Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Itero del Castillo, Burgos Spain

Itero del Castillo (Burgos): The Hospital of San Nicolás de Puente Fitero, located beside a bridge over the Pisuerga River in an area controlled by the Order in the Middle Ages, has been restored and converted into a hostel for pilgrims by the Confraternita di San Jacopo de Compostela, of Perugia, in close collaboration with the Spanish Association of the Order of Malta. The Order continues to collaborate with the Confraternita through the CISOM (Italian Aid Corps of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta), whose volunteers will be on duty 23-30 May and from 26 July to 8 August. (The hostel, attended by volunteers of other organizations, will be open from early May to mid October). For more information consult www.Confraternitadisanjacopo.it.

During the Jacobean Holy Years, the Spanish Association of the Order of Malta maintains a First Aid Station in the Cloister of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. It is staffed by volunteers of the Association and teams of volunteers from other national associations and humanitarian organizations of the Order. The First Aid Station will be open from 1 July until 17 October. For more information, consult the Spanish Association of the Order of Malta, email: ordenmalta@cece.es. **This information is several years old, it is advisable to check with the Spanish Assoc. for current dates.**

Saturday, November 1, 2014

What is the Mass

Let’s begin with what the mass is not. 
The mass is not a community meal designed to strengthen our unity and “gather us in.” 
Feelings of unity and community can be strengthened at any number of events, including potlucks or Church picnics. At most, feeling unified with our brothers and sisters in Christ is a nice byproduct of the mass, but it is certainly not its chief end.
Second, the mass is not about you. 
It is not about having a wonderful “weekend experience,” as one new parish based program claims. Nor is its purpose to make you feel good about yourself, to encourage you, to inspire you, or to make you feel included and welcomed. You simply aren’t the audience—God is, and the mass is all about him.
So what is the mass essentially? It is first and foremost a sacrifice. 
In fact, it is the once for all sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, that transcends time and space, made present for us again in an unbloody manner. It is the perfect sacrifice that all the Old Testament sacrifices prefigured (See Malachi 1:11). In it, Jesus Christ lovingly offers himself in an act of oblation to God the Father on our behalf. He adores God the Father, he atones for our sins, he offers thanks and praise, and he intercedes for our needs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Mass, Prayer, and Rosary

From the book The Lord of the World by Msgr. Benson,

Percy sat back, trembling.

"Yes, my son. And what do you think should be done?"

Percy flung out his hands.

"Holy Father—the Mass, prayer, the rosary. These first and last. The world denies their power: it is on their power that Christians must throw all their weight. All things in Jesus Christ—in Jesus Christ, first and last. Nothing else can avail. He must do all, for we can do nothing."

If you have not read this book yet you must. It is one of the best.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Commanderie of Homps of the Order of Malta

The Commanderie of Homps in the Aude region of southern France was an important commandery of the Order of Malta in this port ciy on the Canal du Midi.
Tomb of the commanders prior to restoration work.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Blessed Anna Maria Taigi - An Example for the Synod on the Family

One thing I haven't seen or heard coming from the Synod on the Family taking place in Rome is for those in troubled marriages or families to look to the examples of the saints who found holiness in just those circumstances. Lots of talk about "new methods" very little about the tried and true. In fact for the past 50 years all we have done is try to find new ways of communicating the Faith with a secular world that doesn't care or want to hear what we have to say. It reminds me of an old Bloom County cartoon where Opus the Penguin who was always concerned about his weight was trying several fad diets. His friend Milo would chide him by saying, "how about eat less and exercise more?" And Opus would always reply, "no, I'm going to try..." hoping that this time the result would be different.

Yet how many saints, canonized or not, have found holiness in their own lives through the examples of the saints before them? Since I haven't seen anyone else mention it yet may I suggest the book on the life of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, Wife, Mother, Mystic. She is just one of many saints or blesseds to endure a difficult marriage or home life. The book is available at TAN Books or other retailers. There is also a good article online based on the book found here. (This article is good, I can't vouch for anything else on the website being good or not.)
 An excerpt:
At age 20, on January 7, 1790, she married Domenico Taigi, who was a poor porter or “servant” of the chef for Prince Chigi. Domenico’s morals and piety were very good, but he had a terrible temper. Or, as the decree for Anna’s Beatification puts it “his [Domenico] manners were rough and uncultured and his temperment undesirable.” His brusque and turbulent manner and quick temper caused Anna much suffering, but it also caused her to exercise her virtue of patience, meekeness, humility and forgiveness. She learned that a smile and silence often appeased his wrath. He never was physically abusive to her, but he certainly was a tyrant at times. Nevertheless, he loved her deeply, as once can easily detect the frank and sincere testimonies that he gave during the official process of her Beatification. As the years progressed she bore seven children, three of whom died in childhood. The remaining two boys and two girls grew to maturity with her ever attentive concern for both their religious and moral upbringing, along with their secular education. - 
"The poor, the great of the world, the princes of the Church came to her for advice or help. They found her in the midst of her household cares and often suffering from illness. She refused neither her last crust of bread nor the most precious moments of her time, yet she would accept neither presents nor praise."Her most powerful friends could not induce her to allow them to favor her children beyond the conditions in which they were born. When she was at the end of her resources she told God about it, and God sent what was necessary. 
"She thought it good to live from day to day, like the birds, A refugee queen in Rome wished to give her money. 'Madame,' she kindly said, 'how simple you are. I serve God, and He is richer than you.’"She touched the sick, and they were cured; she warned others of their approaching end, and they died holy deaths. She endured great austeri­ties for the souls in Purgatory, and the souls, once set free came to thank her .... She suffered in body and soul. ... She realized that her role was to expiate the sins of others, that Jesus was associating her with His sacrifice, and that she was to be a victim in union with Him. The pains of Divine Love have an intoxication that no words can explain. After Holy Communion there were times when she sank down as though smitten by a prostrating stroke. To tell the truth, her state of ecstasy was continual because her sense of the presence of God was continual. ... All pain was sweet to her .... She went her way, her feet all bloody; with shining eyes she followed the Royal Way.” 
"Behold, then, the spectacle God raised to men's sight in Rome during that long tempestuous period which began at the time the humble Anna­ Maria took to the way of saints. Pope Pius VI dies at Valence; Pius VII is a prisoner at Fontainebleau; the Revolution will reappear before Gregory XVI reigns. Men are saying that the day of the Popes is over, that Christ s law and Christ Himself are on the wane, that science will soon have relegated this so-called Son of God to the realm of dreams . . . . He will work no more miracles.” 
"But at precisely this time God raised up this woman to cure the sick .... He gives her know­ledge of the past, present and future. She declares that Pius VII will return to his seat in Rome. She sees even beyond the reign of Pius IX She is God's answer to the challenge of unbelief." -

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Historical Video of the Order of Malta in Palermo

Description sequences: Tripoli with the ship arrives in the city of Palermo, a delegation of the order of the Knights of Malta Grand Master Fra 'Ludovico Chigi Albani; the Grand Master is received by the Marshal Balbo; Piazza Castello is inaugurated the plaque which commemorates the ancient deeds of the order of chivalry; The following day, the delegation visited the village Olive groves; the apostolic vicar officiates the ceremony of consecration of the new church dedicated to St. John of the Knights; cheers to the representation of the Knights of Malta which is dedicated to charity, in time of peace, and hospital assistance in time of war;

Descrizione sequenze:arriva a Tripoli con la motonave città di Palermo una delegazione dell'ordine dei cavalieri di Malta con il Gran Maestro Fra' Ludovico Chigi Albani ; il gran Maestro viene ricevuto dal maresciallo Balbo ; in piazza Castello viene inaugurata la lapide che ricorda le antiche gesta dell'ordine cavalleresco ; il giorno seguente la delegazione visita il villaggio Oliveti ; il Vicario apostolico officia la cerimonia di consacrazione della nuova chiesa intitolata a san Giovanni dei Cavalieri ; applausi alla rappresentanza dell'ordine dei Cavalieri di Malta che si dedica alla beneficenza, in tempo di pace, e all'assistenza ospedaliera in tempo di guerra

Historical Video at the Magistral Villa of the Order of Malta

Historical video from 1936 at the Magistral Villa of the Order of Malta on the Aventine Hill showing a gathering of knights attended by the Grand Master Prince Chigi-Albani and the motorcade with the guests leave the villa at the end of the ceremony.

Giornale Luce B0913 del 1936 Descrizione sequenze:visione dei grandi giardini della Villa del Sovrano Militare Ordine di Malte

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Castle of La Couvertoirade

The name of Couvertoirade first appeared in the 11th century by a simple mention in the charter of the Abbey of Gellone (St. Guilhem le Desert.) The Templars were present at La Couvertoirade from the second half of the 12th century. Due to the good quality of the land for agriculture and sufficient water supplies together with a solid rock foundation for building a fortress the Templars settled here in the second half of the 12th century.

The village developed at the foot of the Church and the nearby castle, both built upon the same rock. The Templar's continued the agricultural activity of their predecessors: bread, cereal crops and livestock of sheep for milk, meat and wool.

After the abolition of the Templars at the Council of Vienne in 1312, the Commandery of Sainte-Eulalie to which the Couvertoirade belonged, passed that same year into the hands of the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem. In 1328 the village had between 540 and 600 inhabitants.

During the second half of the Hundred Years War the Commander of Sainte-Eulalie, then Grand Prior of Saint-Gilles, decides to fortify all the villages of the Commandery. The walls encasing the village were built in only four years from 1439 to 1442.

The Larzac region saw an era of prosperity after the end of the Hundred Years War, in 1453. In the second half of the 15th century many new homes were build in the territory.  But a new more destructive storm than the previous one was on the horizon: the Wars of Religion.

During this period the Commander remained in the Castle with a small garrison armed with muskets and led by a captain. This precaution was not in vain and in 1562 the Bishop of Lodève had to come personally with a troupe to unlock the place besieged by the Huguenots.

The last Commander of Sainte-Eulalie and therefore the couvertoirade will be the Commander of Riquetti Mirabeau who was in Malta during the sale of the commanderies of the Order of Malta that were now considered national propertyAt this time the castle was already in very poor condition and small portion served as housing for the farmer of the Commander.

As everywhere the village was affected by a rural exodus but the quality of its heritage allowed it to rebound and it opened to tourists in an early stage from the second half of the 19th century.

There was a video produced by Tourism Aveyron on the chateau which was quite good.

Le village va se développer au pied de l’église et du château voisin, tous deux construits sur le même rocher. Sur ce Causse les templiers vont poursuivre l’activité agricole de leurs prédécesseurs : culture des céréales panifiables et élevage des ovins pour le lait, la viande et la laine.

Après l’abolition de l’ordre du temple au concile de Vienne de 1312, la commanderie de Sainte-Eulalie dont fait partie la Couvertoirade passe la même année aux mains des hospitaliers de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem. En 1328 le village compte 135 feux, soit entre 540 et 600 habitants.

C’est dans la deuxième moitié de la guerre de cent ans que le commandeur de Sainte-Eulalie, alors grand prieur de Saint-Gilles, décide de faire fortifier tous les villages de la commanderie. Les murailles enserrant le village seront construites en quatre années seulement, de 1439 à 1442.

Le Larzac connaîtra une ère de prospérité après la fin de la guerre de cent, en 1453. Sur ce territoire un certain nombre de maisons de la deuxième moitié du XVe siècle en témoignent encore. Mais un nouvel orage plus destructeur que le précédent s’annonce : les guerres de religion.

Pendant cette période le commandeur installe à demeure, dans le château, une petite garnison armée de mousquets avec à leur tête un capitaine. Cette précaution ne sera pas inutile et en 1562 l’évêque de Lodève devra venir en personne avec une troupe pour débloquer la place assiégée par les Huguenots.

La paix retrouvée le village se développe désormais à l’extérieur des murailles dans le barri. Mais il y aura encore une dernière alerte, en 1702, au moment de la révolte des Camisards dans les Cévennes proches. Ce sera la dernière.

Le dernier commandeur de Sainte-Eulalie et donc de la Couvertoirade sera le commandeur de Riquetti Mirabeau qui, lors de la vente des commanderies de l’ordre de Malte considérées comme biens nationaux se trouvait à Malte. A cette époque le château était déjà en très mauvais état et une petite partie servait de logement au fermier du commandeur.

Comme partout le village sera touché par l’exode rural mais la qualité de son patrimoine lui a permis de revivre et il s’est ouvert au tourisme de façon précoce dès la deuxième moitié du XIXe siècle.


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