Newsletter N.º 87 – December 2008

JESUS
Meek and Humble of Heart, make our hearts like unto Thine!

Our Christmas Novena of Masses and Prayers will be offered for all Friends of Fatima from 16 Dec – 24 Dec with loving gratitude for your generous spiritual and material support of our Community. We shall continue to remember your needs and intentions throughout the New Year. May God bless you!

Lovingly united in Our Lady,
Mother Prioress and Sisters

Why the Rosary

The Dominican Master General, Fr. Carlos asked us to spend this year renewing our preaching way of life by re-discovering the Rosary as a means of contemplation and an instrument of prophetic preaching.
Some may ask: Why the Rosary? Why is the Rosary so acclaimed, approved and so efficacious?Why has Heaven itself so insistently requested this prayer?What is the secret of the Rosary? Truly, it is a mystery!
And this is the beauty of the Rosary.
There are many answers to these questions because each one who prays receives light on this mystery, this secret – like the sun shining through the glass prism…causing so many different colours to appear. We must humbly acknowledge that it is God’s mystery and He reveals it to each one according to His will and the desire of the soul.

Volumes have been written, but Pope Pius XII shared a new light on this mystery when, in 1946, he spoke of the Rosary as a ‘compendium of the whole Gospel’. St. Jerome once said: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”. In the Holy Rosary Mary leads us through this ‘summary of the Gospel’ on a short and sure path to Jesus, the path, on which no one can remain ignorant of the Divine Master. Close to Mary in the Rosary we learn the inner silence necessary to hear the Word of God spoken through the prayers we pray and the mysteries we ponder.

The Rosary is prayer…
The more prayer is
the foundation that
upholds our entire
existence, the more
we will become men
of peace.”
Pope Benedict XVI

In his book called Jesus of Nazereth, Pope Benedict XVI writes about prayer in our lives.
“…our relationship to God should be present as the bedrock of our soul. In order for that to happen, this relation has to be constantly revived and the affairs of our everyday lives have to be constantly related back to it. The more the depths of our souls are directed to God, the better we will be able to pray. The more prayer is the foundation that upholds our entire existence, the more we will become men of peace. …This is what prayer really is – being in silent inward communion with God. It requires nourishment, and that is why we need articulated prayer in words, images and thoughts. The more God is present in us, the more we will really be able to be present to Him when we utter the words of our prayers. But the converse is also true: praying actualizes and deepens our communion of being with God. Our praying can and should arise above all from our heart, from our needs, our hopes, our joys, our sufferings, from our shame over sin, and from our gratitude for the good.”
For the model in prayer the Holy Father points us straight to the Lord when he says that: “…Jesus’ entire ministry arises from His prayer, and is sustained by it….” (chap. 5).
With these words all the great Saints come to mind…for we know that the entire ministry of our holy Father St. Dominic arose from his prayer and was sustained by it. All are called to be saints and the saints know that their relationship to God has to be the ‘bedrock of their souls’. They desire to grow continually in their life of prayer, their ‘silent inward communion with God’. They are not content with mediocrity or guarding the status quo. They believe that Heaven is eternal contemplation of the Holy Triune God and they desire to begin their Heaven on earth.
We began by asking: Why the Rosary? Recently, Pope Benedict XVI went on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii. Referring to Bl. Bartolo Longo, Lay Dominican, he asked: “Where did this great apostle of Mary find the energy and constancy necessary to achieve such an important enterprise? Was it not in the Rosary which he welcomed as a true and heartfelt gift from the Virgin?”
“Yes”, the Pope cried, “that is how it was! … This popular Marian prayer is a vital spiritual means to increase our intimacy with Jesus and to learn, in the school of the Blessed Virgin, always to carry out the divine will”.

“The Rosary is anchored in Scripture”
Pope Benedict XVI

When we hold the Rosary in our hands, we hold the Gospel, we hold the power of the mysteries of the Christian Faith. Announcing the Mystery we ‘open’ the Book… for God speaks to us in the Mysteries of His Son. It is for us to be ready and prayerful listeners to the Word of God. We encourage you to prayerfully read the passages from Scripture that relate to the Rosary Mysteries, opening your heart to the Heart of God. We offer this little guide to the relevant passages.
Mysteries of the Rosary

Joyful
Lk 1:26-38; Lk 1:39-56; Lk 2: 1-20; Lk 2:22-39; Lk 2: 41-51

Luminous
Mt 3:13; Jn 2:1-12; Mk1:14, 2:3-13; Lk 9:28-35; Mt 26:26-29, Jn 13:1

Sorrowful
Lk 22:41-46; Jn 19:1; Mt 27:29; Jn 9:17; Lk 23: 33-46

Glorious
Jn 20:1-18; Acts 1:9; Acts 2:1-4; Lk1: 49; Apoc 12:1

‘Bring them to Jesus – Carry Jesus to them’
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

In the book Come be My Light The Private Writings of the “Saint of Calcutta” we learn of three visions that Mother Teresa experienced soon after she received her call within a call.
In the second of these visions, seeing the throngs of the poor and suffering and kneeling near Our Lady, Mother Teresa heard the Blessed Virgin say:
“Take care of them – they are mine. Bring them to Jesus — carry Jesus to them. Fear not. Teach them to say the Rosary – the family Rosary and all will be well. Fear not – Jesus and I will be with you and your children.”
Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC comments: “In the second vision, she penetrated deeper into the “great sorrow and suffering” of the “great crowd”. She was not alone; she was in the company of Our Lady. It was now Mary’s turn to plead with her: “Bring them to Jesus – carry Jesus to them.” Mary was encouraging her to respond to both pleas, giving her a means for all to “be well” by teaching the poor to say the Rosary as a family and by the assurance that Our Lady would be present.”
In a letter to Archbishop Périer of Calcutta Nov. 7, 1947 speaking of her call to serve the poorest of the poor, Mother Teresa wrote:
“…Your Grace, please entrust the whole thing to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She is doing wonders in other lands.- She will do this for your Archdiocese.- She will take special care of your Missionaries of Charity, for in serving the poor, our aim is to bring them through Mary to Jesus, using the family Rosary as the main weapon. What desires she spoke of at Fatima about the conversion of sinners. We want to do Our Lady’s part in the slums…”.
And finally, we read from M. Teresa’s explanation of the Original Constitutions of the Missionaries of Charity:
“We are taught to love and say the Rosary with great devotion; let us be very faithful to this our first love – for it will bring us closer to our Heavenly Mother. Our Rule asks of us never to go to the slums without first having recited the Mother’s praises; that is why we have to say the Rosary in the streets and dark holes of the slums. Cling to the Rosary as the creeper clings to the tree – for without Our Lady we cannot stand.”

“I will not leave Rome and my duty even if it means I should die”
Servant of God, Pope Pius XII Remembered

On October 9th, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of his Predecessor Pope Pius XII. We remember with humble gratitude the permission granted by this saintly Pontiff to allow our Monastery to bear his name. The following is taken from the homily preached by Pope Benedict XVI on that occasion.
“…Abandonment in the merciful hands of God: this was the attitude constantly cultivated by my Venerable Predecessor, the last of the Popes to have been born in Rome, who belonged to a family which had been close to the Holy See for years…
“He who hears my word and believes… has eternal life” (Jn 5: 24). Jesus’ assurance, which we heard in the Gospel, reminds us of the hardest years of Pius XII’s Pontificate when, realizing the lack of any human security, he also felt the strong need to cleave to Christ the one certainty that never fails through a constant, ascetic effort. The Word of God thus became a light on his journey, a journey on which Pope Pacelli had to console evacuees and the persecuted; he had to wipe away tears of pain and mourn the innumerable victims of the War. Christ alone is man’s true hope; only by trusting in him can the human heart open itself to the love that conquers hate. This knowledge accompanied Pius XII in his ministry as Successor of Peter, a ministry that began precisely when the menacing clouds of a new world war were gathering over Europe and the rest of the world. He sought to avoid this conflict in every way. “The danger is imminent, but there is still time. Nothing is lost with peace; all can be lost with war!”, he had cried in his Radio Message of 24 August 1939 (aas, xxxi, 1939, p. 334)…
Dear brothers and sisters, while we pray that the cause of Beatification of the Servant of God Pius XII may proceed successfully, it is good to remember that holiness was his ideal, an ideal that he did not fail to propose to all. It was for this reason that he promoted the causes of Beatification and Canonization of people who belonged to different nations, people from all the states of life…and allowed ample room for women. As a sign of steadfast hope, he held up to humanity
Mary herself, the Woman of salvation, proclaiming the Dogma of the Assumption during the Holy Year of 1950. In our world, assailed as it was then by preoccupations and worries about its future, in this world where, perhaps more than in any other epoch, the distancing of many from truth and virtue lets us glimpse scenarios devoid of hope, Pius XII invites us to turn our gaze to Mary, taken up into heavenly glory. He invites us to call on her confidently, so that she may make us appreciate increasingly the value of life on earth and help us to turn our gaze to the true destination to which we are all bound: eternal life which, as Jesus assures us, those who listen to and obey his words already possess. Amen!”



“Francisco, the consoler of Jesus”
Centenary Year of His Birth 11 June 2008 – 2009

“Each one of the Little Shepherds of Fatima has a special spiritual physiognomy. Jacinta is the apostle of sinners; Francisco, the consoler of Jesus; and Lucia, the privileged soul of the Heart of Mary…
The words uttered by the Angel in his third apparition – “Console your God” made an impression on the little shepherd and marked forever his life. Let us listen to what he told Lucia: “I prefer to console Our Lord. Didn’t you notice how Our Lady, last month (October), became so sad when She said that we shouldn’t offend Our Lord anymore, that He is already very offended? I’d like to console Our Lord first and then convert sinners, so that they don’t offend Him anymore”…
In order to make reparation to Our Lord, he used to add sacrifices to his prayers…The day before his death, he whispers to Lucia: “Look, I’m very ill. I’ll soon be going to Heaven”.
Then, on the morning of April 4, 1919, First Friday of the Month, Francisco the seer departs for Heaven in the arms of his Heavenly Mother, in order to console Our Lord.
At the Garden of Olives, before His Passion and Death, Jesus showed his sadness and asked the apostles to accompany Him in His Agony. They didn’t; so an Angel descended from Heaven to do it.
Francisco listened to Jesus’ request; he wanted to be His consoling Angel. To that end he would offer his prayers, sacrifices and prolonged visits to the Blessed Sacrament.”

Fr. Fernando Leite, sj





“The family that prays together stays together.”

13 October 2008

Audrys Cardinal Backis, Archbishop of Vilnius, Lithuania presided at the Solemn Mass and ceremonies for 13 October. The following is taken from the homily he preached on that occasion.
“… The heart of the Mother of God is a human heart, a woman’s heart, a mother’s heart. In this maternal heart, God put everything that is most beautiful, most sweet, most noble. In Fatima, Mary appeared having in her right hand Her Immaculate Heart, “sign of the love that saves”, as Sister Lucia explained. Therefore, for many centuries the prayer of the Ave has come forth on the lips of the faithful of any age, be they children, adolescents, adults, elderly and even the dying. Today, together in Fatima, we repeat the salutation of the Angel, Hail Mary, Hail our Mother, always near your children, ready to rejoice or to cry with your children, to console us, to listen to our prayers.
The Apparitions of Mary to the Three Little Shepherds in the Cova de Iria are a proof of her maternal love for Portugal, for Europe and for the entire world…
I come from Lithuania, a country that, for more than fifty years, was under the yoke of atheistic communism. I can testify that, when one loses the sense of God, one also loses the sense of man. When one lives for many years in a climate of lies, of fear, of suspicion, of lack of sincerity, of distrust in others, it seems that one can no longer believe in the possibility of establishing a relationship founded on respect, on sincerity, on truth, on openness to the other, of Christian love. I dare to speak of an anthropological wound, of a darkening of conscience and of the pollution of the mind. I trust, nevertheless, that one can move out of this lethargy, from this fog, and I rejoice at encountering so many people, so many youth who seek authenticity, coherence of life, who are searching for truth and want to live in truth.
Courage is necessary to say ‘yes’ to matrimonial life, true vocation sealed by the Sacrament which, pronounced before God and before men, is a definitive ‘yes’, a ‘yes’ blessed by God Himself, a ‘yes’ for the whole of life: “What God has joined man cannot separate”(Mt 19:6). This seems beyond the strength of humans, but therefore precisely, in moments of crisis, it’s necessary to turn to God, to implore the help of Mary. The family that prays together stays together.
Say ‘yes’ to the call of priesthood, to life consecrated to God and at the service of neighbour, forgetting yourself in order to follow Christ.
A ‘yes’ to our Baptismal Promises, conscious that we form a community of brothers and sisters engaged in building the Kingdom of God already here on earth, a people on the way to the heavenly Kingdom…I think about our Europe, that forgets its Christian roots, where ideas and even ideologies contrary to natural law and which certainly do not correspond to the designs of the Creator, are defended.
If we expand our gaze to the entire world, every day we see images of war, of terrorism, children who die of hunger, entire populations reduced to extreme insecurity and misery, to whom we offer our solidarity.
Why do I speak of all this here in Fatima? Because I think that the Apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima are the expression of the pain of the heart of Mary, of the heart of the Mother, at seeing how the Divine Law is trampled on and how many offenses are made against Her Son.
The Apparitions of Fatima assume a unique, prophetic significance. In very concrete terms, Mary intervenes in the history of the European continent, warning us of the terrible dangers of atheistic communism, which sowed so much evil, hatred and wars in the last century. In the beginning of the 20th century, Mary sought to make us emerge from spiritual torpor, announcing punishments, terrible sufferings for entire nations because of the atheistic ideology that rejected God, trampling also on the dignity of man and his fundamental rights and, in particular, religious freedom. It was truly a century of martyrs! In Fatima, the Mother of God gave a strong call to conversion, to penance, to prayer, which could change the course of history, the destiny of Europe and of the world. The appeal of Mary was not sufficiently listened to and readily received. Today, the warnings of Our Lady of Fatima, who invites us to pray the Rosary with her, to do penance, to be converted, still resound in our ears.
Her Apparitions are a sign of the mercy of Mary, of Divine Mercy, which does not desire death but the conversion and salvation of sinners. The Servant of God John Paul II, whose life was profoundly linked to the mysteries of Fatima, told us that Divine Mercy is the ultimate limit put to evil in the world.
Let us all entrust ourselves to Mary with the beautiful prayer of Pope John Paul II:
“O Mary, Mother of Mercy, watch over all people, that the Cross may not be emptied of its power, that man may not stray from the path of good or become blind to sin, but may put his hope ever more fully in God who is “rich in mercy” (Eph2:4). (Veritatis Splendor)

“It is I who am asking. Do you not believe?”

The following story from Florence, Italy was sent to us by a Priest very dedicated to Fatima.It is a beautiful witness to the love of Our Lady for the Holy Rosary and for every soul!
“On Sunday January 30, 2005 I was looking on the internet at the pictures of Pope John Paul II who was releasing two doves from the window of his apartment in the Vatican. At that moment, I heard a voice saying: “You must recite the Rosary everyday until Easter. During Easter the Holy Father will depart. In those days I will let you see Jesus.”
On the 31st of January I went to the Church of San Gervasio. I was present at the Rosary with the other people but I felt uneasy: there were no young people but most of all I didn’t know the Rosary because I was Buddhist! I had some doubts about the voice that I had heard: Who could it have been? Was it only my imagination? So, I decided not to follow any longer what had been requested of me. I got up to leave the Church and I found a small piece of paper near my feet: it was a very beautiful image of Our Lady of Lourdes! I heard again the voice saying to me: “It is I who am asking. Do you not believe?” At that moment I felt that my heart was going to burst with joy. I started to cry and since that moment I didn’t doubt any longer.
The next day, 1st of February, the Holy Father went to hospital. From that day I was able to go to Church everyday until Easter Sunday (27 March). During Holy Week, the Calvary of Pope John Paul II began and, in a particular way, from Good Friday I started to see Jesus in him and him in Jesus. I cried very much during those two months but when I woke up on the morning of April 4th I didn’t cry any more I was happy because I understood that Pope John Paul II lives with us!
So, happy, I went to the Church of the Annunciation where I realized that it was in fact the day of the Solemnity of the Annunciation. In that year the feast was celebrated on 4th of April. In the days of the funeral of Pope John Paul II, the Conclave and the announcement of the new Pontiff it seemed that everyone was saying: “We have come to see Jesus!” “He Is Risen!” “He is the Holy One!”
I felt that the Church is truly alive! And the Church is young!
In this way I lived a special Easter and as Our Lady told me I feel that Pope John Paul II is still close to us! Truly, Our Lady let me see Jesus! I would never have imagined that I would receive such a great gift!… Now I am going to catechesis to become a true Christian!”


In the hands of every Christian, a Rosary!

The following is from a letter to the Dominican Nuns from the Promoter-General of the Rosary. We urge you to join us in prayer for this intention and offer a Rosary to another to help bring this dream to reality!
“This year I was especially touched by an anniversary: the 150th year since the apparitions of Our Lady to Bernadette at Lourdes. …On February 11, the anniversary of the first apparition, tens of thousands of pilgrims converged on the Grotto of Massabielle. Dominican Friars from some ten provinces of the Order were present. What could they all have come to look for at this Grotto? They came joyful and ready to celebrate, certainly. Thanks be to God for having given us Mary. Thanks to Mary for deigning to come toward her children at the foot of the mountains, to lead them to God. They came not only to look back at the past, but also, and even more, to go ahead toward Mary. They were on their way “to Jesus through Mary.”
And here is where the anniversary had its power: We were at the edge of the Gave, remembering the little Bernadette who crossed the icy current on this very date, the eleventh of February – in 1858. She took off her shoes. She heard a rush of wind, but the trees were not moving. It was at that moment that she saw a beautiful lady. And she was afraid. What did our little Lourdes girl do then? Her hand moved instinctively to her pocket and she took hold of her rosary. It was a spontaneous movement. The Rosary is “anti-fear”!
Our societies are deeply marked by fear. The nonchalance we sometimes show scarcely hides our real terror in the face of death — the death we wish neither to see nor to name, the face of the suffering that we do not wish to encounter. Especially in the western world, incessant attacks against the family and against life are weakening the social fabric. The young are not serene as they face the future. Fear seems to lead the world: fear of oneself, fear of others, fear of the devil, sometimes also fear of God.
So we can profit from the anniversary of the apparitions of the holy Virgin Mary at Lourdes… by looking toward this little saint the smallest God could find. We can learn from her example about how to conduct ourselves, and that can be summed up in these words: in the hands of every Christian, a rosary! Every Christian should have a rosary in his/her pocket, so that it can be grasped when we are dominated by fear. Grasping her rosary was what Bernadette did. Why not we too? If the rosary banishes fear, it is not because it is like a charm or an amulet but because it is a bond linking us to the good God. It is a sweet chain which keeps us in the hands of the Virgin Mary as she surrounds us with her solicitude. Mary had many reasons to be afraid; yet she was not afraid, because she lived the Gospel fully. Mary knows very well that real love drives out fear and is stronger than death.
A conviction was born beside the Gave, at the grotto of Massabielle, on February 11th in 2008: every Christian must be given the means to live the prayer which pleases Our Lady so much. Besides, did she not herself appear with her rosary at Fatima and at Lourdes? This conviction was re-enforced some days later during a tour of the Holy Land, the land of the Rosary! A land where fear causes impenetrable walls to be built, concrete walls, walls of hate and of incomprehension, walls which entrap hearts in a desire for vengeance. This is how two projects met — that of a friar who wants to put into everyone’s hands (and hearts!) the prayer which has been confided to our Order, and that of Dominican Sisters International who have bought more than two hundred thousand rosaries to circulate throughout the world so that Christians of the Holy Land may live. A meeting of two projects. two dreams… Pray that the two projects may mature, that the dreams may grow …. Ask that the prayer of the holy Rosary may always be known and loved…Pray that Christians in the Land of the Rosary, the land of Christ and of Mary may live!”

Fr. Louis-Marie Ariño-Durand, o.p.,
Promoter-General of the Rosary for the Order of Preachers









Holy Father Visits Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii

“I entrust you all to Mary, each one of you, dear faithful … and invite you to trust always in her maternal support…
… the characteristic of Christian civilization…is love: God’s love that is expressed in love of neighbour…The power of love, in fact, is irresistible: it is love that truly drives the world onwards!
The Lord’s presence is a source of joy, for wherever he is, evil is overcome and life and peace triumph.…Wherever God arrives, the desert blooms! Bl. Bartolo Longo, with his personal conversion, also bore witness to this spiritual power that transforms the human being from within and makes him capable of doing great things in accordance with God’s plan…The episode of Bartolo Longo’s spiritual crisis and conversion appears very relevant today. In fact, in the period of his university studies in Naples, influenced by immanentist and positivist philosophers, he had drifted from the Christian faith. He had become a militant anti-clerical, and even indulged in spiritualistic and superstitious practices. His conversion, with the discovery of God’s true Face, contains a very eloquent message for us since, unfortunately, such tendencies are not lacking in our day. In this Pauline Year, I am pleased to emphasize that like St Paul, Bartolo Longo was transformed from persecutor to apostle: an apostle of Christian faith, of Marian devotion and, in particular, of the Rosary, in which he found a synthesis of the whole Gospel.
…May this Shrine and this city continue above all to be ever linked in a unique Marian gift: the prayer of the Rosary. When we see, in the famous painting of Our Lady of Pompeii, the Virgin Mother and the Child Jesus giving the Rosary beads to St Catherine of Siena and St Dominic… we immediately understand that this prayer leads us through Mary to Jesus… The Rosary is a contemplative prayer accessible to all: great and small, lay people and clerics, cultured and uncultured.The Rosary is a spiritual “weapon” in the battle against evil, against all violence, for peace in hearts, in families, in society and in the world.
Dear brothers and sisters, in this Eucharist, the inexhaustible source of life and hope…let us once again turn our hearts to Mary with the words… : “As our Mother, thou art our Advocate and our Hope. To thee, amidst sighs, do we lift up our hands, crying for mercy!” Amen.

Christmas 2008
Dear Rosarians,

May the Infant Jesus,His most humble Mother Mary and holy St. Joseph be very near you this Christmas and always!

We thank each of you who have so faithfully kept your monthly Hour of Guard this year. Some of you have also encouraged new members to join, thus increasing our Rosary family and helping to bring peace to families and the world.
We are indeed facing very difficult times- especially for families, children and youth, the elderly, unemployed, the poor and marginalized. We are very conscious of the great suffering of so many caused by the wrong doing of others and we lift our hearts and hands in prayer for all.
Fr. Louis- Marie writes that the Rosary is anti-fear. And so it is. For young Bernadette of Lourdes and the Three Shepherds of Fatima the Rosary was their hope and their shield.

In Jesus of Nazareth (Chap. 2), Pope Benedict XVI reflects on the temptations of our Lord, which are recorded in the Gospels. The third temptation is to worldly power. In rejecting this appeal to power, the Pope writes: “Jesus, repeats to us what He said in reply to Satan, what he said to Peter and what he explained further to the disciples of Emmaus: No kingdom of this world is the Kingdom of God, the total condition of mankind’s salvation. Earthly kingdoms remain earthly kingdoms, and anyone who claims to be able to establish the perfect world is the willing dupe of Satan and plays the world right into his hands.” The Pope continues: “Yes, indeed, God’s power works quietly in this world, but it is true and lasting power. Again and again, God’s cause seems to be in its death throes. Yet, over and over again it proves to be the thing that truly endures and saves. Jesus has emerged victorious from His battle with Satan”… “God alone is to be worshipped.”

August Queen of Heaven!
Sovereign Mistress
of the Angels!
Thou who from the beginning hast received from God the power and mission to crush the head of Satan. We humbly beseech Thee to send Thy Holy Legions that under Thy command and by Thy power they may pursue the evil spirits; encounter them on every side; resist their bold attacks and drive them hence into the abyss of eternal woe. Amen.
Indulgence granted by Pope Pius X

When Our Lady came to Fatima with the Message of the Rosary Her first words to the Little Shepherds were: “Do not be afraid!” Mary repeats these same words to each of us today. “Do not be afraid! I will help you.” For our part we must trust and continue to live our Christian lives in faith, hope and love – live the Gospel! Pray the Rosary with love, receive the Sacraments as often as possible and show charity to our neighbour. Our world is in great need of God’s mercy…let us be willing instruments of His Mercy!

Lovingly in the Immaculata,
Your Fatima Sisters


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