Monday, February 8, 2010

Saint Therese of Lisieux "The Little Flower"

Saint Therese of Lisieux, "The Little Flower"
 1873 - 1897

Carmelite of Lisieux, better known as the Little Flower of Jesus, born at Alençon, France, 2 January, 1873; died at Lisieux 30 September, 1897.

She was the ninth child of saintly parents, Louis and Zélie Martin, both of whom had wished to consecrate their lives to God in the cloister. The vocation denied them was given to their children, five of whom became religious, one to the Visitation Order and four in the Carmelite Convent of Lisieux. Brought up in an atmosphere of faith where every virtue and aspiration were carefully nurtured and developed, her vocation manifested itself when she was still only a child.

Little Therese Martin

Educated by the Benedictines, when she was fifteen she applied for permission to enter the Carmelite Convent, and being refused by the superior, went to Rome with her father, as eager to give her to God as she was to give herself, to seek the consent of the Holy Father, Leo XIII, then celebrating his jubilee. He preferred to leave the decision in the hands of the superior, who finally consented and on 9 April, 1888, at the unusual age of fifteen, Thérèse Martin entered the convent of Lisieux where two of her sisters had preceded her.

She was given the habit and received the name: Thérèse of the Child Jesus. On 8 September 1890 Thérèse took her vows; the ceremony of taking the veil followed on the 24th when she added to her name in religion, "and of the Holy Face", a title which was to become increasingly important in the development and character of her inner life. In her poem "My Heaven down here" composed in 1895 she expressed the notion that by the divine union of love, the soul takes on the semblance of Christ. By contemplating the sufferings associated with the Holy Face of Jesus, she felt she could become closer to Christ.

Thérèse's final years were marked by a steady decline that she bore resolutely and without complaint. Tuberculosis was the key element of Therese's final suffering, but she saw that as part of her spiritual journey. After observing a rigorous Lenten fast in 1896, she went to bed on the eve of Good Friday and felt a joyous sensation. She wrote: "Oh! how sweet this memory really is!... I had scarcely laid my head upon the pillow when I felt something like a bubbling stream mounting to my lips. I didn't know what it was".

The next morning she found blood on her handkerchief and understood her fate. Coughing up of blood meant tuberculosis and tuberculosis meant death. She wrote:

"I thought immediately of the joyful thing that I had to learn, so I went over to the window. I was able to see that I was not mistaken. Ah! my soul was filled with a great consolation; I was interiorly persuaded that Jesus, on the anniversary of His own death, wanted to have me hear His first call!"

Thérèse corresponded with a Carmelite mission in what was then French Indochina, and was invited to join them, but, because of her sickness, could not travel. In July 1897 she made a final move to the monastery infirmary, where she died on 30 September 1897, at the young age of 24. On her death-bed, she is reported to have said:

 "I have reached the point of not being able to suffer any more, because all suffering is sweet to me."

Thérèse was buried in the Carmelite plot in the municipal cemetery at Lisieux, where Louis and Zelie had been buried. However in March 1923, before she was beatified, her body was returned to the Carmel of Lisieux, where it remains.

Beatified: 29 April 1923
Canonized: 17 May 1925
Feast Day: 3 October
Patronage: AIDS sufferers, aviators, florists, bodily ills, loss of parents, missionaries and tuberculosis

Saint Therese of Lisieux Chaplet Instructions

This Chaplet commemorates each of the 24 years of St. Therese's life on Earth.

Opening Prayer: 
St Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love.  Ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore and tell Him I will love Him each day more and more.

On the first bead, say:
Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus, Patroness of Missions, pray for us.
On each of the other 24 beads, say one Glory Be:
Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

A Prayer to Saint Therese:
O little St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, who during your short life on earth became a mirror of angelic purity, of love strong as death, and of wholehearted abandonment to God, now that you rejoice in the reward of your virtues, cast a glance of pity on me as I leave all things in your hands. Make my troubles your own - speak a word for me to our Lady Immaculate, whose flower of special love you were - to that Queen of heaven "who smiled on you at the dawn of life." Beg her as the Queen of the heart of Jesus to obtain for me by her powerful intercession, the grace I yearn for so ardently at this moment, and that she join with it a blessing that may strengthen me during life. Defend me at the hour of death, and lead me straight on to a happy eternity.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Precious Blood Chaplet

Precious Blood chaplet in red jade. 
Available for purchase at

Chaplet of the Precious Blood


The Chaplet of the Precious Blood, also known as the Precious Blood Rosary, is a meditation on the generous love of Jesus, who shed his blood for us. This devotion consists of seven mysteries in which we meditate on the seven principal sheddings of the Most precious Blood of Jesus.  The chaplet itself consists of 33 beads (six sets of five beads each and three on the drop), a rosary center and a Precious Blood medal.

The Chaplet was composed in 1809 by Francesco Albertini and officially approved in the same year. Albertini, who founded the ArchConfraternity of the Precious Blood, was the mentor and spiritual director of Saint Gaspar del Bufalo, founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.

Saint Gaspar encouraged the Missionaries to pray this chaplet with the people every morning. It is an excellent way of heightening our awareness of God's presence in difficult and painful situations. It can help us connect our own suffering, the suffering of those we love, and the suffering of our enemies, with the suffering of Christ. Many people who like to pray the rosary every day pray the Precious Blood Rosary on Fridays, the day when we traditionally meditate on the Passion.

Prayer Instructions:

The Our Father without the Hail Mary is said five times after each mystery except the last, when it is said three times – in all, thirty three times in honor of the thirty-three years of Our Lord’s life on earth.

V.  O God, come to my assistance!
R.  Lord, make haste to help me!
V.  Glory be to the Father, etc.
R.  As it was in the beginning, etc.

First Mystery:
Jesus shed his blood in the circumcision.
Let us ask for chastity in body and soul.

V.  We pray you, Lord, help your servants!
R.  Whom You have redeemed with Your Precious Blood!

(This invocation to the Precious Blood is said after the Our Father and Glory be of each mystery.)

Second Mystery:
Jesus shed his blood in the agony while praying in the Garden of Olives. 
Let us ask for the spirit of prayer.

Third Mystery:
Jesus shed his blood in the scourging at the pillar. 
Let us ask for patience and self-control.

Fourth Mystery:
Jesus shed his blood in the crowning with thorns. 
Let us ask for humility to atone from pride.

Fifth Mystery:
Jesus shed his blood while carrying His cross to Calvary. 
Let us ask for acceptance of our daily crosses.

Sixth Mystery:
Jesus shed his blood in the terrible crucifixion. 
Let us ask for contrition.

Seventh Mystery:
Jesus shed blood and water from His side pierced by the lance.
Let us ask for perseverance.

How To Pray The Stations Of The Cross Rosary

Rosary available for purchase at

How To Pray The Stations Of The Cross Rosary

This rosary chaplet consists of 15 groups of 3 beads each, between which are medals representing the stations of the cross. An additional 6 beads are added as well as a crucifix.

This chaplet of the Way of the Cross was granted to Vincentian Order by Popes Pius IX and X. Later it was withdrawn by the Holy Office (1912), since the indulgences can be gained by using the crucifix alone.

It is somewhat of a misnomer to call this a rosary. To the sick and to others who cannot go to a church to make the Way of the Cross the Holy See has given the privilege of gaining the indulgences attached to the Way of the Cross by holding in their hand a specially indulgenced crucifix and saying the prescribed prayers.

On the Crucifix say the Apostle's Creed:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth;
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.  Amen.

On each of the following six beads say an Act of Contrition:

O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart I am sorry for all my sins, because by them I have offended Thee, Who art infinitely good. I will die rather than offend thee again. Amen.

The following is said before each station for the intentions of the Holy Father:
We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You, because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

After announcing and meditating on each Station, pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be.

Our Father:
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.   Amen.

Hail Mary:
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory Be:
Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

Closing Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven and reconciles all people to you.  May we who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Fourteen Stations of The Cross

The First Station: Jesus is condemned to death.

The Second Station: Jesus carries His cross.

The Third Station: Jesus falls the first time.

The Fourth Station: Jesus meets His mother.

The Fifth Station: Simone of Cyrene helps Jesus carry His cross.

The Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

The Seventh Station: Jesus falls a second time.

The Eighth Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem.

The Ninth Station: Jesus falls a third time.

The Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped of His garments.

The Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the cross.

The Twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the cross.

The Thirteenth Station: Jesus is taken from the cross.

The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Saint Benedict Medal

The Saint Benedict Medal

Front of the medal:

 The Cross of Eternal Salvation: 
On the face of the medal is the image of Saint Benedict. In his right hand he holds the cross, the Christian symbol of salvation.  The cross reminds us of the zealous work of evangelizing and civilizing England and Europe carried out mainly by the Benedictine monks and nuns, especially for the sixth to the ninth/tenth centuries.

Rule and Raven:
In St. Benedict's left hand is his Rule for Monasteries that could well be summed up in the words of the Prolog exhorting us to "walk in God's ways, with the Gospel as our guide."

On a pedestal to the right of St. Benedict is the poisoned cup, shattered when he made the sign of the cross over it. On a pedestal to the left is a raven about to carry away a loaf of poisoned bread that a jealous enemy had sent to St. Benedict.

C. S. P. B.
Above the cup and the raven are the Latin words: Crux s. patris Benedicti (The Cross of our holy father Benedict). On the margin of the medal, encircling the figure of Benedict, are the Latin words: Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur! (May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death!). Benedictines have always regarded St. Benedict as a special patron of a happy death. He himself died in the chapel at Montecassino while standing with his arms raised up to heaven, supported by the brothers of the monastery, shortly after St. Benedict had received Holy Communion.

Monte Cassino:
Below Benedict we read: ex SM Casino MDCCCLXXX (from holy Monte Cassino, 1880). This is the medal struck to commemorate the 1400th anniversary of the birth of Saint Benedict.

Reverse of the medal:

Crux Mihi Lux:

On the back of the medal, the cross is dominant. On the arms of the cross are the initial letters of a rhythmic Latin prayer: Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Nunquam draco sit mihi dux! (May the holy cross be my light! May the dragon never be my guide!).

In the angles of the cross, the letters C S P B stand for Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (The cross of our holy father Benedict).


Above the cross is the word pax (peace), that has been a Benedictine motto for centuries. Around the margin of the back of the medal, the letters V R S N S M V - S M Q L I V B are the initial letters, as mentioned above, of a Latin prayer of exorcism against Satan: Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas! (Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!)

Use of the Medal:

There is no special way prescribed for carrying or wearing the Medal of St. Benedict. It can be worn on a chain around the neck, attached to one's rosary, kept in one's pocket or purse, or placed in one's car or home. The medal is often put into the foundations of houses and building, on the walls of barns and sheds, or in one's place of business.

The purpose of using the medal in any of the above ways is to call down God's blessing and protection upon us, wherever we are, and upon our homes and possessions, especially through the intercession of St. Benedict. By the conscious and devout use of the medal, it becomes, as it were, a constant silent prayer and reminder to us of our dignity as followers of Christ.

The medal is a prayer of exorcism against Satan, a prayer for strength in time of temptation, a prayer for peace among ourselves and among the nations of the world, a prayer that the Cross of Christ be our light and guide, a prayer of firm rejection of all that is evil, a prayer of petition that we may with Christian courage "walk in God's ways, with the Gospel as our guide," as St. Benedict urges us.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Symbolism Of The Irish Penal Crucifix


The Symbolism Of The Irish Penal Crucifix


Hammer: For the nails of the Cross.

Halo: Crown of Thorns was not usually shown, hence the halo.

Jug or Chalice: Represents the Last Supper.

Cords: Represent the binding and scourging at the pillar.

Spear: Represents the piercing of the side of Jesus.

Small Marks Along The Side of The Corpus: Indicate a ladder, both used in the Crucifixion and by which we ascend to Heaven.


 The Cock and Pot: Symbolize the early apocryphal legend relating to Judas the betrayer, and also the roosting cock which suddenly came to life and crowed, prophesying the Resurrection.

Three Nails: Represents the tools of the Crucifixion.


 Penal Crucifix - Front

 Penal Crucifix - Reverse