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Header-The Mother's Sublime Vocation 

 

Taking for granted that mothers are the loftiest expression of the goodness of God in this world of ours, let me say that they should do nothing to lessen the wonderful influence for good which they can exert. A mother should remember her function in the family—she is its heart.

What a world of meaning that one word suggests! It is the heart that suffers and sometimes breaks. It is the heart that rejoices and overflows with joy. Suffering and sympathy make the mother so cherished, so inspiring, so loved. Suffering and sympathy also bring to the mother her greatest joy. For her heart is so good that she delights to suffer for the well-being of others. Her kind, gentle nature cheers the children and their father, and helps them over the rough places on the journey of life.

 

Click here: Prayer of a Wife & Mother

 

But if the mother has her cares and sufferings, she also has her joys. Indeed, it may be said that no human joy is comparable to that experienced by a good mother. Every joy of the children and their father is hers twofold. If her mother’s love causes her to suffer with her family, it also enables her to rejoice with them, and no human joy is so free from alloy as a mother’s.

Besides, she realizes that in proportion as she lives for her family, they live for her. The good mother is the queen of the household. She reigns supreme over the hearts of her subjects. More than that, she is the inspiration of the father of the family. Under the gentle influence of a good mother, the father of a family finds it easy to toil and to face the trials of life. Oh, that every mother might realize her dignity and power, for she holds the key to the souls of her children and it is she who opens their little hearts and places in them the seeds of future character.

Womens MarchMotherhood exercises the most intimate and powerful influence known among men.

Some of the greatest saints were the children of saintly mothers.

Saint Augustine was the fruit of Saint Monica’s example and prayers and tears.

Saint Louis of France found in his mother Blanche a holy model. Her words, spoken to him in his youth, “I would rather see you dead at my feet than guilty of mortal sin,” were engraved in his heart and influenced him throughout his life.

The great Saint Bernard was the child of a mother so holy that virtue, instilled by her example, became almost second nature.

The first school a child attends is the one presided over by his mother. On those early lessons begun in the cradle and continued in the home, the career of later life mainly depend. Youth is like wax for receiving impressions and like steel for retaining them. If in the tender years of childhood the mother has placed the proper impression on her children, they will be the better for it all their lives.

The good mother is like a gardener who cultivates delicate plants. The gardener must prepare the soil and keep it moist and remove every harmful growth. But the joy he experiences as the plants rise from the ground and develop into beautiful flowers, more than repays him for his labor. The pleasure of beholding the result of his painstaking care is so great that frequently he cultivates a garden not for what it produces but for the pleasure of producing. When the plants are human souls, when the tender growth is one’s own child, what must be the joy of the gardener! And as the devoted mother watches her flowers unfold, beholds their love responding to her own, what joy on earth compares with hers!

As the poet has written, “Then crown her queen of the world,” for queen she is. The world is what mothers make it.

 

Click here: Prayer of a Wife & Mother

 


Taken from You and Yours: Practical Talks on Home Life by Fr. Martin Scott, SJ, pages 25-29.

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for November 23, 2020

The purer are your words and your glances, the more pleasing...

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November 23

 

The purer are your words and your
glances,
the more pleasing will you be to the
Blessed Virgin. And
the greater will be the
graces that she will obtain for you
from her Divine Son.


St. John Bosco


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Columban

He struggled with purity, and desperate to dedicate himself...

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St. Columban

Columban was born about the year 543 in County Meath, in the Irish province of Leinster, to respectable parents. He was well-educated in grammar, rhetoric, geometry, and the Holy Scriptures. The young Columban resolved early to embrace monastic asceticism and dedicate himself to a strict and disciplined life, abstaining from many of the pleasures of the world. However, he struggled with purity, and desperate to dedicate himself wholly to God, asked the advice of a religious woman who had lived as a hermit for many years.

His mother tried her utmost to deter him from the course of action proposed by the saintly hermit, but Columban took the holy woman’s advice and left Leinster to become a cloistered monk at the monastery of Bangor in County Down. He remained there a number of years before gaining permission from his superior, St. Congall, to evangelize in foreign lands. With twelve companions he traveled to Gaul and set about preaching and teaching the Gospel.

In 590, news of these monks reached Guntramnus, the King of Burgundy, who was so inspired by the holy men that he gave the Irish monk and his companions the ancient Roman castle of Annegray, in the region’s Vosges Mountains, in which to establish a monastery. Within a few years, the increasing number of followers obliged Columban to expand and, with the help of one of the King’s ministers, he obtained from the King another ancient Roman fortification named Luxeuil, on the site of some ancient Roman baths. A third monastery soon followed to house the growing number of disciples. The monks followed a harsh discipline similar to the unusual characteristics of Celtic Christianity: they carried out penances for every transgression, no matter how small, fasted, performed bodily mortifications and prayed at length.

Twenty years after his first monastic foundation, Columban and his fellow Irishmen were expelled from the country. Brunhilda, the wicked and corrupt queen regent, disliked the holy man for his reproach of the immoral ways of her court and ultimately exiled him in 610.

Columban and his monks traveled to Italy where they were welcomed by Agilulf, King of the Lombards. Agilulf gave the monks a dilapidated church at Bobbio to reestablish themselves. Columban himself did much of the repairs in spite of his seventy years of age.

He died at Bobbio in 615 having spent the last few years of his life praying and preparing for death. His followers established monasteries all over Europe.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared stan...

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The Conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne

Born in 1814, Alphonse Ratisbonne was from a family of wealthy, well-known Jewish bankers in Strasbourg, France. In 1827, Alphonse’s older brother, Thèodore, converted to Catholicism and entered the priesthood, thus breaking with his anti-Catholic family whose hopes now lay in the young Alphonse. At 27, Alphonse was intelligent and well mannered. He had already finished his law degree, and decided to travel to Italy before marrying and assuming his responsibilities in the family business. However, God had other plans for him.

While in Rome, Alphonse visited works of art, and strictly out of cultural curiosity, a few Catholic churches. These visits hardened his anti-Catholic stance, and nourished his profound hatred for the Church. He also called on an old schoolmate and close friend, Gustave de Bussières.

Gustave was a Protestant and several times had tried, in vain, to win Alphonse over to his religious convictions. Alphonse was introduced to Gustave’s brother, Baron de Bussières, who had recently converted to Catholicism and become a close friend of Father Thèodore Ratisbonne. Because of the Baron’s Catholicism and closeness with his turncoat brother, Alphonse greatly disliked him.

On the eve of his departure, Alphonse reluctantly fulfilled his social obligation to leave his calling card at the Baron’s house as a farewell gesture.

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Hoping to avoid a meeting, Alphonse intended to leave his card discreetly and depart straight away, but was instead shown into the house. The Baron greeted the young Jew warmly, and before long, had persuaded him to remain a few more days in Rome. Inspired by grace, the Baron insisted Alphonse accept a Miraculous Medal and copy down a beautiful prayer: the Memorare. Alphonse could hardly contain his anger at his host’s boldness of proposing these things to him, but decided to take everything good-heartedly, planning to later describe the Baron as an eccentric.

During Alphonse’s stay, the Baron’s close friend, Count de La Ferronays, former French ambassador to the Holy See and a man of great virtue and piety, died quite suddenly. On the eve of his death, the Baron had asked the Count to pray the Memorare one hundred times for Alphonse’s conversion. It is possible that he offered his life to God for the conversion of the young Jewish banker.

A few days later, the Baron went to the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte to arrange for his friend’s funeral. Alphonse reluctantly went with him, all the while making violent criticisms of the Church and mocking Catholic practices. When they arrived, the Baron entered the sacristy to arrange the funeral while Alphonse remained in the church.

When the Baron returned just a few minutes later, the young man was gone. He searched the church, and soon discovered his young friend kneeling close to an altar, weeping.  Alphonse himself tells us what happened in those few minutes he waited for the Baron: “I had only been in the church a short while when, all of a sudden, I felt totally uneasy for no apparent reason. I raised my eyes and saw that the whole building had disappeared. Only one side chapel had, so to say, gathered all the light. In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar. She was grandiose, brilliant, full of majesty and sweetness, just as she is in the Miraculous Medal. An irresistible force attracted me to her. The Virgin made a gesture with her hand indicating I was to kneel.”

When de Bussières talked to Alphonse, he no longer found a Jew, but a convert who ardently desired baptism. The news of such an unexpected conversion immediately spread and caused a great commotion throughout Europe, and Pope Gregory XVI received the young convert, paternally. He ordered a detailed investigation with the rigor required by canon law, and concluded that the occurrence was a truly authentic miracle. 

Alphonse took the name Maria Alphonse at baptism, and, wishing to become a priest, was ordained a Jesuit in 1847. After some time, and at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, he left the Jesuits and joined his brother Thèodore in founding the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, dedicated to the conversion of the Jews. Father Theodore spread his congregation throughout France and England, while Father Maria Alphonse went to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, he established a house of the congregation on the plot of land where the praetorium of Pilate had formerly stood.

The two brothers died in 1884, both famed and well-loved for their exceptional virtues.  

By Armando Santos  

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In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar"

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