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St. Marguerites and Montreal

Montreal, Canada was very different from what it is now when the city was first founded more than 370 years ago. The cross at Mount Royal reveals the deep Catholic roots of this city. Fountain of Grace takes a look at how two saints, both named Marguerite - St. Marguerite Bourgeoys and St. Marguerite d'Youville - contributed to the early developments of Montreal.
Publish date: 2018 - 9 - 8


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about Blessed James Alberione

Blessed James Alberione was born in 1884 in Northern Italy. As a child, he spent hours praying at Marian shrines, seeing Mary as helper of Jesus, and sharer of Jesus’ life with the Apostles – this he developed into a special devotion to Mary as Queen of the Apostles. He was a pioneer of Catholic media, called by Pope John Paul II the “first apostle of the new evangelization”. In 1900, he was inspired during prayer to serve the people of the new century. He established the Pauline family of ten religious organizations, including the male Society of St. Paul and the female Daughters of St. Paul. Through modern telecommunications (such as periodicals, movies, television, radio), they promoted living holy lives and spread holy doctrine. In 1954, he founded the Basilica of St. Mary Queen of Apostles at Montagnola in Rome, which was designated a titular see in 1965, and assigned to Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong in 2012. Blessed James would pray the Rosary constantly, even on the streets, in the bus, on the train, or in the waiting room. Every day, he would rise at 3:30am, pray for seven hours, and recommended spending a Holy Hour before the Eucharist daily. He refused to be lazy, was always vigilant, and extended his prayer to action, sensing the signs of the times to touch people’s souls. He died in 1971 and was beatified in 2003.
Publish date: 2018 - 9 - 1


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Maximilian Kolbe

In the early 20th century, the Church responded to Freemasonry and Modernism with two lay movements – one from Western Europe and another from Eastern Europe. In 1917, St. Maximilian Kolbe from Poland founded the Knights of the Immaculata, a group of Catholics dedicated to proclaiming the message of Mary in a society of error and indifference, taking the Miraculous Medal as their symbol. Fr. Kolbe was recognized early for his sanctity, and his hair was secretly collected for relics. In 1941, he was brought to the Nazi concentration camps and became a light in the dark – he led the praying of the Rosary and was executed after voluntarily taking the place of another prisoner. In 1921, Frank Duff founded the Legion of Mary in Ireland. In 1917, he read Louis de Montfort’s “True Devotion to Mary” and used his spirituality to lead his group “to Jesus through Mary”. Every year, the members of the Legion reconsecrate themselves – body, soul, possessions, and fruits of work – for Mary to use as she sees fit. The Legion of Mary spread throughout the world, especially in mission territories. Members pray the Rosary at weekly meetings, as Frank Duff believed its mysteries to be the work of the Holy Spirit. In 1965, he attended the Second Vatican Council as a lay observer and died in 1980, aged 91.
Publish date: 2018 - 8 - 25


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Anthony Claret

St. Anthony Claret was born in 1807, a Spaniard who grew up praying the Rosary with his family and became devoted to the Rosary after reading a book on it. He would often go to church with his younger sister to pray the Rosary, even leading other parishioners. In 1829, he entered seminary and began to pray three decades daily. In 1835, he was ordained as a diocesan priest, having left the Jesuit novitiate due to ill health. He was a prolific preacher, sometimes preaching twelve times in a day. In 1839, he went to Italy, and became devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary after seeing the people’s devotion. In 1847, he started a Marian sodality and the Claretian missionary order dedicated to the Immaculate Heart in 1849. In 1850, he was consecrated bishop to Cuba. There, he stipulated that all parishes publicly pray the Rosary on Sundays and feast days, and sometimes made unannounced inspections. He was called the “St. Dominic of the 19th Century”, so great was his promotion of the Rosary. But St. Anthony suffered fifteen assassination attempts on his life. Once, an assailant stabbed his cheek but St. Anthony was able to commute his death sentence to a prison sentence. After seven years as bishop, he was called back to Spain to serve as confessor to Queen Isabella II. With plentiful time, he dedicated himself to printing theological publications. After a revolution in 1868, St. Anthony followed his dethroned queen into exile in France, where he died in 1870, aged 62. St. Anthony Claret taught us to venerate the Immaculate Heart and diligently pray the Rosary.
Publish date: 2018 - 8 - 18


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about Blessed Bartolo Longo (2)

Starting from 1873, Bartolo Longo began organizing a confraternity of the Rosary and invited Dominican priests to preach. He needed an image of Our Lady of the Rosary, so he found an old, dilapidated image at a nearby convent, showing Mary carrying the Child Jesus, handing the Rosary to St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena. In 1879, the image was restored and many miracles were subsequently attributed to it. He set up orphanages and sought to form orphans into honest people through work and prayer. He set up a large printing press for propagating the Rosary and arranged for religious brothers and sisters to educate orphan boys and girls in the faith. The widowed Countess Mariana di Fusco funded Bartolos’s charitable works, but many rumours were spread about their close relationship, so Pope Leo XIII suggested they get married, which they did in 1885. Husband and wife remained continent and continued charitable works, donating all their property to the Holy See in 1906. The Countess died in 1924 aged 88, and Bartolo continued fervently promoting the Rosary until he died too in 1926 aged 85. His dying wish was to see Mary, who had rescued him from the clutches of Satan. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980.
Publish date: 2018 - 7 - 21


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Pilgrimage of Mercy: Tour of the Major Relics of St. Maria Goretti

In 55 days, Fr. Carlos Martins and his team brought the major relics of St. Maria Goretti to 54 cities across the United States. They wish that the story of the saint would inspire people to be more merciful.
Publish date: 2018 - 7 - 14


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about Blessed Bartolo Longo

In 1841, Blessed Bartolo Longo was born into a wealthy family. When he studied law in university, he was influenced by the anti-Catholicism there and became a satanic priest. On hearing the voice of his deceased father, “Return to God,” Bartolo visited his alarmed friend who said, “Do you want to die in a mental institution and lose your soul?” He convinced him to confess to a Dominican priest. After a month of guidance, he once again received the Eucharist. He served at a hospital and saw their patient suffering for God as a manifestation of authentic joy. In 1871, he became a Dominican tertiary, publicly renounced satanism as a “maze of error” at their meeting places, and recounted his conversion story at the university. He went to take care of the affairs of a wealthy widow in Pompei, and saw the people’s religion distorted by superstition and prayed for their conversion. For some time, he despaired and had suicidal thoughts, thinking that his past still bound him to Satan. But he thought of St. Dominic’s promise, “he who propagates my Rosary will be saved.” At that moment, he heard church bells ringing and dedicated his life to spreading the Rosary and making Mary loved and honoured.
Publish date: 2018 - 7 - 14


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A Lesson about Forgiveness: The Story of St. Maria Goretti

Among the saints canonized by the Catholic Church, St. Maria Goretti is one of the youngest. She was just 11 years old when she died. Maria died of a fatal attack by her neighbour Alessandro, after she refused to submit to his sexual advances. Fountain of Grace's production team followed Fr. Carlos Martins to Maria's former residence to learn about forgiveness from this saint.
Publish date: 2018 - 7 - 7


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A Burning Heart for Souls: St. Francis Xavier

In January 2018, a precious relic of St. Francis Xavier - his right forearm which he used to baptize more than 100,000 people - was on tour across Canada. One of the churches even attracted 13,000 people to venerate the relic in one day. Fountain of Grace takes a look at the life of St. Francis Xavier, as well as Catholic Christian Outreach - the group of modern missionaries that organized the relic pilgrimage.
Publish date: 2018 - 6 - 9


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Encounter with the Word – Book of Ezekiel (5)

Encounter with the Word will talk about the Book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament.
Publish date: 2018 - 6 - 2


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Catherine Labouré (3)

Ten years after St. Catherine Labouré received her visions of Mary, another sister of the same order, Sr. Justine, received her own vision. In 1840, she saw Mary clutching her enflamed Immaculate Heart with her right hand, and her left hand grabbing a green scapular, with an image of the Immaculate Heart pierced by swords on the reverse, encircled by the prayer “Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.” A voice told her that through this image, many lost souls would be brought to Mary and saved. Sr. Justine knew that she had to distribute this sacred image as fast as she could. In 1841, Sr. Justine told Fr. Jean-Marie about the visions, but as he was already promoting the Miraculous Medal devotion of St. Catherine Labouré, the promotion of the Green Scapular devotion was delayed and lacking in faith. Mary appeared in 1842 and 1846 to protest. People asked whether the devotion required any specific blessings, and Mary told Sr. Justine in a vision that, as the scapular belonged to no particular order, no specific blessing was needed. The devotee need only pray the prayer on the back of the scapular daily. The Pope approved the Green Scapular devotion and it spread widely, bringing many souls to conversion.
Publish date: 2018 - 5 - 26


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Catherine Labouré (2)

On the night of July 18, 1830, the Virgin Mary first appeared to St. Catherine Labouré, the “sweetest moment” of her life. On November 27, 1830, the Virgin Mary appeared again as she was meditating in the chapel – she saw Mary standing on a hemisphere before the altar, offering up a gold orb to God. On her hands were many jewelled rings: she told St. Catherine that they were graces delivered to those who requested them. The dull ones, she said, were the graces that no one requested. Then, Mary extended her two arms on the hemisphere, light shone forth, and she was encircled by the words “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee”. Then, the frame began to rotate, and on the reverse, she saw a large letter M surmounted by the cross and encircled by twelve stars above the Sacred Heart of Jesus crowned with thorns and the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced by a sword. Mary told Catherine to make sacred medals of this image, and that those who wore it on the neck would receive special graces. She only told her confessor about the visions, and after two years of investigation, he finally brought the matter to the Archbishop of Paris, who approved the distribution of the medals. The devotion spread widely and became known as the Miraculous Medal of Our Lady of Graces. There was a wealthy Jew called Alphonse Ratisbonne who hated the Catholic Church. One day, his friend dared him to wear the Miraculous Medal and pray the associated Memorare prayer. While waiting for his friend in church one day, Alphonse saw the Virgin Mary appear as in the Miraculous Medal image. He instantly understood Catholic teaching, converted, was baptized, became a priest to the Jews, and his entire family of 28 was converted, including two brothers who became priests. St. Catherine never revealed her identity as the Miraculous Medal visionary, and only just before death did she reveal her identity to her superiors, so that they could make a statue of Mary offering a gold orb to God as in the vision. In 1876, she died, and 57 years later, her body was found to be incorrupt. Today, she enjoys the company of Mary forever in Heaven.
Publish date: 2018 - 5 - 19