Newsletter N.º 85 – December 2007

Year of Mercy, Year of Hope

This past year, October 2006-2007, in which we lived the 90th anniversary of the Apparitions of the Virgin Mary, numerous spiritual and cultural events were held here in Fatima and around the world, wherever Our Lady of Fatima is honored.
Of special note is the fact that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI sent his personal representative for both the opening (May 13th) and closing (October13th) of this commemorative year. This is a gesture of the deepest solidarity of the Holy Father with the place of Fatima in the Church.
While in Brazil on 13th May last, the Holy Father said: “Today is the 90th anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. With their powerful call to conversion and penance, they are without doubt the most prophetic of all modern apparitions.”
In September, Cardinal Bertone,Secretary of State for the Vatican, speaking at a news conference in Rome and referring to the Message of Fatima said: “The profitable meeting of charisma and institution, of the Trinitarian mystery and the Christological mystery, is realized in the message. Mary, sign of God’s mercy, does not leave Christians alone. She gives us indications like a road sign to fight the battle between good and evil. Mary is the icon of God’s tenderness for us.
It is something that taps into and impregnates contemporary history like no other Marian apparition, and the density of its message touches the hearts of mankind, inviting to conversion and the shared responsibility for the salvation of the world.”
At this Christmas, we offer in loving gratitude a Novena of Masses and prayers for all of your individual and family intentions. May the Christ Child bring you a special gift on the Feast of His Birth. May His human helplessness inspire us to become as completely dependent
on His Mother as He was.

Lovingly united in prayer,
Mother Prioress and Sisters

“Monstra te esse Matrem!”
Homily of Cardinal Angelo Sodano – 13th May

“Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, ninety years have passed since that long ago 13 May 1917, when Mary Most Holy turned her gaze upon Cova da Iria in that beautiful corner of Portugal. She appeared to Lucia dos Santos, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, and entrusted to them a message for the entire world. The three shepherd children were all intent on tending their flock when a bright flash of light took them by surprise: it was a most beautiful Lady who appeared to them above a holm oak asking for prayers and penance both for the end of the war which was then being fought as well as for the needs of the whole world.
So it was that this Marian epic began. It was to last for five more months until 13 October that same year, and was then to be presented to the world, as is typical of God’s acts.
The late Cardinal Cerejeira, Patriarch of Lisbon, rightly said: “It is not the Church which imposed Fatima upon the world, but Fatima which imposed itself upon the world”.
Dear pilgrims, today’s Gospel opens our heart to hope, reminding us of the moving scene on Calvary when Jesus on the Cross said to the disciple whom he loved, “Behold, your Mother!” (Jn19:27). From that moment, the Mother of God became the Mother of man. From that moment Mary’s spiritual motherhood began, the mystery of her universal motherhood, if it is true that motherhood means love and caring for the life of every child.
The “White Lady”, as she was called by those simple children, between 7 and 10 years old, showed them special love. It was a sign of her preferential love for the lowly, for the poor and for the suffering.
Thus, the Mother of God showed that she was also truly the Mother of mankind.
Today, 90 years have passed since the apparitions at Cova da Iria. We would like to ask Mary to continue to show all her motherly tenderness for the men and women of our time, who are sometimes tempted to forget God and set their hearts on the golden calf of earthly fatuity.
Mary knows that the eternal salvation of her children is at stake, and for this reason repeats to us Jesus’ call: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1:15).
Mary’s call, it is strong and decisive, such as a mother would address to her children at the important moments of their life…
Today, we feel the need to address her with the invocation of a well-known hymn of the liturgy: “Monstra te esse Matrem”; “Show us, O Mary, that you are Mother!”.
Many people today seem to be drifting away from the Father’s house, and we cluster around our Mother so that she may enlighten their consciences and bring prodigal sons back to the Father’s house.
It is particularly the children who live in Europe who are tempted to forget the faith that was their strength down the centuries. An insidious apostasy is taking
place in our countries, which should give us cause for concern. Today, let us entrust to the Immaculate Heart of Mary the future of the people and peoples of our Continent, committing ourselves to restoring to the heart of our society that Gospel leaven which permeated history down the ages. Let us also promise Mary to work intensely for this noble end, seeking to be “salt of the earth and light of the world”. With our prayers, our work and our Christian testimony, we will thus respond to Mary’s call and foster the dissemination
of Christ’s Gospel in today’s world.
Indeed, together with the Second Vatican Council (cf. Gaudium et Spes, n. 10), we believe that “the key, the centre and the purpose of the whole of man’s history is to be found in her Lord and Master… Jesus Christ, [who] is the same yesterday and today and for ever’ (Heb 13:8)”. Amen!

Russian Pilgrims’ Prayer to Our Lady

O Mother of God of Fatima, who in your maternal message, invite us to participate freely in the salvation of men through the prayer of the Rosary, the offering of works of penance and of consecrating our lives to your Immaculate Heart, communicate to us as you did to the Little Shepherds, the grace that is God Himself and make it possible that illumined by the splendour of that same divine grace we may collaborate in the conversion of Russia, seek Unity and hope for the triumph of your Immaculate Heart in this land which was entrusted to you in a special way. This we ask appealing through your intercession to your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Mediator Who, with the Father and the Holy Spirit are one only Lord, one only God and one Only and Most Holy Trinity. Amen.

 

 

 

 


“You have seen hell…”

Today, few speak or preach on the three last things and, perhaps consequently, so many do not believe that after death there will truly be eternal joy or eternal suffering. In Fatima, Our Lady spoke of heaven, hell and purgatory.
Thanks to her innocent capacity for dialogue, at the fi rst Apparition, Lucia, asked the Lady whence She had come.
“I am from heaven,” She replied. In the Catholic Catechism we read: “This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed is called Heaven. Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.” (CCC 1023-1029)
Purgatory, also mentioned in the first Apparition is defined as: “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purifi cation, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name Purgatory to this fi nal purifi cation of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.” (CCC 1030-1032)
In June 1917, Lucia said to Our Lady:
“I would like to ask you to take us to Heaven.” Once again the Lady assured the three children: the two youngest would soon go to heaven but Lucia must remain longer. The following month, supported by God’s grace and the assurance of Heaven the three children witnessed a most frightening vision which Lucia describes in her memoirs.
After this horrifying vision, Our Lady said: “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go…” Later on Lucia wrote: “Without that promise of Heaven, we would have died of fright.”
Again, in August, Our Lady spoke of hell: “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many go to hell because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.” One day, Jacinta, while refl ecting on all of this asked Lucia: “That Lady also said that many souls go to hell! What is hell then?”
“To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from Him forever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called ‘hell’ (CCC 1033-1037). Christ spoke
several times of the eternal loss of the soul: Mt 5:22, 29; 10:28; 13:41-42, 50; Mk 9:43-48.
The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity.
Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire’. The chief punishment of hell is the eternal separation from God, in Whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs…God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end.”
Sr. Lucia wrote: “Terrified and as if to plead for succour, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and so sadly: ‘You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. In order to save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do as I say, many souls will be saved and there will be peace…”
How simple is the solution that Heaven offers us to help save our souls and the souls of others from eternal suffering. In what does this devotion consist? Stated simply: God wishes us to give over our hearts completely to the Immaculate Heart of His Mother so that we might find our way more surely and more speedily to Him and in turn like Mary, bring Jesus to others. God is asking for our true devotion and reparation to the Heart of Mary. Could there be anything simpler, more fulfilling, more peaceful than to love our heavenly Mother? Devotion and reparation spring from love!

“At the evening of life we shall be judged on our love.”
St.John of the Cross

On the spiritual meaning of Fatima by Fr. Thomas McGlynn, OP

“Fatima is first of all a dreadful warning to the world to stop sinning. The enormity of mankind’s rebellion against God and God’s infinite aversion for sin form the foundation
of the Fatima Message. Then He gives the sinner hope in the revelation that He will accept repentance made through the Immaculate Heart of Mary…The three children of Fatima saw hell. The vision was not for their instruction or warning, but for ours; the Blessed Virgin assured them that they were going to be saved….The Heart of Mary is the symbol of her love. Her love is without stain of any kind, without a single blemish of selfishness – Immaculate. We know now from Fatima that God wishes us to honor the Heart of His Mother, or, let us say, to honor His Mother, our Co-Redemptrix, through the title of her love – Her Immaculate Heart.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary suffered because of sin. God has told us now, through Fatima, that we can make reparation to Him if we repair the suffering we have caused her. The Heart that received the fullness of participation in the divine life, that knew the affections of a mother for Jesus Christ, during the years at Nazareth, that went through the agony of seeing Him die, that honors Him in Heaven more than all the rest of creation, is now gloriously proclaimed by Him through Fatima. The Lord wishes to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
(Fr. Thomas McGlynn, OP Vision of Fatima)

Mother Mary Peter Bergin, OP
2 December 1918 – 29 May 2007

In the month of Mary, we bid farewell to one who gave her life entirely to God through Mary and Her Holy Rosary …pronouncing her Fiat as Mary did and proclaiming again and again her own Magnificat anima mea dominum.
Mother Mary Peter entered religious life as a young girl leaving her home and family near the town of Callan in county Kilkenny (Ireland) to go to the eternal city of Rome. That was in 1936. There she made Profession of Vows on 13 February 1938 and soon after she was sent to the Monastery in Camden (New Jersey) USA where she spent the next 20 years of her religious life. Again, as a Dominican and prepared to respond to the call of the itinerant life…even from the cloister…she was called to the Glasgow Monastery as Novice Mistress and from there was called to Fatima as Prioress. Here she remained to fulfill the final 48 years of her life as a Dominican Nun of the Perpetual Rosary. Altogether, Mother Mary Peter’s religious life spanned 70 years. She served her Communities at various times as Prioress, Sub-Prioress, Procurator and Mistress of Novices.
Though not one to speak often in a personal way, Mother M. Peter, when asked, related that the seed of her vocation was planted by her own Mother who at home would speak to visitors about the joy she would have if the Lord called one of her children to the priestly or religious life. Hearing this more than once, young Brigid Bergin began to feel within herself a call from the Lord.
Our Sister Mary Peter answered that call and remained faithful until her Beloved Saviour and Spouse called her home on 29th May at 3:30 in the afternoon. It was Pentecost Tuesday. We Dominicans recall that on Pentecost Tuesday in the year 1233 the holy relics of St Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers, were first translated in the city of Bologna. It was the day of the miracle of the sweet perfume that emanated from the tomb of the Saint upon its opening.
We can say that the Holy Rosary was her life. Even when very ill she did not neglect her Rosary…and when she could no longer pray the whole Rosary it was only necessary for one of the Sisters to recite the first part of the Ave and she would respond immediately with the second part: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners…”
Her patience and endurance during the final year of her life were admirable. She was always ready to encourage the Sisters and listen with an attentive heart, radiating compassion and joy, like St. Dominic, who founded the Nuns 800 years ago. 2007 is a Jubilee Year for us, and the 90th anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, a fitting occasion for our dear Sister to enter the joy of the Lord. May she rest in peace!

Espoused to Christ
Dominican Nuns at the Heart of the Church

In prayerful thanksgiving we have spent this Jubilee Year marking the foundation of the Dominican Nuns by St. Dominic in December 1206. We are especially grateful for the Plenary indulgence granted by Pope Benedict XVI to all who visit a Dominican Monastery Church and fulfill the usual conditions for gaining such an Indulgence.
Bl Jordan of Saxony, the successor of St. Dominic wrote of him: “…Dominic with all his energy and passionate zeal, set himself to win all the souls he could
for Christ. His heart was full of an extraordinary, almost incredible, yearning for the salvation of everyone.” (Libellus Nº 34) This same charism continues to
fill the heart of the Dominican Nun.
The Church, in Her teaching on the wholly contemplative life eloquently describes it in the following way:
“The contemplative nun fulfi ls to the highest degree the First Commandment of the Lord: “You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind” (Lk 10:27), making it the full meaning of her life and loving in God all the brothers and sisters…
She moves towards the perfection of charity, choosing God as “the one thing necessary” (cf. Lk 10:42), loving him exclusively as All in all. Through her unconditional love of him and in the spirit of renunciation proposed by the Gospel, she accomplishes the sacrifice of all good things, “consecrating” every good thing to God alone.
“By means of the cloister, nuns embody the exodus from the world in order to encounter God in the solitude of “cloistered desert”, a desert which includes inner solitude, the trials of the spirit and the daily toil of life in community (cf. Eph 4:15-16), as the Bride’s sharing in the solitude of Jesus in Gethsemane and in his redemptive suffering on the Cross (cf. Gal 6:14)…
…In this light, nuns relive and perpetuate in the Church the presence and the work of Mary. Welcoming the Word in faith and adoring silence, they put themselves at the service of the mystery of the Incarnation, and united to Christ Jesus in his offering of himself to the Father, they become co-workers in the mystery of Redemption. Just as in the Upper Room, Mary in her heart, with her prayerful presence, watched over the origins of the Church, so too now the Church’s journey is entrusted to the loving heart and praying hands of cloistered nuns.
… As a reflection and radiation of their contemplative life, nuns offer to the Christian community and to the world of today, more than ever in need of true spiritual values, a silent proclamation of the mystery of God and a humble witness to it, thus keeping prophecy alive in the nuptial heart of the Church…The Church is deeply aware and, without hesitation she forcefully proclaims, that there is an intimate connection between prayer and the spreading of the Kingdom of God, between prayer and the conversion of hearts, between prayer and the fruitful reception of the saving and uplifting Gospel message. …And since those who become the absolute property of God become God’s gift to all, the life of nuns “is truly a gift set at the heart of the mystery of ecclesial communion, accompanying the apostolic mission of those who exert themselves in proclaiming the Gospel…” (Quotations from Verbi Sponsa, 13 May 1999)
To be sure, our life our vocation is a mystery of faith. The Lord calls, we listen and we respond with all our heart: ‘Yes’. And that ‘Yes’ is renewed continually until the day of the eternal ‘Yes’ – begins!

Let us unite in prayer so that many young women will open their hearts and receive the call to be ‘Espoused to Christ’.

“I don’t have time to pray!”

Some may wonder: When Our Lady asked us to pray the Rosary everyday did She realize how busy our lives can be? How many projects need our attention? How many duties we have to fulfill every day?… We can be sure that Mary, our Mother knows! And still She says to all of us: “Pray the Rosary everyday!”

Our Lady insistently recommended the daily recitation of the Rosary to the three little shepherd children, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, in order to obtain the end of the war. Let us also accept the Virgin’s motherly request, pledging to recite the Rosary everyday with faith for peace in our families, our nations and throughout world. We do not pray because we have time or even because we love to pray;
we pray because we love God.

From the Homily of Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone
13th October

As Papal Legate, sent to preside at the dedication of the new Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Fatima and to close the 90th anniversary year of the Apparitions, Cardinal Bertone Secretary of State of the Vatican preached on the value of even the smallest sacrifice and offering of our daily duty.
“…Already in the summer of 1916 the Angel taught the Little Shepherds: “Make of everything you can a sacrifice as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and make supplication for the conversion of sinners(…) Above all, accept and bear with submission all the sufferings that the Lord sends you”. Dear pilgrims, without denying the value of sacrifices and voluntary penances, you know that the penance of Fatima is the willing acceptance of the will of God in our regard, which translates itself in our duties of our state in life. Someone might say: But, fidelity to our duties of state is that not the minimum which can be demanded of us? Is it possible that such a basic obligation may be proposed as sufficient penance, a saving penance, capable of removing the evils which rest on humanity?
It is possible, because this mobilization of one’s daily duties includes everyone. And the Gospel shows this: even if we were the servant with only one talent, that would not serve as an excuse for inactivity (Mt 25:24-30).
Unfortunately, a great number of people imagine that victory depends essentially on talent, on cleverness, on the value of those who write in newspapers, those who speak in meetings, those who have a more visible role and that would be enough to encourage and applaud these leaders like one encourages and applauds the players in the stadium. No more terrible and disastrous error exists! If one day soldiers began to think that victory did not depend on them but only on the General, that army would march from disaster to disaster, inspite of how marvelous had been the plans of war elaborated by their leaders. To avoid such a disaster in relation to the rebirth of man to a new society, Heaven requires the effort, even the most insignificant, of the most humble servants, of those servants with only one talent.
Thus, before the so called men of our times (they are found in the world of culture and of art, of economy and of politics, of science and information) who demand and are ready to buy, if not even impose, the silence of Christians invoking the imperatives of an open society, when in truth they close every entrance and exit to the Transcendent; and who, in the name of a tolerant and respectful society, impose as one common value the negation of all and any real and permanent value…In the face of such pretensions, the least that we can do is to respond with the same audacity of the Apostles before identical pretensions of the men of their time: “We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20)! And, if they fling in your face the past errors of some of the children of the Church, I beg you: do penance and make reparation. If they falsely accuse you, not sparing offense or mockery, I beg you: pray for your persecutors and pardon them. Profoundly convinced of the solidarity of the human family, to such a point that ten just men in the city of Sodom could have saved it (Gn18:32), keep in your mind and in your heart an unswerving faith in the merciful love of God. May His gaze rest kindly and favorably over your lives, confided to the VirginMother for the greater glory of the Most Holy Trinity. Amen.”

From Rome Pope Greets Fatima Pilgrims

“I willingly impart My Blessing to all those pilgrims gathered at the Shrine of Fatima, Portugal, to all those praying here with Me the Angelus prayer whether physically present or united to Us by the media. There (in Fatima), since ninety years ago, the appeals of the Virgin Mother continue to echo, calling Her children to live their own baptismal consecration at every minute of their lives. Everything becomes possible and easier if we live that entrustment to Mary made by Jesus Himself on the Cross, when He said: “Woman, behold Your son!” She is the refuge and the way which leads to God. The daily recitation of the Rosary is the tangible sign of that entrustment. While I salute the Pontifical Legate, His Eminence Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, the Most Reverend Bishop of Leiria-Fatima and all the Bishops present, and each and every pilgrim of Fatima, let me urge everybody to renew personally their own consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to live this act of devotion by a life ever more conformed to the Divine Will and in spirit of filial service and devoted imitation of their Heavenly Queen. Never forget the Pope!”


Christmas 2007
Dear Rosarians,

Blessed Christmas greetings!
We would like to thank you so very much for your fidelity to the Holy Rosary in your Hour of Guard during this past year and also for encouraging others to join the Perpetual Rosary Association. Truly, each one and all of you praying the Rosary in your own countires brings new hope and ever more light into the darkness of our deeply wounded world. We recall the episode in the Book of Exodus when Moses, up on the hill with hands upheld in prayer, gained the advantage in the battle being waged below him. As soon as his hands fell, the advantage went to the enemy. So too, today. We must continue to lift up our hands in prayer, especially the Holy Rosary for the salvaton of so many who have no one to pray for them.

It can be the very persons you see everyday in the news broadcast or passing you on the street. No one is excluded from our prayers.
Praying the Rosary we are drawn into a more personal relationship with Christ. Pope Benedict XVI said recently:
“The traditional image of Our Lady of the Rosary portrays Mary who with one arm supports the Child Jesus and with the other is offering the Rosary beads to St Dominic. This important iconography shows that the Rosary is a means given by the Virgin to contemplate Jesus and, in meditating on his life, to love him and follow him ever more faithfully.”
Yes, meditating on the life of Christ is the ‘soul’ of the Rosary and the source of the divine power we experience when we pray this prayer. The Rosary, therefore, should lead us to a more frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of Love in which Christ gives Himself to us as Divine food for our journey to Heaven.
We ought to treasure that most precious moment when we receive Christ’s Sacred Body and Blood in Holy Communion. We encourage you dear Rosarians, to assist at Holy Mass daily if possible. Today, in some places, this may be more dif-ficult but we recall how Bl. Jacinta even when very ill wanted to go to Mass for those who could go but would not. Jesus wants us to receive Him in Holy Communion and Holy Mother Church allows and encourages us to receive Him daily.
“Come to Me, all you who labour and are burdened and I will give you rest.” Jesus is our strength and He is our rest!
To bear the name of Christian is to be one who walks with Christ wherever He goes. And Christ is very near the poor, the humiliated, the oppressed, the little ones and the forgotten ones. He is in the marketplace; in the schoolroom, hospital and coutroom. He is with us always and everywhere. Jesus is alive! And our lives must witness to this truth!
Once again we thank you and assure you of our prayers here in this holy place. May Our Lady of the Rosary obtain for you an increase in Faith, Hope and Love each day of the New Year!

Your devoted
Perpetual Rosary Sisters


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