Friday, 27 February 2009
Saturday 27th. February:
Eight hundred people crowded round the grotto where, two days before, Bernadette had dug a muddy puddle. The puddle was now a flowing spring - almost reaching the banks of the Gav. People watched as Bernadette carried out her acts of penance; drinking the water and eating the weeds. People waited for another message from the Lady. She remained silent. Watching. Praying. Those who had laughed and jeered at the previous apparition were also silent. Perhaps no longer so sure what to think about the little girl from Lourdes who seemed to have such dignity and grace in all she did- even when these actions might invoke judgement and involve humiliation.
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
As for me I have been spending a fair bit of time preparing for my trip to Auschwitz next week. On Sunday I met a Holocaust survivor who came to speak to the students at the seminar I attended. His testimony was so deeply moving I cannot express in words its meaning to me. Above all he testified to the value of life. He suffered the ghettos, several camps - including Auschwitz and the death marches. Yet his conclusion - at the age of 79- is that most people are good. He talked of the lives wasted- of the countless bodies he had seen while still a young child. At the end of the war he was only 15 and his close family had been wiped out. Yet he was able to stand in a room and talk about his love for people and how he cries when he sees children in Zimbabwe or in Gaza (yes he is Jewish) who are suffering as he did.
He also spoke about the birth of his daughters and how the moment when the midwife entered and declared 'This is YOUR daughter' were the greatest moments of defiance in his life. The Nazis had wanted death - his death - yet here he was defying them with life. It is his view that life is the finest defiance of evil and death. He spoke of how the disabled, elderly and children had been disregarded and how this must NEVER happen again and yet DOES. His own grandmother, the woman who had raised him, died on the day of the liberation - a beautiful woman who had loved him as her child - she has no grave and no monument except in him. The only regret of his life was never having the chance to say a simple thank you.
For many years he could not believe in God- such was the destruction he had witnessed. At the selections in Auschwitz he saw babies ripped from their mothers arms and shot in front of her because she would not be separated from them so they could go to the gas chambers (the picture above is of an actual selection taking place at Auschwitz). I can understand his feeling. Yet now he says he hopes there is a God. It took him many years to realise it was not God who willed the death of those children - it was man. Yet now he can see that with clarity.
This man was one of the finest I have ever met- brimming with love. My students and I were blown away by him. He said only God could forgive yet he had no bitterness or anger towards any human beings - he told the kids that these things were the real destroyer of man - they had caused the Holocaust in the first place. He is so committed to this message that at 79 he travels round Europe sharing his testimony. It is a marvellous thing to meet someone who is a true example - I remain deeply touched by my encounter with Ziggy and I don't think anything I could write here could give a true impression of his bubbly character, sense of humour and inspirational nature. Yet I felt compelled to share something of this with you.
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
Monday, 23 February 2009
Sunday, 22 February 2009
CLICK THE TITLE FOR THE LINK TO INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC NEWS
It seems that there is a possibility that Pope Benedict may be visiting the British Isles at some point. I have heard rumours like this before and not much has come of it but I think it would do us all some good if we could unite around something positive right now. It would be a great boost for us.
Saturday, 21 February 2009
At the sixth apparition the crowds leaped in number and when the lady appeared early in the morning on this Sunday Bernadette was surrounded by one hundred people. She would later say that when the lady was present she was barely aware of those surrounding her - such was her focus. On this day the crowds were deeply impressed by Bernadette's reverence and ecstasy.
Friday, 20 February 2009
Thursday, 19 February 2009
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Tuesday, 17 February 2009
Recently I have been thinking a lot about the woman who leant me my first name and therefore my (venerable) patron. I guess not many have heard of Edel Quinn but she and Frank Duff (Servant of God) are key figures in the spread of the Legion of Mary. My Dad moved to England when he was nineteen. He found England rather different to the small town Ireland he was used to. By chance he joined the Legion of Mary and discovered the great example of Edel who he would eventually name his fourth child after- of course my Mum had the final choice but when she heard it she liked it and coupled with the name Anne- it seemed to create a good combination. Today I thought I would post her little known story. The Legion prayer is one of great beauty and power and I have also included this at the end of the post.
At age twenty of Edel was working as a secretary proving to be most efficient and conscientious. At this time the spiritual side of her life was becoming more dominant. She joined the Legion of Mary in Dublin.
Edel’s destiny was to be linked to the Legion perhaps more than she knew. In 1932 when about to join the poor Clare Convent in Belfast, a contemplative order, it was discovered she had advanced tuberculosis of the lungs. This would eventually end her life. An eighteen-month stay in a sanatorium followed. Towards the end of 1933 she went back to her office job and her beloved Legion. She spent time visiting the sick and the needy.
In 1936, with her health still failing, Edel responded to a call to go as envoy to Africa. Understandably the central council of the Legion was reluctant to agree. “How could this slight, waif-like creature possibly have the stamina required for extensive travel throughout Central Africa?” A determined Edel remarked that she was going in with her eyes open and didn’t want to “go on a picnic”.
In November 1936, she arrived in Mombasa, Kenya. Within 14 days she had set up the first praesidium, Legion group, called “The Immaculate Conception”. Like everything else she had tackled previously, Edel threw herself into fulfilling her role, which was to bring Catholics of all ethnic backgrounds to work together through Our Lady.
Within five months, Edel had founded the first Curia, (a governing council of the Legion for guiding praesidia).
Sheer necessity brought about the purchase of a six year old Ford V8
coupe. When her newly acquired driver proved unreliable, in true Edel fashion she learned to drive. Harrowing journeys, in her “Rolls Royce” as she called it, were all part of the job – “She was utterly undaunted” Frank Duff, the Legion’s founder once said of her, “Just laughed her way through obstacles that would have beaten almost anyone else.”
In the period 1937 – 1940 she introduced the Legion to Uganda, Tanganyika (Tanzania), Nyasaland (Malawi) and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.
She organized the translations and printing of prayers in several different languages and dialects. During her many hospital spells she continued her work through correspondence.
By 1943, the tuberculosis was well advanced and even Edel had to admit she was slowing down considerably. Yet she still continued her travels
By November 1943, her hard labor had paid off. Hundreds of Legion groups were thriving on African soil thanks to this single-minded Irish woman. Some extracts from her personal notes:
" We can find Him, at every free moment, on the Altar. Be with Him there. Better than all books! "
"Thank the Trinity over and over again for this Gift."
"Rest in His presence, and my Guardian Angel will adore Him for me. Silence."
"At Mass I united myself to the victim Christ, through Mary’s hands, for the glory of the Trinity, in thanksgiving for everything, and on behalf of souls. At Mass always to have special intention of offering and hearing it on behalf of those who cannot hear it themselves by reason of sickness, distance, work or war. Place this intention in Mary’s hands."
The Legion Prayer
Confer, O Lord, on us,
Who serve beneath the standard of Mary,That fullness of faith in you and trust in her,
To which it is given to conquer the world.
Grant us a lively faith, animated by charity,
Which will enable us to perform all our actions
From the motive of pure love of you,
And ever to see you and serve you in our neighbour;
A faith, firm and immovable as a rock,
Through which we shall rest tranquil and steadfast
Amid the crosses, toils and disappointments of life;
A courageous faith which will inspire us
To undertake and carry out without hesitation
Great things for your glory and for the salvation of souls;
A faith which will be our Legion's Pillar of Fire -
To lead us forth united -
To kindle everywhere the fires of divine love-
To enlighten those who are in darkness and in the shadow of death-
To inflame those who are lukewarm-
To bring back life to those who are dead in sin;
And which will guide our own feet in the way of peace;
So that - the battle of life over -
Our Legion may reassemble,
Without the loss of any one,
In the kingdom of your love and glory. Amen.
May the souls of our departed legionaries
And the souls of all the faithful departed
Through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.
Monday, 16 February 2009
I went to the Parish Church to get a little bottle of holy water, to throw over the Vision, if I were to see her at the grotto. When we arrived, we all took our rosaries and we knelt down to say them. I had hardly finished the first decade when I saw the same Lady. Then I started to throw holy water in her direction, and at the same time I said that if she came from God she was to stay, but if not, she must go. She started to smile, and bowed; and the more I sprinkled her with holy water, the more she smiled and bowed her head and the more I saw her make signs. Then I was seized with fright and I hurried to sprinkle her with holy water until the bottle was empty. Then I went on saying my rosary. When I had finished it she disappeared and we came back to Vespers. This was the second time."
Sunday, 15 February 2009
Thursday, 12 February 2009
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
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