Saturday, September 29, 2018


I can’t believe I have not yet done a Blog on my namesake BLESSED HILDEGARD BURJAN.  She set up several organizations for the promotion of women's rights and for the rights of all workers and their families. She was even elected to the Austrian Parliament where she served until her retirement due to ill health.

She was born into a  non-practicing Jewish family in 1883 in the then Prussian city of Gorlitz, and studied philosophy at the University of Zurich. In 1907 she married the Hungarian entrepreneur Alexander Burjan. Following a period of illness (severe renal colic) she discovered the Catholic faith and was baptised in 1909. She moved to Vienna where she became a member of the Austrian parliament, dedicating her political activity to serving the Gospel in support of workers and the oppressed, in keeping with the teachings of Pope Leo XIII's Encyclical "Rerum novarum".

In 1912 she founded the Association of Christian Women Home Workers, offering help to the hungry, creating a support network for families and combating child labour. In 1919 she founded the Congregation of Sisters of "Caritas Socialis".  She  gave birth to a daughter, against the advice of doctors who recommended an abortion for health reasons. She thirsted after justice, seeing the Face of Jesus in the poor and suffering. "We cannot help people with money and small offerings", she would say, "rather we must give them the confidence that they are capable of doing something for themselves".

She  stressed the importance of women in the workplace.  During World War I she defended the idea of women replacing men in factories and hailed the trend even after the war. The prelate Ignaz Seipel said that he had never met a more enthusiastic or wise politician as Burjan while Cardinal Friedrich Gustav Piffl dubbed her as "the conscience of the Parliament".  In 1918 she earned a seat on the district council and became the vice-chair to the chairman of the Christian Socials Leopold Kunschak.

With her husband

Her main achievement remains the founding of a religious congregation for serving the poor and on 4 October 1919 founded the congregation titled the "Sisterhood of Caritas Socialis". The first ten women joined that October at a special  Mass. In 1918 she became active in the Christian-Socials and in 1919 became one of the first female members of the Austrian Parliament; she spoke in the Parliament for the first time on 12 March 1919 and at one point filed a petition for the extension of legal rights of expectant and nursing mothers. She promoted issues such as equal wages for men and women and social protection for the working class as well as social and spiritual care for poor families. She was invited to run in the 1920 elections and was proposed as the Minister for Social Affairs but declined due to poor health.

In 1933 on her deathbed she murmured: how beautiful it will be to go to rest in God!" and then kissed a Crucifix and spoke her final words: "Dear Savior - make all men lovable so that You might love them. Enrich them with Yourself alone!

Bl. Hildegard Burjan is proof that sanctity is possible in political life. Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna at her beatification said:  She "announced the Gospel through action. Her beatification comes at a good time to highlight that action is a core issue. ... Hildegard was a convincing Christian because, without too many words, she acted. In our own time we must again learn to understand what it means to be disciples, and to this end what we need are not theories, but examples of people who speak through their actions.”  This is never more true than in our present world.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


Franciso Guardi- Italy  1793

 Our lives are transformed through frequent contact  with the Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament. It is impossible to spend extended periods of time with Christ, adoring Him, thanking Him and uniting our wills to His, and not have Him change our lives.  
                      Cardinal Francis George (d. 2015)

In a conversation about the present scandal in the Church in the USA, Archbishop Mark Coleridge of BrisbaneAustralia, told America  Magazine that “until there is a genuine restoration of trust, no apology is going to land. We have to accept now restoring trust will only come over time if in fact we do the things we say we’re going to do.”

Speaking of their own scandal in Australia the Archbishop said:  The dominant mood probably is a sense of bewilderment, really, because this is a crisis the like of which we haven’t faced in our history.

You may become and may have to become, like us in Australia, a smaller church—in other words: a humbler church, a purified church, a church that is able to listen and not just speak.”

Many are wondering where we go from here, in practicals.  I say return to the Eucharist, that must be our focus these days.  Since Vatican II  there has been an emphasis on  social works, so we have strayed from the essential of our faith in the Catholic Church, which is the Eucharist- Jesus giving us His Body and Blood.


SAINT GELTRUDE (CATERINA) COMENSOLI loved our Lord and worked tirelessly to draw others to find the peace and joy they found in His presence.

Caterina was born in 1847 the fifth  of ten children. She was playful, determined, and devout, demonstrating at an early age what God was calling her to do. By the age of seven, she yearned so deeply to receive our Lord in Holy Communion that she decided to do something about it. One morning she rose early, grabbed her mother’s black shawl and quietly left the house.  She walked to St. Mary’s Catholic Church for Mass. When it came time for Holy Communion, she approached the Communion rail and received her First Holy Communion.

Profoundly affected by the experience, she told of her feelings when questioned about her action. She described the “heavenly joy” of being united with Jesus and vowed her eternal love for Him. Caterina’s demeanor changed dramatically after this event as she became more prayerful and focusing her attention  on Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

Her true desire was to carry the Eucharist to the highest hill for all the world to see — to adore, to love, to know that Jesus is near to us and loves us. She also recognized that Jesus spent many hours alone in the tabernacle as on Holy Thursday night when the apostles could not stay awake. To address this situation, Caterina organized the Guard of Honor with the motto, “Jesus, loving You and making others love You".

At the age of  15, Caterina left her parents to join the Sisters of Charity in Brescia. Her piety, cheerfulness, and zeal led people to believe that she would do well in the convent. However, as has happened with so many saints, Caterina became ill and had to return home.

She eventually recovered, but soon had to leave home again since her parents needed help in supporting their family. Not forgetting the role of divine Providence, Caterina accepted the need for her to become a domestic servant for two persons who would play important roles in her vocation.

First she worked forFr. G.B. Rota, the pastor of Chiari, then she worked for the Countess Fé-Vitali. Both of them recognized the uncommon holiness and zeal of Caterina and supported her desire to promote the Real Presence as she became more and more devoted to Jesus in the tabernacle.

On the Feast of Corpus Christi 1876, Caterina wrote down her rules for living and followed them faithfully for the rest of her life. Two years later, with her confessor’s permission, Caterina made a formal vow of chastity. This reaffirmed the vow she made when she received her First Holy Communion.

She continued fulfilling her responsibilities as a domestic servant and in her spare time she volunteered to catechize the children of San Gervasio, Bergamo, while the Eucharist remained her primary love in life.

When the bishop of Bergamo visited the Fé-Vitali home where Caterina was working, he gave her permission to establish an institute devoted to Eucharistic adoration. When she went to Rome with the Fé- Vitalis in 1880, she met Pope Leo XIII.

Caterina quickly explained her desire to begin an institute for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. He agreed to her proposal, but asked her to also include improving the plight of young female factory workers by educating them.

Having obtained the Pope’s approval, Caterina returned to Bergamo and under the direction of the bishop and with the assistance of Fr. F. Spinelli, she and two of her friends established the Congregation of the Sacramentine Sisters of Bergamo on December 15, 1882.

Two years later the new order held its first community Hour of Eucharistic Adoration on December 15, 1884 at which time Caterina took the name Geltrude. The young women were soon tested when they had to leave their first home and the protective sponsorship of the bishop of Bergamo because of financial difficulties. With confidence in God’s love, the nuns transferred to Lodi where Msgr. Rota joyfully welcomed them, providing them a home in Lavagna di Comazzo.

With patient perseverance  St. Geltrude overcame a number of challenges and after seven years, Fr. Rota, now bishop of Lodi, gave canonical recognition to the institute.. More women joined the new congregation which Mother Geltrude managed so well. Her life of prayer before Jesus nourished her life of virtue as she accepted persecutions, served the poor, and practiced mortifications. Above all she sought to obey and practice humility perfectly for love of Jesus Christ. She loved Jesus in adoration, but she also loved Him in the poor and needy.

By the turn of the century, the sisters thankfully announced that they could ensure that our Lord would be continuously adored in the Blessed Sacrament both in public and in private. 

On February 18, 1903, at noon, Mother Geltrude bowed her head toward the chapel where our Lord was being adored, breathing her last.  Her remains lie in a special chapel in the house of the institute that she established in Bergamo,  which is attached to the church where adoration is held.

Pope Benedict XVI canonized her on April 26, 2009 and her feast is celebrated on February 18.

Saturday, September 22, 2018


One of the fun aspects of doing research for this Blog, is finding information on  totally unrelated  searches to the initial research.  In these weeks of unrest in our Church  I found this inspiring story of a very talented nun, who can give us courage in our old age! Also she belongs to a community dedicated to continuous adoration of the Eucharist where the nuns pray 24/7. Their ministry continues unbroken since 1921, when the order arrived in Cleveland.

MOTHER MARY THOMAS is a nun of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Cleveland, Ohio. She and her sisters live in the monastery connected to the Conversion of St. Paul Shrine.

Mother Mary  began painting in high school in Appleton, Wisconsin. She then studied  at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Instituto Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico, and the Duanto Alighiere School in Rome.  It was during her time in Rome  that she felt the call to the religious life.       

“I was attending the Easter Vigil Mass in the Crypt Church at St. Peter’s. Things changed when I received Holy Communion. I felt a strong religious calling connected to devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.” Mother Mary says she experienced an indescribable joy the instant she received Communion. “I felt the Lord’s presence. He just overtook my life. It was as though my whole life’s work was shown to me then.”

She resolved to devote her life to the Eucharist. When an American priest lent her a directory of religious communities in the United States, she discovered the Franciscan Nuns of the Blessed Sacrament, the former name of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration (whose most famous nun is Mother Angelica of EWTN fame). The artist entered the order’s monastery near downtown Cleveland in November 1959.
Mother  Mary did not miss her art during the 14 years that followed. She embraced contemplative life, its ascetic lifestyle and her duties within the cloister.

Then, one year, her community celebrated their superior’s feast day with a display of their individual arts and crafts. For the occasion, Mother Mary sketched a stained-glass window depicting the Holy Trinity. Afterwards, her superior asked her to prepare a portfolio. Ever since then, she helps support the monastery by executing commissioned works and with paintings auctioned at an annual fundraiser.
For the past decade, the 84-year-old nun estimates she spends about five hours daily, mostly working alone.  She works in a chapel on an upper floor in a non-cloistered area of the shrine building, just east of downtown Cleveland

Mother Marey says she hopes that her art can help people find God and connect more with their faith. “People are really searching today. They need God and are looking for Him. Eternal life means so much. Once you start examining Christian themes and the mysteries of our faith, trying to express those eternal values and truth is the highest form of art you can do,” she adds, noting that sometimes an icon or a work of art can help people understand the mysteries of faith.

"Jesus belongs to all of us. His love is for each and every one of us exclusively and permanently. 

Her painting style is reminiscent of the Mexican muralist movement (she studied under famed Mexican Muralist David Siquieros)  in which she uses  vibrant colors and strong line and shape.  She also does stained glass windows and designs vestments.  

She certainly is an inspiration to all who think their waning years to be fruitless. Not only in her art, but in her love of the Lord does she give us hope.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


While we are doing this Blog on Eucharistic Adoration, I found this
newly blessed who devoted her life to Christ crucified, helping many priests in their own vocation and encouraging devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist.

A personal encounter with MOTHER ALPHONSE MARIE EPPINGER inspired “conversions which were far more miraculous than the raising of the dead,” recounted her spiritual director, Father Jean-David Reichard. The nineteenth century French mystic and religious founder was beatified September 14 in her native Strasbourg after a miraculous physical healing through her intercession was confirmed.
Mother Alphonse Marie had “the gift of seeing people, what is in their souls,” wrote Abbe Glöckler, who knew Eppinger personally and later wrote her biography.
“She had a right word and advice for everyone. God gifted her with a good mind and right judgment. Many left her with the decision to change their lives and to walk the right path.”
Her special role was in the spiritual care of priests. She was able to “scrutinize human hearts” and “reveal things that were hidden,” using these spiritual gifts to advise the priests who would “visit her in abundant numbers” seeking counsel.
The eldest of eleven children, Elizabeth Eppinger, was born into a peasant family in 1814, in Niederbronn, France.
Her devotion to Christ crucified deepened through her experience of suffering through a serious illness with which she struggled intermittently throughout her life. It kept her bedridden for years at a time, prayerfully immersed in the mystery of the cross.

Her convent
It was during her illness that Mother Alphonse received her first vision of Christ and that her mystical gifts became well known.
At the request of her bishop, she founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Most Holy Saviour in 1848, taking the religious name Sister Alphonse Marie.
She asked her sisters to meditate daily on the passion of Christ, and she encouraged devotion to Eucharistic adoration. In addition to their devotions, the sisters also aided the sick during epidemics, including a cholera outbreak in 1854.

Mother Alphonse Marie died in 1867. In his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis expressed gratitude for  Mother Alphonsus Marie’s beatification:
“Let us thank God for this courageous and wise woman who, in suffering, in silence, and in prayer, witnessed the love of God especially to those who were sick in body and in spirit.”

Sunday, September 16, 2018


On September 8, the Holy Father addressed Benedictine women gathered in Rome of an International meeting.  His words are something we as Benedictines strive to daily follow in our own lives. 

"For your theme, you have taken an exhortation from the fifty-third chapter of the Rule of Saint Benedict: “All are to be welcomed as Christ”. This expression has given the Benedictine Order a remarkable vocation to hospitality, in obedience to those words of the Lord Jesus which are an integral part of his “rule of conduct” found in Saint Matthew’s Gospel: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me”.  Today there are many people in the world who seek to reflect in their lives the tenderness, compassion, mercy and acceptance of Christ in their lives. 
Mother Felicitas & Guests

To them you offer the precious gift of your witness, as you are instruments of God’s tenderness to those who are in need. Your welcoming of persons of different religious traditions helps to advance with spiritual anointing ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue. For centuries, Benedictine houses have been known as places of welcome, prayer and generous hospitality. I hope that by reflecting on this theme and sharing your experiences, you may find new ways of furthering this essential work of evangelization in your various monasteries.

The motto Ora et Labora places prayer at the center of your lives. The daily celebration of Holy Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours puts you at the heart of the Church’s life. Every day, your prayer enriches, in a manner of speaking, the “breathing” of the Church. It is a prayer of praise to express the voice of all humanity and all creation. It is a prayer of thanksgiving for the countless and continued blessings of the Lord. It is a prayer of supplication for the sufferings and anxieties of the men and women of our time, especially the poor. It is a prayer of intercession for those who endure injustice, wars and violence, and see their dignity violated. You do not meet these people personally, but you are their sisters in the Faith and in the Body of Christ. The value of your prayer is incalculable, yet surely it is a most precious gift. God always hears the prayers of hearts that are humble and full of compassion.
Mother Dilecta in the Garden

I want to thank you for the special care you show towards the environment and for your efforts to protect the gifts of the earth, so that they can be shared by all. I know that the Benedictine nuns and sisters in the world are good administrators of God’s gifts. As women, you feel and appreciate especially the beauty and harmony of creation. Your monasteries are often found in places of great beauty where people go to pray, to find silence and to contemplate the marvels of creation. I encourage you to continue this style and service, so that God’s wonderful works can be admired and speak of him to many persons.

Mother H scolds a llama
Your life in community bears witness to the importance of mutual love and respect. You come from different places and experiences, and each of you is different, and so the way you accept one another is the first sign you offer in a world that finds it hard to live out this value. We are all children of God and your prayer, your work, your hospitality, your generosity, all combine to reveal a communion in diversity that expresses God’s hope for our world: a unity made of peace, mutual welcome and fraternal love.

Dear Sisters, I accompany you with my prayers. You bring a precious gift to the life of the Church through your feminine witness of goodness, faith and generosity, imitating the Holy Mother of the Church, the Virgin Mary. You are icons of the Church and of our Blessed Mother: do not forget this. Icons. Who sees you, sees the Church as Mother and Mary as Mother of Christ. For this we praise the Lord and we thank you. I ask you please to pray for me and I cordially bless you and your communities, and all whom you serve in the name of Christ. "

OLR Community

Thursday, September 13, 2018


“The Eucharist is the first missionary act of the Church.  So if we want to be missionary towards a world in need of new saints and salvation, we have to be men and women of Eucharistic adoration… In adoration we receive the fire of love which enables us to share our conviction and have faith about the presence of God.” (Bishop Dominique Marie Jean Rey,  Bishop of Diocese of Frejus-Toulon France)


Many ask, how do I spend an hour in adoration?  Sitting still for so many in our modern age is not easy. We get lost in our cares and worries, and preoccupations of daily life.  Believe me the saints had the same problem.

In adoration we  sit at the feet of Jesus, to “chose the better portion”, and to listen to God’s words as He speaks to our heart.  Remember Christ is our Lord, our friend and he is not to be feared.  Speak to Him as if to someone you love, someone you want to know better.
Read the Scriptures. Pray them.   Pray the rosary, meditating on the mysteries of Christ and His Mother, and even if you pause for deep reflection, this prayer will have brought you closer to dialogue with Jesus.

Sometimes, time seems to stand still, a few minutes can seem eternal. 5 minutes of sitting with Jesus is a good goal. Slowly increase your time—you’ll be amazed at how God increases your capacity to be with Him!

Everything in our world seems to attract noise.  It’s so easy to go a whole day without silence. Which is why, when sitting in adoration, it can be difficult to focus. Being truly silent can seem uncomfortable and foreign to us. But that discomfort is  OK, good even. It can help us to wind down and eventually fill us with peace.  Allow yourself to sit in silence and to just be with Jesus. Just to sit in His presence is prayer!

In an apparition to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Jesus spoke these beautiful words: “I have a burning thirst to be honored by men in the Blessed Sacrament.” Go to adoration, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. Jesus desires to be with you, to have you gaze upon Him, as He so lovingly gazes upon you.

.The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist in a unique and incomparable way. He is present in a true, real and substantial way, with his Body and his Blood, with his Soul and his Divinity. In the Eucharist, therefore, there is present in a sacramental way, that is, under the Eucharistic species of bread and wine, Christ whole and entire, God and Man” (No. 282).

Sunday, September 9, 2018


When  Venerable Fulton J. Sheen was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois in 1919, he promised to make a Holy Hour each day before the Most Blessed Sacrament. In spite of  a very harried schedule, he remained faithful to his promise for the entire sixty years of his priesthood. 

Writing constantly, travelling the around world, speaking engagements,  radio program and TV programs, heading the Missionary office of the Catholic Church, converting huge numbers of souls personally and through letters, he never missed his hour with the Lord. He said the key to his apostolic success was union with Jesus, a deep and growing friendship with Jesus in his Daily Holy Hour , that he called “The Hour of Power”.

It was during his Holy Hour that he learned to listen to the voice of Our Lord and abandon himself to the love of His Heart.  He was a tireless promoter of the daily hour of Eucharistic adoration, particularly among priests. “I keep up the Holy Hour to grow more and more into His likeness... Looking at the Eucharistic Lord for an hour transforms the heart in a mysterious way as the face of Moses was transformed after his companionship with God on the mountain.”

“The Holy Hour is not a devotion; it is a sharing in the work of redemption. 'Could you not watch one hour with Me?' Not for an hour of activity did He plead, but for an hour of companionship.”

“The purpose of the Holy Hour is to encourage deep personal encounter with Christ. The holy and glorious God is constantly inviting us to come to Him, to hold converse with Him and to ask such things as we need and to experience what a blessing there is in fellowship with Him.”

In these seemingly dark days in our Church, we can take comfort that our Lord is always with us, having left us His Body and Blood, and we can follow the example of  Venerable Sheen by giving a bit more of ourselves in adoration of Him we call our God. And we pray he be an intercessor for all our American Bishops.

Thursday, September 6, 2018


Mystery of Faith- Simeon Solomon

Mark Kirby, OSB of Silverstream Priory (Meath, Ireland)  writes: The crisis that continues to shake the Church and to burden the hearts of priests with sorrow and uncertainty, requires a powerful spiritual antidote.

Our Lord is calling His priests to tarry in His presence. He invites them to abide in the radiance of His Eucharistic Face, close to His Heart. There they will recover the joy of their youth and the certainty of being loved by Christ with an everlasting love."

 While these words are directed towards priests they apply to all Catholics, religious and lay.  When Jesus gave us His Body He did not specify that it would only be for the clergy, but for all, and throughout our Church’s history, He has given comfort to the saints, with the mandatum to adore Him raking the graces we daily need to follow Him, in faith.

"The practice of adoration is not difficult. It is a gentle abiding in My presence, a resting in the radiance of My Eucharistic Face, a closeness to My Eucharistic Heart. Words, though sometimes helpful, are not necessary, nor are thoughts. What I seek from one who would adore Me in spirit and in truth is a heart aflame with love, a heart content to abide in My presence, silent and still, engaged only in the act of loving Me and of receiving My love. Though this is not difficult, it is, all the same, My own gift to the soul who asks for it. Ask, then, for the gift of adoration. (From In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of a Priest)

Saturday, September 1, 2018


With the greatest crises in our Church’s history in the USA (see below) , it is encouraging to know that there is a massive “clean-up” and things of the past will hopefully not be any longer tolerated.  As I have said in past Blogs I am encouraged by the depth of our new young priests.  Many seem to have found their vocation due to hours spent in Eucharistic adoration.  I would like to spent this month on some reflections of the importance of the Eucharist in our spiritual lives.

Recently Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Neb. issued a new pastoral letter in which reflects upon the Gospel accounts of the Last Supper and draws on the writings of Popes  (St.) John Paul II and Benedict XVI on the Eucharist.

“Eucharistic adoration offers a powerful chance to encounter Christ’s love in silence and humility, and that experience can transform our hearts, both individually and as a Church. Love is selfless sacrifice, and sacrifice is the language of love. Love is the gift of ourselves to our beloved. And Christ made a gift of himself – He gave us His body and blood – poured Himself out for our salvation, when He conquered death by dying and rising again.  Christ gave us his body and blood, as an act of love, so that we could know the love of God.”

“In the Eucharist, we are made sharers in Christ’s mission of love,” Bishop Conley continued. “In the Eucharist, we are called to make disciples of all nations, so that all people will know the freedom of life in the love of the Lord.”

This mission must be renewed daily through a deepening of love for God, and the Holy Eucharist is at the heart of this renewal, he said.  “The Eucharist is at the center of every good work that the Church undertakes.  In the gift of the Eucharist, Jesus has given Himself to us “so that as we follow him, we can be unified to his life, and he can be present, with us, at all times, until the end of the world.”

Bishop Conley praised Eucharistic adoration as “a particularly powerful encounter with the Lord.” The silence of adoration teaches true humility.

“As we kneel before our Creator-God, we are confronted with the power and the mystery of God’s love,. and it is from this silence and humility that we experience a deep communion and friendship with God.”

“Kneeling before Christ in the Eucharist, the hopeless find hope. The weak find strength. Captives find freedom. The afflicted find comfort. The mourning find consolation. The lonely find friendship. Sinners find mercy. Kneeling before Christ in the Eucharist, all of us find love. And love is what we are longing for,” he said. “Before Christ in Eucharist – love made visible – each one of us discovers that the enduring, satisfying, life-giving answer to the questions of our lives is Love: love poured out from Jesus, and love poured out from us into the world, as missionaries of Christ’s salvation.
Bishop Conley said he wrote the pastoral letter “because God has been impressing upon me lately how important our lives of prayer are, and especially prayer in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.”
He said in a statement: “increasing our devotion to Eucharistic adoration could be transformative in our Church – there is just no telling how much God can do.”
Eucharistic devotion is especially important in a time when technology can distract, he said. “Sitting in silence with the Lord is refreshing, life-changing, and heart-changing.”
“The truth is that sitting in silence with the Lord is necessary for a fruitful Catholic life. I want all Catholics to know that we don’t need to be afraid to spend time in silence with Jesus – that He’s waiting to love us and transform our hearts and lives.”

(Hear Bishop Barron’s comments on the scandal in the USA.. Very clear and insightful.)