Wednesday, July 23, 2014

1,800 Year Old Church Burnt Down and Monastery Seized by ISIS in Iraq - PRAY

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) set fire to a 1,800-year-old church in Iraq’s city of Mosul. There has been much destruction of Christian property in Mosul, which was taken by the Islamist in June. Patriarch Louis Sako said : “For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians,” he said. Before 2003, Iraq was home to an estimated 1 million Christians.

Mar Behnam a monastery near Mosul, Iraq has been seized by Islamist militants. This ancient monastery is now under ISIS control and the monks were expelled. The monks were only allowed to take the clothes they were wearing. The monastery, dates from the 4th Century, Christians have fled Mosul after the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) told them to convert to Islam, pay a tax or face death.  The Mar Behnam monastery was run by the Syriac Catholic Church in the south-east of Mosul. The monks walked for miles before being picked up by Kurdish fighters. "We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword," the Isis statement said. 

282 Bodies Found from Airplane in Ukraine - Burials - Black Boxes Found

ASIA NEWS: Parties continue to trade accusations. Moscow now blames a Ukrainian fighter that flew on the same path as the civilian plane. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that the remains of 282 victims will be processed, whilst another 16 are still officially missing.
(IMAGE SOURCE GOOGLE IMAGES) 


Kyiv (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The train with the remains of the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, shot down on 17 July, arrived in the Ukrainian government-controlled city of Kharkiv. Meanwhile, pro-Russian separatists say they found the plane's black boxes" (pictured).
As authorities wait to process the 282 bodies, 16 people are still missing as of Monday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said. At the same time, 87 "body fragments" have been recovered from the sprawling crash site, but it is unclear to whom they may have belonged.
The victims' bodies are expected to be moved to the Netherlands. For Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, bringing the victims' remains home is his country's top priority.
Speaking to the UN Security Council on Monday, he said, "human remains should be used in a political game." The reference is to the exchange of accusations over the aircraft's downing.
The Americans and the British, as well as Ukrainians, claim that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile launched within the territory under rebel control and back their claims with audio recording of suspected insurgents pro-Russian speaking shooting down of a plane.
Pro-Russian rebels have repeatedly denied responsibility for the attack. Instead, the Russians now claim that a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet flew along the same route and within 3 kilometres to 5 kilometres of Flight 17, Russian General Andrei Kartapolov said.
"We would like to know why the Ukrainian plane was flying along a civilian route on the same flight path as the Malaysian Boeing," Kartapolov said, according to the reports.
Vitaly Churkin, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, when asked about audio recordings purporting to show pro-Russian separatists talking about shooting down a plane, he suggested that if they did, it was an accident.
"If they think they shot down a military jet, it was confusion. If it was confusion, it was not an act of terrorism."

The black boxes should shed some light on what happened to the downed plane. Pro-Russian rebels acknowledge finding them, and plan to hand them over to Malaysian authorities.

Amazing New Catholic Book by Famous Author Michael O'Brien

Donkey Dialogues is an exchange of letters which offers an intimate look, through the medium of an intense friendship, into the interior lives of two great Catholic writers, husbands and fathers. The friendship between O'Brien and Krajina deepens as the exchange progresses, revealing to the reader men who are masters of spiritual friendship. These letters, rich in a lived theology, radiate a warmth which is a manifestation of the one Body of Christ. Michael O'Brien is a well-known painter and writer. He has worked as a professional artist since 1970 and has held more than forty exhibits across North America. He is the author of ten novels which have been translated into several languages. His first published novel, Father Elijah, was a worldwide bestseller. He has written numerous other books and essays.


ORDER NOW - Great Summer Reading: http://justinpress.ca/
Online Ordering or CALL 1-613-729-2247

Waiting: Stories for Advent, Remembrance of the Future: Reflections on Our Times, Winter Tales, and Arriving Where We Started: Faith and Culture in a Postmodernist Age are also published by Justin Press. Michael O'Brien and his wife Sheila have six children and live near Combermere, Ontario, Canada.

 Born and raised in a remote village in the mountains of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Matthew (Maté) Krajina has been the editor of the Catholic magazine MI list mladih for more than thirty years. The magazine began as the illegal journal of a Catholic youth movement founded in 1976 during the Communist era of former-Yugoslavia, and it continues to be published to this day. Krajina remains active in the movement, which is widespread throughout Croatia and his native Bosnia-Herzegovia, and was its director for many years. Recently he was elected to the position of Director of the Association of Croatian Catholic journalists. In addition, Mr. Krajina is the founder of the publishing house, Treci Dan (The Third Day), which has published some of Michael O'Brien's books in translation. He is also a novelist, the author of Rodaci (Relations), which has received high literary praise. He and his wife Renata have four children and live near Zagreb, Croatia.

New Campaign for Iraqi Christians #WeAreN supported by Vatican


Mother and daughter who fled Mosul pray to Our Lady at Mar Afram Shrine in Qaraqoush, Iraq
23/07/2014




(Vatican Radio) “We need more than words now, we need concrete actions, we need the solidarity of Christians worldwide, not to be afraid to talk about this tragedy”, says Archbishop Amel Nona of Mosul speaking to Vatican Radio over the phone from Nineveh province, Northern Iraq. As if in response to this plea, over the past 24 hours a campaign has been mounting in the global twitter sphere to stand with Iraqi Christians, under the hashtag #WeAreN: This refers to the Arabic letter ن, or "n", which Islamic State militants have left on some doorways in areas under their control to indicate that the inhabitants are "Nazarene" or Christian.
The campaign is uniting Catholics, Orthodox and Protestant as well as people of good will worldwide, in an effort to raise awareness of the religious cleansing underway in Iraq.  “This is a horrible term” confides Abp. Nona “but it is what is happening, it is what is going on right now on the ground”.
The pastor speaks of how his community that has been scattered to the four winds by the Islamists onslaught, he speaks of their courage in enduring persecution since 2003 and the strength that the Pope’s words during his Angelus last Sunday has given them. However, he also speaks of their fear that this brutal ethnic and religious cleansing is unfolding amid global indifference. 
This is why Archbishop Nona’s appeal is not just for concrete solidarity to the thousands of displaced Iraqis but for Christians outside of Iraq to have the courage to speak up in defense of their brothers and sisters suffering in silence within Iraq.
“We made an appeal to the world explaining what happened to the Christians of Mosul, a crime against humanity”, he says. “We are also appealing for three very important things: protection for us and all other minorities, material support for the families that have fled the city of Mosul and homes and schools for those families who have left everything”.

(Emer McCarthy Radio Vaticana)

St. Bridget Prayers - Famous 15 Prayers and Promises from Pieta

The
Fifteen Prayers
Revealed by Our Lord to
Saint Bridget of Sweden In the Church of St. Paul at Rome
Are published under sanction of the Decree of November 18, 1966, published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, Vol. 58, No. 16 of December 29, 1966.
Prayers
Approved by Pope Pius IX
First Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus Christ!  Eternal Sweetness to those who love Thee, joy surpassing all joy and all desire, Salvation and Hope of all sinners, Who hast proved that Thou hast no greater desire than to be among men, even assuming human nature at the fullness of time for the love of men, recall all the sufferings Thou hast endured from the instant of Thy conception, and especially during Thy Passion, as it was decreed and ordained from all eternity in the Divine plan.
Remember, O Lord, that during the Last Supper with Thy disciples, having washed their feet, Thou gavest them Thy Most Precious Body and Blood, and while at the same time Thou didst sweetly console them, Thou didst foretell them Thy coming Passion.
Remember the sadness and bitterness which Thou didst experience in Thy Soul as Thou Thyself bore witness saying: “My Soul is sorrowful even unto death.”
FOR  PRAYERS, INSPIRATIONAL STORIES AND FREE MOVIES
LIKE http://facebook.com/catholicnewsworld 
Remember all the fear, anguish and pain that Thou didst suffer in Thy delicate Body before the torment of the Crucifixion, when, after having prayed three times, bathed in a sweat of blood, Thou wast betrayed by Judas, Thy disciple, arrested by the people of a nation Thou hadst chosen and elevated, accused by false witnesses, unjustly judged by three judges during the flower of Thy youth and during the solemn Paschal season.
Remember that Thou wast despoiled of Thy garments and clothed in those of derision; that Thy Face and Eyes were veiled, that Thou wast buffeted, crowned with thorns, a reed placed in Thy Hands, that Thou was crushed with blows and overwhelmed with affronts and outrages.
In memory of all these pains and sufferings which Thou didst endure before Thy Passion on the Cross, grant me before my death true contrition, a sincere and entire confession, worthy satisfaction and the remission of all my sins.  Amen


Second Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus! True liberty of angels, Paradise of delights, remember the horror and sadness which Thou didst endure when Thy enemies, like furious lions, surrounded Thee, and by thousands of insults, spits, blows, lacerations and other unheard-of-cruelties, tormented Thee at will.  In consideration of these torments and insulting words, I beseech Thee, O my Savior, to deliver me from all my enemies, visible and invisible, and to bring me, under Thy protection, to the perfection of eternal salvation.  Amen
Third Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Creator of Heaven and earth Whom nothing can encompass or limit, Thou Who dost enfold and hold all under Thy Loving power, remember the very bitter pain Thou didst suffer when the Jews nailed Thy Sacred Hands and Feet to the Cross by blow after blow with big blunt nails, and not finding Thee in a pitiable enough state to satisfy their rage, they enlarged Thy Wounds, and added pain to pain, and with indescribable cruelty stretched Thy Body on the Cross, pulled Thee from all sides, thus dislocating Thy Limbs.  I beg of Thee, O Jesus, by the memory of this most Loving suffering of the Cross, to grant me the grace to fear Thee and to Love Thee.  Amen.
Fourth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Heavenly Physician, raised aloft on the Cross to heal our wounds with Thine, remember the bruises which Thou didst suffer and the weakness of all Thy Members which were distended to such a degree that never was there pain like unto Thine.  From the crown of Thy Head to the Soles of Thy Feet there was not one spot on Thy Body that was not in torment, and yet, forgetting all Thy sufferings, Thou didst not cease to pray to Thy heavenly Father for Thy enemies, saying “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Through this great Mercy, and in memory of this suffering, grant that the remembrance of Thy Most Bitter Passion may effect in us a perfect contrition and the remission of all our sins.  Amen.
Fifth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Mirror of eternal splendor, remember the sadness which Thou experienced, when contemplating in the light of Thy Divinity the predestination of those who would be saved by the merits of Thy Sacred passion, Thou didst see at the same time, the great multitude of reprobates who would be damned for their sins, and Thou didst complain bitterly of those hopeless lost and unfortunate sinners.
Through this abyss of compassion and pity, and especially through the goodness which Thou displayed to the good thief when Thou saidst to him: “This day, thou shalt be with Me in paradise.”  I beg of Thee, O Sweet Jesus, that at the hour of my death, Thou wilt show me mercy.  Amen.
Sixth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Beloved and most desirable King, remember the grief Thou didst suffer, when naked and like a common criminal, Thou was fastened and raised on the Cross, when all Thy relatives and friends abandoned Thee, except Thy Beloved Mother, who remained close to Thee during Thy agony and whom Thou didst entrust to Thy faithful disciple when Thou saidst to Mary:  “Woman, behold thy son!”  and to St. John: “Son, behold thy Mother!”
I beg of Thee O my Savior, by the sword of sorrow which pierced the soul of Thy holy Mother, to have compassion on me in all my affliction and tribulations, both corporal and spiritual, and to assist me in all my trials, and especially at the hour of my death. Amen

Seventh Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Inexhaustible Fountain of compassion, Who by a profound gesture of Love, said from the Cross: “I thirst!” suffered from the thirst for the salvation of the human race.  I beg of Thee O my Savior, to inflame in our hearts the desire to tend toward perfection in all our acts; and to extinguish in us the concupiscence of the flesh and the ardor of worldly desires.  Amen
Eighth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Sweetness of hearts, delight of the spirit, by the bitterness of the vinegar and gall which Thou didst taste on the Cross for Love of us, grant us the grace to receive worthily Thy Precious Body and Blood during our life and at the hour of our death, that they may serve as a remedy and consolation for our souls.  Amen
Ninth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Royal virtue, joy of the mind, recall the pain Thou didst endure when, plunged in an ocean of bitterness at the approach of death, insulted, outraged by the Jews, Thou didst cry out in a loud voice that Thou was abandoned by Thy Father, saying: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
Through this anguish, I beg of Thee, O my Savior, not to abandon me in the terrors and pains of my death. Amen
Tenth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Who art the beginning and end of all things, life and virtue, remember that for our sakes Thou was plunged in an abyss of suffering from the soles of Thy Feet to the crown of Thy Head.  In consideration of the enormity of Thy Wounds, teach me to keep, through pure love, Thy Commandments, whose way is wide and easy for those who love Thee.  Amen
Eleventh Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Deep abyss of mercy, I beg of Thee, in memory of Thy Wounds which penetrated to the very marrow of Thy Bones and to the depth of Thy being, to draw me, a miserable sinner, overwhelmed by my offenses, away from sin and to hide me from Thy Face justly irritated against me, hide me in Thy Wounds, until Thy anger and just indignation shall have passed away.  Amen
Twelfth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Mirror of Truth, symbol of unity, link of Charity, remember the multitude of wounds with which Thou was covered from head to foot, torn and reddened by the spilling of Thy adorable blood.  O great and universal pain which Thou didst suffer in Thy virginal flesh for love of us!  Sweetest Jesus!  What is there that Thou couldst have done for us which Thou hast not done! May the fruit of Thy sufferings be renewed in my soul by the faithful remembrance of Thy passion, and may Thy love increase in my heart each day, until I see Thee in eternity, Thou Who art the treasury of every real good and every joy, which I beg Thee to grant me, O sweetest Jesus, in Heaven.  Amen
Thirteenth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Strong Lion, Immortal and Invincible King, remember the pain which Thou didst endure when all Thy strength, both moral and physical, was entirely exhausted, Thou didst bow Thy head, saying:  “It is consummated!”
Through this anguish and grief, I beg of Thee Lord Jesus, to have mercy on me at the hour of my death when my mind will be greatly troubled and my soul will be in anguish.  Amen
Fourteenth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus! Only Son of the Father, splendor and figure of His substance remember the simple and humble recommendation Thou didst make of Thy Soul to Thy Eternal Father, saying: “Father, into Thy Hands I commend My Spirit!”  And with Thy body all torn, and Thy Heart broken, and the bowels of Thy mercy open to redeem us, Thou didst expire.  By this precious death, I beg of Thee O King of Saints, comfort me and help me to resist the devil, the flesh and the world, so that being dead to the world I may live for Thee alone.  I beg of Thee at the hour of my death to receive me, a pilgrim and an exile returning to Thee. Amen
Fifteenth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  True and fruitful Vine!  Remember the abundant outpouring of Blood which Thou didst so generously shed from Thy Sacred Body as juice from grapes in a wine press.
From Thy Side,  pierced with a lance by a soldier, blood and water issued forth until there was not left in Thy Body a single drop, and finally, like a bundle of myrrh lifted to the top of the Cross, Thy delicate flesh was destroyed, the very Substance of Thy Body withered, and the Marrow of Thy Bones dried up.
Through this bitter Passion and through the outpouring of Thy precious Blood, I beg of Thee, O Sweet Jesus, to receive my soul when I am in my death agony.  Amen


Conclusion
O Sweet Jesus!  Pierce my heart so that my tears of penitence and love will be my bread day and night; may I be converted entirely to Thee, may my heart be Thy perpetual habitation, may my conversation be pleasing to Thee, and may the end of my life be so praiseworthy that I may merit Heaven and there with Thy saints, praise Thee forever.  Amen

Magnificent Promises to Saint Bridget of Sweden


Pope Benedict XV expressed himself as follows on the Revelations of St. Bridget:
“The approbation of such revelations implies nothing more than, after mature examination, it is permissible to publish them for the unit of the faithful.  Though they don’t merit the same credence as the truths of religion, one can, however, believe them out of human faith, conforming to the rules of prudence by which they are probable, and supported by sufficient motives that one might believe in them piously. (Les Petits Bollandistes, tome XII) The 14th of June 1303, at the moment Bridget was born, Benedict, the curate of Rasbo, prayed for the happy deliverance of Ingeborde.  Suddenly he found himself enveloped by a luminous cloud out of which Our Lady appeared: “A child has been born at Birger; her voice will be heard by the entire world.”
Sagii, die XXIV Aprilis 1903, Imprimature. FJ. Girard, V.G.


These prayers and these Promises have been copied from a book printed in Toulouse in 1740 and published by the P. Adrien parvilliers of the Company of Jesus, Apostolic Missionary of the Holy Land, with approbation, permission and recommendation to distribute them.
Parents and teachers who will read them to young infants for at least one year will assure their being preserved for life from any grave accident which would involve the loss of one of their five senses.
Pope Pius IX took cognizance of these Prayers with the prologue; he approved them May 31, 1862, recognizing them as true and for the good  of Souls.
This sentence of Pope Pius IX has been confirmed by the realization of the promises by all persons who have recited the prayers and by numerous supernatural facts by which God wanted to make known their exact truth.  A collection of small books, these prayers among them, was approved by the Great Congress of Malines on August 22, 1863.
Question – Must one recite the prayers everyday without interruption to obtain the privileges?
Answer -  One should miss saying them as few times as possible; but if for a serious reason one is obliged to miss them, one doesn’t lose the privileges attached to them, as long as one recites 5480 Prayers during the year.  One must say them with devotion and concentrate on the words one pronounces. These prayers can serve as the Way of the Cross.
Visitors to the Church of St. Paul at Rome can see the crucifix, above the Tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, sculptured by Pierre Cavallini, before which St. Bridge knelt when she received these 15 prayers from Our Lord.  The following inscription is placed in the church to commemorate the event: “Pendentis, Pendente Dei verba accepit aure accipit et verbum corde Brigitta Deum.  Anno Jubilei MCCCL.”
As St. Bridget for a long time wanted to know the number of blows Our Lord received during His Passion, He one day appeared to her and said: “I received 5480 blows on My Body.  If you wish to honor them in some way, say 15 Our Fathers and 15 Hail Mary’s with the following Prayers (which He taught her) for a whole year.  When the year is up, you will have honored each one of My Wounds.”
Our Lord made the following promises to anyone who recited the 15 St. Bridget Prayers for a whole year:
Promises
 1.I will deliver 15 souls of his lineage from Purgatory.
 2.15 souls of his lineage will be confirmed and preserved in grace.
 3.15 sinners of his lineage will be converted.
 4.Whoever recites these Prayers will attain in the first degree of perfection.
 5.15 days before his death I will give him My Precious Body in order that he may escape eternal starvation; I will give him My Precious Blood to drink lest he thirst eternally.
 6.15 days before his death he will feel a deep contrition for all his sins and will have a perfect knowledge of them.
 7.I will place before him the sign of My Victorious Cross for his help and defense against the attacks of his enemies.
 8.Before his death I shall come with My Dearest Beloved Mother.
 9.I shall graciously receive his soul, and will lead it into eternal joys.
10.And having led it there I shall give him a special draught from the fountain of My Deity, something I will not for those who have not recited My Prayers.
11.Let it be known that whoever may have been living in the state of mortal sin for 30 years, but who will recite devoutly, or have the intention to recite these Prayers, the Lord will forgive him all his sins.
12.I shall protect him from strong temptations.
13.I shall preserve and guard his 5 senses.
14.I shall preserve him from a sudden death.
15.His soul will be delivered from eternal death.
16.He will obtain all he asks for from God and the Blessed Virgin.
17.If he has lived all his life doing his own will and he is to die the next day, his life will be prolonged.
18.Every time one recites these Prayers he gains 100 days indulgence.
19.He is assured of being joined to the supreme Choir of Angels.
20.Whoever teaches these Prayers to another, will have continuous joy and merit which will endure eternally.
21.There where these prayer are being said or will be said in the future God is present with His grace.

Today's Mass Readings : Wed. July 23, 2014


Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 397


Reading 1JER 1:1, 4-10

The words of Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah,
of a priestly family in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin.

The word of the LORD came to me thus:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you,
a prophet to the nations I appointed you.
“Ah, Lord GOD!” I said,
"I know not how to speak; I am too young.”

But the LORD answered me,
Say not, “I am too young.”
To whomever I send you, you shall go;
whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Have no fear before them,
because I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.

Then the LORD extended his hand and touched my mouth, saying,

See, I place my words in your mouth!
This day I set you
over nations and over kingdoms,
To root up and to tear down,
to destroy and to demolish,
to build and to plant.

Responsorial Psalm PS 71:1-2, 3-4A, 5-6AB, 15 AND 17

R. (see 15ab) I will sing of your salvation.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
For you are my hope, O Lord;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R. I will sing of your salvation.

Gospel MT 13:1-9

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Saint July 23 : St. Bridget of Sweden : Patron of Widows

St. Bridget of Sweden
WIFE AND FOUNDRESS
Feast: July 23


Information:
Feast Day:July 23
Born:1303 at Finsta Castle, Uppsala, Sweden
Died:23 July 1373 at Rome, Italy
Canonized:7 October 1391 by Pope Boniface IX
Major Shrine:Vadstena
Patron of:Europe, Sweden, Widows
The most celebrated saint of the Northern kingdoms, born about 1303; died 23 July, 1373.
She was the daughter of Birger Persson, governor and provincial judge (Lagman) of Uppland, and of Ingeborg Bengtsdotter. Her father was one of the wealthiest landholders of the country, and, like her mother, distinguished by deep piety. St. Ingrid, whose death had occurred about twenty years before Bridget's birth, was a near relative of the family. Birger's daughter received a careful religious training, and from her seventh year showed signs of extraordinary religious impressions and illuminations. To her education, and particularly to the influence of an aunt who took the place of Bridget's mother after the latter's death (c. 1315), she owed that unswerving strength of will which later distinguished her.
In 1316, at the age of thirteen, she was united in marriage to Ulf Gudmarsson, who was then eighteen. She acquired great influence over her noble and pious husband, and the happy marriage was blessed with eight children, among them St. Catherine of Sweden. The saintly life and the great charity of Bridget soon made her name known far and wide. She was acquainted with several learned and pious theologians, among them Nicolaus Hermanni, later Bishop of Linköping, Matthias, canon of Linköping, her confessor, Peter, Prior of Alvastrâ, and Peter Magister, her confessor after Matthias. She was later at the court of King Magnus Eriksson, over whom she gradually acquired great influence. Early in the forties (1341-43) in company with her husband she made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. On the return journey her husband was stricken with an attack of illness, but recovered sufficiently to finish the journey. Shortly afterwards, however, he died (1344) in the Cistercian monastery of Alvastrâ in East Gothland.
Bridget now devoted herself entirely to practices of religion and asceticism, and to religious undertakings. The visions which she believed herself to have had from her early childhood now became more frequent and definite. She believed that Christ Himself appeared to her, and she wrote down the revelations she then received, which were in great repute during the Middle Ages. They were translated into Latin by Matthias Magister and Prior Peter.
St. Bridget now founded a new religious congregation, the Brigittines, or Order of St. Saviour, whose chief monastery, at Vadstena, was richly endowed by King Magnus and his queen (1346). To obtain confirmation for her institute, and at the same time to seek a larger sphere of activity for her mission, which was the moral uplifting of the period, she journeyed to Rome in 1349, and remained there until her death, except while absent on pilgrimages, among them one to the Holy Land in 1373. In August, 1370, Pope Urban V confirmed the Rule of her congregation. Bridget made earnest representations to Pope Urban, urging the removal of the Holy See from Avignon back to Rome. She accomplished the greatest good in Rome, however, by her pious and charitable life, and her earnest admonitions to others to adopt a better life, following out the excellent precedents she had set in her native land. The year following her death her remains were conveyed to the monastery at Vadstena. She was canonized, 7 October, 1391, by Boniface IX.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/B/stbridgetofsweden.asp#ixzz1Sw774HYj

Pope Francis Blesses Eastern Christians - Prays for Peace in Iraq

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has reassured the Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church Ignatius Youssef III Younan that he is following news out of Iraq with concern, particularly the dramatic situation of Christians in Mosul who have been threatened with death and seizure of their homes by Islamic militants demanding they leave or convert to their form of Islamic belief.  Christians have lived in Iraq’s second largest city for nearly two thousand years;  there are few, if any, left now in Mosul. 

The Patriarch told the Italian Catholic news agency SIR (Religious Information Service), that Pope Francis called him Sunday 20 July to express his solidarity with Iraqi Christians.  During the 9 minute phone call, the Patriarch thanked the Pope and asked him to intensify his efforts to engage world leaders, putting them face to face with the facts on the ground: that in the province of Nineveh a massive religious “cleansing” campaign is underway to rid the region of those who do not share the beliefs of the new occupiers.
At the end of the call, Pope Francis bestowed his Apostolic Blessing upon all the eastern Christians with the assurance that he “will always keep them in his prayers for peace and security.”  At his traditional Angelus blessing also on Sunday, the Pope offered prayers for Iraqi Christians who `'are persecuted, chased away, forced to leave their houses without the possibility of taking anything'' with them” and called for dialogue to resolve armed conflicts.
Just recently, Patriarch Younan had denounced an arson attack by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) militants on the Episcopal headquarters of the Syriac-Catholic Church in Mosul. Shared from Radio Vaticana