Saturday, June 30, 2018


 While not  (yet) on the path to sainthood, a local well known doctor certainly fits the  profile of a  saint. He is very dear to our hearts as he saved the life of one of our sisters, who is no longer with us, but who had an extra ten years added to her life due to his intervention.

Pioneering heart surgeon LESTER SAUVAGE  was born in Wapato, across the mountains from us, near Yakima, in 1926.  His father was a sportsman who owned a  poolroom and bar called Jack’s Place. The two often went fishing together. Dr. Sauvage thought that some of his skill as a surgeon was because  of the many hours he spent cleaning fish with his father.

The family moved to Spokane in 1942 because his mother, a devout Catholic, thought the children could get a better education in the Catholic schools there.

His first career goal was to become a Major League baseball player. But his mother insisted that he focus on his education instead. He entered medical school in an accelerated pre-med program at Gonzaga in 1943, in the middle of World War II, at a time when medical schools were scrambling for students when he was just 17. 

In 1944 he left for medical school at St. Louis University in Missouri. It was an exciting time in medicine, on the eve of the era of open-heart surgery. Within a decade, a heart-lung machine would be developed, making it possible for the human heart to be stopped, repaired, and restarted. Advances in medicine were opening a whole new field of cardiovascular surgery. By his senior year in medical school, Lester decided to specialize in that field.

He completed a one-year internship at the King County Hospital (now Harborview Medical Center) in Seattle in 1949 and immediately began a residency in vascular surgery at the University of Washington. His residency was interrupted when he was drafted into the Army Medical Corps in 1952, during the Korean War. He was given the rank of lieutenant and assigned to the Division of Experimental Surgery in the Army Medical Service Graduate School at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C.

At Walter Reed, Sauvage became involved in research to find better ways to repair blood vessels that had been damaged by rifle fire or other war-related injuries. He conducted a series of experiments involving the insertion of blood vessel grafts in the aorta in the chest of young pigs. The work led to his first major research paper, "The Healing and Fate of Arterial Grafts," published in 1955.

In 1956 he married  a Seattle University nursing student. Within weeks, the young couple left for Boston, where Dr. Sauvage began a second residency, in pediatric and cardiovascular surgery, at the Children’s Medical CenterThe couple went on to have eight children.

In addition to a busy private practice (averaging more than 260 operations a year for 32 years), he also carried on important clinical research. With his colleagues at his initially small laboratory (now the Hope Heart Institute), he made major contributions to the development of coronary bypass surgery and artificial replacements for diseased arteries and valves.

By the 1970s, Dr. Sauvage was one of Seattle’s busiest and best-known surgeons. In addition to his private practice at Providence Hospital, he had become chief of cardiac surgery at Children’s Hospital. He was legendary for his stamina, working 20 hours a day for six and sometimes seven days a week. 

He was also known for his extraordinary attentiveness to patients. He visited them at all hours in the hospital and willingly provided personal services, from washing their hair to spoon-feeding them. On at least one occasion, he sent his assistants off to rest while he cleaned the operating room himself. Staff and patients called him "Saint Sauvage”.

 Dr. Sauvage retired from clinical surgery in 1991, after more than 32 years of practice, but he remained active in research and writing. He wrote three books for lay people: The Open HeartYou Can Beat Heart Disease, and The Better Life Diet.    His primary emphasis at the end of his career was on the prevention of heart disease. "We’re not going to defeat heart disease with a knife.  Prevention is where we should be, more than having more sharp knives and more operating rooms and more talented surgeons."

Dr. Lester Sauvage died on June 5, 2015, at the age of 88.

His deep Christian faith remained an important part of his life. As a surgeon, he often spoke to his patients about spiritual issues, and took pride in ministering to their inner lives as much as to their physical problems. "People who are afflicted with these problems are brought into a close glimpse, if you will, with eternity. If I can give a little guidance to people to enlarge their horizon or what they see, then I think I've done something that's every bit as important as putting a stitch in some artery someplace or another”. Our Community has fond memories of his care for our Mother Francis of Rome.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Is there any end to holy doctors in our modern times?  In all fields they are an example to other physicians that it is not impossible to be brilliant in their area of expertise and holy at the same time.

Servant of God Giancarlo Rastelli was born in 1933 in Pescara, Italy. He received his medical degree from the University of Parma, where he graduated with honors.  He met his wife to be, Anna Anghileri, in 1959 when she was 19 years old. In 1961 he won a NATO scholarship and went to Rochester, Minnesota to work at the famous Mayo Clinic.  While in America, he continued to correspond with Anna almost daily. On August 11, 1964, Giancarlo returned to Italy and one day later they married. They traveled to the United States where they settled, raising a happy, loving family. Anne and Giancarlo had one aughter, Antonella, who was 4 when her father died.

A few days after the honeymoon, Doctor Rastelli was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. He made no mention of his illness to anyone, not even his parents. To his wife he said: "Believe in God and in the Mayo", then he quickly left whistling Mozart and Beethoven. 

After only a few years, he was appointed head of Cardiovascular Research at the Mayo. Giancarlo had an interesting and productive profession, and the future looked extremely promising. He developed a classification of atrioventricular canal and a novel surgical procedure that revolutionized the management of children with congenital heart disease. His work was ahead of its time and laid the foundation for the treatment of complex congenital cardiac anomalies.

These discoveries earned him three gold medals in Washington, the dual Italian-American citizenship and the name of Rastelli I and Rastelli II to his two methods of operating techniques .

He died at the Methodist Hospital in Rochester on February 2, 1970 at the age of 36 years. On September 30, 2005, the Holy See granted permission to start the cause of beatification of Giancarlo Rastelli.

He was known to always have at the center of his thoughts the dignity of  the sick, treating them as if they were Christ. 

Around the world departments of hospitals and schools, were dedicated to him as well as a road to Parma.  In the Mayo Clinic is a large plaque with the inscription: "In memory of Giancarlo Rastelli by the surgeon residents who considered him highly as a surgeon , creative artist, teacher and friend ". 

He was buried with honor in the university chapel of the cemetery of Parma. On the tablet is written "Vita mutatur, non tollitur" (life is changed, not ended).

Sunday, June 24, 2018


SERVANT of GOD JEROME LOUIS MARIE LEJEUNE, born in 1926, was a French pediatrician and geneticist, best known for discovering the link of diseases to chromosome abnormalities and for his subsequent opposition to prenatal diagnosis and abortion.

In 1958, working from the discovery that humans have 46 chromosomes, found the extra chromosome on the 21st pair that causes what was then called “mongolism” and is now called Down syndrome. Until Dr. Lejeune’s discovery, the syndrome had wrongly been attributed to maternal syphilis.

Although his  discoveries paved the way for new therapeutic research into how changes in gene copy number could cause disease, they also led to the development of prenatal diagnosis of chromosome abnormalities and thence to abortions of affected pregnancies. This was very distressing to Dr. Lejeune, a devout Catholic, and led him to begin his fight for the pro-life cause.

He opposed the authorization in 1967 for women to use contraception as well as the Peyret laws in 1970 to render legal the interruption of pregnancy in case of fetal abnormalities.

After receiving the Allan prize, Dr. Lejeune gave a talk to his colleagues which concluded by explicitly questioning the morality of abortion, an unpopular viewpoint in the profession. In a letter to his wife, he wrote "today, I lost my Nobel prize in Medicine".

As a devout Catholic and father of five, Dr. Lejeune’s discovery led him to think in terms of improving the lives of those with trisomy 21. Thousands of families corresponded with him and came from all over the world to seek his counsel. Dr. Lejeune offered them a different perspective than the world’s, encouraging them to see that their children were created in God’s image and made for eternity, like all of us. He assured them their children possessed special gifts of love and affection.

Dr. Lejeune called them “these dear little ones,” and his love for them was authentic. So, he was horrified by the realization that, in this eugenic era, his discovery of the extra chromosome made them targets. He feared it was only a matter of time before tests made prenatal diagnosis possible, resulting in many parents choosing to abort their children.

He was compassionate and gave hope to families with children affected by Down syndrome. People called him at any hour—day or night—for his counsel. He would drop everything to spend hours with them.

In 1975, after one of his public appearances in Paris on the beginning of life, Dr. Lejeune met Dr. Wanda Poltawska, director of the Catholic Institute for the Family in Krakow. Later that year, Dr. Poltawska contacted Dr. Lejeune twice, asking him to speak at conferences on the beginning of life that she was organizing with one of her close friends, Monsignor Karol Wojtyla, then Cardinal-Archbishop of Krakow. On 16 October 1978 Wojtyla was elected Pope John Paul II.

In 1994, the Holy Father created the Pontifical Academy for Life, appointing Dr. Lejeune as its first president. By then suffering from cancer, he tried to decline, but when the pope insisted, he simply replied, “I will die in action.” He immediately got to work drafting the bylaws of the new academy.

 He served as President of the Academy for only a few weeks before his death on Easter Sunday 1994. As he was dying, he mourned, “I was the doctor who was supposed to cure them and, as I leave, I feel I am abandoning them.” His wife, Birthe, has written, “All of the awards he received for his discoveries were meaningless to him, because he had not been able to accomplish that one goal.

A few years later, during his visit to Paris for World Youth Day 1997, John Paul II visited Dr. Lejeune’s grave in Châlo-Saint-Mars. His cause for sainthood is being postulated by the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Wandrille in Normandy, France.

The personal life and professional character of Dr. Jérôme Lejeune were a seamless garment of pro-life philosophy and action. This is what comes through in Life Is a Blessing: A Biography of Jérôme Lejeune, lovingly written by his daughter Clara Lejeune-Gaymard.

Thursday, June 21, 2018


Another physician is VENERABLE ALESSANDRO NOTTEGAR  a layman and father who founded the Regina Pacis community in Verona, Italy.

 Born in Verona in 1943, he was the last of ten children of a simple but strong Catholic family. After finishing high school, he began studying theology but after discernment, understood that he was not called to religious life or to the priesthood but to the married life.

He enrolled at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Padua and in 1971 he married Luisa Scipionato.  They had three daughters: Chiara, Francesca and Miriam. He graduated in 1977,  and the following year  left with his family for a missionary experience in Brazil. He was the first doctor to come to the area and the infant mortality was frightening.

Dr. Sandro was not only concerned with the physical health of people, but with their integral well being, aiming to integrate them into society and taking care of the spiritual life. With the arrival of other doctors, at the beginning of the eighties he moved to Rondonia, in the Amazon forest and began working day and night in a leper colony.  "I feel unworthy to serve Christ crucified in sick people, I see in them my father, my mother, my brothers, my children".

with Luisa

In the chapel of the leper colony of the Marcelline sisters, Alessandro and Luisa with their daughters consecrated the whole family to the Madonna. The bishop of Rio Branco called Alessandro to work in a small village in an area where rubber was extracted where there was not  a doctor. 

Alessandro taught the people how to prepare some medicines at home. Because of the health of their daughters and their desire to see their grandparents again, the Nottegar family returned to Italy in 1982. After winning a competition, he began working at the analysis laboratory of the San Bonifacio hospital. 

He felt the call to sell everything he had to follow the Lord with his family and start a new community, convinced that even spouses are called to holiness. He sold the lands inherited from his father and deposited the money into a checking account in the name of Queen Mary of Peace, named in Medjugorje as the Mother and Queen of the future community.

Miraculously, Divine Providence multiplied the money of the Nottegar family seven times, allowing them to buy a large house on the hills of Verona. There, on August 15, 1986, the Regina Pacis Community was born. In September 1986, Alessandro told his daughters, "Daughters, I leave you no inheritance of lands, no apartments, no bank accounts. The inheritance I leave you is the total choice for the Gospel and the possibility of studying until graduation, if you want and deserve it." 

 A few days later, on September 19, 1986, returning from work at the hospital, Alessandro was stricken with a heart attack. He was only 42 years old. Luisa found herself alone with her three daughters in the new community, started just over a month before. That same night, a young couple, Mario and Rita Granuzzo, decided to go and live with Luisa. The Lord gave her strength and she continued to carry on the work.  

At present the Community has about eighty members and is made up of families, lay people, consecrated persons and priests who, by making community life, commit themselves to live the love of Christ in communion and in the service of their brothers, especially the neediest, such as children and seniors alone. It is present in seven communities: in Verona and Grezzana (Italy), Budapest (Hungary), Feira, Fortaleza and Quixadà (Brazil) and in Medjugorje (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Now, his daughters, all three graduates, with their families, also belong to the community, work and pray in various missionary activities. His wife Luisa is currently on a mission to Brazil, where they have opened some of their homes. The center of the Community is the Eucharistic Jesus, Holy Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, personal and communal daily prayer, and living the Gospel.

Monday, June 18, 2018


The second physician named venerable is  PEDRO HERRERO RUBIO, a Spanish layman and pediatrician who dedicated his life to the medical and spiritual needs of his young patients and their parents. He died in Spain in 1978.

He was born in 1904 in Alicante, where his father was an official . He began to study with the Marist Brothers but his father was assigned to Orihuela in 1917 so  he finished high school  with Jesuits.  In 1924 he moved to Madrid where he began studying at the College of Surgery of San Carlos of the Central University

He was a student of the Nobel Prize winner, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, and of the future President, Dr. Juan Negrín. Graduating in 1927 he specialized in Pediatrics and Obstetrics.
iWith a state scholarship he went to the University of Paris to study.

Back in Alicante he applied to the Medical Association and began working as a doctor of childhood diseases in the dispensary of the Spanish Red Cross

In 1931 he married Patrocinio Javaloy Lizón and while they had no children of their own, his reputation as "children's doctor", especially the disadvantaged,  began to be known. He gave them medicine and also helped them with his own money, baptizing them even. He was known among his colleagues to be of the highest moral authority.

The religious persecution during the thirties did not prevent him from continuing his Christian life from the underground. He was arrested in 1937 because of his Catholic status but was released at the request of a commission of women, workers and militiamen from Alicante, alluding to his generous dedication to the poorest.

From 1954-1960 he served as councilor of the city of Alicante, not because he was affiliated with a political party, but because he was elected by the provincial governor because of his personal worth. In 1970, he was awarded the honorary position of Medical Honorific Dean of the Body of Physicians of the Provincial Charity. In 1974, he was awarded the Province Gold Medal. In 1976, he was awarded the First Class Cross and White Badge of the Civil Order of Charity, and finally he was awarded the title of Illustrious Son of the city of Alicante.

Venerable Pedro died in 1978 in Barcelona undergoing emergency surgery due to an intestinal obstruction. At his funeral the bishop of Alicante spoke of him as "a saint of today".  With both of these modern holy doctors and their care of the sick, one is reminded of St. Giuseppe Moscati.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


Two months ago our family doctor of 30 years retired.  He was a rare specimen in our modern age of doctors who rely too much on technology and not enough on their instinct. His favorite saying was:  it’s your body, listen to it.  While I am not sure he was a saint, he was  compassionate and generous, never rushing with you and had the ability to make you feel you were his favorite patient.  This month I would like to focus on some very special doctors in our modern Church.

Jesus Healing

Amazingly, as I was preparing a Blog on two new Venerables,  both of whom were physicians, the Holy Father on May 28 , met with members of the International Federation of Associations of Catholic Physicians ahead of a congress on the theme of “Holiness of life and the medical profession, from Humanae vitae to Laudato si'” in Zagreb, Croatia May 30-June 2.
He noted the “hardships and difficulties” physicians may face when they are faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church, particularly when they promote and defend human life “from its conception to its natural end.”
Doctors “are called to affirm the centrality of the patient as a person and his dignity with his inalienable rights, primarily the right to life.  The tendency to debase the sick man as a machine to be repaired, without respect for moral principles, and to exploit the weakest by discarding what does not correspond to the ideology of efficiency and profit must be resisted.”
To be a Catholic doctor means to feel driven by “faith and from communion with the Church” to grow in Christian and professional formation and to know the laws of nature in order “to better serve life,” he said, stressing that the participation of Catholic physicians in the life and mission of the Church is “so necessary.”
“Be more and more aware that today it is necessary and urgent that the action of the Catholic physician presents itself with an unmistakable clarity on the level of personal and associative testimony,” he urged.
He also encouraged working together with professionals of other religious convictions who also recognize the dignity of the human person, and with priests and religious who work in the healthcare field.
Continue the journey “with joy and generosity,” he said, “in collaboration with all the people and institutions that share the love of life and endeavor to serve it in its dignity and sacredness.”
One doctor who certainly fulfilled in his professional life as well as his spiritual life the virtues our Holy Father calls for in the medical profession was VENERABLE VITTORIO TRANCANELLI, a married layman and surgeon, who was known as “the Saint of the Operating Room.” Born in Perugia, Italy in 1944, he wanted to go on mission as a doctor but the birth of his first child with special needs meant he stayed in his home city.

He studied medicine in Perugia at the college where he graduated. He also liked to learn about Sacred Scripture and Etruscology- study of the ancient civilization of the Etruscans in Italy, which was incorporated into an expanding Roman Empire during the period of Rome's Middle Republic.

He married Rosalia Sabatini in 1965 and became quite ill in 1976 prior to the birth of his son Diego. His illness returned in 1981 before the birth of his second child. He and his wife adopted seven others with some of them being disabled and formed an association of families who adopted disadvantaged children.

He gained a strong reputation for both his good work as a doctor and for his personal holiness which was evident in his interactions with people he worked with.  He was dubbed "The Saint of the Operating Room".

Venerable Vittorio was enthralled with Judaism, as Jesus Christ was a Jew, and contributed to Jewish festivals and attempted to learn the language. He was a frequent contributor to the Ecumenical Centre of St Martin where the elders there dubbed him as "our rabbi".

He had an operation for ulcerative colitis which had developed into peritonitis.He became ill in March 1998 and died three months later on 24 June 1998.

Archbishop Giuseppe Chiaretti celebrated the funeral mass in which his coffin was draped with a tallit  (prayer shawl) due to his love for the Jewish people. A great number of people and those of the Jewish faith attended. The archbishop referred to Vittorio as a "saint of our time" who espoused a "civilization of love". One can see from the photos that he radiated the joy of His beloved Lord.

Monday, June 11, 2018


Having grown  and studied the uses of medicinal (as well as culinary) herbs for many years at our Mother Abbey, this new venerable is dear to my heart.

VENERABLE SUZANNE AUBERT (Sister Mary Joseph or Mother Aubert), was a Catholic sister who started a home for orphans and the under-privileged in Jerusalem, New Zealand on the Whanganui River in 1885.

Mother Aubert first came to New Zealand in 1860 and formed the Congregation of the Holy Family to educate Māori children. She founded the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion in 1892. She later started two hospitals in Wellington.

She cared for children and the sick, by skillfully combining Māori medicine and Pākehā (European) science, and wrote books in Māori, English and French adding significantly to a higher cultural understanding and literary heritage.

Mother Aubert was actively engaged with the local Māori population and spoke Māori well. She wrote a book New and complete manual of Maori conversation, containing phrases and dialogues on a variety of useful and interesting topics, together with a few general rules of grammar  and a comprehensive vocabulary.

When Mother Aubert died in 1926, her funeral was believed to be one of the largest in the small country’s history. Not only did she tend to the sick, but she also helped keep the her community afloat by selling medicines and other apothecary goods. She diverged from Western medicine traditions, seeking out ways to combine those doctrines with Māori medicine.

Marie Henriette Suzanne Aubert was born in 1835 near Lyon, France. She was educated by Benedictine nuns at La Rochette in Luxembourg.  Following the 19th century French custom among middle-class and upper-class families, Marie’s parents had arranged her marriage to the son of a family friend.  Marie however refused to comply. She then sought the support of the much-respected Jean-Marie-Baptiste Vianney, parish priest of Ars and later St Jean Vianney, who told her she had made the right decision that God had other designs for her.

In 1860 at age 25,  she sailed to New Zealand with Bishop Jean Baptiste François Pompallier and a number of other Catholic missionaries recruited during his year-long visit back to Europe. Here, in New Zealand Marie Aubert served the sick, orphaned, elderly and those ‘unnoticed’ by society.

She established New Zealand’s first soup kitchen that still serves almost 40,000 meals a year. She established orphanages for abandoned children and provided care for the handicapped, the sick and the dying. She was a pioneer of New Zealand’s health and welfare system and a friend to Māori throughout her life.

She founded the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion in 1892.  It was the only Catholic congregation born and growing to maturity in New Zealand.

In addition to their religious life, the sisters taught and nursed, farmed newly cleared bush, tended an orchard, made and marketed medicines, sold fruit to tourists and raised homeless children,  and as a result the community grew and thrived. Much of their income came through the sales of Mother Aubert's medicinal formulations, including many cannabis-based medicines. She is the first person known to grow cannabis in New Zealand.  This interesting fact is not why she has been declared venerable!

Thursday, June 7, 2018


Paraguay soon  celebrates the honor delivered to the Carmelite nun “Chiquitunga”, marking her  the nation’s first woman to be beatified. The beatification ceremony will take place June 23 in the Cerro Porteño club stadium.

MARIA GUGGIARI ECHEVERRIA  (in religion María Felicia Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament) was a Paraguayan  Discalced Carmelite  who also served in her adolescence as a member of Catholic Action. She entered the order despite the opposition of her parents and was a close friend of Saua Angel, a friend from Catholic Action who became a priest.

María was born in 1925 in Villarica del Espiritu Santo, Guairá, Paraguay as the first of seven children to Ramón Guggiari and María Arminda Echeverría. Her father often called her "Chiquitunga".

In 1941 she became a member of the Catholic Action movement, despite her parents' opposition to it, dedicating herself to the movement. She daily received Communion and  gave herself with  joyful, and unconditional dedication to the work of children, young people and the sick, the elderly and needy. Her love for the poor and suffering was exceptional.

She met her spiritual director Father Julio Cesar Duarte Ortella in 1941. It was during her time with the movement that she met and fell in love with the medical student Saua Angel and she began to wonder if God wanted her to wed like the parents of St Thérèse of Lisieux who made vows to remain chaste in the married life. Maria waited for the Lord's will to manifest itself.  In 1951 Angel  told her in that he felt called to the priesthood. She decided to offer whatever assistance he needed and helped Angel hide it from his father, a Muslim. Angel left for Madrid for further studies and to continue to discern his vocation. Maria made a vow to remain chaste in 1942.

In 1947, due to civil unrest, her father and brother Federico were sent to Posadas in Argentina for a brief period of time.  In February 1950 she and her parents relocated to the capital of the nation. Despite strong opposition from her parents, she entered the Discalced Carmelite Order in 1955.  She lived the next three years with charity, sacrifice and joy, giving of herself in a special way for the lives of priests.

In 1959 she became ill with infectious hepatitis and was forced to move into a sanatorium to recover from her illness. She was with her siblings and parents when she died. Her last words were:  "Jesus I love You! What a sweet encounter! Virgin Mary

For the beatification Mass in Asuncion, Paraguay June 23, Paraguayan artist Koki Ruiz will make an altarpiece with more than 20,000 rosaries donated by parishioners. 60,000 are expected to attend the ceremony.

Monday, June 4, 2018


During Mass  for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Pope Francis said:
Bro. Mickey McGrath, OSFS

“Only the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the food of life, can satisfy the hunger of hearts for love, a universal experience.
In life, we constantly need to be fed: nourished not only with food, but also with plans and affection, hopes and desires. We hunger to be loved. But the most pleasing compliments, the finest gifts and the most advanced technologies are not enough; they never completely satisfy us.
The Eucharist is simple food, like bread, yet it is the only food that satisfies, for there is no greater love. There we encounter Jesus really; we share His life and we feel His love.
Let us choose this food of life! Let us make Mass our priority! Let us rediscover Eucharistic adoration in our communities! Let us implore the grace to hunger for God, with an insatiable desire to receive what He has prepared for us…
Jesus prepares a place for us here below, because the Eucharist is the beating heart of the Church. It gives her birth and rebirth; it gathers her together and gives her strength. But the Eucharist also prepares for us a place on high, in eternity, for it is the Bread of heaven.
The Eucharist is our reservation for the heavenly banquet.  It is Jesus Himself, as food for our journey towards eternal life and happiness…
Everyone knows people who are lonely, troubled, or in need: “they are abandoned tabernacles. Those who receive Jesus in the Eucharist are here to prepare a place and a meal for these, our brothers and sisters in need.
Jesus became bread broken for our sake; in turn, He asks us to give ourselves to others, to live no longer for ourselves but for one another. In this way, we live “eucharistically,” pouring out upon the world the love we draw from the Lord’s flesh.”

Sunday, June 3, 2018


Communion of Saints- Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral- John Nava

I know I have written of this call to holiness in the past, but I believe we cannot hear it too often in our lives. Popes  (St.) John Paul II,  Benedict XVI and  Francis have canonized a total of 1,375 saints, a number that  far exceeds the combined total of saints canonized since 1588, the year the Congregation for the Causes of Saints was established.  Pope Francis alone has canonized 848 saints, more than any of his predecessors (his first canonization involved around 800 Italian martyrs).

St John Paul II began the call during his pontificate for more saints based on the teachings of Vatican II. His inspiration came specifically from Lumen Gentium  in  the chapter entitled, “The Universal Call of Holiness in the Church”, which tells us that all people are called to lead a holy life. Not only priests and religious but the laity as well.

In order that the faithful may reach this perfection, they must use their strength accordingly as they have received it, as a gift from Christ. They must follow in His footsteps and conform themselves to His image seeking the will of the Father in all things. They must devote themselves with all their being to the glory of God and the service of their neighbor. In this way, the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good, as is admirably shown by the life of so many saints in Church history” (LG, 40).

While to many this seems an impossible way to live out their lives, we have only to look at so many in recent years who have shown us the way to holiness… doctors, lawyers, people in business, mothers, fathers, children, etc.
Communion of Saints-  Elise Ritter

St. John Paul II firmly believed that all people, especially the laity, should aspire to holiness and not be afraid to become a saint. He wrote in Novo Millenio Ineunte, ”this ideal of perfection must not be misunderstood as if it involved some kind of extraordinary existence, possible only for a few ‘uncommon heroes’ of holiness. The ways of holiness are many, according to the vocation of each individual. I thank the Lord that in these years he has enabled me to beatify and canonize a large number of Christians, and among them many lay people who attained holiness in the most ordinary circumstances of life” (NM, 31).

Pope Francis has said: “Every state of life leads to holiness, always!  At home, on the streets, at work, at church, in the moment and with the state of life that you have, a door is opened on the road to sainthood. Do not be discouraged to travel this road. God gives you the grace to do so. And this is all that the Lord asks, is that we are in communion with Him and serve others.”

Friday, June 1, 2018


On May 19, Pope Francis issued a decree that recognized the heroic virtues of BR. NORBERT McAULIFFE, an American missionary in Africa.

Venerable Norbert McAuliffe was born in 1886 in Manhattan, New York, and eventually joined the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, a relatively new religious congregation at the time. The congregation was founded by in 1821 by Fr. André Coindre in France and by the time of his death was beginning to spread around the world. The community of brothers are trained to work with the poor through the establishment of schools.

According to their Rule of Life: “Our love for our brothers and the young people in our care radiates from the love Jesus has for us. Our dedication to others, marked by respect, kindness, and concern, will be a sign to them of the compassion of Christ.”

The congregation is primarily made up of religious brothers, with only a few members being ordained priests.

Initially Bro. McAuliffe served as a director of their house in Metuchen, New Jersey, for about six years before being sent as a missionary to Africa. He was sent to Gulu, Uganda, where he established the congregation’s first mission there. The country at the time was under British rule and the people were receptive to Brother
Norbert’s missionary activities. He remained there for 20 years until his death on July 3, 1959 at the age of 72.

His legacy lives on in Uganda and his life was an inspiration to the African people he ministered to in the region.