The Day After the Darkness: A Double Marian Feast!

In His great mercy, Our Blessed Lord gives us His Mother today in a glorious double Marian is the feast of the Heavenly Queenship of Our Lady in the new calendar and the feast of her Immaculate Heart in the old.  He struck a sword through our heart just yesterday, but today reminds us that we always have recourse to the one who knows this sword well.  Her own heart was stricken seven times with the sword and she knows just how many babies were slaughtered in their mother's wombs across that very path of darkness through our country many impure acts, blasphemies, lies, drug overdoses, suicides...she sees it all.  The Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States of America, comes today to us with her graces, the Mediatrix, in her Queenly crown, with her bleeding show us the way out.

As darkness descended in the Northwest yesterday, the musical piece "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence," began to play on the Pandora channel in my kitchen.  When I noticed this, I was amazed, shut the music off in obedience, went to the live-cam, and saw the eclipse approaching total blackness.  Following are the words to this beautiful hymn, from the 4th Century Liturgy of Saint James.  They seem frighteningly appropriate:

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand,
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand....

Rank on rank the host of Heaven,
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of Light descendeth,
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of Hell may vanish,
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six-winged seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the Presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry,
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Alleluia, Lord Most High!

And ponder the words of Saint Francis of Assisi, from his "Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon:"

"Praised be Thee my Lord with all Thy creatures
Especially Sir Brother Sun
Who is the day through whom Thou givest us light
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor
Of Thee Most High, he bears the Likeness"

If we follow Saint Francis' theology, then it is God who has been eclipsed.  Look around.  It would seem so.

As the journey of the Total Eclipse across our land was reaching completion, I was inspired to write the following poem on the Long Island Railroad, on my way to Forest Hills...traveling the same path as those who were massacred on the train 24 year ago (though they were heading the other direction):

O Brother Sun!

O Brother Sun!  O Sister Moon!
What dost thou do?
In thy marriage, we are convicted
In this darkness, our blindness dispelled
As it once was, so long ago
When Our Savior hung upon the Cross
How Father orders the cosmos
To speak to His children!
Even from the beginning of time
He orders it according to our sins
O Brother Sun!  O Sister Moon!
What dost thou do?
May all mortal flesh keep silence
In this hour
And as thou shinest once again, Brother Sun,
May we in turn, shine brilliant
, resurrected
Returning to innocence, O may it be so!
By Mother Immaculate, our Patroness
Showering her graces, like a storm
O Brother Sun, see and rejoice!

We are not to forget this great sign given us at a most critical hour in human history.  The rest of the world, with its short attention span, will forget even this....and many have seen the Total Eclipse of the Sun, but have not seen at all.  But we, cherish these things and keep them in our hearts.

      Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Forest Hills, NY

      Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Forest Hills, NY

The eclipse was very subtle in New York, but there was a feeling, a slight darkening, like an impending storm.  My niece in Pennsylvania said it was subtle there also, difficult to describe, and "eerily still."  Above, you see Our Lady, triumphant, in total brightness later in the day, her feet trampling the serpent, with blue roses to honor her. 

"In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph!"


PS-I have not forgotten about Our Lady of Knock-I am researching this and will post on it when I can.

Glorious Saint Gabriel the Archangel

                                        Eustache Le Sueur, "The Annunciation," c. 1650

                                        Eustache Le Sueur, "The Annunciation," c. 1650

From today's traditional Mass:

"O God, Who from among all the Angels didst choose the Archangel Gabriel to announce the Mystery of Thine Incarnation:  mercifully grant that we who keep his feast on earth may feel the effect of his patronage in Heaven...

We who have partaken of the Mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, O Lord our God, implore Thy pity:  that as by the message of Gabriel we have known Thine Incarnation, so, by his help we may obtain the benefits of the same."

The words of Saint Gabriel himself:

"Hail, full of grace:  the Lord is with thee:  blessed art thou among women....Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God:  behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His Name Jesus.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father:  and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end....The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee.  And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God."

From Litany of Saint Gabriel:

"O blessed Archangel Gabriel, we beseech thee, intercede for us at the throne of Divine Mercy in our present necessities, that as thou didst announce to Mary the Mystery of the Incarnation, so through thy prayers and patronage in Heaven we may obtain the benefits of the same, and sing the praise of God forever in the land of the living.  Amen."

As beautiful and glorious as the Archangel Gabriel is, he, like all the holy, is merely a reflection of the beauty and brightness of the Most Holy Trinity.  Just like the Moon reflects the Sun....we mere creatures reflect the glory of God.  The feast of Saint Gabriel appropriately is followed tomorrow by the feast of the Annunciation (in both the old and new calendars)....Hail, full of grace!....a joyful mid-Lenten feast, bringing to mind the Cycle of Christmas in the midst of our Cycle of Easter this year, reminding us of the beginnings of these great happenings 2,000 years ago.


Image courtesy

More on Father Alfred Delp.....

[Originally published December 11, 2015.]

I gave a brief introduction to Fr. Alfred Delp and the book Advent of the Heart in [a previous post]. Advent was a topic that concerned Fr. Delp throughout his life (1907-1945). It became a metaphor for his own experience "waiting" for the end of the terrifying Nazi regime. In his case, Christmas became his own martyrdom, when he encountered, not a porcelain baby in a creche, but Christ Himself as the Second Person of the Beatific Vision. Almost in anticipation of this extraordinary journey, his preaching and writings on the subject were gripping theological genius...and very appropriate for our own times. It is ironic that the United States of America, rolling into Germany in 1945 with her tanks of salvation, would one day need so desperately this martyr's words of warning and instruction.

The book divides into the 4 weeks of Advent, with appropriate selections of Fr. Delp's writings. It is a wonderful way to celebrate the Season of Advent, but not at all for the faint-hearted. If you take these writings to heart, they will challenge and change you in the most fundamental, deep ways. So....consider yourself warned. As it states in the introduction to Saint Louis de Montfort's The Secret of Mary, these words will exact a responsibility from you:

"...beware, then, of remaining would turn into a poison and be your condemnation."

To proceed, I'd like to offer a few brief excerpts from the various introductions to Advent of the Heart, which I feel are essential to the understanding of Fr. Delp:

"Delp wrote the 1944 meditations in Tegel Prison, usually while his hands were in handcuffs. These meditations were smuggled out of the prison as seret messages...

This book presents Advent sermons from Father Delp's parish work in Munich, alongside the powerful messages from his prison Advent experience of 1944...

Their roughness evokes a powerful sense of immediacy rooted in the suffering and danger of the times."

Fr. Delp was originally arrested for suspicion of having knowledge of the attempt on Hitler's life which took place on July 20, 1944.....

"Although all charges related to the assassination attempt were dropped, the irreconcilable opposition of Christianity to Nazism became the focus of the proceedings...Delp was convicted of high treason and sentenced to death by hanging."

Dear Father Alfred Delp, pray for us!

October: Month of the Holy Rosary & Respect Life Month

“Italians come to ruin most generally in three ways ~ women, gambling, and farming."

Saint Pope John XXIII, feast October 11th

I'm half Italian (in case you didn't already guess that from my name), so I can put up an Italian joke....and Pope John XXIII was Italian too, so I guess he knew what he was talking about!  FARMING!  Hysterical!  Though I have always thought of Italians as good farmers and gardeners.  Maybe I was wrong.  My father seemed okay at it.  He grew eggplants on our front lawn in Levittown, Long Island.  I feel pretty sure we were the only people on the block with eggplants on the lawn. 

October is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary (see prayer on Home page) and dedicated as "Respect Life Month" by the USCCB-this year's theme is "Moved by Mercy," echoing the Holy Father's Jubilee Year of Mercy, which ends November 20th.  May we pray the rosary for the unborn and all threatened human life and participate this month in any pro-life activities that we can.

October also gives us an array of interesting feasts.  Some great and famous saints:  Saint Therese, Saint Francis, St. Faustina, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Margaret Mary....2 saints invoked for headaches, 2 invoked for demons, 2 female Doctors of the Church and 2 recent popes.  Also, Christ the King on the 30th!

So what can we do about the Rosary this month?  If you're already praying it every day, don't have to do anything.....okay, try to get someone else to pray it, how's that?  If you're not praying it every day, then why not heed the requests of Our Lady of Fatima and begin doing so?  Here are some notable feasts of this month-remember these saints on their feastdays-read about them, pray to them, develop friendships with them.....

10/1-Saint Therese of Lisieux, Virgin, Religious, Doctor-patron of missions (new)

10/2-Holy Guardian Angels/Respect Life Sunday

10/3-Saint Therese of Lisieux (trad)

10/4-Saint Francis of Assisi, Founder of Franciscan Order, Stigmatist

10/5-Saint Faustina Kowalska, Virgin, Religious, seer of the Divine Mercy

10/6-Saint Bruno, Priest, Founder of Carthusian Order-patron of those possessed by demons

10/7-Our Lady of the Rosary

10/9-Saints Denis, Bishop, Rusticus & Eleutherius, Martyrs-Saint Denis invoked against demons and headaches

10/11-Divine Maternity of Our Lady/Saint Pope John XXIII, 20th Century Pope

10/15-Saint Teresa of Jesus (Avila), Virgin, Religious, Doctor-invoked against headaches

10/16-Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin, Religious, Seer of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (new)

10/17-Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (trad)

10/18-Saint Luke, Evangelist, Martyr-patron of doctors, painters & sculptors

10/22-Saint Pope John Paul II, 20th Century Pope

10/24-Saint Raphael the Archangel-patron of happy meetings, travel, marriage, healing, the blind & youth

10/28-Saints Simon & Jude, Apostles, Martyrs (brothers)-Saint Jude patron of hopeless cases

10/30-Christ the King

10/31-All Hallows Eve

Recent Pics.....

I gave Our Lady these gorgeous red coneflowers today, on 9/11.  Just as she watches over my neighborhood from this hill, she watches over all her children, especially at "the hour of our death."

I recently visited this 9/11 Memorial at Eisenhower Park, in East Meadow, Long Island.  Under a somber, smoky sky, this amazing piece of art shows the Twin Towers intertwined...twins....born together, destroyed together....their fates, inextricably linked, like the two people who were seen jumping together, holding hands.  It is estimated about 200 people jumped or fell from the Towers that day.  None of them survived, though some desperately clung to tablecloths from the restaurant at the top, trying to use them as parachutes, hoping against Hope.  An extraordinary final testimony to this Theological Virtue and the preciousness of life.

The Towers were glorious, especially at night.  I stood on the top of one once.  The view was truly spectacular.  I'll never forget it.  On 9/11, I could not bear to watch the news and spent the whole day alone in prayer, having no idea what was happening.  When my husband came home from work he told me......"The Towers are gone."  I'll never forget those words, though it came as no surprise.  Part of me already knew.

This is part of the same Memorial at Eisenhower Park.  An actual piece of a Tower, somewhat rusted over the past 15 one sense, another, rained blood that day, but it also rained crosses.  Much like the Crucifixion itself....unthinkable, horrifying....yet, the Act of Love which wrought our salvation.

I mentioned Saint Fiacre in my post on the month of August, his feast being August 30th.  He is the patron saint of gardeners, along with Saint Rose of Lima, who shares the same feastday!  (Incidentally, on this past August 30th, I was officially accepted into the "Master Gardener" course at Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Nassau County, NY-I took this as a little sign that I'm on the right track!)  I was amazed to see this statue of Saint Fiacre yesterday at Rosedale Nurseries in Hawthorne, NY, where I bought the red coneflowers pictured above.  Unfortunately, it was too expensive for me to buy, so I did the next best thing-I took a picture of it!  Saint Fiacre and Saint Rose of Lima, pray for us!

Took this picture of a beautiful butterfly interested in a rotten apple at a 4-H camp in Riverhead, Long Island last week.  I worked hard to get that shot!  (Zoom in to see it better.)

Last but not least.....I know you won't believe this, but yes, I took this picture and no, its not photo-shopped.  The water really is THAT blue, but its....DYED!  This was taken at a facility in Manhasset, Long Island, where the gardening classes are held.  In a way, its pretty, but do they really think they can do a better job than God???  He is the Lord of all, the Alpha and the Omega Who is greater than all our sufferings.  We cannot forget tragedies like 9/11, but we also cannot be defeated by them.  He's got it all under control, so let us end this post on a note of peace, faith, hope and love!  CM:)

Divine Mercy at My Church....

I would like to share my experience yesterday celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday at my church in Suffolk County, Long Island.  We had a bi-lingual (English/Spanish) celebration of the Mass with the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Exposition.  The whole celebration took 3 1/2 hours.  The turnout was great-a full church, about 90% Latino of all ages.  A bishop presided.  It was one of the most moving spiritual experiences of my life. 

As we sung the Divine Mercy Chaplet-half in English, half in Spanish-I began to feel a great unity.....first, with the wonderful devout Latino people present and gradually, I became aware of the entire world on this day raising a unified chorus to the Father...."For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!"  I thought of the recent terror attacks and murders, some specifically against Christians.  I thought of September 11th.  I thought of the abortion holocaust.  All the immorality.  The whole ailing world raising this prayer to God together on one day.  I felt Saint Faustina's presence with us-what an extraordinary accomplishment to secure this great and most necessary feast for the world.

During Exposition, many people crowded around the altar and knelt.  I decided to join them.  The whole church was praying with all their hearts, some shouting out, "Jesus, I trust in You!  Jesus, I love You!"  It reminded me of great paintings of the saints in Heaven, like the one above.  I felt as if I were standing with all of them at the end of time, as Saint John describes:

"After this I saw a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne, and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands:  And they cried with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God, who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb."  Apocalypse 7:9

Suddenly a young women who was kneeling in front me fainted.  I have heard of such things, but have never actually seen it before.  I know this is a point of controversy....I have no specific opinion because I do not know enough about these things-I do have a certain reserve in these matters, as most traditional-minded Catholics do.  But I don't wish to get into any of that right now.  I will say, her face, as she lay unconscious, looked utterly peaceful-it even seemed she had a slight smile.  No one was concerned about her, except me (probably because they were familiar with this sort of thing).  I went up to her, stroked her forehead and prayed for her.  After a few minutes, she awoke, seemed dazed but peaceful, and carried on.

I thank the Most Holy Trinity for these blessings yesterday and also, I thank Saint Faustina for giving us the message of Our Lord's great mercy.  It just goes to show you how important each and every life is.  How important it is that we do the work God has uniquely given each one of us.  Whether we reach a few, or matters.  That is why we must always strive to be the best we can be...spiritually, mentally and physically...because counting on us.


Image courtesy

Feast of Saint Isidore the Farmer

                  SAINT ISIDORE, PRAY FOR US!

                  SAINT ISIDORE, PRAY FOR US!

This is Saint Isidore's lesser feast-his main feast is May 15th, the date he died in 1130.  I love the icon above-its looks like he is holding a spherical terrarium.  If you zoom in, you can see an angel operating a plow.  This is due to the story that his guardian angel sometimes did his work for him, when he was busy in spiritual matters.  He is also known as Saint Isidore, the Laborer (not to be confused with Saint Isidore of Seville, a bishop who lived 500 years earlier).  He lived his life just outside Madrid, working in the fields for a wealthy landowner.  His wife is Saint Maria de la Cabeza, whose feast is September 9th.  They were devoutly religious and ministered to the poor.  For more info:

Nomen Christi Apostolate is dedicated to preparedness and sustainability.....growing our own food is the most basic way to be prepared and self-sufficient.  Sustainability involves creating resilient systems of food production which respect God's great earth.  We hope to move the Church closer to these ideals in the coming years.  If you are like-minded and wish to join us, please contact us at: .  We take Saint Isidore's and Saint Maria's example in wishing to help the poor as well, with our work.  Saint Isidore and Saint Maria, watch over us!

O God, Who taught Adam the simple art of tilling the soil, and Who through Jesus Christ, the true vine, revealed Thyself the Husbandman of our souls, deign, we pray, through the merits of blessed Isidore, to instill into our hearts a horror of sin and a love of prayer, so that, working the soil in the sweat of our brow, we may enjoy eternal happiness in Heaven, through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Image courtesy

Feast of Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church

From The New Marian Missal:

"To be convinced how much the intercession of Saint Joseph prevails with Jesus Christ, we have only to consider these words of the Evangelist:  'And He was subject to them'....This humble obedience of Jesus teaches us that the dignity of Joseph is above that of all the other Saints, except that of the Queen of Saints."

Excerpts from the traditional Mass:

"The just shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus:  planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God."

"We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of the Spouse of Thy Most Holy Mother:  so that what we cannot obtain of ourselves, may be given to us through his intercession."

"Lord, Thou has prevented him with blessings of sweetness:  Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones.  He asked life of Thee, and Thou hast given him length of days for ever and ever."

"The Lord loved him, and adorned him; He clothed him with a robe of glory.  Alleluia.  The just shall spring as the lily; and shall flourish for ever before the Lord.  Alleluia."

"We render unto Thee, O Lord, the bounden duty of our service, humbly entreating Thee to preserve Thine own gifts within us by the prayers of blessed Joseph, Spouse of the Mother of Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, on whose holy festival we offer up to Thee this sacrifice of praise."

"It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God:  and that we should magnify with due praises, bless and proclaim Thee on the Feast of blessed Joseph; who, being a just man, was given by Thee as a Spouse to the Virgin Mother of God, and, as a faithful and prudent servant was set over Thy Family, that, with fatherly care, he might guard Thine only-begotten Son, conceived by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, even Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, and the Powers stand in awe.  The heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it.  Together with them we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say with lowly praise...."

"Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.  Pleni sunt Coeli et terra gloria tua.  Hosanna in excelsis.  Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.  Hosanna in excelsis!"


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