Monday, September 30, 2019


October has been designated by Pope Francis as EXTRAORDINARY MISSIONARY MONTH, so we will concentrate this month on what it means to evangelize in the 21st century and missionaries  who have gone before our present day missionaries.

Missionaries have brought the Catholic faith not only to the poor and the oppressed but to anyone open to learning about the life of Jesus Christ.

Pope Francis has said that the Church’s mission is a “passion for Jesus and a passion for His people”. This year we celebrate the hundred anniversary of POPE BENEDICT XVs apostolic letter MAXIMUM ILLUD(From the opening words of the original Latin text, meaning "that momentous". Pope Benedict begins by recalling "that momentous and holy charge" found in Mark 16:15: "Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to all creation.")
Pope’s since 1919  have had much to say to God’s people regarding their role in evangelization:

"The Gospel has transformed the world, and it is still transforming it, like a river that waters a great field. Let us turn in prayer to the Virgin Mary that in the whole Church priestly, religious and lay vocations ripen in service to   the new evangelization." POPE BENEDICT XVI

ST. JOHN XXIII called the Vatican Council because he wanted the ancient faith to be exactly preserved and yet proclaimed in a way in which it could be heard and embraced in our age and circumstances.

“What is needed at the present time is a new enthusiasm, a new joy and serenity of mind in the unreserved acceptance by all of the entire Christian faith . . .  What is needed, and what everyone imbued with a truly Christian, Catholic and apostolic spirit craves today, is that this doctrine shall be more widely known, more deeply understood, and more penetrating in its effects on men’s moral lives. What is needed is that this certain and immutable doctrine, to which the faithful owe obedience, be studied afresh and reformulated in contemporary terms.”

In his 1999 Apostolic Exhortation the "Church in America" ST. JOHN PAUL II wrote, "With the passage of time, pastors and faithful alike have grown increasingly conscious of the role of the Virgin Mary in the evangelization of America. In the prayer composed for the Special Assembly for America of the Synod of Bishops, Holy Mary of Guadalupe is invoked as 'Patroness of all America and Star of the first and new evangelization'."

“The saints are not supermen, nor were they born perfect,” POPE FRANCIS said. “They are like us, like each one of us. They are people who, before reaching the glory of heaven, lived normal lives with joys and sorrows,struggles and hopes. What changed their lives? When they recognized God’s love, they followed it with all their heart without reserve or hypocrisy. They spent their lives serving others, they endured suffering     and adversity without hatred and responded to evil with good, spreading joy and peace. This is the life of a saint”.

EVANGELII NUNTIANDI  Apostolic Exhortation of ST. POPE PAUL VI, to the Church: Bishops, clergy, religious, and to all the faithful.

“Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ's sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of His death and glorious Resurrection.

The Church is the depositary of the Good News to be proclaimed. The promises of the New Alliance in Jesus Christ, the teaching of the Lord and the apostles, the Word of life, the sources of grace and of God's loving kindness, the path of salvation - all these things have been entrusted to her. It is the content of the Gospel, and therefore of evangelization, that she preserves as a precious living heritage, not in order to keep it hidden but to communicate it.”

Tuesday, September 24, 2019


In the days when I watched television, I was always fascinated by a popular female journalist - in the days when women in the media were far and few. She was considered a pioneer in her field and was to influence many women of future generations.

I was most impressed with the Catholic Mass and homily for noted journalist COKIE ROBERTS (Mary Martha Corinne) at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in our nation’s capital with Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory as the principal celebrant. Many from Capitol hill were present, as well as many from the media,  Sept. 21 to hear the words and note the devotion of a great Catholic of our day. Our prayer should be that she has some influence on members of our government, demonstrating how one can be a person of prayer, yet influence an industry with integrity! Cokie died of  breast cancer, died Sept. 17. She was 75.

Her mother was Lindy Boggs (d. 2013), a United States politician who served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and later as United States Ambassador to the Holy See. She was the first woman elected to Congress from Louisiana. She was reelected seven times until she vacated her office in January 1991. She was also a permanent chairwoman of the 1976 Democratic National Convention, which met in New York City to nominate the Carter-Mondale ticket. She was the first woman to preside over a major party convention.

With her mother

In his homily Archbishop Gregory said: “We give thanks for the time that Cokie Roberts graced this world of ours. We rejoice in her humor, her conviction of faith, and her womanly ability to bring out the best in us - and to insist on nothing less. Thanks be to God for the time that He gave her to us… We grieve this day and will grieve for a great many days to come because a woman of faith who has touched us, loved us and taught us has been taken from us. … She was for so many - a wise woman of faith. She called us to be our better selves and she was quick to point out when we behaved as our lesser selves.”

Cokie  was a New Orleans native, who attended the Academy of the Sacred Heart in that city and graduated from the order’s Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1960. Archbishop Gregory noted the impact of the Sacred Heart sisters had on Cokie’s life, saying they helped form her as a woman who believed in and fashioned her life around God’s word. ”

The archbishop noted how Cokie challenged people of different ideologies to resolve conflicts by listening to each other and recognizing their dignity as human beings.
“She challenged us all to work together for the building up of this nation and our church and for the increase of everyone. She was unafraid of bishop or political figure and she delighted in letting both know that fact!  Her faith and determination to improve the church she loved and the nation that she cherished accomplished great good for us as individuals and as institutions.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “Cokie Roberts is a national treasure whose passing is a great loss for America.. (she) was an American icon. She will forever be in the pantheon of the greatest professionals in her field.”

In his remembrance about his wife, Steven Roberts said another woman journalist whom she had mentored, said Cokie “used her power to empower others.”

Tracing her career as a radio correspondent for CBS to reporting on Capitol Hill and providing political commentary for NPR to serving as a panelist and anchor for ABC and then as a best-selling author, Steven Roberts said: “Even as she climbed the ladder of success, she always reached behind her to help others.”
Cokie Roberts, he said, was a true Christian, who treated people, especially those who were not wealthy or famous, with respect. 


This blessed Benedictine 
has been around awhile, but this is the
first time we are celebrating his feast, 
this Wednesday, Sept. 25.

BL BENEDICT DUSMET  (1818- 1894)  was an Italian Roman Catholic cardinal who served as the Archbishop of Catania from 1867 until his death.  He was born of noble houses which could be traced back to Flanders in Belgium. His two maternal uncles Vincenzo and Leopoldo Dragonetti were both monks from the Order of Saint Benedict.

He was professed into the Order of Saint Benedict at Monte Cassino where he took "Benedetto" as his religious name. He studied under the Benedictines prior to joining them before serving as a professor in addition to prior and abbot. His elevation to the episcopate saw him distinguish himself in cholera epidemics when he tended to the ill while also remaining a strong advocate for the poor of his archdiocese. He remained a Benedictine and was known to continue to don the Benedictine habit instead of the red cardinal's regalia.

Bl. (Cardinal)  Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster, a Benedictine himself, unveiled a monument dedicated to Bl. Benedict in Catania in 1935.  His beatification was celebrated in 1988.
The monument

Friday, September 20, 2019


Also beatified in September was BENEDETTA BIANCHI PORRO  (see Blog  7/20/18). She was born in 1936 in the Romagna- the origins of our new puppy, "Winnie". She pursued a medical career and was perceived to be a brilliant student, but the aggressive progression of her illness (polio)  forced her to abandon all hopes for a medical career. She instead devoted herself to surgeries for her own health but failed to cure her ailments; instead her health took on a rapid decline. 

Benedetta bore supreme witness to the suffering of the risen Christ.

To everyone who came in contact with her she communicated hope. Her faith worked wonders. Benedetta's earthly life came to an end on the 23rd of January 1964 at Sirmione. At the moment of her death a white rose bloomed in the garden beneath her window.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


BL. RICHARD HENKES was beatified on September 5 by Pope Francis. The new blessed was born in 1900 in the German village of Ruppach/ Westerwald. He joined the Pallottines in Vallendar to become a priest. In 1918 he was called up for military service and finished his A levels in 1919. Afterwards he joined the Pallottines in Limburg. He had his first consecration in 1921, was ordained priest in 1925 and became a teacher in Schönstatt in 1926, a duty which was interrupted by a severe pulmonary TB. In 1931 he was transferred to teach in Katscher/ Upper Silesia and afterwards to Frankenstein/ Silesia.

After the Nazis seizure of power, the religious dispute with National Socialism became his second big vocation. Bravely, Bl. Henkes represented the values of Christianity at school, in numerous religious exercises for the youths and in his preaching, too. It was as early as 1937 when he was denounced because of one of his homilies. He had to stand trial at a special court in Breslau (the home of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross who also died in a concentration camp) because of a supposed vilification of the “Führer”, but there was no verdict then.

His superiors took the endangered confrere from teaching in 1938 and Bl. Henkes went on working as a youth chaplain, a master for religious exercises, particularly in Branitz, and as a famous preacher in all of Upper Silesia. His last engagement was the one as a priest’s representative in the town of Strandorf (1941 to 1943). Due to these activities and his open language, he became more and more the focus of attention of the Nazi authorities. He was interrogated and threatened by the Gestapo again and again.

Bl. Henkes was arrested by the Gestapo in Ratibor/ Upper Silesia  (East Germany on the Polish/Czech borders) on May 8th, 1943 due to a sermon he had given in Branitz. He was then deported to the concentration camp of Dachau in Bavaria. There, he had to do compulsory labor like all prisoners. He remained strong in faith, shared his food with many others and encouraged his fellow prisoners. It was there  he met the later archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Josef Beran. Though it wasn’t easy for him, he continued his studies of the Czech language, which he had  started in Strandorf, as he intended to stay in the east after the war.

From 1944 he worked as a canteen operator and secret preacher on block 17, where there were many Czech people.  He himself lived on the priest’s block, #26. In the late months of 1944, a second typhus epidemic spread in the concentration camp. Though knowing that this could have fatal consequences for him, Bl. Henkes volunteered to care for the typhus patients on block 17, being locked up with them. After 8 weeks he became infected himself and within five days died on February 22nd, 1945.

The Pallottines ( The Society of the Catholic Apostolate, better known as the Pallottines, are a Society of Apostolic Life within the Roman Catholic Church, founded in 1835 by the Roman priest Saint Vincent Pallotti. Pallottines are part of the Union of Catholic Apostolate and are present in 45 countries on six continents)  consider his sacrifice as the one of a brave warrior and as a testimony for the Christian faith as well as a martyr of Christian charity. The Pallottines and the Czech bishops trust that Bl. Richard Henkes and the Czech archbishop Josef Beran will function as connecting links of reconciliation between Czech, German and Polish people. Bl. Henkes most important places of activity now belong to Poland and the Czech Republic.

Monday, September 16, 2019


The first part of the 20th Century saw many poets who experienced the wages of war, either in the Great War or in the smaller battles in Ireland. Rupert Brooke, Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, Wilfred Owen, the American Joyce Kilmer, Canadian John McCrae, and many others define the experience of the Great War in a way different from almost any other conflict. This period remains defined and understood by its poetry, yet I am sure the works of these men are so little read today.  If we are to really   to understand the agonies they endured, we need to look at some of their poems.

“The First World War inspired profound poetry – words in which the atmosphere and landscape of battle were evoked perhaps more vividly than ever before.

The poets – many of whom lost their lives – became a collective voice , illuminating not only the war’s tragedies  and their irreparable effects, but the hopes and disappointments of an entire generation.”

These men were scarred by the horrors they saw, and many of them struggled to reconcile their trauma with the ordinary events of daily life through their poetry.

Brooke, McCrae, Owen

RUPERT BROOKE was already an established poet and literary figure before the outbreak of the First World War. When war broke out he joined a newly-formed unit, the 2nd Naval Brigade, Royal Naval Division.

In the last months of 1914 he wrote the five 'war sonnets' that were to make him famous, including 'Peace' and 'The Soldier'. He was travelling to the Dardanelles with the Hood Battalion, in March 1915, when he was taken ill in Egypt. Although weak, he continued to the Greek island of Skyros. There, he suffered an insect bite which became infected and he died of blood poisoning on 23 April. He was buried in an olive grove on the island. 

ROBERT GRAVES was the son of a British father and a German mother. He won a classical scholarship to St John's College, Oxford, in 1914, but instead obtained a commission in the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

He was sent to France in May 1915, where he took part in the Battle of Loos. In July 1916, three weeks into the Battle of the Somme, he was badly wounded and reported dead. His parents were informed and a notice of his death appeared in The Times before they realized he had survived. He returned to the front several months later, but his lungs had been permanently damaged and he was declared unfit for active service.

While in France, Graves became a close friend of fellow officer, Siegfried Sassoon, and supported him during his notorious anti-war 'protest'. Sassoon's influence showed in Graves's early poems. His acclaimed autobiography, “Goodbye to All That”, based largely on his wartime experiences, was published in 1929. He moved to Majorca that year and worked as a poet, scholar, dramatist, critic and novelist until his death at the age of 90.

WILFRED OWEN  was in France working as a private tutor when war was declared He returned to England and joined the Artists' Rifles in October 1915. He was subsequently commissioned into the Manchester Regiment and was sent to France in December 1916. In April 1917, after a traumatic period of action, he was diagnosed with what became known as shell-shock, and was sent back to Britain. While recovering in Craiglockhart War Hospital he met Siegfried Sassoon. There, with Sassoon's support, he found his poetic voice and wrote the famous poem, “Anthem for Doomed Youth”.

Owen returned to France in August 1918 and was awarded the Military Cross in October. He was killed in action on 4 November, just a few days before the Armistice.

Lieutenant Colonel JOHN McCRAEMD  was a Canadian poet, physician, author, artist and soldier during World War I, and a surgeon during the Second Battle of Ypres, in Belgium. He is best known for writing the famous war memorial poem "In Flanders Fields". McCrae died of pneumonia near the end of the war.

In April 1915, McCrae was stationed in the trenches near Ypres, Belgium, in an area known as Flanders, during the bloody Second Battle of Ypres. In the midst of the tragic warfare, McCrae’s friend, twenty-two-year-old Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed by artillery fire and buried in a makeshift grave. The following day, McCrae, after seeing the field of makeshift graves blooming with wild poppies, wrote his famous poem “In Flanders Fields,” which would be the second-to-last poem he would ever write.

“In Flanders Fields” became popular almost immediately upon its publication. It was translated into other languages. The poppy soon became known as the flower of remembrance for the men and women in Britain, France, the United States, and Canada who have died in service of their country. Today, McCrae’s poem continues to be an important part of Remembrance Day celebrations in Canada and Europe, as well as Memorial Day and Veterans Day celebrations in the United States.

Soon after writing “In Flanders Fields,” McCrae was transferred to a hospital in France, where he was named the chief of medical services. Saddened and disillusioned by the war, McCrae found respite in writing letters and poetry, and wrote his final poem, “The Anxious Dead.” In the summer of 1917, McCrae’s health took a turn, and he began suffering from severe asthma attacks and bronchitis. McCrae died of pneumonia and meningitis on January 28, 1918.

"In Flanders Fields"
    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
          Between the crosses, row on row,
       That mark our place; and in the sky
       The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

        We are the dead, short days ago
      We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
       Loved and were loved, and now we lie
             In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
       The torch; be yours to hold it high.
       If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
             In Flanders fields.

Saturday, September 14, 2019


Smelling flowers
In the play yard- free as the wind
Learning to sit
Learning to stay
This lead business gets me!

All photos taken by intern Cece Stevenson

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Recently I came across a poem by a Catholic  American poet who I grew up reading, but one hears little about today.  I wonder if the average school child even reads poetry today?  I know our children do on Shaw. They have even had some local well known poets come to give them  classes on how to write poetry.  Kilmer was the most known of the war poets who was an American- more on the War poets in next Blog.

JOYCE KILMER lived in the age of the great English writers  J.R.R. Tolkien, G.K. Chesterton, and Hilaire Belloc. 

Joyce Kilmer was a soldier, essayist, prolific poet, and literary critic,  a convert to Catholicism. While he is largely remembered for his poem “Trees”, he was also known for poetry that celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his religious faith.

Joyce Kilmer was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1886.
After graduating from Rutgers College and Columbia University, he served as the literary editor for the religious newspaper “The Churchman”, and later, was on staff at the New York Times. Kilmer enlisted in the New York National Guard in 1917 when the United States entered World War I. As a family man, he was not required to join the services. Instead, he requested a transfer to the infantry and was deployed to Europe. At the time of deployment, he was widely regarded as the leading Catholic American poet of his generation.

Aline Kilmer

He was married to Aline Murray* , also an accomplished poet and author, with whom he had five children. Their daughter Rose was stricken with an infantile paralysis shortly after her birth, a crisis which led Joyce and Aline to convert to Roman CatholicismKilmer wrote that he "believed in the Catholic position, the Catholic view of ethics and aesthetics, for a long time," and he "wanted something not intellectual, some conviction not mental – in fact I wanted Faith." He would stop "every morning for months" on his way "to the office and prayed for faith," claiming that when "faith did come, it came, I think, by way of my little paralyzed daughter. Her lifeless hands led me; I think her tiny feet know beautiful paths. You understand this and it gives me a selfish pleasure to write it down."

Once in Europe, Kilmer quickly rose to the rank of Sergeant and served mostly as an intelligence officer, collecting data and information from the enemy’s front line. 

He sought more hazardous duty and was transferred to the military intelligence section of his regiment, in April 1918. In a letter to his wife, Aline, he remarked: "Now I'm doing work I love – and work you may be proud of. None of the drudgery of soldiering, but a double share of glory and thrills."

Kilmer's fellow soldiers had accorded him much respect for his battlefield demeanor. "He was worshiped by the men about him. I have heard them speak with awe of his coolness and his nerve in scouting patrols in no man's land. This coolness and his habit of choosing, with typical enthusiasm, the most dangerous and difficult missions, led to his death."  On July 30, 1918, he joined in the battle of Ourcq and was killed by a sniper’s bullet.

He  was awarded by the French the prestigious Croix de Guerre (War Cross) for his bravery. 

As a Soldier
Kilmer's early works were inspired by, and were imitative of, the poetry of Algernon Charles SwinburneGerard Manley HopkinsErnest DowsonAubrey Beardsley, and William Butler Yeats (and the Celtic Revival). It was later through the influence of works by Coventry PatmoreFrancis Thompson, and those of Alice Meynell, that Kilmer seems to have become interested in Catholicism. He wrote of his influences:

I have come to regard them with intense admiration. Patmore seems to me to be a greater poet than Francis Thompson. He has not the rich vocabulary, the decorative erudition, the Shelleyan enthusiasm, which distinguish the Sister Songs and the Hound of Heaven, but he has a classical simplicity, a restraint and sincerity which make his poems satisfying.”

Critics compared Kilmer to British Catholic writers Hilaire Belloc and G. K. Chesterton - suggesting that his reputation might have risen to the level where he would have been considered their American counterpart if not for his untimely death at the age of 31.

The entire body of Kilmer's work was produced between 1909 and 1918 when Romanticism and sentimental lyric poetry fell out of favor and Modernism took root. In the years after Kilmer's death, poetry went in drastically different directions, as is seen especially in the work of T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.  Kilmer's verse is conservative and traditional, and does not break the formal rules of poetics. He can be considered as one of the last poets of the Romantic era. His style has been criticized for not breaking free of traditional modes of rhyme, meter, and theme, and for being too sentimental to be taken seriously, yet he is still remembered by some.

In 1938, the federal government purchased 3,800 acres of old growth forest in North Carolina to stop extensive logging. The tract of forest was dedicated to the memory and service of Joyce Kilmer.

Prayer Of A Soldier In France

My shoulders ache beneath my pack
(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back).

 I march with feet that burn and smart
 (Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).

Men shout at me who may not speak
(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).

 I may not lift a hand to clear
 My eyes of salty drops that sear.

 (Then shall my fickle soul forget
 Thy agony of Bloody Sweat?)

 My rifle hand is stiff and numb
 (From Thy pierced palm red rivers come).

 Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
 Than all the hosts of land and sea.

So let me render back again. Amen

Aline's poetry is described as subtle, delicate, and somewhat subdued with a tone of  ironic disillusionment -certainly far from her husband's direct, vigorous, and gay poems.

From her poem, "Sanctuary", these lines are inscribed on her gravestone:
There all bright passing beauty is held forever
Free from the sense of tears, to be loved without regret
There we shall find at their source music and love and laughter,
Colour and subtle fragrance and soft incredible textures:
Be sure we shall find what our weary hearts desire.

Sunday, September 8, 2019


Meet the new dogs of OLR!  I had done a Blog on our 2 Portuguese Water Dogs, Bella and Koko 1/27/13  and that amazing breed. Sadly, we lost both last winter, only two months apart. It has been a difficult summer with no PWDs but a friend recently said, you have got to get new dogs, name the breed and it is yours!   While the PWD again presented itself, I was willing to go for a new breed,  as I don’t think any dog could ever replace Bella. 

Koko and Bella
So, in doing a lot of research, a new breed to us, popped up on my screen.  It is the grandparent of the PWD, Standard Poodle, Golden Retriever, in fact all water dogs.  It is the very intelligent, fun loving, truffle digging dog of Italy- the LAGOTTO ROMAGNOLO.  Try saying this- rolls right off the tongue!

The Lagotto is a breed of water retriever from the lowlands of Comacchio and marshlands of Ravenna, Italy. The artist Andrea Mantegna in the 1474 work titled "The Meeting" depicts a small dog in the lower left corner that is the perfect image of today's Lagotto. This breed was a favorite among other early artists.
"The  Meeting"- detail

Van der Helst- Dutch  1643

Its traditional function was as gundog, specifically a water retriever. After the marshlands were dried up the breed became almost extinct.

Towards the mid 1970s a group of Romagna-based dog lovers decided to save the breed, which was risking extinction as a result of the incompetence, ignorance and negligence. Due to their keen "nose" and love of digging, it was found they are perfect for searching out truffles. In fact they are the only breed trained to do so in Europe.

The Lagotto is very loyal and loving, making them the perfect family companion. They also love to play seeking games and have very active and clever minds.  They are easy to train, and many get along with other animals quite easily if they are socialized as puppies.

Paolo Barbieri- 1603-49
Lagotti vary in their need for exercise, but should always be given stimulation to keep their minds occupied. The instinct to hunt, swim and retrieve is inborn and does not have to be encouraged.  No problem for us!

The Lagotti has a thick, waterproof double coat of hair rather than fur and should be groomed on a regular basis. It is recommended that the coat be cut down at least once every year. (Pretty much the care we gave the PWDs). Like the Poodle & PWD, they are hypo-allergic.

Winnie's dam  Gillenias Winnipeg- (Emma)

Emma again
There are only about 500 Lagotti in the USA.  The breed lives to about 16 years of age- which means they will outlive me!  We will get a companion for WINNIE as soon as she or he is born and ready to come to us. It took 4 ferry rides and 14 hours to get her to us.  (Not so far in distance as the eagle flies!)  The breeder will not ship (her husband was a pilot- so knows what goes on), so people buying from her must come and pick up-  two  from Winnie's litter leaving for Minn.  More photos to follow.

Thursday, September 5, 2019


I have spoken in past Blogs of the youth group that comes in summer to take on building projects, bring in the hay and winter’s fire wood, etc. The adults who bring the youth are members of the Knights of Columbas. *

Recently, in the magazine they send us, I found martyrs from the revolution in Mexico who had belonged to K of C in their areas.
The 1920s brought a revolution to Mexico, along with the widespread persecution of Catholics.  Missionaries were expelled from the country, Catholic seminaries and schools were closed, and the Church was forbidden to own property. Priests and laymen were told to denounce Jesus and their faith in public. If they refused, they faced not just punishment but torture and death.
During this time of oppression and cruelty, the Knights of Columbus did not retreat in Mexico but grew dramatically, from 400 members in 1918 to 43 councils and 6,000 members just five years later. In the United States at the time, the Knights handed out five million pamphlets that described the brutality of the Mexican government toward Catholics. As a result, the Mexican government greatly feared and eventually outlawed the Order.
Thousands of men, many of whom were Knights, would not bow to these threats or renounce their faith, and they often paid with their lives. They took a stand when that was the most difficult thing they could do.   Six priests were members of the Knights, joining the ranks of the Mexican Martyrs, among the 25 victims of religious persecution canonized in 2000 by Pope  (St.) John Paul II.

Father Pedro
Father Jose Maria
Father Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero was forced to study for the priesthood in El Paso, Texas, because of the political situation in Mexico. He returned home after his ordination in 1918 despite the risk. Captured on Ash Wednesday,1937, while distributing ashes to the faithful, Father Pedro was so savagely beaten that one eye was forced from its socket. He died the next day at a local hospital. His tombstone aptly described this martyr in four words: "You are a priest."

Father Jose Maria Robles Hurtado was  ordained in 1913,  founding  the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Guadalajara when he was only 25. On June 25, 1927, he was arrested while preparing to celebrate Mass. Early the next morning, he was hanged from an oak tree, but not before he had forgiven his murderers and offered a prayer for his parish. He went so far as to place the rope around his own neck, so that none of his captors would hold the title of murderer.

Father Rodrigo
Father Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán of Union de Tula in Jalisco was issued a warrant for his arrest, so  took refuge a the Colegio de San Ignacio in Ejutla, celebrating Mass and administering the sacraments.
Rather than escape when soldiers arrived, Father Rodrigo remained at the seminary to burn the list of seminary students, and thus protect them from being known. When the soldiers demanded his identity, he told them only that he was a priest.
He was taken to the main square of Ejutla, where the seminary was located. He publicly forgave his killers, and then a soldier gave him the chance to save himself by giving the “right” answer to this question, “Who lives?”
But he replied, “Christ the King and Our Lady of Guadalupe.” The noose that had been secured to a mango tree was tightened, then relaxed twice. Each time it was relaxed, he was asked the same question and each time he gave the same response. The third time the noose was tightened, he died.

Father Miguel
Father Mateo

Father Miguel
de la Mora de la Mora of Colima, along with several other priests, publicly signed a letter opposing the anti-religious laws imposed by the government. He was soon arrested and, with his brother Regino looking on, Father Miguel was executed  Aug.7,1927 without a trial by a single shot from a military officer as he prayed his rosary.

Father Mateo Correa Magallanes, who was a member of Council 2140, was arrested and taken to Durango. While in prison, he was ordered by the commanding officer on Feb. 5, 1927, to hear the confessions of his fellow prisoners. Then the commander demanded to know what they had told him. Of course, Father Mateo  wouldn't violate the seal of confession, and so, the next day, he was taken to a local cemetery and executed by the soldiers.

Father Luis
Father Luis Batiz Sainz was born in 1870. On Aug. 15, 1926, at Chalchihuites, Zacatecas, he and three layman  were put before a firing squad for refusing to submit to anti-religious laws. When Father Luis asked the soldiers to free one of the captives, Manuel Morales, who had sons and daughters, Morales wouldn’t hear of it.
 “I am dying for God," he declared,” and God will care for my children.” Smiling, Father Luis gave his friend absolution and said: “See you in heaven.”

*  The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Founded in 1882 by Michael J. McGivney in New Haven, Connecticut, it was named in honor of the explorer Christopher Columbus. Originally serving as a mutual benefit society to working-class and immigrant Catholics in the United States, it developed into a fraternal benefit society dedicated to providing charitable services, including war and disaster relief, actively defending Catholicism in various nations, and promoting Catholic education The Knights also support the Catholic Church's positions on public policy issues, including various political causes, and are participants in the new evangelizationPope St. John Paul II referred to the order as the "strong right arm of the Church" for their support of the church, as well as for their philanthropic and charitable efforts.

Being a native of Connecticut, our Prioress has a great devotion to Venerable McGivney. (see Blog. 

Prayer to the Knights of Columbus Priest Martyrs of Mexico Almighty and Eternal God, the martyrdom of St. Mateo Correa Magallanes and his priestly companions manifests your love for the nation of Our Lady of Guadalupe and reveals that violence and hatred are only overcome by a spirit of peace and charity. These brother Knights live on in our minds and hearts because by sacrificing their lives for the sake of the Gospel they gave witness that your love is eternal and your truth can never accept compromise. Let their faithful cry to Christ the King encourage us to be brave witnesses of faith and to remain loyal Knights of Columbus . We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.