiful and uplifting miracles.  We returned to Louisiana last week, where we experienced Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos.  I use the term “Experience” because we have never had the gift of seeing the power of the following this Blessed has been given by Our Lord Jesus.  His story is fascinating, but even more fascinating is being eyewitnesses to a following of thousands of faithful believers, taking part in a three-times-a-year Mass and Healing Ceremony.  You have had to be there to believe how loved this priest is.  For the Healing Service, which took place after the Mass ended, there were anywhere from 1500 to 2000 people, waiting on line to be blessed.  There were eight priests in four aisles, blessing the people who waited up to an hour to receive this special gift.  And this for a priest whose life was snuffed out by Yellow Fever after being on assignment in New Orleans for only 11 months.  He has a following the likes of which you have never seen.  And hundreds of people give testimony of healings and conversions coming about through the intercession of Blessed Seelos.

But who is this Francis Xavier Seelos, and why is there such a great devotion to him?  There are those who had called him a living saint during his lifetime.  Very few people could have anything but great admiration and love for him.  He was born in Fussen, Germany in 1819.  It was obvious to all around him, parents and clergy alike, that this was a special child, destined to do great things for God and for the Church.  He always wanted the religious life.  He was not always sure how he wanted to serve.  As a teenager, he walked for 50 hours from his home town to Einseidlen, Switzerland to ask to join the Benedictines there.  He was refused admission, only because he was too young.  But the truth is that God had big plans for him in the New World.  He had either a vision or a locution from Our Lady, after which he pledged to give his life to evangelizing as a missionary in the New World.  He became a member of the Redemptorist Order, and came to the United States.  Being a country boy from Bavaria, he was not very happy when he arrived in the United States in 1843, but he wrote to his family that he had made this decision and would live up to it.  He spent the next 24 years ministering to the people of the United States. 

At first, his ministry was to Catholics in western Pennsylvania.  There were only 21 priests for 45,000 Catholics.  Eventually, through the direction of St. John Neumann, who was his first pastor in Pittsburgh, he and other German speaking priests ministered to German-speaking immigrants.  He went from associate pastor to pastor to the rector of the seminary to the head of the Redemptorists, back to his first love, Missionary work.  During the Civil War, years 1862-1865, he and a few other priests went up and down the middle part of our country giving missions and retreats, dodging bullets and the rough behavior of the soldiers on both sides of the conflict.  He appealed to President Lincoln to release the priests and seminarians from the draft.  He and another priest met with the President, who was very cordial, but could not guarantee that this could be done.  However, none of the students were drafted. 

For three years prior to his transfer to his last parish in New Orleans, Louisiana, he was in charge of the Redemptorist Mission Band.  He and a group of other priests would travel all over the middle states, including Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio;, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.  He not only considered mission work to be important, he wrote to his sister in 1863, “It is properly the work in the vineyard of the Lord; it is entirely apostolic work.”

One of his greatest strengths was in the Confessional.  He reminds us of Padre Pio and St. Jean Vianney.  He would spend hours in the Confessional.  He was gentle but firm.  He begged the sinners from the pulpit to come to the confessional.  He said “O you sinners who have not courage to confess your sins because they are so numerous or so grievous or so shameful.  O, come without fear or trembling!  I promise to receive you with all mildness; if I do not keep my word, I here publicly give you permission to cast it up to me in the confessional and to charge me with a falsehood.”  He chided his fellow priests who did not have compassion for penitents; “The priest who is rough with the people does injury to himself….he sins, at least in ignorance…he scandalizes all who see and hear him…Thousands reject the Church and the Sacraments because they have been badly treated by a priest.”

On September 27, 1866, he began his last journey for the Lord, to New Orleans, Louisiana.  As he was traveling on the train to New Orleans, a nun asked him how long he would be stationed in New Orleans.  His reply was “I will be there for one year, and then I will die of the Yellow Fever”, which is exactly what happened.  He spent just short of 11 months in Louisiana, and on September 17, 1867, he caught the lethal Yellow Fever.  He tried to continue with his work, but in short order, he was incapacitated, and on October 4, 1867, he died.  But his time in New Orleans and the work he did there was enough for the priests and parishioners of St. Mary’s Church to realize they had a saint among them.  The works he did, the kindness towards the people, reaching out to the sick and dying, made them aware they had been given a special gift in Francis Xavier Seelos.\

Work was immediately begun on this Canonization, because they knew he was a Saint.  And while it was completed and sent to Rome in 1903, for whatever reason, it was not taken up seriously until the end of the 20th century.  His burial place was even lost in the Church.  When it was definite that he would be beatified, the officials of the Church wanted to make a shrine for him.  And in the construction process, his original tomb in the Church was uncovered.  A miracle attributed to his intercession took place in 1967, when a woman, Angela Boudreaux, who was diagnosed with a massive malignancy in her liver, was healed.  Her doctor testified that there was no hope for her.  However, within a few weeks of praying to Fr. Seelos, she was completely healed.  Pope John Paul II beatified Francis Xavier Seelos on April 9, 2000.  His is a powerful story, one that you should take seriously.  As we said at the opening of this article, we are the most blessed, in that we were able to spend days at his shrine, interviewing Fr. Byron Miller, Joyce Boudreaux, and many other involved in the cause for his Canonization.  We are making a program as we speak.  We pray it will be ready for our Super Saints series in time for his Feast Day, October 5.  Give yourselves a treat.  Go to the Shrine of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos in New Orleans. 

You will be blessed.  We love you.

One Hour - $19.95

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