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JPII and St. Nicholas

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Little Sisters of the Poor


Dioceses in the USA are celebrating Fortnight for Freedom at this time of year, and the Bishops have proposed the Little Sisters of the Poor as the first example of Religious Freedom. 

The founder of the Little Sisters of the Poor, St. Jeanne Jugan was beatified by St. John Paul II in 1982.  For the past few years, my wife and I have visited nursing homes for Christmas Eve and played Christmas Carols on piano for the residents.  Since moving to St. Paul in 2014, we have been able to go caroling at the Little Sisters Holy Family Residence down town.  There, I have begun to learn more about the Sisters and have truly appreciated their fight for freedom. 
 
Whereas at other nursing homes the employees smiled and waved at me for playing piano, the Sisters brought us a gift basket, sang along, and truly have been interested in our family ever since.  They just downright care about people. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Venerable Solanus Casey


 
Fr. Solanus Casey was declared Venerable by St. John Paul II in 1995.  I first visited the Capuchin’s tomb at St. Bonaventure Monastery in 2008 and continued to do so nearly every week until 2010.  I never figured that I would be living in the State where Solanus worked as a logger, prison guard, andstreetcar operator and also where, honestly, he is more often invoked for intercession than in Detroit.  There are more pilgrimages from Minnesota and Wisconsin to his tomb, than anywhere else. 

Yet, despite my proximity to his burial place in Detroit I admit the least impression of his holiness on me while I was there.  Not until I moved to Minnesota have I begun to realize his influence.  I am rooting for his canonization (insofar as that’s possible), and can fully reflect on how fruitful his prayers are.  His simplicity in particular is an attribute that I most want to imitate, with his characteristic emphasis on gratitude to Christ.    
 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Cor Jesu: Furnace of Charity


 
While visiting the Parish where my wife and I married in 2012, St. Isidore of Grand Rapids, I came across a book by Dr. Timothy O’Donnell entitled Heart of the Redeemer.  In it, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is thoroughly accounted for both historically and mystically.  References from early Church Fathers, Thomas Aquinas, and especially St. Margaret Mary Alacoque make a compelling argument for the authenticity of the Heart of Christ as a revealed source of grace. 

Here’s what St. John Paul II has to say verbatim: “The Heart of the Redeemer vivifies the whole Church and draws men who have opened their hearts to the ‘unfathomable riches’ of this one Heart” (p. 229 of O’Donnell as quoted from 6/24/79 Angelus of JPII).

I have had the privilege to participate in the Sacred HeartEnthronement offered at St. Patrick Parish in Columbus, as well as the SacredHeart Congress in Ohio.  There, a priest said to those listening, “I am going to bless the hell out of your homes!”  Truly, hell cannot abide the “furnace of charity” (fornax ardens caritatis) that is the Heart of Jesus.