Monday, 24 August 2015

The Mystery of the Crown of Thorns by a Passionist Father part 34.


This century, like the former, brought trials and triumphs to the Church. The dolorous way of Calvary ends at the rocky Sepulcher, which is rendered glorious and joyful by the resurrection. Twenty-seven canonized martyrs of Japan, carry in their hands the palm of victory over Pagan persecutions. Thousands more suffered for their faith in the north-west of Europe from the malice and cruelty of the Protestant apostasy. In Italy, France and Spain, nearly twenty saints and eminent servants of God who illustrated this century by their virtues, have been raised to the honors of the altar. Among these shine with special brilliancy St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Francis de Chantal, the founders of the Order of the Visitation. St. Vincent de Paul, the founder of the Congregation of the Mission or Lazarists, the Sisters of Charity, and other religious congregations and pious associations. St. Joseph Calasanctius, the founder of the Regular Clergy of Pious Schools. St. Camillus de Lellis, founder of the Regular Clergy attending the sick and dying. St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, in Italy, and St. Rose of Lima, in Peru, South America, flourished in this century. Both suffered the Crown of Thorns. The former miraculously from our Lord, the latter from her desire of imitating our Savior. More than forty saints and servants of God, during this remarkable century, suffered the stigmata of the five wounds, or some special supernatural dolor of the passion of our Lord. The following received the impression of the Crown of Thorns.

20. St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi
The illustrious city of Florence, at this epoch a beautiful garden of sanctity, was honored by the birth and life of this great saint. She belonged to the noble family de Pazzi, and was born in 1566. When very young, she became a Carmelite Nun. Sister Mary Magdalene was only nineteen years of age, when, like St. Catharine of Sienna, she suffered the mystic and invisible Crown of Thorns, and the interior stigmata of the five wounds. This was in the year 1585, when she was made to pass through all the stages of the passion of her divine spouse. She died in 1607, being 41 years old and was canonized sixty-two years later by Pope Clement IX, April 28th 1669. Her feast is celebrated May 27th. (Bollandists 25th May)

21. Sister Ursula Aguir
This holy servant of God was born in Valence, Spain in the year 1554. When very young, she became a member of the Third Order of St. Dominic. Sister Ursula often participated in the dolors of the passion of our Lord. On the 21st of March 1592, she received the impression of the five wounds and her heart was pierced. She suffered likewise the Crown of Thorns, and was often ravished into ecstasies. Sister Ursula died 1st September 1608 and was buried in the chapel of the third Order of St. Dominic in her native city. (See Steill and Marchese)

22. Sister Magdalene Caraffa
This great servant of God was no less eminent for her sanctity, than for her nobility of blood. She was the Duchess of Andria in the Kingdom of Naples. But generously renouncing all the pomps and pleasures of the world, she embraced a life of poverty and humility, obedience, self-denial and penance in a Dominican convent. During several years, at her fervent request, she experienced every Friday, the sufferings of the Crown of Thorns. She was born in the year 1566 and died 1615 being 49 years old. (Marchese 29th December)

23. Blessed Passidia Crogi
This holy servant of God was a native of Sienna, another Tuscan city remarkable for her illustrious saints and persons of eminent virtue. Passidia was a member of the Order of St. Francis. She received the sacred stigmata and Crown of Thorns, which occasionally bled profusely. At the pressing instance of Queen Mariade Medicis, Mother Passidia twice traveled to France, on which occasion she plainly foretold the assassination of King Henry IV. This holy religious died in the year 1617.
See the incomparable life of blessed Passidia of Sienna in the French language, published in Paris 1627 by order of the Queen Mother, Maria de Medicis. This life was translated from the Italian by De la Brosse.

24 Catharine Ciaulina
She was a native of Italy and a member of the Third Order of St. Francis. The celebrated mystic writer, Gorres, cites this holy servant of God among the number of ecstatics, who suffered the pain of the Crown of Thorns in the head without any external mark. She died 1619,27th January according to Hueber.

25. Sister Hyppolyta of Jesus
This holy servant of God was born January 22nd, 1553, in the city of Barcelona, Spain. She embraced the religious state in the Dominican Convent of the Holy Angels in her native city. Like St. Catharine of Sienna, Sister Hyppolyta received from our Blessed Lord, the Crown of Thorns in her hands, which she so forcibly pressed on her head, that it caused her intense pain for several years. She died in the odor of sanctity 1624, 6th of August, according to Marchese.

26. Sister Delicia di Giovanni
God is admirable in all his saints, but according to the purpose of his will, he is more wonderful in some than in others. The wonders of divine Wisdom and Goodness have in a remarkable manner shone in the- life of Sister Delicia di Giovanni. Palermo, the capital of the island of Sicily, was the place of her birth which occurred December 15th, 1560. She became a Dominican Nun in her native city. In the year 1635, Sister Delicia experienced the sufferings of the passion in general. In the following year she received the stigma in her right hand and the next year in her left hand. In the fourth year she was stigmatized in her left foot and in the following year, in her right. In the sixth year, Delicia received the wound in her side, which produced a considerable visible enlargement of her heart. In the seventh year this admirable servant of God endured the torture of the flagellation, with effusion of blood from her virginal body. The year following, she suffered most intense pains all over her body, as if it were hanging upon the cross. Finally in the last year of her life this faithful spouse of Jesus and ardent lover of his passion was impressed with the Crown of Thorns, the emblem and sure pledge of her crown of glory. This holy religious died in the odor of sanctity on the 16th of July 1642. (See Marchese 16th July) The acts of the Dominican General Chapter held in Rome, 1656 state that Sister Delicia endured all the sufferings of our Lord's passion.

27. Sister Louisa of Jesus
Neuralgia headaches are painful and saddening afflictions of our humanity which are often intended by God to call to our minds the sufferings endured by his most holy Son, Jesus, our Lord, through the Crown of Thorns. Sister Louisa of Jesus should, in this respect, be our model. She was born in Paris, November 9th, 1569 and lived some years in the married state. After having edified the world, she joined the Reformed Carmelites of St. Teresa, and was the second Carmelite Nun professed in Paris in the year 1604.
Sister Louisa had an ardent devotion to the Passion of our Lord, and felt a lively compassion for his sufferings ccasioned by the Crown of Thorns. Our Blessed Lord wishing to make his loving spouse more conformable with himself, permitted her to endure the most acute pains in her head. These sufferings became so violent as to make her often fall into a swoon. It seemed to her as if some sharp instrument pierced her very skull. At other times she experienced a sensation as if an invisible hand armed with sharp points, pressed heavily upon her head. These terrible sufferings became daily more intensified, during the last six months of her life. Her religious sisters in the Convent of Dole, where she lived for some years, were of opinion that Sister Louisa suffered the impression of the Crown of Thorns. In effect the infirmarian, and other religious observed red cavities and inflamed rays, upon her forehead and round her head, similar to those caused by a real Crown of Thorns. The Nun who wrote her life describes the painful marks which she saw, but she observes that Mother Louisa never told her that they were the effects of the Crown of Thorns. This holy servant of God died in the Carmelite Convent of Dole February 28th 1528. (Chronicles of the Carmelites in France Tom. 2 Page 526, Troyes, 1850)

28. Maria d'Escobar
Maria d'Escobar was born at Valladolid, in Spain February 8th 1554. She was made to suffer the Crown of Thorns, the flagellation and crucifixion. She had the stigmata of the five wounds. The stigma of the side was surrounded by five smaller wounds, from which blood and water issued. Maria died on the 9th of June 1633. (See her life published at Madrid, 1665. Also the life of Father Louis du Ponte her confessor)

29. Sister Mary Paul of St. Thomas
This admirable servant of God, passing through different states of life, reached an eminent degree of sanctity and received extraordinary favors from our Lord. She was born in the city of Naples, on the 16th of July 1572. She lived twenty two years in the married state, and at the death of her husband, she was left with the care of a numerous family of young children. She was a member of the Third Order of St. Dominic. During the year 1620, Sister Mary Paul received the impression of the Crown of Thorns, and about Christmas the stigmata of the five wounds, which during the night were luminous. In her profound humility, by long and fervent prayer, she entreated our Lord to conceal these favors from the eyes of men, and in conformity with her desire they became invisible. This holy woman said to her confessor, that the image of our crucified Savior was impressed on her heart. After her death August 3rd 1639, the prodigy was found realized. This miraculous heart is preserved in the Dominican Church of our Lady of Health in the city of Naples. The acts of the General Chapter of the Dominicans, held in Rome in the year 1644 mention the prophecy and the miraculous impression in the heart of this wonderful servant of God.

30. Venerable Mother Agnes of Jesus
Age or condition of life, instead of being an obstacle, are made subservient to the manifestation of the wonders of God's wisdom, power and goodness. This admirable servant of God was born at Puy, in France, on the 7th day of November 1502. Prevented by divine grace, little Agnes, innocent lamb, was only twelve years of age when she received the stigmata of the five wounds, but they remained invisible so long as she lived in the world. Having entered a Dominican Convent at 22 years of age, the stigmata became apparent. She had also the impression of the Crown of Thorns. This venerable religious often endured all the sensible sufferings of the passion. At her fervent prayer the stigmata of the five wounds disappeared again, but the Crown of Thorns remained visible during all her religious life. Mother Agnes of Jesus died October 19th 1634 in the Dominican Convent at Langeac, Haute Loire where her precious relics are preserved. The cause of her beatification has long ago been introduced in Rome. See Life of the Venerable Mother Agnes of Jesus by Lantages. A new edition of this life, considerably augmented, has been published by the Abbe Lucet, in two volumes, Paris 1862. Her life was also printed in the German language in Cologne 1671.

31. Blessed Margaret Marie Alacoque.
The devout worshippers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus will be pleased to see the humble, but fervent apostle of this holy devotion, enumerated among the privileged servants of our Lord, who have shared in the dolors of his Crown of Thorns.
Margaret came into the world on the feast of St. Mary Magdalene July 22nd 1647, in the village of Versovre, in the Charolais, diocese of Autun, France. When 24 years of age, she entered the convent of the Visitation Nuns at Paray-Le-Monial, and pronounced her solemn vows in the following year 1672, November 6th. The year after her divine spouse gave Sr. Margaret a new pledge of his love, by presenting her with a Crown of Thorns. Going one morning to receive Holy Communion, the Sacred Host appeared to her eyes more resplendent than the sun, so that she could not endure its brightness. In the midst of this light she saw our Lord, who holding a Crown of Thorns over her head, affectionately said to her: "My child, receive this crown as a token of that which will soon be given thee by conformity with me." We learn from these words, that the Crown of Thorns is a token and an emblem of a soul's conformity with Jesus Christ. This fervent spouse of Jesus strove hard to become so. She had much to suffer, and suffered all with admirable humility, sweetness and heroic patience. Two years later, namely in 1575, Sr. Margaret Marie had the vision of the Sacred Heart which has been mentioned. One day after holy Communion our Lord, she says, showed me a rude crown composed of nineteen very sharp thorns that pierced his divine head; and which caused me such great sorrow that I could speak to him only by my tears. Our blessed Lord told me that I might draw out these thorns, which had been thrust into his head by an unfaithful soul. "She pierces my head with thorns as many times as, through pride, she prefers herself to me." Not knowing how to draw them out, this sad object kept continually before my eyes, causing me much suffering. My superior, having told me to ask our Lord in what manner I should be able to remove them; he told me to do it by acts of humility, performed in honor of his humiliations. This admirable servant of God died pronouncing the sacred names of Jesus and Mary, between seven and eight o'clock in the evening October 15th 1590, being 43 years, 2 months and 3 days; of which she passed nearly eighteen in the monastery of Paray, that has of late become so famous throughout the Catholic world on her account. Blessed Margaret was beatified by Pope Pius IX, April 24th 1864. May her prayers in heaven accelerate the complete and universal triumph of the Sacred Heart of Jesus upon earth. (History of blessed Margaret Marie by Father C. Daniel S. J. published by P. O'Shea, New York, 27 Barclay street 1857 and other lives of this admirable saint, which we strongly recommend for perusal to the devout readers of this sketch.)

32. Sister Catharine of St. Peter, Martyr
This is another bright star in the firmament of the Dominican Order. This holy servant of Jesus was born in San Severino, a town in the Kingdom of Naples. She became a Dominican Nun in the Convent of St. Catharine of Sienna in the city of Naples, about ninety miles distant from her native place. This fervent religious had a particular devotion to her holy Patroness of Sienna, and strove hard to imitate her eminent virtues. Our Lord allowed Sister Catharine to participate very largely in the manifold sufferings of his passion. She received the impression of the Crown of Thorns, was made to feel the weight of our Savior's cross, and her heart was pierced with a sensible dart of divine love. This holy religious died May 28th 1648, according to Marchese.

33. Sister Maria Benigna Pepe
Mary Benigna Pep6 was born in 1590, at Trapani, a town in Sicily, and became subsequently a Dominican Nun. After her death the pious Nuns, who took care of her virginal body, saw the sacred names of Jesus and Mary perfectly formed on the region of the heart and the Crown of Thorns with a cross impressed upon her shoulders. Marchese, 25th December.

34. Sister Maria Villani
This is another worthy daughter of the holy Patriarch St. Dominic. The city of Naples was the place of her birth, which occurred on the 18th of September 1584. Maria became a Dominican Nun in her native city, and was the foundress of a new convent under the title of Santa Maria (Holy Mary) of divine love. The city of Naples has been favored by God in the natural and supernatural order, and rendered illustrious with many saints and eminent servants of Jesus Christ.
Mother Mary Villani received the Crown of Thorns, June 26th, 1620, when she was thirty-six years old. She was often made to experience in a visible manner all the sufferings of the passion of our Lord. She received also the wound in her side and heart. This holy religious wrote a book on divine love with the title "De Tribus Divinus Flammis," "The Three Divine Flames," wherein she admirably describes the nature and effects of the mystic wound of the heart. She died March 26th, 1670, when the wound of her heart was made manifest. Father Master Domenico Maria Marchese, Neapolitan by birth, Rector of the Dominican College of St.Thomas in Naples, knew personally this great servant of God, and wrote her life. He states that after her death he saw the heart of Mother Mary, miraculously wounded, as if it had been pierced with a red-hot lance. He is the author of the celebrated Dominican Diary, so often quoted in this collection.

35. Sister Johanna Maria of the Cross
This servant of God was born September 8th, 1603, at Roveredo, a town of Italian Tyrol. She was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis. Sister Johanna had the impression of the Crown of Thorns, and the stigmata of the five wounds. Her death occurred March 26th, 1673. The cause of her beatification was introduced in the last century, but was interrupted on account of subsequent political revolutions. (See Hueber, 25th March. Greiderer Germania Franciscana, 1781, and above all her life written by Renee Weber, translated in the French by Charles Saint Foi, published in Paris, 1850)

36. Sister Frances Maria Furia
Alexandria near Agrigente, in Sicily, was the place of her birth, which occurred March 10th, 1639. Sister Frances was a member of the Third Order of St. Dominic. She received the stigmata of the five wounds, but at her earnest prayer God rendered them invisible, like those of St. Catharine of Sienna. The year before she died on the 25th of September, Sister Frances suffered also the impression of the Crown of Thorns. She died September 25th, 1670.

37. Sister Philippa of St. Thomas
Sister Philippa was a Dominican nun in the Convent of Montemor, in Portugal. After her death, which took place October 6th 1670, the traces of the Crown of Thorns were visible in her head, and the stigmata of the five wounds on her virginal body were discovered by her religious sisters. (Acts of the General Dominican Chapter held in Rome, 1570)