Beautiful weather for our successful Mission Event at the Blessed Sacrament Feast in New Bedford, MA. New Bedford, the "Whaling City", is a renowned fishing city in MA. During the festival, many people bought rosaries, rosary bracelets, chaplets and other religious articles. They stopped to talk and ask for prayers and were happy we were there. The Blessed Sacrament Feast was founded in 1915 by four Madeiran immigrant men to thank Our Lord for helping them to arrive safely in America. They wanted to recreate the religious festivals that were so common in the villages of their home island. On Sunday morning the entire Club Madeirense S. S. Sacramento, Inc. membership gather at the Feast Grounds to march in formation to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception church to attend a special High Mass at 10:00 AM. The Sunday Mass is a major highlight of the Feast as it is held on the last of four days of festivities and provides a special opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of the Feast which is to honor the Blessed Sacrament as was the intent of the original founders of the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament. During the Mass, the members and all of the many volunteers receive the blessings of the church for their many hours of work devoted to achieving a successful Feast and for being respectful of its religious origins. Gratitude to God! May we always remember to thank Him.
Painting of Our Lady of La Vang in Vietnamese Martyrs Church, TX
The Vietnamese harbor a tender devotion to Our Lady of La Vang who is the compassionate advocate of her suffering children. She first appeared to them in 1798 and appeared many times throughout the next one hundred years, during the persecution of the Catholics. The Vatican considers the tortures that the Vietnamese martyrs (more than 100,000) endured during those years to be among the worst in Christian history. Their limbs were cut off joint by joint, their flesh burned with red-hot tongs, drugs were forced upon them to enslave their minds and many had their faces cruelly branded with the words “ta dao” (Sinister Religion).
In 1798 the persecuted people took flight to the mountains midway between North and South Vietnam, in what is now the Quảng Trị Province, with peaks between 4,000 and 8,000 feet. The highlands are flanked by steep slopes, sharp crests, narrow valleys, and covered mainly by a dense broadleaf evergreen forest. There, in the jungle, they prepared themselves for martyrdom, where they suffered cold, hunger, illness and were threatened by the beasts in the forest. They gathered in a grassy area near a banyan tree nightly to pray the rosary, begging for Our Lady’s help.
One night a beautiful Lady appeared, clad in white and surrounded by light, holding the Infant Jesus in her arms with two angels at her side bearing torches. Though she was wearing a crown, she was simply dressed with a long cape. She walked on the ground back and forth several times then stopped and spoke. Comforting them in a sweet voice she said, "My children, what you have asked of me, I have granted you, and henceforth whoever comes to this place to pray to me, I will listen to them." Our Lady of La Vang advised them to boil the leaves from the surrounding trees to use as medicine. Then she vanished. All who were present witnessed the vision and were greatly consoled.
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TO ADORE OUR LORD!
The Franciscan Handmaids of the Immaculate seek daily to draw closer to Our Lord. Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament is fundamental to Our spiritual life as we seek to conform our hearts unto His. Additionally, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, the rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Sorrows, we place ourselves in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, asking Her to bring us closer to Her Son.