“Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in Heaven encourage the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the One mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church n°956)
By understanding the importance of the saints for the spiritual life, for the journey on earth, and specially for the testimony given by them to all christians, The Community Merciful Gaze has adopted some saints as Patron Saints , who are constantly invoked by its founder and its members.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of Mercy, to Whom the Community is dedicated.
Celestial Patrons: The Archangels: Saint Gabriel, Saint Michael and Saint Raphael.
Patron Saints: Saint Pio of Pietrelcina and the couple Saints Louis and Zelie Martin.
CoPatron Saints: Saint Margaret of Alacoque, Saint Therese of Child Jesus and The Holy Face, Saint Faustina Kowaslka and Saint John Paul II .
A special devotion is given also to all the saints who bore the Wounds of Jesus.
Liturgical feast: December 12
In 1531, the Blessed Virgin appeared on the hill of Tepeyac, near Mexico City, to an indigenous man named Juan Diego (declared a Saint in 2002). Initially, Juan heard the extremely soft singing of several rare birds, which made the native think he was in heaven. When the wonderful celestial singing ceased, he heard a voice that said: “my Juanito, my Juan Dieguito”. It was the voice of Our Lady who appeared from the top of the hill and identified herself as the mother of the true God and the compassionate mother of us all. The Blessed Virgin asked Juan Diego to go to the bishop and narrate everything he had seen and heard and, above all, to report his ardent desire that his sanctuary be built on that hill. Endowed with prudence, the local bishop asked for a sign from the Holy Mary to Juan, to prove the veracity of what he reported.
Only in the third apparition, while Juan Diego was looking for a priest for his very sick uncle, was the sign granted. The Blessed Virgin gave the following instruction: “Pay attention my son, engrave it in your heart: there is nothing to fear, do not be worried or scared; fear not this disease, nor any other displeasure or affliction. Am I not here, that I am your mother? Did I not choose him for myself and take him into my care? What do you want more than this? Do not allow anything to distress and disturb you. As for your uncle’s illness, it is not fatal. I give you full assurance that he is cured” (Our Lady also appeared to her uncle and he was healed). Our Lady went on to say: “Dear son, these roses are the sign that you are going to take to the Bishop. Tell him in my name that in those roses he will see my will and do it. When you arrive before him, unfold your “tilma” (mantle) and show him what you are carrying.”
As ordered, Juan Diego dropped his mantle in front of the bishop, causing the precious flowers to fall and, above all, revealing the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that miraculously appeared stamped on the mantle. Everyone who was there and saw it, knelt down in wonder, deeply moved and converted. The Bishop, with tears of remorse, begged pardon for not having immediately carried out his holy will and began the construction of the sanctuary.
In addition to the miraculous appearance of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the mantle, many other inexplicable facts were observed. The simple fabric of the mantle should decompose in a maximum of 20 years, however, it has remained intact for more than four centuries. Scientists have proven that the image does not have brushstrokes and the dyes do not have chemical elements known from the earth. The eyes of Our Lady of Guadalupe have all the microscopic structures of human eyes and reflect the image of 13 people, including the bishop. These and several other extraordinary characteristics of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe make it impossible for human hands to paint it.
Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared Patroness of America. Pray for us, O Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Liturgical Feast: September 29
The nature of the Archangels is spiritual, since they were created by God and their whole spiritual being is oriented to do God’s Will. They are our Creator’s messengers to men. The meaning of their names, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael reveal thir mission.
The name Michael means in Hebrew,: ‘Who is like God? ‘This was Saint Michael’s battle cry against Lucifer and other rebellious angels. “7 And war broke out in heaven: lMichael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.”(Revelation 12,7-8).
Saint Michael is a great defender of God’s people and His Church. He is a powerful ally in our daily battles against enemy forces, pride and ambition. He is also na example of obedience to God’s will.
The name Gabriel means:Messenger of God or God is my Protector . He is God’s Messenger par excellence. Saint Gabriel brings good news from the Most High since the Old Testament . It was his duty to proclaim the most important news of all times: the birth of Jesus Christ (Luke 1,26 ss).
Let us turn to Saint Gabriel to receive promises and messages from the Most High for our lives.
The name Raphael means: God Heals or God’s medicine. His mission is to bring physical and spiritual healing , and his presence leads to the manifestation of Divine Providence. The book of Tobias relates the unique presence of Saint Raphael for a few months among us. He is not only the carrier of physical and spiritual healing but also the deliverance from evil in our lives.
The Merciful Gaze Community has a special devotion and great confidence in the protection of its Celestial patron saints, the Archangels.
Liturgical Feast: September 23
Saint Pio was born on May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy. He was the first priest to recieve the signs of The Passion of Christ on his body. He received the Transverberation on his chest and the Stigmata on his hand and feet, and they remained on him for 50 years. It can be said that his mission was to recieve in himself of God’s Children. Saint Pio dedicated himself from dawn to midnight to the Ministry of Confession. He believed that by doing this, God’s children would be freed from their sufferings and from the devil.
In addition to the Stigmata and the many miracles through his intercession, Saint Pio was also endowed with the gift of bilocation.
Among many accounts Don Luigi Orione, told how he saw Saint Pio in Saint Peter’s Square, in 1925, for the celebrations in honour of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face . Saint Orione was standing there when surprisingly, Saint Pio appeared in front of him. However, Father Pio never left the convent in Saint Giovanni Rotondo, from 1918 until his death.
The body of Saint Pio exumed in 2008 and found incorrupt. It is currently displayed for public veneration in the church dedicated to the Saint.
According to Saint John Paul II, Saint Pio was: “ Above all, he was a religious who sincerely loved Christ Crucified. He participated in the Mystery of the Cross.”
Liturgical Feast: July 12
Saints Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin Martin were married on July 12, 1858, in the Church of Notre Dame, in Aleçon- France.
Both Louis and Zélie were inclined toward the religious life. Louis tried to enter the Monastery of Saint Bernard but he was not accepted as he didn’t know Latin. Saint Zélie applied for admission to the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent Paul. Zélie was also not admitted because the Sister Superior judged that she had no vocation for religious life.
For the first months of their marriage, Saint Louis and Saint Zélie lived as brothers, however, after a conversation with a priest, they decided to have many children for the Kingdom of God. Saint Zélie desired this in her heart and she asked God for many children to serve Him. They had nine children (seven girls and two boys). The girls who reached adulthood followed religious life in The Carmelites Order (Marie, Pauline, Celine and Therese) or in The Order of Visitation of Holy Mary (Leonie).
The home of the couple was full of Christian spirit. In adition to their immense love for each other, their religious fervor and devotion to the Blessed Virgin united them even more. In fact the Martin’s family life was centered on their Love for God and their neighbours. Their routine included daily Mass, frequent adoration of The Blessed Sacrament , Confession and parish activities. They also performed many works of mercy :they visited the elderly and sick, they helped the poor and welcomed them to have meals at their house and sheltered abandoned people. Saint Louis and Saint Zélie taught their children by their exemple to love and recognize the dignity of all God’s children. The virtues of her parents led Saint Therese to say: “ The good God gave me a father and mother worthy more of heaven than of the earth.”
Liturgical Feast: October 5
Saint Faustina Kowalska was a Polish native of the city of Gogowiec. When she was 7 years old, she heard the voice of Jesus for the first time, calling her to religious life. Unfortunately when she was 18, Saint Faustina didn’t have the support of her parents to enter the consecrated life. One day , when she was in a ball with her sisters, Jesus appeared to her all covered in wounds, and no clothes asking her how long He would need to be patient with her and how long she would continue to disappoint Him.
The Saint discreetly left those who where with her and went to the cathedral of Saint Stanislaus Kostka. She laid down in front of the Blessed Sacrament asking the Lord what she should do. She heard these words: “Go immediately to Warsaw and there you will enter the convent.”
Saint Faustina went home and told her sister as best as she could what happened to her soul.. Saint Faustina asked her sister to say goodbye to her parents, and with just the clothes on her back, without anything else, she went to Warsaw. (Diary 9 and 10).
In 1924, Saint Faustina entered the congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. She had many mystical experiences and apparitions of Jesus during the first year of her novitiate.
The Diary written by Saint Faustina, describes in detail her numerous encounters with the Merciful Jesus ,Who taught her about the great mystery of The Divine Mercy. As an apostle of the Divine Mercy, Saint Fautina immersed herself in the Love of God and full of compassion for the human misery, offered her life for the souls of sinners.
Saint John Paul II, canonized her on April 30, 2000. Saint Faustina and Saint John Paul II, were responsible for the propagation of the devotion of The Divine Mercy throughout the world.
Litugical Feast: October 22 (the beginning of his pontificate)
Karol Jósef Voityla was born on May 18, 1920. The first sound heard by the newborn baby was the praise to Our Lady, played by the Church Bells. This probably originated Saint John Paul II’s love for the Virgin Mary.
At the age of six, Lolek, as he was called by his family, went to Mass daily with his parents before going to school. His mother used to read stories from The Bible to him. He made his First Communion when he was nine. After his mother’s death, his father decided to retire to take care of his children. Saint Jphn Paul II had a very special teacher, Father Zacher, who encouraged him to learn Polish literature , Poetry, Drama, Latin and Greek.
In 1983, Lolek moved with his father to Krakow to study Philosophy at university. There he learned 12 languages, nine of which he would use frequently as Pope. His first book of poetry “Psalm Renaissence” could not be published because of the war, (1938).
His father died in 1941, and Lolek was left with no family. During the terrible World War II, Saint John Paul II understood that God wanted him to be a priest. In 1942 he began attending an underground seminar under Cardinal Sapicha’s direction. He was ordained priest on November 1, 1946. In 1951 Saint John Paul went to the village of . When he arrived there, he knelt down and kissed the ground. This gesture taken from Saint John Mary Vianney, marked his pontificate. In 1958, at the age of 38, he became the youngest Bishop in Poland. He chose the motto: “ Totus tuus” in relation to the Virgin Mary.
On October 16, 1978, Saint John Paul II was elected Pope. He was the first native Pope from a communist country, the first non-Italian since 1522, and the youngest (58 years old) since 1846. His pontificate lasted 26 years and five months, the third longest in the history of the Catholic Church.
He was also known as the Pope of the World Youth Day, since he instituted in 1985, this religious event that brings together millions of young people from around the world, spreading among people the teachings of the Church.
He died on April 2, 2005. His body is buried under Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican city. His canonization took place on a Sunday dedicated to the Feast of Mercy on April 27, 2014, in presence of Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Liturgical Feast: October 16
Margaret was born on August 22, 1647 in France. When she was only eight years old, due to the death of her father and financial problems, Margaret had to live and and study at the boarding school of the Poor Clares of Charolles.
She felt the call to religious life, in the silence of the cloisters, in prayer, meditation and by the modesty of the sisters. Margaret was allowed by the sisters to make the First Communion when she was nine, as a result of her precocious piety. From then on her graces and propensity to meditation increased significantly. But when she was 11, Saint Margaret was stricken with a serious illness, which some said it was rheumatism and other paralysis, that put her life in danger. Her family was forced to remove Saint Margaret from the convent and take her to an uncle’s house.
This illnes lasted four four years, and she was unable to walk and was very weak. Saint Margaret consacrated herself to Our Lady, promising her to be one of the consacrated sister if she was healed . As she described in her memoirs :’As soon as I made the vow, I was immediately healed of my illness. With the new protection of the Blessed Virgin, Who took complete possession of my heart, looking at me as Her daughter, Our Lady not only took hold of my life as something consacrated to Her, teaching me God’s Will and reproving me for my faults.”
Later Margaret resisted for three years the pressure of her family, that wanted her to get married. Finally she convinced them that her place was in the convent, with the help of a missionary who preached in that region.
Saint Margaret had mystical experiences from the age of five, when she felt continually impelled to say these words: “ My God, I consacrate my purity and make a vow to You of my perpetual chastity.” However, the most important ones of her experiences took place in the convent starting on December 27, 1673. There Saint Margaret received a series of revelations from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Who gave her the mission to spread among people this devotion. Even though the three Superiors who sucessively assumed the authority of the convent in Paray-le-Monial were convinced of the authencity of Margaret’s revelations, others whithin the community treated her as an eccentric visionary. Saint Margaret main support came from Saint Claude de La Colombiere, who was the nun’s confessor and testified that the saint’s visions were real
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque died at the age of 43, in Paray-le-Monial on October 17, 1690. She was beatified on September 18, 1864 by Pope Pius IX and her canonization was in 1920, under the pontificate of Pope Benedict XV.
Liturgical Feast: October 1st
Mary Frances Therese Martin was born on January 2, 1873, in Aleçon (France) in an authentic Christian home. She was the daughter of Saints Louis and Zelie Martin, a couple that lived a intense devotion to Our Lady . Her mother died when she was four and her sisters helped Saint Louis to take care of her and her christian formation. Pauline, one of Saint Therese’s sisters, taught her from an early age to consider her soul as “a garden of delights,where she should cultivate the flowers of virtues that Jesus will come to pick on His first visit.”
Therese wanted to follow her sisters’s steps and enter Carmelites Order. Saint Louis accepted her wish but only when she celebrated her fifteenth birthday.. As soon as she was fifteen, Therese presented to Pope Leo XIII her request to enter the religious life.Receiving the Bishop’s permission, Therese entered The Discalced Carmilite Order in Lisieux. When she was 16, she received the habit and the name Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. She then began her spiritual expirience all in the Carmel, which led her to give herself completely to the Love of Jesus and to surrender her whole soul into the Hands of the Father . Saint Therese discovered the joy of being small before God, believing that those who make themselves humble and simple, in the way they live, act and do everything with love for Jesus ,can achieve holiness through her “Little Way”, (the spiritual childhood).
Therese died after a long illness, of tuberculosis in 1897, at the age of 24. From the last days of her existence came these memorable words: “I have never given the good God anything but love, and it is with love that He will repay. After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses. I will spend my life in Heaven doing good on earth.”
Saint Therese was canonized by Pope Pious XI in 1925 and two years later she was named The Universal Patroness of the Catholic Missions. She was proclaimed Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II.
The book, “Story of a Soul” reveals the secret that made Saint Therese so pleasing in the eyes of God. Her humility, simplicity, self-denial, spirit of sacrifice, boundless love for Our Lord Jesus and her unreserved confidence in God, were virtues that adorned her soul and had shown all men the path to holiness and abandonment in God’s Hands.