Monday, November 26, 2007

Our Lady Vulnerata

Our Lady Vulnerata

In the great reredos of the Chapel of the English College, Valladolid, is the statue of Our Lady Vulnerata. The story of this statue begins in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England, in 1596. Spain had recovered from the defeat of the Invincible Armada and was gathering another fleet in the port of Cadiz, on the Atlantic coast of southern Spain. The Earl of Essex, one of England's most famous sea-dogs, together with Sir Walter Raleigh, led an English fleet into the harbour, destroyed the Spanish fleet and took possession of the city.

Some of the English troops ran riot and dragged a statue of the Virgin Mary and Child from a church to the market square where they desecrated it. They cut off both arms. All that remained of the Child were parts of his tiny feet on His Mother's knee.

The mutilated statue was given greater honour than ever and the Countess of Santa Gadea, wife of the Governor of Castilla, gave it place of honour in her chapel in Madrid.

The staff and students of the English College in Valladolid asked the Countess for the right to make reparation for the behaviour of their fellow countrymen who had desecrated the statue. Reluctantly she agreed and the statue was brought to Valladolid and installed with great solemnity in the College Chapel in 1600.

Queen Margaret of Austria, wife of King Philip III of Spain, who was present when the statue was installed, had asked for a novena in honour of Our Lady. On the last day of the novena the Bishop of Palencia gave the statue the title of Our Lady Vulnerata (which means wounded and insulted).

In 1979 it was renovated to mark its third centenary. More recently the facade was restored and the main doors renewed at the end of 1985; and the chapel was opened to the public.

Every week, to this day, special prayers are offered in reparation for the insults to Our Lady and the Child Jesus and to implore the intercession of Our Lady Vulnerata for the conversion of the people of England and Wales.

The story of the statue is depicted in eight paintings around the walls of the College chapel.

The Mass of Our Lady Vulnerata is celebrated in the College by special indult on the Sunday following the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

In the year 2000, the 4th Centenary of the arrival of the statue of Our Lady Vulnerata, after further renovation of the College chapel, the statue was given a new crown, a gift from the old boys of the College, at a solemn ceremony on the Feast of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


My dear friends,

I speak to you today on a matter of grave urgency – the need for an amendment to our state Constitution which will protect marriage. As you know, God is the author of marriage. It is a sacred commitment ordained by Him to be a life-long, exclusive relationship between one man and one woman. Yet, in state after state, marriage is being re-defined. Massachusetts has legalized same-sex marriage. “Civil unions” are legal in New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, and California.

Pennsylvania has a Defense of Marriage Act. Still, there is always the danger that court challenges to overturn it will occur. Proponents of non-traditional alternatives to marriage are very motivated and well-financed. Already one proposed amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman has been attempted in Pennsylvania.

I am asking you, at this time, to contact your state Senator to urge him or her to support an amendment to the Constitution of Pennsylvania defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, with no recognition for any marriage-like unions. This weekend, in your parish bulletin, you will find the name and contact information for the Senator from your district. Please call, write or email as soon as possible. Pay a visit to his or her office if you can.

There are many who would say that the Church should not interfere in such matters. With my friend, Archbishop Chaput of Denver, I respond that American Catholics today face challenges not unlike those that faced the early Church. The Apostles and their successors preached the Gospel and people believed it, not just as a set of ideas, but in a way that made them unable to go on living like the people around them. In particular, early Christians believed that marriage was sacred. For them, following the practices of their Roman neighbors regarding human sexuality and marriage was unthinkable. So it is with us. In the long run, we serve our country best by remembering that we are citizens of heaven first. We are, in fact, better Americans when we are truly Catholic.

May Our Mother, Mary, who is the model of holiness, and St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse, intercede for us so that our efforts on behalf of marriage will be ever pleasing to her most gracious Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Joseph F. Martino, D.D., Hist. E.D.

Bishop of Scranton


St. Andrew.
Georges de La Tour 1615

November 30th.

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow Me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed Him.

__St. Mathew. 4:18-20

Friday, November 23, 2007


The Fourth Way of Prayer

Saint Dominic would remain before the altar or in the chapter room with his gaze fixed on the Crucified One, looking upon Him with perfect attention. He genuflected frequently, again and again. He would continue sometimes from after Compline until midnight, now rising, now kneeling again, like the apostle Saint James, or the leper of the gospel who said on bended knee: "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean" [Matt. 8:2]. He was like Saint Stephen who knelt and called out with a loud cry: "Lord, do not lay this sin against them" [Acts 7:60]. Thus there was formed in our holy father, Saint Dominic, a great confidence in God's mercy towards himself, all sinners, and for the perseverance of the younger brethren whom he sent forth to preach to souls. Sometimes he could not even restrain his voice, and the friars would hear him murmuring: "Unto thee will I cry, O Lord: O my God, be not thou silent to me: lest if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit" [Ps. 27:1] and comparable phrases from the Sacred Scripture.

The Fifth Way of Prayer

Saint Dominic would sometimes remain before the altar, standing erect without supporting himself or leaning upon anything. Often his hands would be extended before his breast in the manner of an open book; he would stand with great reverence and devotion as if reading in the very presence of God. Deep in prayer, he appeared to be meditating upon the words of God, and he seemed to repeat them to himself in a sweet voice. He regularly prayed in this way for it was Our Lord's manner as Saint Luke tells us: ". . . according to his custom he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and began to read" [Luke 4:16]. The psalmist also tells us that "Phinees stood up and prayed, and the slaughter ceased" [Ps. 105:30].

He would sometimes join his hands, clasping them firmly together before eyes filled with tears and restrain himself. At other times he would raise his hands to his shoulders as the priest does at Mass. He appeared then to be listening carefully as if to hear something spoken from the altar. If one had seen his great devotion as he stood erect and prayed, he would certainly have thought that he was observing a prophet, first speaking with an angel or with God himself, then listening, then silently thinking of those things which had been revealed to him.

On a journey he would secretly steal away at the time for prayer and, standing, would immediately raise his mind to heaven. One would then have heard him speaking sweetly and with supreme delight some loving words from his heart and from the riches of Holy Scripture which he seemed to draw from the fountains of the Savior. The friars were very much moved by the sight of their father and master praying in this manner. Thus, having become more fervent, they were instructed in the way of reverent and constant prayer: "Behold as the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters, as the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress . . ." [Ps. 122:2].