Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Adult Formation Series, September 18 -- The Stigmatic Saints, Female Stigmatics - Part 3 of 3 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Celebrating the visit to our Parish of the Relics of St Padre Pio, we have a three part series on the stigmatic saints who were so united to Christ Crucified as to receive the wounds of the Lord's Passion upon their own bodies.

Objectives of Session 3
1) Recognize that over 80% of stigmatics have been women
2) Review the life of St Catherine of Siena
3) Review the life of St Gemma Galgani
4) Become familiar with Teresa Neumann

Listen online [here]!


Adult Formation Series - The Stigmatic Saints
Female Stigmatics
Corpus Christi Catholic Parish

I. Review of Previous Weeks: In this series, we will consider the mysterious gift of the stigmata. 
Three sessions:
            September 4 – What are the “stigmata”? Introduction to the Course
            September 11 – The stigmata in St Francis of Assisi and St Padre Pio
            September 18 – Other stigmatic saints and what the stigmata mean for us
A. Visible and invisible stigmata: Invisible more than visible. Feeling of shame.
B. Details and statistics: Stigmatics receive other gifts (visions, levitation, inedia); About 400 cases of stigmata, more than 62 beatified, over 80% women. First, St Francis (1224). First priest, Padre Pio (1918).
C. Update: St Padre Pio and Our Lady of Fatima (Cure in 1959)

II. St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380): Patroness of Europe, first female Doctor of the Church.
A. A family of 25 children, St Catherine being 22nd. She set out a new course of life: Neither marriage, nor in a convent, but a virgin living in the world following the Dominican spirit. Became a Third Order Dominican at age 16.
“When I read in the Life of Saint Catherine of Sienna of her ecstasies and visions, her wise sayings and teaching, I do not doubt but that she "ravished" her Bridegroom's heart with this eye of contemplation; but I must own that I behold her with no less delight in her father's kitchen, kindling the fire, turning the spit, baking the bread, cooking the dinner, and doing all the most menial offices in a loving spirit which looked through all things straight to God. Nor do I prize the lowly meditations she was wont to make while so humbly employed less than the ecstasies with which she was favoured at other times, probably as a reward for this very humility and lowliness. Her meditations would take the shape of imagining that all she prepared for her father was prepared for Our Lord, as by Martha; her mother was a symbol to her of Our Lady, her brothers of the Apostles, and thus she mentally ministered to all the Heavenly Courts, fulfilling her humble ministrations with an exceeding sweetness, because she saw God's Will in each. Let this example, my child, teach you how important it is to dedicate all we do, however trifling, to His service.”  (St Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life)
B. Mystical Marriage in 1368: Received a wedding ring from Christ (the foreskin of the Lord, visible only to her), and Jesus placed his Heart within her to be her own heart.
C. Received the stigmata in Pisa in 1375, while encouraging the city to remain united to the Pope. She begged the Lord to make the stigmata invisible to all but herself, and for the pain to remain – this request was granted.
D. Worked for reform in the Church, especially for the Pope to return to Rome from Avignon. Here head and finger are incorrupt, indicating the Lord’s blessing on her life’s work.

III. St Gemma Galgani (1878-1903): Mystic of Lucca
A. Brief biography: 5th of 8 children, many of her siblings died at young age. Lost her mother at age 8 and father at age 19. Much hardship and poverty. Gemma herself was very ill often, healed by St Gabriel Possenti (in a novena vision to St Margaret Mary Alocoque, March 1899). Desired to join the Passionists, but never permitted because of her poor health.
B. Gemma and her angel: Regularly saw her Guardian Angel, who also delivered letters for her.
C. The reception of the stigmata: June 8, 1988 – Gemma receives the stigmata, which continue to appear Thursday evenings through Fridays at 3pm. This continues until 1900, when she requests that the stigmata be only invisible, at the order of her spiritual director.
"Jesus my Son loves you very much and He wishes to give you a grace. Do you know how to make yourself worthy of it?” In my misery I did not know what to answer. She continued “I will be your Mother. Will you be a true daughter?” She then spread her mantle and covered me with it. At that moment Jesus appeared with all His wounds open, but blood no longer came out of those wounds. Rather, flames of fire issued forth from them and in an instant these flames came to touch my hands, my feet and my heart. I felt as if I would die. I fell to the floor, but my Mother supported me, keeping me covered in her mantle. I had to remain several hours in that position. Finally she kissed me on my forehead, and all vanished, and I found myself kneeling on the floor. But I still felt an intense pain in my hands, feet and heart. I arose to go to bed, and I then noticed that blood was flowing from those parts where I felt pain. I covered them as well as I could, and then with the help of my angel, I was able to go to bed. These sufferings and pains, although they afflicted me, filled me with perfect peace. The next morning I was able to go to Communion only with great difficulty, and I put on a pair of gloves in order to hide my hands. I could hardly stand on my feet, and I thought I would die at any minute. The sufferings continued until 3pm on Friday afternoon, the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus."
D. The holy death of St Gemma: Holy Saturday, April 11, 1903 – Union with Christ Crucified.
“On the morning of Holy Saturday, April 11, 1903, at about 8:00am she received Viaticum and the Last Anointing. At around 1:30pm, with the crucifix in her hands she said: "Jesus, now it is indeed true that nothing remains for me. If it be Thy will, take me." Glancing at the picture of Mary, she added: "My Mother, I recommend myself to You. Ask Jesus to have mercy on me." Then, in a feeble voice: "Jesus, I commend to You this poor soul of mine. Jesus." These were her last words. She kissed the crucifix, placed it over her heart, folded her hands over it, and closed her eyes. Then, after a few moments, she turned her head on the pillow and ceased to breathe, and thus her holy soul took flight to be forever united with the God whom she loved with all the strength of her heart.”

IV. Therese Neumann (1898-1962): German mystic who opposed the Nazis
A. Brief Biography: At age of 20, she fell from a stool and suffered partial paralysis. Many more falls and poor health debilitated her. She was blind and bed-ridden, and also suffered from bed sores which were open wounds – sight miraculously restored by St Therese of Lisieux on the day of her beatification (29 April 1923), and fully cured on the day of her canonization (17 May 1925).
B. Stigmata: Began to receive the stigmata 5 March 1926, starting with the wound near the heart, then over weeks developing wounds in the hands and feet. On Good Friday 1926, blood poured from the wounds as well as from her eyes. It appeared she would die, and she received Last Rites at about 3pm. Over Saturday, healed; and received a vision of the Risen Lord on Easter Sunday. In November, received the wounds upon the head and back.
C. The Liturgical Year and stigmata: For Therese Neumann, the stigmata matched the seasons and days of the Liturgical Year (Thursdays/Fridays of Advent and Lent, not during Easter, etc)
D. Inedia: Did not eat from 1923 or drink from 1926, until her death in 1962.
E. Other marvels: Discernment of relics, discernment of priests, discernment of when one has made communion, miraculous communions, speaking in languages, etc.
F. Her cause for canonization has been opened under the supervision of Cardinal Muller (2005). Day of death- September 18th.


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