Wednesday, August 11, 2010



Radio Vaticana report: Martyrdom is a form of total love for God, for the Church and for the World. Marytrs call everyone to a high standard of Christian life, which has the power to transform others and the world. Pope Benedict XVI dedicated his second general audience since the summer break to martyrdom this Wednesday, inspired by the liturgical feasts of figures such as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, Patron of Europe, and St. Maximilian Kolbe.

Below a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Fathers catechesis:
“Today, in the liturgy we remember Saint Clare of Assisi, founder of the Poor Clares, a luminous figure of whom I will speak in a forthcoming Catechesis. But this week - as I mentioned in the Angelus last Sunday - we also remember some Saints and Martyrs, from the early centuries of the Church, like St. Lawrence, Deacon, St. Pontian, Pope, and St. Hippolytus, priest, and from a time closer to us, such as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, Patron of Europe, and St. Maximilian Kolbe. So I would like to touch briefly on martyrdom, as a form of total love of God.
Where is martyrdom founded? The answer is simple: the death of Jesus, in his supreme sacrifice of love, consumed on the Cross so that we might have life (cf. Jn 10:10). Christ is the suffering servant of whom the prophet Isaiah speaks (cf. Is 52.13 to 15), who gifted himself for the salvation of many (cf. Mt 20:28). He urges his disciples, each of us to take up his cross daily and follow his path of total love of God the Father and mankind: " whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me – he tells us - is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Mt 10.38-39). It is the logic of the grain of wheat that dies to take seed and bring life (cf. Jn 12:24). Jesus himself is the grain of wheat come from God, the divine grain of wheat, which is dropped on the ground, which allow itself to be broken, broken in death and, through this, it opens and can thus bear fruit in the vastness of the world "(Benedict XVI Visit to the Lutheran Church of Rome [March 14, 2010]). The martyr follows the Lord to the very end, by accepting freely to die for the salvation of the world, a supreme test of faith and love (cf. Lumen Gentium, 42).
Again, where is the strength to face martyrdom born? From a deep and intimate union with Christ, because martyrdom and the vocation to martyrdom are not the result of human effort, but the response to God’s initiative and call, they are a gift of His grace, which enables them to offer their lives for the love of Christ and the Church, and thus the world. If we read the lives of martyrs, we are amazed by their serenity and courage in suffering and death: God's power is fully manifest in the weakness, the poverty of those who entrust themselves to Him and place their hope in Him alone ( cf 2 Cor 12:9). But it is important to note that the grace of God does not suppress or stifle the freedom of those facing martyrdom, but rather enriches and enhances it: the martyr is a supremely free person, free from the power of the world; a free person who in one final act gifts his entire life to God, and in a supreme act of faith, hope and charity, abandons himself in the hands of his Creator and Redeemer, sacrifices his life to totally become part of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross. In a word, martyrdom is a great act of love in response to God's immense love.
Dear brothers and sisters, as I said last Wednesday, perhaps we are not called to martyrdom, but none of us are excluded from the divine call to holiness, to live the high standard of Christian life and that means taking the cross upon ourselves every day. Everyone, especially in our time when individualism and selfishness seem to prevail, must make our first and fundamental commitment that of growing every day in a greater love for God and for mankind, to transform our lives and in doing so transform our world. Through the intercession of the saints and martyrs we ask God to ignite our hearts to be capable of loving as He loved each of us”.


Asia News report: Two sisters enticed to the capital to work and then sold as servants, forced to suffer beatings and violence. The police reject the report of one of the girls freed, unconcerned by human trafficking.

New Delhi (AsiaNews / AICC) - A 16 year old girl was freed from the hands of a group that for days had been beating and abusing of her and had want to force her into prostitution. The girl was released yesterday in the district of Rohini (Delhi) thanks to the police, Human Rights Law Network and All India Christian Council. The girl belongs to one of the families of victims of anti-Christian pogrom in Orissa. The police however refused to file the girl's report against her traffickers.
The girl, Jyothi [name changed for security reasons], said that she and her sister 19 years were enticed to the capital with the promise of receiving a job. The call came from a woman of Kandhamal (Orissa) that they knew who knew of the poverty in which the girl's family lives. Jyothi and her sister, along with two other sisters, were brought to Delhi in December 2009 and sold to a trafficker named Sakhi Maid Beur in the village of Ratala. The trafficker kept her for six days harassing her, abusing her, forcing her to drink and beating her. Jyothi said that her sister and the two other girls have undergone the same treatment.
Jyothi was later moved to a house in Rohini where she was a servant and where some family members constantly tried to rape her.
The trafficker said he would withdraw Jyothi’s salary and send it to Kandhamal, to her mother, a poor and illiterate woman, who lives in the forest, also a victim of anti-Christian violence in August 2008.
It was indeed the mother who warned the All India Christian Council and who travelled to Delhi to free the girls. But there is no trace of her other daughter.
The complete blindness of Sudir Kumar, Prashant Vihar police chief (Rohini), to the entire episode is shocking. He has refused to file the girls report because her medical report does not say that she was raped. The crime of human trafficking does not seem to interest the law. The group who released Jyothi have decided to appeal to the Police Commissioner and the courts.,-kidnapped-for-prostitution-19168.html

USA: MOVIE STAR PATRICIA NEAL DIES AGE 84 REGRETS HER ABORTION REPORT – Patricia Neal, an actress whose long career began during the “Golden Age of Hollywood,” passed away Sunday in her home at the age of 84. But for the pro-life community, Neal is remembered as a strong advocate who turned grief from her own abortion into positive pro-life example for others.

According to the Associated Press, a family friend said that Neal finally succumbed to her battle with lung cancer at her home on Martha’s Vineyard.
The actress performed both in Hollywood and on Broadway, and starred in films such as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” the science fiction classic “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” “In Harm’s Way” with co-star John Wayne, and many others. Neal’s performance in “Hud” would win her the 1964 Academy Award for Best Actress.
But Patricia Neal’s life was filled with both triumph and tragedy. Her four-month-old son Theo was struck and nearly killed in his stroller by a New York taxi in 1960, and left permanently brain-damaged. Her daughter Olivia, 7, died of measles encephalitis two years later, and Neal herself suffered a stroke from three burst brain aneurysms, while pregnant with her fourth daughter, Lucy. Her husband, well-known author Roald Dahl, was a driving force in his wife’s recovery, but their 30-year marriage resulted in divorce when Neal discovered her husband was carrying on an affair with one of her longtime friends.
Despite all this, Neal’s abortion of her unborn child was the greatest sorrow of her life.
For three years Neal carried on an affair with Gary Cooper, then 47 years old and married, in 1949 when she was 23. The pair, which played opposite each other in the film version of Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead," discovered that Neal was pregnant.
Neal revealed in 1988 in her autobiography, “As I am”, that she succumbed to the pressure put on her by Cooper and believed that having a baby out of wedlock would end her time in Hollywood.
“If I had only one thing to do over in my life,” she wrote, “I would have that baby.”
Perhaps that was one underlying motivation for Neal’s public support of her fellow actress Ingrid Bergman, who gave birth to her own child out of wedlock in 1950, exposing her affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini. For that, Bergman was denounced as "Hollywood's apostle of degradation" by the U.S. Senate. Neal would later tell PEOPLE magazine in 1988 that she wished she had Bergman’s bravery to give birth to her own child, rather than succumb to the pressure to cover up the pregnancy and the affair.
Monsignor Jim Lisante, a longtime friend of Neal and Catholic priest of the Diocese of Rockville Center, NY, told the 2003 National Right to Life Committee’s Proudly Pro-Life Awards Dinner audience that the actress told him 20 years earlier that aborting her child was the greatest tragedy in her life.
"Father, alone in the night for over 40 years, I have cried for my child,” said Neal, according to Lisante. “And if there is one thing I wish I had the courage to do over in my life, I wish I had the courage to have that baby."
Lisante told the pro-life advocates gathered that evening that Neal would reach out many times to other women contemplating abortion saying, “Don't make my mistake. Let your baby live."
Lisante also said that Maria Cooper, daughter of Gary Cooper, became friends with Neal after she ended the affair and told the actress that it took her longer to forgive Neal for aborting her baby brother or sister, than for the adulterous affair with her father.
The Catholic priest presided over Neal’s funeral today. Neal had converted to the Catholic faith largely through the efforts of Maria Cooper, who brought her to visit a convent, where the prioress, Sister Dolores, was a former actress herself.
Jennifer O’Neill, a Hollywood actress, author, and speaker, paid tribute to Neal as a fellow pro-life advocate and post-abortive mother.
“It is fantastic when ‘celebrities’ use their recognition as a platform for truly life-changing issues, not just entertainment,” O’Neill told in a statement. “As the spokesperson for SILENT NO MORE Awareness Campaign – a voice for post-abortive healing – I commiserate with Patricia and applaud her for her efforts on behalf of the unborn. God bless.”
Besides her public advocacy for the pro-life movement, the New York Times reports that Neal also put great time, money, and effort into creating the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. The center serves brain injured children and adults, and the Times reports that Neal, who was once paralyzed as a result of her own brain injury, repeated time and again that the value of life is never diminished by brain injuries, no matter how severe.
“Patricia Neal, through her regret over abortion, took that regret and formed it into positive energy by being a support to some of the right-to-life causes that were dear to her heart,” said Janet Morana, co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.
Neal’s message as a woman and actress who regretted her abortion, Morana said, “will help others to realize that abortion is not solving women’s problems. It is creating many others.”
While Morana was not aware if Neal had ever gone through a post-abortion healing program, such as Rachel’s Vineyard, she said, “I’m sure right now she’s at peace."
Individuals interested in reading about mother’s regretting their abortion can visit the Silent No More Awareness Campaign website or


All Africa report: A one-week All African Bishops' Conference (AABC) will take place in Uganda from August 23 to 29.

This year's theme is "Securing Our Future: Unlocking our Potential," (Hebrews 12:1-2).
According to Edward Gaamuwa, the chairman of the organising committee, the council of Anglican provinces of Africa meeting in Pretoria, South Africa in 2001 resolved to hold an African Anglican Bishop Conference to focus on African needs.
"The Anglican Church is very old in Africa but African problems and issues are still being treated as an appendix to other issues at the church's international forum," Gaamuwa said in an interview.
Some of the aims for this conference include mobilising the bishops to tackle the obstacles that continue to keep the continent in conflict, poverty, corruption, poor leadership and disease.
There is also the need to create a platform for interaction and partnership development and also to expose church leaders to various models for resource mapping, investment, management and global technology.
And how the Anglican Church in Africa is spearheading and participating in global initiatives that seek to address the threats to human dignity.
According Edward Gaamuwa, a message has been developed through which the public can make their contributions ranging from financial support to ideas. "All one needs to do is to use his or her mobile phone to send a message to 8189 and the organisers will get back to him or her."
Bishops of the Anglican Communion from over 400 dioceses in Africa are expected together with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The President of Uganda is hoped to officially open the conference.
Other representatives will come from UN bodies and regional blocs like East African Community, SADC, ECOWAS, representatives of diplomatic missions and the African Union and partners in development and media representatives.
The first AABC was held in Lagos, Nigeria in 2004. This year, the Church of the Province of Uganda will be hosting the second AABC in Entebbe.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – September 6 to 8, there will be a conference on "Challenges of the pastoral mission, organized by the Office for Missionary Pastoral Work (Arbeitsstelle für Katholische Missionarische Pastoral, KAMP) based in Erfurt in eastern Germany. The new office was created earlier this year by the German Bishops (see Fides 14/01/2010).

According to a statement from the German Bishops' Conference (DBK), at the focus of this debate are the premises, difficulties, and possibilities of missionary apostolate today. Participants will address the topic from the point of systematic, ecumenical, and pastoral theology, based on the concrete experiences of the delegates present at the meeting. A second goal of the conference is the creation of a network among those involved in missionary apostolate and the new evangelization in the diocese, in religious orders, associations, and in Catholic communities.

Nearly 50 delegates, representing 20 German dioceses, 6 religious orders, 5 ecclesial communities, and 4 Catholic associations, will participate. There will also be a delegation from the German Protestant Church (Evangelische Kirche Deutschland, EKD).


Cath News report: More than 300 peope gathered in the small Southern Highlands town of Moss Vale on Saturday to mark the death of Blessed Mary MacKillop for a special Mass and luncheon at St Paul's International College.

Women's League Australia Diocesan president Susan Meehan said the Mass was extraordinary, reports the Southern Highland News.
"It was certainly amazing," she said. "There were more than 300 people in attendance, with car loads arriving from Wollongong, Kiama, Nowra, the Oaks, and many coastal suburbs.
"At the Mass itself, Bishop Peter [Ingham] led a very moving homily about Mary's life, her hardships and the fact she never lost trust in God.
"She was very conscious that God would provide when she needed it."
Separately, the MacKillop Cross Pilgrimage, organised by the Knights of the Southern Cross, has made its second stop in Canberra and Goulburn Archdiocese and is moving toward the Victorian border, said a report on the archdiocese's website.
Goulburn was the first stop on the tour, where the cross was taken to Sisters of St Joseph Convent and nursing home. A liturgical reception and private veneration was held, followed by high tea with the sisters.
The journey continued on to St Mary MacKillop College in Canberra yesterday where the cross was received by the students.
The pilgrimage has now moved on towards the Victorian border but will return to the archdiocese with a stop in Galong on 4 September, said the report.


St. Clare of Assisi

Information: Feast Day: August 11
Born: July 16, 1194, Assisi, Italy
Died: August 11, 1253, Assisi, Italy

Canonized: September 26, 1255, Rome by Pope Alexander IV

Major Shrine: Basilica of Saint Clare, Assisi

Patron of: clairvoyance, eye disease, goldsmiths, laundry, embrodiers, gilders, good weather, needleworkers, telephones, telegraphs, television
The Lady Clare, "shining in name, more shining in life," was born in the town of Assisi about the year 1193. Her mother was to become Blessed Ortolana di Fiumi. Her father is said to have been Favorino Scifi, Count of Sasso-Rosso, though whether he came of that noble branch of the Scifi family is not certain. Concerning Clare's childhood we have no reliable information. She was eighteen years old when St. Francis, preaching the Lenten sermons at the church of St. George in Assisi, influenced her to change the whole course of her life. It is likely that a marriage not to her liking had been proposed; at any rate, she went secretly to see Friar Francis and asked him to help her to live "after the manner of the Holy Gospel." Talking with him strengthened her desire to leave all worldly things behind and live for Christ. On Palm Sunday of that year, 1212, she came to the cathedral of Assisi for the blessing of palms, but when the others went up to the altar-rails to receive their branch of green, a sudden shyness kept Clare back. The bishop saw it and came down from the altar and gave her a branch.
The following evening she slipped away from her home and hurried through the woods to the chapel of the Portiuncula, where Francis was then living with his small community. He and his brethren had been at prayers before the altar and met her at the door with lighted tapers in their hands. Before the Blessed Virgin's altar Clare laid off her fine cloak, Francis sheared her hair, and gave her his own penitential habit, a tunic of coarse cloth tied with a cord. Then, since as yet he had no nunnery, he took her at once for safety to the Benedictine convent of St. Paul, where she was affectionately welcomed.
When it was known at home what Clare had done, relatives and friends came to rescue her. She resisted valiantly when they tried to drag her away, clinging to the convent altar so firmly as to pull the cloths half off. Baring her shorn head, she declared that Christ had called her to His service, she would have no other spouse, and the more they continued their persecutions the more steadfast she would become. Francis had her removed to the nunnery of Sant' Angelo di Panzo, where her sister Agnes, a child of fourteen, joined her. This meant more difficulty for them both, but Agnes' constancy too was victorious, and in spite of her youth Francis gave her the habit. Later he placed them in a small and humble house, adjacent to his beloved church of St. Damian, on the outskirts of Assisi, and in 1215, when Clare was about twenty-two, he appointed her superior and gave her his rule to live by. She was soon joined by her mother and several other women, to the number of sixteen. They had all felt the strong appeal of poverty and sackcloth, and without regret gave up their titles and estates to become Clare's humble disciples. Within a few years similar convents were founded in the Italian cities of Perugia, Padua, Rome, Venice, Mantua, Bologna, Milan, Siena, and Pisa, and also in various parts of France and Germany. Agnes, daughter of the King of Bohemia, established a nunnery of this order in Prague, and took the habit herself.
The "Poor Clares," as they came to be known, practiced austerities which until then were unusual among women. They went barefoot, slept on the ground, observed a perpetual abstinence from meat, and spoke only when obliged to do so by necessity or charity. Clare herself considered this silence desirable as a means of avoiding the innumerable sins of the tongue, and for keeping the mind steadily fixed on God. Not content with the fasts and other mortifications required by the rule, she wore next her skin a rough shirt of hair, fasted on vigils and every day in Lent on bread and water, and on some days ate nothing. Francis or the bishop of Assisi sometimes had to command her to lie on a mattress and to take a little nourishment every day.
Discretion, came with years, and much later Clare wrote this sound advice to Agnes of Bohemia: "Since our bodies are not of brass and our strength is not the strength of stone, but instead we are weak and subject to corporal infirmities, I implore you vehemently in the Lord to refrain from the exceeding rigor of abstinence which I know you practice, so that living and hoping in the Lord you may offer Him a reasonable service and a sacrifice seasoned with the salt of prudence."
Francis, as we know, had forbidden his order ever to possess revenues or lands or other property, even when held in common. The brothers were to subsist on daily contributions from the people about them. Clare also followed this way of life. When she left home she had given what she had to the poor, retaining nothing for her own needs or those of the convent. Pope Gregory IX proposed to mitigate the requirement of absolute poverty and offered to settle a yearly income on the Poor Ladies of St. Damien. Clare, eloquent in her determination never to break her vows to Christ and Francis, got permission to continue as they had begun. "I need," she said, "to be absolved from my sins, but I do not wish to be absolved from my obligation to follow Jesus Christ." In 1228, therefore, two years after Francis' death, the Pope granted the Assisi sisterhood a Privilegium paupertatis, or Privilege of Poverty, that they might not be constrained by anyone to accept possessions. "He who feeds the birds of the air and gives raiment and nourishment to the lilies of the field will not leave you in want of clothing or of food until He come Himself to minister to you for eternity." The convents in Perugia and Florence asked for and received this privilege; other convents thought it more prudent to moderate their poverty. Thus began the two observances which have ever since been perpetuated among the Poor Clares, as they later came to be called. The houses of the mitigated rule are called Urbanist, from the concession granted them in 1263 by Pope Urban IV. But as early as 1247 Pope Innocent IV had published a revised form of the rule, providing for the holding of community property. Clare, the very embodiment of the spirit and tradition of Francis, drew up another rule stating that the sisters should possess no property, whether as individuals or as a community. Two days before she died this was approved by Pope Innocent for the convent of St. Damian.
Clare governed the convent continuously from the day when Francis appointed her abbess until her death, a period of nearly forty years. Yet it was her desire always to be beneath all the rest, serving at table, tending the sick, washing and kissing the feet of the lay sisters when they returned footsore from begging. Her modesty and humility were such that after caring for the sick and praying for them, she often had other sisters give them further care, that their recovery might not be imputed to any prayers or merits of hers. Clare's hands were forever willing to do whatever there was of woman's work that could help Francis and his friars. "Dispose of me as you please," she would say. "I am yours, since I have given my will to God. It is no longer my own." She would be the first to rise, ring the bell in the choir, and light the candles; she would come away from prayer with radiant face.
The power and efficacy of her prayers are illustrated by a story told by Thomas of Celano, a contemporary. In 1244, Emperor Frederick II, then at war with the Pope, was ravaging the valley of Spoleto, which was part of the patrimony of the Holy See. He employed many Saracens in his army, and a troop of these infidels came in a body to plunder Assisi. St. Damien's church, standing outside the city walls, was one of the first objectives. While the marauders were scaling the convent walls, Clare, ill as she was, had herself carried out to the gate and there the Sacrament was set up in sight of the enemy. Prostrating herself before it, she prayed aloud: "Does it please Thee, O God, to deliver into the hands of these beasts the defenseless children whom I have nourished with Thy love? I beseech Thee, good Lord, protect these whom now I am not able to protect." Whereupon she heard a voice like the voice of a little child saying, "I will have them always in My care." She prayed again, for the city, and again the voice came, reassuring her. She then turned to the trembling nuns and said, "Have no fear, little daughters; trust in Jesus." At this, a sudden terror seized their assailants and they fled in haste. Shortly afterward one of Frederick's generals laid siege to Assisi itself for many days. Clare told her nuns that they, who had received their bodily necessities from the city, now owed it all the assistance in their power. She bade them cover their heads with ashes and beseech Christ as suppliants for its deliverance. For a whole day and night they prayed with all their might- and with many tears, and then "God in his mercy so made issue with temptation that the besiegers melted away and their proud leader with them, for all he had sworn an oath to take the city."
Another story, which became very popular in later times, told how Clare and one of her nuns once left their cloister and went down to the Portiuncula to sup with Francis, and how a marvelous light radiated from the room where they sat together. However, no contemporary mentions this story, nor any other writer for at least one hundred and fifty years, whereas Thomas of Celano says that he often heard Francis warning his followers to avoid injudicious association with the sisters, and he states flatly that Clare never left the enclosure of St. Damian.
During her life and after her death there was disagreement at intervals between the Poor Clares and the Brothers Minor as to their correct relations. The nuns maintained that the friars were under obligation to serve their needs in things both spiritual and temporal. When in 1230 Pope Gregory IX forbade the friars to visit the convents of the nuns without special license, Clare feared the edict might lead to a complete severing of the ties established by Francis. She thereupon dismissed every man attached to her convent, those who served their material needs as well as those who served them spiritually; if she could not have the one, she would not have the other. The Pope wisely referred the matter to the minister general of the Brothers Minor to adjust. After long years of sickness borne with sublime patience, Clare's life neared its end in the summer of 1253. Pope Innocent IV came to Assisi to give her absolution, remarking, "Would to God I had so little need of it!" To her nuns she said, "Praise the Lord, beloved daughters, for on this most blessed day both Jesus Christ and his vicar have deigned to visit me." Prelates and cardinals gathered round, and many people were convinced that the dying woman was truly a saint. Her sister Agnes was with her, as well as three of the early companions of Francis-Leo, Angelo, and Juniper. They read aloud the Passion according to St. John, as they had read it at the death-bed of Francis twenty-seven years before. Someone exhorted Clare to patience and she replied, "Dear brother, ever since through His servant Francis I have known the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, I have never in my whole life found any pain or sickness that could trouble me." To herself she was heard to say, "Go forth without fear, Christian soul, for you have a good guide for your journey. Go forth without fear, for He that created you has sanctified you, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother."
Pope Innocent IV and his cardinals assisted at the funeral of the abbess. The Pope would have had her canonized immediately had not the cardinals present advised against it. His successor, Alexander IV, canonized her after two years, in 1255, at Anagni. Her body, which lay first in the church of St. George in Assisi, was translated to a stately church built to receive it in 1260. Nearly six hundred years later, in 1850, it was discovered, embalmed and intact, deep down beneath the high altar, and subsequently removed to a new shrine in the crypt, where, lying in a glass case, it may still be seen. In 1804 a change was made in the rule of the Poor Clares, originally a contemplative order, permitting these religious to take part in active work. Today there are houses of the order in North and South America, Palestine, Ireland, England, as well as on the Continent. The emblem of St. Clare is a monstrance, and in art she is frequently represented with a ciborium. Saint Clare, Virgin, Foundress of the Poor Clares. Celebration of Feast Day is August 12th by the pre-1970 liturgical calendar and August 11th (the actual date of her death) by the present one.

St. Philomena

Feast: August 11
Major Shrine: Church of Our Lady of Grace in Mugnano del Cardinale
Patron of: Children, youth, babies, infants, lost causes, sterility, virgins, Children of Mary, The Universal Living Rosary Association
On 25 May, 1802, during the quest for the graves of Roman martyrs in the Catacomb of Priscilla, a tomb was discovered and opened; as it contained a glass vessel it was assumed to be the grave of a martyr. The view, then erroneously entertained in Rome, that the presence of such vessels (supposed to have contained the martyr's blood) in a grave was a symbol of martyrdom, has been rejected in practice since the investigations of De Rossi (cf. Leclercq in "Dict. d.archéol. chrét. et de liturg.", s.v. Ampoules de sang). The remains found in the above-mentioned tomb were shown to be those of a young maiden, and, as the name Filumena was discovered on the earthenware slabs closing the grave, it was assumed that they were those of a virgin martyr named Philumena. On 8 June, 1805, the relics were translated to the church of Mungano, Diocese of Nola (near Naples), and enshrined under one of its altars. In 1827 Leo XII presented the church with the three earthenware tiles, with the inscription, which may be seen in the church even today. On the basis of alleged revelations to a nun in Naples, and of an entirely fanciful and indefensible explanation of the allegorical paintings, which were found on the slabs beside the inscription, a canon of the church in Mugnano, named Di Lucia, composed a purely fictitious and romantic account of the supposed martyrdom of St. Philomena, who is not mentioned in any of the ancient sources. In consequence of the wonderful favours received in answer to prayer before the relics of the saint at Mugnano, devotion to them spread rapidly, and, after instituting investigations into the question, Gregory XVI appointed a special feast to be held on 9 September, "in honorem s. Philumenae virginis et martyris" (cf. the lessons of this feast in the Roman Breviary). The earthenware plates were fixed in front of the grave as follows: LUMENA PAX TECUM FI. The plates were evidently inserted in the wrong order, and the inscription should doubtless read PAX TECUM FILUMENA. The letters are painted on the plates with red paint, and the inscription belongs to the primitive class of epigraphical memorials in the Catacomb of Priscilla, thus, dating from about the middle or second half of the second century. The disarrangement of the inscription proves that it must have been completed before the plates were put into position, although in the numerous other examples of this kind in the same catacomb the inscription was added only after the grave had been closed. Consequently, since the disarrangement of the plates can scarcely be explained as arising from an error, Marucchi seems justified in concluding that the inscription and plates originally belonged to an earlier grave, and were later employed (now in the wrong order) to close another. Apart from the letters, the plates contain three arrows, either as adecoration or a punctuation, a leaf as decoration, two anchors, and a palm as the well-known Christian symbols. Neither these signs nor the glass vessel discovered in the grave can be regarded as a proof of martyrdom.


John 15: 4 - 10

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.

7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.

8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.

9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.

10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.