DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     November 13-15, 1998     vol. 9, no. 223


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Friday, November 13, 1998

    Friday November 13:
    Feast of Saint Mother Frances Cabrini, Virgin, Missionary, Educator and Religious Founder

    White vestments

      First Reading: 2 John 4-9
      Psalms: Psalm 119: 1-2, 10-11, 17-18
      Gospel Reading: Luke 17: 26-37

Feast of Saint Mother Frances Cabrini, Virgin, Missionary, Educator and Religious Founder

          This pioneering educator and missionary Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, better known to all her followers as Mother Cabrini is one of our most modern saints and yet the first American citizen to be canonized a saint. She was canonized by Pope Pius XII on June 7, 1947, only 30 years after her death in Chicago, Illinois in 1917. On November 13, 1950 the Holy Father proclaimed Mother Cabrini "Patroness of Immigrants." Maria Francesca, as she was christened at baptism, was born prematurely on July 15, 1850 as the youngest of 13 children to Augustine and Stella Oldini Cabrini at Sant' Angelo Lodigiano in Italy. She had always had the inborn desire to do something special for God. Though she was on her way to becoming a school teacher, her parents both died in 1868 and she decided to become a nun. After two communities turned her down, the bishop of her diocese Msgr. Serrati asked her to take over a poorly run orphanage in Codogno, Italy which was called House of Providence. Naturally resentment arose from the original foundress Antonia Tondini and the tension-filled conflict caused the bishop of Todi to shut it down. But he realized Frances' zeal and talents and invited her to found a religious organization of nuns devoted to teaching young girls. With seven other young women, Francis remodeled an abandoned Franciscan friary which served as the mother house for the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart which the bishop approved in 1880. Vocations became plentiful and soon the order had spread to Milan, Rome and other parts of Italy. Soon word reached across the sea. Realizing the need to minister to the Italians who had immigrated to the United States, the bishop of New York Archbishop Corrigan invited Mother Cabrini to come to America to help the immigrants. She accepted and arrived at the portals of Ellis Island in 1889. For the next 27 years she would establish numerous schools, hospitals, convents and orphanages throughout the vast United States from New York to Denver despite great obstacles. In 1907 her congregation received papal approval. Two years later she became an American citizen. America was definitely the better for it as the Church grew rapidly through the works of those inspired by this Italian saint. Mother Cabrini founded over 65 charitable organizations and houses for the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. While still alive she was able to obtain countless special favors through her prayerful intercession. Many accounts of spiritual phenomena accompanied Mother Cabrini. One such account relates to her founding a house just outside of Denver in what is today Golden, Colorado. Surveying the hilly and rocky land above Denver, the owner sold it to her dirt-cheap so-to-speak because there was no water on the land and nothing would grow there. This did not daunt the staunch saint. She took her wooden staff and trekking up the hill, poked at the earth and water gushed forth where it still flows freely today. Returning to Chicago, she fell ill and died on December 22 in the same year as the Fatima apparitions of 1917. Many who come to America's shores from all over the world invoke the intercession of Mother Cabrini today who is considered the "Patroness of Immigrants" as Pope Pius XII declared on November 13, 1950 when he established her feast day for the Church in the United States.

Saturday, November 14, 1998

    Saturday November 14:
    Thirty-Second Saturday in Ordinary Time and
    Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: 3 John 5-8
      Psalms: Psalm 112: 1-6
      Gospel Reading: Luke 18: 1-8

Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

          Honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary is a custom first promoted by the Benedictine Monk Saint Alcuin back in the days of Charlemagne (see archives December 23, no. 25 issue, volume 7). He composed different formulas for Votive Masses for each day of the week, with two set aside to honor Our Lady on Saturday. This practice caught on with great enthusiasm and eventually the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday became the Common of the Blessed Virgin. This Mass was a favorite with retired priests and those whose sight was failing for most had memorized this Mass and were able to say it by heart without having to read the Lectionary or Sacramentary. One reason Saturday was dedicated to Mary was that Saturday held a special meaning in Mariology. First of all, as Genesis accounts for, God rested on the seventh day. In the Old Testament, the Sabbath was Saturday. Jesus, Son of God rested in the womb and then, when He became incarnate, in the loving arms of Mary from birth until she held His lifeless body at the foot of the Cross. Thus the God-head rested in Mary. It was also on Saturday after Good Friday that Jesus gave His Mother a special gift and reward for keeping her faith in His Divinity intact by making an exceptional appearance to her. Thus, because of these reasons, the devotion spread by St. Alcuin and other liturgies that evolved within the Church, Saturday took on a special Marian significance. Saturday took on even more significance in honoring Mary when Our Lady imparted to visionary Lucia in her third apparition at Fatima on July 13, 1917, "Our Lord wishes that devotion to my Immaculate Heart be established in the world. If what I tell you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace; the war will end...I ask the consecration of the world to my Immaculate Heart and Communion of reparation on the First Saturday of each month...If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace...In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph, and an era of peace will be conceded to humanity." As we draw nearer to that wonderful event, it is more important than ever to honor Mary's request on the First Saturday as well as each Saturday that her feast is commemorated in the Church calendar, not to mention responding to her call daily with the Rosary and attending Daily Mass, nourished by her Divine Son present body and blood, soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament. It is in the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary where she remains in the background in the liturgy of the Word so that her Divine Son's words and His Presence take the spotlight as He should while Mary remains the chief intercessor before the Holy Trinity as she should and serves as the ideal for all Catholics to strive for, as we should. The Dictionary of Mary states quite succinctly, "Through these liturgical acts, (honoring Mary on Saturday) Christians exalt the person of Mary in the action that renews the sacrifice of Christ and in the action that prolongs His prayer."

SUNDAY, November 15, 1998

      First Reading: Malachi 3: 19-20
      Psalms: Psalm 95: 5-9
      Second Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3: 7-12
      Gospel Reading: Luke 21: 5-19

     Today, though it is superseded by the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, is also the feast of Saint Albert the Great:

Feast of Saint Albert the Great, Bishop, Religious and Doctor of the Church

          The 13th Century-born Saint Albert the Great was a product of the Dominican dominance of that period. Born in the family castle at Lauingen, Bavaria in 1206, Albert was sent to the University of Padua in Italy to study and where he entered the Dominican seminary in 1223. After ordination, Albert began teaching at the Order's priory in Cologne, Germany. From there it was on to teach at Freiburg-im-Breisgau, then Regensberg, followed by Strassburg, and finally the University of Paris. There he received his doctorate at the age of 39. Shortly after he was named regent at the University. Among his students was a young Dominican who hung on his every word. Thank God he did for that young man was none other than Saint Thomas Aquinas one of the most learned holy men in the history of the Church. Albert discerned how great Thomas would be and personally tutored the young priest. Albert was the Dominican Provincial of Germany from 1254 to 1257 when he resigned to draw up, along with Thomas Aquinas, a new study curriculum for the Dominican Order in 1259. A year later, though he declined the honor, he was still appointed bishop of Regensburg. In 1262 he resigned the bishopric in order to go back to teaching at the University in Cologne. He took an avctive role in the Council of Lyons held in 1274. That same year his pupil St. Thomas died and for a few years after Albert was the learned saint's greatest defender, specifically of his great work "Summa Theologica". Albert traveled to Paris in 1278 to staunchly defend Thomas' teachings. There had been a group of theologians at the University of Paris, headed by Bishop Stephen Tempier of Paris, who, followers of Saint Augustine and Plato, disagreed with the techniques used by Albert and Thomas. The two saints had pioneered the "Scholastic" method and applied the principles of Aristotle in revealing Church Doctrine. Albert wrote numerous works on Sacred Scripture as well as countless thesises on the Blessed Mother, more than anyone to that time in Church annals. Less than a year later at the age of 72 Albert contracted, what many believe was Alzheimer's Disease and his acumen for teaching and writing greatly diminished until on November 15, 1280 God took him home. He was canonized in 1931 by Pope Pius XI. At that same time Pius proclaimed Albert "Albertus Magnus" "the Universal Doctor" - now a Doctor of the Church. Ten years later Pius XI's successor Pope Pius XII proclaimed Albert as the "Patron of Students and Natural Sciences."

Monday, November 16, 1998

    Monday November 16:
    Thirty-third Monday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Saint Gertrude the Great, Virgin, Religious and Mystic and
    Feast of Saint Margaret of Scotland, Wife, Mother and Queen

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: Revelation/Apocalpyse 1: 1-4; 2: 1-5
      Psalms: Psalm 1: 1-4, 6 and Revelation/Apocalypse 2: 7
      Gospel Reading: Luke 18: 35-43

Feast of Saint Gertrude the Great, Virgin, Religious and Mystic

          In 1256, while St. Albert was the Dominican Provincial of Germany, a young girl was born in Germany who would go on to become a great Benedictine. She was Saint Gertrude, also sometimes called "the Great" as Albert was. In 1261 Gertrude, an orphan, was placed under the direct care of abbess Gertrude of Hackebornthe sister of Saint Mechtilde. Here the younger Gertrude was nourished and became a professed Benedictine nun. In 1282, two years after the death of St. Albert, Sister Gertrude received the first of many revelations of Christ Himself in visions. Through inspiration messages she became a scholar of Sacred Scripture and the writings of great saints and recorded her mystical experiences in her work the "Book of Extraordinary Grace - Revelation of St. Gertrude". Devoutly devoted to the mystery of the Incarnation and the the Holy Eucharist, she received countless messages from Jesus on His Most Sacred Heart which she spread throughout Europe two centuries before Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. St. Gertrude received a very special prayer that, for some reason, has not been promulgated as it should. It is a very short, but powerful prayer which Jesus imparted to her that would release 1,000 souls from Purgatory each time it was said devoutly. This SPECIAL PRAYER FOR THE SOULS IN PURGATORY was also extended by Pope Clement X to include those sinners who are living today by which the person praying this prayer could alleviate the indebtedness accrued during their lives. St. Gertrude also wrote many other books, some of which were not discovered until 1536. In addition she penned the mystical experiences of St. Mechtilde called "Liber Specialis Gratiae". St. Gertrude died at the Benedictine monastery of Helfta in Germany on November 17, 1302 at only 46. Though she was never formally canonized, in 1676 Pope Clement X decreed that her feast be celebrated in the universal Church on November 16th.

Feast of Saint Margaret of Scotland, Wife, Mother and Queen

          The saint who would become Queen of Scotland Saint Margaret of Scotland was born in Hungary in 1045 while her family was in exile. There in the court of King Saint Stephen her father Prince Edward d'Outremer (the Exile) and her mother, a German princess named Agatha reared the young girl. At the age of 12, the Danish King Knute who had been on the English throne was deposed and King Edward the Confessor became ruler in England. The family returned to England but Margaret had to flee with her mother and siblings after the fierce Battle of Hastings in 1066. King Malcolm III of Scotland gave them refuge there in northern Britain and at the age of 25 she was married to Malcolm at Dunfermline Castle. Though Malcolm had been a ruthless king, her pious manner and example converted him to a man of great virtue. They sired eight children, two of which became saints: Saint David and Saint Edith who became Queen of England as Matilda. As Queen of Scotland, Margaret showed a great affinity to the poor and homeless by providing hospices as well as constructing churches and monasteries throughout Scotland. She also changed protocol within the court by eliminating many ecclesiastical irregularities which had seeped into the liturgy. In addition she reinstated important Latin customs that had been neglected, specifically the observance of Ash Wednesday to signify the beginning of Lent, as well as keeping Easter duty and maintaining the Sabbath as a day of rest. Margaret died on November 16, 1093 at Edinburgh Castle which was under attack after learning that Malcolm and one of her sons had been killed by rebels who had assaulted Alnwick Castle. Almost immediately following her death her followers venerated Margaret as a saint and she was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in 1250. In 1673 Pope Clement X proclaimed St. Margaret "Patroness of Scotland."

November 13-15, 1998       volume 9, no. 223


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