Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day- 22 March – The Memorial of St Nicholas Owen S.J. (1562-1606) Martyr – “The Priest Hole Maker”

Thought for the Day- 22 March – The Memorial of St Nicholas Owen S.J. (1562-1606) Martyr – “The Priest Hole Maker”

Saint Nicholas Owen possessed great faith and courage and he is highly respected for this, for he is a Saint.   However, what also makes him memorable, is how he used a rather obscure skill and talent for the good of God.   His ability to make hiding places ultimately became a tool of God for protecting the Church.

Saint Nicholas reminds us that any of our talents, regardless of how seemingly unusual or unimportant, can be put to good use for the good of God and our neighbour.   What are your talents and how can you use them for good?

Dear God, please use me to do Your will.    St Nicholas Owen, pray for us!st nicholas owen - pray for us no 2 - 22 march 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HUMILITY, SPEAKING of .....

Quote/s of the Day 22 March 2018 – Thursday of the 5th Week of Lent and the Memorial of St Nicholas Owen S.J. (1562-1606) Martyr “Speaking of Humility”

Quote/s of the Day 22 March 2018 – Thursday of the 5th Week of Lent and the Memorial of St Nicholas Owen S.J. (1562-1606) Martyr

“Speaking of Humility”

“The uncreated Wisdom and of all wisdom the Principle, has borne the shame and mockery due to a fool.
The Holy of Holies and Sanctity in Essence, suffered Himself to be reputed a villain and a malefactor.
He, whom the countless hosts of the blessed in heaven adore, willed to die a disgraceful death upon a cross.
And lastly, He who by nature, is the Sovereign Good, endured every kind of human misery.

Then, after such an example of humility, what ought we not to do – we who are dust and ashes?
And what humiliation should ever appear hard to us, who are not only worms of earth but miserable sinners?”

Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903)the uncreated wisdom - 22 march 2018 speaking of humility

“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues,
hence, in the soul in which this virtue does NOT exist,
there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.”

“Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending.
You plan a tower, that will pierce the clouds?
Lay first, the foundation of humility.”

” There never can have been
and never can be
and there never shall be,
any sin without pride.”

St Augustine (354-430) Doctor of the Churchst augustine - 22 march 2018 - speaking of humility -humility is the foundation, do you wish to rise, there never can be

“Humility, makes our lives acceptable to God,
meekness, makes us acceptable to men.”

St Francis De Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Churchhumility makes our lives - st francis de sales - 22 march 2018 speaking of humility

“The most powerful weapon, to conquer the devil is humility.
For, as he does not know at all, how to employ it,
neither does he know, how to defend himself from it.”

St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)the most powerful weapon - st vincent de paul - speaking of humility - 22 march 2018



One Minute Reflection – 22 March 2018 – Thursday of the 5th Week of Lent and the Memorial of St Nicholas Owen S.J. (1562-1606) Martyr

One Minute Reflection – 22 March 2018 – Thursday of the 5th Week of Lent and the Memorial of St Nicholas Owen S.J. (1562-1606) Martyr

Rejoice … in the measure that you share Christ’s sufferings. When his glory is revealed, you will rejoice exultantly...1 Peter 4:13

REFLECTION – “Let us strive to face suffering with Christian courage. Then all difficulties will vanish and pain itself will become transformed into joy.”…St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Churchlet us strive to face suffering - st teresa of avila - 22 march 2018

PRAYER – Jesus, Man of Sorrows, in every suffering keep my eyes fixed on You. Let me keep ever before my mind the glory to come and so face the suffering with true Christian courage.   Lord our God please grant that by the intercession of St Nicholas Owen, who suffered beyond all our understanding, for love of You, we may learn to suffer in silence and with true courage, nicholas owen - opray for us - 22 march 2018


Our Morning Offering – 22 March 2018 – Thursday of the 5th Week of Lent

Our Morning Offering – 22 March 2018 – Thursday of the 5th Week of Lent and the Memorial of St Nicholas Owen S.J. (1562-1606) Martyr

Transform me into Yourself
By St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840) Martyr

O my Divine Saviour,
Transform me into Yourself.
May my hands be the hands of Jesus.
Grant that every faculty of my body
May serve only to glorify You.

Above all,
Transform my soul and all its powers
So that my memory, will and affection
May be the memory, will and affections
Of Jesus.

I pray You
To destroy in me all that is not of You.
Grant that I may live
but in You, by You and for You,
So that I may truly say, with Saint Paul,
“I live – now not I – But Christ lives in me.”transform me into yourself - st john gabriel perboyre - 22 march for the memorial of st nicholas owen sj

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 22 March – St Nicholas Owen S.J. (1562-1606) The Priest-Hole Builder – Martyr

Saint of the Day – 22 March – St Nicholas Owen S.J. (1562-1606) The Priest-Hole Builder – Martyr – born in the 16th century in Oxford, England and was tortured to death on 2 March 1606 in London, England.  Also known as • John Owen and • Little John.   St Nicholas was a Jesuit lay brother who was the principal designer and builder of priest holes during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I of England.   He was Canonised on 25 October 1970 by Pope Paul VI.

header - st nicholas owen

St Nicholas was born in Oxford, England, around 1562 into a devoutly Catholic family and grew up during the Penal Laws.   His father, Walter Owen, was a carpenter and Nicholas was apprenticed as a joiner in February 1577 where he acquired skills that he was to use in building hiding places.   Two of his older brothers became priests.   St Nicholas served as St Edmund Campion’s (1540-1381) servant and was arrested for protesting Campion’s innocence.   Upon his release, he entered the service of Henry Garnet S.J. around 1588 and for the next 18 years built hiding places for priests in the homes of Catholic families.   He frequently travelled from one house to another, under the name of “Little John”, accepting only the necessities of life as payment before starting off for a new project.   He also used the aliases “Little Michael”, “Andrewes”, and “Draper”.   During the daytime he would work as a travelling carpenter to deflect suspicion.

Owen was only slightly taller than a dwarf and suffered from a hernia, as well as a crippled leg from a horse falling on him.   Nevertheless, his work often involved breaking through thick stonework and to minimise the likelihood of betrayal he often worked at night and always alone.   Sometimes he built an easily discovered outer hiding place which concealed an inner hiding place.   The location of the secret room was known only to himself and the owner of the house.   Examples of his work survive at Sawston Hall (Cambs),[Oxborough] [Norfolk] Huddington Court (Worcestershire) and Coughton Hall (Warwickshire).   Harvington Hall in Worcestershire has seven “priest holes”.   Due to the ingenuity of his craftsmanship, some may still be undiscovered.  Below are 3 at Harvington Hall, the first 2 pics are the entrance and inside the hole.   The third is another in the staircase.

For many years, St Nicholas worked in the service of the Jesuit priest Henry Garnet and was admitted into the Society of Jesus as a lay brother.   He was arrested in 1594 and was tortured at the Poultry Compter but revealed nothing.   He was released after a wealthy Catholic family paid a fine on his behalf, the jailers believing that he was merely the insignificant friend of some priests.   He resumed his work and is believed to have masterminded the famous escape of Father John Gerard from the Tower of London in 1597.

San Nicolas Owen

Early in 1606, St Nicholas was arrested a final time at Hindlip Hall in Worcestershire, giving himself up voluntarily in hope of distracting attention from his master Fr Garnet who was hiding nearby with another priest.   Realising just whom they had caught and his value, Secretary of State Robert Cecil exulted:  “It is incredible, how great was the joy caused by his arrest… knowing the great skill of Owen in constructing hiding places and the innumerable quantity of dark holes which he had schemed for hiding priests all through England.”

After being committed to the Marshalsea, a prison on the southern bank of the Thames, St Nicholas was then removed to the Tower of London.   He was submitted to terrible “examinations” on the Topcliffe rack, dangling from a wall with both wrists held fast in iron gauntlets and his body hanging.   As his hernia allowed his intestines to bulge out during this procedure, the rackmaster strapped a circular plate of iron to his stomach. When he remained stubborn, it is believed that he was transferred to the rack, where the greater power of the windlass forced out his hernia which was then slashed by the plate, resulting in his death.   He revealed nothing to his inquisitors and died in the night between 1 and 2 March 1606.   Father Gerard wrote of him:

I verily think no man can be said to have done more good of all those who laboured in the English vineyard.   He was the immediate occasion of saving the lives of many hundreds of persons, both ecclesiastical and secular.


Martyrdom of st nicholas owen

St Nicholas was canonised as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales by Pope Paul VI on 25 October 1970.   Catholic stage magicians who practice Gospel Magic consider St Nicholas Owen the patron saint of Illusionists and Escapologists, due to his facility at using “trompe l’oeil” when creating his hideouts and the fact that he engineered an escape from the Tower of London.

There is a Roman Catholic church dedicated to Saint Nicholas Owen in Little Thornton, Lancashire.


Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MARIAN TITLES, SAINT of the DAY

Memorial of Our Lady of the Seven Veils and Memorials of the Saints – 22 March

Our Lady of the Seven Veils:
In the Cathedral of Foggia one can find an ancient and mysterious image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This icon, called “Our Lady of the Seven Veils,” once caused Saint Alphonsus to go into ecstasy, which I will describe below. As a young priest, St Pio of Pietreclina would make a visit to this image every day.
In the eleventh century Foggia, Italy was a tiny town perched around the Tavern of the Owl.   One day some local farmers saw three flames over a small pond or bog.   Intrigued, they dug where the miraculous fire had been and discovered a large “table” buried in the mud.   They realised that this “table” was actually a Byzantine icon that had remained somewhat preserved despite being soaked in water and mud.   The image was cleaned and then cloaked with new veils.   I assume there were seven veils and hence the name but I cannot verify this.   The icon was then placed in the local Tavern of the Owl for veneration.   Soon the tavern became a place of pilgrimage.   In 1080 Robert Guiscard built a church to honour the sacred image.   In 1172 the church was expanded by William II “the Good” of Sicily.   The “face hole” is all that one can now see of the original wooden icon.   It is black and the face is now indiscernible.   However, on Maundy Thursday of 1731, the Virgin Mary’s white face appeared in this portal, which was usually black and dark.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori heard about apparition and went to Foggia to venerate the Immaculate Mother of the Saviour.   He also received an apparition of the Virgin’s face in the small black portal.   He described the Blessed Virgin’s face on that occasion as a girl of 13-14 with a white veil.   The apparitions of the Virgin’s face on the icon continued until about 1745.
As the city grew larger, the church was decorated and enriched.   The Normans, Swabians, Angevins, Aragonese, Spaniards and Bourbons considered the church to be one of the most important in Italy.  It has served as the site for several royal weddings. Today, the image is said to be covered in seven layers of precious metal and embroidered material – hence the name Madonna of the Seven Veils.

St Avitus of Périgord
St Basil of Ancyra
St Basilissa of Galatia
St Benevenuto Scotivoli of Osimo
Bl Bronislaw Komorowski
St Callinica of Galatia
Bl Clemens August von Galen
St Darerca of Ireland
St Deghitche
St Epaphroditus of Terracina
St Failbhe of Iona
Bl François-Louis Chartier
St Harlindis of Arland
Bl Hugolinus Zefferini
St Lea of Rome
Bl Marian Górecki
St Nicholas Owen S.J. (1562-1606)

St Octavian of Carthage
St Paul of Narbonne
St Saturninus the Martyr
St Trien of Killelga

Posted in LENT, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The PASSION

Thought for the Day – 21 March – The Memorial of St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)

Thought for the Day – 21 March – The Memorial of St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487) and Wednesday of the 5th Week of Lent 2018  (this reflection includes our Lenten Reflection for today.)

Although our minds are limited in their ability to attain God in this life, we are capable of “greater desire and love, and pleasure in knowing divine matters” than we are able to find in “the perfect knowledge of the lowest things.”   Thus far Aquinas, who taught as one who knew.   Saint Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487) was in perfect agreement.   “God,” he once said, “gives us such a taste for prayer that we yearn for it as if we were waiting to go to a dance.”

The likeness was more than a bit incongruous, for the speaker was a true hermit, a man who had given up not only dances but nearly everything else that bound him to this world, even food.   Born to a pious, upstanding peasant family, young Nicholas stood out for his goodness, simplicity and mortification.   While still a young man, labouring in the fields and meadows of the valleys south of Lucerne, he fasted four times per week, explaining himself, when pressed, by saying, “Such is the will of God.”   Until his fiftieth year, his life was that of an exemplary Swiss free man.   Like many of his fellow countrymen, he served his canton both under arms and by holding civic office.   And this pillar of the community raised up five sons and five daughters with the help of his exemplary wife Dorothy.   Yet God persisted in calling him to a life beyond that of the domestic holiness he had already embraced and sent visions to him in his late-night prayer vigils and his moments of afternoon solitude in the fields, visions that beckoned him to leave all.

As the eminent Swiss theologian Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) explained in his biography of the hermit-saint, “it no longer sufficed for him to walk along the roads of the world with God in his heart;  he had to take the path set aside for him, that he might be taken by the hand and led to where he knew not.”   What praise of Dorothy of Flue could be lovelier, Journet asked, than to admire her magnanimity in being able to    They parted friends, just thirteen weeks after the birth of their youngest child and remained so.   Several years later, a pilgrim visitor to Nicholas’ hermitage saw the saint, with joyous mien, lean out of the window of his tiny cell after the morning Mass to greet his family with a blessing:  “May God give you a blessed day, dear friends and good people!”  One is glad to know that his wife and children attended his deathbed.   After all, she had never lost her husband completely.   Honoured by Swiss Protestants, venerated by Swiss Catholics, Nicholas’s cult, uninterrupted since his death, was officially sanctioned by Clement IX (1667-9).  In 1947 he was canonised by Pope Pius XII.

What lesson might Nicholas of Flue hold out for our generation?   Were he alive today this simple Swiss peasant would doubtless be startled by our wealth.   The recession of recent years seems to have done little to dull the edge of our consumption.   The adjective “worldly” is now being used as a term of approbation, to signify the savoir-faire of the person who knows the latest fashions and ways of thinking.   It is a telling linguistic development.   Nicholas of Flue spent the last twenty years of his life in a tiny room with two windows.   Through one of them, he could see something of the beauty of his native land, a beauty that nourished his reflection and piety:  “O man, think of the sun so high in the sky and consider its splendour:  but your soul has received the splendour of the eternal God.”   Through the other, he saw the altar, whence came the very food of his soul.   “We should carry the Passion of God in our hearts, for this is the greatest consolation to a man at the hour of his death.”   The one thing needful nicholas of flue pray for us - 21 march 2018-no 2

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MORNING Prayers, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on SANCTITY, SPEAKING of ....., St JOSEMARIA Escriva and Opus Dei

Quote/s of the Day – 21 March “Speaking of Sanctity”

Quote/s of the Day – 21 March
“Speaking of Sanctity”

“The secret of being always with God
and of assuring His continual presence
in our hearts is constant prayer.”

St Isidore of Seville (560-636) Doctor of the Churchthe secret of being always with god - st isidore - 21 march 2018 - speaking of sanctity

“The shortest, yes, the only way,
to reach sanctity, is to conceive a horror
for all that the world loves and values.”

St Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)the shortest, yes, - st ignatius - speaking of sanctity - 21 march 2018

“Sanctity consists in the accomplishment
of the duties God lays upon us.
In this way, one who fulfills well the duties of his station
and, much more, one who fulfills them well for God,
will become a real saint – nothing more is needed.”

Blessed Louis-Édouard Cestac (1801-1868)sanctity consists in the accomplishment - bl louis-edouard cestac - 21 march 2018 speaking of sanctity

“If God does not desire me to be a saint,
He would not have created me a reasonable being.”

St Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868)if god does not - st peter julian eymard - speaking of sanctity - 21 march 2018

“Our Lord has created persons for all states in life
and in all of them, we see people,
who achieved sanctity
by fulfilling their obligations well.”

St Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870)our lord has created - sdt anthony mary claret - speaking of sanctity - 21 march 2018

“Great’ holiness consists in carrying out
the ‘little duties’ of each moment.”

St Josemaria Escriva, (1902-1975) The Way, 81great holiness - st josemaria - speaking of sanctity - 21 march 2018

“We must have a real living determination to reach holiness.
I will be a saint means, I will despoil myself of all, that is not God;
I will strip my heart of all created things;
I will live in poverty and detachment;
I will renounce my will, my inclinations, my whims and fancies
and make myself a willing slave to the will of God.”

St Mother Teresa (1910-1997)we must have a ral living - st mother teresa - speaking of sanctity - 21 march 2018


One Minute Reflection – 21 March – The Memorial of St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)

One Minute Reflection – 21 March – The Memorial of St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)

And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him…Colossians 3:17

REFLECTION – “Each state of life has its special duties; by their accomplishments one may find happiness.”…St Nicholas of Flueeach state of life - st nicholas of flue - 21 march 2018

PRAYER – Holy Father, teach us to offer all we do to You and thus make it a perfect gift. By giving our best efforts to every aspect of our daily lives, we may be offer You our gratitude.   Grant that by the prayers of St Nicholas of Flue, we may attain holiness and happiness as we continue our journey to our eternal home.   Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, nicholas of flue pray for us - 21 march 2018


Our Morning Offering – 21 March – The Memorial of St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)

Our Morning Offering – 21 March – The Memorial of St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)

My Lord and my God
St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)

My Lord and my God,
take from me everything
that distances me from You.
My Lord and my God,
give me everything
that brings me closer to You.
My Lord and my God,
detach me from myself
to give my all to You.

The above prayer of St Nicholas, is cited in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraph #226.
CCC 226 – It means making good use of created things: faith in God, the only One, leads us to use everything that is not God only insofar as it brings us closer to Him and to detach ourselves from it insofar as it turns us away from Him.

prayer of st nicholas of flue no 226 - my lord and my god, take from me everything - 21 march 2018