By Sr. Faustina Olson
This Shrine is known as the Lourdes of Corsica.
Our Lady of Lavasina - Notre Dame des Graces
"This place of worship shines all over Corsica. People come from the four corners of the island for celebrations.”
- Rector du Sanctuaire - M. L’abbé Michel Magdeleine
Our Lady, Queen reigning in heaven, is gloriously triumphant and still remains a kindhearted and compassionate mother to all. She does not forget her maternal role, but continues to intercede for all her children in need. There are numerous Shrines around the world arrayed in dazzling splendor that attest to this fact. They indicate particular miracles, favors and/or blessings that she has bestowed on her children, assuring that her generosity will not be forgotten. The Shrines point to her solicitude and tender care that she lavishes on all who call upon her – many of those favors known only to individual souls in the depths of their hearts. All the Shrines are magnificent in their own way - though they may differ in degrees of grandeur.
Our Lady’s presence in Corsica is evidenced by various shrines: Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy in Ajaccio, Our Lady of Pancheraccia, and, subject of this story, the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace in Lavasina. Corsica is thought to be one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean, located close to the island of Sardinia and home to countless churches and chapels - many of them dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Corsica is renowned to be the place of birth and exile for Napoleon Bonaparte – but more importantly it is the home to many martyrs and saints, such as: Saint Devota and Saint Julie, both killed during the persecutions of Diocletian and patrons of the island, St. Laurina, St. Partheeue, St. Vindemialis and St. Florentius. The history of Corsica is fraught with many tribulations: raids by the Moors, takeovers and ruled by many different peoples and nations: Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, Vandals and Ostrogoths, Byzantine Empire, Lombardy, various Italian city-states and currently, France.
Corsica’s title of “the scented Isle” earns its name from the robust fragrance of the yellow Maqui flower, which covers almost a quarter of the island and is used to make perfumes. Its aroma floats sweetly through the air permeating the land and drifting out to sea with a scent all its own. Corsica is the most mountainous Mediterranean island (2/3 of the island is covered by mountains) and the fourth largest in the Mediterranean, containing dense forests (covering 1/5th of the island) and rugged mountain peaks arrayed in sparkling snow most of the year, reaching nearly 10,000 ft. Years ago the island produced sheep, honey, resin and wax. The island, app. 100 miles long and 50 miles wide, boasts of 620 miles of coastline and 200 beaches. There are three main climate zones: the coastal zone, which maintains a typical Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters that harbors forests, woodlands (mainly oak) and shrubs; the more temperate montane zone situated further down the slopes which is cooler and wetter than the coastal zone, and home to most of the island’s dense forests with vegetation more typical of Northern Europe than of the Mediterranean; and thirdly, the mountainous, high alpine zone with few animals and plants living above the tree line. This inhospitable zone is completely uninhabited by humans.
The Corsican natives, whose ancestors were Italians, are nearly all Catholics. In the mid 8th century, Pepin the Short donated territories, including Corsica, to the pope and laid the deeds and the keys to the cities on St. Peter’s tomb. As such, these territories were considered to fall under the temporal power of the pope of which he was the temporal sovereign. Noting the Island’s early history of Christianity, the author Ughelli, in his “Italia Sacra”, says of the old Corsican city Mariana: “It received the Catholic faith, and has had its own pastors, ever since the times of the Apostles”. In the mid 1550s, seeking to reinvigorate the faith, Blessed Alexander Sauli, (known as the "Apostle of Corsica"), stirred the people with his fervent preaching of love for God and renunciation of the world. He encouraged the islanders to live a more earnest religious life as well as founding a seminary on the model of those decreed by the Council of Trent. Blessed Sauli dedicated himself to pastoral work, while encouraging frequent communion, the Forty Hours devotion, and successfully founding schools for religious instructions. His catechetical gifts revived the flagging faith and were instrumental in keeping Catholicism alive all these centuries later.
Catholicism was fully entrenched in the hearts of the islanders. Heavenly miracles were not foreign to the populace. With prayers on their lips, love for Jesus Christ in their hearts and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, they were acquainted with spiritual favors and disposed to believing in signs sent from heaven. The Daneses, a family of sailors who traded wine between Rome and Corsica, lived in the 17th century near the fishing port of Lavasina, located on the northern peninsula of Corsica. Devoted to Our Lady and strong in their faith, they were fair in their dealings and compassionate towards their neighbor. A problem arose when another family owed them money but was unable to pay their debt. In lieu of cash, they offered to give the Daneses a painting of the Virgin Mary as payment in full. Since this kindhearted family loved the Blessed Mother, they gladly accepted the offer.
The painting, often referred to as The Tableau and whose artist is unknown, is a 16th century copy of a large canvas commissioned for St. Appollinaire church in Rome. It was carefully packaged and shipped from Rome to the Daneses. When the canvas arrived, it included the exact amount of the debt owed. Learning that the debtor did not send any money, and after ascertaining all the details while communicating with the Vatican, they realized that this was a miracle from heaven. In order to honor the miraculous painting, the Daneses housed it in a small chapel on their property that had standing room only for twenty people. The Tableau depicts the Virgin kneeling and hugging the Child Jesus while she covers him with her veil. In the background are St. Elizabeth kneeling, the child St. John the Baptist holding a cross and St. Joseph.
In 1675, Sister Maria, a humble Franciscan Tertiary, intensified the wonder of this Divine Favor from heaven. A few years prior, she contracted a painful malady in her legs, causing them to shrink and fold under her and causing her continuous tremendous pain. In 1675 she asked to be taken to Genoa, where she could receive better medical care. Providentially, the boat that she was traveling on met with a fierce storm and was forced to take port in Lavasina. Having heard about the miraculous painting, she asked to be taken to the little Shrine where she could honor Our Lady. Upon arrival she began to pray and asked that the oil from the lamp in front of the picture be brought to her. With some children in her company, they all sang the Salve Regina and then she rubbed the oil on her legs. She was instantly cured of this excruciating malady and astounded the sailors who carried her to the small Chapel. They were so astonished at what they witnessed that they very quickly spread the astounding news and soon all the islanders were discussing the prodigy. The bishop, Mgr. Giustiniani, ordered an investigation into the matter and asked for a report to be written specifying all the details. He believed this to be a genuine miracle from the Blessed Virgin Mary and ordered a larger church to be built, one that would properly honor the miraculous painting and the phenomenon of the cure. Two years later, in 1677, the chapel was erected and the sanctuary was adorned with the Miraculous Tableau. On September 8th of the same year, the birthday of the Blessed Virgin was officially celebrated with a solemn Mass. Soon, devotees from all around Corsica hurried eagerly to visit Our Lady’s new place of honor and the “pilgrimage to Lavasina” was born.
Another miracle was granted to Corsica through the intercession of Notre Dame des Graces de Lavasina (Our Lady of the Graces). In 1779, a catastrophic drought struck the island, and a procession was ordered to beg Our Lady of Graces for rain. She heard her children’s pleas and sent abundant rain to end the scourge of the drought, causing her children to rejoice with ever increasing trust in her intercession.
Countless miracles are evidenced by a vast display of ex-votos (religious offerings given in order to fulfill a vow) offered in gratitude to the Virgin by those who were healed or had their prayers answered. The devotees not only wish to give thanks for these divine favors, but also desire to attest to the veracity of the Heavenly Mother’s solicitude and tender care for her children. As Canon Ange-Felix Renucci, (chaplain of the Convent) declared in 1941: “To deny it (the miracle), it is to my weak opinion, to want to deny the evidence. A multitude of ex-voto proclaim the sovereign intervention of the Queen of Heaven in the most serious dangers in favor of her.” Canon Runucci relates three miracles:
1. In 1884, Marie-Josephine Sbraggia was a blind woman for many years. Undaunted, she walked barefoot to the Shrine on the 2nd Sunday after the octave of September 8th and approached the miraculous image in the sanctuary, and with great faith, pleaded to Our Lady for her sight. After her fervent prayer she arose, and suddenly realized that she could see! She never again had any problems with her eyes and returned to the healing Shrine every year on September 8th to give thanks.
2. The widow Madame Blanche-Marie Viscovali, living in Northern Corsica, was mostly paralyzed and able to walk only a few steps with the aid of crutches. She was stricken with a grave illness and received the Last Rites. Though it would cause her great suffering, on May 16, 1897 she asked to be taken to Notre Dame des Graces de Lavasina, in order to pray to the Madonna for a cure. There she received Holy Communion and she immediately felt that she was healed. She gave thanks to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, rose and began to walk without any help. She placed her crutches in the church as evidence of her miraculous cure and gratitude to the tender solicitude of the Heavenly Mother.
3. Laura Oliva, married to Dr. Pieri who was a surgeon at the Marseilles hospital, contracted intestinal tuberculosis and was examined by twenty doctors (including her husband). They concluded that there was no cure for her ailment and they could not help her. Her uncle, Abbot B. Fayet, prayed unceasingly to all the saints in heaven for her cure. Her condition continued to worsen daily. Even though she had a swollen stomach, she lost a lot of weight and was in agony. For two years her temperature maintained a steady 104° (or above). Finally, her uncle’s friend, Father Rossi, suggested making a pilgrimage to Notre Dame de Lavasina on her behalf. Abbot Fayet reluctantly agreed, thinking that there was no other hope left. He left his niece in terrible agony and was very distressed to leave her in such an alarming state. He arrived at the Shrine on September 8th and offered Holy Mass for her cure. He later realized that when he was offering the Holy Sacrifice at that moment, Laura was writhing with intense abdominal pain. Two days later he arrived at his niece’s house, expecting the worst. However, when he opened the door, his niece fell into his arms, totally healed. The Abbot’s testimony was written in 1909 and he stated that Laura had two children after her cure.
Over the centuries, the Shrine has experienced continued growth in its edifice; particularly under the guidance of the Franciscans who, in 1859, accepted responsibility for the shrine from Bishop Casanelli d’Istria. In veneration of the Franciscan Founders, they installed two stained glass windows: one of St. Francis and the other of St. Clare. They purchased a high altar, currently in use; covered the interior walls with pink and white marble veneer and constructed an attached convent. In 1883, the Processional Statue that represents the miraculous image was obtained. In 1896, the Corsicans living in Venezuela donated an image of the Tableau carved in Carrara marble that now adorns the Shrine’s outside façade above the entrance door.
In 1903, Corsica was severely distressed when an anti-religious government voted to expel all religious orders from the island. This caused great sorrow among the predominantly Catholic citizens and their displeasure and grievances were expressed in various ways, causing the government no little grief. The expulsion would last for ten years, whereupon the government sought to ease tensions and allowed Religious orders to return. On the solemn feast of St. Francis, October 4th, 1913, the Franciscans formally returned to care for the Shrine.
The end of WWII witnessed an increase in the numbers of devoted pilgrims flocking to Our Lady of Graces Shrine to offer Our Lady thanks and pleading for her intercession for various cures and other needs. In 1947, a soaring bell tower, measuring 98 feet tall, was built next to the church to thank Our Lady for her help in liberating Corsica from the rule of Italy. This predicament began on September 8, 1942, when Mussolini and his fascist party led the Italian Military to gain control of Corsica. However, when Mussolini was imprisoned in July of 1943, 12,000 German troops came to Corsica to take over the occupation. The French Resistance army would not surrender and battled valiantly. Finally, freedom was procured for Corsica on October 4th, 1943. “During the night of 3 to 4 October, the last German units evacuated Bastia, leaving behind 700 dead and 350 POWs.” The Corsicans believed this to be Our Lady’s mighty victory and as a result, the bell tower, which houses a beautiful carillon of five bells, was built as an ex-voto, honoring Our Lady for her powerful assistance. The tower was erected using the drawings for a lighthouse, but the builders chose a white statue of the Blessed Virgin to radiate her own immaculate light, whose brightness far outshines a lighthouse lamp. The statue is turned toward the sea of Cap Corse and reveals her protection to the passing sailors as her title indicates - “Star of the Sea”.
On May 18th, 1952, with the approval of Pope Pius XII, a great celebration was held when Bishop Jean-Baptiste Llosa of Ajaccio, solemnly crowned Our Lady of Graces of Lavasina and the Child Jesus in the presence of 30,000 people. For the 300th anniversary of the Sanctuary, the miraculous image was restored to its original beauty causing the colors to gleam more clearly, and was relocated over the high altar on September 7, 1977. In May of 2002, the 50th anniversary of the Coronation of Our Lady of Graces, there was a celebration with a commemorative Mass and a procession with the image transported on a decorated float accompanied by many of the faithful.
The popularity of the 350-year-old Shrine continues to draw pilgrims who come for various reasons: to ask for cures, to offer thanksgiving, to enjoy the beauty of the church and the surroundings, or to “come away and rest awhile”. They also devoutly approach a niche near the Miraculous Image to receive healing oil that is taken from a vial that rests under the image. Small bottles of oil, signs of devotion, are also available for devotees who are seeking cures or solace.
Annually, on September 7th and 8th, the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, there is a grand celebration in honor of Our Lady of Graces of Lavasina. On the vigil of the feast day, there is a splendid torchlight procession attended by the bishop of Corsica and accompanied by 3,000 devotees who follow the statue to the seaside situated close by. After a talk by the Bishop, they return to the church to attend a solemn Mass of the Nativity of the Virgin. On the Feast day itself, several Masses are offered in the morning as well as another procession, and concludes with an additional Mass in the evening.
Corsica remains indebted to the assistance of Notre Dame de Graces. Her National Anthem indicates the country’s love for Our Lady and the reason for the popularity of the Church of Notre Dame de Lavasina. It is titled “God Save You, Queen” and was written in 1675 by St. Francis De Geronimo, a Jesuit priest who worked many miracles in Italy. Since the hymn reflected Corsica’s Catholic culture, the citizens adopted it in 1735 as their National Anthem when the country proclaimed independence from the Republic of Genoa. The last stanza was added later, and refers to victory against the enemies of Corsica. It is well loved and sung frequently at public events. Here is the anthem in its entirety:
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_occupation_of_Corsica - The Italian occupation of Corsica was related to the Nazi Germany dominion of Europe over which Adolf Hitler ultimately exercised control
 https://www.loc.gov/everyday-mysteries/item/how-is-lighthouse-light-magnified\: Because of its highly increased intensity, this beam of light can travel a very long distance.
by Sr. Faustina
The following reference to socialism was taken from a book about Pope Benedict, authored by his brother Msgr. Georg Ratzinger and titled “My Brother, the Pope".
Pope Benedict's Father (Joseph Ratzinger Sr.- top left) was a German policeman and saw the rise of Hitler's socialism. He was very anti-Hitler and the family had to be relocated to stay out of danger from the ire of Hitler. He frequently read the Der Gerado Weg as it was a paper which became the mouthpiece of Catholic politics. The newspaper was a political newspaper which vigorously warned against Adolf Hitler and National Socialism. Dr. Fritz Michael Gerlich (above right) was the editor-in-chief. He predicted the coming of Nazi concentration camps and genocides . In November 1932, Gerlich predicted that Hitler would plunge the German people into disaster with his “mass mania movement" and criticized the Nazi racial theory. After Hitler seized power on January 30, 1933, Gerlich was arrested on March 9, 1933 and beaten almost to death. His newspaper was banned four days later, he was tortured for fifteen months in Dauchau and murdered in the Dachau concentration camp on June 30, 1934. He had written in the newspaper: “National Socialism is a plague. It means: hostility toward neighboring countries, tyranny at home, civil war, international war. National Socialism means lying, hatred, fratricide, and boundless misery. Adolf Hitler proclaims the law of the lie. You who have fallen for the deception of a man obsessed with tyranny, awake! Germany, your fate and the fate of your children are at stake!"
AND SO I ask, Who does not know the history of Hitler? Who could possibly follow in his footsteps - anyone with any conscience at all....
Wake up America! DO YOU WISH TO FOLLOW HITLER?
SOCIALISM: State control and even state ownership are not necessarily Socialism: they become so only when they result in or tend towards the prohibition of private ownership not only of “natural monopolies”, but also of all the sources of wealth. ONE SHOULD NOT BE FORCED TO GIVE UP ONE'S PROPERTY - MAN HAS A RIGHT TO PRIVATE OWNERSHIP. The Catholic Church is the greatest institution in the world to provide relief for the poor (and has done more than any other institution on earth) - for it does so with the Love of Jesus Christ.
Venezuela is battling this evil ideology. The Episcopal Conference of Venezuela invoked the Blessed Virgin, “Mother of Coromoto, heavenly Patron of Venezuela, free our country from the claws of communism and socialism,” as posted on Twitter , complete with an image of Santa Maria and a Venezuelan flag.
And as St. Catherine Siena said - To stay stay still in the spiritual life is to go backward.
And St. Junipero Serra's motto: Always FORWARD"
PRAISE BE JESUS AND MARY!
To finish off the morning, the children delighted in the opportunity to make their own rosaries! It was a great way to reinforce Our Lady of Fatima's message to pray the rosary. We thank Our Lady of Fatima for all her help and her tender loving care. All the credit is given to her! Ave Maria!
Her Name is music to the ear, sweet sounding, soothing
I recently read a story about an eleven year old girl who didn't believe in God and had parents were atheists. She heard a young girl pray the Hail Mary and pondered the prayer. She remembered the first half of the prayer and said it every night. Two years later her family when to France on a family trip. They decided to visit the Pyrenees and came upon the Grotto of Lourdes and watched a procession of bishops and priests and lay people. When the thirteen year old girl asked the parents what they were doing the parents explained to her that the people were just pretending and then they began to mock them. But then a remarkable moment happened! The teenage girl heard them praying the Hail Mary! And the grace of God flooded her soul and changed her heart! Consolation and love filled her soul and she was converted. Today she is a Carmelite Nun and ever grateful for that grace-filled encounter. Praise the Lord!
By Sr. Faustina Olson
Praising Jesus, through the Immaculate!
Psalm 23 is such a comforting Psalm; it is usually read at a Funeral Mass to console the bereaved. Yet, it can also be called a Sacramental Psalm because it points to SIX of the Sacraments. How so ??
The Lord is my Shepherd” - He is the Eternal High Priest. “He leads me beside still waters” - The waters of Baptism - becoming a child of God, the soul is stilled as it rests in its Father's embrace.
“He restoreth my soul” - The soul is reconciled to God and at peace through Confession. “He leads me in the paths of righteousness” - the grace of Confession leads to a repented life.
“Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death... thy rod and thy staff comfort me” - The Shadow of Death brings fear, but The Viaticum, i.e. Sacrament of the Sick, brings strength and comfort to the dying.
“Thou preparest a table before me" - the Fathers of the church taught that this Table points to the Banquet of the Bread of Life - the Holy Eucharist. St. Paul of Jerusalem says of this line: “But when You came, O Lord, You prepared a table before me, which is none other than the sacramental and spiritual table which God has prepared for us.”
“Thou anointest my head with oil” – denotes the oil used in the Sacraments of Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick and Anointing of the hands at the Ordination of the Priesthood. The oil is mentioned in Ps. 133, “Precious is the oil upon the head, running down… upon the beard of Aaron”. This profuse anointing of Aaron is found in Ex 30:23. God told Moses to make a holy oil with specific directions and elements. He was ordered to make a bounteous supply and pour it upon the Tabernacle, the sacred vessels, upon Aaron and his sons who were designated as priests. This oil was to be holy unto all generations. No one else was allowed to be anointed by it. It was such a holy oil that God forbade the duplication of the ingredients – else whey would die. The oil was NOT to be poured on anyone else – so sacred was this oil! This bounteous oil was generously poured upon Aaron’s beard – like the “Dew of Hermon”. The dews of Hermon resembled showers of rain and would be very heavy and refreshing. The oil of Aaron prefigured the grace and unity descending and flowing from the head of the Church, (the pope) to the other priests and to all the faithful.
“My Cup runneth over” - Eusebius of Caesarea says, “In these lines the Word clearly designates the sacramental unction (chrism) and the holy sacrifice of Christ’s table”. St. Cyprian of Carthage teaches: “The Holy Spirit expresses in the Psalms the same figure of the Eucharist when the Lord’s chalice is mentioned; ‘Thy cup which inebriates me, how excellent it is!’ But the inebriation which the Lord’s chalice gives is not similar to that of profane wine. It intoxicates in such a way that it does not make one lose his reason; it leads souls to spiritual wisdom...” And in Acts 2:13-17: “Others mocking said, these men are full of new wine. But Peter...said unto them...these are not drunken, as ye suppose...but this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: and it shall come to pass in the last day, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”
I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever! All of these Sacraments help us on our pilgrimage to heaven.
TRUTH DOES NOT REMAIN SILENT:
JESUS DID NOT REMAIN SILENT - HE DID NOT WITHHOLD THE TRUTH
Even though Jesus would be killed for speaking the Truth during his mock trial, He, the Light of the world, does not leave his enemy, nor all people of all ages to come, in darkness nor in confusion --- and He speaks:
“Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?"
And Jesus said, “I am; and you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." - Mk. 14:62
The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together; I have said nothing secretly. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them; they know what I said."
When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?"
Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?"
And then Pilate questioned Him:
Pilate therefore went into the hall again, and called Jesus ...
Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now my kingdom is not from hence. Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice. - John. 18:19-37
These are the children of one of our 4 schools at Ijebu Igbo (Nigeria). The House of Charity houses about 60 boys in efforts to give these very poor children a better education. The Franciscans of the Immaculate are asking for HELP!
The Franciscans of the Immaculate have a new effort in helping the poor in Nigeria, Benin and Cameroon. They have been active in digging wells for drinking water - the children especially delight in the wells when they are newly spurting forth water - they splash and play as they marvel at the new wonder! The Friars need all kinds of help in expanding the Charity School and in other needs: livestock for food for the House of Charity, cleaning supplies, dried foods, sports equipment, school furniture and supplies, Church equipment for the Shrine in Benin and other chapels they attend to, tents and chairs to house pilgrims, computer equipment for their media apostolate, 4x4 vehicles. They are looking to send a shipping container with necessary items purchased here in America - the items here are more suitable and/or higher quality. They are accepting donations: to donate on line: marymediatrix.com/africanmission or to pay by check pay to: Our Lady's Chapel and in the Memo line “African Mission" and mail to: Fr. Maximilian Warnisher, FI, 600 Pleasant St., New Bedford, MA 02740. May Our Lady shower all who read this with special graces and blessings, and draw you close to Her Divine Son!
What is the Scapular?
The Scapular is a small replica of the religious habit consisting of two pieces of wool connected by ribbons and worn under one's clothes so that one piece hangs in front and the other in back. The Scapular is actually a miniature form of a monk's habit. Along with the Rosary and the Miraculous Medal, the Scapular is one of the chief Marian sacramentals. A sacramental is anything set apart or blessed by the Church to excite good thoughts and to increase devotion, and through these movements of the heart, to remit venial sin.
What is its origin?
In 1251 Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock. As the Holy Virgin handed St. Simon the brown woolen Scapular She spoke these words: “This shall be the privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire.” In time, the Church extended this magnificent privilege to all the laity who are willing to be invested in the Brown Scapular of the Carmelites, and who perpetually wear it.
Why wear the Scapular?
Our Lady Herself said, “Take this Scapular.” Wearing the Scapular indicates that we place ourselves under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin. The first Scapular one wears must be blessed and imposed by a Priest using the formula contained in the Roman ritual for reception into the Confraternity of the Scapular. The priest says: “Receive this blessed habit; praying the most holy Virgin, that by Her merits thou mayest wear it without stain; and that She may guard thee from all evil and bring thee to life everlasting.” R. Amen. After receiving the initial Scapular, subsequent Scapulars need not be blessed as the blessing and imposition are attached to the wearer for life.
The Sabbatine Privilege
The Scapular offers the Sabbatine Privilege which consists essentially in the early liberation from Purgatory through the special intercession of Mary, which She graciously exercises in favor of Her devoted servants on the day consecrated to Her, Saturday.
There are three conditions for the gaining of the Sabbatine Privilege. They are:
(1) One must wear the scapular.
(2) One must observe chastity according to one’s state in life.
(3) Recite the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (The Rosary or some other pious work can be substituted for the Office of Our Lady. The faculty to sanction this change was granted to ALL CONFESSORS by Pope Leo XIII in the Decree of the Congregation of Indulgences in June of 1901).
Pope St. John Paul II on the Scapular:
On March 27, 2001, Pope St. John Paul II wrote in a letter to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the brown scapular: “I, too, have carried the Carmel scapular over my heart for a long time!”
He also wrote: “The sign of the Scapular points to an effective synthesis of Marian spirituality, which nourishes the devotion of believers and makes them sensitive to the Virgin Mother's loving presence in their lives. The Scapular is essentially a “habit". Those who receive it are associated more or less closely with the Order of Carmel and dedicate themselves to the service of Our Lady for the good of the whole Church."
. . .
“Two truths are evoked by the sign of the Scapular: on the one hand, the constant protection of the Blessed Virgin, not only on life's journey, but also at the moment of passing into the fullness of eternal glory; on the other, the awareness that devotion to her cannot be limited to prayers and tributes in her honor on certain occasions, but must become a "habit", that is, a permanent orientation of one's own Christian conduct, woven of prayer and interior life, through frequent reception of the sacraments and the concrete practice of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. In this way the Scapular becomes a sign of the "covenant" and reciprocal communion between Mary and the faithful: indeed, it concretely translates the gift of his Mother, which Jesus gave on the Cross to John and, through him, to all of us, and the entrustment of the beloved Apostle and of us to her, who became our spiritual Mother."
We post events, news and reflections in this section of our site and be sure to come back regularly for updates.
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.