BIOGRAPHIES OF NEW BLESSEDS
BIOGRAPHIES OF NEW BLESSEDS - 2001
The following blesseds were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2001:
4 November 2001
Bl. Pavel Peter Gojdic
Bl. Methodius Dominic Trčka, C.SS.R.
Bl. Paolo Manna
Bl. Luigi Tezza
Bl. Bartolomeu Fernandes dos Mártires OP
Bl. Gaetana Sterni
Bl. Giovanni Antonio Farina
Bl. María Pilar Izquierdo Albero
Bl. Pavel Peter Gojdic, (1888-1960) Basilian Bishop of Presov
Pavel Peter was born on 17 July 1888 at Ruske Pekl'any near Presov (Prjasev) in Eastern Slovakia the third child of Stepan Gojdic and Anna Herberij. He grew up in the village of Cikel'ke where his father was parish priest. From his father he learned the love of neighbour that fuels pastoral care, and from his mother he acquired a spirit of prayer that remained with him until death. One must remember that in this century alone the flag over the city of Presov changed three times. As he left the gymnasium in 1907, he felt called to the priesthood. His two older brothers had already opted for the priesthood. He began his formation in Presov. As a capable student, he was sent to the Major Seminary in Budapest. He was ordained with his brother Cornelius on 27 August 1911 in Presov. He began his parish ministry by helping his father. Then he became prefect in the diocesan boarding school. In 1914 Bishop Nowak made him assistant protosyncellus (chancellor). In 1919 Dr Rusnak, the Apostolic Administrator, appointed him Moderator of the Chancery of the Eparchy. On 20 July 1922, he entered the Order of St Basil the Great, taking the name of Pavel (Paul). He satisfied a desire for a regular spiritual life and hoped to avoid being a candidate for the episcopacy. He was solemnly professed on 28 November 1926. On 14 September 1926, he was named Apostolic Administrator of the Eparchy of Presov (Prjasev). In 1927 he was appointed titular Bishop of Harpasa and was consecrated on 25 March in the Roman Basilica of San Clemente, near the relics of St Cyril, St Ignatius and St Clement. On 29 March, Pius XI gave him a gold pectoral cross, saying: "This cross is only faintly symbolic of the heavy crosses God will send you...".
"God is love, let us love Him!" was the motto of the zealous pastor as he founded parishes, orphanages, schools, supported the teaching academy and seminary, besides launching new publications. It was only in 1940 that the Holy Father appointed him Bishop of Presov (Prjasev); until then he had been Apostolic Administrator, and for the year 1939 Apostolic Administrator of Mukacheve. During the period before the war he had to defend the Ruthenians against the onslaught of Slovak nationalism. During the war the bishop was busy helping refugees, prisoners and rescuing inmates of concentration camps. The "man with a heart of gold" deserved this name. Foreseeing the Communist take over, with the help of a new auxiliary, Bishop Hopko, he launched a campaign to reinforce the faith of his people by mobilizing every possible means: visits, missions, retreats, the press and the radio. He realized that the Communists would use the Orthodox Church to persecute Greek Catholics and try to make them break with Rome.
The Communists offiicially dissolved the Greek Catholic church in 1950, and Bishop Gojdic was arrested and imprisoned. He withstood the pressure to break with Rome. So began his heroic way of the Cross through the prisons of Communist Czechoslovakia. He never complained, despite torture, humiliation and isolation. Bishop Gojdic died of terminal cancer on 17 July 1960, in the prison of Leopoldov, on his 72nd birthday. He was buried in an anonymous grave, n. 681, in the cemetery. In 1968, his remains were moved to Presov (Prjasev) and since 1990 have been kept in a sarcophagus in the Greek-Catholic Cathedral of St John the Baptist.
Bl. Methodius Dominic Trčka, C.SS.R. (1886-1959)
Methodius was born in Frydlant nad Ostravici (today the Czech Republic), on 6 July 1886. He entered the Redemptorists in 1902, was professed in 1904, and ordained in Prague on 17 July 1910.
From the start of his priesthood, in the Czeck Republic, he began his apostolate of preaching popular missions. During the First World War at Svata Hora, he took care of Croatian, Slovene and Ruthenian refugees. In 1919 in answer to his request to work with the Eastern Catholic Church, his superiors sent him to Lviv, to work among the Greek Catholic faithful. He learned their language with the help of a confrere, Bl. Fr Nikola Carneckyj. At that time he took the name Methodius. In December 1921 he was sent to Stropkov, in Eastern Slovakia, where he founded the first mixed Latin and Byzantine rite Redemptorist community and served as superior. He was a zealous missionary in the Eparchies of Presov (Prjasev), Uzhorod and Krizevci. As superior he oversaw the installation of Greek Catholic Redemptorists in Michalovce. In 1932 he returned to Stropkov to rest and do parish work. In 1935, he returned to Michalovce where the Congregation for the Oriental Churches appointed him Apostolic Visitor to the Basilian Sisters in Presov (Prjasev) and Uzhorod. In Michalovce, he served a second term as superior from July 1936 to April 1942; he completed the church, helped found a convent, set up one retreat house and started another in the Eparchy of Uzhorod. He founded an association for women domestics, the most neglected group at the time. During the Second World War, the Slovak State suspected the Redemptorists of anti-State propaganda since they were helping Ruthenians in a Slovak nationalist situation. Since Fr Methodius was the chief suspect as superior of the house, to save the community he resigned his post as superior. In 1945, at the end of the war, the Redemptorists established the Vice-Province of Michalovce. Fr Methodius was appointed the first Vice-Provincial on 23 March 1946. He encouraged the Redemptorists' return to Stropkov where they worked until the Communists came to power.
In 1949 the Communists suppressed the Vice-Province; and on the 13 April 1950 all were taken to concentration camps, to be interrogated and tortured. Fellow prisoners said that to protect his confreres Methodius would take the blame and calmly endure torture.
On 12 April 1952, he was accused of collaboration with Bishop Gojdic because he spread his pastoral letters. He continued the regular reports to his superiors in Prague and through them to the ones in Rome. This was called espionage, high treason and brought him the sentence of 12 years in prison. He held out, despite ill health, trusting in God and doing His will. In April 1958 he was moved to Leopoldov prison. At Christmas he was caught singing a carol and condemned to the "correction cell" where he contracted pneumonia. Another prisoner, a doctor, asked thathe be admitted to hospital, obtaining only his transfer to solitary confinement. Finally, he died in his own cell on 23 March 1959, after forgiving his persecutors. In 1969, his remains were transferred from the prison cemetery to the Redemptorists' Church of the Holy Spirit at Michalovce.
Bl. Paolo Manna (1872-1952)
He was born in Avellino, Italy, on 16 January 1872, the fifth of six children. Two of his uncles were priests and so was his older brother. Fr Manna studied Latin and Greek in Naples and philosophy in Rome. In 1891 he entered the seminary of the Institute for Foreign Missions in Milan. In 1894 he was ordained in the Cathedral of Milan. In 1895 he departed for the mission of Toungoo in Burma where he worked until 1907. He had to return to Italy three times because he suffered from tuberculosis. At 35 he said he was an unsuccessful missionary. But, in fact, in Burma he was appreciated for his writings. In 1909 he was appointed editor of Le Missioni Cattoliche and published reflections on the vocation to the foreign missions, entitled The Workers Are Few, which were the source of hundreds of missionary vocations. In Italy he relaunched the Mission Societies for the Propagation of the Faith and Holy Childhood and promoted other initiatives for missionary cooperation. In 1916 he started the Missionary Union of the Clergy, today the Pontifical Missionary Union (PMU) which Pius XII called "the jewel of Fr Manna's whole life". In 1919 he started the Italia Missionaria magazine to encourage vocations. In 1924 he was elected superior general of the Lombard Seminary for Foreign Missions, and later superior general of PIME, established on 26 May 1926, by the will of Piux XI, who unified the two foreign-mission seminaries in Milan and Rome. Many letters to missionaries that he wrote are collected in a book Apostolic Virtues which was translated into English. In December 1936, he was asked to establish the PIME Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Mary. In the last years of his life, Fr Manna was superior of the PIME southern region. In 1950 he published Our Churches and the Spread of the Gospel, in which he says that the bishop and his clergy are responsible for spreading the Gospel among non-Christians and that diocesan priests must take part in the universal missionary activity of the Church. Pius XII took up the proposal in the 1957 Encyclical Fidei Donum, which opened the way for direct missionary service by dioceses and diocesan clergy. Fr Manna's greatest legacy is the example he left behind: he was driven by a passion for the missions that sickness, suffering and setbacks could never diminish. His motto was "All the Church for All the World". Fr Manna died on 15 September 1952 in a hospital in Naples. The diocesan process was begun in Naples in 1974.
Bl. Luigi Tezza (1841-1923) Founder
Luigi was born in Conegliano, Treviso, on 1 November 1841, the only son of Augustine Tezza, a physician, and Catherine Nedwiedt. At nine he lost his father and his mother moved to Padua, where Luigi did his high school studies. In 1850, at 15, he entered the Order of the Ministers of the Sick of St Camillus de Leilis in Verona. After entrusting her son to the Camillians, convinced of his true vocation, his mother entered the convent of the Visitation at Padova. In 1858 Luigi made his religious profession and in 1864 he was ordained. In 1871 Luigi was made master of novices. In 1871 he was sent to begin a new foundation in France, and later became its first provincial. He succeeded in establishing community life and in setting up Camillian homes for the sick. When religious institutes were suppressed in 1880 he was expelled from France as a foreigner, but secretly returned and was able to unite the scattered religious. He resisted the suppression, and was also responsible for laying the foundations for future growth. In 1891 he was elected Procurator and Vicar General of the Camillians, and providentially met Josephine Vannini on his return to Rome (beatified on 16 Oct. 1994) who had the desire to live in a Camillian institute. So it was that the Congregation of the Daughters of St Camillus came into being on 2 February 1892, enriching the Camillian charism with the feminine qualities of tenderness, hospitality, intuition and attentive listening. These were the gifts Camillus sought in his nursing religious women. The Institute was approved by the Holy See in 1931, and grew rapidly. In 1900, Fr Luigi, then 59, was sent with Fr Angelo Ferroni as Visitor to Lima, Peru, to refound the Camillian community in Lima, separated from the Order for more than a century. Although the task was completed, the Archbishop and the Nuncio considered him indispensable, so his superiors allowed him to stay on until his death, 23 years later in the city of Los Reyes, 26 September 1923. His mortal remains rest in the chapel of the Generalate of the Daughters of St Camillus in Grottaferrata, Rome. Luigi devoted himself to meeting the needs of the sick, especially the poor, at home, in hospital and in prison. He was confessor and spiritual director of the archdiocesan seminary and of religious orders. On his tomb an unknown visitor carved the words: "Apostle of Lima"; and Cardinal Lauri was to describe him as "the holiest priest in the Diocese of Lima".
Bl. Bartolomeu Fernandes dos Mártires OP (1514-1590), Archbishop of Braga, Portugal
He was born in Lisbon, Portugal, on 3 May 1514. He was named of the Martyrs after the Church of Our Lady of the Martyrs where he was baptized. He entered the Dominican Order in 1528 and made his perpetual profession on 20 November 1529. Having completed his philosophical and theological studies brilliantly, in 1538 he began teaching philosophy in the college of St Dominic of Lisbon, and then in 1540 theology in the college of Batalha for 11 years. At Évora he became the royal tutor and preacher.
In 1558 Queen Catherine of Portugal presented him as her candidate for the Archbishopric of Braga, and Pope Paul IV confirmed this appointment despite the reluctance of Bartolomeu himself. He accepted out of obedience to his provincial, Ven. Luis of Granada. In September 1559, he was consecrated in the church of St Dominic in Lisbon.
On 4 October 1559, he began his apostolic mission in his vast Archdiocese maintaining his austere life style and devoting himself to the good of his preists and people. The outstanding features of his ministry were his pastoral visits; his commitment to evangelization which led him to draft a Catechism of Christian doctrine and spiritual practices (15th edition in 1962); his deep care for the culture and holiness of the clergy which led him to set up schools of moral theology for them in many parts of the archdiocese; and his doctrinal writings. In all he produced about 32 literary works. Among them the Stimulus Pastorum (22 editions) deserves mention as still being valid. It was given to the Fathers of the First and Second Vatican Councils. From 1561 to 1563 he attended the Council of Trent, urging the reform of the Church from the highest dignitaries. His teaching and example had a noteworthy influence on the decisions taken. Pius IV and St Charles Borromeo, with whom he was friendly, often asked and followed his advice. To put the Council's directives into practice, the Archbishop organized a Diocesan Synod in 1564 and the Provincial Council of Braga in 1566. In 1571 he began building the seminary in Campo Vinha. After repeated requests to resign from his pastoral office, his resignation was accepted in 1582, when he retired to the Domenican convent of the Holy Cross in Viana do Castelo. He died there on 16 July 1590, recognized and acclaimed by the people with the title, Holy Archbishop, father of the poor and of the sick. His tomb is venerated in the old Domenican Church of Viana do Castelo.
Bl. Gaetana Sterni (1827-1889) Foundress
Gaetana was born on 26 June 1827 in Cassola, in the province of Vicenza, Italy, as one of six children. In 1835 the family moved to Bassano, where it was hit with tragedy. Gaetana's elder sister died at 18 and her father who was sick for six years died shortly afterwards. Her brother Francesco left home to become an actor, leaving the family in financial straits. These events made a deep impression on Gaetana who, sharing life's daily trials with her mother, was forced to grow up before her time. She received a sound religious education, based on her mother's example of living faith. Not yet 16, after much thought and prayer, she married a young entrepreneur, Liberale Conte, who was a widower with three children. Unfortunately after only eight months of married life, Liberate died. Gaetana was expecting his child at the time. Her baby also died after only a few days of life. She was 16 years old now, overwhelmed by sorrow but putting her trust in God. She had to face problems with her husband's family and her subsequent separation from his children when at 19 she returned home to her mother. Despite the forced separation from her children, she defended their rights, was generous in her forgiveness, and obtained the full reconciliation of the two families. From 1843 to 1853 Gaetana felt called to belong to God alone and through prayer tried to find where she should live her call. She joined the Canossians in Bassano but her mother's sudden death five months later obliged her to leave to take care of her brothers. She was 26 years old when she was finally free of family obligations and could at last follow God's call. In 1853 "only to do the will of God" Gaetana took charge of the municipal poor house, which gave shelter to 115 people. 1860 became the year of the foundation of the congregation because in that year Gaetana took a vow of chastity and was privately clothed as a religious. In November 1860 she was professed adding the specific vow of total self-giving to God and so became the first Daughter of the Divine Will. She stayed in Bassano for 36 years until she died in 1889. She treated everyone in the poor house with the sensitivity and gentleness of those who know they are serving the Lord in the poor.
The Congregation of the Daughters of the Divine Will grew with the profession of her first two companions in 1865. The Bishop of Vicenza approved their Rule in 1875 officially recognizing the valuable work of the congregation. Gaetana died on 26 November 1889 lovingly assisted by her daughters. Her mortal remains are venerated in the Mother House, and today her congregation has spread in Europe, America and Africa.
Bl. Giovanni Antonio Farina (1803-1888) Founder
He was born into a religious family in Gambellara, Italy, on 11 January 1803, as the second of five brothers. After the premature death of his father, Fr Antonio, his uncle, took the family into his home. This priest was his spiritual and intellectual mentor. When he was 15 he entered the diocesan seminary of Vicenza where at 21 he was asked to begin teaching. On 15 January 1827, he was ordainedpriest and immediately afterwards earned an elementary school teacher's diploma. On account of his pedagogical gifts, he was appointed as teacher and spiritual director at the seminary where he served for 18 years. He was assistant pastor at St Peter's Parish for 10 years and headmaster in elementary and secondary schools in Vicenza. In 1831 in Vicenza he founded the first school for poor girls and in 1836, the Institute of the Sisters Teachers of St Dorothy, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts, to supply suitable teachers. He wanted his religious also to care for deafmutes, blind girls and the psychologically handicapped. They nursed the sick and the elderly in hospital and at home. There was no form of suffering that this farsighted founder overlooked. In 1850 Fr Farina was appointed Bishop of Treviso. Here he undertook a variety of pastoral initiatives, forming his priests and laity for evangelization and catholic action. Throughout his ten-year term, canonical problems with the Cathedral Chapter caused him constant suffering and setbacks. Here he was able to follow the preparation of Giuseppe Sarto (the future St Pius X) for the priesthood ordaining him in 1858. In 1860 he was transferred to Vicenza. Despite the turbulent period in Italian history, during his 28 years as bishop he embarked on an ambitious pastoral programme that included the spiritual and cultural formation of the priests and of the laity for evangelization, the reform of studies and discipline in the seminary, and the organization of associations for the care of the poor. He was called the "Bishop of Charity". In 1889 he was able to hold a diocesan synod. He was devoted to the pastoral visit and visited every parish even those that had never seen a bishop. His strength ebbed after a serious illness in 1886 and he died from a stroke in Vicenza on 4 March 1888. His compassionate treatment of the poor and his enlightened views on teachers and education make Bishop Farina one of the more outstanding bishops of the 19th century. Today, the institute he founded is involved in education as well as health care and pastoral assistance in many countries.
Bl. María Pilar Izquierdo Albero (1906-1945) Foundress
She was born into a poor family in Saragoza, Spain, on 27 July 1906. From her youngest years Maria shone with radiant love for God and for the poor; she was always trying to find ways to help the poor. After spending four years in Alfamen for health reasons, she returned to Zaragoza and began work in a shoe factory to help her family financially. There her simplicity, natural sympathy, kindness and diligence made her popular with one and all. However, the Lord wanted to lead her ever more deeply into the mystery of the Cross. María Pilar so loved suffering that she was in the habit of saying "In suffering I find so great a love for our Jesus that I die".
Returning from work one day in 1926, she fractured her pelvis falling from the tram; in 1927, an outbreak of cysts paralysed her and made her blind. Thus began for her a sorrowful way, between the hospitals of Zaragoza and her poor attic home. During the Spanish Civil War it was here that she prayed, cultivated evangelical friendships and helped many to discern God's call.
In 1936 María Pilar began to talk of a Work of Jesus whose purpose would be "to reproduce the active life of the Lord on earth through works of mercy". On 8 December 1939, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, to whom she was deeply devoted, María Pilar was miraculously healed from the paralysis that had confined her to her bed for more than 10 years. The cysts disappeared and she instantly recovered her vision. In 1939, she went about setting up her missionary work, and with a group of young people, moved to Madrid where she could begin her work as an apostolate for the poor. The Bishop of Madrid gave her first foundation, "Missionaries of Jesus and Mary", a first official approval. However she ran into great difficulties and as a result, the bishop withdrew his approval and asked that the work be dissolved. She was forbidden to exercise any form of apostolate until 1942. In that year the Bishop of Madrid canonically approved a second form of her missionary work, known as the Pious Union of Missionaries of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
After two years of a fruitful apostolate on the outskirts of Madrid, she fell ill again. At the same time, calumnies and plotting forced her to withdraw from her congregation in 1944, and she was followed by nine of her daughters. She died at San Sebastiano when she was only 39, on 27 August 1945. After her death the religious were able to realize her plan. In 1948, her religious obtained the approval of the bishop for a third and final form of congregation called the Missionary Work of Jesus and Mary.
7 October 2001
Bl. Alfonso Maria Fusco
Bl. Tommaso Maria Fusco
Bl. Emilie Tavernier Gamelin
Bl. Eugenia Picco
Bl. Ignatius Maloyan
Bl. Maria Euthymia
Bl. Nikolaus Gross
Alfonso Maria Fusco, the oldest of five children, was born on 23 March 1839 in Angri, in the province of Salerno, in the Diocese of Nocera-Sarno, Italy. His parents, Aniello Fusco and Josephine Schiavone, were both of peasant stock but were raised from their infancy with strong Christian principles and with a holy fear of God.
They were married in the Collegiata of St John the Baptist on 31 January 1834, and for four long years the cradle they had lovingly prepared remained painfully empty. In Pagani, only a short distance from Angri, the relics of St Alfonso Maria de Liguori were preserved. It was to his tomb that Aniello and Josephine went in 1838 to pray. While they were there, the Redemptorist Francesco Saverio Pecorelli told them: "You will have a son; you will name him Alfonso; he will become a priest and will live the life of Bl. Alfonso".
The little boy quickly revealed a mild, gentle, lovable character, responsive to prayer and to the poor. His teachers in his father's house were learned and holy priests who instructed him and prepared him for his first meeting with Jesus. When he was seven, he received his First Holy Communion and Confirmation.
He told his parents when he was eleven that he wanted to become a priest and, on 5 November 1850, "freely and with the sole desire to serve God and the Church", as he himself declared many years later, he entered the episcopal Seminary of Nocera dei Pagani. On 29 May 1863, he was ordained by the Archbishop of Salerno, Mons. Anthony Salomone, amid the joy of his family and the enthusiasm of the people.
Quickly he distinguished himself among the clergy of the Collegiata of St John the Baptist in Angri for his zeal, his regular attendance at liturgical services and for his diligence in the administration of the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation where he revealed his paternal understanding of his penitents. He devoted himself to the evangelization of the people through his simple and incisive style of preaching.
The daily life of Fr Alfonso was that of a zealous priest, but he carried in his heart an old dream. In his last years at the seminary, one night he had dreamt that Jesus of Nazareth was calling him to found an institute of sisters and an orphanage for boys and girls as soon as he was ordained.
It was a meeting with Maddalena Caputo of Angri, a strong-willed woman aspiring to enter religious life, which impelled Fr Alfonso to move more quickly in the foundation of the institute. On 25 September 1878, Miss Caputo and three other young women met at night in the dilapidated Scarcella house in the Ardinghi district of Angri. The young women wanted to dedicate themselves to their own sanctification through a life of poverty, of union with God, and of charity in the care and instruction of poor orphans.
The Congregation of the Baptistine Sisters of the Nazarene was thus begun; the seed had fallen into the good earth of the hearts of these four zealous and generous women. Privations, struggles, opposition, and trials were their lot, and the Lord made that seed grow abundantly. The Scarcella House was quickly named the Little House of Providence.
Other postulants and the first orphans began to arrive, and with them the first problems. The Lord, who allows those whom he loves much to suffer much, did not spare the founder and his daughters. Fr Alfonso accepted these trials, at times very difficult ones, demonstrating an absolute conformity tothe will of God, an heroic obedience to his superiors, and an unbounded trust in Divine Providence.
The unjustified attempt by the diocesan Bishop Saverio Vitagliano to remove Fr Alfonso as director of the institute was based on false accusations; the refusal by his own daughters to open the door for him of the house on Via Germanico in Rome because of their desire for a division; the words of Cardinal Respighi, the Vicar of Rome: "You have founded this community of good sisters who are doing their best. Now withdraw!" were for him moments of great suffering. He was seen praying in anguish, like Jesus in the Garden, in the small chapel in the Mother House in Angri and in the church of St Joachim in Rome.
He directed the institute wisely and prudently. Like a loving father, he watched over the sisters and the orphans. He showed an almost maternal tenderness for all, especially for the most needy of the orphans. For them there was always space in the Little House of Providence, even when there was a scarcity of food or absolutely nothing. Then Fr Alfonso would reassure his worried daughters saying: "Don't worry, my daughters. I am going to Jesus now and he will worry about us!". And Jesus answered quickly and with great generosity. To him who believes, everything is possible!
At a time when an education was the privilege of the few, denied to the poor and to women, Fr Alfonso did not mind sacrificing to give the children a peaceful life, an education and a trade for the older ones so that once they were grown up, they could live as honest citizens and as committed Christians. He wanted the sisters to begin their studies as soon as possible so that they could teach the poor and, through their instruction and evangelization, prepare the way for Jesus especially in the hearts of the children and of youth.
His tenacious will, totally anchored in Divine Providence, the wise and prudent collaboration of Maddalena Caputo, known as Sr Crocifissa, who was the first superior of the growing institute, the ongoing spur of the love of God and neighbour, contributed to the extraordinary development of the work in a very short time. The growing requests for assistance for an ever greater number of orphans and children urged Fr Alfonso to open new houses, first in Campania, and then in other regions of Italy.
During the night of 5 February 1910, he felt unwell. He requested and then received the sacraments on the morning of 6 February; after having blessed with trembling hands his own daughters weeping around his bed, he exclaimed: "Lord, I thank you. I have been a useless servant". Then, turning to the sisters: "From heaven I will not forget you. I will pray for you always". And then slept peacefully in the Lord.
Tommaso Maria Fusco, the seventh of eight children, was born on 1 December 1831 in Pagani, Salerno, in the Diocese of Nocera-Sarno, Italy, to Dr Antonio, a pharmacist, and Stella Giordano, of noble descent. They were known for their upright moral and religious conduct, and taught their son Christian piety and charity to the poor.
In 1837, when he was only six years old, his mother died of cholera and a few years later, in 1841, he also lost his father. Fr Giuseppe, an uncle on his father's side and a primary school teacher, took charge of his education.
On 1 April 1851, Tommaso Maria received the sacrament of Confirmation. On 22 December 1855 he was ordained a priest by Bishop Agnello Giuseppe D'Auria.
In those years, which were saddened by the loss of those who were close to him along with his uncle (1847) and his brother, Rafaelle (1852), he found support in the devotion to the Patient Christ and to his Sorrowful Mother, as his biographers recall: "He had a deep devotion to the crucified Christ which he cherished throughout his life".
From the start of his priestly ministry, he educated the young, opening a school for them in his house and at the parish restored evening devotions that included prayer, religious and vocational formation.
In 1857, he was admitted to the Congregation of the Missionaries of Nocera under the title of St Vincent de Paul and became an itinerant missionary, especially in the regions of Southern Italy.
In 1860 he was appointed chaplain at the Shrine of our Lady of Carmel in Pagani, where he built up the Catholic associations and set up the altar of the Crucified Christ and the Pious Union for devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.
In 1862 he opened a school of moral theology in his own home to train priests for the ministry of confession, kindling enthusiasm for the love of Christ's Blood; that same year, he founded the "(Priestly) Society of the Catholic Apostolate" for missions among the common people; in 1874 he received the approval of Blessed Pius IX.
Deeply moved by the sorry plight of an orphan girl, a victim of the street, after careful prayer of discernment, Fr Tommaso Maria founded the Congregation of the "Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood" on 6 January, the Solemnity of Epiphany in 1873. This institute began the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in the presence of Bishop Raffaele Ammirante, who, with the clothing with the habit of the first three sisters, blessed the first orphanage for seven poor orphan girls. The religious family and the orphanage also received the Pope's blessing.
It was not long before Fr Tommaso Maria, envied for the good he achieved in his ministry and for his life as an exemplary priest, had to face persecution and even calumny from his confreres. He recalled what Bishop Ammirante had said, "Did you choose the title of the Precious Blood? Prepare to drink the bitter chalice". During the harshest trials, which he bore in silence, he would repeat: "May work and suffering for God always be your glory and in your work and suffering, may God be your consolation on this earth, and your recompense in heaven. Patience is the safeguard and pillar of all the virtues".
Wasting away with a liver-disease, Fr Tommaso Maria died, 59 years old, on 24 February 1891, praying with Simeon: "Lord, now let yourservant depart in peace, according to your word" (Lk 2,29).
His life was directed to the highest devotion of Christian virtues by the priestly life, lived intensely in constant meditation on the mystery of the Father's love, contemplated in the crucified Son whose Blood is "the expression, measure and pledge" of divine and heroic charity to the poor and needy, in whom Fr Tommaso Maria saw the bleeding Face of Jesus.
His writings, preaching and popular missions marked his vast experience of faith and the light of Christian hope that shone from his vocation and actions. He had a vital, burning love for God; it enflamed his words and his apostolate, made fruitful by love for God and neighbour, by union with the crucified Jesus, by trust in Mary, Immaculate and Sorrowful, and above all by the Eucharist.
The cause for the beatification of Fr Tommaso Maria Fusco was initiated in 1955. With his beatification, Pope John Paul II presents Fr Tommaso Maria Fusco as an example and a guide to holiness for priests, for the people of God and for his spiritual daughters, the Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood.
Emilie Tavernier Gamelin was born the youngest of the 15 children in Montreal, Canada, on 19 February 1800, of hard working and virtuous parents. Both of her parents died young, but they left to their children a strong Christian education marked by the presence of Providence in their lives.
From the age of four, Emilie was looked after by a paternal aunt who early on recognized in the child a marked sensitivity towards the poor and unfortunate.
When her brother was widowed, Emilie, who was 18 years old at the time, went to help him out without any thought of remuneration, but with one condition, that they set a table that would always be available for the hungry people who came to the door. A table that she lovingly called: "The Table of the King".
In 1823, Emilie Tavernier married Jean-Baptiste Gamelin, in whom she found a friend of the poor who equaled her own aspirations. Their home was blessed with three children, but their happiness was soon overshadowed by the deaths of these children who had been welcomed with such love and devotion. During this same period, her husband, with whom she had lived so happily in faithfulness to the marriage vows that they had promised, died as well.
Her personal prayer and the contemplation of the Blessed Mother at the foot of the cross awakened within her a sense of profound compassionate charity towards all those who were caught up in sorrow of any kind. These were the individuals who now became as it were her husband and children.
Following the death of her husband in 1827, the young widow, then 27 years old, dedicated herself entirely to the relief of human misery in all its forms: the aged, beggars, orphans, sick and infirm priests, young people in difficulty, physically and mentally handicapped persons, etc. All were given the same care and attention. On 4 March 1830, she opened her first refuge for elderly and destitute women. In 1841 Emilie had her work civilly incorporated. On 2 February 1842 she made a private vow to serve the poor.
Her confidence in Providence was continually shown towards the poor, so much so that the people spontaneously called her "a true Providence".
At home or at the prison, with the sick or the healthy, Emilie was welcomed because she brought comfort and help. She truly was the Gospel in action: "Whatsoever you do for the least of these little ones, so you do unto me".
Family and friends joined in to support and help her. Others though, did not understand the work she was doing and in seeing her open yet another home they said: "Mrs Gamelin does not have enough crazy people, she is gathering up even more".
During a period of 15 years, these "heroic acts of dedication" grew, first under the watchful and grateful eyes of Bishop Jean-Jacques Lartigue, and later under those of the second Bishop of Montreal, Bishop Ignace Bourget.
During a trip to Paris in 1841, Bishop Bourget asked the Daughters of St Vincent de Paul if they would send sisters for Mrs Gamelin's work, thus establishing the foundation of a religious community. After agreeing, Montreal saw the construction of a new building in order to receive the sisters. But this was not to be, and at the last minute, the awaited sisters did not come and Providence unfolded other plans. In spite of everything, the work of Mrs Gamelin went on.
Bishop Bourget called upon the faithful of his Diocese and soon Canadian recruits were sent to Mrs Gamelin. Emilie formed them in the work of compassionate charity, which she carried out with such dedication, and in the mission of Providence that she proclaimed through her work. In 25 March 1843 with Bishop Bourget she founded the Daughters of Charity, Servants of the Poor. The people called them the Sisters of Providence. Later, on 29 March 1844 she made her vows and was appointed first superior of the Congregation.
So it was that in the House of Providence, the Sisters of Providence were born in Montreal. With the addition of new religious recruits and the assistance of the Ladies of Charity, her mission of compassionate charity became that of the new Congregation of which she was considered the foundress and first superior, in 1844.
On 23 September 1851, only eight years after the beginning of the Providence Community, the foundress herself became ill and died in the cholera epidemic; the new community had expanded in order to respond to the needs of the time and, at Mother Gamelin's death, The Sisters of Providence had grown to 50 members. The sisters received from her the words, "humility, simplicity, charity but above all charity", which was the last testament of Mother Gamelin.
From these modest beginnings, 6,147 women now follow Emilie Tavernier Gamelin in the community of the Sisters of Providence, which today can be found in Canada, the United States, Chile, Argentina, Haiti, Cameroon, Egypt, the Philippines and El Salvador.
Inspired by the motto: "The Charity of Christ urges us" the Sisters of Providence want to continually manifest Providence and the Compassion of Our Blessed Mother toward all those who suffer.
On 23 December 1993, Pope John Paul II, recognized the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Emilie Tavernier Gamelin and on 18 December 2000 gave official recognition to a miracle attributed to her intercession. The Holy Father will proclaim her among the Blessed on 7 October 2001. Pope John Paul II presents Emilie Tavernier Gamelin to the people of God as a model of holiness, through a life completely dedicated to the service of the most needy persons in society. Her liturgical feast is set for 23 September, which is the anniversary of her death in 1851.
Eugenia Picco. "As Jesus has chosen bread, which is very common, so must my life be, common ... approachable by all and, at the same time, humble and hidden, like bread".
These words of Eugenia Picco flow from long contemplation of Jesus, Bread of life, broken for all. Eugenia arrived at this synthesis after a long and painful journey.
Anna Eugenia Picco was born in the little town of Crescenzago, in the district of Milan, on 8 November 1867, the daughter of the famous musician, Giuseppe Picco, and of Adelaide Del Corno. Eugenia was raised mainly by her grandparents and saw her parents only for brief intervals between tours, until one day when her mother returned alone, without her husband, giving Eugenia to believe him to be dead.
After the mysterious disappearance of her father, she remained with her mother and grew up in an irreligious and morally corrupt environment.
"Dangers and occasions at home and outside", Eugenia said when recalling those troubled years and that "instinctive" strength to pray, to raise her gaze on high, in the silence of the austere Basilica of St Ambrose where each day she would go to pray to God, almost without knowing him. One evening in May 1886, Eugenia felt a call to sanctity and from that moment on she aimed at perfection with a faithful readiness without turning back. Thus at the age of 20, Eugenia decided to seek Jesus and to be holy.
Providentially, the founder of the Congregation of the Little Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary was already in Milan. He was tied by a long time friendship to the Ursuline Sisters in Milan, to whom Eugenia had confided her desire to become a religious sister. One of these sisters asked Don Chieppi to receive Eugenia into his congregation. In 1887, Eugenia ran away from home and was immediately accepted, understood and loved by the founder of the congregation, the Venerable Servant of God Agostino Chieppi. On 26 August 1888 she began her novitiate in Parma, Italy; on 10 June 1891 she made her first profession in the hands of the founder and, in 1894, she made her solemn profession.
After her profession, she accepted some important offices, such as novice mistress, archivist, general secretary and member of the council. As Superior General, from 1911 until her death, she showed excellent governing skills and joyfully undertook to fulfil her duties as well as tasks in the social field, mainly during the First World War. She was a courageous woman and greatly enriched the spiritual and cultural formation of the sisters, always faithful to her life programme which was "Suffer, be silent, love". She joyfully accomplished her duties as Superior General with serene and tranquil perfection, in order to carry out God's will.
She was a mother to all especially to the poorest, the little ones, the lowly ones whom she served with generous and tireless charity. The needs and tragedies of her brothers created by World War I, 1915-1918, opened her heart even more to receive every cry, pain and social or individual concern.
The Eucharist was Eugenia's main support, the vital fulcrum of her interior life and of all her work and apostolic activity; it was her great love, the center of her piety, the food, comfort and joy of her days filled with prayer and fatigue. Christ instilled in her his zeal for the salvation of souls, his burning desire to lead all to the House of the Father. It was her constant love for Christ, burning within her, that explains her constant charitable activity.
Of weak health, due to a degenerative bone condition, which in 1919 led to the amputation of her right lower limb, she offered herself, willingly, for the accomplishment of God's plan, ready for every immolation, remaining always a smiling friend of Christ, her brethren and the world.
This dynamism which concentrated all of her desires, all of her will on God, this firm resolution to tend to perfection expressed by a life of mortification, purity, obedience, heroism of virtuous works, living the most humble ordinary things in an extraordinary way, was the climate of Sr Eugenia Picco's life.
On 7 September 1921, she died in the odour of sanctity. Sr Eugenia was seen by all as an example of extraordinary virtue and as a model of piety, prudence, zeal and spirit of sacrifice, as well as a wise teacher.
Ignatius Maloyan (born Shoukr Allah), son of Malkoun and Farida Maloyan, was born in Mardin, Turkey, in April 1869. He was the fourth son of eight children (one girl and seven boys). At the age of 14, he was sent to the convent of Bzommar-Lebanon after his parish priest had noticed in him signs of a priestly vocation.
After five years in Bzommar seminary, Ignatius left Bzommar and returned to Mardin to be among his family due to his frail health and the life of abstinence he was leading. He stayed there for three years, recovered his health and then went back to Bzommar. Shoukr Allah pursued his higher studies and set for minor orders. In 1896, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, he was ordained priest in the church of Bzommar convent and became a member of the Bzommar congregation of priests, taking the name Ignatius after the famous martyr of Antioch.
During the years 1897-1910, Father Ignatius was appointed as parish priest in Alexandria and Cairo, where his good reputation was wide spread.
His Beatitude Patriarch Boghos Bedros XII made him his assistant in Istanbul, in 1904, but due to an eye ailment and difficulty in breathing, he returned to Egypt and stayed there till 1910.
The Diocese of Mardin was in a state of anarchy, so Patriarch Sabbaghian sent Fr Ignatius Maloyan to restore order.
On 22 October 1911, the Bishops' Synod assembled in Rome elected Fr Ignatius Archbishop of Mardin. He took over his new assignment and planned on renewing the declining diocese, encouraging, especially, devotion to the Sacred Heart.
All this didn't stop him from enriching his personal spiritual life, with the celebration of daily Mass, meditations and visits to the Blessed Sacrament. He had a particular devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and worked diligently to spread it among his congregation in every parish. The Lord blessed this devotion of Bishop Ignatius and his benevolence arranged for his martyrdom in June on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The month of May, dedicated to Mary, also held a great place in the heart of Bishop Ignatius, who always took every opportunity to talk about the virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary, encouraging his people to love their Heavenly Mother.
During the First World War, the Turkish government decided to massacre the Armenian nation. On 30 April 1915, Turkish soldiers surrounded the residence of the Armenian Catholic Bishop and the church in Mardin with the charge that they were concealing arms.
At the beginning of May, the Bishop gathered his priests and informed them of the dangerous situation. On 3 June 1915, Turkish soldiers dragged Bishop Maloyan in chains to court with 27 other Armenian Catholic figures. The next day, 25 priests and 862 believers were taken prisoner. During the trial, the chief of police, Mamdooh Bek, asked the Bishop to convert to Islam. The Bishop answered that he would never betray Christ and His Church. The Good Shepherd told him that he was ready to suffer all kinds of ill-treatment and even death and that in this will be his happiness.
Mamdooh Bek hit him on the head with the butt of his pistol and ordered him to be put in jail. The soldiers chained his feet and hands, threw him on the ground and hit him mercilessly. With each blow, the Bishop was heard saying "Oh Lord, have mercy on me, oh Lord, give me strength", and asked the priests present for absolution. With that, the soldiers went back to hitting him and they tore out his nails.
On 9 June, his mother visited him and wept at his condition. But the valiant Bishop encouraged her. The next day, the soldiers gathered 440 Armenians and formed three convoys of Armenians and some other Christians.
The soldiers, along with the convoys, took the desert route: a short time later, they arrived at a deserted place, they separated the elderly and killed them. Six hours later, they arrived at a place called "Chikhan". Mamdooh Bek gave the order to stop, and took out a decree and read it to all present: "The government has granted you many blessings: Freedom, equality, brotherhood, highranking jobs ... in return you betrayed the nation. Consequently you have been condemned to death, but he who wishes to convert to Islam will be released and will return safely to Mardin, if not, after one hour, the death penalty will be executed. Get ready and say your last prayers".
Bishop Maloyan answered on behalf of all the believers "not for a day, did we betray the Turkish Government, not in the past nor at the present. But if you want us to betray our loyalty to the Christian faith, this will never be" and all cried: "Never, never". Maloyan went on to say "we will die, yes, we will all die for Christ".
The Bishop encouraged his parishioners to remain firm in their faith. Then all knelt with him. He prayed to God that they accept martyrdom with patience and courage. The priests granted general absolution. The Bishop took out a piece of bread, blessed it, recited the words of the Eucharist and gave it to his priests to distribute among the people.
One of the soldiers, an eye witness, recounted this scene; "at that hour, I saw a cloud covering the prisoners and from all came a perfumed scent. There was a look of joy and serenity on their faces", since they were all going to die out of love for Jesus. After a two-hour walk, hungry, naked and in chains, the soldiers attacked the prisoners and killed them before the Bishop's eyes. After the massacre of the two convoys, it was Bishop Maloyan's turn.
Mamdooh Bek then asked Maloyan again to convert to Islam. The soldier of Christ answered: "I've told you I shall live and die for the sake of my faith and religion. I take pride in the Cross of my God and Lord". Mamdooh got very angry, he drew his pistol and shot Maloyan. Before he released his last breath he cried aloud: "My God, have mercy on me; Into your hands I commend my spirit". Mamdooh Bek then sent soldiers to Diyarbakir asking specialists to sign a death certificate stating that Bishop Maloyan had died of a heart attack en route!
The Kurds who witnessed and executed the killing said: "we have never witnessed such strong faith".
It was 11 June, Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 1915.
Sr Maria Euthymia (in the world: Emma Üffing) was born on 8 April 1914 in Halverde, Germany. She was the daughter of August Üffing and Maria Schmidt, and grew up with 10 brothers and sisters in a small town environment. Her large and religious family and the life of the parish were the environment of her childhood. She was afflicted at 18 months with a form of rickets that left her with poor health for the rest of her life; it also slowed her physical development. In spite of this, she never complained but dedicated herself to helping on the farm; she did not become indignant when she was wronged and, whenever she could, she spared her brothers and sisters any unpleasant work.
On 27 April 1924 Emma made her First Communion and on 3 September 1924 the Sacrament of Confirmation. At the age of 14, Emma expressed the desire to become a religious sister. On 1 November 1931, she began her formation as an apprentice of household management at the nearby hospital of St Ann in Hopsten, which she completed in May 1933. Here she got to know the Sisters of Charity of Münster, the Clemens Schwestern or Barmherzige Schwestern. The Mother Superior of the house, Sr Euthymia Linnenkämper, appreciated Emma's attitude of constant service and availability. Shortly before her father's death in 1932, she returned home to take care of him. With her mother's permission, in March 1934, Emma sent a letter to the Mother House in Münster asking to be admitted to the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity. After an initial hesitation by the Superiors of the Order, due to her delicate constitution, the Superiors accepted Emma's request. On 23 July, Emma Üffing entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity in Münster as one of 47 postulants. She took the name "Euthymia", as she had strongly desired in memory of the Mother Superior in Hopsten, Euthymia Linnenkämper.
During her formation, she prepared intensely and conscientiously to fulfil her great desire to be at the service of God and mankind, which was fulfilled on 11 October 1936 when she made her simple vows. In a letter to her mother she happily wrote, "I found Him who my heart loves; I want to hold Him and never let Him go" (cf. Song 3,4).
In October 1936 Sr M. Euthymia was appointed to St Vincent's Hospital in Dinslaken. On 3 September 1939, after passing her exams with distinction, she received a nursing diploma. One year later, on 15 September 1940, Sr M. Euthymia made her final profession,.
During wartime, poverty made the work of assisting the sick more difficult. In 1943, Sr M. Euthymia was entrusted with assisting the sick prisoners of war and foreign workers, especially those of British, French, Russian, Polish and Ukrainian nationality who had infectious diseases. She devoted herself to them with untiring care and cordiality. The French priest, Fr Emile Esche, who lived as a prisoner of war at the hospital in Dinslaken for several years, provided an extraordinary witness: When in contact with the sick (Sr M. Euthymia) was full of a charity and kindness which came from her heart, nothing was too much for her. She knew that the sick prisoners did not have to contend with physical sufferings alone. Through her warm sympathy and nearness, she instilled in them a feeling of being safe and at home. She prayed with the sick and made sure that they could receive the Holy Sacraments.... "Sr Euthymia's life was a canticle of hope in the midst of the war", Fr Emile Esche said.
After the war, Sr M. Euthymia, who had previously worked with such dedication to the sick, was entrusted with running the laundry room in Dinslaken and, three years later, the large one of the Mother House and of St Raphael Clinic in Münster. Although she had loved assisting the sick, she adapted to this new task without difficulty. "Everything is for Almighty God", was her response. Even though there was an enormous amount of work that was extremely demanding, she always remained a kind and available religious, who had a friendly smile and a good word and was ready to help anyone who asked her to. She lived her daily life in an extraordinary way. All of her free time, which was usually little, she spent praying before the tabernacle. Many who knew her, asked her even at that time to intercede for them in her prayers. A serious form of cancer brought Sr M. Euthymia to an untimely death after long weeks of illness. She died on the morning of 9 September 1955.
Nikolaus Gross. On Sunday, 7 October, the Holy Father will beatify Nikolaus Gross, layman, father of seven children, union activist, newspaper editor, and martyr. Nikolaus Gross was born on 30 September 1898 of a colliery blacksmith in Niederwenigern, near the city of Essen, and attended the local Catholic school from 1905-12. He then worked initially in a plate rolling mill, then as a grinder and later as a face-worker in a coal mine. He worked underground for five years.
Union activist for miners and editor
In his limited spare time, he continued his higher education. In 1917, he joined the Christian Miners' Trade Union. In 1918 he joined the Centre Party (the Catholic political party). In 1919 he joined the St Anthony's Miners Association (Antonius Knappenverein — KAB) in Niederwenigern. It was the majorCatholic union for the Catholic miners and a major Catholic voice. At the age of 22 he became secretary for young people in the union. A year later he became assistant editor of the union newspaper Bergknappe ("The Miner"). His work with the union took him around Germany until he finally settled in Bottrop in the Ruhr Valley, in what is now the Diocese of Essen.
In the meantime, he married Elizabeth Koch from Niederwenigern. They had seven children in the course of their happy marriage. He loved his family above everything and was an exemplary father in his responsibility for their education and upbringing in the faith. Gross did not withdraw into the shell of family life. He remained attuned to the great social problems, precisely in his responsibility for his family. Work and social obligations were the place in which he realized his Christian mission. In his doctrine of faith written in 1943 he wrote: "The majority of great achievements come into being through the daily performance of one's duties in the little things of everyday routine. Our special love here is always for the poor and the sick".
At the beginning of 1927, he became assistant editor of the Westdeutsche Arbeiterzeitung (West German Workers' Newspaper), the organ of the St Anthony's Miners' Association (KAB) and soon became its editor-in-chief. Here he was able to give Catholic workers guidance on social and labour questions. In the course of time, it became clear to him that the political challenges contained a moral claim and that the social problems cannot be solved without spiritual efforts.
Early criticism of Nazism
The editor became a messenger who bore witness to his faith here too. When he moved in this capacity to the Ketteler House in Cologne, in 1929, he already had a clear opinion about approaching Nazism. Starting out from Bishop Ketteler's main idea that a reform of the conditions in society can only be achieved by a reform in attitude, he saw in the Nazis' success in society: "political immaturity" and "a lack of discernment". Already at that time he called the Nazis "mortal enemies of the present state". As editor of the organ of the KAB, on 14 September 1930, he wrote: "As Catholic workers we reject Nazism not only for political and economic reasons, but decisively also, resolutely and clearly, on account of our religious and cultural attitude".
Already a few months after Hitler's seizure of power, the leader of the German Labour Front, Robert Ley, called the KAB's Westdeutsche Arbeiterzeitung "hostile to the state". In the following period, Gross attempted to save the newspaper from destruction without making concessions on its content. From then on he knew how to write between the lines. In November 1938 came the final ban on the workers' newspaper which, in the meantime, had been renamed Kettelerwacht (Ketteler's Watch).
Gross, who had to work very hard for his education was no great orator. But he spoke convincingly, warm-heartedly and with power of persuasion. The fact that Nikolaus Gross joined the resistancein Germany resulted from his Catholic religious conviction. For him the key was "that one must obey God more than men". "If something is demanded of us that goes against God or the Faith, then not only may we, but we must, refuse obedience (towards men)" — Thus wrote Nikolaus Gross in 1943 in his doctrine of faith. It was becoming ever clearer to him that Germany had reached this state under the Hitler regime.
Gross set down his joint thoughts in two writings which laterfell into the hands of the Gestapo: The Great Tasks and Is Germany Lost? They were to contribute towards his execution.
Final resistance to Nazi regime
In 1940, Gross had to endure interrogations and house searches. After the ban on the association's newspaper, he published a series of small pamphlets which were intended to help strengthen the critical force of faith and Gospel values among workers. We find an answer for the reasons which motivated someone like Nikolaus Gross in the memoirs of the well-known, workers' chaplain, Msgr Caspar Schulte of Paderborn. There we read: "In my many conversations, especially with Nikolaus Gross and the association's head, Otto Müller, I got to know and admire these men's moral greatness. They did not stumble into death. They went their way also prepared to bear a painful death for the sake of freedom. I said to Nikolaus Gross on the day before the assassination attempt on Hitler of 20 July 1944:'Mr Gross, remember that you have seven children. I have no family for which I am responsible. It's a matter of your life'. To which Gross made a really great statement to me: 'If we do not risk our life today, how do we then want one day to justify ourselves before God and our people?'". In 1943, Gross wrote in a booklet, what was almost a prophecy: "Sometimes, my heart becomes heavy and the task appears insoluble if I measure my own human imperfection and inadequacy against the greatness of the obligation and the weight of the responsibility. If a generation must pay the highest price, death, for its short life, we look for the answer in ourselves in vain. We find it only in Him in whose hand we are safe in life and in death. We never know what problems are waiting to test the power and strength of our souls.... Man's ways lie in obscurity. But even darkness is not without light. Hope and faith, which always hasten ahead of us, already have a presentiment of the breaking of a new dawn. If we know that the best thing in us, the soul, is immortal, then we also know that we shall meet each other again". What a testimony to a sense of responsibility, feeling for reality and assurance of faith! For Gross, trust in God was the foundation on which he did not falter. During the years of the war he formed a network of resistance to the Nazi's and he was often the currier between the centres of resistance. He was well informed of the plot to assassinate Hitler even though he took no part in its preparation and execution.
After the abortive assassination attempt on 20 July 1944, events came thick and fast. Gross, who was not himself involved in the preparation and execution of the plot, was arrested towards noon at his home on 12 August 1944 and taken first to the prison in Ravensbrück and then to the penitentiary in Berlin-Tegel. His wife, Elisabeth, came to Berlin twice to visit him. She reported clear signs of torture on his hand and arms. His letters from the prison and the witness of the chaplain, Fr Peter Buchholz, give impressive evidence that constant prayer was the source of strength in his difficult and, in the end, hopeless position. In every letter he never failed to request constant prayer from his wife and his children, just as he himself also prayed for his family each day.
Condemnation to being hanged
On 15 January 1945, the death sentence was pronounced by the chairman of People's Court, Roland Freisler. His final remark in the court record and the real reason for the sentence: "He swam along in treason and consequently had to drown in it!". He was hanged in Berlin-Plotzensee on 23 January 1945. The Nazis did not make any martyrs. They did not allow the hanged man to have a grave. For the followers of falsehood and hatred there was only brutal destruction.
But the testimony to truth and faith is not to be obliterated! It lives on in those who have gone before us as a shining example. The prison chaplain, Fr Peter Buchholz, who blessed the condemned man on his final walk, reported afterwards: "Gross bowed his head silently during the blessing. His face already seemed illuminated by the glory into which he was getting ready to enter".
The rulers of that time refused to give him a Christian burial. His corpse was cremated and his ashes scattered across a sewage farm.
26 & 27 June 2001
Bl. Laurentia Herasymiv
Bl. Tarsykia Matskiv
Bl. Olympia Bida
Bl. Volodymyr Pryjma
Bl. Jozef Bilczewski
Bl. Mykola Charnetsky
Bl. Nicetas Budka
Bl. Hryhory Lakota
Bl. Hryhory Khomyshyn
Bl. Josaphat Kotsylovsky
Bl. Simeon Lukach
Bl. Ivan Sleziuk
Bl. Leonid Feodorov
Bl. Petro Verhun
Bl. Clement Sheptytsky
Bl. Theodore Romzha
Bl. Emilian Kovch
Bl. Severian Baranyk
Bl. Zenobius Kovalyk
Bl. Roman Lysko
Bl. Mykola Tsehelskyi
Bl. Oleksiy Zarytskyi
Bl. Andriy Ishchak
Bl. Ivan Ziatyk
Bl. Vitaliy Bairak
Bl. Joachim Senkivskyi
Bl. Mykola Conrad
Bl. Josaphata Michaelina Hordashevska
Bl. Zygmunt Horazdowsky
The Servant of God Sr Laurentia Herasymiv was born on 31 September 1911 in the village of Rudnyky, Lviv District. In 1931 she entered the Sisters of St Joseph, and in 1933 she made her first vows. In 1951, she was arrested by the agents of the NKVD (KGB) and sent to Borislav. Thereafter, she was exiled to Tomsk, Siberia. She was in very poor health and therefore on 30 June 1950, she was relocated to the village of Harsk, Tomsk, and made to share a room with and attend to a paralysed man because nobody else would share a room with a tuberculosis-infected tenant. She continued to pray much and did much demanding manual labour. She patiently endured sub-human conditions. She finally died on 28 August 1952 in the village of Kharsk in the Tomsk Region of Siberia.
The Servant of God Sr Tarsykia Matskiv was born on 23 March 1919 in the village of Khodoriv, Lviv District. On 3 May 1938 she entered the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate. After professing her first vows on 5 November 1940, she worked in her convent. Even prior to the Bolshevik arrival in Lviv, Sr Tarsykia made a private oath to her spiritual director, Fr Volodymyr Kovalyk O.S.B.M., that she would sacrifice her life for the conversion of Russia and for the good of the Catholic Church. The Bolsheviks were determined to destroy the monastery. On the morning of 17 July 1944 at 8 a.m., a Russian soldier rang the convent door. When Sr Taryskia answered the door she was shot without warning and died.
The Servant of God Sr Olympia Bida was born in 1903 in the village of Tsebliv, Lviv District. She entered the Sisters of St Joseph and served in various towns and villages as a teacher of catechism, director of novices, attendant to the aged and infirm. She had a special charism for youth and personally attended to the education of a number of young women. She was appointed superior of the convent in the town of Kheriv, and did her best to see to the spiritual and social needs of the people in spite of the Communist pressure surrounding their work. In 1951, she was arrested with two other sisters, imprisoned for a while, then exiled to the Tomsk region of Siberia.
Under conditions of heavy forced labour, Sr Olympia tried to perform her duties as superior and organized her sisters and other sisters in other camps to come together and to pray and support each other. Succumbing to a serious illness, she died on 28 January 1952.
The Servant of God Volodymyr Pryjma was born on 17 July 1906 in the village of Stradch, Yavoriv District. After graduating from a school for cantors, which was under the care of Metropolitan Sheptytsky, he became the cantor and choir director in the village church of Stradch. On 26 June 1941 agents of the NKVD mercilessly tortured and murdered him along with Fr Nicholas Conrad, in the forest near their village as they were returning from the home of a sick woman, who had requested the sacrament of reconciliation.
BISHOP AND PRIESTS
The Servant of God Archbishop Jozef Bilczewski (Latin-rite) was born into a peasant family in Wilamowice on 26 April 1860. He was eldest of nine. In August 1880 he entered the Seminary of Kraków and was ordained a priest on 6 July 1884. He then moved to Vienna to continue his studies and earned a doctorate in theology. In Rome and Paris he specialized in dogmatic theology and in Christian archaeology. In 1891 he became a professor at the University of Lviv. He was appointed Archbishop of Lviv for Latins on 18 December 1900. In his episcopal mission he had to face difficulties due to internal problems and the conflicts of the First World War. He often intervened with the civil authorities on behalf of Poles, Ukrainians and Jews. The Polish-Ukrainian War (1918-19) brought a new wave of violence to the people and many priests were killed or put in prison. Then the Bolshevik invasion (1919-20) was unleashed with all its fury against the Catholic Church. He stood firm to protect one and all without distinctions of race or religion. From 1918-21 his Archdiocese lost about 120 priests. Seriously ill, he accepted sickness calmly and courageously. He died on 20 March 1923 in Lviv.
The Servant of God Bishop Mykola Charnetsky was born on 14 December 1884 in the village of Semakivtsi, Horodenka District. Upon his graduation from the seminary, he was ordained to the priesthood on 2 October 1909. He obtained his doctorate in dogmatic theology from Rome and became a spiritual director and professor at the seminary in Stanislaviv (now called Ivano-Frankivsk). In 1919, he entered the noviciate of the Redemptorist Fathers in Zboiska, near Lviv. In 1926, Pope Pius XI, upon the request of Metropolitan Andriy, appointed Fr Mykola as the Apostolic Visitor to Greek Catholics in Volyn and Polissia. The ceremony of his ordination to the episcopacy took place on 2 February 1931, in Rome. During the first Bolshevik occupation, Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky appointed him as the Apostolic Exarch of Volyn and Pidlassia. On 11 April 1945 he was arrested by the NKVD and sentenced to six years of forced labour in Siberia. On 2 April 1959 he died in Lviv.
The Servant of God Bishop Nicetas Budka was born on 7 June 1877 in the village of Dobromirka, Zbarazh District. In 1905, after graduating from theology in Vienna and Innsbruck, he was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky. He was consecrated Bishop in Lviv on 14 October 1912. That same year he was appointed by the Holy See as the Apostolic Exarch in Canada. In 1928, he became Vicar General of the Metropolitan Chapter of Lviv.
On 11 April 1945 the Soviet government imprisoned him with a sentence of eight years. He died a martyr on 1 October 1949 in a concentration camp in Karaganda, Kazakhstan.
The Servant of God Bishop Hryhory Lakota was born on 31 January 1883 in the village of Holodivka, in Lemko Region. He studied theology in Lviv and was ordained to the priesthood in 1908 in the city of Przemysl. In Vienna, in 1911, he received his Ph.D. in theology. In 1913, he became a professor at the Greek Catholic seminary in Przemysl, later becoming its rector. On 16 May 1926, he was ordained to the episcopacy and was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Przemysl. On 9 June 1946, he was arrested and imprisoned for 10 years in Vorkuta, Russia. He died as a martyr for the faith on 12 November 1950, in the village of Abez, near Vorkuta.
The Servant of God Bishop Hryhory Khomyshyn was born on 25 March 1867 in the village of Hadynkivtsi, Ternopil District. After graduating from the seminary he was ordained to the priesthood on 18 November 1893. His theological education was enriched during further studies in Vienna from 1894-1899. In 1902, Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky appointed Fr Gregory as Rector of the seminary in Lviv. Fr Gregory was ordained bishop for Stanislaviv (now Ivano-Frankivsk) in St George Cathedral in 1904. In 1939, he was arrested for the first time by the NKVD (KGB). His second arrest was in April 1945, after which he was deported to Kyiv. He died in Kyiv's NKVD prison on 17 January 1947.
The Servant of God Bishop Josaphat Kotsylovsky was born on 3 March 1876 in the village of Pakoshivka, Lemko Region. He graduated with a degree in theology in Rome in 1907, and later in that same year on October 9 he was ordained to the priesthood. Not long after that he was appointed to be vice-rector and professor of theology at the Greek-Catholic seminary in Stanislaviv ( now Ivano-Frankivsk). On 2 October 1911 he entered the noviciate of the Basilian order. He was ordained to the episcopacy on 23 September 1917 in Przemysl. In September 1945 the Communist regime in Poland arrested him for the 1st time, then released him and in 1946 for the second time, handing him over again to the Soviet Union. He died a martyr for the faith on 17 November 1947 in the Kyiv prison.
The Servant of God Bishop Simeon Lukach was born on 7 July 1893 in the village of Starunia, Stanislaviv Region. His parents were simple villagers who worked the land. In 1913, he entered the seminary. His studies were interrupted for two years during World War I but he was able to complete his studies in 1919. That same year he was ordained a priest by Bishop Hryhory Khomyshyn. He taught moral theology at the seminary in Stanislaviv (now Ivano-Frankivsk) until April 1945, when it is suspected that Bishop Hryhory secretly ordained him a bishop. On 26 October 1949 he was arrested by the NKVD and was released on 11 February 1955. He functioned as an underground member of the clergy, but in July 1962 he was arrested for a second time and appeared in court with Bishop Ivan Sleziuk, who too was an underground bishop. While in prison, he was stricken with tuberculosis, which hastened his death on 22 August 1964.
The Servant of God Bishop Ivan Sleziuk was born on 14 January 1896 in the village of Zhyvachiv, Stanislaviv (now Ivano-Frankivsk) Region. After graduating from the seminary in 1923, he was ordained to the priesthood. In April 1945 Bishop Hryhory Khomyshyn ordained him as his Co-adjutor with the right of succession as a precaution in case Bishop Khomyshyn should be arrested. However, shortly thereafter on 2 June 1945, Bishop Ivan was arrested and deported for ten years to the labour camps in Vorkuta, Russia. In 1950 he was transferred to the labour camps in Mordovia, Russia. After his release on 15 November 1954, he returned to Ivano-Frankivsk. In 1962, he was arrested for the second time and imprisoned for five years in a camp of strict regiment. After his release on 30 November 1968, he had to often go to the KGB for regular "talks." The last visit was two weeks before his death, which was on 2 December 1973 in Ivano-Frankivsk.
The Servant of God Fr Leonid Feodorov was born to a Russian Orthodox family on 4 November 1879 in St Petersburg, Russia. In 1902, he left his Orthodox seminary and traveled to Rome, where he became Catholic. He studied in Anonia, Rome and Friburg. On 25 March 1911, he was ordained to the priesthood in the Eastern-rite in Bosnia. Also in Bosnia in 1913, he became a monk of the Studite monastery. Afterwards, he returned to St Petersburg and was subsequently arrested and sent to Siberia. In 1917, he was released and appointed to be the head of the Russian Catholic Church of the Eastern-rite, with the title of Exarch. His second arrest came in 1923; he was sent to Solovky Islands on the White Sea and to Vladka for ten years. He died a martyr for the faith on 7 March 1935. In 1937, with the help of the Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky, the process for his beatification was undertaken.
The Servant of God Fr Petro Verhun was born on 18 November 1890 in Horodok, Lviv Region. On 30 October 1927 he was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky at St George's Cathedral in Liviv, and was appointed pastor of the Greek Catholics in Berlin, Germany. Sometime later, he became the Apostolic Visitor to Germany. In June 1945, he was arrested and sent to Siberia. He died a martyr of the faith on 7 February 1957 in the village of Angarskiy, in the territory of Krasnoiarsk, Russia.
The Servant of God Archimandrite Clement Sheptytsky, the younger brother of the Servant of God Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky, was born on 17 November 1869 in the village of Prylbychi, Lviv Region. In 1911, at the age of 40, he entered the monastery of St Theodore the Studite; by so doing he renounced a promising secular career. He received his theological education in Innsbruck. On 28 August 1915 he was ordained to the priesthood. For a long time he was the Hegumenos (Prior) of the Studite monastery at Univ, and in 1944 he became the Archimandrite (Abbot). During World War II, he gave refuge to persecuted Jews. On 5 June 1947, he was arrested by the NKVD (KGB) agents and sentenced to eight years of hard labour. He died a martyr for the faith on 1 May 1951 in the Vladimir prison.
The Servant of God Bishop Theodore Romzha was born on 14 April 1911, in the village of Veliky Bychkiv, Transcarpathia. From 1930-1933, he studied philosophy in Rome and completed his theological education also in Rome from 1933-1937, culminating in a Licentiate. Shortly thereafter, he became an administrator of the parish in Berezovo. Beginning in 1939, he was a professor of philosophy at the seminary in Uzhorod. On 24 September 1944, he was ordained to the episcopacy for the Mukachevo eparchy. During the Red Army presence in the Carpathian region of Ukraine, he was tireless in his defence of the rights of the Catholic Church there. On 27 October 1947, the Soviets attempted to kill Bishop Romzha. Heavily wounded, he was taken to the hospital in Mukachiv, where he was subsequently poisoned and died on 1 November 1947.
The Servant of God Fr Emilian Kovch was born on 20 August 1884, near Kosiv. In 1911, after graduating from the College of Sts Sergius and Bacchus in Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood. In the spring of 1943, he was arrested by the Gestapo for aiding Jews. On 25 March 1944 he was burned to death in the ovens of the Majdanek Nazi death camp. On 9 September 1999 he was honoured with the title "Righteous Ukrainian" by the Jewish Council of Ukraine.
The Servant of God Fr Severian Baranyk was born on 18 July 1889. On 24 September 1904 he entered the Krekhiv Monastery of the Order of St Basil the Great in Krekhiv, and made his final vows on 21 September 1910. He was ordained to the priesthood on 14 February 1915. In 1932 he became the Hegumenos (Prior) of the Basilian monastery in Drohobych. On 26 June 1941, the NKVD (KGB) took him to prison, after which he was never seen alive again. After the Bolsheviks withdrew, the people searching the prison found his body, mutilated by tortures.
The Servant of God Fr Zenobius Kovalyk was born on 18 August 1903 in the village of Ivachev, not far from Ternopil. He entered the Congregation of the Redemptorists, where on 28 August 1926, he made his religious vows. His philosophical and theological education was completed in Belgium. After returning to Ukraine he was ordained to the priesthood on 4 September 1932. He was assigned to serve in Volyn. On 20 December 1940, he was arrested in a church while preaching a sermon in honour of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Theotokos (Mother of God). In 1941, he was martyred by the Communists in a mock crucifixion against a wall in the Bryhidky prison (formerly a convent of the Sisters of St Bridgette), Lviv.
The Servant of God Fr Roman Lysko was born on 14 August 1914 in Horodok, Lviv Region. He graduated from the Lviv Theological Academy. He and his wife worked very gladly with the youth. On 28 August 1941 he was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky. On 9 September 1949, he was arrested by the NKVD (KGB) and put into a prison on Lontskoho St in Lviv. The people of Liviv reported to one another that after being tortured, the young Fr Roman sang Psalms at the top of his voice, It was then reported that they had immured him alive in the prison walls. His death is officially dated on 14 October 1949.
The Servant of God Bishop Vasyl Velychkovsky was born 1 June 1903 in Stanislaviv (now Ivano-Frankivsk). In 1920, he entered the Greek Catholic seminary in Lviv. In 1925 he took his first religious vows in Holosko, near Lviv, and was ordained to the priesthood on 9 October 1925. Fr Basil became a teacher and missionary in Volyn. In 1942, he became the Hegumenos (prior) of the monastery in Ternopil, where he was later arrested in 1945 and taken away to Kyiv. While there, his death sentence was commuted to ten years of forced labour. He returned to Lviv in 1955 and in 1963, he was consecrated bishop in Moscow. His second imprisonment occurred in 1969 when he was given a three-year sentence. This confessor of the faith, already near death, was released to travel to Rome and then to Winnipeg, Canada, where he died within a year on 30 June 1973.
The Servant of God Fr Mykola Tsehelskyi was born on 17 December 1896 in the village of Strusiv, Ternopil District. In 1923, he completed the course in the theological faculty at Lviv University. On 5 April 1925, Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky ordained him to the priesthood. He was a zealous priest who took care of the spirituality, education and welfare of his parishioners. He was the parish priest in the village of Soroko, where he built a new church. After World War II the era of total repressions began. Fr Mykola personally experienced intimidation, threats and beatings. On 28 October 1946, he was arrested. On 27 January 1947, he was sentenced to ten years in prison. Although he had a wife, two sons and two daughters, he was deported to labour camps in Mordovia. He lived in extremely horrid conditions, in a camp that was notoriously strict and cruel. He suffered from severe pain and died on 25 May 1951 as a martyr for the faith. He is buried in the camp cemetery.
The Servant of God Fr Oleksiy Zarytskyi was born in 1913 in the village of Biche, in the Lviv Region. In 1931, he entered the seminary in Lviv. He received his ordination to the priesthood from Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky in 1936. In 1948, he was imprisoned for ten years and deported to Karaganda. After his early release in 1957, he was named Apostlic Administrator of Kazakhstan and Siberia, but was shortly thereafter imprisoned again for a three-year term. He died as a martyr for the faith on 30 October 1963 in the Dolynka concentration camp near Karaganda.
The Servant of God Fr Andriy Ishchak was born on 23 September 1887 in Mykolayiv, in the Lviv Region. He completed his theological education at the universities in Lviv and Innsbruck. In 1914, he received his doctorate in theology from the University of Innsbruck and was ordained to the priesthood. Beginning in 1928, he taught at the Lviv Theological Academy. He was able to combine his professorial duties with his pastoral work in the village of Sykhiv, near Lviv where he died on 26 June 1941, thus becoming a martyr for the faith at the hands of soldiers of the retreating Soviet Army.
The Servant of God Fr Ivan Ziatyk was born on 26 December 1899 in the village of Odrekhova, near Sanok (in present day Poland). After graduating in theology in 1923, he was ordained to the priesthood. In 1935 he entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). During the Nazis occupation, he was appointed to be Hegumenos (Prior) of the monastery in Ternopil. On 5 January 1950 he was arrested. At first he was staying in Zolochiv prison, but afterwards was sent away to Ozerlag, Irkutsk, Russia.
On Good Friday in 1952 he was severely tortured and he died shortly after on 17 May.
The Servant of God Fr Vitaliy Bairak was born on 24 February 1907 in the village of Shvaikivtsi, Ternopil Region. On 4 September 1924, he entered the Basilian monastery and was ordained a priest on 13 August 1933. In 1941 he was appointed Hegumenos of the Drohobych Monastery. On 17 September 1945, the NKVD (KGB) arrested Fr Vitaliy and on 13 November his property was confiscated and he was sentenced to eight years in a labour camp. Just prior to Easter of 1946, Fr Vitaliy died after having been severely beaten in the Drohobych prison near Liviv.
The Servant of God Fr Joachim Senkivskyi was born on 2 May 1896 in the village of Hayi Velykyi, Ternopil District. After graduating from theology in Lviv, he was ordained a priest on 4 December 1921. He earned a doctorate in theology from Innsbruck. In 1923 he became a novice in the Basilian order in Krekhiv. After professing his first vows he was transferred to the village of Krasnopushcha, and later to the village of Lavriv. From 1931 to 1938 he held various posts in the St Onuphrius Monastery in Lviv. Later, in 1939, he was appointed to be Proto-hegumenos of the monastery in Drohobych. On 26 June 1941 he was arrested by the Communist authorities and on June 29 he was martyred by being boiled to death in a cauldron in the Drohobych prison.
The Servant of God Fr Mykola Conrad was born on 16 May 1876 in the village of Strusiv, Ternopil District. He did his philosophical and theological studies in Rome, where he received his doctorate. In 1899, he was ordained to the priesthood. He initially taught in a high school in Berezhany and Terebovlia. In 1930, Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky invited him to teach at the Lviv Theological Academy and later appointed him to be a parish priest in the village of Stradch, near Yakiv, where he was martyred, murdered by the Bolsheviks, on 26 June 1941.
The Servant of God Sr Josaphata Michaelina Hordashevska was the first member of the Sisters Servant of Mary Immaculate. In 1869, Michaelina Hordashevska was born in Lviv. At the age of 18, she decided to consecrate her life to God in a contemplative monastery of the Order of St Basil the Great, then the only Eastern-rite woman's congregation. Then the Basilians decided to establish a woman's congregation that focused on the active life, Michaelina was elected to be the first leader. When she agreed, she was sent to the Felician sisters to give her the experience of active paramonastic life. Michaelina took the name "Josaphata", in honour of the Ukrainian martyr St Josaphat Kuntsevych. She was the first superior of the young sisters there, training them in the spirit and charisma of the Sisters Servants: "serve your people where the need is greatest". At the age of 49, she died amidst terrible suffering from bone cancer. She is buried in the generalate of the Sisters Servants in Rome. The process of her beatification started in Rome in 1983,
The Servant of God Fr Zygmunt Horazdowsky (Latin-rite) was born in 1845. At the end of his second year of law studies he decided to enter the Latin Catholic seminary in Lviv. He finished his studies there and was ordained to the priesthood in 1871. From childhood he was afflicted with a lung ailment, however, that did not prevent him from helping others. He founded two houses which were places for the poor, hungry and homeless. He founded a dormitory for poor students of the local teachers' college. He also founded the "House of the Child Jesus", which gave refuge to single mothers with children and to abandoned children. In 1884, he founded a convent for the Sisters of Mercy of St Joseph, in order that there might be a community of sisters to assist in the benevolent works he had begun. Fr Zygmunt also wrote a catechism and many other books for parents, teachers and young people. He died in 1920.
9 May 2001
Bl. George Preca
Bl. Ignatius Falzon
Bl. Maria Adeodata Pisani
Bl. George Preca was born on 12 February 1880 in Valletta, Malta, to Vincenzo and Natalina Ceravolo, He was baptized on 17 February.
As a young man, he was inspired by the example of Bl. Ignatius Falzon, who also launched a catechetical movement. Intent on becoming a priest, he studied theology at the University of Malta. Between 1905 and 1906, before he was ordained, George Preca began a series of formation meetings for several young men in Hamrun. He trained one of them, Eugene Borg, in the interpretation of the sacred texts; Eugene later became the first Superior General of the Societas Doctrinae Christianae and died revered by the people.
George was ordained a priest on 22 December 1906; for some weeks he spent his time absorbed in prayer and contemplation and only went out to celebrate Mass. On 2 February 1907, the group of young men met for a lesson by Fr George in Ta' Nuzzu Church in Hamrun. On 7 March, they gathered in a small rented room. These two dates (2 Feb. and 7 Mar.) mark the beginning of the Societas Doctrinae Christianae: a group of young lay people formed in the spiritual life and in the Catholic faith to teach the faith.
At first, eager to give prominence to their filial fidelity to the Pope, Fr George called his society "Societas Papiduum et Papidissarum", but then a new name was chosen for the new group, almost as a joke: "MUSEUM"! It was so popular that Fr George made an acrostic from it: "Magister utinam sequatur Evangelium universus mundus!" (Master, would that the whole world might follow the Gospel).
In 1910, with the help of Giannina Cutajar, he founded the women's branch. Little by little, the Society's characteristics were defined: members were to be celibate, lay workers, dedicated without reserve to the apostolate of catechesis.
In 1909, Fr George was ordered to close all his centres. The Servant of God obeyed without complaint. The parishes then protested to the Bishops and the order was revoked. From 1914 to 1915 several libellous articles about MUSEUM appeared in certain Maltese newspapers, but Fr George imposed a vow of non-reaction upon his members and taught them to refuse to be upset by the world's unjust criticism.
In 1916 the Bishop of Malta ordered an inquiry into the society's work; the findings were favourable to the Venerable Servant of God. Certain changes introduced paved the way for the Society's recognition and development. It was canonically established on 12 April 1932.
The founder of the Societas Doctrinae Christianae did his utmost as an apostle of the Gospel in Malta. He wrote booklets on dogmatic, moral and ascetic subjects in Maltese, but the influence of his work was felt in his spread of God's Word, translated into Maltese. Fr Preca presented short extracts, easy to memorize, as guides to meditation. These were always the object of enthusiastic preaching by Fr George and his followers. He was known for his prudent advice, and many sought him out for a word of comfort or encouragement. He was also a great apostle of the mystery of the Incarnation. From 1917 he spread the devotion to the words "Verbum Dei caro factum est", which he chose as the emblem for the Society's members.
When he was put to the test, Fr George put his trust in the protection of the Blessed Virgin. On 21 July 1918, the Venerable Servant of God enrolled in the Third Order of Carmel. At his profession in September 1919 he chose the name of Friar Franco; he also desired all the members and youth in the different sections of MUSEUM to wear the Carmelite scapular. He had a special devotion to Our Lady of Good Counsel and persevered in spreading devotion to the miraculous medal.
In 1951, the St Michael Intermediate School was planned. In 1952, five members were sent to open MUSEUM centres in Australia (today the Society also exists in England, Albania, Kenya, Sudan and Peru). In 1954, the building of the Society's Generalate and of the church dedicated to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal were begun. In 1955, Fr George blessed the foundation stone of the Sacred Family Institute in Zabbar, Malta, which became a residence for members (founded in 1918 in Zebbug, Malta), and the Society of Christian Doctrine's "Veritas Press" is still located there today. After a long life entirely dedicated to the apostolate, the Servant of God died, revered by all, on 26 July 1962.
Bl. Ignatius Falzon was born in Valletta, the capital of Malta, on 1 July 1813, to the lawyer, Giuseppe Francesco Falzon and his wife, Maria Teresa. His father had been a member of the Commission for drafting the new Civil Code and was later appointed Judge of Her Britannic Majesty. Two of his brothers, who held degrees in law, became priests: Fr Calcedonio and Fr Francesco.
He received his first clerical tonsure at the age of 15, the canonical practice then. Three years later he received the Minor Orders of Porter, Lector, Exorcist and Acolyte. He obtained a doctorate in canon and civil law at the Athenaeum of Malta on 7 September, when he was 20.
Despite having received the four Minor Orders and holding a doctorate in canon and civil law, he never practised the legal profession nor did he feel worthy to be ordained a priest.
He studied English, which was unusual in his time but essential for relations with the British who came to Malta in preparation for the Crimean War. In that period the 20,000 foreign soldiers and sailors accounted for more than 10 per cent of Malta's population.
He was dedicated to prayer and to teaching the catechism. He had a deep devotion to the Eucharist and the strength he drew from adoration and meditation inspired admiration in all the faithful who worshiped in the parish church of St Paul the Shipwrecked and the Franciscan church of St Mary of Jesus.
Ignatius Falzon was constantly furthering priestly vocations and helping the needy, but it is above all for his mission among the English soldiers and sailors that he will live on for ever in the memory of the people. He arranged prayer meetings and catechism courses for Catholic soldiers before they left for the war; then, making friends with their Protestant and non-Christian companions, he gave them sound advice: in this way he attracted hundreds of men to the faith. Indeed, documents kept at the Jesuit Church in Valletta show that he prepared more than 650 people for Baptism.
He combined with the charism of winning people for God an ability to inspire trust in those who were not converts, but asked him to look after personal or precious objects to pass on to their loved ones should they die.
A pioneer and champion of ecumenism, he was also a pioneer in setting up a lay movement. Some later became priests and military or naval chaplains, and one of them, who stayed on in Malta, continued this mission.
He died on 1 July 1865, his 52nd birthday. He was a member of the Franciscan Third Order and was buried in the family tomb at the Franciscan Church of St Mary of Jesus in Valletta, where one can venerate his relics. His example inspired Bl. George Preca.
Bl. Maria Adeodata Pisani was born in Naples on 28 December 1806. Her father was the Maltese Baron of Frigenuini and her mother came from the Neapolitan bourgeoisie.
In 1820-21 her father was arrested and condemned to death. His sentence was commuted to exile and so he returned to Malta for good. From 1823 to 1825, Maria Teresa was cared for by her mother, who wanted her daughter to make a good marriage rather than to have her receive a good education.
In 1825-1828 she moved to Malta with her mother who lived separated from her father. Here she began to be devoted to a monastic style of life. She became aware of her religious vocation after being moved by a Franciscan preaching on the Last Judgement. While praying before Our Lady of Good Counsel in the Church of St Augustine at Rabat, she became certain of her call.
On 16 July 1828, overcoming her parents' objections, she was accepted as a postulant by the Benedictine Monastery of St Peter in Medina and then became a novice, taking the religious name of Maria Adeodata. On 4 March 1830 she renounced her wealth and her noble title and also proposed the setting up of a fund for the poor and for the education of seminarians. On 8 March 1830 she made her religious profession in the Benedictine community of St Peter and intensified her exemplary life of prayer and sacrifice in silence and humility.
Her exemplary conduct led to her appointment as novice mistress on 30 June 1847. She held this office until she was elected Abbess in June 1851. The quality of her governance was evident; she corrected wisely and recommended observance of the Rule with loving persuasion, strict with herself but gentle to others. But even she encountered resistance when she tried to restore a stronger common life in the monastery.
Ill health caused her to resign her office, but could never prevent her from obeying the strict discipline of the monastery or from thinking of the needs of the poor. She died of heart disease on 25 February 1855. She knew she had received her last Communion in the chapel that morning and afterwards was carried back to her room for her last hours.
Although she had been born into a well-off aristocratic family, Maria Adeodata developed a deep sense of social justice and was always available to the needy. She gave up the idea of making a wealthy marriage and made a private vow of chastity even before she entered the monastery. She will always be seen as a patroness of the Maltese aristocracy since she embodies their sentiments of unswerving fidelity to the Church. However, since in her youth her parents' separation caused her great distress, she can also be considered patroness of families and couples in crisis.
29 April 2001
Bl. Esther Blondin
Bl. Caterina Cittadini
Bl. Manuel González García
Bl. Caterina Volpicelli
Bl. Carlos Manuel Rodríguez
Bl. Esther Blondin, in religion "Sr Marie Anne", was born in Terrebonne (Quebec, Canada) on 18 April 1809. From her parents she inherited a deep faith centered on Divine Providence and the Eucharist and strong patience in suffering. Illiterate at the age of 22, Esther worked as a domestic in the Convent of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame that had recently been opened in her own village. A year later she registered as a boarder in order to learn to read and write. She then became a novice in the congregation but had to leave, due to ill health.
In 1833 Esther began to teach in the parochial school of Vaudreuil. She found out that one of the causes of this illiteracy was a certain Church ruling that forbade that girls be taught by men and that boys be taught by women. Unable to finance two schools, many parish priests chose to have none. In 1848, under an irresistible call of the Spirit, Esther presented to her Bishop, Ignace Bourget, a plan she long cherished: that of founding a religious congregation "for the education of poor country children, both girls and boys in the same schools". It seemed quite daring at the time. The Congregation of the Sisters of St Anne was founded in Vaudreuil on 8 September 1850. Esther, now named "Mother Marie Anne", became its first superior. The rapid growth of the community soon required larger quarters. During the summer of 1853 Bishop Bourget transferred the motherhouse to St Jacques de l'Achigan. The new chaplain, Fr Louis Marechal, interfered in the internal life of the community. If he were away for a long time, he forbade the sisters to go to confession until he returned. The conflict reached such a point that Bishop Bourget asked Mother Marie Anne, on 18 August 1854, "to resign". He called for elections and warned Mother Marie Anne "not to accept the superiorship, even if her sisters wanted to re-elect her". Even though she could be re-elected, according to the Rule of the Community, Mother Marie Anne obeyed her Bishop whom she considered God's instrument. She blessed Divine Providence 1,000 times for making her walk in the way of tribulations and crosses.
Under the pretext of poor administration, Mother Marie Anne was recalled to the motherhouse in 1858 with the order that she be kept from doing harm to anyone. Until her death on 2 January 1890, Mother Marie Anne was kept away from administrative responsibilities. She was kept away from the General Council deliberations even when the 1872 and 1878 elections re-elected her. Assigned to hidden work in the laundry, she led a life of total self-denial and so ensured the growth of the congregation. In the laundry room in Lachine, where she spent her days, many generations of novices received from her a true example of obedience and humility and true fraternal charity.
We can learn a great deal from Mother Marie Anne's attitude. She was a victim of injustices, yet she viewed such events with a vision of faith. Deprived of legitimate rights, she offered no resistance and it was from the infinite goodness of God that she awaited the solution. She was convinced that "he will know well, in his wisdom, how to discern the false from the true and to reward each one according to his deeds". Just like Jesus Christ, who worked for the glory of His Father, so Mother Marie Anne sought only God's glory in all she did. "To make God known to the young who have not had the happiness of knowing him" was for her a privileged way of working for the glory of God.
Prevented from being called "Mother" by those in authority, Mother Marie Anne chose annihilation, just like Jesus, "her crucified Love", so that her community might live. However, she did not renounce her mission as spiritual mother of her community. She offered herself to God in order "to expiate all the sins which were committed in the community"; and she daily prayed St Anne "to bestow on her spiritual daughters the virtues so necessary for Christian educators". Like a prophet invested with a mission of salvation, Mother Marie Anne lived persecution by forgiving without limit, convinced that "there is more happiness in forgiving than in revenge". Her evangelical forgiveness, guarantee of "the peace of soul which she held most precious", was proven on her death bed when she asked her superior to call for Fr Marechal "for the edification of the sisters". Mother Marie Anne left to her daughters her spiritual testament: "May the Holy Eucharist and perfect abandonment to God's will be your heaven on earth". She peacefully passed away at the motherhouse on 2 January 1890 "happy to go to the good God".
Bl. Caterina Cittadini was born in Bergamo on 28 September 1801 of Giovanni Battista and Margherita Lanzani and was baptized on 30 September in the parish church of St Alessandro in Colonna. In 1808, Caterina, motherless and abandoned by her father, together with her sister, Giuditta, was accepted in the orphanage of the Conventino di Bergamo. Here, under the guidance of the prior, Fr Giuseppe Brena, she lived an intense Christian life that contributed to forming in her a strong faith, a profound confidence in the Lord, an active charity and a tender devotion to the Blessed Mother. In 1823, after having obtained a diploma in elementary teaching, she and her sister left the Conventino to live with her cousins, Fr Giovanni and Fr Antonio Cittadini, at Calolzio, a parish in the Diocese of Bergamo.
The sisters stayed at Calolzio for about two years, and having received sound spiritual guidance from their priest cousins and a very active pastoral environment, they grew in their desire to enter a religious congregation. Therefore, they asked the guidance of Fr Giuseppe Brena indicated to them that the will of God was to stay in Somasca: they would be the cornerstones of a new religious family in that small town where St Jerome Emiliani's holiness is kept alive.
So, in 1826, together with her sister she moved to a rented house in Somasca. In October of the same year she bought a building, which became the centre for a girls' boarding school and, later on, for the religious Institute of the Ursuline Sisters.
At Somasca, Caterina found guidance for her spiritual life in the Chierici Regolari di Somasca (Order of Clerics Regular of Somasca), founded by St Jerome Emiliani, whom she considered her spiritual father even from her infancy as an orphan and whose example of charity and poverty she admired and imitated.
The task of being a teacher placed her in the midst of life in the small town of Somasca, where Caterina actively participated in the life of the parish: she was a teacher of Christian Doctrine, was enrolled in the different confraternities, participated with her companions and students at sacred services and opened her house to receive young girls to encourage and form them in the Oratorian manner.
Caterina fulfilled her task of being a teacher with such commitment that she earned the praise of the authorities and the unanimous approval of the people.
Her attention to the needy and the poorest brought her to great sacrifices of every kind. She extended her good works to orphan girls or girls who were unable to attend public school and those who came from faraway towns. So, in 1832, the private school Cittadini was born and in 1836, a boarding school for girls, directed by Giuditta.
The positive reputation of the private school and boarding school grew: in fact, the Christian formation of the boarders prepared the girls to make wise choices in their Christian lives, so that an exceptional contemporary witness wrote: "The pious teachers ... not only enrich those in Somasca, by every religious, moral and civil virtue and those arts that the girls should learn, but also benefit the towns that the girls came from, where many founded new schools or improved schools in decline with such great morality that the parish priests considered the Ursuline teachers in Somasca to be the principal benefactors of the people".
Caterina's life was always accompanied by great trials. In 1840, at the age of only 37, Giuditta, with whom she shared everything from family sufferings, formation, ideals and plans, suddenly died. In 1841, with the deaths of Fr Giuseppe Brena and her cousin, Fr Antonio Cittadini, her other strong support was taken away.
In 1842, Caterina was struck by a grave illness from which she was miraculously cured through the intercession of Our Lady of Caravaggio and St Jerome Emiliani.
In 1844 Caterina, in order to give legal stability to her work, wrote a "Strumento di Societa e di Sorte e anche di donazione reciproca o Vitalizio", a mission statement with many characteristics of a religious institute. In 1850 she obtained from Pius IX, the Decree for the establishment of a private oratory where the Blessed Sacrament was kept. In 1850-51 she sent various petitions to the Bishop of Bergamo, Mons. Carlo Gritti Morlacchi, to obtain the approval of her "small religious family" and rule. In 1854, Caterina was encouraged to write the rule by the Bishop Mons. Pietro Luigi Sperariza. Caterina wrote the rules based on the Constitutions of the Ursulines of Milan, but when presented to the Bishop it was not accepted. A new text was sent to the Bishop on 17 September 1855, accompanied by a request for the approval of the institute with the title, Orsoline di S. Girolamo (Ursuline Sisters of Somasca). Mons. Speranza approved the rules, ad experimentum, promising the definitive approval of the new institute. Caterina awaited the day with great trust, but the difficulties and sufferings took a heavy toll on her health, which continued to worsen until the end of her life.
Lucid to the end and in continuous prayer, she exhorted her companions to accept the Lord's will serenely, because everything would still be continued. She died, a serene and holy death on 5 May 1857, after a day of agony, surrounded by an odour of sanctity and deeply mourned by her daughters, by the boarders and by the people, leaving to all her shining example of profound spiritual maturity.
Shortly after her death on 14 December 1857, the decree of the canonical establishment of the Institute arrived and the Institute had received pontifical recognition on 8 July 1927.
In the first 10 years, the educational mission of the Institute of Caterina Cittadini was concentrated in Somasca and Ponte San Pietro, a village in the Diocese of Bergamo.
From 1902 it gradually spread to many parts of Italy and abroad; today her spiritual daughters fulfill their educative mission among the Italian immigrants in Switzerland and Belgium, among the poor of Latin America (Brazil, Bolivia) and of Asia (India, Philippines).
On 3 December 1996, the ordinary Congregation of the Cardinals and Bishops was held, and, on 17 December 1996, the Decree on the heroic virtues of the Servant of God, Caterina Cittadini, foundress of the Ursuline Sisters of Somasca was promulgated by His Holiness Pope John Paul II.
Bl. Manuel González García, Bishop of Malaga and Palencia, was born in Seville on 25 February 1877.
On 21 September 1901, he was ordained a priest by Bl. Cardinal Marcello Spinola. In 1902 he was sent to preach a mission at Palomares del Rio, where God gave him a grace that would define the whole of his priestly life. After hearing the discouraging prospects for his mission from the sacristan, he went directly to the tabernacle even though it was neglected and poorly kept and made an act of courageous faith in the Real Presence. In faith he saw Jesus, so quiet, so patient and so good, looking at him, telling him many things and asking him even more. There and then he received his special charism.
In 1905 he was sent to Huelva. As a parish priest of St Peter's parish and archpriest of Huelva, he set about catechizing the young and taking care of needy children, for whom he opened schools. He also published the first of his many books: Lo que puede un cura hoy (What a Parish Priest Can Do Today).
On 4 March 1910 he explained his great desire for reparation to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to a group of women, faithful collaborators in his apostolic activity asking them to become the Mary's of the tabernacle. For him an abandoned tabernacle was like Calvary, where Christ died on the Cross abandoned by all except Mary, John, Mary Magdalene and a few faithful women.
In 1910 the work "Opera para los Sagrarios Calvaries"was born to give a response of loving reparation to the love of Christ in the Eucharist. The great family of the Eucharistic Reparatory Union began with the branch of laywomen Marias de los Sagrarios y Discipulos de san Juan. Also in 1919, Fr Manuel founded the Children's Eucharistic Reparation. Then in 1918, he founded the priests' branch, Eucharistic Missionaries. In 1921, in collaboration with his sister Maria Antonia he began the religious Congregation of the Misioneras Eucarísticas de Nazareth.In 1932 he founded the institution of the Misioneras Auxiliares Nazarenas, and in 1939 the Juventud Eucarística Reparadora. In 1912 St Pius X blessed his initiatives.
Pope Benedict XV named him Auxiliary Bishop of Malaga. He was consecrated Bishop on 16 January 1916. In 1920 he was appointed residential Bishop and he celebrated by serving, with the priests and seminarians, a feast for 3,000 poor children.
As Pastor of the Diocese of Malaga, he built up schools and parish catechetical centres, and discovered that the most urgent problem was the need for priests. With boundless trust in the Providence of the Heart of Jesus, he set about building a new seminary. One of his dreams and projects was for a substantially Eucharistic seminary, in which the Eucharist would be the center of every activity, from teaching and formation to administration and architecture.
To his priests and to the members of his foundations, he proposed that they "arrive at being a host in union with the consecrated Host", which means giving oneself to God and to one's neighbour, in an irrevocable way.
On 11 May 1931, he was attacked directly by the revolutionaries. The Bishop's residence was set on fire and he was forced to move to Gibraltar in order not to endanger the lives of those who took him into their homes. From 1932 he was ordered by the Holy See to govern his Diocese from Madrid. On 5 August 1935 Pope Pius XI appointed him Bishop of Palencia.
In the last years, his health deteriorated considerably, a trial he bore heroically, never losing his smile, ever warm and friendly and in complete acceptance of God's will. He gave up his soul to the Lord on 4 January 1940 and was buried in the cathedral of Palencia, where we can read on his gravestone: "I ask to be buried close to a tabernacle, so that my bones, after death, like my tongue and my pen in my lifetime, may ever speak to passersby saying: "Here is Jesus! He is here! Do not abandon him!".
Bl. Caterina Volpicelli was born into an upper middle-class Neapolitan family on 21 January 1839 from which she received a sound human and religious formation. She was taught literature, languages and music at the Royal Educational Institute of S. Marcellino by Margherita Salatino (the future foundress, with Bl. Ludovico da Casoria, of the Franciscan Grey Sisters of St Elizabeth). She belongs to that array of "apostles of the poor and marginalized" who in 19th-century Naples were a sign of the presence of Christ, the Good Samaritan, who comes close to all who are injured in body and spirit.
Caterina had been trying to outshine her sister in society, frequently going to the theatre and the ballet, but prompted by the Lord's Spirit who revealed God's plan to her through the voice of wise and holy spiritual directors, she soon gave up the transient pleasures of an elegant and carefree life, to adhere with generous decision to a vocation of perfection and holiness.
Her chance meeting with Bl. Ludovico da Casoria on 19 September 1854 at La Palma, Naples, as she herself says, was "a rare stroke of prevenient grace, charity and favour from the Sacred Heart, delighted by the poverty of his servant". Bl. Ludovico led her to join the Third Order Franciscans and indicated to her the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as the one goal of her life, inviting her to remain in society to be a "fisher of souls". Guided by her confessor, the Barnabite Fr Leonardo Matera, on 28 May 1859 Caterina entered the Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, but she soon left, for serious health reasons. Caterina's confessor showed her the monthly leaflet of the Apostleship of Prayer in France; from him she received detailed information about this new association with the diploma of Messenger, the first in Naples. In July 1867, Fr Ramière visits the palace of Largo Petrone in Naples, where Caterina was considering establishing her apostolic activities "to revive love for Jesus Christ in hearts, in families and in society". The Apostleship of Prayer would be the cornerstone of Caterina's whole spiritual edifice and would permit her to cultivate her ardent love of the Eucharist and her outreach to others.
With the first messengers,on 1 July 1874, Caterina founded the new institute of "Servants of the Sacred Heart", at first approved by the Cardinal Archbishop of Naples, the Servant of God Sisto Riario Sforza, and later, on 13 June 1890, by Pope Leo XIII who granted the new religious family the "Decree of praise".
Concerned with the lot of the young, she then opened the orphanage of the Margherites, founded a lending library and set up the Association of the Daughters of Mary, with the wise guidance of Venerable Mother Rosa Carafa Traetto (d. 1890).
She soon opened other houses: in Naples, in the Sansevero Palace and then at the La Sapienza Church in Ponticelli, where the Servants distinguished themselves in nursing cholera victims in 1884, in Minturno, Meta di Sorrento and Rome. On 14 May 1884, the new Archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Guglielmo Sanfelice, O.S.B., consecrated the Shrine dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus which Caterina Volpicelli had had built next to the Mother House of her institutions. She built it specifically for adoration in reparation, as requested by the Pope, to support the Church in difficult times for religious freedom and Gospel proclamation. Caterina's participation in the first National Eucharistic Congress celebrated in Naples in 1891 (19-22 November), crowned the apostolate of the Foundress of the Servants of the Sacred Heart. Caterina Volpicelli died in Naples on 28 December 1894, offering her life for the Church and for the Holy Father.
Bl. Carlos Manuel Rodríguez was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, on 22 November 1918. He was baptized in the Holy Name of Jesus Church in Caguas on 4 May 1919.
"Charlie" as a six year old, experienced a terrible loss: a fire destroyed both his father's small store and the family home. Having lost virtually all of their earthly goods, the young family moved in with Carlos Manuel's maternal grandparents. Carlos Manuel was thereby strongly influenced by his grandmother, Alejandrina Esterás, a deeply devout and holy woman. Carlos' reception of Christ for the first time in the Holy Eucharist would mark the beginning of a love that would last a lifetime. He became an altar boy, and began to experience the riches of the faith through the sacred liturgy of the Church. It is likely that it was at this time that he felt the initial call to live a life entirely dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ.
In his first year of high school, he experienced the first symptoms of what would later become a severe gastrointestinal disorder: ulcerative colitis. This illness would cause him much suffering for the rest of his life. Nevertheless it never undermined his commitment to.Christ and his Church.
He earned his high school diploma and began a job as an office clerk until 1946, when he decided to pursue a bachelor's degree at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) in Río Piedras. However, despite excellent grades and his love for studies, illness prevented him from completing his second year. The end of formal education, however, did not mark the end of his education. As his friends at the UPR recalled, his studies really never ended. He was a voracious reader and his interests were wide-ranging, including the arts, science, philosophy, religion and he learned to play the organ for the sacred music he was busy promoting.
Carlos Manuel worked as an office clerk in Caguas, Gurabo and at the Agriculture Experiment Station, which was part of the UPR. He spent his salary to promote an understanding of the Sacred Liturgy. Using articles on liturgical subjects, which he translated and edited, Carlos Manuel began publishing Liturgy and Christian Culture, apublication to which he dedicated innumerable hours. He organized along with Father McWilliams in Caguas a Liturgy Circle. In 1948, along with Father McGlone he organized the Te Deum Laudamus choir. In Río Piedras, Carios was able to achieve his desire to make Christ known among the professors and students. As his 'disciples' grew in number, he moved with them into the Catholic University Center and set up another Liturgy Circle (later called the Círculode Cultura Cristiana).
He continued his publications and also organized Christian Life Days for the students. He insisted on the need to live the liturgy and the Easter mystery of Christ's death and rising. He promoted the active participation of the laity, the use of the vernacular and, most especially, the observance of his much loved Easter Vigil, which to Charlie's delight was restored to its midnight hour by Pope Pius XII in 1952. Carlos Manuel anticipated many teachings of the Council, above all, of the Constitution on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum concilium.
To approach Carlos was to approach a light that deeply touched one's life. Though Carlos' physical strength declined, his spirit never failed. He lived each moment quietly overcoming his pain with the profound joy of one who knows he is risen with Christ. He reminded Christians to be joyful because they are called to live the joy and hope that Christ brought with his resurrection. He would say, Vivimos para esa noche (W live for the night of the Resurrection).
Following an aggressive 'life saving' surgery in March 1963 he was diagnosed with advanced terminal rectal cancer. Near the end, he experienced the "dark night of faith", thinking himself abandoned by God. Yet, before dying, he rediscovered the Word he had lost and which had given sense to his entire life. His passage to eternal life took place on 13 July 1963. He was 44 years old.
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