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  • Marian Reflections

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Marian thought for August

"You are seeing the fruit that I have reaped by preaching the Holy Rosary; you and all of those who love Mary must do the same in order to lead all peoples to the full knowledge of the virtues." – Saint Dominic of Guzman

Saint Dominic of Guzman was born in Caleruega (Burgos, Spain) in 1170. He grew up in an environment marked by deep faith and at a very early age he experienced the call to the priesthood. He got his degree in Liberal Arts, finishing his studies in 1190. He then went on to study theology, graduating in 1194. Soon after being ordained a priest, he was entrusted with important ecclesiastic responsibilities. He accompanied the bishop several times on journeys to Rome through France. He realized the dire need of souls and with Pope Innocent’s permission he moved to Languedoc where he started to preach the truth of the faith. In 1215, he founded the first house of the Order of Preachers in Tolosa with the intention of mending the damage that had been done to society due to religious ignorance. St. Dominic sought the papal approval of his order and chose to follow the rule of Saint Augustine. After presenting the first version of the constitutions, Pope Honorius II issued the bull “Religiosam Vitan”, confirming the Order of Preachers. The friars immediately started to extend the Order and before St. Dominic´s death there were more than sixty functioning communities. He died on August 6, 1221 at the age of 51 in the convent in Bologna. He was canonized by Pope Gregory IX in 1234.

St. John Eudes

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"The heavens are the work of your thy hands" but the Heart of the Mother of God is the unequaled masterpiece of His omnipotence, His unfathomable wisdom and His infinite goodness."

St. John Eudes was born in the year 1601 in Ri, close to Argentan (France). His parents, Isaac Eudes and Martha Corbin, went on a pilgrimage to a shrine of Our Lady asking for the grace to have a child, because they had already been married for two years. Nine months later, John was born and four more children after him. Since childhood he showed an inclination towards religious matters. When he was 14, he entered the Jesuit school at Caen. Although his parents would have preferred that he marry and continue working on the family farm, he took a vow of chastity. In the year 1621, he received minor orders. He began to study theology in Caen. He was soon admitted in the Congregation of the Oratory by the Founder, Fr. Berulle, who allowed John to preach seeing his exemplary conduct. He was ordained a priest on December 20, 1625. He was a tireless missionary. He cared for the sick, risking his own life, and gave himself completely over to the conversion of souls. In prayer, the Lord asked more of him. He left the congregation and formed an association of diocesan priests in order to create seminaries for the formation of zealous priests. The association took on the name: "Congregation of Jesus and Mary." He followed the path of missions, opening new communities, writing books, prayers, and letters full of spiritual doctrine. He helped people to love the Hearts of Christ and the Virgin Mary. After a spiritually fruitful life, he died on August 19, 1680. He was canonized by Pope Pius XI on May 31, 1925..

St. Rafael Arnaiz Baron

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"Do not worry about the squalls or the storms. Isn’t Mary with you? The Virgin is so good! There is no pain that she does not soften; there is no happiness that she does not sanctify"

St. Rafael Arnaiz Baron was born on April 9, 1911 in Burgos, Spain. He studied in the Jesuit school, where he received his First Holy Communion in 1919. He showed a very great openness to the things that had to do with God from a very early age. The first signs of the illness that would mark the rest of his life appeared in 1922. His father, who believed that his recovery was due to the Virgin Mary’s special intervention, took Rafael to Zaragoza in thanksgiving and consecrated him to Our Lady of Pilar. As years went by, he developed many different traits, such as friendship. He also grew in his Christian life. God placed the desire in his heart to consecrate himself in monastic life. He met the Trappist monks of San Isidro de Dueñas and felt very attracted to that life, because he saw that it corresponded to his intimate desires. He entered there on January 15, 1934. He had to leave the convent three times due to the diabetes that God mysteriously used to test him. Each time he returned, he came back with more desires to be generous and faithful. These desires were fulfilled on April 26, 1938, when he left this world at only 27 years of age. He was declared Blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1992 and canonized on October 11, 2009.

St. Ignatius of Loyola

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"For as much as you love Mary Most Holy, she will always love you much more than you can love her."

St. Ignatius of Loyola, whose motto was “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” (“For the greater glory of God”), was born into a noble family in Loyola in the year 1491. He pursued a military career, which abruptly ended on May 20, 1521. He was fighting to defend the castle of Pamplona when a cannonball broke his leg. During his convalescence, Inigo asked to read a book. He wanted to read a book on chivalry but the only books that could be found in the castle of Loyola were about the life of Christ and the lives of the Saints. At first he had little interest in these books, but soon he began to enjoy them and would spend entire days reading. He said, “If these men were made of clay like me, then I can also do the same as them.” This was the beginning of his conversion. He still had much to battle against between his attraction for God and a life solely dedicated to Him, and the glory and success that the world offered him. In the end, Inigo resolved to imitate the Saints. He went to the Holy Land, was imprisoned for the Inquisition, studied in Paris… all of which he did under the gaze of the Lord, who prepared a group of companions for him who would eventually form “The Company of Jesus.” All of the actions of this Saint referred back to the his goal to do everything “for the greater glory of God.” From the moment of his conversion, St. Ignatius placed all of his happiness in working for God and suffering for His sake. He died on July 31st, 1556. He was canonized in 1622.

St. John XXIII

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"Oh Immaculate Mary, you are the morning star that dissipates the darkness of night; we come to you with great trust!"

Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, later Pope John XXIII, was born on November 25, 1881 in Sotto il Monte inBergamo, Italy.
He was confirmed and received his First Holy Communion in 1889. Three years later, he entered the Seminary of Bergamo. In 1901, he went to the Pontifical Roman Seminary, thanks to scholarship that the Diocese of Bergamo offered him. He was ordained a priest on August 10, 1904, in the Church of Santa Maria in Montesanto, in Piazza del Popolo in Rome. The Bishop of Bergamo named him as his secretary. He continued this task until 1914. The war broke out in 1915 and he became a military chaplain for the hospitals. He also coordinated the moral and spiritual assistance to the soldiers. In 1919, he was named spiritual director of the Seminary of Bergamo. He was called to Rome by Pope Benedict XV, who named him the Italian president of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. From then on, he was given many important tasks, such as his nomination as Apostolic Visitor in Bulgaria. He was ordained bishop in 1925, and served as such in many parts of the world. In 1953, he was created cardinal, and on January 25 of that same year was sent to Venice as Patriarch. After Pius XII's death, he was elected Pope on October 28, 1958. His pontificate lasted 5 years, during which he showed himself as a true shepherd, humble and attentive, decisive and brave. During his pontificate, he summoned the Second Vatican Council, which was concluded by Bl. Paul VI. He died on June 3, 1963. He was beatified by John Paul II on September 3, 2000, and canonized on April 27, 2014 by Pope Francis.

Our Lady of Fatima to the Visionaries

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"Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say often, especially when you make some sacrifice, 'O my Jesus, this is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary."

In 1917 the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children at Cova da Iria, Fatima. Their names were Lucia (10 years old), Francisco (9 years old), and Jacinta (7 years old). Preceding Our Lady's apparitions, the Angel of Peace had appeared to them three times throughout 1916, teaching them several Eucharistic prayers and encouraging them to offer sacrifices for sinners. The Virgin Mary appeared to the children six times between the months of May and October. She asked them to pray the Rosary and to offer sacrifices for poor sinners. She also asked that a chapel be built in her honor. In spite of their young age, the children happily offered sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Saint Faustina Kowalksa

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"O Mother, Virgin, this will no one comprehend, that the infinite God is becoming a man; It’s only love’s and His inscrutable mercy’s purpose. Through You, Mother - it’s given us to live with Him forever."

Saint Faustina Kowalska, whose baptismal name was Helen, was born in a town called Głogowiec, Poland, on August 25, 1905. From a young age, she was very sensitive to divine things; she often prayed and spoke with God. At the age of seven, she felt the call to the religious life for the first time. This call was later repeated when she was fifteen years old, but her parents did not give their consent for her entrance. She insisted again when she had turned eighteen, and, since her parents still refused to accept her vocation, she abandoned herself to life's vanities, trying to drown out the voice that was calling her, giving herself to creatures. Nonetheless, divine grace conquered in the end. One day, while she was at a dance, all of a sudden, Jesus appeared before her. He was covered with wounds and said to her, "How long will you keep putting me off?" She fled from the dance and went to the Cathedral of Saint Stanislaus Kostka. She fell prostrate and begged the Lord to make her know what she was supposed to do. The Lord answered that she had to go to Warsaw immediately, for she was to enter a convent there. And so it happened. She responded promptly, a characteristic that would mark the rest of her life. The Lord called her to be an Apostle of his Mercy, granting her private revelations in which He spoke to her of his Heart, full of love and mercy. He asked her to write and speak to the world of his infinite Mercy and to spread the devotion to his Divine Mercy. The revelations are collected in the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul. During her lifetime, she sought strength from the Mother of God to be able to respond and to be faithful to the Lord. On several occasions, she tells of how the Mother of God appeared to her, encouraging her in the mission that Jesus had entrusted to her. Saint Faustina died on October 5, 1938 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 18, 1993. She was later canonized by him on April 30, 2002.