Friday, January 7, 2011

Alberione Trivial Pusuit #3 (Click on Link for Answer and Story)

Blessed James Alberione and his mother, Teresa, venerated which Marian Shrine frequently?

A. Shrine of the Madonna of the Flowers (Santuario della Madonna dei Fiori)
B. Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Berico (Santuario della Madonna di Monte Berico)

C. Sanctuary of Caravaggio (Santuario di Caravaggio)

D. Shrine of The Madonna of the White Stone (Santuario di Madonna Pietralba) 

E. Shrine of Our Lady of Oropa-The Black Madonna (Santuario di Oropa)

F. Shrine of the Madonna of Consolation (Santuario Basilica la Consolata) 

G. Our Lady of Montallegro (Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montallegro)

From James Alberione: Apostle For Our Times, by Luigi Rolfo, SSP

"From her childhood, she (Teresa) had venerated the Shrine of the Madonna of the Flowers at Bra. How often has she longed to take James there and thus more efficaciously put him into the hands of the Mother of Mercy, but it had always been too far away.
When the family moved to the area of Cherasco, she was able to take him to the shrine and often did. At least on feast days, she could go to the venerated shrine and still get home in time to care for her household chores. There at Bra, James spoke his first words and had fixed in his memory his very first impression of the world and of the persons who surrounded him.
Taking him inside the church, she showed him the tabernacle and told him of Jesus ever present there. She taught him not to talk or move about too much in church out of respect for His presence. She most certainly taught him how to invoke the Blessed Mother with complete confidence in all his difficulties. She told him in detail the story of the wild prunes which blossom every year at the shrine on December 29 under the snow as a perennial reminder of the extraordinary protection which the Madonna of the Flowers, during a winter in the distant past, extended to a village girl pursued by two French soldiers intent upon doing her harm.
In time young James would often go unescorted to the shrine where he spent more hours before the tabernacle than all the members of his family put together."

Answer: A. Shrine of the Madonna of the Flowers (Santuario della Madonna dei Fiori)

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Why a blog? Why St. Paul? Why do I think I have any business doing this?
We are all on a spiritual journey. We all want that journey to lead us to heaven, to eternity with God. For this journey, we need one another.
The journey so far has led me to read and learn about so many forms of authentic Catholic spirituality - Ignatian, Benedictine, Carmelite, Dominican, Franciscan, etc. My biggest problem was that I came to love each one tremendously. I began reading more and more, spending more and more time at the Daughters of St. Paul bookstore on Watson Road here in St. Louis. Who would have thought my greatest conversion story would take place in a bookstore? Mine was not quite as sudden or dramatic as St. Paul on the road to Damascus, but getting to know the Daughters of St. Paul affected me no less significantly.
The sisters are Eucharistic by nature. The first time I entered the chapel in their bookstore, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and one of the sisters was on her knees, gazing at Christ, with an indescribably beautiful smile on her face. I had a glimpse of heaven. I knelt at one of the other kneelers and noticed on the wall behind the monstrance the words: "Fear not, I am with you. From here I want to enlighten. Atone for sin." I had that brief moment of absolute certainty that I was on the right path.
Over the last several years I have worked my way through as many books, CD's, DVD's and conversations with the Daughters of St. Paul that time has allowed. Time is at such a premium for all of us. Years ago we were told that with advances in technology we would have much more free time on our hands. We all know this has not been the case. Our lives are busier and more hectic than ever. Even if we are unable to find time to read good books, see enlightening movies or attend lectures and discussions, maybe we could all spend a little time on the internet supporting one another on our faith journeys. Many of you know more about many aspects of Catholic spirituality than I do.
Pope John Paul the Great called us all to a New Evangelization, to share the Gospel with the world. I am hoping we can all be St. Paul in this blog space by sharing Christ with one another and with others. St. Paul travelled to many foreign and often hostile regions to evangelize the world; we are fortunate to be able to use the internet to reach even farther and more quickly.
The idea of using today's means of social communication to spread the Gospel was given to Blessed James Alberione on the night between the centuries (December 31, 1900 - January 1, 1901). He was a 16 year-old seminary student adoring Christ in the Blessed Sacrament when a special light came to him from the Host. Following this, Blessed James Alberione became the founder of the Society of St. Paul priests, the Daughters of St. Paul, the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master, Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd, Sisters of the Queen of Apostles, and numerous institutes that are also part of the Pauline family.
So what is Pauline spirituality? In my experience, Pauline spirituality encompasses all the teachings of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and love of all the other spiritualities and Saints of the Church. It is the members of the Pauline family who are the happiest people I know! It is loving God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit with all our hearts and souls, through the intercession of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, and St. Paul.
So why St. Paul? I can relate to St. Paul. We first meet him in the New Testament as a sinner. He has a thorn in his side that God decides is best not to take away. I sometimes wish I knew what that thorn was, but it's probably better I don't know. I like to pretend it is one of my many weaknesses or faults. If St. Paul could go from persecuting Christ and His Church to becoming the person responsible for spreading the Gospel and establishing the Church in foreign lands, the least I can do is start a blog. I have been especially inspired by my two favorite bloggers, Sr. Margaret Charles Kerry, fsp, and a Pauline Cooperator named Rae Stabosz. I believe Sr. Margaret and Rae are doing just what St. Paul and Blessed James Alberione would be doing with the internet.
In future blogs (which will be shorter than this first post!), I would like to share writings of St. Paul, Blessed James Alberione, and many others. I look forward to others sharing writings from other Catholic spiritualities and writers. An especially Pauline way of sharing is to point out to one another what aspects particularly speak to each of us.
Another Pauline trait is to pray for one another. My prayer is that we support one another on our path to holiness. Our goal is to glorify God in all that we do - so let's do it!