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Our Lady of Guadalupe: a sign of Mary's closeness to us

Our Lady of Guadalupe: a sign of Mary's closeness to us

It seems coincidental, doesn’t it, that the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the feast of Christmas fall so close together in the calendar? And yet… if it’s an accident, it’s a particularly happy one. Because the two have much more in common than might generally meet the eye.We all know the story: On December 9, 1531, an indigenous peasant by the name of Juan Diego saw a vision on a hillside outside Mexico City: a young, dark-skinned woman who spoke Nahuatl, a native&n...
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Will the Real St. Nicholas Please Stand Up?

Will the Real St. Nicholas Please Stand Up?

In the 1950s and 60s there was an American television program called To Tell The Truth, in which panelists had to guess which of three contestants was the “real” person described, generally someone with an unusual occupation or life-story. The expression used in the show, “will the real (Name) please stand up?” has entered into the vernacular, and it’s particularly relevant today as we try and figure out who this figure is who has so dominated our experience of Chri...
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All Saints and All Souls: contemplating the life we know now and the one to come

All Saints and All Souls: contemplating the life we know now and the one to come

The wind is picking up dead leaves fallen from the trees, swirling them around, making them dance. It feels appropriate, somehow, for our days of the dead—All Saints’ and All Souls’ days—to coincide with the waning of the liturgical year as well as the physically darker days of late autumn. The swirling leaves are just the physical markers of change.October 31 is All Hallows’ Eve, November 1 is All Saints' Day, and November 2 is All Souls’ Day, our own &qu...
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Never give up seeking God: Timely lessons for today from Saint John Henry Newman

Never give up seeking God: Timely lessons for today from Saint John Henry Newman

This weekend, Blessed John Henry Newman will become Saint John Henry Newman, and few people will be happier than Sr. Mary Emmanuel Alves, FSP. She takes delight in reading—daily—from his work, and is ecstatic that his canonization will bring him into the hearts and minds of so many more people. “He is so precise and articulate,” she says. “His mind is brilliant—but the true brilliance is in it being understandable to the rest of us. That’s real brillianc...
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How St. Gianna Teaches Complete Trust in God

How St. Gianna Teaches Complete Trust in God

St. Gianna Beretta Molla was a devoted pediatrician, wife, and mother. She loved and served God in the simplest, humblest gestures of her family and professional life, juggling—as do many women today—the demands of both worlds.Her example shows how keeping our relationship with God at the center of our lives allows grace to affect all our decisions, especially difficult ones. St. Gianna exemplifies how ordinary, daily experiences are important opportunities for evangelization. As a c...
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Saint Monica: The Mother Who Never Gave Up

Saint Monica: The Mother Who Never Gave Up

The dignified woman opened the door and stiffly walked into the room at the seaside inn. As she looked at the drab, empty, ordinary room, she thought, “Nothing special about it.” It was simply supposed to be a stopover; it wasn’t supposed to be the place where her heart would be broken…again.She managed to hold in her tears until she closed the door behind her. Then, Monica collapsed on her knees beside the bed, burying her face in the cheap pillows and letting them abso...
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The Solitary Monk Who Touched The World

The Solitary Monk Who Touched The World

Sometimes it’s difficult for us to read scripture and superimpose a map over it—so much has changed since biblical times, the Middle East reconfiguring itself several times over—so not everybody knows that Jesus was in Lebanon when he visited Tyre and Sidon. In fact, Lebanon is mentioned in the Bible over 70 times, so it is surely holy ground.And the home of a saint.Youssef Antoun Makhlouf was born in 1828, in Bekaa Kafra (North Lebanon). He had a  passion for prayer, whic...
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Lose Something? Ask St. Anthony for Help!

Lose Something? Ask St. Anthony for Help!

On June 13th, we celebrate the feast of one of the most beloved of Franciscan saints, St. Anthony of Padua. You probably know him as the saint to turn to when you’ve misplaced your keys or your wallet, and you may even have recognized that there are other things worth finding, too—lost friendships, lost faith, lost people.But how did Anthony become the guide to that which has been lost?The story has changed slightly over time with the retelling, but its essence is that a novice monk ...
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