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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.

Saint Catherine Labouré

sainte vierge

"This globe which you see represents the whole world, especially France, and each person in particular. These rays symbolize the graces I shed upon those who ask for them. The gems from which rays do not fall are the graces for which souls forget to ask" (Our Lady to Saint Catherine Labouré).

Saint Catherine was born in France in 1806. Her mother passed away when Catherine was 9 years old. This made her entrust herself to the Virgin Mary in a special way so that She would be her Mother. Since a young age, Catherine desired to dedicate her life to God in the religious life. Her father resisted her going because there was no one to attend to the duties at home. Disconsolate, she begged the Lord insistently to grant her what she desired: to become a religious. One night in a dream, she saw an elderly priest who said to her, "One day you will help me take care of the sick." When she was 24, she visited her sister and saw in the convent Saint Vincent de Paul's portrait. She recognized the elderly priest from her dream and understood that she had to dedicate her life there. After insisting a great deal, she obtained permission and was accepted by the community. On November 27, 1830, she was praying in the convent's chapel when the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her, completely radiant and shedding beautiful rays of light from her hands to the earth. She entrusted Catherine the making of an image of the apparition and a medal. On one side, the medal would have the Virgin Mary's initials--m and a cross--with the quote, "Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." The medal was made, and through it many miracles and special graces were obtained for those who wore it and prayed the prayer on it. From 1830 until 1876, when she died, Catherine lived in the convent and no one thought that she was the one the Virgin Mary had appeared to. Eight months before her death, Catherine told her new superior about all of the apparitions in detail, and it was known who was the one who had seen and heard the Virgin Mary. Pope Pius XII declared her a saint in 1947.

 

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