Thursday, January 31, 2013



Photo: R. Massaro-St. John of the Cross Parish
Cleveland, Ohio

I knew a person who for more than ten years profited by a cross roughly made out of a blessed palm and held together by a pin twisted around it. That person carried it about and never would part with it until I took it--and the person was not someone of poor judgment or little intelligence. I saw someone else who prayed with beads made out of bones from the spine of a fish. Certainly, the devotion was not for this reason less precious in the sight of God. In neither of these two instances, obviously, did these persons base their devotion on the workmanship and value of a spiritual object.

They, therefore, who are well guided from the outset do not become attached to visible instruments or burden themselves with them. They do not care to know any more than is necessary to accomplish good works, because their eyes are fixed only on God, on being his friend and pleasing him; this is what they long for. They very generously give all they have. Their pleasure is to know how to live for love of God or neighbor without these spiritual or temporal things. As I say, they set their eyes on the substance of interior perfection, on pleasing God and not themselves.
(The Dark Night, Chap. 3, No. 2)

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Blessed Archangela Girlani

Bl. Archangela Girlani

Eleanor Girlani, from Trino in Monferrato, Italy, was given the name Archangela when, with her sisters Maria and Frances, she took the Carmelite habit in the monastery of Parma in 1477. Later, she was to become prioress of the monastery and then prioress of the new foundation at Mantua from 1492 until her death in 1495. It is written in an old manuscript that Blessed Archangela lived her religious life so intensely that, just as the monastery was entitled "Saint Mary in Paradise", she and the other nuns, even though still here on earth, lived as if already absorbed into heaven. She was distinguished by a special devotion to the Holy Trinity. Her liturgical cult was approved by Pius IX in 1864.

Carmelite Monastery Kilmacud, Dublin

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Sunday in the Year of Faith

St. Polycarp ( AD 69-155)

Associate of, converted by, and disciple of Saint John the Apostle. Friend of Saint Ignatius of Antioch and Saint Papias. Fought Gnosticism. Bishop of Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey). Revered Christian leader during the first half of the second century. The Asia Minor churches recognized Polycarp’s leadership and chose him representative to Pope Anicetus on the question the date of the Easter celebration. Only one of the many letters written by Polycarp has survived, the one he wrote to the Church of Philippi, Macedonia. At 86, Polycarp was to be burned alive in a stadium in Smyrna; the flames did not harm him and he was finally killed by a dagger, and his body burned. The Acts of Polycarp’s martyrdom are the earliest preserved reliable account of a Christian martyr‘s death. Apostolic Father.
(Source: SaintsSQPN)

From the writings of St. Polycarp
Exhortation to Virtue:

“Wherefore, girding up your loins,” “serve the Lord in fear” and truth, as those who have forsaken the vain, empty talk and error of the multitude, and “believed in Him who raised up our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, and gave Him glory,” and a throne at His right hand. To Him all things in heaven and on earth are subject. Him every spirit serves. He comes as the Judge of the living and the dead. His blood will God require of those who do not believe in Him. But He who raised Him up from the dead will raise up us also,if we do His will, and walk in His commandments, and love what He loved, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness, covetousness, love of money, evil-speaking, false witness; “not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing,” or blow for blow, or cursing for cursing, but being mindful of what the Lord said in His teaching: “Judge not, that ye be not judged; forgive, and it shall be forgiven unto you; be merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again;” and once more,“Blessed are the poor, and those that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God.”

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Saturday, January 26, 2013



From the Rule (Constitutions) of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites-No.4

The Virgin Mary is present in a special way, most of all as a model of faithfulness in listening to the Lord and in service to Him and to others. Mary is the one who preserved in her heart the life and actions of her Son and meditated on them (Luke 2:51), providing for us an example of contemplation. At Cana she counseled to do what the Lord commanded (John 2:5), Mary is an example of apostolic service. On another occasion, she waited, persevering in prayer with the apostles (Acts 1:14), for the coming of the Holy Spirit, thus giving witness to intercessory prayer. She is Mother of the Order. Secular Carmel enjoys her special protection and cultivates a sincere Marian devotion.

Fr. Greg Homeming, OCD-The Sacrament of the Cross

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Great Vespers

I recently attended Great Vespers for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity at the Byzantine Catholic Cultural Center in Cleveland, Ohio.  I would like to thank our community members, Father Deacon Michael Lee and Chris Bender for their warm hospitality. May God grant you both many years!

Enjoy the video I created from the photos.  Sorry I didn't record the actual voices of the choir-they truly sounded angelic!

To visit the cultural center, please visit their site:

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


St. Therese of the Child Jesus:
Photo: R. Massaro

One Sunday, looking at a picture of Our Lord of the Cross, I was struck by the blood flowing from one of the divine hands. I felt a pang of great sorrow when thinking this blood was falling to the ground without any one's hastening to gather it up. I was resolved to remain in spirit at the foot of the Cross and to receive the divine dew. I understood I was then to pour it out upon souls. The cry of Jesus on the Cross sounded continually in my heart: " I thirst!" (John 19:28). These words ignited within me an unknown and very living fire. I wanted to give my Beloved to drink and I felt myself consumed with a thirst for souls.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, January 20, 2013



From the First Apology of St. Justin Martyr (AD100-ca. 165)

No one may share the Eucharist with us unless he believes that what we teach is true, unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of his sins, and unless he lives in accordance with the principles given us by Christ.

We do not consume the eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that as Jesus Christ our Savior became a man of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, so also the food that our flesh and blood assimilates for its nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving.

The apostles, in their recollections, which are called gospels, handed down to us what Jesus commanded them to do. They tell us that he took bread, gave thanks and said: Do this in memory of me. This is my body. In the same way he took the cup, he gave thanks and said: This is my blood. The Lord gave this command to them alone. Ever since then we have constantly reminded one another of these things. The rich among us help the poor and we are always united. For all that we receive we praise the Creator of the universe through his Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.

On Sunday we have a common assembly of all our members, whether they live in the city or the outlying districts. The recollections of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as there is time. When the reader has finished, the president of the assembly speaks to us; he urges everyone to imitate the examples of virtue we have heard in the readings. Then we all stand up together and pray.

On the conclusion of our prayer, bread and wine and water are brought forward. The president offers prayers and gives thanks to the best of his ability, and the people give assent by saying, “Amen”. The eucharist is distributed, everyone present communicates, and the deacons take it to those who are absent.

The wealthy, if they wish, may make a contribution, and they themselves decide the amount. The collection is placed in the custody of the president, who uses it to help the orphans and widows and all who for any reason are in distress, whether because they are sick, in prison, or away from home. In a word, he takes care of all who are in need.

We hold our common assembly on Sunday because it is the first day of the week, the day on which God put darkness and chaos to flight and created the world, and because on that same day our savior Jesus Christ rosefrom the dead. For he was crucified on Friday and on Sunday he appeared to his apostles and disciples and taught them the things that we have passed on for your consideration.

Read the entire text of St. Justin's First Apology at Christian Classics Ethereal Library:

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday of Our Lady


Our Lady of Consolation-Carey, Ohio Photo: R.Massaro
 Prayer to Our Lady of Consolation:

 O Mary Immaculate, our Mother and Consolation, I take refuge in thy most loving heart with all the confidence of which I am capable; thou shalt be the dearest object of my love and veneration. To thee, who art the dispenser of the treasures of Heaven, I shall always have recourse in my sorrows to have peace, in my doubts to have light, in my dangers to be defended, in all my needs to obtain thy ssistance. Be therefore my refuge, my strength, my consolation, O Mary the Consoler! At the hour of my death, graciously receive the last sighs of my heart and obtain for me a place in thy heavenly home, where all hearts shall praise with one accord the adorable Heart of Jesus for ever more as well as thy most lovable heart, O Mary. Our tender Mother, Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Grant also peace and holiness to the Church, through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
Here in Ohio, we have a shrine to Our Lady of Consolation located in Carey. The feast day to our Lady under this title is celebrated at the shrine on May 25th.  Please visit their website for more details about the devotion to our Lady under this title and for more information about the shrine.

You can visit their website at:

View a video clip about the shrine produced by the shrine:

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Spiritual Direction with St. Teresa of Jesus

Photo: R. Massaro (c) 2013 Spirit Singing
 In this excerpt from the Spiritual Testimonies of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila), she gives a lesson on the stages of prayer that we can continue for a number of posts. In this first post we begin with her explanation of the prayer of recollection, then moving on to the prayer of simple union. The prayer of recollection can be considered to be on the borderline of natural and supernatural prayer. Supernatural recollection is the gift of prayer given by God after one has been faithful to vocal prayer and meditation. Please keep in mind that infused prayer is a total gift from God, it is not the result of our human effort (using the intellect, the memory, the will and the imagination). These powers of the soul are suspended by God, whereby, prayer is experienced as effortless on our part.

The degrees of infused prayer according to St. Teresa of Jesus:
The first prayer I experienced that in my opinion was supernatural ( a term I use for what cannot be acquired by effort or diligence, however much one tries, although one can dispose oneself for it which would help a great deal) is an interior recollection felt in the soul. For it appears that just as the soul has exterior senses it also has other interior senses through which it seems to want to withdraw within, away from the outside noise...In this state none of the senses or faculties are lost, for all are left intact. But they are left that way so that the soul may be occupied in God. And this explanation will be easy to understand for anyone to whom the Lord has granted this prayer; and for those to whom He has not, there will be need at least for many words and comparisons.

Photo: R. Massaro (C)2013 Spirit Singing
 A very pleasing interior quiet and peace sometimes flow from this recollection, so that it doesn't seem to the soul it is lacking anything. Even speaking tires it, I mean reciting vocal prayer and meditating. All it wants is to love. This quiet lasts a short while, and even a longer while.

From this prayer there usually proceeds what is called a sleep of the faculties, for they are neither absorbed nor so suspended that the prayer can be called a rapture. Although this prayer is not complete union...

When there is union of all the faculties, things are very different because none of them is able to function. The intellect is as though in awe; the will loves more than it understands...there is no memory at all, and in my opinion, nor thought; nor even during that time are the senses awake, but they are as though lost, that the soul might be more occupied in what it enjoys. This union passes quickly. In my opinion, if this experience is authentic, it is the greatest favor our Lord grants along this spiritual path...

To be continued...

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, January 15, 2013



Photo: R. Massaro: Dominican Sisters of St. Cecelia Motherhouse Nashville, TN
Does this term have you puzzled?  You are not alone.  Until recently, I had never heard the term before.  This word describes one who has a fear of the cross, a crucifix, or cross-shaped objects.  Very interesting, indeed, when discussing the spiritual life.

While meditating on this subject, I immediately thought of one who is fearful of the cross: Satan. I'm sure we have all seen some image from a movie in which the priest confronts the evil spirit or demon with the Cross. Leaving Hollywood aside for a moment, let's bring this fear of the cross into our discussion of our spiritual life.

 Do you know someone who is very fearful of bearing one's cross in life?  Do you know someone who tries to avoid any pain and suffering at all costs? Do they complain at the least sign of discomfort?  Sometimes, as Christians, we are all about following the Lord wherever he leads, until it comes to the Calvary of our life, where we are called to die with Christ to our very self.  Although this death is a frightening prospect to most of us, we can be assured that someone will remain with us at the foot of our cross in life: our Blessed Mother. As Mother of the Church, she cares for each member. She will not abandon us or forsake us in our hour of need.  Let us remember to call upon her when the cross in our life seems too heavy to bear. Her prayers will give us courage and hope to remain faithful to the end.

As Secular Carmelites, we are called to prayer.  If we have remained faithful to prayer, we know that prayer brings the gift of peace.  This is the peace of heart, soul, and mind, that no man can impart to us. It is a pure gift from the Holy Spirit. Prayer strengthens us for service and strengthens us to accept the cross in our life each day.  When we are strengthened by prayer, we are given another gift of the Holy Spirit: Courage!  In this state of soul, we not only accept the cross, but embrace it in imitation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  When we arm ourselves with these holy garments of virtue, we are becoming like the saints who willingly proclaimed Jesus as Lord, despite threats of torture and death.

St. John of the Cross teaches us to prepare for death by detachment from the pleasure of the senses and spiritual consolations. His "nada" spirituality leads the soul to desire Jesus Christ alone by way of the dark night of faith and embracing the cross. Many saints have gone through the dark night of the soul, however, even during this time of deep purification they remained faithful to Christ and were able to suffer with great joy.

As Secular Carmelites, let us look to our Holy Father, St. John of the Cross, a lover of the Cross, for inspiration and direction. He, along with St. Teresa of Jesus and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, will lead us safely through the dark night to purity of heart and perfect charity, where there is no fear.

Love has no room for fear;rather, perfect love casts out all fear. And since fear has to do with punishment, love is not yet perfect in one who is afraid. (I John 4:18)

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, O.C.D.S.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saturday of Our Lady


Prayer of St. Bernadette:


O Mary, O Mother of Sorrows!
At the foot of the Cross you received the title of our Mother. I am the child of your sorrows, the child of Calvary. O Mary, my tender Mother, behold your child at the end of her resources. Have pity on me. Obtain that I shall one day be in heaven with you.

You, who saw and felt the utter desolation of your dear Son, assist me during my desolation. I come to place the anguish of my heart in your heart and to draw from it strength and courage.

May I remain like you at the foot of the Cross, if such be the pleasure of your divine Son! May I begin here below, my soul united to your soul to glorify the Lord by this perpetual homage of a perfect submission.

By St. Francis de Sales


The everlasting God has in his wisdom foreseen from eternity the Cross that he now presents to you as a gift  from his inmost heart. This Cross he now sends you he has considered with his all-knowing eyes, understood with his divine mind, tested with his wise justice, warmed with his loving arms and weighed with his own hands to see that it be not an inch too large and not an ounce too heavy for you.  He has blessed it with his Holy Name, anointed it with his graces, perfumed it with his consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all merciful love of God.


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Known for his spirituality "Practicing the Presence of God"

Here is a link to a wonderful talk on Brother Lawrence by Fr. Salvatore Sciurba OCD:

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Carmelite Saint of the Day


St. Peter Thomas was born about 1305 at the hamlet of Sales in southern Perigord (Gascony) France, and entered the Carmelites when he was 21.  Not much is known about him until he was chosen as procurator general of the order to the Papal Court at Avignon in 1345.  This appointment led to his taking up residence in Avignon, then the residence of the popes.  It is believed that he delivered the funeral oration of Pope Clement VI in 1352.  His life was spent in difficult negotiations with Genoa, Milan and Venice as the representative of the Holy See.
 In 1354, he was consecrated bishop of Patti and Lipari and represented the pope at Milan when the Emperor Charles IV was crowned king of Italy.  He was charged with a mission to smooth the difficulties between Venice and Hungary and to promote peace and unity with the Eastern Churches.  In 1359 he was sent to Constantinople with a large contingent of troops and held the title of “Universal Legate to the Eastern Church’.  He was then appointed Archbishop of Crete in 1363, and Latin Patriarch of Constantinople in 1364.  He had a reputation as an apostle of church unity.  In 1365, during an attack on infidel Alexandria he sustained multiple arrow wounds and died a holy death in Farmagosta at Cyprus three months later on January 6, 1366.  He was never formally canonized but his feast was permitted to the Carmelites in 1608.

St. Peter Thomas, Pray for us!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Saturday of Our Lady

Photo: R. Massaro (C) Spirit Singing-Mosaic-Lourdes, France

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Friday, January 4, 2013

St John of the Cross-Sayings of Light and Love

Saying #78
 If you desire that devotion be born in your spirit and that the love of God and the desire for divine things increase, cleanse your soul of every desire, attachment, and ambition in such a way that you have no concern about anything. Just as a sick person is immediately aware of good health once the bad humor has been thrown off and a desire to eat is felt, so will you recover your health, in God, if you cure yourself as was said. Without doing this, you will not advance no matter how much you do.


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Carmelite Saint of the Day

Blessed Kuriakos Elias Chavara, priest (O.Carm)
Feast Day: January 3

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

As the new year begins with the Solemnity of Our Lady, under the title of "Mother of God." Let us renew our efforts to become holy Catholics and holy Carmelites under her patronage.  Let us deepen our devotion to our Good Mother: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  May she lead us safely to union with her Divine Son.

A Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

O Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel, Fruitful Vine, Splendour of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart, to succour me in this necessity; there are none that can withstand your power.

O, show me herein you are my Mother, O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands. Amen.


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds