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Guardians of Canada: Our Lady of the Cape and Blessed Frédéric Janssoone

Trois-Rivières, a French-speaking city in Quebec, is the home of treasures of the Catholic Church in Canada. Blessed Frédéric Janssoone, a Franciscan friar who devoted all of his energy in spreading the Good News of Christ, might become Canada's next saint. A little-known stone chapel ultimately became a Marian shrine which attracts thousands of pilgrims yearly. Fountain of Grace uncovers these treasures for you.
Publish date: 2019 - 5 - 11


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Mother of New France: St. Mary of the Incarnation

In 1639, St. Mary of the Incarnation left France for Canada, a newly founded settlement, so that girls may receive an education. What did she give up in order to fulfill this God-given mission? Fountain of Grace takes a look at how St. Mary of the Incarnation gives her life for Canada.
Publish date: 2019 - 4 - 27


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Small Town, Big Mission: Everyone is Missionary

What does the word "missionary" call to mind? In the 21st century, how do missionaries live their lives? Missionaries from four Catholic churches in Macau share with you their stories.
Publish date: 2019 - 4 - 6


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (20)

In 1939, St. Josemaría Escrivá successfully escaped Communist territory and when the Spanish Civil War ended, he returned to Madrid. Opus Dei was criticized for being a secret society, so they received recognition from the Archbishop of Madrid in 1941 and from Pope Pius XII in 1950. Opus Dei had laity, married persons, and even some “co-operators”, some of whom were not even Catholics. These people helped Opus Dei in its ministries, like education and cultural works. Although persecution of Opus Dei continued, St. Josemaría responded not with enmity but prayer, and in 1951, he consecrated the families of all Opus Dei members to the Holy Family and the entire Opus Dei to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He sent Opus Dei members around the world to spread the Gospel. He knew that the period of Vatican II would be a turbulent time, so he distributed Rosaries, asking for prayers for the Church, and went to Marian pilgrimage sites, praying for the Church himself. The saint passed away in 1975, hopeful of helping more people in Heaven, and was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002. He taught us that everyone has a vocation to holiness and has apostolic work.
Publish date: 2019 - 3 - 30


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (19)

In 1937, St. Josemaría Escrivá and his companions waited in the forest to be smuggled out of Communist territory. They made good use of their time in hiding – they would wake up at 7am, pray at 7:15am, celebrate Mass at 7:30am, pray the Rosary, and meditate. He assigned jobs to his companions: collecting wood, cleaning, keeping records, leading prayers, and giving talks on their occupations. One day, the time came to leave and St. Josemaría retrieved the Eucharist from a silver cigarette case for them to adore. On Sunday, they were climbing a mountain and decided to celebrate the Mass on the mountainside. The flat stone that served as the altar was so low that St. Josemaría had to kneel to celebrate Mass and needed his companions to shield the Eucharist from being blown away. They reached mountaintop before sunset thanks to St. Josemaría’s encouragement. But the next day, they had to climb another mountain, and his breathing became hurried. His companions had to carry him, but he said, “I have come not to be served, but to serve.” They began praying the Rosary, but with their hands occupied with climbing, they lost count. Some decades had 20-30 Hail Mary’s. Then, they reached the mountaintop.
Publish date: 2019 - 3 - 23


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Andrew and Iris Cheng: When Two Become One

Theology of the Body is the topic of a series of lectures given by St. John Paul II which explore the true meaning of the human body. Andrew Cheng, a former Hong Kong Legislative Council member, and his wife attended a course on this topic together and found it very inspiring. Fountain of Grace has invited them to share their insights.
Publish date: 2019 - 3 - 16


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (18)

In 1937, St. Josemaría Escrivá and his companions were smuggled out of Barcelona. Not long after, the Communist police cracked down on the place they had been staying at. During their escape, they stayed in a farmhouse and celebrated Mass with a glass as the chalice and a notebook as the Missal. There was still a risk of capture, so they moved to an abandoned rectory nearby. St. Josemaría began having doubts whether it was the will of God that he leave Madrid and escape Communist-controlled territory. He prayed to the Virgin Mary to give him a rose as a sign that he was doing the will of God. One day, as he told his companions that he would not be celebrating Mass, he went to an abandoned church and emerged ecstatic. In his hands was a wooden rose – he would celebrate Mass that day. At another time, they had to hide in a cabin in the woods to wait for more refugees before continuing. St. Josemaría named it St. Raphael’s Cabin and prayed for the angel’s intercession. As a witness later recounted, the Mass that he celebrated in the forest was very sacred. The priest was recollected and focused and the singing of birds added to the atmosphere.
Publish date: 2019 - 3 - 16


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Andrew and Iris Cheng: A Journey of Love and Grace

Andrew Cheng, a former Hong Kong Legislative Council member, used to spend most hours in his career, leaving little time for his family. A few years ago, under the guidance of God, Andrew’s relationship with his wife has improved significantly. Fountain of Grace has invited Andrew and Iris, his wife, to share with us the journey they have gone through over the past decade.
Publish date: 2019 - 3 - 9


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (17)

St. Josemaría Escrivá had evaded capture thus far in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, but his friends knew that it was a matter of time before he was caught by the Communists. They brought him to some smugglers in Barcelona, who would take him to the Nationalist-controlled area. St. Josemaría had an influential friend in Barcelona, an old classmate while studying law, and an atheist. Upon arrival in Barcelona, the friend invited him over for dinner and tried to convince him to accept a legal career to save his life. But St. Josemaría was adamant that he would not abandon his priestly vocation. Seeing this, the friend told him, “If you ever get captured, tell them you are my brother, and I will see what I can do.” In 1937, Barcelona suffered famine and in their apartment, a starving dog was so hungry that it ate the belt and sock of St. Josemaría’s travelling companion. Nonetheless, St. Josemaría gave his food to the poor children and when that ran out, he played with them, giving them love and concern.
Publish date: 2019 - 3 - 9


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The Lord calls. My family responds.

Deacon Paul Ma was ordained to the permanent diaconate in the Archdiocese of Toronto in 2014. How did God call him? How did he and his family respond to God's calling?
Publish date: 2019 - 3 - 2


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (16)

During the Spanish Civil War, St. Josemaría Escrivá hid in the Honduran Consulate; not wanting to waste his time, he continued to celebrate the Mass, pray the Rosary, and meditate with fellow refugees. They also studied other languages in the hopes of spreading the Opus Dei around the world after the war. He personally wrote prolifically and read the classics and theological works. He also sought Confession from other priests once a week. A follower, named Isidoro, used his Argentine citizenship to transit freely in and out of Communist-occupied Madrid. He served as St. Josemaría’s messenger, carrying spiritual reflections and the Eucharist to others. However, as all priests in Madrid had either fled or were in hiding, many people died without receiving the Sacraments. St. Josemaría decided to leave the Consulate, carrying fake documents and dressed as a civilian. He prayed many Rosaries on the streets, heard Confessions, consoled people, and preached secretly. Sometimes, he would narrowly evade capture, saved only by the careful attention of his sympathizers.
Publish date: 2019 - 3 - 2


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (15)

For five months in the Spanish Civil War, St. Josemaría Escrivá hid from the Communists in an insane asylum. Many of the “patients” were actually refugees; as many of the medical staff had Communist sympathies, they would report suspected refugees to the secret police. However, some doctors taught St. Josemaría how to imitate an insane person. Assigned to him were three nurses – two of whom were Communist sympathizers and one, the head nurse María Luisa, who was a reliable person. St. Josemaría told her that he was a Catholic priest and asked her to stand guard as he celebrated Mass in his room. In 1936, due to the severe religious persecution, the Holy See exempted priests in Spain from the usual requirements of an altar, liturgical vessels, and vestments for celebrating the Mass. Every day, St. Josemaría secretly celebrated the Mass and brought the Eucharist to other political refugees in the asylum. He would also write letters to encourage the other patients, using codewords to disguise their contents: “Don Manuel” meant Jesus, “Don Manuel’s mother” meant Mary, and grandfather meant God the Father. St. Josemaría wrote his letters like a grandfather to his grandchildren. In 1937, he moved to hide at the Honduran Consulate; before leaving, he gave the Eucharist to the other refugees wrapped in paper so they could receive without touching it with their hands. Because consulates enjoy diplomatic immunity, they sheltered many Catholic refugees, although they suffered overcrowding and starvation. He would offer Mass every day on luggage cases as an altar, with a crystal glass as a chalice, and with a suit and tie as vestments.
Publish date: 2019 - 2 - 23


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (14)

During the Spanish Civil War, St. Josemaría Escrivá was on the run from the Communists. On August 28, 1936, he hid in the third-floor apartment of a man named Manuel and one of Manuel’s maternal relatives. The troops began searching from the ground floor up and the three men moved up to the rooftop and hid. As the troops neared, St. Josemaría told the relative, “I am a priest. If you wish, you can make a perfect contrition and your sins will be forgiven.” As the relative later recalled, revealing his priestly office was very courageous, for had the troops found them, he could have sold out St. Josemaría to save his own life. St. Josemaría began praying to his guardian angel, encouraged the other two men to do so too, and forgave their sins. They asked, “What will happen if they find and kill us?” He replied, “Then you will go to heaven.” The footsteps neared the door they were hiding behind, then stopped, and turned around. Of all the doors of the apartment, the soldiers neglected to search the one hiding the three men! At another time, St. Josemaría learned that his friend Fr. Pedro had been killed and he wept. Before the war, they had discussed the possibility of being martyred and had agreed that whichever one was martyred first would pray for the other in heaven. A few days before his death, Fr. Pedro said, “Now is the time to study the lives of the early Christians, to know how they worked amidst persecution, obeyed the Church, proclaimed Jesus Christ, prepared for martyrdom, forgave their persecutors. Fr. Pedro was canonized in 2003. Starting from October 1936, St. Josemaría hid in an insane asylum for five months.
Publish date: 2019 - 2 - 16


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (13)

St. Josemaría Escrivá would invite a priest known for being difficult to get along with to lunch every Wednesday. He would flag a taxi for him, order him good food, and prepare conversation topics beforehand. As Wednesdays were dedicated to St. Joseph, St. Josemaría would treat the priest as reverently as he would St. Joseph. St. Josemaría also went to lunch with a medical student, who was similarly friendless. At least he can experience some love from us, thought Josemaría. When the student went to university, St. Josemaría would clean his dorm room for him. From 1936 to 1939, Spain was in civil war; in the Communist-occupied regions, priests and clergy were killed and laity were imprisoned for wearing religious symbols. The penalty for hiding a priest or attending a Mass was death. St. Josemaría sent his students home and went into hiding. Many friends did not want to take him in, and one person was executed because of him; St. Josemaría would henceforth pray for his soul at every Mass. During this period, St. Josemaría had no bread and wine to consecrate, so he would pray a “dry Mass”, saying all the prayers of the Mass except for the consecration. With a fervent heart, St. Josemaría made spiritual communion where sacramental communion was impossible.
Publish date: 2019 - 2 - 9


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A Guide to a Happy Marriage 1

Sr. Cecilia Hong originally dedicated herself to the education field. Later on she shifted her focus to marriage and family counselling. What caused her to make this move? Fountain of Grace invited Sr. Cecilia Hong from the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception to share with us how marriage preparation helps the engaged to build the foundation to a happy marriage.
Publish date: 2019 - 2 - 2


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (12)

In 1935, St. Josemaría Escrivá requested the permission of the Bishop of Madrid to retain the Blessed Sacrament in the chapels of his schools. This was approved and St. Josemaría was ecstatic, telling his friend Pedro that God mustn’t feel lonely or forgotten at his schools. On March 1st, St. Josemaría celebrated a Mass in honour of St. Joseph, welcomed the new students and introduced the newest resident – Jesus. He was devoted to the Eucharist and decorated the Tabernacle with flowers, thinking that they were like kisses to call the mind to the presence of God. In 1936, Spain held an election and the leftist parties won, immediately sparking anti-Catholic persecution: Catholics were killed and churches plundered. Despite the danger, St. Josemaría still openly wore his priestly cassock in the streets, unwilling to hide his priestly identity in case someone needed him to administer the Sacraments. Whenever he encountered dangerous situations, he would pray to Mary for protection. In the few weeks before the Spanish Civil War, he met with Fr. Pedro and discussed the possibility that they too would be martyred. But they both agreed that their friendship would not end with death, that if one of them were killed, they would pray for the other in Heaven.
Publish date: 2019 - 2 - 2


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Resolved to Follow Christ

Originally a Toronto-based physician, Jacqueline was drawn closer to God through Opus Dei. As a response to God's calling, Jacqueline set aside her medical profession and went to Rome in order to pursue a degree in theology.
Publish date: 2019 - 1 - 26


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Fighting Depression: Light in the Darkness

Depression is a common mental disorder. Many people fall into depression without being aware of it. Stanley was no exception. Through an unexpected encounter with God, he found a way out of depression. Stanley shares with us his journey of recovery.
Publish date: 2019 - 1 - 19


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (10)

In February 1933, St. Josemaría Escrivá began to teach catechism to university students. He brought an image of Mary to class which he had found on the floor of an anti-religious place, ripped from a catechism textbook. In a spirit of love and reparation, he dubbed it “Our Lady of the Catechism” and framed it. After class, he took his three students to a chapel for Benediction – ten years later, he described feeling that God was blessing not just those students, but innumerable people of all races. More students came and they began to teach children themselves. In June, he founded a college in a small apartment – there were two classrooms, a reading room, a guest room, a living room, a kitchen, and his own office. He taught law, architecture, math, physics, and languages. While studying a doctorate in law himself, he still found time to teach, correspond by mail, hear Confessions, provide spiritual direction, visit the sick, and pray three Rosaries a day.
Publish date: 2019 - 1 - 19


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (9)

In 1931, St. Josemaría Escrivá served as spiritual director to some Augustinian nuns and would carry their statue of the Child Jesus in his arms. In 1932, the anti-religious Spanish government banned the Jesuit order and the teaching of religion in government schools. Many parents begged St. Josemaría to teach their children catechesis. One of his students, a girl who later became a nun, remembered that he would come twice a week and use pictures as teaching aids. In January, he met a prostitute who repented on her death bed. After giving her Last Rites, he whispered, “Suffering is blessed. Suffering is beloved. Suffering is sanctified. Suffering is glorified.” She repeated these words and died. A month later, he found a stabbed man who wanted to say his confession and on receiving a Rosary, kissed it reverently. Later that year, St. Josemaría visited some Catholic students in prison from an uprising. He exhorted them to continue studying and working, and to frequent Mass and venerate the Blessed Virgin. He also told them to act kindly to the irreligious prisoners and transform them with their good example.
Publish date: 2019 - 1 - 12


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Brother William Ng 2: A Prayerful Life

When it comes to prayers, many people tend to think of rote prayers. But many aspects in our lives can also be tied to prayers. Fountain of Grace invites Br. William Ng, OFM to share with us the Franciscan tradition of prayer, as well as how he integrates prayers with his daily life.
Publish date: 2019 - 1 - 5


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (8)

St. Josemaría started to focus on the matters at Opus Dei. He also started to write down his meditation and issued reflection books. One of the books he has written is called 'The Way'. He also later recruited the first woman member of Opus Dei. St. Josemaría continued to care for the sick people and the needy, and his work has gained many support.
Publish date: 2019 - 1 - 5


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Brother William Ng 1: A Voice for the Vulnerable

Br. William Ng, OFM grew up in a Protestant family. He came into contact with the Catholic faith through a chance encounter and eventually joined the Order of Friars Minor. He seeks to live out the values of St. Francis of Assisi, which focus on fraternity and the minority. Fountain of Grace invites him to share his vocation journey.
Publish date: 2018 - 12 - 29


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (7)

Isidoro Zorzano, an Argentine, was one of the first members of Opus Dei. In 1930, he was unable to find St. Josemaría at home in Madrid and decided to take the streetcar. Suddenly, a force moved him to walk to another street. When he did so, he ran into St. Josemaría. He confessed that he felt God calling him, that he liked working in engineering but that he wasn’t called to be a religious. St. Josemaría explained his work teaching people to sanctify themselves in regular work. Isidoro joined Opus Dei and worked diligently as an engineer. During the Spanish Civil War, Isidoro was able to freely enter and leave Madrid to provide spiritual and material help. He grew sick and surprised many by his patient and joyful endurance until he died in 1943. During the Civil War, bandits attacked religious institutions and newspapers criticized the Church, but St. Josemaría would secret away the Blessed Sacrament in disguise and pray a Rosary for their souls.
Publish date: 2018 - 12 - 29