Wednesday, October 6, 2010




ST. GERTRUDE: A UNIQUE INFLUENCE ON CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY VATICAN CITY, 6 OCT 2010 (VIS REPORT) - In his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square, the Pope dedicated his catechesis to St. Gertrude, "one of the most famous mystics and the only woman in Germany to receive the title of 'Great'", which was given to her "for her great cultural and evangelical importance. With her life and thought she made a uniquely incisive contribution to Christian spirituality", he said. Born in the year 1256, at the age of five "she entered the convent, as often happened at that time, for education and study. There she spent her whole life". Gertrude "was an outstanding student. ... She went on to dedicate herself totally to God in monastic life and for twenty years nothing exceptional happened: her principal activities were study and prayer". Then, at the age of twenty-five, "she had a vision of a young man who took her by the hand and guided her to loosen the knot of thorns oppressing her soul. In that hand, Gertrude recognised ... the One Who saved us with His blood on the cross: Jesus. "From that moment her life of intimate communion with the Lord became more intense", the Holy Father added. She abandoned "the profane humanistic sciences for theological studies, and in her monastic observance she moved from a life she herself defined as 'negligent' to one of intense mystical prayer, showing exceptional missionary ardour". Gertrude, Pope Benedict explained, "understood that she had been distant from God, ... that she had dedicated herself too avidly to liberal studies, to human knowledge, disregarding the spiritual sciences and depriving herself of the taste of true wisdom. Now she was being led to the mountain of contemplation where she abandoned the old self to clothe herself in the new". This German saint "dedicated herself to writing, to revealing the truth of faith with clarity, simplicity, grace and conviction, serving the Church with love and faithfulness, and becoming much appreciated by theologians and men of piety". Among her writings - of which few remain "because of the events that led to the destruction of the convent of Helfta" - are the "'Herald of Divine Love' or 'The Revelations', as well as the 'Spiritual Exercises', a rare jewel of mystic spiritual literature", said the Holy Father. "Gertrude added other prayers and penance to those imposed by the monastic rule, with such devotion and faithful abandonment to God that she aroused in those who met here the conviction of being in the presence of the Lord. And in fact God Himself brought her to understand that He had called her to be an instrument of His grace. Yet Gertrude felt unworthy of this immense divine treasure, and confessed that she had not protected and cherished it". She died in 1301 or 1302. In closing, Benedict XVI highlighted how the example of St. Gertrude "shows us that the focal point of a happy and authentic life is friendship with Jesus the Lord. This is learned through love for Sacred Scripture and the liturgy, through profound faith and through love for Mary, so as to gain increasing knowledge of God and, therefore, to know true happiness which is the goal of our existence". Having concluded his catechesis, the Holy Father reminded the various pilgrim groups present that October is the month dedicated to the Holy Rosary, and that tomorrow marks the feast day of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary. "The Rosary", he said turning to address Polish pilgrims, "is a special prayer of the Church and a spiritual weapon for each one of you. May meditation on the lives of Jesus and Mary be a light for all of us on our evangelical journey of spiritual renewal and conversion of heart".AG/ VIS 20101006 (640)
VATICAN ISSUES THREE SPECIAL POSTMARKS VATICAN CITY, 6 OCT 2010 (VIS) - A note released today by the Governorate of Vatican City State announces the issue of three new postmarks to commemorate, respectively, the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops due to take place from 10 to 24 October, the Romafil Philatelic Fair being held in Rome on 29 and 30 October, and the "LXIV Salon Philatelique d'Automne" being celebrated in Paris, France, from 4 to 7 November. The first of these postmarks - depicting a chalice and the Bible with a map of the Middle East - has been produced by the Vatican Post Office. The images are surrounded by the text: "ASSEMBLEA SPECIALE PER IL MEDIO ORIENTE DEL SINODO DEI VESCOVI. POSTE VATICANE. 10.10.2010". Anyone interested must send the philatelic material to be franked, with a stamped addressed envelope, to the Franking Office of the Vatican Post Office before 10 November. The second postmark, produced by the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Governorate , shows the Roman church of the Most Holy Trinity at Monte Pincio, better known as "Trinita dei Monti". The design is surrounded by the words: "ROMAFIL. MANIFESTAZIONE FILATELICA 2010. POSTE VATICANE 29 - 30 OTT.". People interested must send the philatelic material to be franked, with a stamped addressed envelope, to the Franking Office of the Vatican Post Office before 30 November. The third post mark, also produced by the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Governorate, portrays the Parisian basilica of the Sacred Heart accompanied by the words "POSTE VATICANE. 64eme SALON PHILATELIQUE D'AUTOMNE. PARIS. 4 - 7 NOVEMBRE 2010". Anyone interested must send the philatelic material to be franked, with a stamped addressed envelope, to the Franking Office of the Vatican Post Office before 7 December.../ VIS 20101006 (300)
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 6 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Brooklyn, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Guy Sansaricq, upon having reached the age limit.
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IND. CATH NEWS REPORT: A major new film on the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917 has been been released in this Marian month. The Catholic Truth Society has been chosen to act as distributor for the film: The 13th Day – A Story of Hope. As well as DVDs for home viewing, CTS is supplying screening packs for parishes and secondary schools.This new award-winning feature film dramatically portrays the supernatural events at Fatima in Portugal in 1917. When the world was immersed in a time of war and revolution, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three humble shepherd children, and delivered a powerful call to prayer and conversion.The final miracle of the sun was witnessed by tens of thousands including sceptics.The 13th Day team has used state-of-the-art digital effects not just to bring to life the miracles but also the human drama and emotions of all those involved. Special mention must also be given to the three child actors who take the lead in this moving and faith-filled work of art.The Screening Pack for showing the film in parishes and schools and other organisations includes a licence for publicly showing the film, plus promotional posters and postcards, and helpful notes to assist those organising screenings.. As well as DVDs for home viewing, CTS is supplying screening packs for parishes and secondary schools.Archbishop Vincent Nichols has described the film as: “A remarkable re-telling of the story of Fatima”.For more information and to see a trailer visit:
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Asia News report: Fr George Joshua, an Indian priest, leads the activity. He is an important figure in the struggle for the religious freedom of Indian Catholics living in Saudi Arabia. He tells AsiaNews about the suffering and abuses inflicted upon on the million Christians living in the Muslim country, where every religion other than Islam, is banned.Mumbai (AsiaNews) – More than 700 Indian Christians from the Christ Army for Saudi Arabia (CASA) are fasting and praying for the success of the Synod of the Churches of the Middle East and for religious freedom in Saudi Arabia. Fr George Joshua, an Indian priest who belongs to the Malankara rite, is their leader; he provides spiritual support to Catholic migrant workers from Indian living in Saudi Arabia.In 2006, Fr Joshua spent four days in a Saudi prison for celebrating Mass in a private home and was eventually expelled. A year later, he set up CASA in Trivandarum, Kerala. Across the state, the movement holds prayer meetings to focus attention on the fate of Christians in Saudi Arabia.“There is no religious freedom in Saudi Arabia and no official pastoral care for the over a million who live in the country, of which nearly 3 lakhs are Indian,” he said. One lakh corresponds to 100,000.Over the past few months, CASA has prayed for the Synod hoping that Catholics living in the desert kingdom can one day be free to worship as they please.In the kingdom, priests are not allowed to celebrate Mass, he said. Any activity has to be underground, away from the eyes and ears of the Muttawa, the Saudi religious police.“Recently, a French priest was picked up for celebrating Mass to various groups,” Fr Joshua said. “He was released only after many hours of interrogation.Christians caught praying together are arrested right away, imprisoned and then thrown out of the country.“Catholics can only pray in the privacy of their home and alone. They are not allowed to pray with family or friends,” the priest explained.However, “Starting in 1995, new religious movements have emerged with lay people secretly praying and reading the Bible. In addition, some are even able to teach the catechism to children.”The only priest of Indian origin in Saudi Arabia is a certain Fr John, who caters to the needs of English- and Malay-speaking Catholics, Fr Joshua said.
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Cath News report: Nineteen-year-old Jack Simpson's recovery of his intellectual capacity has been named one of Mary MacKillop's miracles by the Vatican, one that was "held in reserve" as a second miracle required for her canonisation.At the age of eight, Jack suddenly went from a normal child to a collapse, and was eventually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, cancer, epilepsy and a loss of neurological functions. The unprecedented recovery of his intellectual capacity has been held up as a miracle, reports The Age.It was presented to Pope Benedict last year along with Kathleen Evans's cure from inoperable brain and lung cancer - the case chosen as the second miracle.Disaster struck in April 1999, when "he lost all his competencies and became like a new baby,'' his mother, Sharon Simpson, recalls.Andrew Kornberg, director of the neurology department at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, called Jack's recovery miraculous and the Vatican agreed.For the first year there was no diagnosis, as his central nervous system went into meltdown, leaving him paralysed. Soon after the problem was revealed as juvenile MS - with a maximum life expectancy of five years - the family noticed lumps the size of bars of soap in his neck and groin, which turned out to be caused by advanced, stage four Hodgkin's lymphoma.A friend organised novenas (nine-day prayer cycles) to Mary MacKillop at St Ambrose's Catholic Church in Woodend in 1999 and 2000, but nothing changed at first. For Mrs Simpson the turning point came one night in 2000, when she surrendered her son to God, and Mary MacKillop appeared to help her."From then on, I knew I was never alone and her strength became mine.''
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SPECIAL TO JESUSCARITASEST.ORG:Here is my story to the priesthood. I was born into a fairly devout catholic family. We attended Mass each Sunday, prayed the rosary and did some fasting during Lent. We had some crucifixes in our home and religious pictures including one of the Sacred Heart. As a young boy I had the sense that ‘God, church and priests’ were about something good. I looked up to the priests. Three of our parish priests left the priesthood while that was upsetting it didn’t shake my faith in God. In high school I began to receive a newsletter from a religious Order. I had some openness to becoming a priest. I went and lived with that group for my first year of university. I can see where I was immature both personally and spiritually. I left them because I was not ready to proceed on. I traveled Europe for almost a full year. That was an enriching experience for me. Upon returning from abroad I finished off my BA. I went west after graduation and got a job in a pulp mill. One of the workers initiated contact with me. He asked if I believed in God, went to church and prayed. Yes to all that. Still my knowledge of the faith was shallow. I taught for a bit. That wasn’t my vocation. I quit and worked framing houses. During that time I went on a vocation discernment weekend. I left the weekend with two ideas: 1) I wouldn’t know if I had a call unless I gave it a try. 2) I’d be a better person for exploring the potential call. I reconnected with the religious Order that I had been with. I was with them for 5 years – from 1977-1982. Prior to my last year I was told that the upcoming year would be a “make it or break it” year for me. They had concerns about my interpersonal skills. As it turned out I didn’t make the grade. I wasn’t called to renewal of vows. They didn’t believe I had a call to priesthood. Following that I went to Madonna House in Combermere to try and discern what God wanted of me. I enjoyed my time there, but didn’t have any clarity as to whether I was called to be a priest. I returned home to Hamilton and got a job as a pastoral worker at St. Joseph’s hospital. Two things happened there that played into my searching about where I was going in life. I met a lady that was pleasant. It soon enough raised the question of whether I wanted to be married. It was an anguishing decision as I concluded that I didn’t see myself getting married. I met up with a priest at the hospital who was in to visit his parishioners. He heard my story and offered to speak to the bishop on my behalf. I wasn’t ready for that. While at Madonna House I picked up a book. It involved one exercise that was very helpful for me. I was called to make a list of all the jobs I had ever done and what I liked about each one. With the religious Order I had worked in a parish for several months. I wrote about those experiences. It was an eye opener for me. I could see that I desired to do something meaningful with my life. If I could help people love one another – that would be important. If I could help people to get to heaven that would be so much more important. The lure of money wasn’t a strong consideration for me. With this experience with the exercise I felt a need to contact the priest I had met at the hospital. In our conversation he said that knowing what he knew of me he thought I’d be happy with the Peterborough diocese. He arranged for me to meet with Bishop Doyle. He accepted me as a seminarian. I finished off my studies in Toronto and was ordained in December 17, 1988 at my home parish of Canadian Martyrs in Hamilton. I believe more deeply that it is so important for us to know Jesus, to live as He wants us to live and live our lives so as to attain our heavenly reward.God bless, Fr. Ron Meyer St. Joseph's/St. John's ParishPowassan, ON P0H 1Z0705-724-2118 EMAIL:
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Agenzia Fides REPORT –“Education and aid for children, general healthcare, and pastoral care of the youth are among the Church's main priorities in Ethiopia,” Apostolic Vicar of Soddo, Ethiopia tells FidesOn the occasion of the upcoming World Food Day to be celebrated on October 16, Fides met with Bishop Rodrigo Mejia, SJ, who has served as Apostolic Vicar in Soddo, Ethiopia, for 4 years. The country is plagued by this disease cycle that continues to afflict over 925 million people around the world. Fides: How is the country dealing with the problem of hunger?Bishop Mejía: Hunger in Ethiopia is a regular challenge, because people generally live off of the agriculture, there are few industries, and more than 70% of the country is rural. Much depends on rainfall. This year, it has rained heavily in the south, but less in the north. Unfortunately, in the last twenty years there has been an irregularity of rainfall that does not allow farmers to determine the period favorable for planting and harvests. A big problem is the lack of large-scale irrigation systems. The rivers flow downwards from the mountains and canyons, while the fertile land is higher up. Pumps would be needed to reach them, but that would be too expensive. Another phenomenon that occurs is that of the local hunger. There are, in fact, small areas of 10-12 square kilometers in which there is no rain and people go hungry, while at a short distance it rains and people have to eat. Unfortunately, in the land in Ethiopia does not provide enough to eat for everyone. At this time in the country there are about 75 million inhabitants, after Nigeria and Egypt, it is the third most populous country in Africa. Fides: Are there food programs in the country to protect children? Bishop Mejia: We as the Church, in addition to an educational program available to children, are working on providing food for them. Every day, we distribute food to 150 children who attend kindergarten, and so far, none of our children so far has ever died of malnutrition. Unfortunately, there are many others without anything to eat and to help them, we work alongside the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa, who receive donations and food and enjoy a greater freedom in its distribution. In fact, for us there is also the problem of distribution, because without authorization from the government one cannot intervene. It often happens that we have food in storage, but we cannot distribute it to people without their permission. They do not let us work as we would like, because of the great many NGOs in the country, which in reality do not always help the people that much. We have nearly 2,000 children in 13 kindergartens and 3 primary schools and there is not enough food for everyone. Fides: Is the spread of disease particularly worsened by the lack of water in the country? Bishop Mejía: Yes, mainly because of the lack of clean water. We try to remedy the problem with the construction of wells dug by hand up to 50 meters deep, and others dug by a drilling machine, of up to 120 meters in depth. We proceed slowly, for lack of financial resources.Fides: How does the Church intervene in healthcare? Bishop Mejia: We have a very efficient general hospital of the Vicariate of Soddo with 100 beds and five permanent doctors who provide surgery, maternity, and paediatric services. We also have two satellite clinics in two larger villages, assisted by religious sisters and nurses. The government cooperates with us, relatively. Only now, after many years, have they decided to pay two doctors. However, the school teachers must be taken care of by the Vicariate of Soddo. We must always ask permission and give an account of everything we do. The government as such has few resources and the regional government is the one that should help us. Unfortunately, it is a highly populated area and it is not easy. There are almost 400 square kilometers of rural area and the government even asks us for contributions in the construction of roads and bridges. They think that the Catholic Church is a billionaire! Fides: What is your personal role in the Vicariate? Bishop Mejía: As a bishop, I deal with all the pastoral care of 20 parishes and as it is a very young diocese, I am also very involved in pastoral ministry with young people, catechesis, advancement of women, education for justice and human rights that we integrate into the catechesis, projects for the construction of water wells, etc. We also have an office that deals with development projects for which we receive a lot of support, while we receive less for those of pastoral care. People respond very well to the evangelization and there is a large number of catechumens. The country is very poor and there is a high rate of unemployment, although some progress is being achieved with the construction of roads. There are now more schools and universities, but when young people finish their studies they cannot find work. The exodus of young people from Ethiopia to northern countries is huge. We have had to send priests out to the Ethiopian communities in Europe and the United States. The problem is that people leave and do not return. Recently, there are growing Chinese, Arab, and other industries that are bringing a bit of money and work, but we do not know how much benefit it will actually bring to the country. In 2010, the Apostolic Vicariate of Soddo, which has a total population of 4,300,000, 115,000 people were baptized. There are 20 parishes, 22 diocesan priests, 16 religious priests, 27 religious men, and 41 religious women.
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St. BrunoFOUNDER OF THE CARTHUSIAN ORDERFeast: October 6Information:Feast Day:October 6Born:1030 at Cologne, GermanyDied:1101 at Torre, Calabria, ItalyPatron of:possessed peopleConfessor, ecclesiastical writer, and founder of the Carthusian Order. He was born at Cologne about the year 1030; died 6 October, 1101. He is usually represented with a death's head in his hands, a book and a cross, or crowned with seven stars; or with a roll bearing the device O Bonitas. His feast is kept on the 6th of October.According to tradition, St. Bruno belonged to the family of Hartenfaust, or Hardebüst, one of the principal families of the city, and it is in remembrance of this origin that different members of the family of Hartenfaust have received from the Carthusians either some special prayers for the dead, as in the case of Peter Bruno Hartenfaust in 1714, and Louis Alexander Hartenfaust, Baron of Laach, in 1740; or a personal affiliation with the order, as with Louis Bruno of Hardevüst, Baron of Laach and Burgomaster of the town of Bergues-S. Winnoc, in the Diocese of Cambrai, with whom the Hardevüst family in the male line became extinct on 22 March, 1784.We have little information about the childhood and youth of St. Bruno. Born at Cologne, he would have studied at the city college, or collegial of St. Cunibert. While still quite young (a pueris) he went to complete his education at Reims, attracted by the reputation of the episcopal school and of its director, Heriman. There he finished his classical studies and perfected himself in the sacred sciences which at that time consisted principally of the study of Holy Scripture and of the Fathers. He became there, according to the testimony of his contemporaries, learned both in human and in Divine science.His education completed, St. Bruno returned to Cologne, where he was provided with a canonry at St. Cunibert's, and, according to the most probable opinion, was elevated to the priestly dignity. This was about the year 1055. In 1056 Bishop Gervais recalled him to Reims, to aid his former master Heriman in the direction of the school. The latter was already turning his attention towards a more perfect form of life, and when he at last left the world to enter the religious life, in 1057, St. Bruno found himself head of the episcopal school, or écolâtre, a post difficult as it was elevated, for it then included the direction of the public schools and the oversight of all the educational establishments of the diocese. For about twenty years, from 1057 to 1075, he maintained the prestige which the school of Reims has attained under its former masters, Remi of Auxerre, Hucbald of St. Amand, Gerbert, and lastly Heriman. Of the excellence of his teaching we have a proof in the funereal titles composed in his honour, which celebrate his eloquence, his poetic, philosophical, and above all his exegetical and theological, talents; and also in the merits of his pupils, amongst whom were Eudes of Châtillon, afterwards Urban II, Rangier, Cardinal and Bishop of Reggio, Robert, Bishop of Langres, and a large number of prelates and abbots.In 1075 St. Bruno was appointed chancellor of the church of Reims, and had then to give himself especially to the administration of the diocese. Meanwhile the pious Bishop Gervais, friend of St. Bruno, had been succeeded by Manasses de Gournai, who quickly became odious for his impiety and violence. The chancellor and two other canons were commissioned to bear to the papal legate, Hugh of Die, the complaints of the indignant clergy, and at the Council of Autun, 1077, they obtained the suspension of the unworthy prelate. The latter's reply was to raze the houses of his accusers, confiscate their goods, sell their benefices, and appeal to the pope. Bruno then absented himself from Reims for a while, and went probably to Rome to defend the justice of his cause. It was only in 1080 that a definite sentence, confirmed by a rising of the people, compelled Manasses to withdraw and take refuge with the Emperor Henry IV. Free then to choose another bishop, the clergy were on the point of uniting their vote upon the chancellor. He, however, had far different designs in view. According to a tradition preserved in the Carthusian Order, Bruno was persuaded to abandon the world by the sight of a celebrated prodigy, popularized by the brush of Lesueur--the triple resurrection of the Parisian doctor, Raymond Diocres. To this tradition may be opposed the silence of contemporaries, and of the first biographers of the saint; the silence of Bruno himself in his letter to Raoul le Vert, Provost of Reims; and the impossibility of proving that he ever visited Paris. He had no need of such an extraordinary argument to cause him to leave the world. Some time before, when in conversation with two of his friends, Raoul and Fulcius, canons of Reims like himself, they had been so enkindled with the love of God and the desire of eternal goods that they had made a vow to abandon the world and to embrace the religious life. This vow, uttered in 1077, could not be put into execution until 1080, owing to various circumstances.The first idea of St. Bruno on leaving Reims seems to have been to place himself and his companions under the direction of an eminent solitary, St. Robert, who had recently (1075) settled at Molesme in the Diocese of Langres, together with a band of other solitaries who were later on (1098) to form the Cistercian Order. But he soon found that this was not his vocation, and after a short sojourn at Sèche-Fontaine near Molesme, he left two of his companions, Peter and Lambert, and betook himself with six others to Hugh of Châteauneuf, Bishop of Grenoble, and, according to some authors, one of his pupils. The bishop, to whom God had shown these men in a dream, under the image of seven stars, conducted and installed them himself (1084) in a wild spot on the Alps of Dauphiné named Chartreuse, about four leagues from Grenoble, in the midst of precipitous rocks and mountains almost always covered with snow. With St. Bruno were Landuin, the two Stephens of Bourg and Die, canons of Sts. Rufus, and Hugh the Chaplain, "all, the most learned men of their time", and two laymen, Andrew and Guérin, who afterwards became the first lay brothers. They built a little monastery where they lived in deep retreat and poverty, entirely occupied in prayer and study, and frequently honoured by the visits of St. Hugh who became like one of themselves. Their manner of life has been recorded by a contemporary, Guibert of Nogent, who visited them in their solitude. (De Vitâ suâ, I, ii.)Meanwhile, another pupil of St. Bruno, Eudes of Châtillon, had become pope under the name of Urban II (1088). Resolved to continue the work of reform commenced by Gregory VII, and being obliged to struggle against the antipope, Guibert of Ravenna, and the Emperor Henry IV, he sought to surround himself with devoted allies and called his ancient master ad Sedis Apostolicae servitium. Thus the solitary found himself obliged to leave the spot where he had spent more than six years in retreat, followed by a part of his community, who could not make up their minds to live separated from him (1090). It is difficult to assign the place which he then occupied at the pontifical court, or his influence in contemporary events, which was entirely hidden and confidential. Lodged in the palace of the pope himself and admitted to his councils, and charged, moreover, with other collaborators, in preparing matters for the numerous councils of this period, we must give him some credit for their results. But he took care always to keep himself in the background, and although he seems to have assisted at theCouncil of Benevento (March, 1091), we find no evidence of his having been present at the Councils of Troja (March, 1093), of Piacenza (March, 1095), or of Clermont (November, 1095). His part in history is effaced. All that we can say with certainty is that he seconded with all his power the sovereign pontiff in his efforts for the reform of the clergy, efforts inaugurated at the Council of Melfi (1089) and continued at that of Benevento. A short time after the arrival of St. Bruno, the pope had been obliged to abandon Rome before the victorious forces of the emperor and the antipope. He withdrew with all his court to the south of Italy.During the voyage, the former professor of Reims attracted the attention of the clergy of Reggio in further Calabria, which had just lost its archbishop Arnulph (1090), and their votes were given to him. The pope and the Norman prince, Roger, Duke of Apulia, strongly approved of the election and pressed St. Bruno to accept it. In a similar juncture at Reims he had escaped by flight; this time he again escaped by causing Rangier, one of his former pupils, to be elected, who was fortunately near by at the Benedictine Abbey of La Cava near Salerno. But he feared that such attempts would be renewed; moreover he was weary of the agitated life imposed upon him, and solitude ever invited him. He begged, therefore, and after much trouble obtained, the pope's permission to return again to his solitary life. His intention was to rejoin his brethren in Dauphiné, as a letter addressed to them makes clear. But the will of Urban II kept him in Italy, near the papal court, to which he could be called at need. The place chosen for his new retreat by St. Bruno and some followers who had joined him was in the Diocese of Squillace, on the eastern slope of the great chain which crosses Calabria from north to south, and in a high valley three miles long and two in width, covered with forest. The new solitaries constructed a little chapel of planks for their pious reunions and, in the depths of the woods, cabins covered with mud for their habitations. A legend says that St. Bruno whilst at prayer was discovered by the hounds of Roger, Great Count of Sicily and Calabria and uncle of the Duke of Apulia, who was then hunting in the neighbourhood, and who thus learnt to know and venerate him; but the count had no need to wait for that occasion to know him, for it was probably upon his invitation that the new solitaries settled upon his domains. That same year (1091) he visited them, made them a grant of the lands they occupied, and a close friendship was formed between them. More than once St. Bruno went to Mileto to take part in the joys and sorrows of the noble family, to visit the count when sick (1098 and 1101), and to baptize his son Roger (1097), the future Kind of Sicily. But more often it was Roger who went into the desert to visit his friends, and when, through his generosity, the monastery of St. Stephen was built, in 1095, near the hermitage of St. Mary, there was erected adjoining it a little country house at which he loved to pass the time left free from governing his State.Meanwhile the friends of St. Bruno died one after the other: Urban II in 1099; Landuin, the prior of the Grand Chartreuse, his first companion, in 1100; Count Roger in 1101. His own time was near at hand. Before his death he gathered for the last time his brethren round him and made in their presence a profession of the Catholic Faith, the words of which have been preserved. He affirms with special emphasis his faith in the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and in the real presence of Our Saviour in the Holy Eucharist--a protestation against the two heresies which had troubled that century, the tritheism of Roscelin, and the impanation of Berengarius. After his death, the Carthusians of Calabria, following a frequent custom of the Middle Ages by which the Christian world was associated with the death of its saints, dispatched a rolliger, a servant of the convent laden with a long roll of parchment, hung round his neck, who passed through Italy, France, Germany, and England. He stopped at the principal churches and communities to announce the death, and in return, the churches, communities, or chapters inscribed upon his roll, in prose or verse, the expression of their regrets, with promises of prayers. Many of these rolls have been preserved, but few are so extensive or so full of praise as that about St. Bruno. A hundred and seventy-eight witnesses, of whom many had known the deceased, celebrated the extent of his knowledge and the fruitfulness of his instruction. Strangers to him were above all struck by his great knowledge and talents. But his disciples praised his three chief virtues--his great spirit of prayer, an extreme mortification, and a filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Both the churches built by him in the desert were dedicated to the Blessed Virgin: Our Lady of Casalibus in Dauphiné, Our Lady Della Torre in Calabria; and, faithful to his inspirations, the Carthusian Statutes proclaim the Mother of God the first and chief patron of all the houses of the order, whoever may be their particular patron.St. Bruno was buried in the little cemetery of the hermitage of St. Mary, and many miracles were worked at his tomb. He had never been formally canonized. His cult, authorized for the Carthusian Order by Leo X in 1514, was extended to the whole church by Gregory XV, 17 February, 1623, as a semi-double feast, and elevated to the class of doubles by Clement X, 14 March, 1674. St. Bruno is the popular saint of Calabria; every year a great multitude resort to the Charterhouse of St. Stephen, on the Monday and Tuesday of Pentecost, when his relics are borne in procession to the hermitage of St. Mary, where he lived, and the people visit the spots sanctified by his presence. An immense number of medals are struck in his honour and distributed to the crowd, and the little Carthusian habits, which so many children of the neighbourhood wear, are blessed. He is especially invoked, and successfully, for the deliverance of those possessed.As a writer and founder of an order, St. Bruno occupies an important place in the history of the eleventh century. He composed commentaries on the Psalms and on the Epistles of St. Paul, the former written probably during his professorship at Reims, the latter during his stay at the Grande Chartreuse if we may believe an old manuscript seen by Mabillon--"Explicit glosarius Brunonis heremitae super Epistolas B. Pauli." Two letters of his still remain, also his profession of faith, and a short elegy on contempt for the world which shows that he cultivated poetry. The "Commentaries" disclose to us a man of learning; he knows a little Hebrew and Greek and uses it to explain, or if need be, rectify the Vulgate; he is familiar with the Fathers, especially St. Augustine and St. Ambrose, his favourites. "His style", says Dom Rivet, "is concise, clear, nervous and simple, and his Latin as good as could be expected of that century: it would be difficult to find a composition of this kind at once more solid and more luminous, more concise and more clear". His writings have been published several times: at Paris, 1509-24; Cologne, 1611-40; Migne, Latin Patrology, CLII, CLIII, Montreuil-sur-Mer, 1891. The Paris edition of 1524 and those of Cologne include also some sermons and homilies which may be more justly attributed to St. Bruno, Bishop of Segni. The Preface of the Blessed Virgin has also been wrongly ascribed to him; it is long anterior, though he may have contributed to introduce it into the liturgy.St. Bruno's distinction as the founder of an order was that he introduced into the religious life the mixed form, or union of the eremitical and cenobite modes of monasticism, a medium between the Camaldolese Rule and that of St. Benedict. He wrote no rule, but he left behind him two institutions which had little connection with each other--that of Dauphiné and that of Calabria. The foundation of Calabria, somewhat like the Camaldolese, comprised two classes of religious: hermits, who had the direction of the order, and cenobites who did not feel called to the solitary life; it only lasted a century, did not rise to more than five houses, and finally, in 1191, united with the Cistercian Order. The foundation of Grenoble, more like the rule of St. Benedict, comprised only one kind of religious, subject to a uniform discipline, and the greater part of whose life was spent in solitude, without, however, the complete exclusion of the conventual life. This life spread throughout Europe, numbered 250 monasteries, and in spite of many trials continues to this day.The great figure of St. Bruno has been often sketched by artists and has inspired more than one masterpiece: in sculpture, for example, the famous statue by Houdon, at St. Mary of the Angels in Rome, "which would speak if his rule did not compel him to silence"; in painting, the fine picture by Zurbaran, in the Seville museum, representing Urban II and St. Bruno in conference; the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin to St. Bruno, by Guercino at Bologna; and above all the twenty-two pictures forming the gallery of St. Bruno in the museum of the Louvre, "a masterpiece of Le Sueur and of the French school".
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TODAY'S GOSPEL: WED. OCT. 6: Luke 11: 1 - 4
Luke 11: 1 - 41He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples."2And he said to them, "When you pray, say: "Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.3Give us each day our daily bread;4and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation."
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