24.4.09

St Vincent de Paul

Like his fellow saint, Francis de Sales, who was his friend and contemporary, Vincent de Paul performed an invaluable service to the Catholic Church in a period of confusion and laxness. But unlike the aristocratic bishop of Geneva, Vincent was born in poverty, of peasant stock. His birthplace was Pouy, near Dax in Gascony, in southwest France; the year was 1576. Jean de Paul and Bertrande de Moras, his parents, were sturdy farming people who reared a family of four sons and two daughters. Observing young Vincent's quick intelligence, his father sent him to be educated by the Cordelier Brothers at Dax. When the boy had been at school for four years, a lawyer of the town engaged him as tutor to his children, thus enabling Vincent to go on with his studies without further expense to his parents. Vincent continued his education at the Spanish University of Saragossa, and then returned to France to attend the University of Toulouse. At the age of twenty-four he was ordained priest by' the bishop of Perigueux, but remained at Toulouse for another four years to take the degree of Doctor of Theology.

Beyond an aptitude for study and a certain persistence in achieving his ends, there is nothing in Vincent's life up to this time to suggest his future fame and sanctity. He now went on a short journey which was to change his whole life. The scholarly young priest was to be captured at sea by pirates and sold as a slave in Africa! This extraordinary happening came about in the following way. Vincent, having returned home after receiving his degree, went back to Toulouse to recover by process of law a small legacy which had been left him by an old woman of that city. Homeward bound, he made the trip from Marseilles to Narbonne by water, on board a small coastwise vessel. The ship was set upon by three brigantines manned by Barbary pirates, who were at this time a menace to all Mediterranean shipping. When the Christians refused to strike their flag, the infidels attacked them with arrows. Three were killed and several, including Vincent, were wounded. Those who remained alive were put in chains, and the pirates straightway sailed to Africa with their human cargo. Landing at Tunis, the pirates led their prisoners through the streets of the city, after which they were brought back to the vessel and sold to the highest bidder, like cattle. Vincent, bought by a fisherman, was sold again to an aged Moslem, a humane man, who had spent fifty years in search of the "philosopher's stone." He grew fond of his slave, to whom he gave long lectures on alchemy and Mohammedanism; he even promised to make Vincent his heir and also to communicate to him all the secrets of his science if he adopted the religion of Islam. The young priest, terrified that his faith would be corrupted in this alien environment, prayed for divine protection, particularly for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin.

Vincent continued firm in his faith and lived on with the old man until his death, when he became the property of his master's nephew, who soon sold him to a renegade Christian, a native of Nice. This man, a convert to Mohammedanism, had three wives, one of whom was a Turkish woman. She often wandered into the field where the new Christian slave was at work, and out of idle curiosity would ask him to sing songs in praise of his God. With tears running down his cheeks Vincent would obediently sing certain Psalms, among which was Psalm cxxxvii, "By the waters of Babylon," in which the Jews bewailed their captivity. The Turkish woman now began to reproach her husband for abandoning his religion, and kept on until, without herself accepting the faith, she made him return to it. He repented of his apostasy, and he and Vincent made their escape from Africa together. They crossed the Mediterranean safely in a small boat, landed near Marseilles, in June, 1607, then traveled up to Avignon. There the apostate confessed, and abjured Mohammedanism before the papal vice-legate. The following year, accompanied by Vincent, he went to Rome, where he entered the order of the Brothers of St. John of God, who serve in hospitals.

Vincent now returned to France and chanced to be brought to the attention of Queen Marguerite of Valois, who appointed him her almoner. This office gave him the income from a small abbey. For a time he lodged in the same house as a lawyer, who was one day robbed of a considerable sum. He openly charged Vincent with the theft and spoke against him to all his friends. Vincent did nothing save quietly deny the charge, adding, "God knows the truth." For six years he bore the slander, making no further denial, and at last the real thief confessed. Speaking as though the victim had been someone else, Vincent once told this story at a conference with his priests, in order to show that patience, silence, and resignation are generally the best defense of innocence.

Vincent soon came to know a famous priest of Paris, Monsieur de Berulle, afterwards a cardinal. Father Berulle, who at that time was founding a branch of the Congregation of the Oratory in France, recognized Vincent's worth. He found for him a curacy at Clichy, in the outskirts of Paris, and later through his influence Vincent became tutor to the children of Philip de Gondi, Count of Joigny and general of the galleys of France. The countess, a serious-minded woman, was so impressed by Vincent that she eventually chose him as her spiritual director.

In 1617, while the family was at its country seat at Folleville, in the diocese of Amiens, Vincent was sent for to hear the confession of a peasant who lay dangerously ill. In the course of his questioning, Vincent learned that every one of the peasant's previous confessions had been sacrilegious. On his recovery the man declared, in the presence of the countess, that he would have been eternally lost if he had not spoken with Vincent. Unlike the majority of noble women of this period, who felt no responsibility for their dependents, this good lady was concerned about the spiritual welfare of her tenantry. She persuaded Vincent to preach in the parish church of Folleville and instruct the people. Such crowds came to confess that he called the Jesuits of Amiens to his aid. The Congregation of the Mission had its inception at this time.

Vincent left the household of the count that same year to become pastor of the parish of Chatillon-les-Dombes, which had long been neglected, its church virtually abandoned to the elements. By restoring the church, by instituting the habit of regular worship, he created a new spirit which helped to regenerate the whole district. He converted the notorious count of Rougemont and many other aristocrats from their dissolute lives. Seeing how effective Vincent's labors were, the countess now offered him a large sum of money to found a perpetual mission in whatever place and manner he thought fit. Nothing at first came of the idea, for Vincent seemed reluctant to undertake so important an enterprise. Meanwhile the countess secured her husband's help in organizing a company of zealous missionaries to work among their own vassals and the peasants of the countryside. They also discussed the plan for a perpetual mission with the count's brother, Jean Francois de Gondi, archbishop of Paris, who gave them the College des Bons Enfants as a reception house for the proposed new community.

The countess had obtained from Vincent a promise to continue as her spiritual director while she lived and to assist her at the end. She was in failing health and died in the summer of 1625, whereupon Vincent went to Paris to establish himself at the College des Bons Enfants. Now, at the age of forty-nine, he was free to assume the position of director. He drew up rules and constitutions for the house, and these were approved by Pope Urban VIII in 1632. In that year they were given the priory of St. Lazare, henceforth the chief house of the congregation. The Fathers of the Mission thus came to be called Lazarists, although they are more generally known as Vincentians. The Congregation consisted then, as it still does, of priests and laymen who, after a period of probation, take four simple vows, poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability. They live from a common fund and devote themselves to sanctifying their own spirits and to converting sinners. They are employed in missions, especially to country people, teaching the Catechism, preaching, reconciling differences, and performing charitable deeds. Some of them conduct seminaries. Their institutions now flourish in all parts of the world. Vincent lived to see twenty-five more communities founded in France, northern Italy, Poland, and elsewhere.

Extensive and rewarding as this work was, it did not satisfy Vincent's passion for helping suffering people. He started con fraternities to seek out and care for the sick in every parish. From these groups, under the leadership of Louise de Marillac, sprang the Sisters of Charity, "whose chapel is the parish church, whose cloister the streets of the city and wards of the hospitals." Vincent persuaded a number of noble and wealthy Parisian women, who had hitherto never given a thought to the misery of others, to band together as Ladies of Charity, to collect funds and assist in many practical ways. He made plans for the founding of several hospitals to serve the needy sick, foundlings, and the aged. At Marseilles a home was opened for exhausted galley-slaves. It was the custom at this time in France to punish criminals by condemning them to service in the war galleys of the state. Under the lash and chained to their benches, they performed the cruelly hard labor of rowing these cumbersome vessels with their many-tiered banks of oars. After a few years the prisoners were broken and useless; now for the first time they had a hospital and various other forms of aid.

For men about to take Holy Orders, Vincent devised a set of spiritual exercises, and special exercises also for those desiring to make general Confession, or to settle on a vocation. He conferred frequently with the clergy on the correction of the shocking slackness, ignorance, and abuses that were all around them. To the Biblical injunction, "Thou art thy brother's keeper," he gave new practical meaning, by laying down patterns of philanthropy that have been followed ever since. To the worldly society of seventeenth-century Paris he presented a much-needed example of selfless charity.

The great political and religious conflict known as the Thirty Years War was now raging. Vincent, on hearing of the wretchedness of the people of Lorraine, collected alms for them in Paris. He sent missionaries to other countries affected by the war. Recalling his own sorrows as a slave in Tunisia, he raised enough money to ransom some twelve hundred Christian slaves in Africa. He had influence with the powerful Cardinals Richelieu and De Retz, directors of French foreign policy; and was sent for by King Louis XIII, to minister to him as he lay dying. The king's widow, Anne of Austria, now Queen Regent, had him made a member of the Council of Conscience of the five-year-old prince, the future Louis XIV. Vincent continued to be in favor at court, and during the civil war of the Fronde, tried to persuade the Queen Regent to give up her unpopular minister, Cardinal Mazarin, to help pacify and unify the people.

Thus, although he had no advantages of birth, fortune, or handsome appearance, or any showy gifts at all, Vincent de Paul's later years became one long record of accomplishment. In the midst of great affairs, his soul never strayed from God; always when he heard the clock strike, he made the sign of the cross as an act of divine love. Under setbacks, calumnies, and frustrations, and there were many, he preserved his serenity of mind. He looked on all events as manifestations of the Divine will, to which he was perfectly resigned. Yet by nature, he once wrote of himself, he was "of a bilious temperament and very subject to anger." Without divine grace, he declared, he would have been "in temper hard and repellent, rough and crabbed." With grace, he became tenderhearted to the point of looking on the troubles of all mankind as his own. His tranquillity seemed to lift him above petty disturbances. Self-denial, humility, and an earnest spirit of prayer were the means by which he attained to this degree of perfection. Once when two men of exceptional learning and ability asked to be admitted to his congregation, Vincent courteously refused them, saying: "Your abilities raise you above our low state. Your talents may be of good service in some other place. As for us, our highest ambition is to instruct the ignorant, to bring sinners to a spirit of penitence, and to plant the Gospel spirit of charity, humility, and simplicity in the hearts of all Christians." One of his rules was that, so far as possible, a man ought not to speak of himself or his own concerns, since such discourse usually proceeds from and strengthens pride and self-love.

Vincent was deeply concerned at the rise and spread of the Jansenist heresy. He protested hotly against a view of God that seemed to limit His mercy, and no priest teaching that error could remain in his congregation. "I have made the doctrine of grace the subject of my prayer for three months," he said, "and every day God has confirmed my faith that our Lord died for us all and that He desires to save the whole world."

As the end of his long life drew near, Vincent endured much suffering. On September 27, 1660, he received the Last Sacraments, and died calmly in his chair, being then eighty-five years old. He was buried in the church of St. Lazare, Paris. In 1729 he was beatified by Benedict XIII, and canonized by Clement XII in 1737. Pope Leo XIII proclaimed him patron of all charitable societies. His emblem is, most appropriately, children.

Prayer to St. Vincent De Paul

O Glorious Saint Vincent de Paul,
The mention of your name,
Suggests a litany of your virtues:
Humility, zeal, mercy, self-sacrifice.
It also recalls
Your many foundations:
Works of Mercy,
Congregations,
Societies.

The Church gratefully remembers,
Your promotion of the priesthood.
Inspire all Charitable Workers,
Especially those who minister,
To both the spiritually
And the materially poor.

O Lord, give us the grace,
That You bestowed upon,
Your servant St. Vincent de Paul,
To relinquish the temptation,
Of material things,
In our holy effort,
To minister to the poor. Amen.


Jhesu+Marie
Brantigny

Thanks to EWTN for the Biography of St Vincent

Please note some references date St Vincents birth year as 1576 (as this one) and some date his birth year as 1580. The date remains the same. In any event he is in Heaven in the Beatific Vision.

On the Anniversary of the Birth of St. Louis IX of France

Jean de Joinville relates,

...he was born on the day of Saint mark the Evangelist, shortly after Easter.1 On that day the cross is carried in procession in many places, and in France they are called black crosses. It was therefore a sort of a prophecy of the great numbers of people who perished in those two crusades: to wit, in that of Egypt, and in that other, in the course of which he died at Carthage; for many great sorrows were on that account in this world, and many great joys are there now in Paradise on the part of those who in those two pilgrimages died true crusaders...

King of France, son of King Louis VIII and Queen Blanche of Castile, was born this day 25 April,1215 at Poissy; died near Tunis, 25 August, 1270.

Prayer to St. Louis:

O God, who didst call thy servant Louis of France to an earthly throne that he might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give him zeal for thy Church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate him this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Thanks to Christine at Laudem Gloriae who reminded me of this great Saint's birthday

Prayer from St Louis School 925 Grant Ave Louisville, CO 80027

Attention!
Messe Anniversaire
Le Prince de Beauffremont ,et IMB vous invitent à participer à la messe votive du Roi Saint Louis, pour l'anniversaire de sa naissance qui sera célébré: le samedi 25 avril 2009 à 18h00 en l'église Saint Germain l'Auxerrois , Paroisse des Rois de France et en l'honneur du 35 ème anniversaire de Monseigneur le Prince Louis , Duc d'Anjou , Chef de la Maison de Bourbon

Vive le Roy!

Jhesu+Marie.
Brantigny

Click here for more on St Louis...

Secretary Clinton, Congressman Smith Spar on Abortion

It is unfortunate that the worlds "smartest" woman, and supposed womans right's activist knows so little about Margaret Sanger the demi-goddess of the pro-death movement. Via EWTN.

23-April-2009 -- Catholic News Agency. Washington D.C., Apr 22, 2009 (CNA).- During a House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) questioned Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about whether the Obama administration is seeking to weaken or overturn pro-life laws and policies in other countries. Secretary Clinton responded to his questions, affirming that the U.S. government’s definition of reproductive health includes access to abortion.

Rep. Smith began his comments by criticizing Secretary Clinton’s reception of the Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood in Houston in March. Secretary Clinton said she was in “awe” of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and claimed her “life and leadership” was “one of the most transformational in the entire history of the human race.”

Secretary Clinton also said that Sanger’s work was “not done.” Rep. Smith said Sanger’s work was indeed “transformational,” but “not for the better if one happens to be poor, disenfranchised, weak, disabled, a person of color, an unborn child, or among the many so-called undesirables Sanger would exclude and exterminate from the human race.”

“Sanger’s prolific writings drip with contempt for those she considers to be unfit to live,” Rep. Smith said.

Noting that he had read many of Sanger’s articles and books, Rep. Smith characterized Sanger as an “unapologetic eugenicist and racist” who said “the most merciful thing a family does for one of its infant members is to kill it” and also characterized eugenics as the “most adequate and thorough avenue” to solve “racial, political and social problems.”

He quoted Sanger’s book “Pivot of Civilization” in which she decried charitable work as “not merely superficial and near-sighted” but also as concealing “a stupid cruelty” that leads to “the perpetuation of defectives, delinquents and dependents.”

Rep. Smith said it was “extraordinarily difficult” to understand how a Secretary of State could be in “awe” of Sanger, saying she had openly professed views “antithetical to protecting human rights.”

He also charged Planned Parenthood with killing over 305,000 children by abortion in the U.S. and “millions more” worldwide in 2007 alone.

Pressing Secretary Clinton about the policies of the Obama administration, he asked whether the administration seeks to “weaken or overturn” pro-life laws and policies in African and Latin American countries either “directly” or by funding non-governmental organizations such as Planned Parenthood, or through “multilateral organizations” such as the U.N., African Union, or the Organization of American States.

He also asked whether the United States’ definitions of the terms “reproductive health,” “reproductive services” or “reproductive rights” include abortion.

Responding to Rep. Smith, Secretary Clinton avoided commenting on Margaret Sanger or her reception of the Margaret Sanger Award.

She said she “deeply respected” Rep. Smith’s concerns and views, but said “we obviously have a profound disagreement.”

Saying she had visited hospitals in Brazil where “half the women” were greeting new babies and the other half were “fighting for their lives against botched abortions,” she remarked that she had also been in African countries where “12 and 13 year old girls are bearing children.”

She also claimed that the denial of “family planning” in Asian countries “consigns women to lives of oppression and hardship.”

“We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women’s health. And reproductive health includes access to abortion that I believe should be safe, legal, and rare,” Secretary Clinton continued, claiming she has spent “a lot of my time” trying to bring down the rate of abortions.

She argued that keeping women and men in “ignorance” and denying them access to “services” actually increases the rate of abortion.

“We are now an Administration that will protect the rights of women, including their rights to reproductive health care,” she said.

Commenting later on Wednesday about Clinton’s testimony, Rep. Smith said it shows the Obama Administration is plotting to conduct a foreign policy that spreads abortion all over the world at U.S. taxpayers’ expense.

“It is evident that Mrs. Clinton and President Obama want to force the tragedy of abortion upon women around the world especially and including in countries where democratically elected leaders want to continue to protect their unborn children,” Smith said.

“There are other ways in which both mother and baby are protected, cared for and helped— with food, nutrition, clean water and life-affirming healthcare,” he said. “Secretary Clinton’s inability to see this will mean more babies will die and more women will suffer the consequence of abortion as a result of U.S. foreign policy overseas.”


Stalin would be proud.

Jhesu+Marie
Brantigny

23.4.09

A reflection on Earth Day

I remember the first Earth Day,... I found this article on Joseph Fromm's Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit. I actullay remember the contravery surrounding this guy, but not being a radical environmentalist, I put this guy out of my mind. I am reminded...

Earth Day Founder: You Will Know Him By His Fruits, Murder

One of its native sons, Ira Einhorn, was a co-founder of the environmentalist jubilee. But Mr. Einhorn has another line on his resume. In addition to being a environmental guru, and founder of Earth Day he is also the Unicorn Killer. While a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Einhorn dated a Bryn Mawr College graduate by the name of Holly Maddux. When the affair ended in 1977, Mr. Einhorn went into a jealous rage and murdered her. Ira Einhorn was arrested for murder March 28, 1979, the day the Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident occurred. Ira Einhorn, environmentalist, was charged with murder during the same period as one of the greatest environmental accidents in United States history
.

Jhesu+Marie,
Brantigny

19.4.09

Divine Mercy Sunday

Tonight is my fathers wake. As I listened to the Mass reading today realized that the Gospel was especially appropriate. It reads...

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, "Peace be with you."
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
"Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained."

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord."
But he said to them,
"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe."
Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

John 20:19-31

I hate (and I really mean this) to say many of my relatives are either lazy Catholics, or out right atheistic. Some have fallen away because they are from the northeast and the Church stands for right thinking which conflicts with their political views. Some sadly are conservative but deny God his place because they have worked all their lives, made their own way and figure God wasn't their for them.
There are some who married outside the faith and were too weak in their Faith (even though they went to prestigious Jesuit Universities) and were lead away by their spouses. My father was none of these. He was completely "orthodox" as in right thinking. He chastised his sisters, and brother for not going to Mass, and not setting the example for their children.

Like Didimus, they seem to be saying, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." My father did not see yet he believed, and as he believed so did he pray. I am and have been gratified by the knowledge that in his last months with us he was in communication with Our Lord through the Blessed Sacrament. I am certain that far above the ministering of my mother and sister, who have received enumerable graces, the Eucharist is what prepared him the best. I am thankful of that and I thank God that He provided him with the sanctifying grace that the Sacrament brings.

For my mother I add this from the book of Sirach

Happy the husband of a good wife, twice-lengthened are his days; A worthy wife brings joy to her husband, peaceful and full is his life.
A good wife is a generous gift bestowed upon him who fears the LORD;
Be he rich or poor, his heart is content, and a smile is ever on his face.

Sirach 26: 1-4

My father lived 6 months from the time my mother made the decision to bring him home from the hospital, he was given 3 months to live.

Thank you to all those that have sent a comment to my article about the death of my father, I appreciate all those who are taking the time to send condolences.

On Divine Mercy Sunday,

Jhesu+Marie
Brantigny