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Marian thought for March

“Let us go full of confidence to Our Lady, because She has brought us to God, and is in a certain way an aqueduct from which we will easily draw the heavenly water of Christ to our gardens; She is a very rich and generous queen. What safer place than in the wounds of Jesus, and the arms of the Queen of Angels?” (Saint John Berchmans).

Saint John Berchmans was born in Belgium on March 13, 1599, to a good catholic family. He was one of five children, 3 of whom consecrated themselves to the Lord. He always behaved well at home, helping his mother as much as he could. He studied at the seminary in Mechelen and then entered the Jesuit novitiate of the same city. John was distinguished by his charity, study and piety. He had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin whom he wanted to love with a very affectionate love, not wanting to stop until he achieved such love. He always lived under the gaze of this sweet Mother. During his life he was a defender of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, and in the last year of his life, John had committed himself, signing with his own blood, to "affirm and defend the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception wherever it is found". He wanted to practice all the virtues and made an effort to observe perfectly his obligations, without excuses. He took advantage of his daily crosses, worked passionately for the glory of God, did everything by supernaturalizing the intention. He said "when you have to pray, pray with all love; when you have to study, study with all interest; when you have to practice a sport, practice it with all enthusiasm." He wanted to do things always with more love. He studied thinking about the future apostolate he would have and the souls he would meet. He died young saying that his greatest consolation was never having broken, in his religious life, any rule or order of his superiors and never having committed a venial sin. Before dying he pressed close to his chest a crucifix, a rosary and the book of the Rules, saying "these are my three most beloved garments, with them I die happy." He died on August 13, 1621. His last words were: Jesus, Mary.

Our Lady of Lourdes to St. Bernadette Soubirous

s bernadette

"I do not promise you happiness in this life, but in the next."

Bernadette was born in Lourdes (France) in 1844. Her baptismal name, which later became her religious name, was Maria Bernarda, but everyone called her Bernadette. Although she still had not learned to read or write at the age of 14, nor was she able to learn her catechism lessons, she had many other qualities, like her honesty and devotion to Our Lady. She was graced with apparitions by Our Lady from February 11 to July 16, 1858, in which Our Blessed Mother confided to Bernadette her desire of having a chapel built in the place of the apparitions and that the people may go there in procession. She also spoke to her about the need to do penance. A fountain sprang up in the place of the apparitions, whose water became a fount of graces and of physical and spiritual miracles until today. One day, the Blessed Virgin said to her, “I do not promise you happiness in this life, but in the next,” and so it was. The life of St. Bernadette was a life of sickness, hardship and humiliations, but all these things helped her grow in holiness. Many people offered her money and other items, but she never accepted. Later on in her life, after the apparitions, Bernadette requested the entrance into the religious community of the Daughters of Charity in Nevers, France, where she would fulfill the duties of nurse and sacristan. She had much to suffer because of her poor health, and said “What I ask of Our Lord is not that he may grant me health, but that he may give me courage and strength to live my sickness with patience. To fulfill what the Blessed Virgin said, I offer my sufferings as penance for the conversion of sinners.” She only lived 15 years as a religious before dying, and nine of these years she spent suffering day and night from asthma and tuberculosis. She said in one occasion, “If someone has seen the Blessed Virgin just one time, he would be willing to do any sacrifice just to be able to see her again. She is so beautiful.” During her time as a religious, she was not allowed to speak about the apparitions but on April 16, 1879, the day in which she died, she exclaimed, “I saw Our Lady. Yes, I saw her, and how beautiful she was!” She was canonized by Pope Pio XI on December 8, 1933.

 

Bl. John Duns Scotus

dunscot

"Allow me to praise you, O Sacred Virgin, give me strength against your enemies."

John Duns Scotus was born in Scotland around the year 1265. He entered the “Order of Friars Minor” around 1280 and was ordained a Priest on of April 17, 1291. After Jesus, the Blessed Virgin occupied the first place in his life, and for this reason the studying of the privileges of Mary became one of his priorities. In a public debate on the Immaculate Conception of Mary, it was John Duns Scotus who spoke out, debating each of the arguments that went against such privilege. He demonstrated with Sacred Scripture and with the writings of the Holy Fathers that this privilege is in line with faith and for the same reason Mary is also called the great Mother of God. “Potuit, decuit, ergo fecit” (He could do, it was good to do, so He did it). Duns Scotus died on November 8, 1308.

 

St. John of the Cross

s juan cruz

"And the Mother of God is mine, because Christ belongs to me."

Saint John of the Cross was born on June 24, 1542 in Fontiveros, Avila, Spain. He entered the Order of Carmelites in 1563 and was ordained a priest in 1567. That same year, he met Saint Teresa of Avila who spoke to him about her plans for the Reform of the Order in which he also then took part.
In 1568, the first Discalced Carmelite Convent was established. There they lived a life of profound contemplation and great austerity. In 1577, he was imprisoned in Toledo because his intents to reform their monastic life, and it was during this time that he composed the Spiritual Canticle. He escaped from the prison and found refuge in another monastery, and later continued to found other convents, including one in Granada in the year 1584. That same year he finished his writings on the Spiritual Canticle and the Ascent of Mount Carmel; he also composed the Dark Night of the Soul and the Living Flame of Love.
He was arrested again in 1591 by the superiors who were against the Reform, and they enclosed him in a convent in Peñeula. He died in Úbeda on December 14, 1591. His last words were, "Into your hands Lord I commend my spirit."
He was canonized in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII and declared Mystic and Doctor of the Church by Pius XI in 1926.

 

St. Maximilian Kolbe

maximilian

"Allow me to praise you, Virgin most holy. Allow me to glorify you by my sacrifice."

Saint Maximillian Kolbe was born in Poland on January 8, 1894. He entered the seminary of the Franciscan Fathers at 13 years of age and was ordained in Rome in 1918. Moved by his love and devotion for the Immaculate, he founded a movement called the "Knights of the Immaculate" (Militia Immaculatae). He began to publish a magazine called "Knight of the Immaculate". In 1929 he founded the first "City of the Immaculate" in the Franciscan convent in Niepokalanów. He went to Japan as a missionary and returned to Poland in 1936. He was held prisoner twice during the Second World War. During his second imprisonment, in 1941, he was led to a prison in Pawiak, and later transferred to the concentration camp of Auschwitz. On the evening of August 3, three prisoners escaped. As a punishment, the camp official ordered ten prisoners to be led to the dreaded bunker, where they would die slowly without food or water. One of the prisoners who was chosen cried out, "My wife! My children!" St. Maximillian volunteered to take his place. While in the bunker, he assisted the other nine men as they died. Ten days later, Maximillian Kolbe was given a lethal injection and died on August 14, 1941. He was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1973 and canonized as Martyr of Charity by Pope John Paul II in 1982.

 

St. Philip Neri

s felipe

"Just thinking about Mary brings consolation to my soul. She is my delight."

Saint Philip Neri was born in Florence, Italy in 1515. Since his childhood, he stood out for his joy and goodness. People called him "good little Philip." After his mother's death, his father sent him to live with his rich uncle. Philip rejected his uncle's plans to make him the heir of all his goods because he saw that it might impede him from dedicating himself completely to God.
Having left his uncle and his riches, he moved to Rome, and took with him nothing but the clothes he was wearing and a heart full of trust in God. He lived in a simple and poor manner.
He spent his first two years in Rome reading, praying, and doing penance. He dedicated the next three to studying philosophy and theology. God inspired in him the desire to give catechism classes to the poor. Because of his amiable character, he won the trust of all types of people. This gave him the opportunity to speak to them about God and lead them down the path of truth and salvation. He would often ask people, "Friend, when are we going to begin to be better?"
When he was 34 years old his confessor encouraged him to think about the priesthood, considering the good that he would be able to do. Even though he felt very unworthy, he accepted, and was ordained a priest in 1551. The Lord gave him the gift of being a good confessor.
Among the many initiatives that he began, one was that of forming a group of priests called the Oratorians. He cultivated in them a great devotion to Our Lady.
On May 25, 1595, with great joy and a radiant face, he proclaimed to his doctor the words from the psalm, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’” That very night he died. In 1622 he was declared a Saint.

 

St. John Paul II

s juan pablo ii
"God speaks to man through this singular Beauty named Mary, Mother of God and Our Mother."
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