31 October 2008

Happy Halloween!

Actually, it's not supposed to be a happy day. Because the souls in heaven are honored tomorrow, and the souls in purgatory are remembered the next day, it has long been a Catholic custom to dwell today upon the souls in hell. It would not be amiss to offer prayers today for the conversion of all who are on the road to perdition.

Lisa gets the credit for noting the interesting fact that today is quite unusual in that secularists have paganized a Christian holiday, whereas for the most part Christianity "baptized" pagan feast days. The theme of the day was centered upon hell and damnation in its Catholic origins, but with the purpose of helping us to avoid them rather than glorifying in them.

Additions from Katie

Thought I'd throw in my thoughts:

Lourdes was a great trip, despite the long bus ride, etc. I think we were blessed with the opportunity to go. One of my favorite stops along the way was the castle in Carcassonne. That was my first castle! Lots of fun "storming it, scaling the walls..." with John, Lisa, and Maria. Once in Lourdes, I think the best part for me was just sitting quietly at the Grotto and praying, contemplating the apparition of Mary and her words to Bernadette.

After a couple days of sleeping in, I've recovered from the trip and am almost done with my homework for next week. Like John, I also have a paper to work on-my first one! However, mine isn't due until the end of November. It's 10 pages on Platonic dialogues. Should be fun...we'll see how it goes.

Hopefully we'll make it to Vienna this weekend, just to hang out for the day, but if not, I'll probably be going next weekend to pick up a friend, Cecilia, who's coming to visit Gaming.

I'll drop in again later!

30 October 2008

Paper writing

Now that we're back in Gaming, and have had a day to recover from our pilgrimage, it's paper writing time for me. I have two papers due by the end of next week. One is for my fundamental theology class Fides et Ratio and is on St. Thomas's definition of the virtue of faith. The other is for my moral theology class Human Acts and the Final End and is on St. Thomas's treatise on happiness as the final end of human life.

29 October 2008

We're Back!

We pulled into our beloved Gaming at 2:15 this morning. It's been a long week (and a good one) and we're happy to be home. A photo album is now linked on the sidebar.

28 October 2008

Ss. Simon and Jude

Apostles (II Class)
The holy Apostles Simon, a Cananean, called Zelotes (the Zealot) and Jude Thaddeus, a brother of St. James the Less, a cousin to Jesus, called Lebbeus (the Courageous), preached the Gospel, the first in Egypt, the second in Mesopotamia. They both suffered martyrdom in Persia in the first century. St. Jude wrote a short Epistle in which he exhorts the faithful to beware of heretics.

Tuesday was a looooooooong day. We began with Mass at 7:30, and then ate breakfast, packed our things, and got on the bus. We began driving at 9:30 and arrived at Gaming the next morning at 2:15, almost 17 hours later. The highlight of the day was definately the quick bathroom stop we made around 6:30 in Germany. There was a Burger King! Did that ever taste good after subsisting mostly on snack foods all day.

27 October 2008

Ss. Bernadette and Margaret Mary

From this point on pictures are scarce since we were all so exhausted after spending the night on the bus. It also was raining much of the day on Monday. We pulled into Nevers, pretty much right in the center of France, at 7:00 in the morning to spend half an hour or so in prayer before the body of St. Bernadette. Then it was back onto the bus to head for Paray-le-Monial and the Visitation chapel wherein our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and revealed to her His Sacred Heart.

The chapel itself was very plain, with a modern day mosaic in the apse depicting the apparition of our Lord to St. Margaret Mary. Her body was also visible in a side chapel there. We had reserved the time slot from 10:00-10:45 for Mass to be said in the chapel by our priests, but since we didn't arrive until 10:30 we had to settle for participating in the Mass scheduled for another group at 10:45, complete with guitar and a very bouncy music leader. Let's just say it was quite a contrast to the Mass we were blessed to hear the previous day in Lourdes.

The basilica in Paray-le-Monial looked quite nice, but we didn't have time to go inside. I think the architectural style is Romanesque, but I could be mistaken about that.

By the time Mass was finished it was noon and we still had hardly eaten a bite all day. We set off through town looking for food only to discover the strange French custom of closing all the shops on Monday, I suppose in order to recover from the weekend. After a fair bit of looking we did manage to find a coney-island style restaurant that was open. We devoured our coffee and food and made it back onto the bus by 1:00 ready for another drive, this time to Saint-Jodard, about 80 kms North-West of Lyon, where there is a novitiate house for the Community of St. John. We have some connections to this community, since one of the students at the ITI, who was traveling with us, is a member of the community, as is one of our professors. The community is of quite recent origin (1975). We arrived sometime in the mid-afternoon, had some dinner and went to bed early. Some of the students, Katie included, went for a long walk to the Lorraine River where we are told there is a great little fortress.

26 October 2008

The Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ

(I Class)
The royalty of Christ rests upon a twofold basis. He is our King by right of birth and by right of conquest. The first refers us to the personality of the Son of God, whereby, in His divine nature as God and by virtue of the hypostatic union, He is the sovereign Lord and Master. The second places before us the God-Man coming down on earth to rescue fallen man from the slavery of Satan, and by the labors and sufferings of His life, and passion, and death, to win a glorious victory for us over sin and hell.

Commemoration of St. Evaristus, Pope, Martyr
St. Evaristus, successor of St. Anacletus I, governed the Church for nine years; he was condemned to death under Trajan in 109.

Sunday in Lourdes was a great day. Having determined not to hear Mass again in the bare boards closet chapel, we looked for an opportunity to hear Mass in one of the basilicas. Not only was there a 9:30 Mass offered in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, but it said also that it would be offered in Latin! We arrived early and found a seat where we could park Maria's stroller. Then much to my delight I noticed altar cards arranged on the altar. We had unknowingly come to a traditional Latin Mass, and not just any Mass, but that for the Feast of Christ the King, which on the traditional calendar is always celebrated on the last Sunday of October. What a gift from our Lady, to be able to hear such a Mass!

Regarding the Feast of Christ the King, by the way, Pope Pius XI's very brief 1925 Encyclical Letter Quas Primas, by which he instituted the feast day, is an excellent read. His intention was that this feast day would be a reminder to nations that they also "are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ" (32).

After Mass, we set out to try to obtain another plenary indulgence by visiting the same four holy sites as before. When we returned to the basilicas we were pleased to encounter a long and beautiful eucharistic procession.

Later that evening we watched the sun go down behind the basilicas before setting out for dinner.

At 9:00 pm we were all back on the bus for another overnight drive, this time heading North-East through France toward Nevers, where the body of St. Bernadette lies incorrupt.

25 October 2008

Commemoration of Ss. Chrysanthus and Daria

St. Chrysanthus was converted by his wife, St. Daria. They came from the East to Rome. After many torments under the prefect Celerinus, they were buried alive in a sandpit in 284.

We awoke Saturday morning relatively refreshed and ready to follow the Jubilee path marked out by the Pope in hopes of gaining a plenary indulgence. We began the morning with another visit to the grotto of the apparitions and then to the basilicas which are built directly over the grotto. The Basilica of the Rosary is the lower shrine with the mosaics covering the facade; the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is the higher shrine with the towers.

After Divine Liturgy with most of our group at the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Lourdes we started out on the Jubilee path. First, we went to the parish church in Lourdes where St. Bernadette was baptized to pray before the baptismal font. Then, we visited the Cachot, which is a former prison into which St. Bernadette's family moved for want of money in 1857 when her father lost his job. It was from there that St. Bernadette set out on February 11, 1858 to gather firewood. Next, we came to the grotto itself wherein our Lady appeared that day to St. Bernadette. It was quite crowded then because of a procession of French "cowboys" on horseback that were coming to say the Rosary in front of the grotto. From a distance, though, we were able to say our prayers, and then we headed off to our final destination: the hospice chapel where St. Bernadette made her first Holy Communion.

Later that evening we returned to the grotto (now much less crowded), and remained until the sun began to set over the basilicas at which point we set off to find some dinner.

24 October 2008

St. Raphael

Archangel (III Class)
Benedict XV extended to the Universal Church the feast of the holy Archangel St. Raphael, who is known to us from the inspired words of the Book of Tobias as the angelical physician of soul and body.

We arrived in Carcassonne around 3:00 Friday morning and crashed into bed. We were up at 7:00 for breakfast, and then headed into the old city to explore. With its 3 km of walls Carcassonne is the largest walled town in Europe. It was an impressive city to say the least (click this link to see an amazing panoramic shot of the city at night). We spent the whole morning wandering about and playing on the walls. One of the city's chief claims to fame is that it was a stronghold of the catharist heretics in the 13th century. Impressive though the fortifications are, the city did fall to the Catholic crusaders in 1209. See if you can find Lisa, Maria, and Katie in the picture below.

We piled back onto the bus at noon and headed off to Toulouse to visit the tomb of St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the patron saints of our Institute. The Church in which his tomb lies has unfortunately been turned into a museum, but the reliquary of the Angelic Doctor has been preserved under the altar.

We had a picnic lunch in Toulouse and then headed off toward Lourdes on the final leg of our journey. We arrived around 6:00 in the evening, got settled into our lodgings, and had just a few minutes to pray at the grotto before hearing Mass in a little closet chapel at 7:30. Then it was off to a strange dinner of cafeteria beef tongue and squid, by the end of which we were so tired that we went right to bed.

23 October 2008

St. Anthony Mary Claret

Bishop, Confessor (III Class)
Anthony Mary Claret founded the Missionary Sons of the Heart of Mary, the Teaching Sisters of Mary Immaculate, and other communities of nuns. For many years he labored in Catalonia, for six years in Cuba as Archbishop of Santiago, and finally in Madrid. He died in exile in France in 1870.

Happy Birthday, Anna!

After spending the whole night on the bus (16 hours!) we arrived around noon at La Sainte Baume (the holy cave) in which St. Mary Magdalene spent the last few decades of her life. It is not too far from Marseilles, where Mary's brother Lazarus was the first bishop. The cave is in the cliff face pictured below, just above the tree line. Mercifully, there was a little cafe where we were able to have some coffee before beginning the hour long uphill walk to the cave shrine. Inside are an altar and tabernacle, statues, and a large relic of the Magdalene. Although it is not made explicit in the Gospels themselves, the most ancient traditions of East and West hold that Mary Magdalene, Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and the women from whom were cast seven demons are one and the same woman.

Because the bus drivers are bound by law to take a 9 hour break after driving for a period of 20 hours, we were obliged to remain in the area around the holy cave until 9:00pm. So, it was decided that we were use the three vans to shuttle everyone to the nearby seaside. The town of Cassis was chosen, and off we went (Lisa, Maria, and I in the first load). It turned out to take quite a bit longer to get there than was estimated, so much so that only those of us who left first actually made it there. It probably wasn't worth the hassle it turned out to be, but we were happy to get our feet wet in the Mediterranean for the first time.

We finally got back on the road around 10:00 pm and headed off to Carcassonne where accommodations had been arranged for us in a diocesan retreat center.

22 October 2008


We'll be off this evening around 7:00 for our pilgrimage to Lourdes. This is, of course, the 150th anniversary of our Lady's apparitions there to St. Bernadette in 1858.

Highly recommended reading this year must include the 1854 Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of Blessed Pope Pius IX in which our Lady's Immaculate Conception is definitively defined. This provides the immediate context of our Lady's message to St. Bernadette: "I am the Immaculate Conception."

Then there is Pope St. Pius X's Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum in 1904 for the fiftieth anniversary of the dogma; Pope Pius XII's Fulgens Corona in 1953 for the centenary of the dogma; and the same Pope's Le Pelerinage de Lourdes in 1957 for the centenary of the apparitions at Lourdes. The last mentioned is quite short and readable - only about 8 printed pages. We're all reading this one in preparation for our trip, and we hope to read the others too over the remainder of the year.

Please pray for our trip! You'll hear from us again either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

21 October 2008

Commemoration of St. Hilarion


St. Hilarion, a native of Palestine, was instructed by the first lawgiver of the anchorites, St. Anthony the Great, and became one of the founders of the eremetical life in the Holy Land, Syria, and Egypt. He died in 372.

Happy 20th Katie!

We celebrated today by having cake and ice-cream in the ITI common room with all the single students. Katie must be very popular, because the room was as crowded as I've ever seen it!

Also, I've added a bunch of pictures in a new photo Album which you can view here.

20 October 2008

St. John Cantius

Confessor (III Class)
The holy priest St. John Cantius, a native of Kenty (Poland), was a professor at the University of Cracow. Famous for his heroic charity and zeal, he died in 1473.

First off, another cute picture of Maria. Here she is helping her mother cook lemon bars for a bake sale which is helping us and other ITI folk to make a pilgrimage to Lourdes. A moment ago, I wrote out a somewhat lengthly description of our itinerary, and then the internet shut down and I lost it all. The brief version is this: we leave Wednesday evening; we make stops in Toulon, Carcasonne, and Toulouse, and then are in Lourdes from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening. On the way back we stop only in Paray-le-Monial to see the shrine where our Lord revealed his Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque; then it's home again to Gaming sometime Tuesday evening.

Today also marks the completion of our little baby's sixth month of life inside his mother's womb. It seems that he is getting bigger. Maria is hoping for a little sister, but we'll have to wait and see.

19 October 2008

23rd Sunday after Pentecost

St. Peter of Alcantara, Confessor (III Class)
St. Peter, a Spaniard of noble birth, entered the Order of St. Francis at the age of 16. He re-established the primitive Franciscan rule, and gave St. Teresa powerful support in her work of reformation. He died in 1562.

This coming Tuesday is Katie's birthday, but because she has class that evening, we made her a big birthday dinner today. She requested Mexican food. The only obstacle is that Mexico is slightly farther away now, and getting ingredients is a little difficult. However, she invited two friends who are great chefs, and it turned out pretty well by all accounts.

Here is Katie blowing out the one candle that we managed to dig up.

After dinner, Katie got out her violin and Max his flute. Maria had fun whirling in circles to the music with her Daddy.

18 October 2008

St. Luke

Evangelist (II Class)
St. Luke was very probably born of pagan parents at Antioch. Converted, he became the missionary companion of St. Paul, who called him "the most dear physician" and "his fellow laborer." After the death of his teacher, according to reliable authority, he preached the Gospel in Achaia, where he died at a ripe old age. He wrote a Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles.

To my dear parents, congratulations on the completion of your 28th year of marriage!

Today the weather was on the cooler side, but the sky was clear and the sun bright. After lunch Lisa took Maria to a park to play with one of her little friends. They are both adorable. The second picture is from a day or two ago. Maria decided that she wanted to have her juice in an appropriately sized coffee cup.

17 October 2008

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Virgin (III Class)
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was born at Verosvres (France) in 1647 and entered the Order of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial in 1671. Jesus appeared to her in numerous visions, displaying to her His Sacred Heart, sometimes burning as a furnace, and sometimes torn and bleeding on account of the coldness and sins of men. In 1675 the great revelation was made to her that she, in union with Father de la Colombiére, S.J., was to be the chief instrument for instituting the Feast of the Sacred Heart and for spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart throughout the world. She died on October 17, 1690.

It was a couple of days ago now, and I forget the context of our conversation, but I asked Maria if she missed Uncle Tom and Uncle Vince, and she replied: "Yeah, I love them."

16 October 2008

St. Hedwig

Widow (III Class)
St. Hedwig, duchess of Poland, of royal stock and the maternal aunt of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, retired into a Cistercian convent after the death of her husband. She died in 1243.

We've had some requests lately for more pictures of Maria at home in Gaming. Truly you should get on Lisa's case about this. She, Maria, and the camera are almost always in the same vicinity. In the meantime, however, I hope that these will help. In the first, she is whirling about the room making it quite difficult to get a clear picture. Below, I managed to get her to stand still for a full three seconds.

Scripture Synod, Rome, 2008

One of my professors just passed on to me a summary in 19 questions of the proceedings thus far of the ongoing synod on Scripture in Rome (officially: Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church).

For good coverage of the synod you could take a look at Jeff Cavins's new website dedicated solely to it: ScriptureSynod.com.

What caught my attention was this line from Zenit.org: "The questions range from fundamental issues, such as 'what can be done to help the faithful better understand that the Word of God is Christ,' to concrete suggestions, such as, 'how to educate in the practice of lectio divina.'"

I can recall a handful of conversations in which a certain father-in-law of mine made the same point: the Word of God is firstly Christ, only secondarily the Bible.

15 October 2008

St. Teresa of Avila

Virgin (III Class)
The seraphic St. Teresa, born at Avila (Spain) at the age of 18 entered the convent of St. Mary of Mount Carmel. As the Reformer of the Carmelites, she re-established the primitive observance of their ancient Rule. On account of her invaluable works on mystical Theology, she may be considered one of the greatest Doctors of the Church. She died in 1582.

We made another attempt this evening to recreate my favorite dish from Dino and Tony's in Rome. It's called Amatriciana and is a spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce and pancetta. Maria made a fine effort, but eating spaghetti takes years to master. Her efforts with jogurt later on were even more spectacular.

14 October 2008

St. Callistus

Pope, Martyr (III Class)
St. Callistus I, successor of St. Zephyrinus, instituted the Ember Day Fasts, and provided for the honorable interment of the Martyrs. He himself suffered martyrdom under Alexander Severus in 223.

Lisa made another visit to the doctor in the morning. Apparently everything is still proceeding properly.

13 October 2008

St. Edward

Confessor (III Class)
This King-Confessor was a grandson of St. Edward, king and martyr, and the last but one of the Anglo-Saxon Kings of England. He died in 1066.

We arrived back in our beloved Gaming this morning at 5:00. The weekend was busy and wonderful, and we're all rather exhausted (especially what with Greek class this morning at 8:00). At the moment I'm scrambling to catch back up on my work, but as soon as one of us finds a free moment we'll put up some pictures of our weekend in Norcia.

: It seems that Lisa found the necessary time! Please see below.

12 October 2008

22nd Sunday after Pentecost

(II Class)
Let us remember today that we must render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, which means observing the law of justice, and render to God the things that are God's, which means that the soul made in the image of its Creator must render to Him the tribute of adoration and obedience.

Sunday was another full day. We arose early to visit another small Italian town, Cascia. This town houses the incorrupt body of St. Rita, as well as a famous Eucharistic miracle. We were there for a short time, and then it was back to Norcia where we attended the first Mass offered by Fr. Benedict. After another lengthy lunch it was time to make the journey home. It was a long, amazing weekend. Please keep Fr. Benedict and all the monks in Norcia in your prayers!

As always, we have uploaded our pictures into albums, Norcia and Cascia. We will also have them linked on the sidebar shortly.

11 October 2008

Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(II Class)
To commemorate in the liturgy the fifteenth centenary of the Council of Ephesus (held in 431), which vindicated the title of Theotokos or "Mother of God" for our Lady, Pope Pius XI in the year 1931 instituted this feast to be observed by the whole Church as a double of the second class.

Saturday morning, John got up for Lauds which were sung in the very house (now crypt of the Basilica) in which Ss. Benedict and Scholastica were born. After breakfast a group of us went to sample what we were told was the best cappucino in town (it was very good), and to take a tour of Norcia. The town itself is very small, but the center is a busy Piazza, with two Churches, a fortress, and various shops surrounding it, and a large statue of St. Benedict in the center.

Next up was the ordination. The entire ceremony was beautiful. Afterwards we were blessed by the newly ordained Pater Maria Benedictus Nivakoff, O.S.B. The luncheon following the ordination was a huge, 5 course meal. After arriving in Norcia we learned that while a few people come to Norcia because it is the birthplace of St. Benedict, it is known to the secular world for the outstanding quality of its food, in particular the prociutto. We have never been to such a meal as this, and at the end of it the Prior of the monastery approached us and said he hoped we had enjoyed it, because we were going to do the same thing the next day following Fr. Benedict's first celebration of Mass.

The remainder of the day was free-time. We wandered the streets, looking for a shot glass, which we never found. We did however find an abundance of shops selling prociutto! They were all marked by at least one, although quite often several, boars's heads mounted on the outside wall. Once it got dark the ITI group gathered on the steps of a church and sang songs from many different countries, while the children danced.

10 October 2008

St. Francis Borgia

Confessor (III Class)
After the death of his wife, St. Francis, Duke of Gandia and Viceroy of Catalonia, renounced his high position in order to enter the Society of Jesus. He was the third General of his Order and died at Rome in 1572.

Our trip for the priestly ordination of Br. Benedict began bright and early Friday morning, starting with Divine Liturgy at 5:00 AM. About 35 students, priests and families from the ITI drove 12 hours to Norcia, Italy, the birthplace of St. Benedict. Once there we were warmly greeted by the Benedictine monks of Norcia, and shown to our rooms at the Benedictine nuns's convent. Part of the rule of St. Benedict is to greet all guests as you would greet Christ, and the monks and nuns seem to take this seriously. We were shown incredible hospitality for our entire stay.

09 October 2008

St. John Leonardi

Confessor (III Class)
This holy priest of Luna in Tuscany founded the Congregation of Regular Clergy called "of the Mother of God," and other Institutes. He died at Rome on October 9, 1609. St. John Leonardi was beatified by Pope Pius XI. Pius XII extended his feast to the whole Catholic world in 1940.

This evening we're busy packing our things for the weekend in Norcia. The Monastery of San Benedetto (where we'll be for the weekend) has an excellent website that you really should take a look at. On their home page there are pictures in which you can see (bottom left) our friend who will be ordained to the holy priesthood on Saturday. Below, the piazza.

08 October 2008

St. Bridget

Widow (III Class)
St. Bridget, a descendant of the royal house of Sweden, was married to prince Ulfo. After the death of the latter, she founded the Order of the Most Holy Savior, commonly called Bridgettines. She died at Rome in 1373.

The weather was quite fine again today, as it has been fairly regularly of late. Lisa and Katie attended a brief meeting to get all the details for our upcoming weekend trip to Norcia, Italy for the priestly ordination of ITI graduate Br. Benedict. There are about 30 of us making the drive down. We're leaving around 6:00 on Friday and hoping to arrive around 19:00 pm. Then the ordination is Saturday at 11:00, Fr. Benedict's first Mass will be Sunday at 12:00, and we'll be off by 15:00 and hoping to arrive back in Gaming around 3:00 on Monday, just five short hours before Greek class begins. Needless to say, we're quite excited. Bro. Benedict graduated just last year, so we were able to know him all last year; and going to Italy is always an exciting prospect. Although I'm just a touch disappointed that plans to stop for a few hours in Padua on the way there have fallen through. Ah, well...

07 October 2008

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary

II Class
In its present form the Rosary (according to the accepted tradition) is due to St. Dominic, the founder of the Order of Friars Preachers, his objective being to stem the flood of the Albigensian heresy, then spreading far and wide throughout Europe. He propagated this form of prayer in obedience to a revelation received from the Blessed Virgin, to whom he had recourse for this purpose, about the year 1206, and to him we owe the spread of a devotion, which for many centuries has produced the most marvelous results in the Christian world. The decisive defeat of the Turks at the famous battle of Lepanto (1571) and at Belgrade (1716) gave occasion to the institution of this feast and to its extension to the Universal Church.

(Paulo Veronese, Battle of Lepanto, c. 1572)

Be sure to have a look today at G. K. Chesterton's very short and very excellent poem entitled simply Lepanto. After the Holy Rosary itself, the recitation of this poem is perhaps the best way to mark such a great feast day. For spiritual reading during this month dedicated to the Rosary, by the way, I recommend Pope Leo XIII's Encyclical on the Rosary: Fidentem piumque animum. It is quite brief at only seven paragraphs, and is linked permanently under the picture on the sidebar of Mary handing rosaries to Ss. Dominic and Catherine.

In more mundane news, Maria has taken lately to calling her stuffed cow, Uncle Vince. Either because he is the one from whom she received it, or just because she misses him, or...

She was also talking today about her grandparents, and was delighted that they are all coming to visit her this year. She is particularly interested in taking Grandpa to the Café-Konditorei / Bäckerei down the street where they have some excellent pastries. Nana she said could come too, but not Mommy and Daddy.

06 October 2008

St. Bruno

Confessor (III Class)
St. Bruno, born at Cologne, retired with six of his friends to one of the desert mountains of Dauphiny in the southeast of France. There he established the first house of the Order of the Carthusians. He died on October 6, 1101.

The picture below of St. Bruno is from the ceiling of our formerly-Carthusian Church. It is the particular honor of his order never to have been reformed. As Pope Innocent XI said of them, Cartusia numquam reformata, quia numquam deformata (the Carthusian [order] has never been reformed, for it has never been deformed). It is a general consensus that the Carthusian Order, from its inception even until now, is the strictest religious order in the Church. The name, by the way, derives from the Chartreuse Mountains in the French Alps wherein Bruno built his first hermitage.

On a related note, I'm informed by the Bad Catholics' Guide to Wine, Whiskey, and Song that the liqueur Chartreuse is an excellent digestif which "gets its pale green color from 130 local herbs and flowers collected by the monks and distilled behind the stone walls of the cloister" (p. 23).

05 October 2008

21st Sunday after Pentecost

II Class
God is good towards us: let us be the same towards our brethren. If we pardon our brethren from the bottom of our hearts, our Lord Jesus Christ will remit our debts.

Commemoration of St. Placid and His Companions, Martyrs
St. Placid, when four years old, was committed by his father Tertullus to the care of St. Benedict, who sent him later to Sicily. He was murdered with his monks, out of hatred for the Faith, by heathen pirates in 541.

Here is Maria this morning before Divine Liturgy practising how to look perfectly angelic.

The weather today was absolutely fabulous. After a good hearty brunch we took a long walk around the edges of Gaming. We saw lots of cows, sheep, even a few chickens, and lots of butterflies, one of which Maria is energetically pursuing in the picture below.

04 October 2008

St. Francis of Assisi

Confessor (III Class)
The Seraphic Patriarch of Assisi was a man especially raised up by God in the Middle Ages with the mission to reconvert the world to Christ. Francis was born in a stable, and heralded into the world by angelic song; he commenced his work with twelve followers, whom he sent two by two to preach the Gospel. He espoused most high Poverty, and received in his own body the marks of the Sacred Passion on Mount Alvernia. Francis's message of charity, peace, and justice was heard by men and women of every grade of society, and thousands in consequence desired to leave all and follow Francis in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Therefore he founded the Order of Friars Minor, the Second Order or the Poor Clares, and the Tertiaries or Third Order, which bear his name. St. Francis died about sunset on Saturday, October 3, 1226.

We spent the evening quite enjoyably at some friends' house having a mini-Oktoberfest, with Hefeweissen Bier, Lisa's big soft pretzels, and lots of sausages. In regards to the latter, we experienced something quite new to us called Bavarian sausages. They are almost white, incredibly soft, relatively flavorless, and served with sweet mustard. The inspiration for this came when in the course of our regular shopping trip to Scheibbs we noticed that it was "Bavarian week" at Lidl. Every now and then this store sets up a little shelf with foods from a particular country (this is how we obtained some ranch dressing at the end of last year, when they had "American week"). Anyhow, we noticed some little 5-liter kegs of authentic Bavarian beer, and decided to give it a try.

03 October 2008

St. Teresa of the Child Jesus

Virgin (III Class)
Mary Frances Martin was born at Alençon of parents most pious and endowed with a comfortable amount of the goods of this world. At the age of fifteen she entered the Carmel of Lisieux, living there in holiness and humility. Her whole ambition was to love God perfectly and to conquer souls for Jesus. She died in the odor of sanctity, promising to "spend her heaven in doing good upon earth" (1873-1897). His Holiness Pope Pius XI declared her Blessed on April 29, 1923, and canonized her on March 17, 1925.

Because today is the feast day of St. Therese on the Byzantine calendar as well as on the traditional Roman calendar, we were able to attend the Divine Liturgy offered today in her honor. The whole institute prayed a novena to St. Therese (our principal patroness) leading up to her Novus Ordo feast day (Oct. 1), and today we received news that the ITI had received an unexpected, very generous, and badly needed donation on October 1st. The school is, of course, desperately trying to raise money for the move to Trumau (more about that here).

This morning I found a new bed for Maria in one of the ITI storage rooms. It's actually a crib, but I took one of the sides off and flipped it up on top in order to make a roof for her. She is quite fond of making "houses" out of blankets. She was quite happy with her new sleeping arrangements, and spent a lot of time playing in her bed before we actually put her to bed. Tonight we'll see if she can make it through the night without falling out of bed onto the floor. It's not much of a fall, but I'm sure it would be a rude awakening.

02 October 2008

The Holy Guardian Angels

III Class
God's love for us was not satisfied with giving us His Son, Jesus, for our Redeemer, and Mary for our Advocate; He has been pleased to give us also His Angels to be our guardians: "He hath given His Angels charge over thee: to keep thee in all thy ways" (Ps. 90:2). These holy spirits and princes of heaven are always present with us, and assist us in all our actions. And on this account, out of regard to our guardian Angels, we ought carefully to refrain from every action which can displease them.

Best wishes, (Uncle) Jake!

01 October 2008

Commemoration of St. Remigius

Bishop, Confessor
St. Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, in France, converted the Merovingian king Clovis and the Frankish nation. He died in 534.

On the Novus Ordo calendar, today is the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, principal patroness of our Institute. (Her feast day prior to the post-Vatican II liturgical reform was October 3.) In celebration of which the ITI welcomed this evening Bishop Küng of the diocese of Sankt Pölten (in which we are presently located). The good bishop addressed us on the topic of the married vocation in the spirituality of Opus Dei, of which he is a member. The particular characteristic of Opus Dei, of course, is their emphasis on the universal call to holiness, which was also stressed in the teaching of Vatican II. After the lecture there was of course plenty of meats and cheeses, wines and bread, etc., as well as lots of sweets and baked goods left over from a bake sale which raised some 300 Euro this afternoon toward our coming pilgrimage to Lourdes.