Friday, January 28, 2011


My Conversion Story
by Moira Noonan
My earliest memories of Catholicism was my mother saying that she sent us (my brothers and sisters) to Catholic School so the nuns could raise us because they did a better job than she did. The first school I went to was in Detroit for kindergarten, a Sacred Heart Convent School in the order of St. Madeline Sophie. By the time I was in third grade we had moved from Detroit to New Jersey where I had attended public school due to lack of a Catholic School in that area. By eight grade I was sent away to boarding school in Philadelphia called Eden Hall, the Sacred Heart Convent, when I was in tenth grade the school suffered a fire and burnt down.
I was transferred to a secular college-prep boarding school called MacDuffie School for Girls. This transition placed a real damper on my faith journey. This non-Catholic environment started me out on the dangerous path into the New Age World. One of my teachers, in her twenties, had befriended me and many of the girls at the school both during and after school hours. She had studied in India and had a strong belief in the Hindu Religion, she was also engaged to a Hindu who was a professor at Princeton University. He wore the traditional dress of a turban and came to visit her at our boarding school on a regularly basis. We attended many different Indian concerts including Ravi Shankar and became more fascinated with the mystery of the Indian Culture and religion.
By the time I had graduated high school in (1970) I was convinced I needed to be enlightened, go to India and find my Guru, "my living teacher to show me the way to God". After graduation I decided to attend college in Colorado, and attend both the University of Denver and Colorado University. I had always had the idea that one day I would go to India, the seed of this new belief system had been planted into me.
It is a common belief among New-Agers that follow Gurus that a Gurus needs to be alive in order to help you. So on the college campus I attended, I was highly influenced by the Rashneesh movement. This movement really took off and their Guru eventually moved from India to the West Coast in the U.S. to be with all of the young followers. The college campus had meditation classes and groups which were always promoting a Guru.

By my junior year of college I had transferred to the University of Washington in Seattle and decided to do a semester abroad and attended college in Avignon France. While I was in France I travelled to Greece and Turkey and thought I'd just take a train to India because I didn't feel the need to finish college. The concept of being enlightened had overpowered my need to finish my education. The Lord had different plans for my life, he used my grandmother to track me down. She convinced me to come home and finish school so I graduated College in 1974 from the University of Washington. During this time the media and top celebrities such as the Beatles, were off visiting their Gurus, so my influence within the Hindu and Eastern Religion continued. The seed of this new belief system I had received during high school actually developed enough to brainwash me into believing I needed to find a living Gurus to find enlightenment.

Another aspect of my New Age journey was falling prey to the feminist movement and the attitude that woman were nothing without a career. So I had again put India on the back shelf to enter the career path, to become a successful publisher. I became solely focused on my work, and had no time for spiritually matters. By the age of twenty eight I had accomplished my goal of being a publisher and was working in Hawaii with Visitor Publication Inc.. By thirty I'd had been in a major auto accident in the company car. The accident left me serious disabled and I could not work or even drive, and was left in constant pain. Searching for a way to relieve the pain I turned back to the Hindu Religion and without realizing it until later, I like to say; my insurance company paid for me to become future brainwashed in the New Age. My insurance company within the state of Hawaii sent me Dr. Norman Shelly's Pain and Rehabilitation Clinic in La Crosse, Wisconsin, which was one of the first model pain clinics in the country. The pain clinic has since moved to Menninger's Clinic in the Midwest. The main training in this clinic was autogenic, which is a combination of hypnosis and New Thought philosophy of beliefs. The New Thought belief comes from the Science of the Mind, created by Dr. Ernest Holmes, Theosophy Society and Mary Baker Eddy, who was the founder of the Christian Science Religion. During my stay at the pain clinic, the patients were placed under subliminal mode to alter the brain waves of thinking, while feeding the brain messages of a new value and belief system. A mind over matter way to become pain free, "If you believe you have no pain, then you have no pain." The staff at the clinic actually verbally put down any form of suffering, and virtue in suffering. No redemptive suffering or that the suffering you are experiencing could be from God, but only a result of your own guilt. The concept of salvation was self endured, "If you wanted to be saved, healed or pain free you better do it yourself." There was no room for Christian Values or concepts. This describes the New Age trinity of Me, Myself and I. These auto-suggestions went on daily, hourly for the duration of my stay. I stayed at the pain clinic for about a month. When I finally left the clinic they gave me books and tapes to take home so I could stay on the autogenic system in order to stay pain free, and to keep this "New Thought" in my mind to support my new way of thinking.
After my experiences within the clinic, I decided to join New Age Churches. The main goal at the time was to give light to the Church of Religious Science, and Unity Churches, these churches are now international in most cities within the United States. I ended up joining the ministry training program at the North County Church of Religious Science in Encinitas, CA and spent four years learning under a former Catholic minister where the brainwashing continued in depth until I truly had a new belief system.

I also was a prayer practitioner at the Seaside Church of Religious Science in Del Mar, CA. Having been in pain, I was drawn to the New Age healing arts and became certified as a Reiki healer and master trainer and was certified in Hands of Light training by Barbara Brennar, School of Healing. This led to desire to learn more about the psychic world — the healing arts aren't about using the Holy Spirit. So I went for psychic training classes at the Teaching of the Inner Christ in Lemon grove CA, to learn counterfeit gifts such as clairvoyant, clairsentient, and clairaudient and to be more connected with fallen spirits and spirit guides. During the prayer practitioner work at the churches, we assisted people to "manifest" their desires, using God more like a Genie who grants you wishes, than a loving creator who we should submit our will to. The essence of the New Age teachings is to manifest into human experience what they consider to be the divine will because they think that we are all "gods". A basic denial of original sin and the same lie that Satan gave to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Only now the idea is promoted with more sophisticated brainwashing programs.

Prayer practitioner work led to healing work and training in counselling for me. In 1989 I became a certified Ericksonian Hypotherapist. The emphasis was on part of life regression therapy and future life. One of the hardest beliefs to be rid of from the New Age is the belief in reincarnation. There is such bondage in that belief system. Dr. Milton Erickson designed this type of therapy using N.L.P or (Neurolinguistic programming.) I received my N.L.P. training at Robbins Research Int. In San Diego by Anthony (Tony) Robbins, Tony Robbins is a master hypnotist. I became further immersed in the world of hypnosis and it became for me a complete reprogramming of my mind and a serious loss of personal will power.
The beginning of my conversion started in 1990. I was in Hawaii at the Ericksonian therapy seminar and at one point I was in the lounge between classes reading an article about the New Age leader and teacher Sandra Ray's trip to Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sandra's aim in going was to visit "Mother Mary." She says she was even invited by the priest at St. James Church to be in the room with the visionaries darning the apparition. Her experience there gave her the insight to start the goddess movement which is very big within the New Age. She believed she witnessed the heaven goddess, "Mother Mary", coming down to meet the earth goddess, Gaia. While I was sitting there reading this article what really struck me was that I knew our Lady was definitely not a goddess. So I thank the Sacred Heart nuns of my early childhood that some truth had stuck with me. When I returned home to San Diego I happened to be in Long's Drug Store and found a Life Magazine with a picture of a statue of our Lady on the cover and the title "Do you believe in Miracles"? So I bought that as a follow-up to the New Age magazine that I had been reading while I was in Hawaii. Time magazine had a truer version of Mary and encouraged me to look deeper into her. The key person who the Lord brought into my life to help me fully commit my life to Christ and our Blessed Mother was Beverly Nelson, a Lay Missionary of Charity in the order of Mother Theresa. As a result of Beverly's encouragement I also joined the Lay Missionary's of Charity and became active within the order. I also joined R.C.I.A, at St. Francis Parish in Vista, CA. and became a sponsor for many of my New Age friends to become Catholic within the church. Including a former New Age doctor, my former New Age professor, a top New Age musician, personal friends who have been in New Age for over thirty year and my ex-husband, all of these people were adults between the ages of thirty five and fifty. They are glad for their new-found faith in Christ. My daughter, has also had all of her sacraments within the Catholic Faith, and is a practicing Young Adult.

Ransomed From Darkness
By June Klins

   “Ignorance is bliss,” the saying goes. One person who will tell you that is not true is Moira Noonan, a former Religious Science minister, psychic counselor and therapist, who was ransomed from darkness to the true Light of Jesus Christ through His Mother.
   Moira Noonan spoke at the Medjugorje Conference at Notre Dame on May27, 2007. She began her talk with the St. Michael prayer, a prayer she says frequently. She witnessed her conversion story and warned of the dangers of the New Age movement. According to, New Age is “an umbrella term for a wide range of personal and individual beliefs and practices influenced primarily by Eastern religions, paganism, and spiritism.”  Moira Noonan describes New Age as “a display of power rather than a call to love. People are motivated by the prospect of having their wishes fulfilled, rather than by a sense of surrender to God’s Will.” Several times in her talk, she referred to the “holy trinity” of New Age as “me, myself and I.”  God is seen as an impersonal life force rather than a personal God with whom we have a relationship.
   Moira was brought up as a Catholic in California, but abandoned her faith at age 15. When she went away to boarding school, a teacher there introduced her to Eastern religions, reincarnation and transcendental meditation. Years later she would be lured into the world of spiritism after a car accident left her in chronic pain. Her insurance company sent her to a pain clinic where they took away all pain killers and gave her a series of messages that were anti-Christian. The messages condemned any acceptance of suffering as redemptive. She called it “professional brainwashing.”  She says, “My insurance company paid for me to get into the occult.”  The pain clinic encouraged  the patients to join “New Thought” churches such as such as Unity and Religious Science, Christian Science and Unitarian. Moira fell prey to all their ideas and, after 4 years of “seminary,” became a minister in the church of Religious Science. She became certified in hypnotherapy, and developed expertise in past-life regression, astrology, the Course in Miracles, Reiki, channeling, crystals, clairvoyance and other occult practices. Moira did not realize at the time that “through this kind of thinking, demon spirits inflate the ego, sometimes to the point that we believe we are creator gods.” This kind of thinking breaks the First Commandment, and soon all the others. She also did not realize that spirit guides, demon spirits can give you signs, wonders and miracles, but these signs are an encouragement for PRIDE. Although she did not elaborate in her talk about the darkness she wrestled with during these years, she did write about it in her book, Ransomed From Darkness. .
   One day Moira was reading a magazine called “New Age Journal” and there was an article in there by a leader in the New Age movement who went to Medjugorje. She said that Our Lady was a “goddess” and that She was coming to Earth to see the “Earth goddess.”  As soon as Moira read that, she knew this was wrong. (She credited the nuns from second grade with the shred of Catholicism she had left.) She prayed a simple prayer, “Mother Mary, I know You’re not a goddess. I know this article is not true, but if You are coming to Earth in any way, shape or form, I’d really like to meet You.” 
   Little by little, Our Lady answered that prayer. One evening at a table tipping session (where they would call on spirits to move objects around) Moira felt a presence of something beautiful and angelic. She wondered about it, and an interior voice answered, “I am the Queen of Peace.”
   In July, 1991, “Life” Magazine wrote about the miracles of Medjugorje. Soon after Moira read the magazine, she turned on the TV and it just happened that Joan Rivers was interviewing two priests and author Michael Brown about Medjugorje. Joan Rivers was holding a rosary that had turned gold.
   By this point Moira was really intrigued and wanted to know more. Her babysitter’s mother, who was Catholic, led her to a Catholic bookstore, where she and another spiritism minister walked in on a talk about Medjugorje. After the talk, a Bible class began, but Moira and her friend thought they knew everything about the Bible, so they left and went to the beach. Her friend pulled out her crystal pendulum, which is something New Agers carry to channel spirit guides for spiritual direction. Although Moira did not know at the time, she now proclaims, “Of course, it’s demonic – false locutions, counterfeit gifts, not from the Holy Spirit.”  Her friend could not get the pendulum  to work, so she asked Moira to do it. As Moira went to reach for it, there was an invisible wall between her hand and the pendulum, and she could not touch it. And at the same moment she could see a beautiful white rosary over her hand, and she heard a very sweet interior voice say, “Pray the Rosary for your prayers to be answered.”  She told her friend, “I’m not allowed to touch that pendulum or any pendulum ever again.”  They wondered about where to get a rosary, so they went back to the Catholic bookstore. A lady at the bookstore gave Moira a copy of the “Pieta” prayer book, where there is an explanation of how to pray the Rosary. This same lady told Moira about a priest in Scottsdale, Arizona who took groups of pilgrims to Medjugorje.
   Before long, Moira enticed a vanload of people to go to Arizona  to the site of  the “UFO’s”  (Moira called this place the “New age Capital of the World”) and planned to stop at the church in Scottsdale in the same trip. Moira arrived as Mass was going on. It was her first Mass in almost 30 years and everything seemed so foreign to her. She stood up, while everyone else was sitting, and prayed, “Lord Jesus, if this priest is from You, give me a sign right now or I’m leaving and I’m never coming back.” Immediately, right above the priest’s head, she saw the face of Jesus, with His crown of thorns, blood dripping down, similar to how He looked in “The Passion of the Christ.” She heard an interior voice speak with authority, “This is my son. He is my disciple. Sit down. You are home.”  At Communion time, as she sat in the pew, all the sins of her past life flashed through her head like a movie. At the same time God’s grace came through and she remembered one of the great gifts Jesus gave to the Church - the sacrament of Confession! After Mass she went to look for the priest and found him in the parking lot. She began her first confession in 30 years right there in the parking lot!  After 25 minutes, Father asked her to return the next day to finish. The next day he told her to go back to California and get a spiritual director at the Benedictan monastery. The priest she got was from India and knew all about how she had been transformed by the Eastern religions. He took her through 3 years of healing of memories. Since that time many people have come to the faith or come back to the faith through her, including an Oriental Medicine doctor who practiced Tibetan Buddhism!
   Several years later Moira finally made the trip to Medjugorje. She waited 6 hours in line to go to confession there, and then spent 2 more hours in the confessional. The priest told her that he wanted to see her in his office the next day. He told her he was approved by Pope John Paul II as an exorcist and asked her if she would be willing to have an exorcism. She agreed. It took 16 hours for the exorcism. She was finally ransomed completely from darkness !
   Moira ended her talk with the Hail Mary “in honor of Our Lady who cries for Her lost children.”  The spirit of New Age seeks the ruin of souls. Let us pray for people who are involved in these practices. As Moira says, they are actually looking for the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, but are looking in the wrong places. She adds that Christians need to be vigilant. Ignorance is NOT bliss.
Editor’s note: Moira is the author of Ransomed From Darkness: The New Age, Christian Faith, and the Battle for Souls. She is available to speak for your group or parish. You can contact her through her website,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hand Blown Glass Rosary by Jeremy Garton

We at The Rosary Station want to welcome you to our website below and share with you our story. The three of us met in RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) at our local church:  Jeremy, "The Cradle Catholic;"  Chris, "The Wondering Catholic;"  and Jason, "The Convert."  Week in and week out we'd talk about the various aspects of Catholicism and, eventually, the time we spent together in class and church led us to become close friends.
One night after class, the three of us were talking and were reflecting on the fact that God had given Catholics unique tools to use with prayer through visual art in stained glass, statues, crucifixes, rosaries, and various other items. However, it appears that fewer and fewer people use these items during prayer.
Therefore, since the Rosary is near and dear to our hearts, we decided to start our own mission to encourage everyone to pickup Our Lady's Rosary every day and pray. As part of the mission, we also wanted people to pull out their rosaries and display them proudly. Display your Rosary on one of our Rosary Stations and you will revere it and be reminded to pray it. This is what we at The Rosary Station are all about. We want to help you develop a better devotion to Our Lady's Rosary.
.    Where is your Rosary?
.    Is it tucked away in a drawer?
.    Is it knotted up in your jewelry box?
.    Is it hidden in a small leather or cloth pouch?
What are you waiting for? The Fifteen Promises of Our Lady's Rosary is at your finger tips!
Get a Rosary Station for yourself, your Priest, a relative or friend, your parish hall, your church office, for wherever and whomever needs one, and spread the word that The Rosary is very much alive!
We also encourage everyone to have your Rosary Stations blessed by your Priest as you do your crucifixes or other religious items.
Finally, we strongly feel that we have been called to do this work for Our Lady and Her Son Jesus Christ. It is a responsibility we are not taking lightly!© 2010 - Website is property of The Rosary Station LLC.  All rights are reserved. The Rosary Station... A Timeless Family Heirloom...Proudly made in the USA!
source -

Blown Glass Rosary
What a beautiful site you have here & how wonderful your work is to promote the Rosary! I do have a Rosary story & my story continues to grow day by day as well as my Rosary devotion.
To be honest I feel that it is part of my life's work now to promote the Rosary for Our Lady, and here is why!

I am the youngest of seven children & have always been a good Catholic but never really "said the beads" as my father used to call them. Both my parents were good Catholics but neither of them said the Rosary, at least on a regular basis.
My father passed away in 1987 & my mother passed away in 2007. Mom was ill with COPD, a serious lung disease, which typically ends in a long grueling death, but God had a different plan for my mother.

My sister was Moms care giver and I will never forget the call on the morning Mom died. Julie, my sister called me crying & simply said, "She's gone, Mom died last night". I said without thinking, "I'll be right there". On the way home I called each of my siblings to give them the news.
When I got to Moms house & went upstairs I saw my mother lying there sound asleep and I knew in an instant that Our Lady had been with my mother at the hour of her death. God's plan was unexpected because the evening before I had had a wonderful visit with Mom.
I should not have been surprised at Moms easy death, its what we had all been praying for?

But, death is always a sudden unexpected shock. At the time of Mom's illness I was walking three to five miles a day & while I would walk I continually said The Hail Mary, perhaps hundreds if not thousands of times. Often I would ask myself, why am I doing this, what is the point in saying the same prayer over & over. Occasionally I would throw in an Our Father but mostly I would do Hail Mary's.
When Mom died, it all became very clear to me why I had been saying all those Hail Mary's, it was for my mother. After seeing how beautiful and peaceful my mother was lying there in her own bed there was no question in my mind, Mary had been there with her and from that point on my devotion to Mary started.

I prayed and prayed to come up with something to honor and give thanks to Our Lady and then I began to beg her, "show me, tell me, what can I do for you Mary?"
Never did I hear her voice but suddenly I began to say the Rosary over and over and I could feel things in my life coming together in an awesome way. I have always been a happy go lucky person with a beautiful wife of 20 years and wonderful daughter, but my Blessings abound through the Rosary.
Then an idea came to me to make a huge Rosary out of hand blown glass. We have a local glass artisan here so I asked for his help and so it happened. I have made several large Rosaries and I am honored to say that one of them hangs in my own hometown Catholic church at Saint Patrick's in Weston WV.
Funny thing is, the large glass Rosary is only a small piece of the puzzle, soon I hope to launch a web site to not only sell a few of the large Rosaries but I would like to sell small Rosary hangers to highlight your own Rosary.
My hope is to promote the Rosary by asking everyone to display their own Rosaries as a reminder to say the Rosary. Everyone who is Catholic has at least one Rosary and many of us have several and usually they are tucked away in drawers, hidden away in tiny leather pouches.
All proceeds will be going to charity or to my Church. As the Blessings continue so will my work to repay Mary for all she has done for me. She is our mother and so I ask everyone reading this, When was the last time you talked to your mother?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


From darkness to the lightThe letter to all of the friends of healed Joelle

Dear friends,

I would like to share with you what happened after my healing on October 19, 2010 in Medjugorje.  When I walked out of the church in Medjugorje on that first evening I was able to see the light, faces of the people, I could see how their lips and eyes were moving. As days passed by, my sight was improving gradually. Today, I only thank my Lord for not having healed me at once, suddenly; I wouldn’t be able to take that. On the way back to Switzerland, as we drove in the bus I was able to see some kind of “messy trees”. My friend Claudia told me to tell her if I happen to see something like that again. Few minutes passed by, the bus continued its drive and finally I was able to see “messy tree” again. It turned out those were palm trees, Claudia told me.  Imagine how you would feel if you woke up after 42 years. Nothing is as it was before. My friends from prayer group are wonderful to me. They are giving me strength for this new awakening, for looking into the Light.
When I returned to Switzerland, I got to know anew my two brothers, my sister, and my parents. When it gets dark, that becomes resting time for me. The life starts to look as it was before. I do not stop with my prayers to Jesus and Mary. It was my parents through whom I started loving Jesus and Mary, and I passed the same love towards my daughter Vinciane, who was in Medjugorje with me.
In those first days, as I looked at high buildings in Lausanne, buildings with more than ten floors, I would be sick all the time, I was sweating and felt like vomiting. I didn’t feel like going out at all, because I would have to look at those high buildings. The same was with the people: every encounter was making me nervous and uncomfortable. Whatever happens, I am not losing my faith, for if Jesus through Mary gave me back my sight, I am positive He will give me strength to bear with difficulties that are accompanying my healing.
Faith, patience, courage and trust are those kind signs that I am holding onto in my life. I am sure that Jesus always completes his work, He who does it all in kindness and in discrete way.
Today I am able to differentiate the colours. I can see huge objects like houses, trees, green gardens, cars; I can see our ca, stairs, sun and people. I came back to work and I am able to do all house works much easily. Vinciane rejoices to this change that happens to her mother and says that we have God’s peace in our home! I remain with you in prayer.

Joelle Beuret – Devanthery
Lausanne, November 19, 2010

P.S. Something that will help you in understanding what I am going through:
People always told me that I was lucky because I could not see this ugly and grey world. They told me that people are miserable. I imagined that the earth was grey, that people are like some grey sticks, that sun is shining through thick layer of fog, that even the water we drink is grey and blurry.
Imagine how I was surprised when I discovered beautiful and colourful nature, smiling people, beautiful sun on the blue sky, all full of order and kindness. Praised be Thee, my God!
I would imagine that people are crushed like fish in a can while they stand on the station stops and that used to wear me down completely. Today, I can save fifteen minutes every day because  I can find my way through the people much faster and I am able to get everywhere in faster way. Thank you, Mary!
Those unfaithful Thomas’ from my surrounding were saying how something like this is not possible. Few days later that called me and told me how they can recognise God’s work in this miracle.
And I could tell you many other things, but it would all be too long.
They performed some minor tests already. I can see the light with my left eye, with my right even better. On December 8, 2010 I am to have another test in Basel, with one professor of ophthalmology. I will write to you again. Let us remain united in prayer, thanking Mary, Queen of Peace and Her Son Jesus who said: you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven unless you become like the children... This healing gave me the soul of a child, the look of child who went from the night into the Light! Lord, everything is from You, everything is for our happiness and everything comes back to You.
SOURCE -,-who-followed-group-from-lausanne,-switzerland-on-their-pilgrimage-to-medjugorje,3388.html

Testimony of Christine Claessens who witnessed the blind woman Joelle being healed in Medjugorje, Oct. 2010

“Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed” (Jn 20, 29)
Christianne Claessens – the first witness of healing of woman from Switzerland Joelle Beuret – Devanthery in Medjugorje, in October 2010, as she describes the pilgrimage and all of the events.
On Saturday, October 16, 2010, forty six people, mostly from the parish of St. Frances de Sales and St. Therese, began their private pilgrimage to Medjugorje. It was our twentieth private pilgrimage that was taking place at the time when we remembered twentieth anniversary of forming the prayer group of Queen of Peace. For our group, that was a wonderful opportunity to thank the Lord, since Mary took each one of us by our hand, and guided us despite all of the difficulties that we had throughout these last twenty years.  Indeed, Satan cannot stand Virgin Mary and he therefore hates all of the prayer groups that she desires to be founded in every single parish. Through God’s grace, we remained faithful and we used to gather every Monday for prayer, meditation of Christ’s life, all accompanied with the messages that Mary gave and is still giving every month in Medjugorje.
We spent two days in the bus praying and introducing ourselves to the events that were taking place in Medjugorje since 1981 up to today. It was Sunday evening, around 8 p.m. when we arrived to Medjugorje. On Monday, October 18, even though it was raining, with great joy in our hearts, we climbed the slippery pathway that leads to the Hill of Apparitions. We were all helping one another. Joelle, completely blind 50 years old woman was amongst pilgrims, together with her daughter Vinciane, as well as their modest and cheerful friend Claudia, who followed Joelle everywhere with such love and gentleness. Joelle was so happy, she seemed as she was floating over rocky pathways. As she arrived to the site of Apparitions, right under the Statue of Our Lady, she said beautiful prayer full of love and trust to Heavenly Mother.
FINSISH READING ARTICLE AT :,-who-followed-group-from-lausanne,-switzerland-on-their-pilgrimage-to-medjugorje,3388.html

The Untold Story of Fr. Kneemiller; From New Age Transcendental Meditation, Teacher To Catholic Priest

Posted: 17 Jan 2011 09:09 AM PST

The Untold Story of Fr. Kneemiller;
From New Age Transcendental Meditation
Teacher To Catholic Priest

Check This Story Out! Fr. Kneemiller Reveals His Innocent Beginnings With The New Age Movement, His Conversion Through the Family Rosary,  A Healing Process Lasting Well Into His Priesthood and A Warning For All To Hear.
By Father Bill Kneemiller, Davenport Diocese – The Catholic Messenger: The topic of New Age movements, once a budding campus phenomenon, is now mainstream and as close to us as our local bookstore or DVD movie. New Age refers to forms of spirituality that draw from old systems of knowledge such as Zen, Gnosticism (secret knowledge) and Eastern meditation.
New Age concepts and ideals are even becoming part of our vocabulary. I know this terminology well, as I had a former involvement with Eastern meditation practices before my reconversion to my Catholic roots. I have been steeped in both traditions. So, I may have some insights for Catholics who are dabbling in New Age practices. I have not publicly written about this before because it has taken time to come out of this New Age involvement.
It Started With Good Intentions
I was blessed to get a solid Catholic education in St. Charles, Mo., attending Catholic grade school and high school, and being taught by dozens of faith-filled priests and religious Sisters. After high school, I was ready to see more of life. As far as my faith life, Catholicism was OK but I wanted to get a spiritual high. At the University of Missouri I was intrigued by the philosophy of yoga, and in reading my first yoga book “Heaven Lies Within,” it seemed then to fit with me, the new “seeker.” After all, didn’t Jesus use these very words? After about a year of stumbling around with self-help yoga books, I started practicing the Eastern meditation technique, transcendental meditation. From this date in the early 1970s, there followed about 18 years of doing everything with this program. I traveled to half-a-dozen countries spending months, even close to a year overseas at a time studying the technique and advanced programs.
It Was Being Supported By Catholic Leaders
Also, I thought I was meeting the coolest people in the world such as Deepak Chopra, now a self-help guru in his own right, and Johnny Gray, author of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” At the time, it seemed great to me that Catholic leaders such as the Trappists in Massachusetts were practicing this meditation technique along with priests endorsing it. Everything seemed OK at the time because I was taught it is just a technique which enriches everyone’s own religion and the mantra used for this meditation practice was a meaningless word. It would be decades before I learned that mantras are names of Hindu gods.
The Family Rosary Started the Conversion
After about 18 years of Eastern meditation involvement, I started going to a family rosary, at first, out of curiosity. I was taught “prayer with the heart” and it completely changed my concept of prayer from being a rote practice to being a conversation and relationship with Christ. With my newfound rosary friends, I enjoyed going to Catholic conferences and events. The first change I noticed was that I wanted to be around people who believed in the Catholic faith; the conversation and New Age-culture started sounding unusual, even strange.
I Denounced The Mantra
After a few years, the Catholic culture won out, and I just stopped all involvement with Eastern meditation. I did wonder at the time if I could just walk away; was there any closure? Five years of seminary followed, then, soon after ordination, I started attending the healing Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. One of the priests there offered a prayer of deliverance for me at that time, and recommended that I denounce the mantra, and that was a huge step in cutting my former ties with Eastern meditation.
The Affects Still Lingered Well Into Priesthood
My story then picks up in 2010, after a tour as a military chaplain in Afghanistan, when I attend a healing conference in Chicago. This conference is held at Mundelein Seminary every August and is for priests involved in the healing ministry, along with training for exorcists. There I meet Father Bob Thorn, a diocesan priest from Wisconsin who had a similar history as me, being a former meditation teacher and now a Catholic priest. Fr. Thorn was helping with reconciliation one evening, so I waited, last in line to go to confession with him. I thought, “Well, Fr. Thorn may have some insights about the Eastern meditation movement, and his subsequent re-conversion to his Catholic roots. I also thought that when we talked, it would be a friendly social visit, such as “Ha-ha-ha,” wasn’t that kind of crazy back then in the ‘70s, and our involvement with meditation and everything …”
More Healing Was Needed
But as soon as I sat down with Fr. Thorn, there was no “Ha-ha-ha” — only seriousness. I told him I was involved as a meditation teacher back then as he was, and he looked fairly concerned. He said, “Bill — you still have that Eastern meditation in you.” He went on to explain that I needed to denounce every Hindu god that is invoked in the meditation ceremony. I realized he was right. The transcendental meditation ceremony is filled with dozens of invocations to gods, such as ‘Brahma, Shiva’… you name it; it’s there in the ceremony in which everyone is taught the technique.
So, Fr. Thorn and I went to the conference directors and asked them if they could pray for us that evening. Fr. Thorn downloaded the meditation ceremony from the Internet, and we were ready to be prayed over for this intention.
Finally, Years After Being A Priest
Three priests helped with this, including one from Canada and one from Peru who I understand to be two of the most skilled exorcists in the world. The priests recommended that I denounce each god and proclaim Jesus Christ as savior, which took about a quarter of an hour. I did this, and the priest did a casting-out prayer. The healing session was a profound gift and grace. Wow, the effects of spiritual healing! That night, I slept like a baby.
Never Use Eastern Meditation For Any Reason At All
Then, the next week, and in subsequent months I have felt lighter and freer than I have ever experienced in my life. The next week at the healing Mass in Davenport, I gave a talk about healing from New Age practices and spent an hour-and-a-half afterwards hearing confessions and praying for people who had similar involvements. I could never recommend anyone using Eastern meditation for any reason at all. But, I also now see many intrusions of New Age thought, or re-formulated Hinduism in our culture, and some in our parishes.
“Many people are convinced that there is no harm in ‘borrowing’ from the wisdom of the East, but the example of transcendental meditation should make Christians cautious about the prospect of committing themselves unknowingly to another religion (in this case Hinduism),” according to a 2003 Church document entitled: “Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the New Age.”
Christian Meditation Good; New Age Meditation Bad
“There is no problem with learning how to meditate but the object or content of the exercise clearly determines whether it relates to the God revealed by Jesus Christ … or simply to the hidden depths of the self,” the document states.
Our Church’s teachings remind us that we have in the person of Jesus Christ a trustworthy and sure guide, true man and true God, and source of all goodness!
(Fr. Kneemiller is pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Hills and St. Mary parishes in Lone Tree and Nichols, IA.)
HT: GT Bradshaw a faithful email subscriber
P.S. – Would you do Courageous Priest a favor and share this info with your friends
Check this out –  Spirit Battle For Souls

The Three Ages of the Interior Life - Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange


As everyone can easily understand, the interior life is an elevated form of intimate conversation which everyone has with himself as soon as he is alone, even in the tumult of a great city. From the moment he ceases to converse with his fellow men, man converses interiorly with himself about what preoccupies him most. This conversation varies greatly according to the different ages of life; that of an old man is not that of a youth. It also varies greatly according as a man is good or bad.

As soon as a man (woman) seriously seeks truth and goodness, this intimate conversation with himself tends to become conversation with God. Little by little, instead of seeking himself in everything, instead of tending more or less consciously to make himself a center, man tends to seek God in everything, and to substitute for egoism love of God and of souls in Him. This constitutes the interior life. No sincere man will have any difficulty in recognizing it. The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary (1) consists in hearing the word of God and living by it.

The interior life thus conceived is something far more profound and more necessary in us than intellectual life or the cultivation of the sciences, than artistic or literary life, than social or political life.  Unfortunately, some great scholars, mathematicians, physicists, and astronomers have no interior life, so to speak, but devote themselves to the study of their science as if God did not exist. In their mo­ments of solitude they have no intimate conversation with Him. Their life appears to be in certain respects the search for the true and the good in a more or less definite and restricted domain, but it is so tainted with self-love and intellectual pride that we may legitimately question whether it will bear fruit for eternity. Many artists, literary men, and statesmen never rise above this level of purely human activity which is, in short, quite exterior. Do the depths of their souls live by God? It would seem not.

This shows that the interior life, or the life of the soul with God, well deserves to be called the one thing necessary, since by it we tend to our last end and assure our salvation. This last must not be too widely separated from progressive sanctification, for it is the very way of salvation.

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Mir" Center in Medjugorje keeps records of "Healings" - Man cured of Cancer but one example

 By Ivo Scepanovic Author of "Medjugorje - 30 years of a phenomenon" for
January 10, 2011
 Stories of miraculous healings from Medjugorje are definitely one of the most mysterious happenings in the past thirty years parallel to the claims of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Over 600 cases of healings have been recorded.  The Holy See observes with caution but the documentation only increases the observer’s curiosity of the Medjugorian happenings.
Actually, nobody really talks about or announces the healings in Medjugorje, but the belief that they occur stemmed from the apparitions, blessings, prayers, trips to Apparition Hill or on the high hilltop of Cross Hill some five hundred meters away.
Recorded cases of the healings of people from all over the world are kept in the Information center “Mir” run by the Franciscans of the St. James parish in Medjugorje along with all the given documentation which is then forwarded to medical and theological examiners.
Among the most impressive cases is of an Italian woman, Diana Basile, from Platizza near Cosenze. She was a nurse employed in Milan who suffered from multiple sclerosis for fourteen years.  Doctors couldn’t help her at all, so she decided to visit Medjugorje in May of 1984 and pray from any improvement to her severe medical condition. Until then, she wasn’t able to walk on her own or kneel, but during her stay in Medjugorje on May 23rd, she simply exclaimed “I am healed!” after praying with the visionaries at the moment of an apparent apparition.
 “When the visionaries kneeled, there was a great silence and I felt I had the strength to kneel,” said Diana Basile.
The very next day she hiked up an incredible 12 km from the Ljubuški hotel, where she was staying, to the shrine in Medjugorje. After that, she climbed the Apparition Hill all by herself.
Of course, this case surprised her doctors in Milan and soon afterward a special team of 25 experts was set up to determine if she was totally recovered without the help of pills.  In Medjugorje, there are 143 similar documents of healings that can’t be medically explained.
Among the hundreds of cases, one that definitely stands out is of Arthur Boyle, an American from Hingham near Boston.  He was diagnosed with kidney cancer which spread to his lungs. Doctors sadly predicted a speedy death.
He arrived home in America convinced that he was healed.
“God healed me. I am healed in my heart. I am spiritually healed. All that was rotten and unhealthy in me, I got rid of in confession in Medjugorje.” he repeated.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Two Medjugorje Visionaries Have Apparitions Of Mary Under Anesthesia


During the past 30 years, Our Lady of Medjugorje has appeared on thousands of occasions to the six seers, Ivanka, Mirjana, Vicka, Ivan, Marija and Ivan, in many places and in many situations. But perhaps the most unusual occasions were when two of the visionaries were having operations under anaesthetic!
The first time this happened was to Vicka, late in 1984 in a Zagreb hospital. The eldest of the Medjugorje seers was undergoing an operation for appendicitis at the time. According to Fr Slavko Barbaric, Vicka later told him that: “during the operation Our Lady appeared to her for 12 minutes in the operating theatre. An hour after the operation Vicka was still under the influence of the anaesthetic. A young man who had gone with her to Zagreb was in the hospital room and was present during the vision, and he told me: ‘If I had had a video-recorder and if I could have recorded this apparition, we would have had the final answer for all those who wonder if it is possible or not, for all those who are in doubt.’”

The second occasion was to Marija on December 16, 1988, and happened in the United States at Birmingham, Alabama. Just 23 years old at the time Marija was undergoing an operation to donate one of her kidneys to her brother. According to the Mariologist writer Fr René Laurentin, the operation “lasted three hours and was accompanied by a long apparition from the Blessed Virgin… Marija had a premonition of the visit of Our Lady who encouraged her plan. She warned the doctor not to be surprised if some anomaly presented itself at his side. But the prolonged apparition was discreet.”

Medjugorje Testimony - Jack Brito

Best Photograph: 206 Tours
Send us pictures of your past pilgrimage(s), which we will post on our website.
Winner:  Jack Brito

I had been away from the church for 35 years, twenty-three of those years I lived a life of alcohol / drugs / violence / promiscuity / spent time in and out of jails / emotionally abusing women, and a host of other things I'm ashamed of. I got sober in 1983, but continued acting as if I were still drinking, minus the alcohol. In 2005 two things happened that led me to Medjugorje. One, during a conversation with my girlfriend I mentioned not knowing why I cried during religious movies, she told me "because it's time you came back to your faith." Two, she handed me a copy of Wayne Weible's book "Medjugorje: The Message." I was immediately hooked and we decided to go with him that November. On our first full day there, one of the Eucharistic Ministers on the tour prayed over me, told me I was deeply troubled and that I needed to confess the problem. Later that morning we heard Vicka speak, she spoke of the trip she and Jakov took to heaven, purgatory and hell, with the description of the demons. At mass that morning, and during the homily the priest saying the mass mentioned a prescence of evil, I saw the monster/demons Vicka spoke about, but it was my head on top of the monsters body. I felt like a hypocrite being in such a holy place and told my girlfriend that I wanted to go home. She gave me her rosary and suggested I visit "The Risen Christ," after mass and pray. After mass I found a priest and confessed, I sobbed and the priest held me comforting me, telling me it was going to be alright. Still troubled I spoke with our spiritual director, Fr. Joe and told him I was struggling, he clarified a few more things for me. He told me that I was there because Our Lady wanted me to come, that I was being called. That night I slept very peacefully. The next day around 5:30 a.m. I went to St. James with my movie camera, shot footage of the front of the church and all other areas on the side, back and "The Risen Christ." It wasn't until the flight home, that I found the enclosed photos on my camera. At home, the pastor at my church told me, "Jack, after telling me about your struggle in Medjugorje, Our Lady was letting you know she's there for you if you want her. All you need to do is ask." My girlfriend and I were married on September 8th, Our Lady's birthday, and have returned to Medjugorje twice and looking forward to returning in November 2011 for our fourth pilgrimage.

Sr. Briege McKenna - Mending souls

 Interview: Mending souls
Sister Briege McKenna on the power of sacraments
By Emily Stimpson - OUR SUNDAY VISITOR Newsweekly, 10/10/2010
As a young woman, Sister of St. Clare Briege McKenna was miraculously healed of rheumatoid arthritis. Not long after, she received the gift of healing, and began a ministry to Catholic clergy and laity that has spanned four decades and five continents. But Sister Briege learned long ago that the deepest healing is that which can’t be seen by the naked eye.
That is the healing of the soul, and it comes to us first and foremost through the sacraments. In her newest book, “The Power of the Sacraments” (Servant, $9.99), Sister Briege calls Catholics to rediscover the sacraments and encounter their healing power. Recently, Our Sunday Visitor spoke with Sister Briege about her new book and the need for healing in the Church today.
Our Sunday Visitor: Why do you think Catholics sometimes tend to take the sacraments for granted?
Sister Briege McKenna: I think that’s because many don’t really understand the power of the sacraments. The greatest need in our present day is for people to be in-structed in the faith and to be taught what the sacraments really are. Catholics need to be evangelized about their own faith and beliefs.
OSV: And where does that evangelization begin?
Sister Briege: It begins by showing people how the deepest needs they have are fulfilled by the sacraments.
Take, for example, the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In today’s world people feel a need to unburden themselves, to confess. But they’re going to all the wrong people to do that: hairdressers, psychiatrists, strangers on the Internet. I can’t tell you how often people tell their sins to me on airplanes.
But I can’t absolve anyone of their sins. Nor can a hairdresser. They’re confessing, but they’re not going to the right place. They’re not going where they can find real freedom. The same is true for the Eucharist and the anointing of the sick.
In my ministry people come to me all the time looking for miracles. But do you know how many miracles I’ve seen through those sacraments? After people receive the Eucharist or the anointing of the sick, so many begin to get better. And even when there’s not physical healing, there’s healing of a different sort.
The Lord is on the altars of the world. If Catholics really understood that, they would crawl to Mass.
OSV: That understanding isn’t just an intellectual knowledge, is it?
Sister Briege: No, it’s not. I say to priests all the time that they need to pray for the charism of understanding. That’s true for all Catholics. Understanding is a charism of the Holy Spirit that helps us grasp the mysteries of the faith with our hearts. That’s what enabled the martyrs to give their lives. Many martyrs had different degrees of intellectual knowledge, but they understood the mysteries in their heart, and they died because of that.
OSV: You just mentioned in passing the work you do with priests. That’s been a primary focus for you in recent years. How did that start?
Sister Briege: It actually began not long after my own physical healing. I came to Florida in 1971 as a young nun. I’d grown up in a very devout Catholic culture, and we’d been taught never to criticize priests. I remember my father telling us stories about how we should honor them. And we should, of course, but many of us were doing it in the wrong way, putting them up on a pedestal.
Well, in 1971, that was changing, and I found myself, like many, becoming quite critical of priests. One day, I went into the chapel and asked God, “What’s wrong with these priests?” He then revealed two things to me. First, he showed me that a tremendous crisis was coming, a crisis that would lead to a great famine of the Word of God, and that Catholics would turn away from the faith.
OSV: And the second thing?
Sister Briege: The Lord told me to wash the feet of priests. He showed me Jesus weeping and said: “The time is coming when many bishops and priests will care more about the business of the world than about my wisdom. They will become ashamed of me. I want you to tell them to magnify me.”
I was horrified. But I wrote it all down and talked to my bishop. Shortly afterward, I got an overwhelming love for the priesthood, a real sense of what the Sacrament of Holy Orders was.
Then God brought Vincentian Father Kevin Scallon and I together. My mother general and his father general gave us their blessing and sent us out to work together. And ever since we’ve been going wherever we’re invited to help priests rediscover the spirit of their priesthood.
OSV: Some of the priests with whom you work are priests who have fallen into serious sin. As you’ve gotten to know these priests, what have you discovered about the circumstances that led them to where they are now?
Sister Briege: They didn’t get there overnight. Their struggles are generally the fruit of a long and slow neglect of the spiritual life. We all have an inner and an outer life. That inner life starts at baptism, and, in this world, it’s constantly under attack. So we have to protect it. How do we do that? We make our home in Jesus. We nourish it though prayer, sacraments and living the life we’ve promised Jesus to live.
If a priest isn’t doing that, if he’s not giving over every area of his life to Jesus, he neglects the inner life, and divorce comes. He begins to care only for his outer life. And he falls.
The priesthood is God’s gift. And any gift that is not cherished, that is not received and loved and cared for, dies. A priest can’t lose the gift of his priesthood, but he can lose the love that animates it. And that can cost him everything.
OSV: How has a wrong understanding of celibacy contributed to that fall?
Sister Briege: When a man is called to the priesthood, God doesn’t take away his sexuality. It’s normal to be attracted to another. And, as Pope John Paul II writes in his first letter to priests, the Lord has every right to challenge us. We’re not guaranteed freedom from temptation. What we are guaranteed is the grace of God. That grace can help us understand that celibacy is not a denial of human love.
Celibacy is a consecration of your most precious gift of sexuality to Almighty God. You offer it to the Lord. And you take time to discern if that’s an offering you can make. When you make it, God consecrates the gift of your sexuality and gives it back to you with a new power.
But you have to both understand that you’ve given it freely — it’s not something that’s been taken from you — and that you have to choose every day to remain faithful, just as a married person does.
OSV: There’s so much sin, shame and pain in the Church right now. How do Catholics make sense of it all?
Sister Briege: First, we have to pray for those who’ve suffered at the hands of priests. But we mustn’t let one priest’s sin, or even many priests’ sins, keep us away from the Church. When we do that, we commit spiritual suicide.
When Judas betrayed Christ, the disciples didn’t stop what they were doing and focus only on him. They found a replacement, Matthias, and continued with the work of the Church.
I’d also add that we must not forget that all priests who are accused are not guilty. I know many saintly men who have been falsely accused and are suffering horribly because of lies that have been told.
OSV: From what you’ve seen with the priests with whom you work, do you believe better days are ahead?
Sister Briege: I do. God is rectifying what’s happened. He’s cleansing the Church. And we’ve been so blessed to have such holy popes in our lifetime. It hasn’t always been like this. But the Church survived, and now we have a great pope leading us into a new springtime.
Before we see the fruit, there has to be purification, and the ground has to be fertilized. But the springtime is coming. The Church has been humiliated, and that’s good.
The prestige of the priesthood is no longer an earthly one. We’re looking more closely at who’s forming our priests and how.
Some bishops and priests are finding their voices again. They’re less afraid of speaking with authority. We need more of that, though. All bishops and priests must be willing to speak out and defend truth and the Church’s moral teachings. They must not be afraid to confront sin, even if it means martyrdom.
Emily Stimpson is an OSV contributing editor. SOURCE -

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On Wisconsin: Latest apparition — crowds of pilgrims

On Wisconsin: Latest apparition — crowds of pilgrims

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This story appeared first in the Sunday edition of the Wisconsin State Journal newspaper.
CHAMPION — The chapel has room for 280 people.
Most prefer the basement, with its low ceiling and humming ventilation fan.
This is where hundreds of candles burn and eight tiny pews face a statue of the Virgin Mary squashing a snake.
The pilgrims come as they are, some wearing Green Bay Packers jackets and shirts, others in hunting pants or work boots.
No one keeps track of the attendance, but it’s estimated that more than 3,000 people a year find their way to the tiny shrine on Highway K where prayer candles are $3.50 and plastic crucifixes are sold for $1.
But 2011 will be unlike any other in the 152-year history of the shrine at Our Lady of Good Help, just off one of the main routes to the Door Peninsula and its collection of wineries, cherry orchards and state parks.
Pilgrims from around the country are descending on this farming community, in Kewaunee County about 15 miles northeast of Green Bay, to seek peace and healing and to pray. Last month, Bishop David Ricken of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay approved three apparitions of the Virgin Mary that were seen in 1859 by Adele Brise, a 29-year-old Belgium immigrant.
It is the only church-approved apparition in the United States and joins others around the world such as Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City; Lourdes, France; and Fatima, Portugal.
“We hope it doesn’t change a bit,” said Veronica Schmelzer, 42, of nearby Casco. She has come to the shrine since she was a little girl. “It’s a part of our daily lives, so it’s kind of odd having it so public,” she said last week.
The shrine is no secret to those in the area, and signs along Highway 57 direct motorists to the site. In 1954, an estimated 20,000 people attended the Aug. 15 outdoor Mass for the annual Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Attendance for the Mass in recent years, however, has been around 1,500.
Old site hits the big time
When Ricken made his announcement Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the story was picked up by media around the world. An estimated 200 to 300 people a day have visited the site, and on some days between Christmas and New Year’s there were 1,000 visitors.
The shrine shut down its online prayer candle requests so those visiting in person could have a place for their candle.
“We had candles everywhere. We just couldn’t keep up,” said Karen Tipps, a caretaker on the grounds for 18 years. “We really felt bad shutting that down.”
Tipps has been busy fielding phone calls and answering e-mails from school groups, churches and others from around the state and from bus tour groups around the country. Her big concern is being able to stagger the visits by tour groups, which she likes to divide into smaller groups rotating them between the gift shop, crypt, chapel and, when the weather cooperates, the stations of the cross.
“I’ve bought myself a great big calendar for scheduling all these groups,” Tipps said. “It’s going to be an adjustment.”
A larger parking lot is scheduled to be paved this spring, and diocese officials are considering plans for an addition to the crypt that would offer more bathrooms and make the shrine, built on the spot of the apparitions, handicap accessible.
“As more people are coming, it’s something we’d like to have done soon, but it has to be done right,” said the Rev. John Doerfler, rector of the shrine. “We want to make sure that whatever is done, it fosters the spirit of prayer.”
‘Sign that God is active’
John Kruse, 43, of suburban Detroit, was in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on business last week but made the two-hour-plus drive from Escanaba to visit. Kruse, who has visited other apparition sites around the world, expects thousands to make their way to Champion.
“This place will explode (with visitors),” said Kruse. “It’s another sign that God is active.”
Juan Valero came to pray with his wife Teresa and 3-year-old son Benjamin who has been sick. The family came from Oshkosh and likely will return, especially when other family members visit from Mexico.
“It’s a very peaceful place. I was excited to come,” Juan Valero said. “I feel like I have to be here.”
Peg Gallagher, a retired school teacher on the Menominee Indian Reservation, last visited the shrine when she was a teenager. She drove from her home in Shawano last week to pray and take in the peace and quiet of the crypt.
“It’s a very simple place,” Gallagher said. “It brought back memories of my Catholic faith as a child.”
A guest registry at the crypt’s entrance showed visitors from Wisconsin, Illinois, Oregon and Virginia. Greg Thome of Pleasanton, Calif., was visiting family in Allouez, a Green Bay suburb. His mother-in-law visits the shrine about once a week during the summer.
“There’s a spirit of grace that seems to be present here,” said Thome, 59, a hospital consultant. “It’s located in such a humble place.”

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

St. Philomena

The Story of St. Philomena
On May 25, 1802, excavators in the ancient Catacomb of St. Priscilla in Rome came upon a well-preserved shelf tomb sealed with terr-cotta slabs in the manner usually reserved for nobility or great martyrs. The tomb was marked with three tiles, inscribed with the following confusing words: LUMENA  /  PAXTE  /  CUMFI.  However, if one places the first tile last and separates the words properly, the very intelligible sentence emerges: Pax tecum, Filumena, which is "Peace be with you, Philomena." Also inscribed on the tiles were symbols: a lily, arrows, an anchor and a lance, which would appear to indicate virginity and martyrdom. Inside the coffin there were discovered the remains of a girl of about twelve or thirteen years of age, along with a vial or ampulla of her dried blood.

Transferred to the Treasury of the Rare Collections of Christian Antiquity in the Vatican, the remains were soon forgotten by the public, especially since no record existed of a virgin martyr named Philomena.  But in 1805, a Neapolitan priest, Don Francesco di Lucia, traveling to Rome with his newly appointed bishop, requested and, after a brief delay, received the relics of this martyr "Philomena" to enshrine in his village church at Mugnano, near Naples.

Immediately upon the official donation of St. Philomena's sacred remains, signal favors began to be granted through her intercession and unusual events to occur. The favors, graces and even miracles started to increase, even before her enshrinement at Mugnano, and they steadily grew in number thereafter - such that this virgin martyr soon earned the title, "Philomena, Powerful with God". In 1837, only 35 years after her exhumation, Pope Gregory XVI elevated this "Wonder-Worker of the Nineteenth Century" to sainthood. In an act unprecedented in the history of Catholicism, she became the only person recognized by the Church as a Saint solely on the basis of her powerful intercession, since nothing historical was known of her except her name and the evidence of her martyrdom.

St. Philomena has been successfully invoked by her supplicants in every sort of needed, such that she has become another patron of "hopeless" and "impossible" cases, like St. Jude or St. Rita, but she is known to be especially powerful in cases involving conversion of sinners, return to the Sacraments, expectant mothers, destitute mothers, problems with children, unhappiness in the home, sterility, priests and their work, help for the sick, the missions, real estate, money problems, food for the poor and mental illness. But truly, as her devotees discovered, no case, of whatever matter, is too trivial or too unimportant to concern her.

The Saints and St. Philomena
Among her most devout clients was St. John Vianney (the Cure' of Ars), whose childlike devotion to this virgin Saint played an intimate part in his daily life. other Saints who were always devoted to her prayed to her and sang her praises were St. Peter Julian Eymard, St. Peter Chanel, St. Anthony Mary Claret, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, St. Euphrasia Pelletier, St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, St. John Nepomucene Neumann, Blessed Anna Maria Taigi and Ven. Pauline Jaricot.
The Popes and St. Philomena
A number of Popes have also shown remarkable devotion to St. Philomena as well: Pope Leo XII (1823-1829) expressed the greatest admiration for this unknown child-saint and gladly gave his permission for the erection of altars and churches in her honor. Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846), who authorized her public veneration, showed his esteem and devotion to the Saint by giving her the title of "Patroness of the Living Rosary". A Mass and proper Office in her honor were approved by him in 1834 or 1835. This is an extraordinary privilege granted to comparatively few Saints. Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) proclaimed her "Patroness of the Children of Mary." Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) made two pilgrimages to her shrine before his election to the papacy. After he had become the Vicar of Christ, he gave a valuable cross to the sanctuary. He approved the Confraternity of St. Philomena and later raised it to an Archconfraternity (which is still headquartered at her shrine at Mugnano, Italy). Pope St. Pius X (1903-1914) spoke warmly of her and manifested his devotion to her in various ways. Costly gifts were given by him to her shrine.

Truly, St. Philomena is a powerful intercessor - seemingly held quietly in reserve by Our Divine Lord during these many centuries - for especially strong help in our times, when so much confusion and absence of faith are manifest. Her principal feast day is August 11.
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Monday, January 10, 2011

A Tribute to Oscar

Oscar was a beautiful, animal friend to Nicole for 14 years.  Oscar had quite an amazing last day on earth as his owner, Nicole and Nicole's sister, Colette spent last Saturday in much prayer.  After visiting the vet late that morning, they all decided that they would keep Oscar for the weekend and then make a decision to 'put him down' on Monday.  Nicole and her sister wanted to spend some quality time saying goodbye with their beloved Oscar. 

So, after the vet, they went to the beautiful Rosary Garden in Jupiter, Fl. on the grounds of St. Peter's Catholic church.  Nicole and Colette, Oscar and Nicole's other Yorkie, named Linus walked and prayed the rosary with Oscar being carried in procession aong the rosary path of decades.  They saw a real owl in the tree and thought that was amazing. 

When they got to the end of praying the rosary, they were at the big statue of Our Blessed Mother Mary. Their rosary prayers were finished, and poor little Oscar got sick and they knew it was time to go home.

Nicole and Colette brought him home and laid him on the couch.  Nicole remembered she had some Lourdes Holy Water that a friend had brought her and she sprinkled the holy water on Oscar and Linus and themselves and prayed some more. 

Three minutes later, Oscar perked right up, raised his head, and opened his eyes wide.

At this time, they put Linus next to Oscar on the couch for their special goodbyes.  A little later, Oscar died peacefully.  Nicole loved her Oscar very much.  She will miss him but she knows there is eternal life and feels sure that her dear Oscar will be waiting for her in Heaven for God couldn't possibly have a Heaven without our furry friends that He gave us on earth.  Animals do not have souls, so they go right to Heaven.
And we can only hope that someone prays the rosary for us as we lay dying.  Pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mary Johnston - pilgrimage testimony - 206 Tours

Mary Johnston - A true pilgrimage

I am so glad you have asked people to write about their pilgrimage experiences. Without seeing that, I would not have taken the time I have to reflect on how my life has changed since my first pilgrimage with 206.

Websters dictionary states that a pilgrimage is “any long journey or search, especially one of exalted purpose or moral significance”. That really sums up my pilgrimage experiences which started with 206 in 1998.

At that time I was just praying for faith. I would ask people to pray for me, pray that I find faith.
A friend’s mother wanted to go to this place called Medjugorie. I had never heard of it. Several things happened that made it possible for us to take her there. We arranged our trip with a company called 206 tours. So off we went to Medjugorie. I was still asking people to pray for me for faith, any kind of faith.

Our first night in Medjugorie was Holy Thursday. We climbed Cross mountain on Good Friday saying the Stations of the Cross. They were just words to me until I got to the Station where Our Lady was holding the body of Jesus. I fell on my knees and said, how could I not believe? I came home from that trip a believer again in the faith I was raised in, the one true faith, the Catholic faith. I now pray daily. The rosary is always with me. When in Medjugorie I always buy at least 100 rosaries to give to people.  I didn’t just wake up one morning and find my faith gone, no, I lost it by not going to church on a regular basis, not praying, and not following the teachings of the church. As I tell people, I was a cafeteria Catholic, and when I got to the table I was anorexic. Didn’t like much at all, but couldn’t totally leave the church either.

Through 206 I have been back to Medjugorie two more times and to Rome and Assisi. I have been blessed to be on pilgrimage to Ireland and Poland. All of these were steps in my spiritual growth as well as trying to live a good Catholic life at home.

Then last year I went to the Holy Land for the first time. My thought on about the 3rd day in the Holy Land, was why didn’t I come here first? This is where it all started. Now I have just returned from my second trip to the Holy Land and my story of that trip follows.

Matthew 26:40 “And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping and he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?”

We were able to pray one hour in the very spot where Jesus said these words! We had a Holy Hour in the Church of the Nations! The church that is in Gethsemane, the alter is built over the very stone where Jesus wept! WOW!

Father Tino knelt the entire hour on that hard stone praying for and with us.

One very quiet, holy, special hour. An hour spent in prayer. Father Tino led us in prayer at times and we had time for private prayer.

If I was speaking, these words would be said in a whisper, because that is the feeling I had there and still have when I remember that hour. I was praying one hour with Jesus in Gethsemane.

This one hour more than anything else on this trip had a great influence on me and really changed my heart. It must have impressed others because Father Stirniman talks about it in his Christmas letter.

Now during my two hours of Eucharist Adoration each week, in my mind and heart I go back to that hour in that church. That hour made my Adoration time more meaningful for me. I can come away with a feeling of peace and know that Jesus is with me. I am keeping watch!

As I have stated, I have been blessed to have been on many trips and many pilgrimages. This was truly a pilgrimage because we were blessed with three very holy priests, Fathers Tino, Stirniman, and D’Souza. Who taught me so much about prayer and living a better life. I go back to my journal and read the Homilies and find such good advice for everyday living.

I could go into great detail about all the wonders we saw, but the Holy Hour and the statement that Father Stirniman made sum up the trip. Father Stirniman reminded us that you can add up all the places we saw and they don’t equal a fraction of one Host!

When I attend Mass, I remember what Father Stirniman said about a fraction of one Host. As Scott Hahn states Mass is Heaven on earth. I try harder to get to daily Mass and really participate. To remember that I am in Heaven.

I am in two Bible studies at church and I get up early each Sunday morning to set up the coffee for coffee and donuts after Mass. I volunteer at Birthright. These are all fruits of returning to my faith.

So many people on this pilgrimage of life have influenced me. I try to take more time for others. All of this is very hard to put into words because it sounds like I am bragging and that is not the case. It is just that I feel closer to God and I feel he is calling me to go back to the Holy Land and hopefully lead other people on their personal pilgrimage so they have the opportunity to receive what has been so freely given to me.

My journey, my personal pilgrimage started several years ago on that first trip to Medjugorje. Our life, if we live it correctly should be a constant pilgrimage towards God and living with him in His kingdom in heaven. Without Him we can do nothing.

Yes, I am a very different person who got on that airplane to go to that place called Medjugorje many years ago. Thank God I went!

If you are reading this and thinking about going on a pilgrimage, I encourage you to take that trip, but do it with your mind and heart open to hear the voice of God calling you. He is, you know.

I thank him daily for all the blessing he has given me. Thank you 206 for being part of that very personal pilgrimage. Your many trips have given me many graces. My pilgrimage continues daily if I allow God to work in my life.

Mary Johnston

My Pilgrim Story by Deacon Paul J. Carrier

Deacon Paul J. Carrier --- from 206 Tours

As I reflect on my life I have to start from the time when I first came back to the Church after being away for many years. It was my youngest son who drew me back to the Church. He would come home from Mass and C.C.D. classes with my wife and he would have so much joy in his heart and I wanted what he had. I made the decision to come back to Church much to the surprise of my family.

It was through a gentle and caring Priest that I received the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist after a long time of being away. Once I started going to Mass every Sunday my hunger to learn more about the Eucharist began. I started attending Prayer Meetings to share my faith and to learn from others. My thirst for Jesus grew more and more and I started going on retreats and conferences. I found myself volunteering at my Church wherever needed.

Still searching I started going to Church at noontime and sitting in front of the Tabernacle since my job prevented me from going to daily Mass. Sometimes I would talk to Jesus and other times I would just sit and listen and let him speak to my heart. I knew Jesus was there and I would feel His peace when I would go back to work.
In the fall of 1984 after a series of tests I found out I had colon cancer. When my doctor called me and told me the news, I hung up the phone and ran out of the house to the Church. I did not know how to react, so I went to the Blessed Sacrament and yelled at Jesus. I was so angry that he let this happen to me. If anyone else had been in the church at the time they would have thought I was a very disturbed man. After that experience I had what I refer to as my black days.

A good friend of mine who is a Deacon helped me through this time of my life. After talking to him I went back to the Church and knelt before the Blessed Sacrament and asked God to forgive me. As it is written in the Gospel I said at that time “Your will be done”. I had so many people praying for me that I pulled through two major operations.

The following year friends invited us to go on a Marian Pilgrimage to Portugal, France, Italy, and Medjugorje. In the small village of Santarem Portugal we visited the Church of St. Stephen where it is believed that the oldest recorded Eucharist Miracle occurred when the Host turned to flesh. This miracle has been on continuous display since 1269. A Priest carried the Host in a Monstrance through the church. He walked by me and then to my surprise he turned around and touched me with the Monstrance. I felt a peace come over me like I have never experienced before and I felt at that moment that I had been healed. I have been cancer free for almost twenty-six years. I felt God calling me to serve him in a deeper way on that Pilgrimage, but I did not know how. I knew my life would be changed forever.
It was a year later that I was accepted into the Diaconate Formation Program and I started classes. After each class, our Director at the time would celebrate Mass. It was at these Masses that I received the strength through the Eucharist to follow through. After a long day at work and two to three hours of class it was the Body and Blood of Christ that gave me strength to continue. I was ordained a Deacon in 1990 along with eleven other men who have become very special in my life.

After Ordination I had the privilege of going on many more Pilgrimages to Europe. One of the highlights was when I attended a Mass in Ares at the chapel where St. John Vianney, the Patron of Parish Priests, would celebrate Mass. The Priest celebrating Mass had the honor of using the Chalice that St. John Vianney used. He asked me to give the Precious Blood of Jesus to the people at Mass.

A few years after I was ordained I had the opportunity to do full time Parish Ministry at the Parish that I was assigned to, Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Gardner, and I now have the privilege of receiving the Eucharist every day. I not only have this privilege, but I am able to share this Gift with others. I bring the Eucharist to people in the hospitals, nursing homes, and to the elderly and the sick at home who are no longer able to go to Church. Sharing the Eucharist with others gives me so much Joy.

I have experienced several Pilgrimages since 1985, the last four with 206 Tours. The last one was this last October with Fr. Pat from La Salette Shrine as Spiritual director. I had the honor of going back to Santarem Portugal and thanked God for my healing and for changing my life. I pray that I will be able to do more Pilgrimages.