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Marian thought for January

“Innate and supreme Father, You bestowed countless and great gifts upon the glorious Virgin Mary, enriching her by your word with the message of the angel, immaculately conceiving your Son in her by your Spirit, covering her with your divinely powerful shadow and instructing her with the pure spring of your knowledge of how she was to give birth to the Savior. Being by your will virgin before the birth, after the birth she remains virgin by your power. Her pure chastity responds to your word. Her immaculate virginity is a miracle of yours. In her favor turn your eyes to our want, pull us out of our frivolities and deliver us from our vicious tendencies” (Liturgical text of the Hispanic Mozarabic rite).

This ancient Hispanic rite was part of the group of Latin language liturgies that were constituted in the West between the fifth and seventh centuries.

Venerable Maria Teresa Gonzalez Quevedo

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"My Mother, may those who look at me, see you."

Maria Teresa Gonzalez Quevedo was born in Madrid, Spain, on April 12, 1930. She was joyful, active and enthusiastic. She loved to play sports and had a great love for life. When she was 10 years old, she decided to become a saint, and from that moment on she began to grow in her spiritual life. She joined the Marian Congregation. Upon receiving a medal of Our Lady, she decided to write on the back of it the following phrase: “My Mother, may those who look at me, see you.” It was during the month of May when she spontaneously prayed from her heart: “My Mother, grant me the vocation to religious life!” God later showed her that He wanted her only for Him. One of her friends experienced the same thing, but decided to wait to respond when she was older, but Teresa, generous and decided, corrected her by saying: “How stingy and egotistical! How can you think that Jesus is going to accept you all worn out after you’ve offered the best of your life to the world! Jesus has better taste than that, and wants your youth with all its joys and dreams as an offering.” In February of 1948, she entered as a Carmelite of Charity. Upon seeing her self-offering, many of her friends discovered that giving oneself to God did not mean sadness or failure, but rather joy. A little more than a year later in May of 1949, she suffered a serious fever, indicating that something was not right, the cause of which was acute pleurisy. In her diary she wrote: “During Communion, I had such a desire to give myself completely to Jesus in order to show Him how much I loved Him, that I offered myself as a victim so that He could do with me what He wanted.” In January of 1950, she suffered a terrible headache. Her father, who was a doctor, diagnosed her with tuberculosis meningitis. On Holy Thursday of that same year, her state suddenly worsened and she exclaimed: “Jesus, I love you for all those who do not love you!” Before dying, she shouted: “My Mother, come and receive me… take me with you to Heaven!” A few minutes later, she left this earth. It was April 8, 1950. She was proclaimed venerable by Pope John Paul II on June 9, 1983.

Blessed Philip Rinaldi

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"If you do something for the Virgin Mary, she will do much more for you."

Bl. Philip Rinaldi was born on May 28, 1856, in the province of Alessandria, Italy. He had the joy of meeting St. John Bosco who later invited him to become a Salesian. He was ordained a priest in 1882, and a bit later was placed in charge of aspirants to the priesthood. He worked in Spain and Portugal. In 1901, John Bosco's successor named him vicar-general of the congregation. He never allowed his intense work to impide him from exercising his ministry as priest and spiritual guide. He was named Rector Major in 1922 and dedicated himself to the formation of the Salesians. He lived totally committed to his vocation. He fell ill during August 1928 and, realizing its gravity, stated on one occasion, "I have grown old, I must forget about the world." He died in the year 1931, and was beatified on April 9, 1990 by Saint John Paul II..

 

St. Francis of Assisi

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"Hail Mary, Mother of God, in you was and remains, the whole fullness of grace and everything that is good."

St. Francis was born in Assisi (Italy) in the year 1182. During his youth, he led a worldly life, and, attracted by the world of chivalry, decided to become a soldier. He was imprisoned for a year after a battle between Perugia and Assisi. During that time period, he suffered a grave illness, which led him to change his life. He had a personal encounter with Our Lord and, leaving everything behind, Francis decided to follow Him in poverty. He practiced charity with those affected by leprosy and began working to restore a collapsed church. He started this mission after a vision in which Our Lord, from the crucifix of the abandoned church, asked Francis to repair His house. Although his father disinherited him, Francis preferred to renounce to his luxurious clothing and life rather than stop following Christ. He felt the call to go out into the world. When he returned to Assisi, he began to preach and, through his preaching, the first 12 disciples began to imitate his way of life. They would later become the first Franciscan brothers of the order. He led a life full of love for Our Lord and for poverty. He also traveled to the Holy Land and had an ardent desire to become a martyr. It was he who began the tradition of using Nativity scenes. He is also known for having received the stigmata (the signs of Christ’s crucifixion) and for writing the “Canticle of the Creatures.” He was very devoted to Our Lady. In his feverous prayers, he often asked her to be his “advocate.” St. Francis died on October 3, 1226. He was canonized on July 16, 1228.

Saint Louis Marie de Montfort

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"God the Father gathered together of all the waters, and He named it the sea (mare). He has gathered together of all His graces, and He has called it Mary (Maria)."

Saint Louis Marie de Montfort was born in Montfort (France) on January 31st, 1673. He was the eldest of 18 siblings, 3 of which became priests and another 3 religious sisters. Since an early age he was greatly devoted to the Eucharist and to the Blessed Virgin Mary and would often be found spending long periods of time before an image of the Virgin Mary. Ever since he was little he used to go to daily mass even though that meant getting up early in the morning and walking 4 km to get to the Church. He was 20 years old when he felt the call from God to consecrate his life in the priesthood. He was ordained at the age of 27 on June 5th, 1700. His priestly motto was: "Be a slave to Mary". Among his writings we find one of the most well known works written about Our Lady: "True devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary". Saint Louis Marie is venerated as a priest, a missionary, and a founder, but above all as the slave of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He died in Saint Laurent sur Sevre on April 28th, 1716 when he was just 43 years old. He was beatified in 1888 and canonized on July 20th, 1947.

 

St. Manuel Gonzalez

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"Immaculate Mother, teach me to repeat generously, firmly, and peacefully in everything and every moment, the answer you gave to the Angel Gabriel, "Be it done unto me according to your word."

St. Manuel Gonzalez was born in Seville, Spain, on February 25, 1877. Known as "the Bishop of the Abandoned Tabernacle," he tried to instill the great love he had for Jesus in the Eucharist in his faithful and those around him. Before reaching ten years of age, he was a choirboy who sang and danced before the Blessed Sacrament on the feasts of Corpus Christi and the Immaculate Conception. At twelve years of age, he entered the minor seminary and was at the top of all of his classes. He received his doctorate in Theology and his bachelor's degree in Canon Law after fifteen years of studying. He was ordained a priest in 1901 by Cardinal Spinola. He gave his first parish mission shortly after his ordination. He had an experience that convinced him of his mission to defend the Eucharist from abandonment. In a small down in Andalucía, he was shocked to find an abandoned tabernacle. Four years after his ordination, he was named archpriest of Huelva, Spain. In 1916, he was consecrated bishop of Malaga where he exercised his office for almost 20 years. On the night of May 11, 1931, a mass of people set fire to the Bishop's Palace. Miraculously, the bishop, together with his faithful, escaped from the flames. After this, he never returned to Malaga. As if exiled, he moved to Madrid, but in spite of all that had taken place, his zeal for Our Lord in the tabernacle continued. In 1935, he was named bishop of Palencia until 1940 when, after an illness, he passed away in Madrid on January 4, 1940. He was buried in the Cathedral of Palencia in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel as he had requested. "I ask that I may be buried alongside a tabernacle so that after my death, my bones, just like my tongue and my pen during my life, may repeat to those who pass by, 'Jesus is there! He is there! Do not abandon Him!'" He was beatified on April 29, 2001 and canonized by Pope Francis on October 16, 2016.

 

Saint Clare of Assisi

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"May you cling to his most sweet Mother, who gave birth to the kind of Son whom the heavens could not contain, and yet, she carried him in the tiny enclosure of her sacred womb."

Saint Clare of Assisi was born in Assisi in 1194. Very little is known about her infancy and adolescence. The first written information about her tell us that at the age of 18 she cut her hair and took on the dark habit worn by the order of St. Francis, wanting to follow Christ in poverty, humility and charity. She began to live a life of radical poverty and founded to the second franciscan order: the Poor Ladies. St. Clare lived St. Francis' ideal, but from inside the convent, where she spent 43 years of her life. She gave her soul up to God in a convent called Saint Damian on the 11th of August, 1253. Her last words were: "Oh God, blessed are you for having created me."

 
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