Dear Friends,
So many of you joined us during our 54 day Rosary Novena during Lent and we are so grateful that you did!
We would like to start another one up starting on May 1st and this one will end on the Vigil of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist which is June 23rd- just before the Feast of the Sacred Heart! So please join us!
Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Catherine of Siena!
It appears that Heaven chose St Catherine to be a guardian and usher of the faithful into the month of May with her feast day on the eve of the very threshold of this beautiful month of Mary!
(Here we can see St Catherine of Siena kneeling at the feet of Our Lady of the Rosary! )
St. Catherine, at heart, was a contemplative who dedicated her life to prayer, mediation and penance.
In St. Catherine of Siena's biography written by her confessor, Blessed Raymond of Capua, it is said that at the every young age of six, Catherine practiced reciting the "Hail Mary" as she climbed the stairs kneeling on each one and saying a "Hail Mary" on each step.

It struck me that this act of saying a "Hail Mary" climbing the stairs could also be taken as a spiritual example for our own souls.  That is, in order to become holy and ascend towards spiritual elevation reaching God and Heaven, it is most necessary that we climb our way on the stairs of a spiritual ladder assisted by a devotion to Mary. 
It seems that this devotion to Mary aided and guided St. Catherine to imitate Our Lady in making a vow of virginity and becoming a mystical spouse of Our Lord at the age of seven. This vow of virginity was addressed to Our Lady asking her to be her mediator between herself and her Most Holy Son, Jesus. 
This act was a profound example of the Latin term: "Ad Jesum Per Mariam" - To Jesus Through Mary"   

St. Catherine's mystical union with her Spouse was so profound that Our Lord appeared to her “holding in his holy hands a human heart, bright red and shining”. He opened her side and put the heart within her saying, ‘Dearest daughter, as I took your heart away from you the other day, now, you see, I am giving you mine, so that you can go on living with it for ever’  Here is the epitome of what a devotion to Mary is meant to do for us!
She died on April 29th. Hence, Heaven's own designs was to place her memory before entrance into Mary's month! Heaven had chosen a Doctor of the Church for an example to emulate to reach sanctity!
The month of May is strewn with so many powerful saints who had a devotion to Our Lady!  The first official day of May is dedicated to her husband, St Joseph. Then, St. Pius V is the Pope who gave us the Feast of the Holy Rosary, on October 7th.  Padre Pio's birthday is on May 25th. There are dozens more for sure in May. But truly, it does not take long in reading the Lives of the Saints that one discovers that  in order to become a saint one must have a devotion to Our Lady!

May - The First Month of the Six Months of Apparitions at Fatima

In this short article, I wish to drive home the idea that in order to get to Heaven, we must have a devotion to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart!  
Her words at Fatima are most important and if you bear with me I want to review them briefly as you will see that the main theme is prayer and penance for ourselves and poor sinners!
Our Lady appeared  in the Month of May as Our Lady of Fatima, in 1917. 
  • On May 13th, she first appeared and  conversed with the children informing them that they would in fact go to Heaven, but they would have much to suffer and would have to say many Rosaries
    She asked of them: "Are you willing to offer yourselves to God to bear all the sufferings He wants to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and for the conversion of sinners?"
    They answered that they would.
    Then she added: "You are then going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort."
    The year previous to this, the children of Fatima had been prepared for her arrival via the Angel of Peace, who was considered to be St. Michael, himself.  This angel had taught them several prayers of adoration and educated them on offering themselves to God. He had said to them:
    “Pray! Pray a great deal! The hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy for you! Offer prayers and sacrifices unceasingly to the Most High!” ...“Offer up everything within your power as a sacrifice to the Lord in an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended; and of supplication for the conversion of sinners. Thus invoke peace upon your country. I am her Guardian Angel; the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and bear with submission the sufferings that the Lord may send you.”
     In this sweet month of May, Our Lady appeared  to the three children with the intention to begin the devotion to her Immaculate Heart. She would come five more times to ensure that this initiation of this devotion would begin.  She gave them three secrets in July - one of which is still hidden...  In October, a terrifically spectacular miracle took place and most of us know the story of Fatima so it will not be reiterated here.
  • In June, Our Lady says:

    ‘I wish you to come here on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary every day, and to learn how to read. Later I will tell you what I want.’

    ...‘Yes, I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon, but you, Lucy, are to stay here some time longer. Jesus wishes to make use of you in order to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. To whoever embraces this devotion, I promise salvation; those souls will be cherished by God, as flowers placed by Me to adorn His throne.’

    Lucia asked if she were to stay [on earth] all alone. Our Lady replied:

    ‘No, My daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Do not lose heart, I will never forsake you! My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.’

  • In July, 

    ‘I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, to continue reciting the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace in the world and the end of the war, because only She can help you.’...

    ‘Continue to come here every month. In October, I will say who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle so that all might see and believe.’

    Our Lady continued: ‘Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say often to Jesus, especially whenever you make a sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’

    After seeing the vision of Hell...terrified and as if to plead for succor, 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. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.

    ‘To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc. Do not tell this to anybody. Francisco, yes, you may tell him.

    ‘When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need.’...

    ‘No, I do not want anything more of you today.’

  • In August, the children were kidnapped by the Freemasons and imprisoned.  They missed their August 13th meeting with the Lady.  Our Lady appears on the 19th and says: "I want you to continue going to the Cova da Iria on the 13th, that you continue praying the Rosary every day. On the last month, I will perform a miracle so that all may believe. If they had not taken you to the town, the miracle would have been greater. Saint Joseph will come with the Child Jesus, to give peace to the world. Our Lord will come to bless the people. Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Sorrows will come also.’...
    Then looking more sad, Our Lady said: "Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and pray for them."
  • In September Our Lady dictated to the seers: "Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war. In October, Our Lord will come as well as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus in order to bless the world. God is satisfied with your sacrifices, but He does not want you to sleep with the rope. Wear it only during the day."


    • In October, before the Miracle of the Sun, Our Lady states: “I am the Lady of the Rosary. People must amend their lives,

      ‘Do not offend the Lord Our God any more, for He is already too much offended!’...‘No, I want nothing more from you."

     Is it difficult to see the theme of the apparitions at Fatima???  She is still calling us to prayer and penance!

    The  Month of May ends with the Queenship of Mary. 

    And then, with solemn finality, it seems as though God wished to prepare us for this feast of the Queenship of Mary, with a reminder of the bitterness of the trials of life which are necessary to endure before experiencing the reward of Heaven by giving us the Feast of Joan of Arc. Joan of Arc, warrior for God, for King, for France, for the Church! 
      The statue above is of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a woman "set in battle array" guiding the sword-laden arm of Joan of Arc.
      The verse from the Canticle of Canticles that reminds of Our Lady could be also used to describe the Maid of Orleans:
      "Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?"
      It is with this figure who fought for Heaven with her Voices directing her that we finish this month. She is pictured above kneeling before the Blessed Mother Mary with St Genevieve honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary's Queenship!
      It is not necessary to remember all of the trials Joan endured, but it is sufficient  to recall her end in which she was tried as a witch and a heretic - denounced by the heads of the Church and ordered to be burned at the stake.
      Her example was such that she even converted many of the English that were present at her trial and execution.
      Joan herself made many statements concerning her faith during her trial at Rouen:
      • "I entrust myself to my creator God, I love Him with my whole heart"
      • "Everything I have done I have done at God's command"
      • "I abide by God who sent me, by the Holy Virgin and the saints in paradise"
      • "As for the Church, I love her and would wish to sustain her with all my power for our Christian faith."
      • "My mother taught me the Pater Noster, Ave Maria, and the Credo"
      • "I am a good Catholic"
      Here is an example of what an eye witness/enemy who was involved in her trial and execution later wrote in praise of her as a woman of God because of the way she conducted herself during her trial and the inspiring way that she died:
      "And when she came to the Vieux Marche she listened to the sermon with great fortitude and most calmly, showing signs and evidence and clear proof of her contrition, penitence and fervent faith she uttered pious and devout lamentations and called on the Blessed Trinity, and upon the blessed and glorious Virgin Mary, and on all the blessed saints in Paradise, naming many in her devotions, her lamentation, and her true confession of faith. She also most humbly begged all manner of people, of whatever condition or rank they might be, and whether of her party or not, for their pardon and asked them kindly to pray for her, at the same time pardoning them for any harm they had done her. This she continued to do for a very long time, perhaps for half an hour and until the end. The judges who were present, and even several of the English, were moved by this to great tears and weeping, and indeed several of these same English, recognized God's hand and made professions of faith when they saw her make so remarkable an end. They were glad to have witnessed her end and said that she had been a good woman. "
                                                                        Jean Massieu - Witness of Joan's execution

      Joan of Arc was a great woman of faith who died with the name of "Jesus, Jesus." on her lips. 
      And so it is that we see the Maid handing over the Standard of France to Our Queen and the Christ Child as we close this month of May.  So too must we do the same!  We must hand over the standard of our soul to Them with an Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on our lips and an intention to prayer and penance in our hearts to keep us on the straight and narrow path to Heaven.
      "Ad Jesum Per Mariam" - To Jesus Through Mary"   

      Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

      [Also found in Our Lady of Grace Prayer Book"- by Fr Alessio Parente -confrere of Padre Pio]

      by St Louis de Montfort

      I, (state your name) a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in thy hands, O Immaculate Mother, the vows of my Baptism. I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works, and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before.

      In the presence of all the heavenly court, I choose thee this day for my Mother and Mistress. I deliver and consecrate to thee, as they slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present and future, leaving to thee the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy good pleasure, for the greater glory of God, in time and in eternity. Amen.

      To read more on the love that St. Catherine of Siena bore for Our Lady there is no better article that I could find online that this one here:
      A Novena to Our Lady of Pompeii: