It was then the end of Autumn, when the Indians are accustomed to form their parties to go out to hunt during the winter in the forests. The sojourn which Catherine had already made there, and the pain she had suffered at being deprived of the religious privileges she possessed in the village, had induced her to form the resolution, as I have already mentioned, that she would never during her life return there. I thought however that the change of air, and the diet, which is so much better in the forest, would be able to restore her health, which was now very much impaired. It was for this reason that I advised her to follow the family and others who went to the hunting grounds. She answered me in that deeply devotional manner which was so natural to her, “It is true, my Father, that my body is served most luxuriously in the forest, but the soul languishes there, and is not able to satisfy its hunger. On the contrary, in the village the body suffers; I am contented that it should be so, but the soul finds its delight in being near to Jesus Christ. Well then, I will willingly abandon this miserable body to hunger and suffering, provided that my soul may have its ordinary nourishment.”The photo is one that I took of a statue of Saint Kateri in Auriesville, NY.
Monday, October 22, 2012
Kateri Tekakwitha: The Iroquois Saint:
Friday, October 19, 2012
Today is the feast of the much beloved North American Martyrs, those hearty priests and lay apostles who braved the rigors of the American wilderness and suffered so much for the love of Christ and the conversion of poor souls. Here is an extract from the Jesuit Relations of the martyrdom endured by one of these intrepid men, Saint Jean de Brébeuf, who may be seen in the image above as the bearded figure on the right with his hands bound before him.
Father Jean de Brébeuf and Father Gabriel L'Alemant had set out from our cabin, to go to a small Village, called St. Ignace, distant from our cabin about a short quarter of a League, to instruct the Savages and the new Christians of that Village. It was on the 16th day of March, in the morning, that we perceived a great fire at the place to which these two good Fathers had gone. This fire made us very uneasy; we did not know whether it were enemies, or if the fire had caught in some of the huts of the village. The Reverend Father Paul Ragueneau, our Superior, immediately resolved to send some one to learn what might be the cause. But no sooner had we formed the design of going there to see, than we perceived several savages on the road, coming straight toward us. We all thought it was the Iroquois who were coming to attack us; but, having considered them more closely, we perceived that they were Hurons who were fleeing from the fight, and who had escaped from the combat. these poor savages caused great pity in us. They were all covered with wounds. One had his head fractured; another his arm broken; another had an arrow in his eye; another had his hand cut off by a blow from a hatchet. In fine, the day was passed in receiving into our cabins all these poor wounded people, and in looking with compassion toward the fire, and the place where were those two good Fathers. We saw the fire and the barbarians, but we could not see anything of the two Fathers.
This is what these Savages told us of the taking of the Village of St. Ignace, and about Fathers Jean de Brébeuf and Gabriel L'Allemant:
"The Iroquois came, to the number of twelve hundred men; took our village, and seized Father Brébeuf and his companion; and set fire to all the huts. They proceeded to vent their rage on those two Fathers; for they took them both and stripped them entirely naked, and fastened each to a post. They tied both of their hands together. They tore the nails from their fingers. They beat them with a shower of blows from cudgels, on the shoulders, the loins, the belly, the legs, and the face—there being no part of their body which did not endure this torment."
The savages told us further, that, although Father de Brébeuf was overwhelmed under the weight of these blows, he did not cease continually to speak of God, and to encourage all the new Christians who were captives like himself to suffer well, that they might die well, in order to go in company with him to Paradise. While the good Father was us encouraging these good people, a wretched Iron renegade—who had remained a captive with he Iroquois, and whom Father de Brébeuf had formerly instructed and baptized—hearing him speak Paradise and Holy Baptism, was irritated, and said to him, "Echon," that is Father de Brébeuf's name in Huron, "thou sayest that Baptism and the sufferings of this life lead straight to Paradise; thou wilt go soon, for I am going to baptize thee, and to make thee suffer well, in order to go the sooner to thy Paradise." The barbarian, having said that, took a kettle full of boiling water, which he poured over his body three different times, in derision of Holy baptism. And, each time that he baptized him in this manner, the barbarian said to him, with bitter sarcasm, "Go to Heaven, for thou art well baptized." After that, they made him suffer several other torments. The 1st was to make hatchets red-hot, and to apply them to the loins and under the armpits. They made a collar of these red-hot hatchets, and put it on the neck of this good Father. This is the fashion in which I have seen the collar made for other prisoners: They make six hatchets red-hot, take a large withe of green wood, pass the 6 hatchets over the large end of the withe, take the two ends together, and then put it over the neck of the sufferer. I have seen no torment which more moved me to compassion than that. For you see a man, bound naked to a post, who, having this collar on his neck, cannot tell what posture to take. For, if he lean forward, those above his shoulders weigh the more on him; if he lean back, those on his stomach make him suffer the same torment; if he keep erect, without leaning to one side or other, the burning ratchets, applied equally on both sides, give him a terrible torture.
After that they put on him a belt of bark, full of pitch and resin, and set fire to it, which roasted his whole body. During all these torments, Father de Brébeuf endured like a rock, insensible to fire and flames, which astonished all the bloodthirsty wretches who tormented him. His zeal was so great that he preached continually to these infidels, to try to convert them. His executioners were enraged against him for constantly speaking to them of God and of their conversion. To prevent him from speaking more, they cut off his tongue, and both his upper and lower lips. After that, they set themselves to strip the flesh from his legs, thighs, and arms, to the very bone; and then put it to roast before his eyes, in order to eat it.
While they tormented him in this manner, those wretches derided him, saying: "Thou seest plainly that we treat thee as a friend, since we shall be the cause of thy Eternal happiness; thank us, then, for these good offices which we render thee—for, the more thou shalt suffer, the more will thy God reward thee. "
Those butchers, seeing that the good Father began to grow weak, made him sit down on the ground; and, one of them, taking a knife, cut off the skin covering his skull. Another one of those barbarians, seeing that the good Father would soon die, made an opening in the upper part of his chest, and tore out his heart, which he roasted and ate. Others came to drink his blood, still warm, which they drank with both hands—saying that Father de Brébeuf had been very courageous to endure so much pain as they had given him, and that, by drinking his blood, they would become courageous like him.
Monday, October 15, 2012
To celebrate the feast of one of the great Carmelites and a Doctor of the Church, here is a quote from St. Teresa of Avila. In context:
When I see people making great progress, and being resolute and detached and courageous, I conceive a great love for them and should be glad if I could see more of them: I think they are a help to me. People who I see to be timid and who appear to be making half-hearted attempts to do things which so far as human reason can judge they can do perfectly well seem to distress me and make me pray to God for them and to the saints who accomplished these very things which now frighten us. Not that I am good for anything, but I believe that God helps those who set out to do great things for His sake and never fails those who trust in Him alone. And I should like to find someone who would help me to believe this to be so, and to have no anxiety about what I am to eat and put on, but leave it to God.Taken from The Spiritual Relations, 1560 (The Complete Works of St. Theresa, Volume 1,  Sheed and Ward, pg. 309).
Monday, October 08, 2012
The quote in this image was taken from Archbishop Sheen's "Life of Christ", Chapter 46: At the Bottom of the List.
Here is the complete quote in context:
"The hatred of Judas against Our Blessed Lord was due to the contrast between his sin and the virtue of the Divine Master. Iago says of Cassio: "He hath a daily beauty in his life that makes me ugly." Judas' disgust with himself was vented on One Who made him uncomfortable by His Goodness. The hatred against Divinity is not the result always of unbelief, but very often the effect of antibelief. Conscience, Christ, and the gift of faith make evil men uneasy in their sin. They feel that if they could drive Christ from the earth, they would be free from "moral inhibitions." They forget that it is their own nature and conscience which makes them feel that way. Being unable to drive God from the heavens, they would drive his ambassadors from the earth. In a lesser sphere, that is why many men sneer at virtue--because it makes vice uncomfortable. A chaste face is a judgment. Judas was more zealous in the cause of his enemies than he ever was in the cause of Our Lord. When men leave Christ, they seek to redeem their reputation by going to extremes."
Monday, October 01, 2012
The photo is of St. Thérèse in costume from a performance of her play, Joan of Arc Fulfills her Mission.
“At last, I have found my vocation. My vocation is love!”
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~Saint Thérèse Martin, The Little Flower
St. Thérèse had a devotion to St. Joan and prayed actively for her canonization. Here is a canticle which St. Thérèse wrote for that purpose (copied from the Maid of Heaven website). Joan of Arc was declared a saint of the Catholic Church in 1920, twenty-four years after St. Thérèse's death.
Canticle To Obtain The Canonization Of The Venerable Joan of Arc
1. God of hosts, the whole Church
Soon wishes to honor at the altar
A martyr, a warrior virgin,
Whose sweet name resounds in Heaven.
Refr. 1 Refrain
By Your power,
O King of Heaven,
Give to Joan of France
The halo and the altar. Repeat
2. A conqueror for guilty France
No, that is not the object of her desire.
Joan alone is capable of saving it.
All heroes weigh less than a martyr!
3. Lord, Joan is Your splendid work,
A heart of fire, a warrior's soul:
You gave them to the timid virgin
Whom You wished to crown with laurels.
4. In her humble meadow Joan heard
Voices from Heaven calling her into combat.
She left to save her country.
The sweet child commanded the army.
5. She won over the souls of proud warriors
The Divine luster of Heaven's messenger,
Her pure gaze, her fiery words
Were able to make bold brows give way....
6. By a prodigy unique in history,
People then saw a trembling monarch
Regain his crown and his glory
By means of a child's weak arm.
7. It is not Joan's victories
We wish to celebrate this day.
My God, we know her true glories
Are her virtues, her love.
8. By fighting, Joan saved France.
But her great virtues
Had to be marked with the seal of suffering,
With the divine seal of Jesus her Spouse!
9. Sacrificing her life at the stake,
Joan heard the voice of the Blessed.
She left this exile for her homeland.
The savior Angel re-ascended into Heaven!...
10. Joan, you are our only hope.
From high in the Heavens, deign to hear our voices.
Come down to us, come convert France.
Come save her a second time.
Refr. 2 Refrain
By the power
Of the Victorious God
Save, save France
Angel Liberator!... repeat
11. Chasing the English out of all France,
Daughter of God, how beautiful were your steps!
But remember that in the days of your childhood
You tended only weak lambs...
Refr. 3 Refrain
Take up the defense
Of the powerless
In the souls of children. repeat
12. Sweet martyr, our monasteries are yours.
You know well that virgins are your sisters,
And like you the object of their prayers
Is to see God reign in every heart.
Refr. 4 Refrain
To save souls
Is their desire.
Ah! Give them your fire
Of apostle and martyr! repeat
13. Fear will be banished from every heart
When we shall see the Church crown
The pure brow of Joan our Saint,
And then we shall be able to sing:
Refr. 5 Refrain
Rests in you,
Saint Joan of France,
Pray, pray for us! repeat
“Ah, my father, I am not any longer my own. I have given myself entirely to Jesus Christ and it is not possible to change masters.”
~Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, who will be canonized on October 21, 2012
This quote is taken from Kateri Tekakwitha, The Iroquois Saint written by Fr. Pierre Cholonec, 1715