Archive for June 3rd, 2007

New E-Book from Passionist Nuns

3 June, 2007

The Passionists Nuns at Whitesville, KY (USA) have added an electronic book on Saint Charles of Mount Argus to their Library.

The book can be downloaded here

New Irish Saint will be Saint of the Poor

3 June, 2007

Sunday, June 3rd

Today is a great day for the Irish. It sees the canonisation in Rome of a new saint for Ireland – the 19th century Dutch born Passionist priest, Blessed Charles of Mount Argus.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, presents the cause of Blessed Charles to Pope Benedict XVI, who will make him St Charles.

Looking on will be Mr J.H.A. Dormans, whose life was miraculously saved through the intercession of Blessed Charles eight years ago. In 1999, Mr Dormans who came from Munstergeleen – the birth place of Blessed Charles – suffered a burst appendix which caused irreversible damage to his intestines. Surgeons gave him 24 hours to live.

Mr Dormans, who had great devotion to Blessed Charles, held his relic and prayed to the saint, as did many others. He went into a coma, but woke the next day, clearly better and his recovery began. Three months later, investigative surgery showed that his intestines had been miraculously healed.

President of Ireland Mary McAleese, Primate of all Ireland, Archbishop Seán Brady, Education Minister Mary Hanafin and Dublin’s Lord Mayor, Vincent Jackson, are heading up a group of over 600 Irish pilgrims at the service in Rome. In Saint Peter’s they will meet another 500 or so Dutch pilgrims celebrating the elevation of their countryman to saint.

The President of  Ireland will be greeted by Pope Benedict XVI after the ceremony, and later will visit the international headquarters of the Passionist Congregation in Rome.

“The atmosphere is amazing,” said T.Gerard Bennet, who grew up in the parish of Mount Argus. He expressed his joy at seeing the huge banner in the Vatican bearing Blessed Charles name – a holy man so loved by his parish, now to be a saint for the Church.

“He died in 1893, but people used to talk about him as if he was a man in the monastery. I remember people saying ‘I’m going up to see Fr Charles’ if they had a problem.’”

Mr Bennet said that Saint Charles would be a saint for the poor. “I think the poor get squeezed out in every country. The Ireland of the Celtic Tiger needs to have people working for the poor, and that includes someone in a spiritual sense, a saint.”

“We are called the ‘island of saints and scholars’ but so few saints from Ireland have been canonised. I believe it will be a boost for the Church. I hope that the canonisation of this man who ministered and died in Ireland will make people realise that the Church has a place, and something really worthwhile to offer,” he added.

Blessed Charles was born Johannes Andreas Houben in Munstergeleen, Holland, in December 1821. He served in the Dutch army from 1840 to 1845, and joined the Passionists in Belgium in 1850.

In 1857, after five years in England, he was sent to the newly-founded monastery of Mount Argus in Harold’s Cross, Dublin, which at the time was on the outskirts of the city. Although Fr Charles had difficulty with the English language, he soon became extremely popular because of his two special gifts – miraculous healings and the power of reconciliation.

Daily he would walk from monastery to the Church preaching to the kneeling people about the love of Jesus as shown in his Passion. In the church he would pray privately, ask the people to renew their baptismal promises, bless them with the relic of St. Paul of the Cross, and then move among them laying hands on them in prayer. He also spent long hours hearing confession, in spite of the fact that his English was poor.

“Mount Argus was outside the city and people travelled long distances on foot to see him. There were other Passionists there, but somehow in his simplicity, the people worked out that he was different. He had a level of holiness that was out of the ordinary,” said Mr Bennet.

His fame was such that, although he had not written books, or founded anything, his death in January 1893 made front page headlines, and thousands of mourners filed past his coffin as he lay in state for five days.

His remains were moved to a Shrine in the church in 1949. Today, people still regularly visit the relic of Blessed Charles in Harold’s Cross (Dublin), and the priests bless congregations with it, continuing the tradition that he himself started.

He is the only Irish saint who lived and worked in Ireland whose remains are here.

He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988 following the cure of a Dutch woman, Mrs Verhegge who was suffering with a large unoperable growth in the stomach.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin will celebrate a Mass of thanksgiving in the Passionist monastery of Saints John and Paul in Rome tomorrow.

On Tuesday, Ireland Post will issue a new 55c stamp of Saint Charles. The stamp features a painting of St Charles of Mount Argus by leading Irish artist James Hanley showing the saint in the foreground with background details of Dublin’s Mount Argus and the Dutch farmhouse where he was born in 1821.

Welcoming the new stamp, Fr Brian D’Arcy of the Passionists said he was delighted that Ireland Post are recognising St Charles in this way.

“It’s so different from his first visit to Ireland when he slipped unnoticed through Dún Laoghaire. He brought peace, healing and compassion to hundreds of thousands of people through his ministry. He also wrote hundreds of consoling letters to his family in Holland and to people in need all over Ireland.

“Today he represents the New Ireland – the Ireland of welcomes for immigrants and the Ireland who is proud of its European connections. St Charles, like so many immigrants, came here unknown and without a future. Yet he made Ireland better by his presence and became a saint in the process”, he added.

Pope Benedict will also canonise three other saints today from Malta, Poland and France: Maltese priest, Blessed George Preca, Polish Franciscan, Szymon of Lipnica and the French foundress of the Religious of the Assumption, Sr Marie Eugenie de Jesus.

Our Roman Correspondent

3 June, 2007

Father Paul Francis Spencer, C.P., is leading a group of pilgrims from the Passionist Parish of St. Mungo’s in Glasgow, Scotland, to the Canonisation of Fr. Charles.

We hope he will soon provide news and photos of the Canonisation @ Laus Crucis.

Canonisation of Fr. Charles celebrated throughout Holy Spirit Province – Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea

3 June, 2007

Celebrations are taking place around the Holy Spirit Province today – 3rd June 2007 – for the Canonisation of Fr. Charles of Mount Argus.  The Canonisation takes place in St. Peter’s Square in Rome today at 10.00 a.m.

Fr. Tiernan Doherty, C.P., Fr. John Pearce, C.P. and Fr. Peter McGrath,C.P. will represent the Province in Rome at the Canonisation.

Fr. Charles was a Passionist from our “mother Province”  – the Anglo Hibernian Province of England and Ireland – and is the first Passionist from the English Speaking world to be made a Saint.  So the Charism in the English Speaking world has come of age!

Read more about Fr. Charles of Mount Argus  here