God’s Providence: Fascinating Connections between 10 Mystics

The purpose of this article is to accentuate the wisdom, mystery and beauty of God’s Providence. I have chosen to focus on Providential events in the lives of 10 remarkable Catholic Mystics – each of whom were fervent (female) devotees of the Sacred Heart. It is my hope that in reading this article, many (of the relative few who read this blog) will be inspired to learn more about these remarkable women. Furthermore, it is my hope and prayer that you will seek their intercession and friendship. As Soeur Gertrude-Marie says: the more we love God, the more we will love His Saints.

Reading the lives of the Mystics* has been a passion of mine for quite some time. I confess that I am captivated by the love of these generous souls, who inspire me to seek their intercession, and to imitate, at least to some degree, their humility, purity and charity.

[*St. Therese is the only “ordinary” Mystic in this article; the others were the frequent recipients of visions, locutions and such.]

Read. Pray. Befriend. Imitate.

— Note: Much, much more could be said about the similarity between these great women. One has only to compare the revelations of Sr. Benigna Consolata and St. Faustina, for example, to see that their lives and writings are imbued with the message of Divine Mercy. Divine Mercy truly is the message for our times – our troubled, confused, despairing, atheistic, evil times. To this message we must respond with childlike confidence – another characteristic trait of the holy souls to whom this article refers.]

The Birth (and Death) of 10 Great Mystics

1615

  • July 20: Birth of Servant of God (SG.) Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (d. November 5, 1692)

1647

  • July 22: Birth of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (d. October 17, 1690)

1870

  • October 28: Birth of (SG.?) Sr. Gertrude Mary (Anne-Marie Bernier) (d. May 24, 1908)

1873

  • January 2: Birth of St. Therese of Lisieux (d. September 30, 1897)

1885

  • August 6: Birth of SG. Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero (d. September 1, 1916)

1890

  • February 4: Birth of SG. Sr. Josefa Menendez (d. December 29, 1923)

1897

  • April 30: Birth of Bl. Dina Belanger (d. September 4, 1929)

1901

  • July 16: Birth of SG. Mother Yvonne-Aimee de Jesus (d. February 3, 1951)

1903

  • April 6: Birth of SG. Consolata Betrone (d. July 18, 1946)

1905

  • August 25: Birth of St. Faustina (d. October 5, 1938)

Dates Connecting the Aforementioned

July 22 (Feast of St. Mary Magdalene)

  • 1615: Baptism of Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos. “This dear child received the grace of Baptism on the Feast of St. Magdalen, which seemed to foretell that the little creature would be, as indeed she was, a true lover of Jesus, but [in her case] always innocent.” (p. 6 of her biography)
  • 1647: Birth of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (It was also on her birthday in 1690 that “… a little less than three months before her death, she heard more distinctly than ever the call of the Spouse.” (p. 283 of her biography)

Some revelations received on July 22:

  • 1921: Our Lady said to Sr. Josefa Menendez: “While you suffer, the devil has less power over that soul [for which you offer your sufferings].” (from ‘The Way of Divine Love’)
  • 1922: Jesus appeared to Sr. Josefa Menendez at the beginning of Holy Mass. “In one hand,” she writes, “He held His Heart and with the other He beckoned to me: “Behold the Prison I have prepared for you from all eternity. In My Heart you will henceforth live lost and hidden forever.”

August 25

  • 1671: St. Margaret Mary is clothed in the black habit of the Visitation Order.
  • 1905: Birth of St. Faustina (Trivia: August 25, 1883, marks the death of SG. Louise Lateau; she was a stigmatist, who, like St. Faustina, died at age 33)

Some revelations received on August 25:

  • 1915: Sr. Benigna Consolata received the “Decalogue of Love” from Our Lord.
  • 1920: Sr. Josefa has a remarkable vision of Jesus. She writes: “I cannot attempt to describe Him. He was standing upright, vested in white; He held His Heart in His hands, as in a brazier of fire.”
  • 1934: Sr. Consolata Betrone was reading a book which mentioned punishments threatened by Our Lord. Jesus consoled her: “Consolata, look up to Heaven… Have confidence!” (p. 19)

September 8 (Feast of Our Lady’s nativity/birthday)

  • 1890: Solemn Profession of St. Therese.
  • 1939: Sr. Consolata Betrone was transferred to the new foundation of Moriondo, Moncalieri, in Turin, Italy.
  • 1942: Sr. Consolata Betrone reconsecrated the Littlest Ones (those who will follow her in her unceasing act of love) to the Immaculate Virgin Mary, who said to her: “Upon all, and upon each one, I will look with predilection, as I have done with you!”

Some revelations received on September 8:

  • 1920: Jesus said to Sr. Josefa Menendez: “Which do you prefer, My Will or yours?”
  • 1921: Jesus said to Sr. Josefa Menendez: “Let your soul occupation be to love Me; Love will give you strength.”
  • 1922: Jesus said to Sr. Josefa Menendez: “O slake My thirst to be loved by souls, especially to be loved by those I have chosen… I do not look at the act, I look at the intention. The smallest act, if done out of love, acquires such merit that it gives Me immense consolation… I want only love, I ask for nothing else.”
  • 1928: Jesus said to Bl. Dina Belanger: “I want My life in you to be a canticle of praise for the glory of My Father. From now on, I want you to sing with Me the eternal canticle of My sacred and glorious Heart. Let Me radiate through you the love and joy of eternity.” (p. 352 of her autobiography)
  • 1936: Jesus said to Sr. Consolata Betrone: “Make every effort, Consolata; it is for your own good! It is upon the effort that I now insist, that you offer Me unceasingly an act of love!” (p. 104 of ‘Jesus Appeals to the World’)

November 5

  • 1690: St. Margaret Mary made a Vow of perfection.
  • 1692: Death of Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos.
  • 1908: Sr. Benigna Consolata received the white habit of the Visitation Order.

Some revelations received on November 5:

  • 1907: Our Lord gave Sr. Gertrude Mary a “superb necklace.” “This necklace,” He said, “is the symbol of faithfulness.” (p. 161)
  • 1934: St. Faustina writes (Diary, 341): “I am very surprised that You bid me to talk about this Feast of Mercy, for they tell me that there is already such a feast and so why should I talk about it?” Jesus replied: “And who knows anything about this feast? No one! Even those who should be proclaiming My mercy and teaching people about it often do not know about it themselves. That is why I want the image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it.”

Further Connections between the Aforementioned

+ Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos and St. Margaret Mary:

  • A little-known fact is that Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos – herself a great mystic – prophesied that Sr. [Saint] Margaret Mary would be instrumental in making known the Sacred Heart. Mother Marie Geltrude Provane de Leyni writes: “It is certain that in the year 1657 she [Sr. Jeanne] made known to me several of the graces of our Sister Mary Margaret Alacoque, of whom there was no talk as yet in our country. She told me that she was a person by whom God would be glorified, and that she would teach a very profitable devotion in the Church.” (p. 400 of Sr. Jeanne Benigne’s biography)

+ Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos and Sr. Benigna Consolata:

  • While Sr. Benigna was still living at home, her spiritual director gave her some books to read, including a biography of Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos. “The reading of these lives,” she writes, “cast more deeply the roots of my vocation.” (p. 41 of her biography)
  • The author of Sr. Benigna’s biography writes: “Our Honored Mother Maria-Louisa in giving her this name [Benigna/Benigne], seemed to enter into the designs of God since there was to be more than one trait of resemblance between these two privileged souls.” (p. 37)

+ Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos, Sr. Benigna Consolata and Sr. Consolata Betrone:

  • Mother de Chantal [St. Jane Francis de Chantal] writes: “I have endeavoured, more than for any other foundation [of Visitation nuns], to ask of God light to choose for that of Turin, which gives us the entrance into Italy, no subjects but those capable of taking into it the true spirit of our little Congregation. I hope that our Lord may have granted me this grace for them all, but I am sure I have obtained it with regard to Sister Jeanne Benigne.” (p. 20) (Sr. Benigna Consolata was born in Turin, and Sr. Consolata was transferred to, and died in, Turin.)
  • (Trivia: Jesus said to Sr. Benigna Consolata: “Thou shalt go to the Visitation. 1. Because it is My Will; 2. Because at the Visitation thou canst not only become holy, but thou canst attain to the degree of sublime perfection which I destine for thee; 3. For the spiritual good of others.” – p. 30)

+ Sr. Benigna Consolata and St. Therese:

  • Maria Consolata (Sr. Benigna Consolata) received several names, including Consolata, Rosalia, Philomena, and Theresa. The title of her biography is “The Tendernesses of the Love of Jesus for a Little Soul” – a title that was recommended by Our Lord Himself.
  • Therese compares herself to a “little ball”: “I had offered myself to the Holy Child some time before. I told him not to use me as a plaything for the worthy but as a little ball of no value that he could throw on the ground, kick, pierce, leave in a corner, hold close to his heart, as he wished; in a word, I wanted the Holy Child to play, I wanted to please him, I wanted to abandon myself to his childlike caprices.” Contrast these words with those of Sr. Benigna Consolata: “Jesus compares my soul to a ball, which when thrown violently to the ground, rises much higher than its point of departure; so my soul humbled by aridity rises again, by the grace of God, to the practice of pure love.” (from her biography)

+ St. Faustina and St. Margaret Mary:

  • Feb 15: Death and Feast Day of St. Claude Colombiere (St. Margaret Mary’s confessor) and Bl. Sopocko (St. Faustina’s confessor).

+ Sr. Benigna Consolata and St. Faustina:

  • Benigna Consolata died on September 1, 1916, at 3 o’clock (on a First Friday). Our Lord would later call this the “hour of great mercy,” reminding us at this time to implore His mercy, “especially for sinners.” Both St. Faustina and Sr. Benigna Consolata were Apostles of the Divine Mercy.

+ St. Therese, Yvonne-Aimee, Sr. Consolata Betrone and St. Faustina:

  • After her death, St. Therese spoke to Yvonne-Aimee and St. Faustina, and Our Lord spoke to Sr. Consolata about St. Therese. For example: “You will help me to shower roses upon the earth!” (St. Therese to Yvonne-Aimee)

A Final Word:

What does all this mean? Are some of these similarities mere coincidences?

In response to the first question, the following point must be reiterated: the message of Divine Mercy is the message for our times (every other message, such as the Holy Face devotion, is linked, at least implicitly, to the Divine Mercy). Only merciful love can cleanse this world of its “sinful filthiness” (Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone).

As to the latter: Well, there is no need to get bogged down by drawing minute philosophical distinctions, which will be of little profit to souls. Not every little event has a particular meaning, per se. Suppose you spill some curry on your new white shirt (purely hypothetical… *cough*); does this event have meaning? In a limited sense, perhaps.

“With God, nothing is empty of meaning.” (St. Irenaeus). We must distinguish between “meaning” with a capital ‘M’ and meaning with a lower case ‘m.’ We often cannot differentiate. Don’t bother trying (especially if it distracts you from God Himself). Simply know that the infinite Wisdom, Knowledge and Love of God ordains all things for our greater good.

Pax Domine!

A Sure Way to Convert Sinners, Even in their Final Moments!

“My Heart loves each soul infinitely.”

– Jesus to Bl. Dina Belanger

Nothing pleases Our Lord more than the salvation of souls. He came from Heaven to seek us. Each soul is extremely dear to Him. He makes use of the members of His Mystical Body to convert sinners, even at the hour of death:

“This is a brief hour in which God has secretly saved many a soul that to all appearances had been lost. I never saw a case where this happened to a person who had not done something good with a well-intentioned will.” – Mechtilde of Magdeburg

The Sacred Heart thrills with joy and Heaven rejoices when a sinner returns to God. How beautiful it is to bring souls to God!

God asks for your help:

“During My human life on earth, I could do no more for the salvation and sanctification of souls; and since that time, I have wished to continue the work of redemption through My life in souls. Pray and intercede with My Divine Father. Intercede, that means praying earnestly, praying untiringly, praying with certainty of being given what you are asking. Pray and intercede!” – Jesus to Bl. Dina

Our Lord revealed to Servant of God, Sr. Josefa Menendez, that confident and persevering prayer generally obtains the conversion of the souls for whom we pray; if they reject the graces offered, someone else receives them. Prayer, therefore, is never in vain! Also, Our Lord revealed to St. Gertrude that He converts souls in His own time; He alone knows when they will best be disposed to accept His grace.

The Precious Blood

The Precious Blood of Jesus is the price of our salvation. It is a gift of infinite value, perfectly pleasing to God the Father. Few souls know this, but the Precious Blood is God’s gift to us! This has been confirmed by theologians and Saints e.g. St. Mechtilde and St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi.

The following words ought to encourage us to pray for the conversion of sinners, even in their final moments. The prayers suggested (in italics) are remarkably powerful!

+ Ven. Louis de Blois (Blosius): “God Himself has deigned to reveal to His friends that these [the following] words, suggested to the faithful when dying, or piously said by word, or in the mind, by those who are dying, are of wonderful efficacy; so much so that no one who has the Catholic faith* can perish, if, in his last moments, with a truly sincere heart, he humbly says these words to God, or devoutly accepts them in his own mind. [*We may confidently hope that the efficacy of this prayer extends to all those who sincerely wish to be united to Christ. “Invincible ignorance” and other doctrines come into play here.]

The following words, said in the hearing of the dying, are of great profit:

“O Lord God, I am that miserable one, whom Thou, in Thy fatherly love, didst create, and through the most ignominious death of Thine only-begotten Son didst redeem from the power of the enemy. Thou only hast power and dominion over me, and canst save me according to Thy immense mercy.”

+ Ven. Leo Dupont: “I must tell you at the same time one of my devotions, borrowed from St. Teresa, and I would beg you to adopt it for your own use whenever occasion offers. The saint, on hearing of the death of one of her old friends, exclaimed, ‘Lord, if in the course of my whole life I have done any good thing, apply it to this soul’; and at the same instant she understood that the beautiful soul for which she had interceded was ascending into Heaven.”

+ Our Lord to Sister Mary of St. Peter: “Ask My Father for as many souls as I shed drops of Blood during My Passion.” By asking for the Precious Blood to be poured out on souls we prevent Its being, as it were, spilled out on the ground in vain. In His mysterious Providence God has put the salvation of others in our hands: we must ask for it, and ask fervently and often.

+ One of the best means of participating in the graces and blessings of the Precious Blood is to offer It to the Eternal Father. “An offering,” says Father Faber, is “more than a prayer.” In prayer, we are the recipients, but when we make an offering, God vouchsafes to accept something from us. St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, when in ecstasy, once exclaimed:

“Every time a creature offers up the Blood by which he was redeemed, he offers a gift of infinite worth, which can be equalled by no other.”

God revealed the practice of making this offering to this Saintly Carmelite nun when He complained to her that so little effort is made in this world to disarm His Divine justice against sinners. Acting upon this admonition, she daily offered the Precious Blood fifty times for the living and the dead. She did this with so much fervour that God showed her on different occasions the numerous souls who had thereby been converted or delivered from Purgatory.

At another time when St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi was in ecstasy, she saw all the holy patrons of the city of Florence [accompanied by innumerable other saints], before the throne of God interceding for sinners. Their petitions, however, remained unanswered. Then the guardian Angels of the poor sinners approached, but their prayers likewise remained unheard. Next came the multitudes of the blessed to make intercession for the guilty souls. While imploring God’s mercy, they were intent at the same time upon offering to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood, and on account of the merits of the Divine Blood, their petitions were granted. Ought not these examples incite us to offer the Precious Blood frequently during the day?

+ Precious Blood Offering: “ETERNAL Father, I offer Thee the most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, in satisfaction for my sins, in supplication for the holy souls in Purgatory and for the needs of Holy Church [especially for the soul of (Name)].” – The Raccolta, 188

+ In order to obtain special graces through the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to offer It in our stead. This advice is given us by many devout servants of God, in particular by St. John Vianney [the Cure of Ars] who says that this is the best method of prayer. He furthermore adds: “My children, mark this well: whenever I obtained some grace, it was obtained in this manner, which I never found to fail.”

We can make this offering many times a day. We can use these words:

“IMMACULATE Heart of Mary, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of sinners, especially [Name].”

+ St. Gertrude’s writings are replete with most beautiful sentiments concerning the Precious Blood. To St. Mechtilde Our Lord once revealed Himself on the altar, with hands extended and Blood streaming from His Wounds:

“I show these bleeding Wounds to My Father to appease His wrath. He pardons when He sees the Blood.”

Sources: ‘Glories of the Precious Blood’ (TAN publishers); ‘A Book of Spiritual Instruction’ by Ven. Louis de Blois (Blosius); ‘The Life of Leon Papin-Dupont, The Holy Man of Tours’

Our Lord Weeps More for Sinners Than for His Own Passion and Death.

Our Lord revealed to Bl. Dina Belanger that if all religious souls would let Him act through them as He desires, all would be saved!

Jesus has an insatiable desire for our love.

But our love is merely a participation in God’s love.

It follows, then, that God desires to love us first, so that we may love Him!

Banish from your heart and mind any illusion that you can earn God’s love, or that you have nothing to offer Him – perhaps on account of your past sinfulness. This is surely a temptation. Whenever God asks for love, He first offers us His love! He redeemed even the most wretched sinners, because He desires our happiness. “The greatest gift you can make Me is to receive Me,” said Our Lord to Sr. Mary of the Trinity.

With such unspeakable love in mind, let us reflect on the touching words of Jesus to Bl. Battista Varani:

‘”Another sorrow, which pierced My Heart continually, like a three-edged and poisoned blade, was the impiety and ingratitude of Judas, first My beloved disciple, then My wicked betrayer… Consider first the ingratitude of Judas, whom I chose for one of My apostles, whose sins I forgave, upon whom I conferred the power of working miracles, and whom I made the dispenser of the offerings made to Me. When I saw the design of betraying Me forming in his heart, I redoubled the proofs of My tenderness, to turn him from his criminal thoughts, but it was of no avail; nothing would touch his wicked heart. On the contrary, the more affection I showed him, the more he was hardened in his perfidious resolution. When, at the Last Supper, I performed the humble and touching ceremony of washing My disciples’ feet, My Heart could not contain itself; but I wept bitterly, and watered his polluted feet with My tears, for I said within Myself: “O Judas! what have I then done to you, that you should betray Me thus? O unhappy disciple! is this to be the last proof I shall ever be able to give of My love for you? O son of perdition! why dost thou leave Thy Father and Master? O Judas, if you would have thirty pieces of silver, why not go and ask them from My Mother thine; she would sell herself to free thee and Me from danger and death. Ah! ungrateful disciple, today I wash thy feet, and kiss them with so much love, and in a few hours thou wilt kiss My Face, to deliver Me up to My enemies. O dear and beloved son, what a return thou makest to One who weeps the loss of thee more than His own Passion and death, because for this He came into this world.

While My Heart was speaking thus, My tears watered his feet, but he saw them not, because I was kneeling before him, My Head bent down, and My long hair falling about My Face, so that he could not see My tearful countenance. But John, my beloved disciple, to whom I had revealed all the mysteries of My Passion during this sad Supper, observed My every action, saw My tears flow on the feet of the traitor, and understood that they proceeded from the tenderness of My love. When a father sees his only son about to die, he is eager to serve him, and says in his heart, “Farewell, my son, this is the last service I shall be able to render you.” Thus did I act towards Judas, when I washed and kissed his feet.

When I caressed and kissed them with tender compassion, John, perceiving with his eager heart My gestures and actions, was more dead than alive with wonder and admiration. When at length I approached to wash his feet, for his humility had made him take the last place, on seeing me stoop he could no longer contain himself, but as I knelt he threw his arms round My neck, and held me fast in a long embrace as if fainting, weeping and sobbing and saying in his heart, without uttering a sound, “O my dear Master! My Brother, my Lord and my God! how hast Thou had the courage to wash and kiss with Thy sacred Mouth the cursed feet of this infamous traitor…”

Let us humbly consider the truth that for the entirety of our lives, God has been in search of us. What He asks of us – that we keep His commandments and love Him above all else – is such a small thing in comparison with what He offers us. God is all-deserving of our love, our compassion, our talents, our will, our mind, because they are His gifts.

“Know, My daughter, that the pains I bore in My Heart were innumerable and infinite; for innumerable and infinite are the souls, my members, who tear themselves from Me by mortal sin, for each soul separates itself from Me, its Head and source of life, as often as it sins mortally.”

– Jesus to Blessed Battista Varani

“Do not offend Me any more. Love Me as I have always loved you. Love Me.

– Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani