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  • Marian Reflections

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Marian thought for February

«It was not enough for God to give us his Son on a Cross, but he also gave Mary to us. When we honor the Virgin Mary, we will love Jesus more. When we place ourselves under her mantle we will better understand divine mercy. How great is God, how sweet is Mary!» (St. Rafael Arnáiz)

St. Rafael Arnaiz Baron was born on April 9, 1911 in Burgos, Spain. He studied in the Jesuit school, where he received his First Holy Communion in 1919. He showed a very great openness to the things that had to do with God from a very early age. The first signs of the illness that would mark the rest of his life appeared in 1922. His father, who believed that his recovery was due to the Virgin Mary’s special intervention, took Rafael to Zaragoza in thanksgiving and consecrated him to Our Lady of Pilar. As years went by, he developed many different traits, such as friendship. He also grew in his Christian life. God placed the desire in his heart to consecrate himself in monastic life. He met the Trappist monks of San Isidro de Dueñas and felt very attracted to that life, because he saw that it corresponded to his intimate desires. He entered there on January 15, 1934. He had to leave the convent three times due to the diabetes that God mysteriously used to test him. Each time he returned, he came back with more desires to be generous and faithful. These desires were fulfilled on April 26, 1938, when he left this world at only 27 years of age. He was declared Blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1992 and canonized on October 11, 2009.

St. John XXIII

s juan xxiii

"Oh Immaculate Mary, you are the morning star that dissipates the darkness of night; we come to you with great trust!"

Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, later Pope John XXIII, was born on November 25, 1881 in Sotto il Monte inBergamo, Italy.
He was confirmed and received his First Holy Communion in 1889. Three years later, he entered the Seminary of Bergamo. In 1901, he went to the Pontifical Roman Seminary, thanks to scholarship that the Diocese of Bergamo offered him. He was ordained a priest on August 10, 1904, in the Church of Santa Maria in Montesanto, in Piazza del Popolo in Rome. The Bishop of Bergamo named him as his secretary. He continued this task until 1914. The war broke out in 1915 and he became a military chaplain for the hospitals. He also coordinated the moral and spiritual assistance to the soldiers. In 1919, he was named spiritual director of the Seminary of Bergamo. He was called to Rome by Pope Benedict XV, who named him the Italian president of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. From then on, he was given many important tasks, such as his nomination as Apostolic Visitor in Bulgaria. He was ordained bishop in 1925, and served as such in many parts of the world. In 1953, he was created cardinal, and on January 25 of that same year was sent to Venice as Patriarch. After Pius XII's death, he was elected Pope on October 28, 1958. His pontificate lasted 5 years, during which he showed himself as a true shepherd, humble and attentive, decisive and brave. During his pontificate, he summoned the Second Vatican Council, which was concluded by Bl. Paul VI. He died on June 3, 1963. He was beatified by John Paul II on September 3, 2000, and canonized on April 27, 2014 by Pope Francis.

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