Saints: April 2007 Archives

I find this painting of Saint Joseph and the Most Holy Trinity (Antoni Guerra, 1699) extraordinary. The Eternal Father is pointing to Saint Joseph, indicating that Joseph is His mystical shadow, the icon of His paternity on earth. Joseph has eyes only for the Infant Jesus. The Word Made Flesh smiles and tugs at Saint Joseph's beard. The Holy Spirit hovers over Saint Joseph's head. Joseph too, I think, had his "overshadowing" by the Holy Spirit to prepare and sustain him for his role in the plan of salvation. The little angel, expressing wonder and delight, is taking in the whole scene. There are two other little details in the painting. Note that there are two feet: one belonging to the Eternal Father, and one to Saint Joseph. Think about that! And in the lower left hand corner is the lily, the symbol of Saint Joseph's purity.


Prayer to Saint Joseph for Priests

O glorious Saint Joseph,
who, on the word of the angel
speaking to you in the night,
put fear aside to take your Virgin Bride into your home,
show yourself today the advocate and protector of priests.
Protector of the Infant Christ,
defend them against every attack of the enemy,
preserve them from the dangers that surround them
on every side.
Remember Herod's threats against the Child,
the anguish of the flight into Egypt by night,
and the hardships of your exile.
Stand by the accused;
stretch out your hand to those who have fallen;
comfort the fearful;
forsake not the weak;
and visit the lonely.
Let all priests know that in you
God has given them a model
of faith in the night, obedience in adversity,
chastity in tenderness, and hope in uncertainty.
You are the terror of demons
and the healer of those wounded in spiritual combat.
Come to the defence of every priest in need;
overcome evil with good.
Where there are curses, put blessings,
where harm has been done, do good.
Let there be joy for the priests of the Church,
and peace for all under your gracious protection.

Saint Pius V

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I walked to Santa Maria Maggiore this afternoon to pray before the tomb of Pope Saint Pius V. Around the tomb were burning candles and flowers in honour of his feast. Near the tomb I saw a young man totally absorbed in prayer while all around him pilgrims jostled tourists, most of whom had no idea that today was the Dominican Pope's feast.

There were so many intentions to recommend to the intercession of Saint Pius V. He was the Pope of the 1568 edition of the Roman Breviary and of the 1570 edition of the Roman Missal. The Collect of his feast recalls that God raised him up "to provide for a liturgy more worthy" of Him.

Pius V was the Pope of the Rosary; after the victory of Lepanto he instituted the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary under the title of Our Lady of Victory on October 7th. He approved a revision of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary and added the invocation, "Help of Christians" to the Litany of Loreto.

One last thing: Saint Pius VI excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I on April 27, 1570, calling her "a heretic and a favourer of heretics." Not one to mince words, Pius V! Surely, today, from his place in heaven, he will help with his prayers all who seek to repair the broken Body of Christ.

What will tomorrow bring?

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Then again, there is also May 5th . . .


O God, who raised up Pope Saint Pius V within Thy Church
to uphold the faith
and to provide for a liturgy more worthy of Thee,
grant that, through his intercession,
we may participate in Thy mysteries
with a lively faith and a fruitful charity.
Through Christ our Lord.

O God, who for the confusion of the enemies of thy Church,
and for the restoring of the honour of thy worship,
didst appoint thy blessed Saint Pius to be supreme Pontiff:
grant that we, being defended by his intercession,
may so steadfastly follow after thy commandments,
that we may overcome all the devices of our enemies,
and rejoice in perpetual peace and security.
Through Christ our Lord.

The Secret of Mary

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Tomorrow is the liturgical memorial of Saint Louis–Marie Grignion de Montfort. His writings have been a lamp unto my feet and a fire in my heart for many years. If you are unfamiliar with Saint Louis–Marie, get to know him. If you once knew him and have put his writings on a shelf to gather dust, become reacquainted with him and discover his teaching anew. If having once attempted to read him, you were put off by him, it may have been because you were not yet ready to receive "the secret of Mary" that he, having received freely, offers freely to all who seek God.


Happy, indeed sublimely happy,
is the person to whom the Holy Spirit reveals the secret of Mary,
thus imparting to him true knowledge of her.
Happy the person to whom the Holy Spirit opens this enclosed garden for him to enter,
and to whom the Holy Spirit gives access to this sealed fountain
where he can draw water and drink deep draughts of the living waters of grace.
That person will find only grace and no creature in the most lovable Virgin Mary.
But he will find that the infinitely holy and exalted God is at the same time
infinitely solicitous for him and understands his weaknesses.
Since God is everywhere, He can be found everywhere, even in hell.
But there is no place where God can be more present to His creature
and more sympathetic to human weakness than in Mary.
It was indeed for this very purpose that He came down from heaven.
Everywhere else He is the Bread of the strong and the Bread of angels,
but living in Mary He is the Bread of children.

Saint Louis–Marie Grignion de Montfort


A Gifted Boy

Today is also the memorial of Blessed Rafael Arnáiz Barón (1911- 1938), a Trappist Cistercian Oblate of the Abbey of San Isidoro de Dueñas in Spain. I commemorated him at Mass, using Eucharistic Prayer III. Rafael Arnáiz, -- or Brother María Rafael as he was known in his monastery -- was born on 9 April 1911 in the city of Burgos, Spain. He was the first of four sons born to an upper class family with profoundly Catholic values. As a boy Rafael went to Jesuit schools. As Rafael's personality emerged and affirmed itself, it became evident that he had a rich sensibility, as well as intellectual, artistic, and spiritual gifts.

Fully Alive

Rafael was not, by any means, a pious curmudgeon nor was he one of those morbidly pious adolescents without social skills. He was handsome. He loved beauty. He was open to the good things the world had to offer. Rafael was joyful. The rich artistic side of his personality was tempered and perfected by grace.

The Monastic Enchantment


In September 1930, after graduating from Secondary School, Rafael spent his summer holiday with relatives near Avila. During that fateful summer he had his first exposure to monastic life at the Trappist Abbey of San Isidoro de Dueñas. The Cistercian silence called to his soul. The chant of the monks enchanted him. The solemn Salve Regina at the end of Compline took hold of his heart. Three years later, after completing studies in architecture, Rafael entered the monastery as a postulant and, shortly thereafter, was clothed in the white habit of the Cistercian novice.


The Cross

Rafael had only four more years to live. A few months after entering the monastery, he was diagnosed with a virulent form of diabetes. The illness brought with it melancholy and perplexity. Three times the novice’s superiors sent him home to rest and recover his strength. Drafted into the Nationalist Army at the very height of the Spanish Civil War, Rafael was declared unfit for active duty. Returning to the monastery for the last time, he was received as a regular oblate, that is, a man living within the cloister without vows and following a personal rule of life approved by the abbot. Regular oblates were, at that time, somewhat marginalized in monastic communities. Their peculiar status -- monks living without vows and without the security that comes from having made profession -- was not without its own challenges. Rafael entered fully into the vocation of the oblate, understanding that the oblate is destined for the altar, that is, for sacrifice.

Contradictions and Uncertainties

Blessed Rafael, in spite of the brevity and discontinuity of his monastic experience, lived it fully. He remained faithful in the face of bewildering contradictions, uncertainties, and apparent failure. He found the Will of God in weakness, in illness, in war, in the inability to make monastic profession, and in the sufferings inherent in community life.

Maria, Spes Nostra

The Virgin Mary was the love and consolation of Rafael’s life. “It is a pity,” he wrote, “that David [the psalmist] didn’t know the Most Holy Virgin! What marvelous things he would have said about her! A heart as big as his would certainly have been full of love for Mary! Mary! If only I knew how to write!”

Humble Unto Death

Brother Rafael Maria was humble because he accepted one humiliation after another without ever despairing of the mercy of God. He died stripped of everything, without having fulfilled even the legitimate human aspirations that so appealed to him. Configured to the poor and crucified Jesus, he died in the splendour of the resurrection on 26 April 1938 at the age of 27.


A Model For Today's Youth

Pope John Paul II proclaimed Rafael a model for today’s youth and beatified him in 1992. In some ways Blessed Rafael reminds me of the Passionist Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother; in other ways he reminds me of Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, and also of Blessed Marie-Joseph Cassant. I wonder if his life did not, in some way, inspire that remarkable novel about Cistercian life, Cosmas, or the Love of God by Pierre de Calan.

The whole community is gathered in adoration
to ask the Lord for peace,
to pray for those who are dying and to make reparation for so many sins . . .
But one mustn't spread discouragement. . . .
When we ask for mercy and pardon, we are doing as David did . . .
that is, the Lord will blot out all our sins and those of the whole world,
not by any poor merits of ours,
but by the multitude and the greatness of His mercy.

Blessed Rafael Arnáiz Barón
August 2, 1936

Saint Mark

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Saint Mark, Evangelist

1 Peter 5: 5b-14
Psalm 88: 2-3, 6-7, 16-17
Mark 16: 15-20

Mark and Peter

Tradition calls Saint Mark the interpreter of Saint Peter; clearly the relationship between Peter and Mark was both strong and tender. In today’s first reading, Saint Peter calls Mark “his son” (1 P 5:13), suggesting the gift and mystery of the Fisherman’s spiritual fatherhood in Christ. Mark was a son to Peter. Personally, I find in this a compelling reason to look confidently to Peter and his successors, and to remain attached to Peter and to his successor, today Pope Benedict XVI, as a son to his spiritual father. Mark laboured at Peter’s side, preaching the Gospel in Rome before carrying it to Venice and then to Alexandria where he gave his life for Christ. To this day the Churches of Rome, Venice, and Alexandria rejoice in the protection of Saint Mark and seek his intercession.

Be Not in Doubt for I am with Thee

Some of you may remember the coat of arms of Blessed John XXIII as Patriarch of Venice. It bore the inscription: Pax tibi, Marce, evangelista meus, “Peace to you, Mark, my evangelist!” I have always taken comfort in these words. They are personal, a kind of message to the heart. My great-great-grandmother was Venetian and would have known this motto well; to this day it is displayed with Saint Mark’s lion on the coat of arms and flag of Venice, La Serenissima. The text is not found in Sacred Scripture; it comes rather from the ancient “passion” of Saint Mark, the account of his martyrdom. The story goes that on the day of Pascha, after singing Mass, Saint Mark was seized, a rope was attached to his neck, and he was dragged through the city of Alexandria until his blood ran upon the stones. After this, he was imprisoned. An angel came to comfort him, and after the angel, the Lord Jesus himself came to visit and comfort Mark, saying, “Peace be to thee, Mark, my evangelist! Be not in doubt for I am with thee and shall deliver thee.” The following day Mark was put to death, thanking God, and repeating the words of the Crucified: “Into thy hands, Lord, I commend my spirit” (cf, Lk 23:46).

Saint Mark the Preacher


The word “preaching” occurs in each of the three Proper prayers, the Collect, the Prayer Over the Offerings, and the Postcommunion. Mark was an Evangelist, not only as a writer of the second Gospel, but also as a preacher, spending himself, pouring himself out for Christ. In the Collect we beg for the grace to “deepen his teaching.” The Latin text says proficere which means to gain ground or to advance. This is what lectio divina is all about: gaining ground in the Gospel, penetrating ever more deeply the inexhaustible riches of the Word.


In the Prayer Over the Gifts we ask that the Church may “ever persevere in preaching the Gospel.” The Church, like Saint Mark in his passion, needs the comforting presence of Christ who says, “Be not in doubt for I am with thee,” and she has that comforting presence always in the mystery of the Eucharist. The words of Christ to Saint Mark echo those given us in today’s Communion Antiphon: “Behold, I am with you always, even to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20).

The Eucharist: Christ in Us

In the Postcommunion, we ask that what we have received from the altar may “sanctify us, and make us strong in the faith of the Gospel preached by Saint Mark.” This prayer instructs us on the dynamic relationship between the altar and the ambo or, if you will, between the Eucharist and the Gospel. We ordinarily think of the preaching of the Gospel as sending us to the altar, and preparing our hearts for the Holy Sacrifice, and rightly so. But today’s Postcommunion suggests something else as well. The Eucharist fulfills what the Gospel announces: the mystery of holiness, that is, “Christ in us, the hope of glory (Col 1:27).

The Eucharist makes us strong in the faith of the Gospel; it is our viaticum, food for the journey of faith, a remedy for every infirmity. The seed sown by holy preaching is made fruitful by the mysteries of Christ’s Body and Blood. Take away the altar, and the ambo stands in a void. The altar is the guarantee of that abiding presence of the comforting Christ who says to each of us today, as to Saint Mark, “Peace be to thee. . . . Be not in doubt, for I am with thee and shall deliver thee.”

No Peace Without Chastity

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A Holy Abbess

The Benedictine–Cistercian calendar commemorates today Saint Franca of Piacenza, virgin (1173–1218). Franca was an intrepid monastic reformer. After enduring sufferings and persecutions as abbess of the Benedictines of San Siro, she became abbess of the Cistercian monastery of Plectoli, ruling her monastic family with maternal love. Franca was accustomed to spending entire nights in prayer to God in the oratory of the monastery. She died on the feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist, 25 April 1218.

The Collect of the Day

Only recently did I discover the beauty of the Collect given for the feast of Saint Franca. I don't how it escaped my notice until now.

Tua nos, omnipotens Deus, protectione custodi,
et castimoniae pacem mentibus nostris atque corporibus,
intercedente beata Francha virgine tua, propitiatus indulge,
ut veniente sponso Filio tuo Unigenito,
accensis lampadibus, eius digne praestolemur occursum.

Here is my translation:

Keep us safe, almighty God, by thy protection
and through the intercession of Saint Franca, virgin,
grant to our minds and to our bodies
the peace of a life that is chaste
so that at the advent of the Bridegroom,
thine only–begotten Son,
we may hasten forth to meet Him
with lighted lamps.

Chastity Produces Serenity

The Collect makes us ask, "for mind and body the peace of a life that is chaste." One might also translate the phrase as "for mind and body the peace that comes from living chastely." Serenity, or peace of mind and body, is one of the benefits of chastity.

That Terrible Itch

Those who have lived in unchastity — I am thinking, in particular, of Saint Augustine these days, but one might also allude to Mary of Egypt, to Charles de Foucauld, and to Julien Green — know the "itch" of restlessness that torments the mind and body. If you would know peace of mind and body, be chaste.

The Chaste Person: An Instrument of Peace

Rarely in our culture is chastity presented as a positive virtue. It is almost always mocked or disdained as the appanage of the inhibited personality when, in fact, the chaste person is wonderfully free and, therefore, at peace in mind and in body. Serenity is a fruit of chastity. The chaste person becomes an instrument of peace at home, in the Church, and in society. The unchaste person sows trouble wherever he goes.

How many readers of Vultus Christi have seen those bumperstickers in the U.S. that read, No peace without justice? Wouldn't it be splendidly subversive to have them read No peace without chastity?


Blessed Maria Gabriella was "a little soul." She has affinities with Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, Blessed Charles de Jésus, Saint Thérèse Couderc, and the young Trappist priest, Blessed Marie–Joseph Cassant.

Maria Gabriella's life was marked by two characteristics:

1) Gratefulness to the Mercy of God. She compared herself to the prodigal son of Saint Luke's Gospel. She was full of thanksgiving for her monastic vocation, for her community, and, above all, for the Mercy of God which called her, set her apart, and sustained her. Even in her final agony, Maria Gabriella was full of gratefulness.

2). The desire to respond to the Grace of God with all her strength, offering herself to the perfect fulfillment of His Will in her.

In her grateful confidence in the Mercy of God and surrender to His Will, Blessed Maria Gabriella's holiness participates in and reflects that of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although she lived first in a remote village of Sardinia, then in a Cistercian cloister, and finally in a hospital room, Maria Gabriella's holiness is universal, because it shines with the light of the Beatitudes and of the Gospel of Saint John.

Blessed Maria Gabriella's body, found intact in 1957, reposes in a chapel at the Trappist Cistercian Abbey of Vitorchiano. Since her beatification the abbey has been blessed with numerous vocations and has founded new monasteries in Italy, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Her Own Words:

In simplicity of heart I gladly offer everything, O Lord.

The Lord put me on this path, he will remember to sustain me in battle.

To His mercy I entrust my frailty.

I saw in front of me a big cross..., I thought that my sacrifice was nothing in comparison to His.

I offered myself entirely and I do not withdraw the given word.

God's will whatever it may be, this is my joy, my happiness, my peace.

I will never be able to thank enough.

I cannot say but these words:" My God, your Glory."


An Offering to the Father

Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagghedu, a Cistercian nun of Grottaferrata in Italy, died on April 23rd in 1939. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1983 and in his encyclical on Christian Unity, Ut Unum Sint, presented her again to the whole Church as a model of “the total and unconditional offering of one’s life to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit."

Silence Turned to Praise

Blessed Maria Gabriella is one of those who, like the Blessed Virgin Mary, having heard the Word, held it in silence: in the silence of awe; in the silence that confesses God present; in the silence that allows the Word to sink into the deep and secret places of the heart. For Maria-Gabriella, this silence turned to praise: a praise that she found expressed in the priestly prayer of Christ given in the seventeenth chapter of Saint John’s Gospel. At the end of her life she murmured: “I cannot say but these words, ‘My God, your Glory.’”

A Discerning Abbess


The Trappist Cistercian monastery of Grottaferrata (moved to Vitorchiano in 1957) was governed by Mother Maria Pia Gulini (1892–1959), an intelligent and discerning abbess with a broad vision of all things Catholic. She corresponded with the Abbé Paul Couturier (1881–1953), the Apostle of Christian Unity. The Italian abbess nurtured a passion for Christian Unity and communicated that passion to her community. Maria Gabriella was receptive to Mother Gulini's spiritual teaching. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, she asked permission of her abbess to offer her life for the Unity of Christians. The Father accepted her offering, drawing her into the prayer of Christ and into His sacrifice.

The Priestly Prayer of Christ

Blessed Maria Gabriella’s monastic life was brief; she entered the abbey of Grottaferrata in 1935 and died in 1939. She suffered from tuberculosis for fifteen months. The Bridegroom Christ came for her at the hour of the evening sacrifice on Good Shepherd Sunday. The Gospel of Mass that day had been from Saint John: “There will be one fold, and one shepherd” (Jn 10:16). After her death, her little New Testament, worn from use, opened by itself to the seventeenth chapter of Saint John’s Gospel. The pages of Jesus’ priestly prayer, so often touched by Madre Maria Gabriella’s feverish hands, had become almost transparent.


Blessed Maria Gabriella’s offering for Christian Unity witnesses to the fundamental thrust of every monastic life. Monastic conversion is a movement from the divided, fragmented self to the whole self, healed and unified in the love of Christ. The restoration of unity is the great monastic work; it is the end and fruit of every Eucharist. Saint Thomas Aquinas teaches that the end proper to the sacrament of the Eucharist is the unity of the Mystical Body. Blessed Maria Gabriella, pray for us that we may go to the altar, letting go of the things that damage the unity of the Body of Christ, and ready to receive the gifts by which unity is repaired.


The high point of my pilgrimage to Assisi with Leonard and Mark was the privilege of celebrating Holy Mass at the tomb of Saint Francis on Tuesday morning. On Monday afternoon I inquired if it might be possible to celebrate Holy Mass at the tomb the following morning. The gentleman in charge of scheduling Masses told me that he doubted there would be an opening; priests come from all over the world to celebrate Mass at the tomb of Saint Francis, some reserving a time months in advance. Then he checked his register and said, "There is an opening tomorrow morning at 8:00."

Tuesday morning I arrived at the tomb at about 7:40. A few minutes later a kind friar opened the sacristy and prepared everything for Mass. He even helped me to vest. The Mass celebrated at the tomb is always that of Saint Francis. I celebrated in Latin from the Seraphic Missal with the readings in Italian. Besides Leonard and Mark, there were a few other pilgrims in attendance. Among them were two religious brothers dressed in what appeared to be the habit of the Hieronymites.

Before and during Holy Mass I prayed for all the Franciscans who have touched my life in one way or another, and especially for my beloved Poor Clares of Barhamsville. I asked for graces of reconciliation and healing where they are most needed. I fully expect to experience the fruits of Saint Francis' intercession.

Saint Benedict–Joseph Labre

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"I have forsaken my home, I have cast off mine inheritance: I am poor and needy, but the Lord hath taken me up" (Jer 12:7).

Saint Benedict–Joseph Labre (1748–1783) was a frequent visitor to our Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, spending long hours in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Relics of the Cross and Passion. He died in Rome on April 16, 1783.

A pilgrim, living in poverty and ceaseless prayer, he loved above all places Rome, Assisi, and Loreto. Ask Saint Benedict Joseph to obtain for all seekers of the Face of Christ the grace of Eucharistic adoration and of ceaseless prayer. By providential coincidence I am going to Assisi today in the company of my guests from the United States, Leonard and Mark.


Here at Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, I have the privilege of living just a few steps away from the Chapel of the Sacred Relics where one can venerate the finger of Saint Thomas the Apostle, that very finger that probed the pierced side of Our Lord. Today's Gospel takes on a special meaning when one lives under the same roof as so sacred a relic.

The finger of Saint Thomas came to be enshrined here through a revelation to Saint Birgitta of Sweden; it was by means of an intervention of Saint Birgitta that the relic was found and brought to Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. The relic has been venerated by numerous other saints, blesseds, and servants of God; among them, Saint Philip Neri, Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, Saint Vincent Pallotti, Saint Gaspar del Bufalo, Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, and Cardinal Newman.

O Blessed Wound!

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On the occasion of the Holy Father's 80th birthday and in response to his invitation to contemplate the wounded Side of Christ, I offer again my own translation of a prayer "Alla Piaga Del Costato di Gesù," To the Wound in Jesus' Side, composed by the Servant of God Father Eustachio Montemurro (1857–1923). The Venerable Eustachio of Jesus and Mary, a physician and a civic leader, a man of noble ideals and courageous initiatives, became a priest at forty–five years of age, desiring to bringing healing to souls as well as to bodies. Shortly thereafter he founded two religious congregations: The Little Brothers of the Most Holy Sacrament and the Sisters Missionaries of the Sacred Side.

The holy founder was accused of "an excess of zeal" and, for the good of the institutes he had established, chose to exile himself from his spiritual sons and daughters. With the permission of the Pope, he moved to the sanctuary of the Madonna of the Rosary of Pompei, founded by Blessed Bartolo Longo, to devote himself selflessly to the service of souls. Father Montemurro died at Pompei on January 2, 1923, loved by all, and leaving a reputation for holiness.

O painless thrust of the spear
forever awaited with passionate love by my Saviour
that thou shouldst repair in the Father's sight
the terrible wound opened by the sin of Adam
in the heart of humanity!

O glorious wound,
gushing forth life, love, and peace!
I adore thee inexhaustible wellspring of salvation,
the womb of new children
born of the water and of the blood of the Bridegroom.
Thou art for me an ever open refuge,
the door giving access to the nuptial chamber,
the vestibule of the banquet of the Lamb.

The living water that, at every moment, springs from thee,
invites me with the language of love
to enter, through thee, into the heart of my Saviour
that therein I might take the regenerating rest of new life
and spread it all about me
just as the bride coming forth from the nuptial chamber
radiates among her friends the signs and the sweetnesses of love.

Be thou for me, then, O blessed wound,
my blissful abode.
May I be drawn always to thee,
that in thee I may live and die.
In thee may I find the splendid riches
which eye has never seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart experienced.

I love Thee, Lord Jesus,
glory of my mind, joy of my eyes,
melody of my ears, gladness of my heart,
and peace of my soul.

I am Thine for time and for eternity;
nothing shall ever separate me from Thee,
for Thou hast espoused me,
drawing me with bands of goodness to Thy open side
and pouring out of Thy heart into mine
the joys of the Spirit
and the mercy of the Father who always hears Thee.

A Good Friday Martyr

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On 21 November 1951, in Kiev, Father Ivan Ziatyk, C.SS.R. was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for "cooperating with anti-Soviet nationalistic organization and anti-Soviet propaganda". The term was to be served in the Ozernyi Lager prison camp near the town of Bratsk in Irkutsk region. During his imprisonment, Father Ziatyk suffered terrible tortures. According to witnesses, on Good Friday 1952 Father Ivan was heavily beaten with sticks, soaked in water, and left unconscious outside, in the Siberian frost. Beating and cold caused his death in a prison hospital three days later, on 17 May 1952. He was fifty–three years old. Blessed Ivan was buried in the Taishet district of Irkutsk region. Pope John Paul II beatified him together with twenty–seven other martyrs on 27 June 2001.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory