Saturday, October 3, 2015

Catholic News World : Sat. October 3, 2015 - SHARE


Latest #News from #Vatican Information Service and #PopeFrancis at #HolySee

02-10-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 171 

- Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri explains how the Synod on the Family will unfold
- Statement by the Director of the Holy See Press Office
- Cardinals to take possession of their titular churches
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri explains how the Synod on the Family will unfold
Vatican City, 2 October 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, gave a presentation of the phases and methods of the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world”, which will commence on Sunday 4 October.
Tomorrow evening, in St. Peter's Square, in the presence of the Holy Father, a prayer vigil will be held in preparation for the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be attended by the Synod Fathers, the participants in the Synod and all the faithful of the world, on an initiative of the Italian Episcopal Conference, which has invited families, movements and ecclesial associations. At nightfall the beauty of the family will shine through lighted torches. The trustful invocation of the Holy Spirit by the People of God is the prelude to the work of the Synod; indeed, we recall the important tone given to the last Extraordinary General Assembly by the Holy Father, with the powerful homily he gave during the Vigil.
The Mass on Sunday morning, presided by the Holy Father, will signal the opening of the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod on 'The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world', allowing all the faithful of the world to join the common path of the pastors cum Petro et sub Petro.
This Assembly is the culmination of the synodal journey undertaken two years ago, with the distribution of the first questionnaire to all the particular Churches, enabling the profile of the family in the world, its riches and its challenges, to be outlined. The Extraordinary General Assembly then prepared a Final Report (Relatio Synodi) which raised further questions; the answers have been incorporated in today's Instrumentum Laboris. With this text in hand, composed of the Relatio Synodi and by the contributions of the particular Churches, the Fathers are preparing to listen to the challenges faced by the family, to discern its vocation, and to announce its mission.
Composition of the Ordinary General Assembly
In accordance with the Ordo Synodi Episcoporum (Art. 5 § 1), the Ordinary General Assembly will be attended by the Heads of the sui iuris Oriental Catholic Churches, the bishops elected by the Synod of Bishops and the Councils of the Hierarchy of the Oriental Catholic Churches, the bishops elected by the Episcopal Conferences, ten religious elected by the Union of Superiors General and the heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia. In addition, the Holy Father also appoints some Members, in accordance with the same Synod regulations (Art. 5 § 4).
A total of 270 Synod Fathers will participate in this Assembly. They are divided into the following three categories: 42 ex officio, 183 ex electione and 45 ex nominatione pontificia. The Fathers originate from the five continents, as follows: 54 from Africa, 64 from America, 36 from Asia, 107 from Europe and 9 from Oceania.
The Members ex officio comprise the heads of the 15 Synods of Bishops of the sui iuris Oriental Catholic Churches; 25 heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia; the general secretary and the under Secretary.
The 270 Synod Fathers include: 74 cardinals (including one cardinal Patriarch and 2 major archbishops), six Patriarchs, one major archbishop, 72 archbishops (including three titular), 102 bishops (including six auxiliaries, three apostolic vicars and one emeritus), two parish priests and 13 religious. In addition, other invitees from different cultures and nations will take part in this Synod Assembly (cf. Art. 7 Ordo Synodi): 24 experts and collaborators of the Special Secretary, 51 auditors and 14 fraternal delegates. Noteworthy is the fact that, since this is an Assembly dedicated to the family, particular importance is given to spouses, parents and family heads, of whom a total of 18 are present (17 auditors and one among the experts). Finally, we are pleased to welcome the fraternal delegates who, as representatives of other Churches and ecclesial communities, certainly share with the Catholic Church a concern for evangelisation and the pastoral care of families in today's world.
Synod methodology
Starting from the experience gained during the Third Extraordinary General Assembly last October and taking into account various suggestions have come from many sides, especially by the Synod Fathers, the General Secretariat of the Synod has developed a new methodology to apply the Ordinary General Assembly, approved by the Holy Father at the meeting of the Ordinary Council of the Secretariat on 25-26 May 2015.
Given the methodology of the previous synods, the majority of the Fathers suggested that the General Assembly is made more dynamic and participatory through the distribution of interventions among the individual members at different times, enabling more attention to be devoted each contribution. In addition, the Fathers requested the enhancement of the work in the Circuli Minores, where there is more active participation in the discussion, more direct and immediate connection between the Fathers in their own language, and in which the auditors and fraternal delegates can intervene.
The result of the first Synod phase, devloped during the last Extraordinary General Assembly, was the Relatio Synodi, which became, together with an attached series of questions, the Lineamenta of the Ordinary General Assembly presented to the particular Churches and to all other entitled persons. The Instrumentum Laboris, resulting from the composition of the Relatio Synodi and the answers related to it, it is the foundational document of this Synod Assembly.
In the opening session, the President Delegate will greet the Holy Father, who will open the meeting. This will be followed by reports from the General Secretary and the General Rapporteur. The General Rapporteur will then present the themes of the First Part (“Listening to the challenges to the family”; cf. Instrumentum Laboris Nos. 6-36). After the testimony of a married couple (auditors), the interventions of the Synod Fathers in the General Congregations, will begin. Their contribution constitutes a development of the basic text.
This will be followed by the sessions of the Circuli minori, in which the Fathers reflect on the basic text supplemented by the contributions made in the assembly hall, in order to develop the “ways” in which the text continues to mature. At the end of the sessions, the rapporteur from each Circulo presents a brief report of their work and indicates the supplements to be inserted in the base text. The reports of the Working Groups will be made public.
The same process is repeated for the Second Part (“The discernment of the vocation of the family”; cf. Instrumentum Laboris Nos. 37-68) and the Third Party (“The mission of the family today”; cf. Instrumentum Laboris Nos. 69 -147), during the following two weeks.
The Commission for the Elaboration of the Final Report, appointed by the Holy Father, in which all five continents are represented, consists of: Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest (Hungary), Rapporteur General; the General Secretary; Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto (Italy); Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay (India); Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington (United States of America); Cardinal John Atcherley Dew, archbishop of Wellington (New Zealand); Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina (Argentina); Bishop Mathieu Madega Lebouakehan of Mouila (Gabon); Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano (Italy); Father Adolfo Nicolas Pachon, superior general of the Society of Jesus, representing the Union of Superiors General.
The Commission has the duty of following each stage of the project; therefore, it meets at the end of the work on each part and in drafting the final document. At the end of the three stages of work, the Commission oversees preparation of the draft of the Final Report, to be presented in plenary session. Bearing in mind that this project is the composition of three texts that have already been received in the Circuli minores – whose reports were read in plenary and published – further interventions must be advanced with regard to the collective work conducted so far.
Subsequently, the above Commission oversees the preparation of the final text of the Relatio finalis, to be presented on the morning of Saturday 24 October in plenary session and submitted for approval to the Assembly in the afternoon.
In accordance with the nature of the Synod, this document, the result of the collective work of the Fathers (cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 343), will be consigned to the Holy Father (cf. Ordo Synodi Episcoporum, Art. 23 § 4), who is responsible for decisions.
4) Given the large number of those entitled to speak (318 Fathers, the fraternal delegates and auditors) and the extra space reserved for Circuli minores (13 sessions), each speaker has the right to speak in the House for three minutes and to intervene extensively in the Circuli. As in the past, the General Congregations are granted one hour each, dedicated to free interventions by the Fathers. In addition, it is always possible to submit other written texts to the General Secretariat, in addition to the texts in paper and electronic formats presented in the Assembly Hall.
5) Considering that media communication and information during the last Extraordinary General Assembly was abundant and comprehensive, the same methods will also be used in relation to this General Assembly. In this regard, it is essential to bear in mind the basic criterion mentioned by the Holy Father on a number of occasions: the Synod must be a safe space so that the Holy Spirit can act and so that the Fathers have the freedom to express themselves with parresia.
During the three weeks, the briefing will be maintained as the basis for providing information; it will however be expanded, with a greater presence of the Synod Fathers, and using all available means of communication. The Fathers are free to communicate with the media at their own discretion and responsibility. The various stages in the development of the basic document remain confidential, since during the synodal process, the texts are subject to continuous developments right up to the final draft. However, the reports of the Circuli minori on the three aspects of the work of the Synod will be published. A special Commission, together with the Holy See Press Office, will as usual be responsible for providing information on the Synod.
Further information
On Saturday 17 October from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Synod of Bishops will take place in the Paul VI Hall. The event is open to all who wish to participate, as well as those attending the Synod. In the mind of Blessed Paul VI, who instituted it on 15 September 1965, the Synod was intended to perpetuate the spirit of Vatican Council II in the Church, so that even after its conclusion, it would continue to receive that 'great abundance of benefits that we have been so happy to see flow to the Christian people during the time of the Council as a result of Our close collaboration with the bishops'.
After the introduction by the General Secretary, the commemorative report will be entrusted to Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna and president of the Episcopal Conference of Austria. There will then be communications from five prelates representing all continents (Cardinal Gerald Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster and president of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales, for Europe; Archbishop Francisco Chimoio of Maputo, for Africa; Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, archbishop of Santiago del Chile and president of the Episcopal Conference of Chile, for the Americas; His Beatitude Raphael I Louis Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, and Head of the Synod of the Chaldean Church, for Asia; and Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi, bishop of Tonga and president of the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific, for Oceania). Lastly, the Holy Father will give the concluding address.
On Sunday 18 October at 10:30 am in the Vatican Basilica, there will be a Mass for the canonisation of, among others, the Blessed spouses Louis Martin and Marie-Azelie Guérin, parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus.
In the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome, the People of God are invited to accompany with prayer the work of the Synod, invoking the protection of the Salus Populi Romani and the Blessed Martin couple, whose relics are exhibited there. Every day the Holy Rosary will be recited at 5 p.m. and Mass will be celebrated at 6. In the first week we will pray for children, in the second for parents, and for grandparents in the third.
Near the Synod Hall there will be, as usual, a chapel for prayer for the participants in the Synod, where the relics of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, her parents and the Beltrame Quattrocchi spouses will be displayed”.
Statement by the Director of the Holy See Press Office
Vatican City, 2 October 2015 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., today issued the following statement regarding the Pope's meeting with Kim Davis, an American public official who spent five days in prison for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“The brief meeting between Mrs. Kim Davis and Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C. has continued to provoke comments and discussion. In order to contribute to an objective understanding of what transpired I am able to clarify the following points:
 Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington D.C. for New York City. Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability. The only real audience granted by the Pope at the nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.
“The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects”.
Cardinals to take possession of their titular churches
Vatican City, 2 October 2015 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that on Sunday 11 October the following cardinals will take possession of their titular churches.
At 11 a.m., Cardinal Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij, archbishop of Bangkok, Thailand, will take possession of the title of Santa Maria Addolorata (Viale della Venezia Giulia, 134).
At 11.15 a.m. Cardinal Alberto Suarez Inda, archbishop of Morelia, Mexico, will take possession of the title of San Policarpo (Piazza Aruleno Celio Sabino, 50).
At 11.30 a.m., Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, S.D.B., archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar, will take possession of the title of Sant’Ireneo a Centocelle (Via dei Castani, 291).
At 12.00 p.m., Cardinal Ricardo Blazquez Perez, archbishop of Valladolid, Spain, will take possession of the title of Santa Maria in Vallicella (Via del Governo Vecchio, 134).
Vatican City, 2 October 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Alexandros Couyou, ambassador of Greece, presenting his credential letters;
- Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;
- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples;
- Archbishop Thomas E. Gullickson, apostolic nuncio in Switzerland and in Liechtenstein;
- the 200 participants in the meeting organised to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Servant of God, Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 2 October 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Fr. Jan Dubina, Slovakia, as papal master of ceremonies.

#PopeFrancis "....we can educate ourselves in humanity to recognize the humanity present in every person in need.”

Pope Francis during audience with Italian Food Bank Organization - ANSA
Pope Francis during audience with Italian Food Bank Organization - ANSA
03/10/2015 12:

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Saturday held an audience with the members of the Banco Alimentare, a charitable network which redistributes unused food products to the poor and needy.
Founded in 1989 by Sir Danilo Fossati and Father Luigi Giussani,  Banco Alimentare is a Food Bank whose charitable efforts promote the recovery of excess food and redistribute it to charitable structures within Italy.  Around 2,000 volunteers per day work to redistribute unused food, helping nearly 2 million people.
Listen to Devin Watkins’ report: 
In his address to the members of Banco Alimentare in the Vatican on Saturday, Pope Francis praised them for their “charitable network”, calling the levels of hunger in the world a “true scandal”. 
“Hunger”, the Holy Father said, “has assumed dimensions of a true ‘scandal’ which threatens the life and dignity of many people.” 
He called it an injustice that thousands of people go without food in a world ever more rich in alimentary resources.
The Holy Father also admitted the situation in Europe has been aggravated with the arrival of so many migrants and refugees who have fled from wars and violence in their home countries.
Recalling Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew “I was hungry and you gave me food”, Pope Francis thanked the members for their efforts to feed Italy’s hungry.  “Though we cannot do a miracle as did Jesus,” he said, “we can do something humble … above all, we can educate ourselves in humanity to recognize the humanity present in every person in need.”
“Never forget”, he continued, “they are persons and not numbers … Remember to look them in the eye, shake their hand, recognize in them the body of Christ, and help them to reconquer their dignity.”

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Sat. October 3, 2015

Saturday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 460

Reading 1BAR 4:5-12, 27-29

Fear not, my people!
Remember, Israel,
You were sold to the nations
not for your destruction;
It was because you angered God
that you were handed over to your foes.
For you provoked your Maker
with sacrifices to demons, to no-gods;
You forsook the Eternal God who nourished you,
and you grieved Jerusalem who fostered you.
She indeed saw coming upon you
the anger of God; and she said:

“Hear, you neighbors of Zion!
God has brought great mourning upon me,
For I have seen the captivity
that the Eternal God has brought
upon my sons and daughters.
With joy I fostered them;
but with mourning and lament I let them go.
Let no one gloat over me, a widow,
bereft of many:
For the sins of my children I am left desolate,
because they turned from the law of God.

Fear not, my children; call out to God!
He who brought this upon you will remember you.
As your hearts have been disposed to stray from God,
turn now ten times the more to seek him;
For he who has brought disaster upon you
will, in saving you, bring you back enduring joy.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 69:33-35, 36-37

R. (34) The Lord listens to the poor.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.
Let the heavens and the earth praise him,
the seas and whatever moves in them!”
R. The Lord listens to the poor.
For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
They shall dwell in the land and own it,
and the descendants of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall inhabit it.
R. The Lord listens to the poor.

AlleluiaSEE MT 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 10:17-24

The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus,
“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power
‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions
and upon the full force of the enemy
and nothing will harm you.
Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Saint October 3 : St. Mother Theodore Guérin : Founder of the Sisters of #Providence

American Catholic Report: 
Mother Theodore Guérin: Indiana's Very Own Saint By John F. Fink
The founder of the Sisters of Providence survived rough seas, poor health and one bad-tempered bishop. Last month she was canonized.
SIX NUNS AND A PRIEST—Father Stanislaus Buteux—were traveling on a stagecoach through thick forests on a nonexistent road on October 22, 1840. The coach had already overturned once in a deep mud hole, throwing the passengers out. At another point, they had crossed the Wabash River, which was so deep the horses were swimming.
“Suddenly,” one of the nuns later recorded, “Father Buteux stopped the carriage and said, ‘Come down, sisters, we have arrived.’ What was our astonishment to find ourselves still in the midst of the forest, no village, not even a house in sight.”
Father Buteux led them down into a ravine from which they could see a frame house and some sheds on the other side. This was to be their home, deep in the woods of western Indiana. The sisters wondered how it would ever be possible to establish a novitiate and a school in this remote forest. That, though, was their plan.
The nun who recorded their arrival was Mother Theodore Guérin, who was canonized on October 15 of this year as St. Theodora. She and the other five Sisters of Providence had already experienced a harrowing trip from France. The journey had taken more than three months. Their ship was almost destroyed several times by a hurricane and other severe storms.
Mother Theodore’s diary described the feeling of “passing the night in the bottom of a vessel, hearing continually the dreadful creaking which makes one fear that it will split open.” After another storm, she wrote, “Nothing was heard on board but screams and lamentations.”
Finally reaching New York on September 4, 1840, she wrote, “We threw ourselves on our knees with hearts full of gratitude.” But their problems weren’t over yet. The sisters had expected a representative of Bishop Celestine de la Hailandière of Vincennes, Indiana, to meet the ship when it docked, but there was no one.
None of the sisters could speak English and they had no idea how to get to Indiana. A doctor who boarded the ship with customs officials took pity on them and contacted the bishop of New York about their plight.
The next day they were taken to Brooklyn where they stayed with a woman accustomed to caring for missionaries. A man who spoke French accompanied them to Philadelphia, where they stayed with the Sisters of Charity. There they accompanied a French priest who was going to Vincennes.
They traveled by train, stagecoach and steamboat and finally reached Madison, Indiana. There they met Bishop Celestine de la Hailandière, who told them that they were to be settled on land northwest of Terre Haute.
Another steamboat took them to Evansville, Indiana, and then a stagecoach to Vincennes. That’s where they met Father Buteux, assigned as their chaplain, who accompanied them the rest of the way.
Four postulants (candidates) were waiting for the sisters when they arrived. The sisters began studying English, and Mother Theodore started to instruct the postulants in the way of religious life.
Thus began the community of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
Mother Theodore was born Anne-Thérèse Guérin in the village of Etables in Brittany, France, on October 2, 1798, as the French Revolution was drawing to a close. She was the second child and first daughter of Laurent and Isabelle Lefevre Guérin.
Two more children would be born to the family but two of them—the firstborn son and the fourth child, also a son—died very young. Anne-Thérèse and her younger sister, Marie-Jeanne, survived.
Laurent was an officer in the French Navy and was away from home most of the time, leaving Isabelle to care for the children. Since it was dangerous in those days to practice their religion openly, Isabelle taught her daughters reading and catechism at home. Anne-Thérèse, however, attended a small school in Etables for a short time and was taught by a former seminarian who lived with the Guérin family for several months.
She became a devout young girl and her spiritual development was so sufficient that she was permitted to receive her First Communion when she was 10—two years earlier than normal in those days.
When Anne-Thérèse was 15, her father was murdered. This was more than Isabelle could take. The intensity of her grief incapacitated her so much that her eldest daughter had to assume the responsibility of caring for herself and for Marie-Jeanne. In time, Anne-Thérèse worked as a seamstress to support the family.
When she was 20, Anne-Thérèse asked her mother for permission to join a religious order. Isabelle refused. She could not lose her daughter, too! It was another five years before Isabelle recovered from her grief enough to give her daughter permission to follow her vocation.
Anne-Thérèse chose the Sisters of Providence, a new order in France founded by Father Jacques-Francois Dujarié. The French Revolution was over, but few priests remained in France and the people were suffering from the effects of the revolution. His religious order would be devoted to teaching and working among the poor.
Anne-Thérèse entered the Sisters of Providence novitiate at Ruille on August 18, 1823, professed her first vows on September 8, 1825, and her perpetual vows on September 5, 1831.
In 1825, while Anne-Thérèse was still a novice, Mother Mary Lecor, the order’s superior, sent her to teach at Preuilly-sur-Claise. While she was there, she contracted a serious illness. In curing the sickness, the doctors damaged her digestive system to such an extent that afterward she could eat only a simple, bland diet.
After she professed first vows, Sister Theodore was named superior of the sisters’ establishment in the parish of St. Aubin in a town called Rennes. She was there for eight years during which she honed her skills at teaching young girls.
In 1834, Sister Theodore was transferred to Soulanis in the Diocese of Angers, where she was again superior of the sisters.
In 1838, Father Hailandière arrived in Rennes in search of a congregation of women willing to establish a mission in Indiana. Father Hailandière was a native of Rennes who had been persuaded by Bishop Simon Gabriel Bruté of Vincennes, Indiana, to become his vicar general in 1835.
The Diocese of Vincennes included the state of Indiana and the eastern part of Illinois—330 miles long and just as wide—with about 50,000 Catholics amid a population of about 600,000.
When Bishop Bruté was looking for priests, Father Hailandière was one of 20 who answered the call. He returned to France in search of sisters in 1838.
Bishop Bruté died in 1839 and Father Hailandière was consecrated bishop of Vincennes in Paris on August 18 of that year. When Bishop Hailandière spoke of the need for sisters in the United States, Mother Mary agreed to ask for volunteers to go to Indiana. Although Mother Theodore seemed to be the logical person to lead the group, she did not volunteer. But Mother Mary encouraged her to think about it.
Mother Theodore had never had any dreams of being a missionary. She feared that her fragile health might hinder the mission, and she didn’t feel capable of leading it.
After long hours of prayer and reflection, Mother Theodore agreed to go. She had, after all, taken a vow of obedience, and the rule of the congregation stated that “sisters will be disposed to go to whatsoever part of the world obedience calls them.”
After the sisters’ miserable trip to the forests of Indiana, Mother Theodore began the task of instructing her postulants. On Christmas night in 1840, though, she became critically ill, suffering from fever, severe headaches and periods of unconsciousness. The illness continued for almost two months.
After she recovered to some extent, Mother Theodore began to plan her academy for girls that would eventually become Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. By July of 1841, 10 young women were studying there. The following March the sisters opened a school in Jasper, Indiana, and in October 1842 two sisters were sent to St. Francisville, Illinois.
During the years that followed, the sisters faced numerous trials. They suffered from hunger, sometimes going without food for days. They experienced the heat, humidity and mosquitoes of Indiana summers and the heavy snows of winters. They planted crops and raised hogs and other animals on their farm. Once they suffered a fire that destroyed their barn and harvest.
The sisters were also short of money, and Bishop Hailandière refused to support them. He suggested that Mother Theodore go back to France to raise money for the community. In 1843, she returned to France and was gone for 11 months. She was successful in raising money and in solidifying the relationship between the sisters in the United States and those in France.
Mother Theodore’s return trip to Indiana was nearly as difficult as her first journey there. Her ship again experienced bad weather and she was ill when she reached New Orleans. Her health continued to be frail.
Mother Theodore’s greatest problem from 1843 to 1847, however, concerned her relationship with Bishop Hailandière. Even before she left for France, it was clear that the bishop believed he possessed total control over the Sisters of Providence, despite what the community’s Rule stated. Mother Theodore often had to oppose his decisions as they affected her community.
While she was in France, Bishop Hailandière took over the community. He admitted novices to vows, closed the school at St. Francisville, received three nuns from another community, opened a new establishment and called for the election of a new superior—all without input from the sisters and contrary to the community’s Rule. He hoped that the sisters would elect a different superior, but they reelected Mother Theodore.
After her return, Mother Theodore’s meetings with Bishop Hailandière grew more and more contentious, often lasting for hours. Sometimes the bishop berated her for her leadership of the community and other times he insisted that he did not want to be involved in their affairs.
The diocese still owned the property at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. At times the bishop would promise to give it to the sisters and other times he would refuse to do so. He insisted on an “Act of Reparation” from the sisters because he believed they had spoken out against him to his superiors.
The matter reached a crisis in 1847. Bishop Hailandière declared that Mother Theodore was no longer the superior. Furthermore, she was no longer a Sister of Providence. He released her from her vows and demanded that she leave his diocese.
It was at this point that the Vatican came to the rescue of Mother Theodore, who wasn’t the only one having difficulties with Bishop Hailandière. So were many of the diocesan and religious order priests. Holy Cross Father Edward Sorin, for example, also had been recruited from France. After a year of living in Vincennes, he wrote to his superior in France that he was determined to put as much distance as possible between Bishop Hailandière and himself. He located land at an unmanned old Indian mission near South Bend and there established the University of Notre Dame.
Amid the turmoil in the diocese, Bishop Hailandière submitted his resignation to the Vatican. The Vatican accepted his resignation in 1847 and appointed John Stephen Bazin the bishop of Vincennes. Bishop Hailandière returned to France, where he lived another 35 years before his death in 1882.
Bishop Bazin was consecrated bishop of the diocese on October 24, and one of his first acts was to deliver a valid deed to the property at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods to Mother Theodore.
Bishop Bazin was able to restore peace and harmony to the Diocese of Vincennes. But he died only six months after his consecration. Seven months later, Jacques M. Maurice Landes d’Aussac de Saint-Palais was named bishop of Vincennes and he, too, supported the sisters without interfering in their work.
After discovering the pitiful condition of the building used as the motherhouse, he promised financial assistance so the sisters could erect a new building. A three-story brick structure with a basement was built, and the sisters occupied it in 1853.
Mother Theodore was finally able to devote all her energies to building and nurturing her congregation and establishing schools. She made annual visits by steamship and stagecoach to all the community’s foundations, which included parish schools in 10 cities in Indiana and one in Illinois.
In 1855, the community that began with six sisters 15 years earlier had increased to 60. The sisters were teaching 1,200 children and operating two orphanages. Between visits to each house, she kept up a large correspondence with the sisters there.
But Mother Theodore’s health continued to worsen. She died during the early morning hours of May 14, 1856, at the age of 57.
Since 1840, 5,239 women have entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Today there are 465 sisters.
The sisters still sponsor Saint Mary-of- the-Woods College, the country’s oldest Catholic liberal arts college for women. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College boasts an enrollment of approximately 1,700 students in campus-based, undergraduate distance-learning and graduate programs, according to its Web site,
The Sisters of Providence also have touched tens of thousands of lives through their various ministries in 20 states, the District of Columbia, Taiwan and China.
A statue of Mother Theodore is currently being sculpted. When it is completed, it will be placed in the garden outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

MOTHER THEODORE GUÉRIN, recently canonized as St. Theodora, became the United States’ eighth saint on October 15. The others are: Jesuit Fathers Isaac Jogues and René Goupil (the six other North American Martyrs died in Canada), Elizabeth Ann Seton, John Neumann, Rose Philippine Duchesne, Frances Xavier Cabrini and Katharine Drexel.
Mother Theodore was declared blessed on October 25, 1998, after Pope John Paul II accepted the healing of Providence Sister Mary Theodosia Mug—through the intercession of Mother Theodore—as a miracle. In April of this year, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the healing of Philip McCord as the second miracle required before canonization.
Sister Theodosia Mug’s healing occurred in 1908. When she was 46, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy that damaged nerves and muscles on her left side, leaving her arm rigid. The cancer then spread to her abdomen. She could no longer kneel, had to eat standing and walked with difficulty.
One night Sister Theodosia prayed at the vault where Mother Theodore’s remains reposed. When she awoke the next morning, her left arm was well again and the large abdominal tumor had disappeared. No trace of malignancy was ever again found. Sister Theodosia died in 1943 at age 82.
Philip McCord, a Protestant, has been director of facilities management for the Sisters of Providence since 1997. In 2001, an eye specialist recommended that he have cornea transplant surgery on his right eye since he could not see out of it. While considering whether or not to have the surgery, he said a prayer to Mother Theodore.
The following day, McCord realized that the heaviness he had felt around his eye had disappeared. The next time he had his eye examined, the specialist told him that he no longer needed the cornea transplant surgery. Today McCord has 20/20 vision in both eyes.
Medical and theological commissions of the Holy See’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints determined that there was no natural explanation for either healing and that they happened after the two prayed to Mother Theodore. This opened the way for the congregation to recommend Mother Theodore’s canonization.
Last July, in an announcement to an assembly of sisters at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Sister Margaret O’Hara, the congregation’s general superior, stressed the universality of Mother Theodore’s significance. “This is a momentous time in our Congregation’s history, but it also is a time that is to be shared with people throughout Indiana, throughout the United States and throughout the world,” she said.
“This is the highest honor the Catholic Church can bestow on a person, but it is not just for Catholics. The canonization is something people of all faiths can share by recognizing the way Mother Theodore lived her life.”
At the gathering, Philip McCord expressed hope that his healing will help spread the word of America’s newest saint.
“I hope people will take a look at this healing and use it as a reason to look at Mother Theodore’s life, what she accomplished and what she continues to accomplish, and to look at what the sisters stand for and what they do,” he said.
Sister Ann Margaret, present at the assembly, praised the saint for a legacy that lives today. “Mother Theodore was available to and caring about all people regardless of their faith or their beliefs. By serving others, she was serving the Jesus to whom she had given her life.”

Author and journalist John F. Fink is editor emeritus of The Criterion, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. One of his books, American Saints (Alba House), includes a chapter about St. Mother Theodore Guérin. (Shared from American Catholic)

Saint October 3 : St. Gerard of Brogne : #Belgium

St. Gerard of Brogne
Feast: October 3
Feast Day:
October 3
895 at Staves, Namur, Belgium
3 October 959 at Brogne, Belgium
Major Shrine:
Saint-Gérard, Namur
Patron of:
Saint-Gérard, Namur

Born at Staves in the county of Namur, towards the end of the ninth century; died at Brogne or St-Gérard, 3 Oct. 959. The son of Stance, of the family of dukes of Lower Austrasia, and of Plectrude, sister of Stephen, Bishop of Liège, the young Gérard, like most omen of his rank, followed at first the career of arms. His piety, however, was admirable amid the distractions of camp. He transformed into a large church a modest chapel situated on the estate of Brogne which belonged to his family. About 917, the Count of Namur charged him with a mission to Robert, younger brother of Eudes, King of France. He permitted his followers to reside at Paris, but himself went to live at the Abbey of St-Denis, where he was so struck by the deifying lives of the monks that, at the conclusion of his embassy, with the consent of the Count of Namur and Bishop Stephen, his maternal uncle, he returned to St-Denis, took the religious habit, and after eleven years was ordained priest. He then requested to be allowed to return to Brogne, where he replaced the lax clerics with monks animated by a true religious spirit. Thereupon he himself retired to a cell near the monastery for more austere mortification. From this retreat he was summoned by the Archbishop of Cambrai who confided to him the direction of the community of St-Ghislain in Hainault. Here also he established monks instead of the canons, whose conduct had ceased to be exemplary, and he enforced the strictest monastic discipline. Gradually he became superior of eighteen other abbeys situated in the region between the Meuse, the Somme, and the sea, and through his efforts the Order of St. Benedict was soon completely restored throughout this region. Weighed down by age and infirmities, he placed vicars or abbots in his stead, in the various abbeys with which he was charged, and retired to that of Brogne. He still had courage to take a journey to Rome in order to obtain a Bull confirming the privileges of that abbey. On his return he paid a final visit to all the communities which he had reorganized, and then awaited death at Brogne. His body is still preserved at Brogne, now commonly calledSt-Gérard.


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