Friday, October 24, 2014

St. Anthony Mary Claret: What was the Secret of his Success?



Today is the feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret -- a favorite saint that my husband introduced me to about twenty years ago when he gave a teaching on this incredible man of God. I don't think I have ever heard of any saint who was filled with so much zeal for his apostolate. He was a monk and a mystic who exerted an unusual amount of influence over the laity by obeying the call of God.

Born on Christmas eve, 1807, in the village of Sallent, in Catalonia, Spain, Anthony was a very pious child. When he was eleven years old, the bishop visited his school and asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. Without the least bit of hesitation, he replied: "A priest."

As a young adult, Anthony Claret excelled as a maker of cloth and as a weaver in his father's textile factory. He then studied for the priesthood, desiring to be a Jesuit. Ill health prevented him from entering the Order, so he served as a diocesan priest. He was ordained at age 27 and busied himself preaching in rural areas, organizing conferences for clergy, and writing. Zeal for the salvation of souls spurred him on to preach an estimated 25,000 sermons, write 144 books, and preach countless missions.

During his mission work, he accepted no money and walked everywhere -- from town to town through rugged terrain. He had only one pair of shoes, one set of clothes and a few books. He neither ate meat nor drank wine, and slept only 3 - 5 hours per night.

After one remarkable mission, Father Claret's bishop wrote: "this town has never seen the likes of this. Enemies are at peace. Scandals have been ended. Broken marriages are repaired. Restitutions have been made. No one can withstand the fire of his preaching, the kindness of his manner. Everyone, even the proudest, fall at his feet."

The secret of his success was LOVE. He summed it up this way: "Love is the most necessary of all virtues. Love in the person who preaches the word of God is like fire in a musket. If a person were to throw a bullet with his hands, he would hardly make a dent in anything; but if the person takes the same bullet and ignites some gunpowder behind it, it can kill. It is much the same with the word of God. If it is spoken by someone who is filled with the fire of charity- the fire of love of God and neighbor- it will work wonders." (Autobiography #438-439).

In 1848, he established a publishing house at Barcelona and in the following year, founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, or the "Claretians". Shortly thereafter, he was appointed Archbishop of Santiago in Cuba, where he worked for six years to organize and evangelize his diocese. During that time, he visited every parish in his diocese four times (Some of these had not seen a bishop in 60 years) and conducted missions in each one, plus confirmed those who had not been (300,000), and rectified the invalid marriages (9,000). He also founded another new congregation, the Sisters of Mary Immaculate, dedicated to the instruction of the young.

Miracles surrounded his work, and he possessed the gift of prophecy and the reading of hearts. He often saw Our Lord and Our Lady (to whom he was especially devoted), receiving from them instruction, encouragement, and prophecies. At the request of our Blessed Mother, he spread devotion to the Holy Rosary and was considered to be a latter day St. Dominic.

During a single day's visit to the city, he would preach to the local clergy, to several convents of nuns, and (in the evening) to the laity, besides hearing confessions much of the day. For his miracles and preaching, the Spaniards called him another St. Vincent Ferrer.

Though he avoided politics, both political parties considered him to be Spain's most influential man. He was so hated by the revolutionaries that they tried to kill him no less than 14 times and were still searching for him as he lay dying, an old man in exile.

St. Anthony Mary Claret died in the Cistercian monastery at Fontfroide in southern France on October 24, 1870 and was canonized in 1950.

Into his 35 years as a priest he packed 100 years of work.

St. Anthony Mary Claret is the patron saint of the Catholic Press, the Claretians,  Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and weavers.

Favorite Quote

“A son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a man who is consumed with love and who sets on fire everything in his path. He is a man who unceasingly expends himself to light the fire of divine love in the world. Nothing stops him; he places his joy in privations, he undertakes all works for the glory of God; he embraces willingly every sacrifice, he is happy in the midst of calumnies; he exults in torments. He can think of but one thing — working, suffering, and seeking at all times the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls, to imitate Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Here is a clip which presents a glimpse of the event of Canonization of Blessed Anthony Mary Claret with photos and a documentary preserved in the archives of Spanish Radio Television. It was indeed a great moment in the Jubilee Year of 1950.

7 Quick Takes: Apple Picking, Pumpkin Picking, and Amazon Shopping


1. Last weekend, we had a bit of fun doing one of our most favorite activities: apple-picking and pumpkin picking. We drove a  considerable distance to find both this late in the season. It's our favorite orchard in Kansas -- Pome on the Range.


2, We visited the orchards and picked red delicious apples -- Bill's favorite -- and only 50 cents/lb.




3. Then we hitched a ride on the tractor pull -- a hayride without the hay -- to the pumpkin patch.



4.  As we rode back with our wares, a cute couple snapped our picture.


Oh, no! I have hat hair! You can certainly tell we had a good time. Look at those smiles!


We passed by the winesap orchard on the way back to the store, where we picked up some Jonalicious and Jonagold apples.

5. Riding back home, we enjoyed the beautiful Kansas landscape and the sunset.





6.  I saved the best for last. Today, my book, Seven Saints for Seven Virtues, is now available on Amazon!



7. If you missed the Blog Tour for Seven Saints for Seven Virtues, go here for a recap.

Have a wonderful weekend!


For more quick takes, visit Jen at ConversionDiary.com .

Thursday, October 23, 2014

St. John of Capistrano: Victory through the Holy Name of Jesus



The saint of the day for October 23 is St. John of Capistrano, a great Franciscan priest, preacher, and theologian who promoted devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus.

John was born at Capistrano, Italy in 1385, the son of a former German knight of that city. He studied law at the University of Perugia and practiced as a lawyer in the courts of Naples. King Ladislas of Naples appointed him governor of Perugia.

During a war with a neighboring town he was betrayed and imprisoned, where he experienced a deep conversion. Upon his release, he entered the Franciscan community at Perugia. There, he began his brilliant preaching ministry, while still a deacon in 1420. Following his ordination, he traveled to many European countries and Russia, preaching penance and founding numerous Franciscan communities.

St. John of Capistrano was the student of St. Bernadine of Siena, who inspired him to promote devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. While preaching in Italy, they carried a monogram of the Holy Name surrounded by rays. In its origin, the monogram IHS is an abbreviation of the name Jesus in Greek (A later tradition reveals that IHS denotes the Latin Iesus Hominum Salvator, meaning "Jesus Savior of Mankind.") St. Bernardine and St. John blessed the faithful with this monogram, calling upon the name of Jesus and many miracles were recounted. They also advised people to place the monogram over the city gates and the doorways of their homes.

In 1427, Pope Martin V approved veneration to the Holy Name and requested that the cross be included in the monogram IHS. When the malicious Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, Pope Callistus II appointed Saint John (at age 70) to preach a crusade for the protection of Europe. Barefoot and dressed in his humble Franciscan habit, Saint John visited the kings of Europe, uniting them and their armies against the invading forces. In 1456, he led an army of 70,000 Christian soldiers to Belgrade, and when it appeared that they were overpowered by the Muslim army, he ran to the front lines. Holding his crucifix up high, this thin, slight old man kept calling out, "Victory, Jesus, victory!" Emboldened by Christ, the Christian army won an overwhelming victory, freeing the city from siege.

Three months later, St. John died at Villach in Austria. On his tomb there, the following message is inscribed: "This tomb holds John, by birth of Capistrano, a man worthy of all praise, defender and promoter of the faith, guardian of the Church, zealous protector of his Order, an ornament to all the world, lover of truth and religious justice, mirror of life, surest guide in doctrine; praised by countless tongues, he reigns blessed in heaven."

St. John of Capistrano is the patron saint of chaplains, military chaplains, and judges.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Day 10: Blog Tour for Seven Saints for Seven Virtues: Entering Into The Mysteries--Giveaway Today!



Today, Janet Moore at Entering into the Mystery hosts the final day of the Blog Tour for Seven Saints for Seven Virtues. She was written a beautiful review entitled, "Do you Want to Be a Saint? Seven Saints for Seven Virtues Book Review and Giveaway!"

She is giving away TWO copies of Seven Saints for Seven Virtues! Go there, read her review, and enter the drawing!

Here is a recap of the blog tour:

Monday, Oct. 13 -- Plot Line and Sinker  Ellen Gable   Book Review and Giveaway

Tuesday, Oct. 14 -- Contemplative Homeschool  Connie Rossini Book Review

Wednesday, Oct. 15 -- Franciscan Mom  Barb Szyszkiewicz Book Review and Giveaway

Thursday, Oct. 16 -- Can we Cana?  Karee Santos Book Review and Giveaway

Friday, Oct. 17 --  Bergers Book Reviews  Alice Berger Book Review

Saturday, Oct. 18 -- Seven Angels Four Kids One Family Jane Lebak Book Review

Sunday, Oct. 19 -- Spiritual Woman  Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur Book Review

Monday, Oct. 20 -- Cause of our Joy  Leticia Velasquez  Book Review

Tuesday, Oct. 21 -- View from the Domestic Church Donna-Marie Cooper-O'Boyle Interview

Happy Feast Day -- Pope St. John Paul II!



"When the cross is embraced it becomes a sign of love and of total self-giving. To carry it behind Christ means to be united with him in offering the greatest proof of love … the choice is between a full life and an empty existence, between truth and falsehood."

~ Pope St. John Paul II in Pope John Paul II's MESSAGE TO THE YOUTH OF THE WORLD, THE XVI WORLD YOUTH DAY, 14 February 2001.




Related Posts:

POPE JOHN PAUL THE GREAT: MY FAVORITE MEMORIES -- April 2, 2006

The Miraculous Bond between Pope St. John Paul II and St. Padre Pio

Novena to Pope St. John Paul II begins today

Book Review -- Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Day 9: Blog Tour: Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle interviews Jean Heimann, Author of Seven Saints for Seven Virtues



Today, at View From the Domestic Church, Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, EWTN TV host of "Everyday Blessings for Catholic Moms," and "Catholic Mom's Cafe," journalist, speaker, and reviewer,  interviews me. Go there and check out her interview!

There's only one more day left to the blog tour! Don't miss it! Tomorrow, Janet Moore at Entering into the Mystery will host the blog tour.


Here is a recap of the blog tour:

Monday, Oct. 13 -- Plot Line and Sinker  Ellen Gable   Book Review and Giveaway

Tuesday, Oct. 14 -- Contemplative Homeschool  Connie Rossini Book Review

Wednesday, Oct. 15 -- Franciscan Mom  Barb Szyszkiewicz Book Review and Giveaway 

Thursday, Oct. 16 -- Can we Cana?  Karee Santos Book Review

Friday, Oct. 17 --  Bergers Book Reviews  Alice Berger Book Review

Saturday, Oct. 18 -- Seven Angels Four Kids One Family Jane Lebak Book Review

Sunday, Oct. 19 -- Spiritual Woman  Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur Book Review

Monday, Oct. 20 -- Cause of our Joy  Leticia Velasquez  Book Review  

Tuesday, Oct. 21 -- View from the Domestic Church Donna-Marie Cooper-O'Boyle Interview

Mary of Nazareth Blog Tour/Rosary Crawl:The Miracle at Cana



Catholic Fire is a part of the MARY of NAZARETH Blog Tour/Rosary Crawl, of which we are delighted to be a part of, along with many other inspiring bloggers. To learn more, visit the Rosary Crawl Itinerary HERE.

Second Mystery of Light: The wedding feast of Cana.

"On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, 'They have no wine.' And Jesus said to her, 'O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.' His mother said to the servants, 'Do whatever he tells you"' (Jn 2:1-5).
"On the threshold of his public life Jesus performs his first sign ­at his mother's request - during a wedding feast: The Church attaches great importance to Jesus' presence at the wedding at Cana. She sees in it the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ's presence" (CCC, 1613).

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys (contemplating the mystery), Glory be to the Father



The setting is a Jewish wedding reception in first century Cana – a town just northeast of Nazareth, Israel. The reception would have taken place in the groom’s home, where the public would be celebrating the union of the nuptial couple, as well as the joining of the two families. It was not a private celebration, but a public feast. Thus, the wedding feast would be under the scrutiny of the public eye. It was the duty of the groom’s family to provide for food and drink, which meant that they not only had to use their own income for such a large public event, that often went on for days, but needed to rely on friends to help with the expenses. How well the wedding feast went was a measure of the family’s honor and status. To run out of wine would have been a serious humiliation.

Mary empathizes with the family when they run out of wine and asks Jesus to do something.  But, what can Jesus do? He doesn’t have several barrels of wine with him! Mary knows that he is the Messiah and is capable of performing a miracle to produce the wine. When Jesus responds, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come”, he is not being disrespectful. Jesus is letting Mary know that he is not ready to let the world know that he is the Messiah. Mary, however, is letting Jesus know that this is his time to do so. She tenderly requests Jesus to begin his mission as the Son of God by performing his first miracle.

What does this mystery reveal about Mary? It shows us what a compassionate and loving Mother we have. Just as she was alert and attentive to the needs of this family, so, too, she is also alert to the needs of all her children and their families. When we come to her in prayer, asking for our smallest need, she intercedes for us, asking Jesus to intervene. She is the meditator, the one who places herself between Jesus and our desires, needs, and afflictions. Her heart is full of love and she is sensitive and compassionate toward us, whenever we come to her with a request.

To learn more about this mystery, go HERE.

Catholic Fire encourages you to check out tomorrow’s clip at View from the Domestic Church blog. Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle will bring us the “Scourging at the Pillar”.

Mary of Nazareth is now available for you to enjoy on DVD in your own home.

BONUS:  CATHOLIC FIRE WILL BE GIVING AWAY ONE FREE DVD OF MARY OF NAZARETH!  To qualify for the drawing, just send me an email with your full name and mailing address at jean.heimann(at)gmail(dot)com and you are entered! The deadline is October 28, 2014.

Only open to U.S., Canada and Mexico residents.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Day 8: Blog Tour for Seven Saints for Seven Virtues: Cause of our Joy



Today, Leticia Velasquez at Cause of our Joy reviews Seven Saints for Seven Virtues. You can read her review HERE.

The remaining blogs in the tour are:

Tuesday, Oct. 21 -- View from the Domestic Church Donna-Marie Cooper-O'Boyle

Wednesday, Oct. 22 -- Entering into the Mystery Janet Moore

Who was St. Paul of the Cross?



Today is the feast day of St. Paul of the Cross, priest, mystic, and founder of the Passionist Congregation.

Paul was born in Ovada, in northern Italy as Paolo Francesco Danei in 1694, the second oldest of sixteen children, eleven of whom died in infancy. His father was from a noble family that had been reduced to poverty over the years. His parents were devout Catholics and their strong faith provided the grace they needed to accept their trials. Paul’s mother had a deep and lively faith, which she shared with her son. She often read to him, sharing the writings of the desert fathers.  Paul received his early education from a priest and was a very virtuous and pious youth, who spent much time in prayer, attended daily Mass, and visited the Blessed Sacrament, without neglecting his duties. He had a great love and devotion for Christ Crucified.

As a young man, Paul enlisted in the Army, desiring to serve Christ in the Crusades; however, he abandoned soldiering to spend his life in solitary prayer. At the age of 19, Paul had a vivid experience of the depth of God's love which changed his life. As a result of this vision, he experienced a deep interior conversion and aspired to live a life of perfection. While still a layman, he left everything behind, including the offer of a good marriage as well as an inheritance left to him by an uncle who was a priest, to found the Passionists.

In 1727, Paul and his brother, John, were ordained as priests by Pope Benedict XII and they founded the first Passionist monastery in the mountains above Genoa. While contemplation and prayer were at the very heart of Paul's life and the life of his new institute, Paul himself soon became a prominent preacher, spiritual guide, as well as a writer and mystic. For Paul, the Passion of Christ was the most vivid witness to God's love for us and he continually called upon his followers to meditate on the sufferings of Jesus Christ.

It took from 1720 to 1741—twenty-one years of humble service as a hospital chaplain and traveling preacher combined with quiet perseverance in the face of official Church rejection—for Paul to receive his first papal authority to found his religious order, “The Congregation of the Passion.”

For over 40 years, Paul and his “like-minded companions,” the Passionists, preached the loving memory of the passion and death of Jesus Christ. Paul would challenge his hearers to die a mystical death with Christ so as to rise up with Christ to a life of faith and love. The sick and the poor remained special recipients of Paul’s care, but he would also preach to the clergy and remind them of their obligations to serve the neglected.

During his lifetime Paul founded thirteen monasteries of Priests and Brothers throughout Italy as well as a monastery of Passionist Nuns. Today the Passionists live and serve in 59 countries of the world and are enhanced by other religious and lay groups who find inspiration in the Charism of St. Paul of the Cross.

Paul died in Rome on October 18, 1775. He was canonized on June 29, 1867 by Pope Pius IX.

Quotes from St. Paul of the Cross

“[Christ crucified] is the pattern of all that is gentle and attractive…. Bury yourselves, therefore, in the heart of Jesus crucified, desiring nothing else but to lead all men to follow his will in all things.”
"The Mass is the most favorable occasion to speak with the eternal Father, because then we offer Him His only Son as a victim for our salvation. Before celebrating, reflect on the sufferings of your Redeemer, commune peaceably with Him, even in the midst of dryness; carry to the altar the needs of the entire world."

"When you feel the assaults of passion and anger, then is the time to be silent as Jesus was silent in the midst of His ignominies and sufferings."

"Entrust yourself entirely to God. He is a Father, and a most loving Father at that, who would rather let heaven and earth collapse than abandon anyone who trusted in him."

"It is very good and holy to consider the passion of our Lord, and to meditate on it, for by this sacred path we reach union with God. In this most holy school we learn true wisdom, for it was there that all the saints learned it. "

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Novena to St. Jude begins today



St. Jude, also called Thaddeus or "Courageous", is the author of the short epistle in the New Testament. He was the apostle who asked the Lord at the Last Supper why he had manifested himself only to the disciples and not to the whole world (John 14:22). He was the son of Cleophas and the woman named Mary who stood with the Blessed Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross as Our Lord was redeeming the world. He is remembered as a Healer.

St. Jude is the patron saint of lost or impossible causes and his novena is often prayed in desperate cases. Below are: (1) a novena for any intention, followed by (2) novena prayers for someone who is critically ill. Both are prayed for nine days.

Novena Prayers

Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus,  the Church honors and invokes you universally, as the patron of difficult  cases, of things almost despaired of, Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone.

Intercede with God for me that He bring visible and speedy help where help is  almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive  the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and  sufferings, particularly - (make your request here)- and that I may praise  God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, O Blessed St. Jude, to be  ever mindful of this great favor granted me by God and to always honor you as  my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you.
Amen.

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, and loved in all the  tabernacles until the end of time. Amen.

May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. Amen.

St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. Amen.

Blessed be the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Blessed be the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Blessed be St. Jude Thaddeus, in all the world and for all Eternity.
(say this prayer, followed by the Our Father and the Hail Mary).

Novena Prayer for the Seriously Ill

Dear Apostle and Martyr for Christ, you left us an Epistle in the New Testament. With good reason many invoke you when illness is at a desperate stage. We now recommend to your kindness
{name of patient}
who is in a critical condition. May the cure of this patient increase his/her faith and love for the Lord of Life, for the glory of our merciful God. Amen.

Day 7: Blog Tour for Seven Saints for Seven Virtues: Spiritual Woman



Today, Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur at Spiritual Woman is our hostess for the blog tour. You can read her review of Seven Saints for Seven Virtues HERE.

You can follow the rest of the tour by visiting these blogs on their scheduled days:

Monday, Oct. 20 -- Cause of our Joy  Leticia Velasquez

Tuesday, Oct. 21 -- View from the Domestic Church Donna-Marie Cooper-O'Boyle

Wednesday, Oct. 22 -- Entering into the Mystery Janet Moore

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Day 6: Blog Tour for Seven Saints for Seven Virtues: Seven angels, four kids, one family



Today, Jane Lebak at Seven Angels Four Kids One Family is our hostess for the blog tour. You can read her review of Seven Saints for Seven Virtues HERE.

Here is the blog tour schedule:

Sunday, Oct. 19 -- Spiritual Woman  Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Monday, Oct. 20 -- Cause of our Joy  Leticia Velasquez

Tuesday, Oct. 21 -- View from the Domestic Church Donna-Marie Cooper-O'Boyle

Wednesday, Oct. 22 -- Entering into the Mystery Janet Moore

Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist



Today is the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist. It is believed that St. Luke was born a Greek and a gentile. A physician at Antioch, and a painter, St. Luke became a convert of Saint Paul and afterwards his fellow-laborer. Luke was the writer of the Gospel and its "companion volume," the Acts of the Apostles and has been identified with St. Paul's "Luke, the beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14). Saint Luke shared the shipwreck and perils of Saint Paul's voyage to Rome, and was with him in his last days. He later died a martyr's death in Achaia. After St. John, St. Luke's writings (both his Gospel and Acts of the Apostles) are my favorite part of the New Testament.

Although Luke was not an eye witness, he was a historian who carefully researched his material and obtained details from eye witnesses. As a physician, Luke emphasizes the miracles and the merciful love of Jesus, which heals his children and welcomes all into his arms -- especially the sinner, the outcast, the gentile. Luke shows us the compassion of Jesus, especially toward women and children. He gives prominence not only to the group of women who follow him from the beginning of his ministry, but he also  to Mary, from the Incarnation and the infancy narratives to his mention of her being present with the Apostles at Pentecost. His is the only Gospel to give an account of the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. Luke's gospel is noted for its praise and thanksgiving and is a very poetic book. For example, Mary's song, 1:46-55. Song of Zacharias, 1:68-79, and The Song of the Angels, 2:8-14. Finally, Luke's is the gospel of Jesus praying, and his parables concerning prayer.


As a physician, St. Luke is the patron saint of the medical profession. He is also the patron of artists and painters, as tradition holds that he painted an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

St. Luke is symbolized by the ox, The ox, recognized as the animal of sacrifice, was applied to St. Luke because his Gospel emphasizes the atonement made by Christ's sacrifice of himself on the Cross. (Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary)