St. Rose of Lima – 1st canonized saint of the Americas…what true beauty is, true beauty does

St. Rose of Lima, is the 1st person canonized a saint in the Americas and is considered the patron of Latin America and the Philippines.

Her story is really as lovely as her name.  Born Isabel (which in itself means Beauty) in 1586, she was so beautiful that they simply called her Rose.   She felt a special relationship with Jesus in her heart at very young age; and felt a close tie to St. Catherine of Siena.   Undoubtedly a she experienced deep mystical experiences in prayer.  Like many who have those types of graces, she felt called to extraordinary acts of penance not only for herself but  for all mankind.  It is said that she would place a pepper/lye-based oil on her skin in order to marr her complexion so as not to be a source of temptation for others and to eliminate the potential for vanity in herself.  Ok, so that may seem extreme today, but don’t forget it was an act not unlike that of St. Clare, who cut her hair in order to become unmarriageable…St. Rose’s motivation may have shared some of that intention.  She had a great devotion to and relationship with the child Jesus; you will see him with her in many of the paintings depicting her life.  She died in 1617 and was canonized 1671.

The video is a wonderful one; the images tell the story.  For those of you who do not speak Spanish don’t sweat it…remember it was her native language  (her father was Spanish, her mother part Spanish and Inca), and well…well allow yourself to stretch a little, it’s so worth  viewing, if only to get to know St. Rose and her people better.

St. Pius X – to renew all things in Christ

The Pope of the Blessed Sacrament

“Itching Ears Among Us

Saint Pius X exemplified the words of the Apostle to Timothy: “Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths” (2 Tim 4:2–4). One hundred years after Pope Saint Pius X we have to ask ourselves if there are not still “itching ears” among us.

What causes one’s ears to itch? Curiosity. Lack of discernment. A weak background in Catholic doctrine. Faithful Catholics cannot permit themselves to read just anything. To read authors of dubious orthodoxy or authors critical of the Magisterium is like scratching an itch. It becomes worse. Why would one would even want to read such authors when one can choose from among the inexhaustible richness of the writings of the saints of every age?

 Children and the Eucharist

It was Saint Pius X who opened Holy Communion to little children. He invited the Catholic faithful to frequent, even daily Holy Communion. Pius X came to be known as the “Pope of the Eucharist,” a title that he now shares with Pope John Paul II, the author of Ecclesia de Eucharistia and of Mane Nobiscum, Domine.” – for more go to Vultus Christi

I see that serious face of the young boy to the right, and I wonder what he is thinking.  His family was so poor.  Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto was born in 1835, the second of ten children.  His father was the village postman.  Though poor, his parents valued education and made every effort in securing that gift for their children.

Pope Pius was a Marian Pope, whose encyclical Ad Diem Illum expresses his desire through Mary to renew all things in Christ, which he had defined as his motto in his first encyclical. Pius believed that there is no surer or more direct road than by Mary to achieve this goal (no wonder he had such a beautiful heart). Pius X was the only Pope in the 20th century with extensive pastoral experience at the parish level, and pastoral concerns permeated his papacy; he favoured the use of the vernacular in catechesis. Frequent communion was a lasting innovation of his papacy. He spoke plainly and with strength, and because of that he was not well like by the elite and the rich.   He often referred to his own humble origins, taking up the causes of poor people. I was born poor, I have lived poor, and I wish to die poor

This is a wonderful prayer by the saint himself:

O Lord Jesus Christ, let Your passion be my strength to sustain, guard, and protect me. Let Your wounds be my food and drink to nourish, fill, and invigorate me. Let the shedding of Your Blood cleanse me of all my sins. Let Your death obtain eternal life for me and Your cross lead me to everlasting glory. Let these constitute for me refreshment and joy, health and uprightness of heart.   Amen.

St. Pius X Statue at St. Peter’s…It’s so high up. I suspect he probably would have preferred more to be on the level of the people.

What does an anti-pope and a confessor have in common? They’re Fathers of the Church. Today, St. Hippolytus and St. Maximus, it’s you’re feast day! – Discerning Hearts

An anti-pope (and a great liturgist…it figures doesn’t it) who is considered a father of the Church and a saint.  God’s great mercy knows no bounds!  How does someone who was a self proclaimed pope (and considered the first anti-pope in Church history) become a saint? The story of St. Hippolytus is a fascinating one.  A greek-speaking priest who who lived in the late 100’s – early 200’s; his writings on the Eucharistic liturgy are some of the most beautiful of all time.  Check him out Mike Aquilina’s great blog The Ways of the Fathers   

And take a listen as we talk about St. Hippolytus with Mike   



St. Maximus the Confessor lived approx. 500 years after Hippolytus.  He is one of last fathers of the Church  and is consider one of the first of her doctors.  A beautiful writer and homelist he said this once:  

The sun of justice, rising into the clean mind, reveals Himself and the reasons of all that He created and will create.

Love defeats those three: self-deception, because she is not proud; Interior envy, because she is not jealous; Exterior envy, because she is generous and serene.

All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are inside our hearts hidden.

Faith without love does not act in the soul the illumination of the divine knowledge.

When the mind receives the ideas of things, by its nature is transformed according to each and every idea. If it sees the things spiritually, it is transfigured in many ways according to each vision. But if the mind becomes in God, then it becomes totally shapeless and formless, because seeing Him who has one face it comes to have one face and then the whole mind becomes a face of light.- taken from Speech on Love

He too, like St. Hippolytus, suffered a martyrs death.  St. Maximus the Confessor, a remarkable man who Mike Aquilina tells us about. 

Mike Aquilina’s excellent book “the Fathers of the Church” is a great introduction to the First Christian teachers.

It’s important I think to hear the stories of these great thinkers of the Church, who when the time came in a crazy world, had the courage to speak truth and surrender to God’s great love…if they can do it, why can’t we?

The Feast of St. Philomena

St. Philomena by Mic Carlson
St. Philomena by Mic Carlson

Despite the “lack of historical evidence” surrounding St. Philomena, the heart just “knows”.  The  relationships that this lovely little saint has had with us in the temporal order from her seat in the Cloud of Witnesses is the greatest evidence of all for her presence there.  The great Cure de Ars, St. John Vianney,  had a great devotion to St. Philomena, along with many, many others.   Beloved St. Philomena, pray for us!

IP#14 Fr. Paul Hamans – Edith Stein and Companions on the Way to Auschwitz on Inside the Pages

Compelling just isn’t a big enough word to capture the work that Fr. Paul Hamans has given us in this book.  “Edith Stein and Companions on the Way to Auschwitz” not only gives us a portrait of the great saint, but gives us the faces and insights into the hearts of those we call “companions”…be prepared to be both heartbroken and inspired at the same time.

Find this book at the Ignatius Press website


IP#10 Mark Brumley – Ignatius Press and The Catholic Truth Society on Inside the Pages

Have you ever heard of  “The Catholic Truth Society”? Well thanks to Ignatius Press, you are about to.  In this edition of “Inside the Pages”, I talk with Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press and whois one of the leading Catholic apologists in the country (he’s also a really nice guy as well).  Ignatius Press is bringing the booklets, leaflets and tracks from the Society to America, and they’re fantastic.  The authors found on these booklets are enough to crow about, but the titles are so good…wow…beyond excellent.  You don’t want to miss them.  Take a look HERE! In this episode we talk the new evangelization, saints, history, apologetics…you name it.

Here are just some of the conversations Bruce and I have had with Mark Brumley in the past 

Mark Brumley Did Jesus Really Rise.mp3

Mark Brumley Handbook of Catholic Apologetics.mp3

Mark Brumley Jesus of Nazareth Study Guide.mp3

Mark Brumley Lost Gospels.mp3