Wednesday, August 25, 2010

St Padre Pio and Confessions

A man once went to St. Giovanni Rotondo to confess to Padre Pio. It was between 1954 and 1955. When he finished the accusation of his sins Padre Pio said: "Do you have anything else to confess?" and he said, "No Father!" He repeated the question: "Do you have anything else to confess?" "No Father!" For a third time Padre Pio asked him: "Do you have anything else to confess? At this third negative answer the hurricane exploded. With the voice of the Holy Spirit Padre Pio howled: "Go away! Go away! Because you are not reformed of your sins!"
The man was also petrified because of the shame that he felt in front of so many people. Then he tried to say something but Padre Pio said: "Keep silent, gossiper, you have spoken enough; I now want to speak. Is it true that you go to discos?”  "Yes, Father."  "Do you know that dancing is an invitation to the sin?" 
The man was surprised and he didn't know what to say: he had the membership card of a disco in his wallet. The man promised not to commit any other sins and after a lot of effort he received absolution.

One day, a man told Padre Pio: "Father, I tell lies when I am with some friends of mine. I do it in order to make everybody happy". And Padre Pio said: "Oh, do you want to go to hell by joking?!"  

When a person speaks badly of a friend, he destroys the reputation and the honour of a brother who has the right to enjoy respect. 
One day Padre Pio said to a penitent: "When you gossip about a person it means that you have removed the person from your heart. But be aware, when you remove a man from your heart, Jesus also goes away from your heart with that man."
Once, Padre Pio was invited to bless a house. But when he reached the entrance of the kitchen he said: "There are snakes here.  I do not want to go in". And then he said to a priest that often went to that house to eat: “Don't go to that house because they say unpleasant things about their brothers and sisters.”

A man was born in the region of Italy called Marche. He and a friend left their town in a truck, with some furniture they had to transport nearby to St. Giovanni Rotondo. While they were taking the last slope, before reaching their destination, the truck broke-down and it stopped. They tried to start the engine again but without success. 
At that point the driver lost his calm and full of anger he cursed. The day after the two men went to St. Giovanni Rotondo where one of the men had a sister. With the help of his sister they succeeded in going to Padre Pio to confession. 
The first man entered the confessional but Padre Pio sent him away.  Then it was the turn of the driver. He started saying something to Padre Pio: "I have been angry". But Padre Pio shouted: "Wretch! You have cursed our Mother! What did she do to you, Our Lady?" Then he sent him away as well. 
The devil is near to people who curse.  

 In a hotel in St. Giovanni Rotondo it was not possible to rest neither during the day nor at night because there was a girl who was possessed and shouted for hours. Everybody was frightened of her. The child’s mother brought her every day to the church. She hoped that Padre Pio would free the child from the evil spirit. The child also shouted a lot in the church. One day, when Padre Pio had finished hearing the women’s confessions, he met the child that howled fearfully in front of him. The child was being held back with difficulty by two or three men. The Saint was annoyed by the whole uproar and kicked the child with his foot and then he struck the child’s head and he said: "Stop! Enough!" 
The child fell to the ground as if she was sleeping. Padre Pio told a doctor who was standing there, to bring the child to St. Michael, in the sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo. When the group reached the destination, they entered the cave where Saint Michael had appeared. The child revived but nobody succeeded in bringing her near to the altar of the Angel. In the midst of the confusion, a monk took the hand of the child and touched the altar. She fell down as if she had been struck by lightening. A few minutes later she woke up and as if nothing had happened she asked her mother: "Could you buy me an ice-cream?" 
At that point the group of people returned to St. Giovanni Rotondo in order to inform and to thank Padre Pio. But Padre Pio told her mother: "Say to your husband not to curse anymore, otherwise the demon will return."

Missing Holy Mass 
In about 1950, a young doctor went to confess to Padre Pio. He confessed his sins and then he remained silent. Padre Pio asked the young doctor if he had other things to add but the doctor answered he had nothing else. Then Padre Pio told the doctor: "Keep in mind that on holy days you cannot miss Mass, because this is a mortal sin". Suddenly the doctor remembered he had "jumped" Mass with a Sunday appointment, a few months before.

Padre Pio prohibited all magic, spiritism and practices of bad magic. A lady said: "I confessed to Padre Pio in November, 1948. Among the things I told him was that we were worried about our aunt who read Tarot cards in our family”. Padre Pio in a peremptory tone said: "Throw that stuff away, as soon as you can."  

In the united and holy family, Padre Pio saw the place where the faith can grow and develop. He said: “Divorce is the passport to hell".
A young lady finished the confession of her sins. She received her penance from Padre Pio who said: "You have to immerse yourself in the silence of prayer and you will save your marriage." 
The lady was amazed since her marriage didn't have any problems. After a long time, her marriage began to experience trouble. However she was ready to face the problems and overcame them and so avoided the destruction of the family because she had been following the suggestion that Padre Pio gave her.

One day, Padre Pellegrino asked Padre Pio: "Father, this morning you denied absolution to a lady who confessed to an abortion. Why have you been so rigorous with this poor unfortunate? ". 
Padre Pio said: "The day, in which people, frightened by the economic boom, from physical damages or from economic sacrifices, will lose the horror of the abortion, it will be the most terrible day for humanity. Abortion is not only homicide but also suicide. And with these people we see on the point of committing two crimes…do we want to show our faith? Do we want to save them? " 
"Why suicide?” Padre Pellegrino asked. 
"You would understand this suicide of the human race, if with the eye of reason, you could see the Heart populated by old men and depopulated by children: burnt as a desert.”
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Salesian nun saves thousands of women from persecution

In Dhaka, Salesian nun saves thousands of women from persecution and physical/mental torture 

by William Gomes

Sister Zita belongs to the Order of Salesian Sisters of Mary Immaculate
. She has helped thousands of Catholics from the Garo tribe who have moved to Dhaka in search of jobs, often ending in the clutches of unscrupulous Muslim employers who persecute and torture them. Together with Caritas Bangladesh and the Church, she has founded the Garo Community Centre, where tribal Garo can learn new trades and find help searching jobs.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Catholics from the Garo tribe have moved to Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, in search of jobs and a better life. Thousands are women who, instead of finding as better life, end up in the hands of unscrupulous Muslim employers who torture and persecute them. For years, Sister Zita (pictured), a member of the Salesian Sister of Mary Immaculate (SSMI), has been helping these women, saving many from the dangers they face.

“In the past ten years, I have seen 7,000 Garo women come to Dhaka in search of a job forced to face a variety of problems,” Sister Zita said. “They work primarily as house maids and in beauty parlours. Many become victims of mental and physical torture at the hands of their employer. They feel constantly in danger”. For this reason, “we began to work for justice and peace.”

Sr Zita, who joined her order in 1990, is the first nun from her village. Between 1991 and 1994, she preached in various villages in the Diocese of Mymensingh to ensure that children were raised in the Catholic faith. After some years of training, she worked as a teacher in the Saint Leo Primary School from 1997 to 2005. Here, she took care of children from all religious backgrounds.

Over the past decade, she has helped more than 5,000 young Catholic women and girls. Since 2006, she has worked for the Episcopal Commission for Youth. This has brought her directly in contact with the tragic experiences of many women.

One Catholic girl, whose name shall remain anonymous, was tricked by a Muslim man and raped,” she said. “This almost drove her to madness. However, we were able to help her and she is now leading a normal life.”

In another case, a young woman was brutally tortured and kept sequestered in her employer’s home. They did not even allow her to go to Mass on Sunday. We saved her, and got her back home to her parents, where she now studies and is doing well.”

In cooperation with Caritas Bangladesh and the local Catholic Church, Sr Zita set up the Garo Community Centre in Dhaka. It is a place where tribal people can turn to if they have any problems; a place of refuge, where they are helped to find a job. The Centre teaches new trades and skills based on needs. Mass is offered every day according to a special schedule for the more than 11,000 women who cannot attend Sunday Mass.

Sr Zita has also approached employers who let their Garo employees participate in Mass officiated just for them.

“The reason I do all this is to serve Christ through people who suffer,” She said, “by loving and helping them.”

Monday, August 9, 2010

Saint John Vianney vs The Devil

The Cure d'Ars and the Devil

That Hell exists and that there are fallen angels condemned to hell, is a dogma of the Catholic faith. The devil is a personal, living being, not a figment of the imagination. True, his activity in the world remains for the most part, hidden; none the less, by divine permission, at times the evil one comes out into the open. 

For the space of 35 years - from  1824 to 1858 - the Cure d'Ars was subjected, even outwardly to the molestations of the evil one. What if, by preventing him from taking both food and sleep, Satan had succeeded in inspiring him with a distaste for prayer, penance and the exertions of the apostolic life, and in obliging him to give up the cure of souls!

But the enemy of our salvation was disappointed and defeated.

The Saint Attacked By The Powers Of Darkness

It was to be expected that so signal a triumph of religion, as well as the personal holiness of him who was instrumental in bringing it about, would rouse the fury of hell. The Scriptures tell us that Satan at times disguises himself as an angel of light. In our days he is even more cunning: he persuades people, all too successfully, that he does not exist at all. One of the most amazing features of the life of the Cure of Ars is that during a period of about thirty-five years he was frequently molested, in a physical and tangible way, by the evil one.

It should be borne in mind that all men are subject to temptation—for to tempt to sin is the devil's occupation, so to speak—and temptation is permitted by God for our good. is an of the devil, when he seeks to terrify by horrible apparitions or noises. goes further: it is either , when the devil acts on the external senses of the body; or , when he influences the imagination or the memory. occurs when the devil seizes on and uses the whole organism. But even then mind and will remain out of his reach. Most of the Cure of Ars' experiences belong to the first category, viz., .

The powers of darkness opened the attack in the winter of 1824. In the stillness of a frosty night terrific blows were struck against the presbytery door and wild shouting could be heard coming, so it seemed, from the little yard in front of the house. For a moment the Cure suspected the presence of burglars so that he asked the village wheelwright, one Andre Verchere, to spend the following night at the presbytery. It proved an exciting night for that worthy. Shortly after midnight there suddenly came a fearful rattling and battering of the front door whilst within the house a noise was heard as if several heavy carts were being driven through the rooms. Andre seized his gun, looked out of the window but saw nothing except the pale light of the moon: "For a whole quarter of an hour the house shook—and so did my legs," the would-be defender subsequently confessed. The following evening he received another invitation to spend the night at the presbytery but Andre had had enough.

These and similar disturbances were of almost nightly occurrence.
They happened even when the Saint was away from home—in the early years when he was still able to lend a hand to his clerical neighbours. Thus on a certain night during a mission at St Trivier, the presbytery shook and a dreadful noise seemed to proceed from M. Vianney's bedroom. Everybody was alarmed, and rushing to the Saint's room the priests found him in his bed which invisible hands had dragged into the middle of the room. M. Vianney soon perceived that these displays of satanic humour were fiercest when some great conversion was about to take place, or, as he playfully put it, when he was about to "land a big fish." One morning the devil set fire to his bed. The Saint had just left his Confessional to vest for Mass when the cry, "Fire! fire!" was raised. He merely handed the key of his room to those who were to put out the flames: "The villainous !" (it was his nickname for the devil) "unable to catch the bird, he sets fire to the cage!" was the only comment he made. To this day the pilgrim may see, hard by the head of the bed, a picture with its glass splintered by the heat of the flames. It must be remembered that at no time was a fire lit in the hearth and there were no matches in the presbytery.

These molestations were both terrifying and ludicrous. The holy man ended by getting inured to them, so much so that he often poked fun at their author who showed himself in a very poor light indeed. With a smile the Saint once remarked: "Oh! the and myself—we are almost chums." As a sample of Satan's sense of humour the following is characteristic of one whom somebody called "God's ape." The devil would go on for hours producing a noise similar to that made by striking a glass tumbler with the blade of a steel knife; or he would sing, "with a very cracked voice," the Saint said, or whistle for hours on end; or he would produce a noise as of a horse champing and prancing in the room, so that the wonder was that the worm-eaten floor did not give way; or he would bleat like a sheep, or miaow like a cat, or shout under the Cure's window: "Vianney! Vianney! potato-eater." The purpose of these horrible or grotesque performances was to prevent the servant of God from getting that minimum of rest which his poor body required and thus to render him physically unfit to go on with his astonishing work in the confessional by which he snatched so many souls from the clutches of the fiend. But from 1845 these external attacks ceased almost entirely.

The Saint's constancy amid such trials was rewarded by the extraordinary power God gave him to cast out devils from the possessed. Nevertheless, horrible as may be the condition of one whose body is possessed by the devil, it is as nothing by comparison with the wretched plight of a soul which, by mortal sin, sells itself, as it were, to Satan. The holy priest may be said to have spent the best part of his priestly career in a direct contest with sin through his unparalleled work in the confessional. The Cure's confessional was the real miracle of Ars, one that was not merely a passing wonder, or the sensation of a few weeks. Great as were his penances, assuredly the greatest of them all was the endless hours spent by him within the narrow confinement of a rugged, comfortless, unventilated confessional. This miracle went on for forty years. The astonishing thing about M. Vianney is that he himself personally became the object of a pilgrimage, people flocking to Ars in hundreds of thousands just to get a glimpse of him, to hear him, to exchange but a few words with him, above all, to go to confession to him.

It is said that the Devil told St. John Vianney, “If there were three such priests as you, my kingdom would be ruined. The Saint, for his part, developed a remarkable sense of humor about the supernatural assaults, saying, “Oh! the grappin” – his nickname for the Devil – “and myself? We are almost chums.”

It’s not likely that we’ll ever have to struggle with Satan the way St. John Vianney did, but we should be familiar with who he is and what he does – and why he must be resisted. That begins with acknowledging that he exists and that he wants to destroy us. It means knowing that although he is powerful, Satan is limited and he is already defeated (CCC 2852, 2864)

St. John Vianney - Incorrupt Relic (1786-1859) 

St John Vianney, Patron of Priests, pray for us and for all priests!


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