Monday, September 28, 2020



Shrewsbury-born nun is on course to become Britain’s first female non-martyr saint in 800 years after the Vatican ruled she lived a life of ‘heroic virtue’.

MOTHER ELIZABETH PROUT  labored in the slums of Victorian Manchester and towns of North West England until her death at 43 from tuberculosis.

The so-called “Mother Teresa of Manchester” opened a chain of schools for poor children and homes for destitute women across the industrialized region, and was ahead of her time in teaching women crucial skills to earn their own livings.

 Her canonization could mean she will become the first English female since Pope St Paul VI in 1970 included Ss Margaret Clitheroe, Anne Line and Margaret Ward among 40 canonized martyrs of England and Wales. She would be the first non-martyr English female saint since St Margaret of Wessex, an 11th century Anglo-Saxon princess who became Queen of Scotland after the Norman invasion of William the Conqueror, and who was canonized in 1250.

 Swift progress would also mean that, after a break of nearly half a century, England would have another saint in a short space of time, given that Pope Francis declared Cardinal John Henry Newman a saint only in October.

The breakthrough in the cause was revealed by Sister Dominic Savio Hamer, her biographer and a member of the Passionist Sisters, the order founded by Mother Elizabeth in 1854. Writing in the Christmas edition of the Shrewsbury Catholic Voice, she said: ““We can imitate Elizabeth Prout in many ways and pray to her with confidence.”

“She was such a practical person – so entirely God-centred, so forgetful of self, so generous in giving herself to others, so willing to suffer in union with Our Lord’s Passion, always so that God’s will might be done.” 

Elizabeth was born into an Anglican family in Shrewsbury in 1820 and has been described as “refined, intelligent and gently nurtured”.  She was received into the Catholic faith in her early 20s by Bl Dominic Barberi, the Italian missionary who would later receive St John Henry Newman into the Catholic Church.

At the age of 28 she became a nun and a few years later was given a teaching post in some of the poorest areas of industrial Manchester, working largely among Irish migrants and factory workers.

At the time, poverty in Manchester was dire with Friedrich Engels, co-author of The Communist Manifesto, in 1844 describing parts of the city as “this hell upon earth”.

Four years later one observer described the Angel Meadow district as “the lowest,most filthy, most unhealthy and most wicked locality in Manchester… the home of prostitutes, their bullies, thieves, codgers, vagrants, tramps, and in the very worst sties of filth and darkness… the low Irish”.

It was in such a social context that Mother Elizabeth developed a reputation for her tireless efforts in teaching, sheltering, feeding and nursing the needy and opening an archipelago of schools and hostels across the most poverty-stricken parts of the region.

After other women joined her, she founded a religious community, but many people, including Catholics, criticized the new institute for its so-called “revolutionary ideas” – namely that of obliging nuns to earn their own wages to support themselves and by showing other women how to do the same.

But the Vatican approved the order in 1863 and named the deeply practical Elizabeth as the first Superior General.  

Mother Elizabeth died in St Helens, Lancashire, in 1864 and was buried alongside Bl Dominic and Fr Ignatius Spencer, a relative of Princes William and Harry whose sainthood cause is also being scrutinized by the Vatican.

She can certainly be an intercessor to so many of the world's poor who are suffering under horrendous conditions- a sin in the day and age of such wealth.



Saturday, September 26, 2020


FATHER FRANCIS MARY of the CROSS JORDAN, founder of the Salvatorians, will be beatified May 15, 2021, at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome


The future Blessed was named Johann Baptist Jordan after his birth in 1848 in Gurtweil, a town in the modern-day German state of Baden-Württemberg  at the edge of the Black Forest.  Due to his family’s poverty, he was not at first able to pursue his calling to be a priest, working instead as a laborer and painter-decorator.

But stirred by the anti-Catholic “Kulturkampf,” which attempted to restrict the Church’s activities, he began to study for the priesthood. 

On July 21, 1878 Johann was ordained a priest in Freiburg, Germany. Because he was known to have a gift for languages, he was sent by his bishop to Rome for advanced language studies, becoming fluent in Syrian, Aramaic, Coptic, Arabic, Hebrew and Greek. 

Still, he was sensing that something else was in store for his future. He began thinking about ways to renew spirituality and restore interest in religion. In September 1880, Father Johann met privately with Pope Leo XIII in the Vatican, where he outlined his plan to begin a society devoted to spreading the teachings of the faith. The Pope gave  his blessing to move forward with his plan

He believed that God was calling him to found a new apostolic work in the Church. Following a trip to the Middle East, he sought to establish a community of religious and lay people in Rome, dedicated to proclaiming that Jesus Christ is the only Savior.  


Working several years with Therese von Wüllenweber, now known as Blessed Mary of the Apostles since her 1968 beatification, they founded a community of women in their shared cause. On December 8, 1888, Father Jordan witnessed Therese profess her vows, which marked the beginning of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Savior.  Therese was known in her religious community as Mother Mary. Together, members of the men’s and women’s communities became known as “Salvatorians,” derived from the Latin word salvator, meaning “Savior.”

Father Francis and Mother Mary shared a vision to bring lay women and men into their work and mission as well, but at that time it didn’t fit the vision of the Church. Not until after the Second Vatican Council closed in 1965 was the dream of Father Francis and Mother Mary fully realized. In the early 1970s, the first Lay Salvatorians made their formal commitment. 

Today, more than two thousand Salvatorians around the world continue the mission of Bl. Francis and Bl. Mary: To proclaim the goodness and kindness of Jesus, the Divine Savior, by all ways and means the love of God inspire

In 1915, the First World War forced him to leave Rome for neutral Switzerland, where he died in 1918.

In 2014, two lay members of the Salvatorians in Jundiaí, Brazil, prayed for Father Jordan to intercede for their unborn child, who was believed to be suffering from an incurable bone disease known as skeletal dysplasia.

The child was born in a healthy condition on Sept. 8, 2014, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the anniversary of Jordan’s death. 


Tuesday, September 22, 2020



This week we celebrate the feast of St. Padre Pio and it is no coincidence that an Italian archbishop has opened the cause for beatification of a Capuchin friar and spiritual son of St. Padre Pio.

In 1944, the future FRA MODESTINO, born in 1917 to farmers in the area of  Pietrelcina, went to San Giovanni Rotondo and spent two weeks with Padre Pio.


He confided to him that, during his military service in Rome, he had often gone to pray in the church of St Frances of Rome, where he had developed an ancient religious vocation and had decided to enter a Benedictine community in the capital. Padre Pio replied that the Lord was not calling him to serve him in the Benedictine Order, and faced with the insistence of the young man from Pietrelcina, he said: “If you want to go to Rome, go. But a very ugly disaster has been reserved for you ”.

Three years later, in fact, that abbey was stormed by some young robbers who entered through the window and, to take possession of 15,000 lire, stabbed the abbot to death under the eyes of his lay brother and left the latter tied up and gagged. By the time the rescuers arrived, he was dead. “That fate, said Fra Modestino, was reserved for me”.

 Then Padre Pio ordered him to return home and move for some time to San Giovanni Rotondo. He stayed there for a whole year. Thus he had the opportunity to know the intimate relationship that bound the Friar to the Lord and decided to become a Capuchin too. At the moment Padre Pio welcomed the news with an exhortation: "Paesano (countryman), do not make me look bad!". 

Fra Modestino was a Capuchin who lived for 28 years alongside Padre Pio. Every day he welcomed hundreds and hundreds of pilgrims, who spoke with him, for a prayer of intercession and for a particular blessing precisely with the imposition of the crucifix of Padre Pio on the forehead.  Padre Pio gave him that crucifix making him responsible to carry in his mission. He also wore a Padre Pio glove, which  pilgrims touched. Padre Modestino was said to be the heir of Padre Pio.

Friar Modestino was also a witness in the cause for the beatification of Padre Pio.

 He died in  at the age of 94 in 2011.

Monday, September 21, 2020




Our Lady of the Rock’s Foundress and Prioress for 43 years has
retired and the new Prioress appointed by Abbess Lucia is Mother Noella Marcellino. 


What is amazing is both are “cheese nuns”.  Nov. 28, 2013, I wrote of the West Coast Cheese nun, our own Mother Therese, mentioning the “famous” cheese nun, Mother Noella. 

Mother Therese has given of herself to this foundation from its first days.  She willingly accepted the mission to leave her native Connecticut and her close family ties to travel over 3,000 miles to the unknown.  Her gentle spirit was welcomed by the islanders and old timers, who were suspicious of anything that smacked religion. 

Her love of animals is legend.  She has often been called the St. Francis of our Order.  She has raised prize Scottish Highland cattle, rare breed chickens, Jersey cows and been the general overseer of the monastery farm.  She started the dairy, which was the first raw milk dairy in the state (cows milk)  and later was helpful in  helping others get certification.

To the Community she has been Mother, counselor, infirmarian, cook, singer, and a stabilizing force.  She stands only 4'11"  but is mighty in her strength, which comes from her heritage.  She has taken this foundation from three to where it is today, graciously handing over the baton to Mother Noella.  She will remain on Shaw and we pray her remaining years be gracefilled and gentle!

  Prioress Mother Noella  with Mother Therese

Sunday, September 20, 2020


National Hispanic Heritage Month is a period from 15 September to 15 October in the United States for recognizing the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.


Hispanic Americans are the largest minority group in the United States today, and generations of Hispanic Americans have consistently helped make our country strong and prosperous. 

National Hispanic Heritage Month, with roots going back to 1968, celebrates the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile, and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period. Columbus Day in Mexico (Día de la Raza) is on October 12.

Well, I am not Hispanic, nor do I think anyone in my lineage came from anywhere near south of the border.  What I do know is my favorite cuisine is Mexican* and having grown up in S. California I ate the best.  Every Thursday my  Father took us to Joe’s - not the  name of the restaurant, which fails me- but the owner/chef Joe and his family. It was the best food you could get anywhere. By my family’s standards it was a bit of a “dive” with maybe 8 tables, but could Joe cook.   Once in awhile we would go to a "fancy" place, but none compared with Joe's. I always started my meal with the albondigas- and to this day I can still taste it- and have never had another like it-  It was pure rich broth with those small meatballs.  Today so many adulterate it with vegetables and other things not necessary.

I am not sure if Joe is the most common Hispanic name, but my Father had a man working for him, also a Joe, who every year at Christmas made the traditional tamales.  And that was his gift to us.  Until recently I have not have a tamale that good.  Now there is a family near us on the mainland doing fresh ones daily- take your pick, pork or beef! 

Of course this was all before the introduction of the Tex-Mex, which maybe has adulterated good Mexican cooking.  I not only love to eat Mexican cuisine, but I love to cook it.  I have been called the best “Mexican” cook north of the border (of California that is.), which is sad, as I feel so many of the local restaurants feel “gringos”  want things out of the cans- and not homemade, take the refried beans for instance!

Some years ago, I found 1,000 Mexican Recipes by Marge Poore. It is a comprehensive guide to accessible Mexican home cooking offering recipes of traditional fare from all the regions of Mexico, as well as dishes inspired by the nueva cocina of today's top Mexican chefs.  The author shares the cultural and culinary heritage of the people and food of Mexico from her perspective as a traveler and impassioned enthusiast of the country. Mark Miller, owner of Coyote Café (New Mexico) called it the Joy of Cooking for the Mexican kitchen.

I realize that as in our own country, there are many ways to do one dish, so in Mexico. One example is the corn vs flour tortilla.  If the flour was around 50+ years ago, I never saw it.  I tell people " where my people came from we only ate corn!"   To this day, my favorite breakfast is a corn tortilla with cheese and chili and coffee. I love things spicy and a bit edgy with heat, but unfortunately live with a community of wimps, so have to tame it down.  But the bottle of hot sauce sits at my place!  Ole, Ole!

So during this month, especially when so many are still staying close to home, try some new Mexican dish, like a Mole, the dark, rich, chocolaty sauce which is one of Mexico’s most famous and celebrated sauces- no it is not a dessert. It comes from the states of Puebla, Oaxaca, and Tlaxcala.  

Or maybe Pozole, a traditional Mexican stew with hominy, pork, and a spicy red chile sauce. Go online and find some recipes.  One thing, ingredients always easy to find.

While this Blog is about the great foods Hispanics enjoy, don’t forget their saints, especially the new ones!  Sometimes I wonder if it is because I was born on the feast of our Lady of Guadalupe, that while I am 100% non - Hispanic, I have a bit of Mexican in my heart!

* While I here mention Mexican,  I am also addicted to Peruvian (having been there twice for extended stays) which is considered the Parisian cuisine of South America.

Image is San Pasqual (by our dear friend Arturo Olivas) patron of the kitchen

Tuesday, September 15, 2020


T. S. Eliot, in his poem ( 1925)  “The Hollow Men,” wrote, “This is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang but a whimper.”  If this is true, we are far away from the end, as our world seems to be rushing towards a cataclysmic ending. Riots breaking out all over our cities, people killed, monuments toppled, buildings burned, a killer virus, and people afraid to venture far from home -  not to mention climate change, natural disasters and wild fires ravaging mother nature.

The Great Day of His Wrath-  John Martin 1852

I have been hearing  “the end is coming" since I can remember, but the story of apocalypse is as old as time itself. Whenever we are in crises, prophets arise to interpret unprecedented or shocking events. I suppose if we go back through history, we will find that the bad times were a presage to good times- that what seems like a meltdown of society, of culture, of all that we hold dear, is really a wake-up call to faith, a sign of God’s coming judgment or both.  Jesus even told His disciples, “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time is” (Mk 13:33). 

In these most uncertain times we are finding great cracks in what we thought to be stable, unshakable. We thought we had, for the most part, overcome racial discrimination, only to find we have failed miserably.  We thought our economy could only get better, that our children  would have a better future, and on and on.

It seems our whole world, especially our own country, has been turned upside down!  Now we are looking for some sort of "new norm".
Father Rupnik
We know one thing for certain: we do not know what will come next. This uncertainty and lack of foreknowledge must not stop us from  living our lives to the fullest- of finding new ways  to be better- to be holy. The best way is to care for each other and connect in the many ways that we can and through the Eucharist.  While we may ponder the uncertain future, we have the presence of Christ with us in the Eucharist.
Why wait for His coming when He is already here?

We must be grateful for the days that come, no matter how dark or dire they seem to be. We may not be able to celebrate the Mass in church in person, but our every day and every action must become an offering on the spiritual altar of our lives.  

Saturday, September 12, 2020


I came across this at  Aleteia (a wonderful Catholic site) - A thoughtful prayer composed by the sweet actress Jennifer Garner, as parents, teachers and school officials struggle with what to do next.

Jennifer with her 3 children

Thank you for the gifts and lessons of this summer. God bless teachers, faculty and administrators as they guide us through this big question mark of a school year.

Bless the parents trying to make it all work. And the children who are learning to make the best of things in ways we couldn’t have predicted. 

Help us remember we hold each other in our hands. And please God, preserve our collective sense of humor. Amen.


In a letter to the leaders of the world’s episcopal conferences, the head of the Vatican’s office for worship and sacraments, Cardinal Robert Sarah, said that Catholic communities should return to Mass as soon as it can be done safely, and that the Christian life cannot be sustained without the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Christian community of the Church. Here are some of his words:

We cannot be without the banquet of the Eucharist, the table of the Lord to which we are invited as sons and daughters, brothers and sisters to receive the Risen Christ Himself, present in body, blood, soul and divinity in that Bread of Heaven which sustains us in the joys and labors of this earthly pilgrimage.

We cannot live as Christians without participating in the Sacrifice of the Cross in the which the Lord Jesus gave himself unreservedly to save, by his death, humanity which had died because of the embrace of the Crucified One all human suffering finds light and comfort.

The Church bears witness to hope, invites us to trust in God, recalls that earthly existence is important, but much more important is eternal life: sharing the same life with God for eternity is our goal, our vocation. This is the faith of the Church, witnessed over the centuries by hosts of martyrs and saints.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020


With all the racial tension/discrimination in our country, I am trying to find saints to pray to- who suffered either directly (Thea Bowman) or through those they cared for.

Our saint today  was one such man. ST. PETER CLAVER was a Jesuit missionary from Spain during the 17th century, who was appalled by the slave trade and the living conditions of enslaved people.

This holy man saw the  slaves as human beings, not animals, deserving the same respect and dignity that was given to anyone else believing that each one needed to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He cared deeply about them and the salvation of their souls, exhorting them not to lose hope.

In caring for victims and survivors of slavery, he understood the need to address their physical needs thinking that providing food and medicine was often more effective to communicate the love of God than just preaching. He was quoted as often saying "We must speak to them with our hands before we try to speak to them with our lips."

Not only did he treat each with great dignity and compassion, he also protected them and interceded for them when he saw them being abused.  He tried to soften the hearts of traders toward their human cargo and  brought the slaves refreshment as soon as they reached port.  He insisted that European nobles line up behind them at his confessional.  By his own (probably conservative) estimate, St. Peter baptized 300,000 men and women. He ministered to them for 40 years  in Cartagena on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

St. Peter Claver shows us that our actions speak louder than words. If we want true racial equality in the world, it must first begin with ourselves and how we treat others whom encounter on a daily basis.

Monday, September 7, 2020


Too often in the past, we have heard about the wrong doings of priests, while the majority who have dedicated their lives to Christ and his people go unnoticed, except by their flocks.  Mundelein Seminary ( the largest priesthood preparation program in the United States) is giving us  a glimpse into the lives of some priests- I have nominated a priest I have known for 50 years through our abbey in CT.   (See Blog "Christ in the Streets 4/19/20)

Msgr. Robert Tucker, Litchfield CT (who I nominated)

As COVID-19 has changed so much about the way we live in 2020, the Church has remained an essential source of hope, inspiration and support. Heroic priests across the country have answered the chaos of the pandemic with extraordinary creativity and resolve to continue serving as a bridge between Christ and his people.

Mundelein Seminary is collectively honoring these priests with our 2020 In Service of One Another Catholic Humanitarian Award.
The award presentation will be streamed on their website on September 17.

Go to their website to view some of the priests nominated already.

Friday, September 4, 2020


In recent Blog, I mentioned the Rue of St. Benedict and how he can influence families in education of their children. I found this recently written by  Prior Mark Kirby, OSB,  of  Silverstream monastery, in Ireland.  (VULTUS CHRISTI September 18, 2019).

If you were or are attracted to Carmel, to Saint Teresa and Saint John of the Cross, or to Saint Thérèse and her Little Way, know that nothing of their teaching is missing from the Rule of Saint Benedict: purification of the heart, ceaseless prayer, secret exchanges with the Word, the Divine Bridegroom, and participation by patience in the Passion of Christ.

If you were or are drawn to Saint Dominic, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Saint Catherine of Siena, know that the Rule of Saint Benedict calls you to the joy of the Gospel, to the love of chastity, to the quest for Truth, to confidence in the mercy of God for sinners, and to the ceaseless prayer of the heart represented by the Holy Rosary.

If you were or are fascinated by the Little Poor Man of Assisi, the Seraphic Saint Francis, know that the Rule of Saint Benedict offers you complete disappropriation to the point of having neither your body nor your will at your own disposal; that the Twelfth Degree of Humility is configuration to the Crucified Jesus; and that the adorable Body of Christ, the Sacred Host, shows you the perfection of monastic holiness in silence, hiddenness, poverty, and humility.

If you were or are charmed by Saint Philip and the Oratory, know that the Rule of Saint Benedict calls you to good cheer, to gentlemanly courtesy, to an ever greater infusion of the charity of God, that is the Holy Ghost. 

All of these virtues, qualities, and gifts are found in abundance in the Holy Rule. Why do I say this? I say it because Saint Gregory the Great authorizes me to do so when he tells us that Saint Benedict, the vir Dei, was filled with the Spirit of all the just. Saint Gregory says:

The man of god, Benedict, had the spirit of the one true God, who, by the grace of our redemption, hath filled the hearts of his elect servants; of whom Saint John saith: “He was the true light, which doth lighten every man coming into this world,” [John 1:9]. Of whom, again, we find it written: “Of his fullness we have all received,” [John 1:16]. (Second Book of the Dialogues, Chapter 8).

The Holy Rule is, according to Bossuet, a mysterious abridgment of the Gospel, and the Gospel is the wellspring of every variety of holiness and of a torrent of graces that irrigates the Church by means of countless rivulets in every age and in every place. The son of Saint Benedict may rightly say with Saint Thérèse, Je choisis tout, “I choose all,” because in submission to the Holy Rule, he places himself in the school of the Lord’s service, he enrols in the army of the Lord Christ, the True King. Saint Benedict himself concludes the Holy Rule by saying:

Whoever, therefore, thou art that hasteneth to thy heavenly country, fulfill by the help of Christ this least of Rules which we have written for beginners; and then at length thou shalt arrive, under God’s protection, at the lofty summits of doctrine and virtue of which we have spoken above. (Chapter 73)

                                                              Prior Mark Kirby, OSB, VULTUS CHRISTI September 18, 2019

Wednesday, September 2, 2020


“The Eucharist brings us the Father’s faithful love, which heals our sense of being orphans. It gives us Jesus’ love, which transformed a tomb from an end to a beginning, and in the same way can transform our lives. It fills our hearts with the consoling love of the Holy Spirit, who never leaves us alone and always heals our wounds.”  

“Every time we receive Him, He reminds us that we are precious, that we are guests He has invited to His banquet, friends with whom He wants to dine. And not only because He is generous, but because He is truly in love with us. He sees and loves the beauty and goodness that we are.”

                                                                    Pope Francis- Homily Corpus Christi , 2020