Post by Elizabeth on Apr 17, 2019 3:21:18 GMT
Saint Benedict Joseph Labre
Saint Benedict Joseph Labre was born in the village of Amettes, near Boulogne in France, on March 26, 1748. He was the eldest of a family of fifteen children. From his earliest years he manifested exceptional piety, and was particularly attracted to the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. His early education was confided to one of his uncles, who was the parish priest of Erin, in view of his future ordination. He was not certain, however, that he was called to the priesthood, and said, It is very beautiful to be a priest, but I fear losing my soul while saving others. He desired the contemplative life and entered the Carthusian Order. But it was not long before his Superiors decided he did not have the vocation to that Order.
After making several more requests to enter monasteries where he might serve God according to his heart's desire, he was finally received in November 1769 by the Cistercians, whom he greatly edified by his silent prayer and communion with God. His happiness, however, proved to be short-lived; he was taken very ill and again his Superiors decided that he was not called to be one of their number. Providence had permitted these events. Upon his recovery, he discovered God's holy will for him, which was, he wrote, that remaining in the midst of the world, he devoutly visit as a pilgrim the famous places of Christian devotion.
With this purpose ever before him, he made solitary pilgrimages to many of the great shrines of Europe, taking with him only a rosary, a crucifix, and a little sack containing his New Testament, the Imitation of Christ and a Breviary. He visited the shrine of Our Lady of Loreto in Italy no fewer than ten times during his life.
One writer tells us that he seemed to have been destined by God to recall to men's mind the poverty of Christ. He ate nothing but the fragments he received from charity, and never kept any food given him for another day, becoming himself a provider for the poor with his surplus. He slept outdoors as a rule, and esteemed himself happy in suffering hunger, thirst, heat, rain, cold and snow. He was ordinarily regarded as a fool, and was often the brunt of mockery by children and bystanders. No mistreatment could discourage him, since he kept ever before his mind the mortified life of the Master and His Blessed Mother.
He loved most of all the Church of Our Lady of the Mountains in Rome. He spent much time in this, his favorite place of devotion, and on Wednesday of Holy Week in the year 1783, when he went to pray, he was taken suddenly ill, and expired while those who attended him in his last moments were saying the invocation of the litany of the dying: Holy Mary, pray for him.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous
Saint Bernadette Soubirous was born at Lourdes, in the Pyrenees mountains, in 1844. This young girl, fragile of health, born of a very poor but pious family, at fourteen years of age witnessed eighteen apparitions of Our Blessed Lady at Lourdes, from February 11, 1858 to July 16th of the same year. She was instructed to make known the healing powers which the Blessed Virgin, by Her presence, would give to the miraculous spring of Lourdes. A worker who had lost an eye in an explosion recovered his sight when he washed his face in this water; a dying child was plunged into the small basin which had formed around the spring, and the next day began to walk. The police attempted to stop the crowds from going to the Grotto for the foretold apparitions, but were unable to do so. On March 25th, the Beautiful Lady identified Herself in response to Bernadette's request: I am the Immaculate Conception.
Bernadette was accused of having hallucinations, of spells of mental illness, of lying, but her great simplicity eventually made evident her innocence and entire sanity. Through the benevolent understanding and collaboration of the bishop of nearby Tarbes, Bishop Laurence, who later authorized the cult of Our Lady of Lourdes, a chapel and then a beautiful basilica were raised above the grotto of the apparitions, on the banks of the Gave River, now a world-famous pilgrimage site.
In 1866 Saint Bernadette joined the Sisters of Charity at Nevers, taking her perpetual vows in 1878. She died in 1879 at the age of 36, after long and painful sufferings which she bore very willingly, even with joy. When one of the Mothers said to her: We will pray that God may relieve your pain, she answered, No! Don't pray for relief for me, only for patience. The last words she wrote in her little spiritual notebook were: The more I am crucified, the more I rejoice. She was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1925, canonized by him in 1933.